Saturday, November 28, 2020

Democracy only counts when it goes the way I want it to Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive HDD

My old 4TB external hard drive is the size of a brick.  It is also heavy.  It started to have problems where it sometimes won't let me access the hard drive.  The hard drive seems to work, but maybe there is an electronics problem.  Power cycling seems to fix it.

I replaced it with a 5 TB "portable" hard drive for $100.  This seems like a great deal.  I was amazed by the size.  It is like 2 decks of cards side by side and lightweight.  It also doesn't require a separate power supply.  

It took 2 days to copy all the data.  The new drive is somewhat slow on write speed because of SMR (  Also, I had to power cycle the old hard drive at least a couple of times.

8GB vs 16GB for M1 Mac — The TRUTH About RAM!

People are all excited at how powerful the new M1 chip Macs are, but non-upgradability is the Achilles heel of these products.  There are a bunch of videos showing that you can do just fine with just 8 gigs of RAM, but that is just for running one task.  These machines are designed to multitask, so 8 GB is really not enough.  

An adequate amount of RAM today probably won't be an adequate amount of RAM five years from now.  I upgraded my iMac from 8 GB to 40 GB, which is twice as much as I really need, but the difference in cost wasn't that much.

Because you can't upgrade the RAM on M1 computers, this chip really should just be used on tablets and phones.  Instead, it is being used on the Mac Mini, which is a desktop, and laptops that are desktop replacements.  

When Apple comes out with the next generation of iMacs, I hope that the RAM will be user upgradeable.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020 Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB)

Last year I was watching the rave reviews for this $150 Amazon tablet. When they had it on sale for $100 during Black Friday week, I figured that was a great deal, but I also figured that I didn't really need another tablet. This year it is only $80 for the Black Friday sale, so I decided that for that price I could use it to test Android apps that I want to write. SanDisk 1TB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card with Adapter

Instead of spending $100 for a 5 TB hard drive, which arrived today, I could have bought this ...

I didn't know that such sizes were possible.

Monday, November 23, 2020

How Apple Just Changed the Entire Industry

The first 20 minutes of this video is pretty interesting.

As a side note, I was surprised that my old iPhones 6+/6s+ could run Stockfish at similar speeds to my Core-I7 iMac.

Sunday, November 22, 2020 Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB) – Black: Kindle Store

I don't think that most people need a tablet, but I do find this one interesting since it just went on sale.  It is listed for the same price on the Target Black Friday sale.  This is $20 less than the Black Friday sale from last year.

From the reviews I have seen, this is an excellent tablet for the price.

Friday, November 20, 2020

M1 MacBook Air is Faster Than You Think! (Real Tests) - Krazy Ken's Tech Misadventures

Apple has performed a minor miracle with its new M1 chip.  It has 8 CPU cores, 8 graphics cores, and RAM all on one chip.  It has a 5-nanometer process, which is better than the current Intel and AMD processors.  It might not be possible to make smaller circuits without developing new materials.  So far, there isn't much progress in this area.

What is surprising is that this same chip can run on the Macbook Air, which has no active cooling.  This is essentially a mobile processor.

You can buy high-end desktop processors that are more powerful, but this System On a Chip is at least 22% faster than my 2017 (14 nanometer Intel quad-core I-5) iMac desktop according to a benchmark that I saw.  That is not a reason for me to replace my desktop, but compared to their previous mobile processors, this thing is pretty impressive.

Reportedly Apple is going to come out with something better for their desktop computers.  It would make sense that a desktop processor would be more powerful.

The only downside is that they can't run Intel-based programs natively, but have a software solution for running those programs.  I'm not sure about Windows compatibility, but I heard something about being able to run some Windows programs through emulation.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Dear Linus...You're Wrong About the Apple M1

At 3:50 they have a benchmark for the new Apple M1 chip in the Macbook Air, and it is about 22% faster than my iMac desktop computer.  That is with no active cooling.  Apple is making mobile processors and getting desktop performance out of them.

There is a rumor that there will be an M2 chip for the future desktop iMac computers.  Maybe eventually.  The M1 was supposed to target mobile devices.

Monday, November 16, 2020

This $28 Android Tablet Isn’t All That Bad - The Cheapest Tablet on the Market

I'm not sure that people need tablets when they have smartphones, but I think that this is interesting. 

Last year, Amazon discounted their $150 10.1" tablet down to $99 during Black Friday.  During Prime Days a month or two ago it was $80.  For the money, this is an extremely nice tablet.  I might even get one if I can get a good deal.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Make The Amazon FIRE STICK LITE A Retro Gaming Machine EASILY! How To Add RetroArch & Roms!

Raspberry Pi 400: New All-in-One Pi!

At the end of this video, he compares the Raspberry PI 400 to the ZX81.  Seems like a fair comparison, although the Timex Sinclair 2068, which is a computer that Ioved, might be a closer comparison.

I couldn't find a CPU benchmark, but I have a refurbished laptop that I got for $80 that probably outperforms it.  Still, this seems like much computer for the money.  I wonder if one could get a used PC for $100?

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Tesla Autopilot Not Detecting Stopped Traffic on Highway

These self-driving cars give us the false security that cars can actually drive themselves.  In terms of artificial intelligence, it seems to me that we are a long way from having machines that understand visual cues as well as humans, or your dog for that matter.  It is my understanding that most of these are using something equivalent to a graphics card for the pattern recognition.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

PassMark Intel vs AMD CPU Benchmarks - High End

It is interesting how much power some of these processors have, and how much more cost-efficient the AMD chips are.  I am especially liking the low cost of the Rizen 9 3900X.  This puts my Core-i5 7500 to shame.

A14 Bionic

The new Apple A14 bionic processor in their new iPhone and iPad Air, with its 5-nanometer circuits, benchmarks its processor power between my old iMac and my new iMac, and this is without any active cooling. This is desktop processing power on a phone. Apple is planning to use similar chips in its upcoming laptops because they are abandoning Intel processors on at least their portable devices.  

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Fwd: Xbox Series X Fridge Unboxing

Thursday, October 15, 2020

6G - Explained!

I think that 5G is not very practical yet, given that the high frequencies are easily blocked. However, this video is already talking about 6G, to come in 10 to 15 years.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Amazon Tablet

I don't need a new tablet, and I'm not sure that anyone needs tablets these days when we have smartphones, but I was pretty impressed with this $149 Amazon tablet when it was on sale for $99 last Black Friday. However, Amazon is now having a 2-day sale for Prime Members, and the tablet is only $80. 

This link claims that you can join Prime for 30 days for free...


Monday, October 12, 2020

Intel lost the game - AMD Ryzen 5000 Reveal

In the old days, Moore's law (as I remember)  said that computer power would double every 18 months.  This was true for a long time.  However, as they made the circuits extremely microscopic, the laws of physics started to get in the way.  Over the last ten years, improvements have been more incremental.  Now people get excited over a 20% increase.   

However, AMD has made some big advancements recently.

Why People Restore Vintage Computers, and How You Can Too

"Do keep in mind that fully repairing and upgrading an old computer can easily cost more than the original purchase price of that machine. Plus, if you ever want to resell your upgraded machine, there's no guarantee you'll be able to recoup your costs."

This seems like the most worthless piece of advice.  An inexpensive Raspberry PI most likely can outperform older computers.  The only reason to restore an old computer is if you are a collector, or extremely nostalgic for the days when computers were far less powerful.  

Sometimes there is older software that doesn't run on modern computers.  Fortunately, your modern computer can run emulation software to emulate almost anything, including older computers.

I could see some 8-bit enthusiasts like myself pining for the old days when computers were very simple.  From the standpoint of a computer programmer, those days were fun because the computers were far less complicated; you had access to all the hardware and you didn't have to learn an extremely complex operating system to create a program.

Fixed my Wi-Fi problem

When I got my new Internet Service, with advertised speeds up to 1000 Mbps, there was an immediate problem where I was getting only 30 Mbps using Windows 10 on my 2017 iMac. If I boot Mac OS on the same computer then I get up to 660 Mbps, which is more than I expected. You never get the full advertised speed anyway, especially over Wi-Fi.

AT&T customer service couldn't do much more than verify that the service is working. They recommended that I do a Windows Update, which didn't help and took a really long time, and I also tried reinstalling the Bootcamp drivers which helped a little.

Apparently, this is a well-known problem with the Broadcom 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Windows 10 driver on the iMac. I tried to follow the advice on many websites and videos, most of which didn't work. However, I did get the speed up to about 200 Mbps, although it was frequently less. Last night I noticed that the speed was only about 80 Mbps, which I found very disappointing.

So last night I tried a different approach. I used a program called "Driver Easy" which claims that it can update all your drivers for you automatically. People recommend that you shouldn't update your drivers unless you are having a problem because you risk breaking your computer, but I was definitely having a problem. Normally, Windows 10 will update your drives for you when it does a Windows Update, although the driver that Microsoft gives you for the wireless adapter doesn't work very well on the iMac.

The Driver Easy program will download the latest driver software, but it won't install it for you unless you pay for the program. If you don't want to pay, then it gives you clear instructions on how to install the driver yourself, which was easy for me since I already knew how to do this.

So after updating the driver with Driver Easy, I was getting speeds over 400 Mbps, which is quite adequate. If I want higher speeds then I most likely would have to run an ethernet cable from the computer to the router directly and not use Wi-Fi.

Best wishes,

John Coffey