Monday, August 19, 2019

Samsung Galaxy A20 Review - Amazing Budget Android Phone $160-$200

Budget phones have gotten pretty powerful.  The CPU benchmark on this phone rivals my old desktop computer. When it comes to bencmarks, Apple is usually on top with their own custom CPU's, but Apple seems to want to soak their customers.  I think that I would be quite happy with this budget phone, which is plenty powerful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6c6Vyf3RE8&feature=push-u-sub&attr_tag=q49imeFrbiOIK46p%3A6



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Math problem.

This kind of thing causes huge arguments on the internet, but I think that engineer types should get easily get the answer...

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

GameStop Is Gonna Try Some Big Changes To Save Itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwVpywoDM-c

The Cortana at 1:12 is the funniest thing I have seen in a while. It has happened to me before.
As a result of this, I just tried to see if I could get Contana (on Windows 10) and Siri (on the iPhone) to talk to each other. The result was surprising and amusing. The conversation went like this: Me: "Hey Cortana!" Cortana: Beep. Me: "Hey Siri." Siri: Beep. Cortana: "Shirley you are not Siri-us." (Exactly like that!)  
Siri: "I am always serious."

Saturday, June 29, 2019

How many computers do we own?

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. 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 Fire tablets, but I don't think that reading books on a full-size iPad is a great experience. You 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 27, 2019

iMac purchase/Forest Fair Village

I'm going to Cincinnati tomorrow to buy a used iMac.  I am driving 100 minutes and meeting a guy in a Starbucks north of Cincinnati.  I called the Starbucks store to ask if it is okay to do our transaction there.

It is out of my way, but I heavily researched the market and this appears to be one of the best deals I can get.  I'm paying $1150 for a 2017 27" iMac.   The same thing "refurbished" from Apple with a warranty is about $300 more.  I was originally looking at a 2015 model in Louisville that I negotiated $750 on, but I decided that the 2017 model was not only newer but a significant upgrade.

If I wanted a better processor and better graphics card, I'm looking at $1700 and 150-minute drive.  If money were no object I would consider this, but what I am getting is a big step up from what I already have.  (My current late-2009 iMac is dying rapidly and is too expensive to repair.)     So it is a compromise between price and performance.  I consider the model I'm getting "good enough".   

All the computers I looked at appear to be in good shape.  Almost everybody told me that the computer was low use.  Almost everybody wanted something else after buying an iMac.  The model I'm buying is one that the guy purchased for his "ex" last year and he wants to get rid of it.

I  would not buy a Mac at all except for my desire to write iPhone apps.  The following videos illustrate how horrible they are to repair.


What I would rather do is build a new computer using the powerful chips that AMD is releasing in July. 

I noticed a "classic" videogame arcade on the map in Cincinnati.  I was curious about what games they have and if they have Donkey Kong.  I play this game up to once a day on my PC using emulation, but I wanted to see if they had the real thing.  They don't.  I called them.

This arcade is in a mostly abandoned mall, which has an apocalyptic feel to it.  I am considering stopping by since it is on my way, but I'll probably skip it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Fair_Village

Saturday, June 22, 2019

iMac

When I purchased a top of the line iMac in March 2010, I paid quite a lot of money for it, but my rationale was that it should last a long time, preferably till the end of the decade.

I tend to be a heavy user. I do tasks that are processor intensive. They used to say that computers were meant to be left on all the time, so I left mine on all the time. This is probably bad advice. The chickens have come home to roost. I recently paid to have the iMac cleaned out because it was full of dust and badly overheating. (This is a problem with all-in-one-computers, plus they tend to overheat anyway. Laptops can also have problems with overheating.) However, I have 4 major components either failing or about to fail, and the high cost of repair makes it look like it is time to get a different computer.

  

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Monday, June 10, 2019

iMacs and all-in-one-computers

The problem with all-in-one-computers is that if something goes wrong then you have to fix the entire computer.

My current problem is that the display shuts off.  If I had a standard desktop tower and the display was quitting on me, I would just buy a new monitor.

My previous problem was that the computer was overheating because it was clogged with 9 years of dust,  First of all, you aren't likely to have this problem on a regular tower computer, but if you did, it is far easier to get to the internals to clean them out.

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Incredible Retrobrighting Discovery

Old computers and videogames use a cheap type of plastic that yellows over time.  This is a problem for collectors.  I have seen videos where people go to very elaborate means to disassemble the devices and soak the plastics in hydrogen peroxide along with other chemicals, which is expensive.

However, this video claims that there is a much easier method.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P1OVj0IcqY

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Intel processors.

I have learned that every Intel microprocessor made in the last 15 years has another processor on it running its own operating system called Minix. This is quite surprising. The extra processor is responsible for managing the main processor, which seems very odd to me. This extra processor has also been the cause of security problems that they had to fix.  

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ryzen Threadripper - AMD - WikiChip

My 2009 iMac has a first-generation Core-i7 chip that has 42-nanometer circuits.  I just bought a refurbished laptop with a Core-I5 that has 35-nanometer circuits, and it performs 80% as well as the desktop even though it has half as many cores.

This is an interesting website about microprocessors.  I don't think that I would want to buy a processor with a 10 to 14-nanometer process when 7-nanometer processors are coming from AMD in August.  I find it interesting that Apple introduced 7-nanometer chips in their phones many months before either major processor company came out with 7-nanometer processors.  I also find it interesting that both the new Play Station and the new XBOX will have 7-nanometer processors from AMD.

In terms of the laws physics, it is almost impossible to get much smaller than this, although I have heard talk of a 5-nanometer chip.  I also heard about a possible 1-nanometer chip using different materials, but the technology is a long way off, and I have my doubts about how well it could work.

https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/amd/ryzen_threadripper