Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Apple details A14 chipset ahead of iPhone 12 lineup announcement - news

Right now, the only 5-nanometer computer processor in the world is on an Apple iPad Air.  However, AMD is not far off.  Intel, however, has been struggling to keep up.  They only recently introduced 10-nanometer chips.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Rock Pi 4C: Dual Display M.2 NVMe SBC

I bring this up because it seems like much power for the money.  I am impressed with what single board computers can do.  The CPU benchmark is about 2/3 of my laptop and about 1/3 of my desktop computer.  Of course, you are stuck running Linux.

The Raspberry PI 4 is much more powerful than the Raspberry PI 3 that I have.  Still, it benchmarks like a very low-end laptop.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Microsoft Just Revealed How INSANELY POWERFUL The Xbox Series X Will Be.

I've been interested in how powerful the XBox Series X is going to be, because I can't build a computer this powerful for $1000, and maybe not even $1200. I want a computer with this much power.

Well, this video reveals that the custom APU chip, the central processing unit with the GPU built in, is going to cost over $500 by itself. That doesn't include any other parts.

Rumor has it that Microsoft plans to take a $200 loss on the system. The rumored price is $599. They can make that up with subscription services.

I want AMD to sell me the APU. It will never happen. They have revealed plans to release a video card with the same GPU technology.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

How Nebraska elites screw farmers & get away with it.

In theory, if I don't like Apple's repair policies then I don't have to buy Apple products. 

However, I feel like Apple has engaged in some monopolistic practices that are pretty questionable, like using the law to throw someone in jail for charging a nominal fee for burning an install disk on software that Apple gives away for free, and using the customs agency to confiscate refurbished Apple parts as "counterfeit", even though the Apple parts were sold as refurbished.

Apple should not try to monopolize repair manuals and repair parts in such a way that only Apple can do the repairs.  Most of the time Apple will tell a customer that it is way too expensive to make the repair and that the customer needs to buy a new item.  One extreme example of this was when Louis Rossmann was able to repair a loose connection in a couple of minutes that an Apple repair person said would cost $1,000 to fix.

When I buy a product, especially an expensive product, there is an implied contract or at least assumption that if I need it repaired then I can get it repaired and at a reasonable cost.  If a company deliberately makes this difficult or monopolizes the repair service, then I feel that I am being denied reasonable choices that I should be allowed to make.

This issue is by no means limited to Apple.  This is spreading to other products as they get more high tech.

Government interference in the marketplace often causes more problems than it solves, so I don't necessarily have a good solution.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Google's Friendliest Smartphone - Pixel 4a

Maybe because of competition, we are entering an era of cheaper mid-range phones that have some really good specs.  The new iPhone SE has top-notch internals and camera with a 4.7" screen.   However, I prefer my 5.5" screen on my iPhone 6s+.

This low-cost Google phone has a 5.8" screen.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Mythbusters Demo GPU versus CPU

I don't know that this has much to do with CPU's or GPU's, but it is typical of Mythbusters taking things to the extreme.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Commodore History Part 3 - The Commodore 64

This guy is a huge Commodore 64 fan, understandably so.  However, in terms of inflation adjusted dollars, it was expensive in 1982, like $1580 in today's dollars.  Even more so if you bought any of the many Commodore 64 accessories.  

A company called Sinclair came up with a cheap computer called the Spectrum that was enormously popular in England and Europe, and Timex sold an upgraded version of the Spectrum in the United States.

So I had to write this:

"In 1983 I got a Timex Sinclair 2068 for $200.  It also had a great sound chip and a 3.58 MHZ Z80 and a keyboard that I actually liked.  It had many advantages over the Sinclair Spectrum.  It was much computer for the money, compared to the $595 for the C64, equal to over $1500 today, which for me was way cost-prohibitive.  I temporarily had a healthy business selling software I wrote for the 2068.  I loved this machine.  I'm sure that I would have loved the C64 more with the better graphics, but the cost was a huge issue."

I am actually very proud of the business that I ran selling 2068 software.  This helped me get computer jobs later, and eventually, I worked in the console videogame industry.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Get Free Coffee at Panera Bread

I've been getting free coffee for about 3 weeks.  I need to cancel the coffee subscription by the end of September in order not to be charged.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Re: PC vs Console 2020.... Uh oh...

I see various prices, but the RTX 2080 costs at least double of what the presumed price ($500 to $550) of the XBox Series X is going to cost.  In fact, the new consoles reportedly have so much power that I think that they will be initially $600 to $700, with the price coming down later as the parts become cheaper.   Microsoft claims that they are going to take a $200 loss on their game system, but they are going to offer a monthly game subscription service which would likely be profitable for them. 

I heard a report that the PS5 costs $450 to build, but even though it is not as quite as powerful as the XBox Series X, it has a more expensive SSD, so it hard for me to imagine that they could build it for so little money.  

My main interest is how powerful the AMD APU's are in these things for presumably lower cost.  I want the same deal in a desktop computer, but I'm not likely to get it.  At the moment it would be very expensive to build something comparable, like at least $1500. 

Best wishes,

John Coffey

On Jul 26, 2020, at 9:30 PM, Larry Trout <> wrote:

Friday, July 24, 2020

AMD's most important product ever - Ryzen 9 4900HS

It is amazing what AMD is doing with processors. This mobile processor benchmarks at 246% of my 2017 3.4 GHz Core-I5 iMac.

AMD is accomplishing this with Zen 2 architecture.  Zen 3 releases at the end of the year, reportedly with 15% better performance  The new gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony coming out for Christmas will be using AMD Zen 3 chips.

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.