Category Archives: News

Sony Free Games

With the shelter in place and quarantine in place, a few gaming related companies are giving away a few free games to try and keep people home.

One of the companies giving away some free stuff is Sony. On the Playstation 4 if you go to the store you can download a digital copy of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey.

They are calling it the Play At Home Initiative which has two parts to it. The first part is the two free games to download.

“Playstation will try to make those occasionally dull moments more exciting by offering Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey available for free* for a limited time through digital downloads…” says Sony President and CEO, Jim Ryan.

These will be available for free from April 15 to May 5, 2020. The big question here is are they going to remain on your account after the May 5 deadline or do they just get locked until you buy them after the deadline.

Interestingly enough in both China and Germany they are not receiving Uncharted but instead they are getting Knack 2.

The second part of the Play At Home Initiative is funding for independent developers.

“Independent developers are vital to the heart and soul of the gaming community…” Ryan said in an official statement. “We have earmarked $10 Million to support our independent development partners.” 

The Epic games store is also keeping up with its regularly rotating free games. Right now you can grab For The King until April 30 and the next one is Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Previously they had games like Just Cause 4, World War Z, Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

Unemployment Changes

Many people have lost their jobs or have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With that, there has been a massive influx of people applying for unemployment. 

What has been the governments response?

With the passing of the CARES Act, there has expanded the benefits of unemployment. Normally you would only get a portion of what you make back but now with the CARES Act you will receive an additional $600 weekly.

If you currently had unemployment benefits and they were going to expire now you can request an expansion due to the pandemic.

As a part of the CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has been established. The goal of this program is to help those who don’t usually qualify for unemployment such as “…business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible…”

“I had to help everyone in my family apply and some people at work. It’s not too hard. It only takes me about 20 minutes,” says Luis Lara, an unemployed college student. “The turn around feels like it’s been a lot longer, but I get why it is.”

Amazon Strikes!

With growing rates of COVID-19, Amazon employees are demanding the company have stricter regulations regarding the virus. 

Strikes across the US have emerged as workers have said that Amazon hasn’t met their demands:

  • Stricter health regulations
  • Closing facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 
  • Expansion in health benefits
  • Clearer transparency on the state of current virus cases 

On March 30, Chris Smalls, an Amazon employee, had led a protest and was fired. This, in turn, led to more strikes emerging. 

Some Amazon corporate employees are planning a walk-out on April 24 to protest against the layoffs of workers who have spoken out on the company’s failure to ensure safety to workers. Amazon has stated that layoffs were due to “internal policies,” as reported by CNBC.

Emily Cunningham was one out of two tech employees for Amazon that was also fired for criticizing the company on how they’ve dealt with COVID-19. Cunningham had stated on Twitter that Amazon has put themselves and the public at risk. 

On April 13, Amazon stated to CNBC that they would begin to allow third parties to ship nonessential materials to their warehouses again. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service that allows third parties to store their products in Amazon warehouses that then would be sent out to consumers.  

Amazon had always allowed nonessential items for sale throughout the pandemic but faced shipment delays in order to get out essential goods first. 

Since the epidemic, Amazon has hired thousands of new employees. The company stated in their COVID-19 update, “We continue to see increased demand as our teams support their communities, and are going to continue to hire, creating an additional 75,000 jobs to help serve customers during this unprecedented time,”

“Now they’re hiring new employees to add. I’m seeing a lot of new faces.” David Rosario, an Amazon warehouse worker from Skokie, Illinois stated.  Rosario went to the Amazon warehouse in Chicago to show support for their protest. 

On April 3, Chicago workers stepped outside chanting, “Clean it up! Shut it down!” Local news, South Side Weekly was on the scene speaking with employees. 

Employee safety concern has also been an increasing factor among the business.

Rosario added that they don’t have masks to work with. Amazon sent out emails to the Skokie warehouse employees that they would have a limited quantity of masks to hand out. 

The Chicago and Skokie employees felt that they didn’t properly receive information on the COVID-19 cases in their facilities. Tomas Uriostegui, an Amazon associate at Skokie stated that he had only heard about the first case of the virus from other workers.  

Amazon associate from the Chicago warehouse Laccoma Scott stated, “How can we be essential workers, but our lives aren’t essential?”

Amazon posts to their blog on how they’re ensuring safety and help to their workers. The last post was made on April 13 stating, “We continue to evaluate all options to ensure the support of our teams during this unprecedented time.”

The company has begun temperature checks on its employees, as well as conducting daily audits of the new health and safety measures, and increasing measures of social distancing within the workplace. 

Workers diagnosed or in close contact with COVID-19 will have time off for 14 days with pay. 

Amazon employees are still encouraging their coworkers for the strike on April 24. 

The Health of Small Businesses: Frodo Joe’s

Small businesses across the country are experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local San Lorenzo cafe, Frodo Joe’s has also had to readjust.

Frodo Joes is a family-owned cafe, with a second location in Fremont. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Frodo Joe’s is known for their delicious crepes and the adorable pug on their logo.

Though coffee and tea are advertised on their logo, crepes are the main attraction. From sweet strawberry and banana crepes to a savory chicken pesto crepe, there’s something for everyone to try out.

The San Lorenzo location is the original cafe. Emily, the manager, is the daughter of the owner. Her father opened the location in 1999.

Since the shelter in place regulations have taken into action, Frodo Joe’s can no longer allow dine-in customers. All their food and drinks are available for take out.

Frodo Joe’s in Fremont is temporarily closed. Emily stated that because that location depends heavily on the dine-in customers, they couldn’t remain open. The San Lorenzo location is a smaller location and has a good flow of to-go orders.

“There is not much we can do,” Emily stated, “We do have a  community here who supports us and helps us.” Emily feels really grateful for the customers. 

Unfortunately, employee hours have been cut down due to the smaller revenue. However, the staff tried to remain positive.

Frodo Joe’s is heavily complying with all safety and health regulations. Their employees all have masks and gloves. When first walking into the cafe, you see that there are tables and chairs blocking the counter so customers aren’t anywhere near food preparation.

They even set up a station for signing your receipt. One bin holds sanitized pens, and the other holds the used ones to be cleaned later.

When asked if she was aware of grants that were being given to small businesses in Hayward, Emily replied that she wasn’t aware until after they were distributed. “If you don’t tell me about it, I wouldn’t know about it.” Emily referred to how information about grants and loans is being reached out.

She isn’t too sure about where to look for information, since San Lorenzo is under Alameda County, but borders Hayward.

She also is concerned about whether or not the money is in a grant or a loan. She doesn’t believe small businesses should be looking into loans because there is no guarantee when the business will be at the same revenue it was before the pandemic.

“You’re just digging yourself deeper in the hole.”

Emily stated that the cafe feels lucky they can remain in business and hopes for the day when everything goes back to normal.

Frodo Joe’s location and contact:

17665 Hesperian Blvd.

San Lorenzo, CA 94580

510-481-1844

What to Know About Face Masks

There has been a lot of talk about who should be using masks and which ones.

According to the CDC, everyone should be wearing a mask because you could possibly be pre-symptomatic and not even know it. The important thing is to know which mask you need to be wearing. 

The CDC recommends cloth face coverings for general use. Masks like surgical masks and N-95 respirators are a necessity for first responders and healthcare workers.

A cloth face covering can be made at home out of ordinary household items, such as bandanas or vacuum filters.

The most important thing is to follow the 6-foot social distancing when going out to minimize all contact with others, as well as washing/sanitizing your hands as often as possible.

Now that we know who should be wearing a mask it is important to know how to clean and reuse your face mask so that we aren’t being wasteful.

According to the CDC, simply washing your face mask in the washing machine will suffice. 

It is important to note, when removing a face mask one should be careful to not touch one’s eyes, face or nose.

By following these two steps it will make a great difference when trying to help halt the spread of COVID-19.

Self Quarantine

The term ‘self-quarantine’ has been popping up a lot lately with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. So what does it mean to self-quarantine?

According to Merriam-Webster.com, self-quarantine means to minimize any form of physical contact with others during an outbreak.

The significance of practicing self-quarantine is to prevent the potential spread of the virus. Health officials are asking 

Health officials are asking the masses to self-quarantine to reduce the speed that the virus is spreading at. If everyone keeps getting sick at the same time there won’t be enough doctors and hospital beds for those with severe cases.

What are some Chabot students doing during this shelter in place?

Paul Mussack, a Chabot student said, “I’ve got a garden going in my backyard, and some sprouts have been growing.”

The Mass Communications department held a game night where they all got together on Zoom where they played some Jackbox games.

Some prospective students have been keeping up with their studies and picking up new things like cooking and learning a new language.

Other students have just been taking this time to relax and play games like the new Animal Crossing.

There are still plenty of things to do inside and ways to connect with others. You’re not alone, we are all in this together. Do your part and stay inside.

Katherine Johnson: Among the Stars

Known for her work in trajectory and flight analysis for NASA, Katherine Johnson’s story was made mainstream in the movie Hidden Figures. Johnson made immense strides for not only space travel, but additionally racial integration as an African-American woman in the 50s.

Born Aug. 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, WV, Johnson died on Feb. 24, 2020 in Newport News, VA from natural causes in her retirement home at the age of 101. 

A member of NACA (now NASA)’s Space Task Group, Johnson was tasked with trajectory analysis for Mission Freedom 7 in 1961; the U.S.’s first manned spaceflight. Shortly after, Johnson and fellow engineer Ted Skopinski co-wrote, “Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position”, which detailed the equations in which the landing position of an orbital spacecraft is specified.

Chosen as one of three black women to integrate West Virginia’s graduate schools, Johnson was a gifted child early in life, attending the local high school for classes at just 13 years old. She graduated from West Virginia State with a Ph.D. in mathematics with the highest honors; the third African-American to do so.

Johnson was married to and raised her three daughters with James Goble from 1939 to 1956, until he passed away from cancer. In 1959, she remarried Jim Johnson and remained married until his death in 2019.

In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama for her work in space and flight, and NASA recognized her “historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist.” 

Multiple facilities at NASA have also been established in Johnson’s name, and in 2016 during the dedication of the “Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility”, she was also awarded NASA’s coveted Silver Snoopy award for her “outstanding contributions to flight safety and mission success.”

Johnson is survived by two of her daughters Katherine and Joylette Goble, her six grandchildren, and her 11 great-grandchildren.

Johnson’s memorial service was held on Mar. 7, at Hampton University Convocation Center in Hampton, VA.

Iowa Caucus Fiasco

The 2020 Iowa Caucuses was held on Feb. 3 and for the first time ever, a mobile app was used for the voting process. Privately run by political parties themselves rather than state/local governments, the caucuses are most often associated with the decision of a presidential nominee.

While intentions were good, the app created several major issues, leading to a conversation on the way caucuses should be run — or if they should exist in the first place.

The app was created by a company called Shadow Inc. The young startup had a history in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, as well as developing several apps for current Democratic Presidential candidates. 

The app boasted that it would give precinct leaders the ability to report results, as well as keep poll data updated for voters. On the day of the caucuses, only certain districts’ apps were functioning, and many encountered multiple issues.

Many voters had waited until the day of the caucus to download the app, leading to error messages and problems with instructions. Most were unaware that they should bring their phones in the first place.

These issues led to a larger discussion of what the caucuses offer us as a nation, and if they should exist in the first place.

As Chabot College political science professor Jamilya Ukudeeva explains, caucuses are a very divisive concept for Americans. “On one side, we have people who love caucuses because of how engaging they are and how involved people get.”

While they can be perceived as a democratic necessity, they can also be extremely complex and time-consuming. “There has been a movement for many years in the Democratic National Committee (DNC)” says Professor Ukudeeva. “They’ve been trying to push states to give up caucuses and move to the primary elections, the way we do in California.” 

The DNC will be using Iowa as another argument for the elimination. Now, there’s talk of eliminating the caucuses altogether. 

Professor Ukudeeva also touched on the ramifications of Iowa, stating that the main election has to be “transparent” and “reliable” — two words that don’t describe the recent caucus. 

“We already have a problem with nonparticipation and low voter turnout. When voters see mishandling at this level, the trust goes lower and people are even less likely to vote.” Damage is done to the entire electoral system, not just the caucus.

The possibility of hacking and tampering in our elections, another issue arises in the use of digital mediums in politics. When asked about the plausibility of foreign interference, Professor Ukudeeva admitted that “Russia’s interference is very likely, and that’s actually my number one fear. You can call me paranoid, but I’m watching out for that.” 

Furthermore, with the recent situation and death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, another threat is just as possible.

It’s clear that change has already occurred; with digital election processes and Americans’ reliance on the internet, our democracy is changing. The Iowa caucus showed us that progress is possible — but returning to older methods may not be such a bad choice for the nation.

Classes Taking Step by Step

Chabot College and Las Positas College have moved their classes online. Chabot’s campus will be closed during spring break March 23-27, online classes will resume March 30. 

On March 20, Interim Chancellor Ronald P. Gerhard of the schools had sent an email to the Chabot-Las Positas students regarding online classes. 

He stated in his email that, “your student education is important to us. We want you to continue your classes and achieve your educational goals.” The current plan is to continue all courses online for the rest of the semester. 

Dr. Susan Sperling, President of Chabot stated that lab classes and career technical classes are, “moving wherever possible to distance and remote forms of education our most important job is to support the continuity of your learning, your education.” This was presented in a video sent out by the school and on Chabot’s website. 

Gerhard brought up the importance for students to communicate with their instructors or counselors if feeling overwhelmed or stressed with these new circumstances. Services for students such as the Admissions & Records, Financial Aid, and Counseling are still available through email. Email addresses can be located on the schools’ websites under the faculty directory.

“Campuses are physically closed Spring Break and until further notice,” Gerhard stated leaving the possibility of the campus remaining closed past expected up for question. 

This news is concerning for Lucia Belloso, a music major at Chabot College. 

Belloso expressed she’d feel frustrated if the school remained closed for the rest of the semester, she feels material has been pushed back. “I would have probably preferred if the school was closed for about a month and then extend whatever was missed into the summer.”

Belloso stated that she’s been much more comfortable having classes from home and that it takes away some of the stress that comes with having to get ready and drive to the campus. 

“It feels like a group effort,” stated Belloso referring to the fact that both students and teachers are working together to take the next steps necessary for their online classes. “It doesn’t feel too overwhelming. We go step by step.” 

The biggest cons for Belloso is the face-to-face interactions with other students and instructors. She mentions that her math class would work together in groups and that it was easier getting things done when they were all in the same room than online. 

The biggest shift was how Belloso’s music class has shifted, “ we now have to send recordings of ourselves playing instruments instead of rehearsing as a group.” She hopes it won’t be too overwhelming for the instructors to have to listen to everyone individually. 

Emails continue to be sent out as new details are being settled for the school. Like Gerhard, Dr. Sperling also encouraged her video for students to communicate with faculty for any questions or concerns. 

Admission & Records Office:

email: [email protected] 

For transcript information:

email: [email protected]

Financial Aid Office:

email: [email protected]

Counseling Office:

email: [email protected]

The Invisible man Review

The Invisible Man is a rated-R Scooby-Doo episode with poor CGI.

This was an entertaining movie if you don’t think about it too much. The closest thing I can compare it to is Scooby-Doo with its use of plot twists and shock factor.

The Invisible Man starts off at an awkward spot where the main character Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) is running away from her boyfriend? Husband? Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Cecilia is shown sneaking around the house and messing with Adrian’s drink while he is asleep then she runs off into the woods to get picked up by her sister Emily.

Adrian is immediately said to be this super smart guy who started up his own tech company and apparently makes enough money to have anything and anyone he wants. It is also quickly established that he was super manipulative and abusive toward Cecilia to the point where she ran away.

Two weeks after she runs away it is reported that Adrian committed suicide and has left a lot of money for Cecilia. Cecilia was terrified of this guy to the point where she refuses to step outside and goes to stay with her sister’s friend? Boyfriend? I guess their relationship wasn’t relevant enough to tell the audience.

Now there was no real establishment of Adrian’s genius, just mentions of how he is a prominent figure in the tech world. It is just meant to be assumed by the massive seaside home with the super high tech lab underground, and a shot of a wall filled with certificates and degrees.

Throughout the film, Adrian is running about in his invisible suit ruining Cecilia’s life and haunting her at the same time. 

The biggest issue with this movie is the inconsistency throughout the film. One of the things used as evidence against Cecilia was security footage of her running away from seemingly nothing. 

Later on, when Cecilia is blamed for killing her sister in the middle of a high-end restaurant the idea of checking security tapes is never even mentioned because if they did they would see the floating knife. 

Shortly after the incident at the restaurant Cecilia is arrested and Institutionalized for her sisters murder. It is now when she finds out Adrian was only pretending to be ignorant to the fact that Cecilia was taking birth control pills. In reality he knew the whole time and was switching them out and now Cecilia is told that she is pregnant and she knows the father is Adrian.

This is where Adrian’s brother steps in again to talk with Cecilia about her finances as her “lawyer” in reality he is just there to confirm the audience’s hunch that he was working with his big bro the whole time.

While in her room Cecilia comes up with this plan to pretend to kill herself so that she could confirm Adrian’s presence. Lo and behold as soon as she stabs her wrist the invisible man tries to forcibly stop her. Cecilia Manages to stab him a few times with the pen she stole from the bother making the suit malfunction revealing his presence. 

Now this next part is the one part I thought was super cool. Guards come rushing to all the commotion and to briefly see the malfunctioning suit and this short sequence of the invisible man taking out all these guards starts. The choreography for this part was pretty well done and the fights were dope. Just seeing the fear the officers face when his own firearm is turned on him, is great. 

The invisible man then escapes the facility with Cecilia following because he had threatened one of her friend’s children. Cecilia just barely makes it intime to stop him from completely killing the kid. She uses a fire extinguisher to mark him and then proceeds to put several bullets into him effectively killing him.

Now this is where it gets super Scooby-Doo. As she goes to take off the mask, guess who, it’s the little brother and not Adrian. 

Then to the public Adrian is found hidden behind a wall in the basement of his mansion. He claims his little brother was his abuser who manipulated him his whole life. 

Cecelia determined that this was all just set up and that Adrian was and is the invisible man who has been tormenting her these last weeks. She tries to share this with the officers and her friend who still doesn’t believe her.

Cecilia now sees that no one is going to help her so she needs to end it herself. She pretends to go back to Adrian for a dinner date when in reality all she is trying to do is get a confession from him. He knows she’s wired so he says the one thing that will confirm it for her but wont hold in court. With that Cecilia steps off to the restroom. 

Once Adrian begins to grow tiresome waiting for her his throat is slit. Cecilia had gone back to their mansion earlier on in the movie and discovered another suit and hid it in the house. So now she went and used the suit to kill adrian. 

The movie ends with Cecilia carrying the second suit in a bag that is not closed and her police officer friend noticing it but for whatever reason he lets her keep it and pretends he doesn’t know that she just killed Adrian.

Currently The Invisible man is available to rent on the iTunes store for 19.99, which is crazy when you see that The Way Back, another movie that came out around the same time, is available to buy for 19.99  In short this movie was fun to watch if you turn off your brain and go for the ride.