Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Re: iPhone 4: 10 Years Later - 2020 Review

A few years before smartphones came out, I bought a very cheap digital camera. The resolution was like 1/4 megapixel. I think that it was 640x480, but it wasn't that long ago, 20 years, that this was a standard computer monitor resolution. My monitor at home was probably no better.

At that time, 2-megapixel cameras were expensive, like $300.  The funny thing is that the cheap camera actually took decent pictures at least compared to what I was used to, which wasn't much.  

On Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 9:52 PM John Coffey wrote:

I really loved the iPhone 4/5. It is still my favorite design.  The bands on the side gave it a sturdiness.
I was in Salt Lake City on a slope near the base of a mountain where I dropped the iPhone 5. It went bouncing on pavement downhill but suffered only very minor scuffs on the corners.

Because of the Antennagate on the iPhone 4, there was a problem with the signal not being as strong if your fingers crossed a certain spot on the external antennas, but it wasn't much of a problem for me.  As a result, Apple gave everybody a free case, which I got, but I didn't use it much.

I was actually pretty happy with the iPhone 4 camera.  There was a time when 5 megapixel was considered premium.


Monday, June 29, 2020

My Facebook post from a year ago

Since I first wrote this, I have purchased two more Arcade1up's, and three Sony Playstation Classics, two of which I sold.  I sold my one SNES Classic Edition.  I fixed the defective laptop and gave it to a chess player in need.  I still use my old defective iMac for chess analysis, while I use my new iMac for everything else.

Around 1984 there was an article with a prediction that went like this: "Someday you will throw away computers. Your house will be littered with them. You will get computers in cereal boxes." Thirty-five years ago, that day seemed like it would be pretty far off.

How exactly has this prediction faired? Well, how many computers do I own? Here is the list...

1. One of the more powerful computers in my home is my iPhone 6s+. It is a powerful computer masquerading as a phone.

2. I have an iPhone 6+ that mostly works, except for the wi-fi, which is why I don't use it anymore.

3. I have an iPhone 5 that is becoming obsolete, but it would still be functional. It only uses the AT&T type radio bands, which means that it could also work with some discount companies.

4. If I were to look really hard in my junk pile, I could find my old iPhone 3GS. It might still function as a phone, but nobody would want to use it.

5. I have an iPad 4. The only reason I bought it was because my iPad 2, which I loved, was stolen in Salt Lake City. However, I don't really have much of a need for it. The iPads were originally touted as book readers to compete with the Amazon Kindle tablets, but I don't think that reading books on a full-size iPad is a great experience. It can do all the normal internet stuff with them, but I have plenty of devices that can do that. I think that my iPad is best used to play audiobooks.

6. About eight years ago I bought a Microsoft Tablet on a Black Friday sale for $200 because this seemed like a fantastic deal at the time. At the time, it probably was. However, this has been the most useless piece of crap that I own. One could use it to browse the internet and read email, but it is way out of date, and it was never very useful to begin with. It is less pleasant to hold than an iPad. I doubt that I can get any software for it.

7. I'm typing this on my late-2009 27" iMac. However, this computer has a number of problems, such as the display repeatedly shutting off. The computer has 4 major parts that have been identified by a technician as showing signs that they may fail in the near future, which makes the machine too costly to consider fixing. Even just dealing with the display problem is not really worth it.

8. Which is why, today, I bought a 2017 iMac, which is a significant upgrade from my old iMac. It will take at least a day for me to get all my software installed and working on the new machine.

9. A couple of years ago I was given a Raspberry PI 3, which is a very cheap small computer the size of a deck of cards. It can run Linux and do normal computer stuff, although it is not very powerful at all. However, I configured it to be a game emulation box that can be hooked up to my TV.

A new Raspberry PI 4 has just been released, and it is more powerful.

10. I own both a NES Classic Edition and a SNES Classic Edition. I used to sell these for profit because they are often hard to find. I plan on selling at least one of these. Both are game emulation boxes, and I have hacked one of them to play more games. I plan on hacking the other one as well.

I am also considering also getting a Sony PlayStation Classic. It is a more powerful system that has been discounted down to $30 and can also be hacked.

11. I bought an Arcade1up machine. This is a 3/4 scale arcade game that you assemble yourself. It is essentially an emulation box, and it comes with 12 classic arcade games.

12. Back in the early 2000s, I bought a joystick that can be hooked up to an old style TV and it plays 10 classic games. As a game system it is not particularly great, but I still occasionally use it because it does a great job with one game, which is Pole Position. I don't have anything else that can play this game.

13. I have an old Sega Genesis with some cartridges that I plan on selling. Thirty years ago the 68000 processor in the Genesis was considered a mainstream computer processor. I have seen really old mainframe computers that cost a fortune that used this processor. By the 1990s the 68000 processor was only really used in game systems.

14. I have a really old laptop that someone gave me. It is very slow, but I was able to use it to run chess tournaments. However, it recently stopped booting. It appears that the hard drive is corrupted. I thought that maybe I could fix it, but...

15. I was able to get a refurbished laptop very cheap that is vastly superior. This computer proved very helpful as a backup computer while my iMac was in the shop.

So technically my house is littered with computers, some of which I could easily throw away.

If you own a calculator, which I don't, it has either a 4-bit or an 8-bit processor inside. It is also a computer, although very limited.

As far as getting computers in cereal boxes, I saw a little handheld game that came in a 2007 cereal box. It was pretty primitive, probably using a 4-bit processor.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Starlink: How SpaceX's 12,000-satellite internet network will work - Business Insider

This does not seem realistic to me.  It is Utopian.  They talk about the speed limitations of Fiber, but 60% the speed of light is not much of a limiting factor compared to going out to space and back.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Ryzen 7 4700G Reportedly Pushes AMD APUs To Eight Cores

There have been several stories about the leaked upcoming AMD 4700G APU processor.  I was hoping that this would be an Xbox Series X equivalent.  Although the processor has 8 cores, it only has 8 graphics compute units.  The upcoming Xbox Series X (AMD made) chip has 52 graphics compute units on the processor.  On a single chip, they have a powerful processor and the equivalent of a top of the line graphics card.

So it looks like if I want Xbox Series X graphics power on a computer that I will only be able to get it by purchasing a separate graphics card.  I thought that the point of an AMD APU was so that you don't have to buy a separate graphics card, but this might be a deliberate strategy by AMD to sell graphics cards.  

But if AMD is going to make a powerful all in one chip for the upcoming Xbox Series X, why won't they release that to everyone else?

Monday, May 4, 2020

Computer programs

Computer programs are made up of a series of instructions that computers understand. This is no problem when your computer program is ten lines long, but some modern programs, like operating systems, might have millions of lines of code. Since it only takes one bad line of code to really mess things up, the length of computer programs becomes a problem due to increased complexity.

So the biggest problem that software development has faced has been one of organization. People have had to invent ways to keep computer programs more organized. When I was going to school in the 1980s, the buzzword was "structured programming", which doesn't really do that much. This was later replaced by "Object-Oriented" programming, which was a breakthrough in organizing computer code.

However, I keep thinking that there has to be a better way. I don't know what that better way is, but I'm sure that eventually someone will invent a new method.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Are Cheap Graphics...GOOD?

I want the chip that is going to be in the upcoming XBox Series X console, but they will probably never sell it to the general public. It has almost 3 times the graphics performance of my 2017 iMac, and it has 8 cores with 16 threads. My I5 iMac has 4 cores with 4 threads. Rumor has it that Microsoft is going to take a $200 loss on these consoles in order to sell games and subscription services. (People are saying that this is a problem for Sony with their slightly inferior new console, because Sony doesn't have the deep pockets that Microsoft does, and can't take as much of a loss as Microsoft can. For this reason, Sony is limiting the number of units that will be available this Christmas. In general, Sony has been hurting financially, and has depended on their video game division to support the company.) I assume that over time the cost of parts will go down while the price of the consoles will remain the same.

However, AMD is planning to release a new line of APU's this September. If I can get the equivalent performance of an XBox Series X, I might build a new computer. However, I might wait till 2021 because I think that the prices will be cheaper.

My 2010 iMac isn't even on the map in terms of graphics performance. It is really bad. They use laptop parts in these all-in-one computers, which means that the performance is not the best. The 2017 iMac is much better, but I could have gotten more bang for the buck by building a PC.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Fwd: One day, a computer will fit on a desk (1974) | RetroFocus

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Albert Nelms 

Obviously, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Lol