Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Apple Is Hiding Something…

Computers for rich people.

Not impressed with new iMacs.

Apple tends to introduce new models, sometimes taking away features like ports and memory, and then charge at least $200 more for the new computer compared to the previous model.

Compared to my used 2017 27" iMac with a 5K display that I paid $1,050 for, the new iMacs have ...

A smaller 24" 4.5K display.  (4K is overkill on this size display.)
Only 8 gigs of RAM.  (This is not really enough.)
Is non-upgradeable.  According to one source,  you can't even fix them.  Maybe Apple can fix them.

Fewer ports.
A crappy Apple keyboard and crappy "magic mouse."
The M1 processor that is over twice as fast.
Costs at least $250 depending upon the model.

The M1 processor is a mobile processor, but it outperforms most desktop processors.  On the high-end CPU list, the M1 is almost halfway down, but my Intel i5 7500 is close to the bottom.

My 2017 iMac came with 8 gigs of RAM, but I added 32 gigs.  That is overkill because a total of 16 to 24 gigs is plenty.

If I wanted an M1 processor then I would buy a Mac Mini for under $700 and then configure the peripherals the way I wanted.

It is possible to upgrade the processor on my iMac, at some cost, but I am thinking of doing that.


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Review Geek <>
Date: Wed, Apr 21, 2021 at 8:22 AM
Subject: Apple's New M1 iMacs, iPad Pro, AirTags, Updated Apple TV, and More
To: <>

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April 21, 2021

Happy Hump Day! Apple announced a bunch of new stuff yesterday, including svelte new iMacs with the company's M1 chip, an updated M1 iPad Pro, the long-rumored (and finally official) AirTags, a new Apple TV with the A12 Bionic processor and (vastly) improved remote, and even a new purple color for the iPhone 12. There's a lot, but we have all the details below. Posts for days, y'all.

Other highlights:


Apple's Redesigned M1 iMac are As Colorful and Thin As a Magic Marker
Apple's Redesigned M1 iMac are As Colorful and Thin As a Magic Marker

Even though the 2021 iMac is very thin, it still packs plenty of upgrades, ports for accessories, and additional features. You'll be happy to know it rocks up to four USB ports, 2 thunderbolts, and a new magnetic power cable that routes the power adapter brick under your desk on the floor. That way, your workspace is clean and tidy. Apple even threw an ethernet port in that power adapter, too. Read More »

iOS 14.5 Rolls Out Next Week, With Apple Watch FaceID Unlock for iPhones
iOS 14.5 Rolls Out Next Week, With Apple Watch FaceID Unlock for iPhones

Following its "Spring Loaded" event today, Apple announced that it will be rolling out iOS 14.5 starting in the week of April 26. iPhone users can expect several new features including the ability to unlock FaceID-capable iPhones with your Apple Watch. Read More »

Apple's New iPad Pro Features M1 Chipset, Liquid Retina XDR Display, 5G Support
Apple's New iPad Pro Features M1 Chipset, Liquid Retina XDR Display, 5G Support

Spring is a time for rebirth, so it's no wonder that Apple chose to put a new face on the iPad Pro. Announced during its Spring Loaded livestream, 2021 models of the iPad Pro feature M1 chipsets, Thunderbolt 3 ports, and optional 5G. The 12.9-inch model also features a cutting-edge mini-LED "Liquid Retina XDR" display, while the 11-inch model has an OLED panel. Read More »

Apple's Trackable AirTags Arrive, So You Can Find Your Stuff
Apple's Trackable AirTags Arrive, So You Can Find Your Stuff

Today, at Apple's Spring Loaded event, the company unveiled its long awaited AirTags trackers. For $29,  you can use them to find your Apple products or anything else. Unlike most Bluetooth trackers, AirTags can give you precise directions to find your stuff. Read More »

New Apple TV 4K Automatically Calibrates Color on Any TV, Fixes the Siri Remote
New Apple TV 4K Automatically Calibrates Color on Any TV, Fixes the Siri Remote

Nearly four years after Apple launched its first 4K TV box, the company is putting out a new Apple TV 4K with HDR video and an upgraded Siri Remote. The new streaming box replaces the 2017 Apple TV 4K and starts at $179. Read More »

STUFF WE LIKE Pick Up a Rubik's Cube Today and Try Your Hand at the Iconic Puzzle Cube
Pick Up a Rubik's Cube Today and Try Your Hand at the Iconic Puzzle Cube

The iconic Rubik's Cube 3D combination puzzle was invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Erno Rubik. Since then, an estimated 450 million Rubik's Cubes have been sold worldwide, along with several variations. But if you've ever wanted to try your hand at the original 3×3 cube, now's your chance! There are 43 quintillion possible movies, but only one right answer. Can you figure it out?

Get it at Amazon →

Apple Introduces iPhone 12 in a New Flat Purple Color

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are getting an all-new color just in time for Spring. Today at Apple's Spring Loaded event, the company unveiled a stunning new purple colorway. This is the same iPhone you already know and love, only in Purple, and it'll be available starting April 30th. Read More »

Polaroid's Tiny Instant Camera is Big on Nostalgia
Polaroid's Tiny Instant Camera is Big on Nostalgia

If you're a fan of retro tech but also want instant gratification, Polaroid's newest instant camera is worth considering. Yes, that's the same Polaroid company that died once or twice but then came back. And while instant cameras are a dime a dozen, this new $99 Polaroid Go is the smallest yet. Read More »

Nomad Launches AirTags Keychain and Glasses Strap with $10 Pre-Order Discount
Nomad Launches AirTags Keychain and Glasses Strap with $10 Pre-Order Discount

Shortly after Apple announced its AirTag Bluetooth trackers, Nomad debuted its first AirTag accessories, the AirTag leather keychain and the AirTag glasses strap. Both accessories are available for pre-order and ship by July 20th. They usually cost $40 each, but Nomad is offering a special $10 pre-order discount. Read More »


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Mercedes-Benz Teases an Entry Level Electric Minivan
Mercedes-Benz Teases an Entry Level Electric Minivan

Mercedes-Benz is teasing yet another electric minivan, but this time it's an entry-level option aimed at families and other leisure users. The company will be formally unveiling the vehicle on Monday, May 10 at 11 a.m. CEST. Read More »




The Outer Case Of The Atari Jaguar Game Console Lived On As A?
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PC Case »
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HTC's Fitness VR Headset Looks Amazing, Too Bad It's Not Real
HTC's Fitness VR Headset Looks Amazing, Too Bad It's Not Real

Earlier today, several sites reported an apparent leak of an upcoming HTC fitness-focused headset. It looks comfy and well-designed to prevent the sweaty head issues most VR headsets face. Unfortunately, HTC has no intention of making the HTC Vive Air headset. And that's a shame. Read More »

Save $81 On the Powerful Fitbit Sense Smartwatch
Save $81 On the Powerful Fitbit Sense Smartwatch

Fitbit Sense, the company's most powerful smartwatch, is on sale for $249 at Amazon. That's $81 off the usual $330 price tag, and a fantastic value for a fitness-focused watch with GPS, ECG, and EDA Scan capabilities. Read More »

Geico Customers' Driver's License Numbers Stolen In Months-Long Data Breach
Geico Customers' Driver's License Numbers Stolen In Months-Long Data Breach

A security flaw allowed "fraudsters" to steal driver's license numbers from Geico's online sales system, according to a data breach notice filed with the California attorney general's office. Geico has since fixed the vulnerability, which went unnoticed for over a month, but asks that customers look out for fraudulent unemployment applications. Read More »

Momma Mia! LEGO Luigi is Now Available for Pre-Order
Momma Mia! LEGO Luigi is Now Available for Pre-Order

It looks like Amazon didn't jump the gun on revealing a LEGO Luigi starter set by too much. Today LEGO made it official and announced the $59.99 Adventures with Luigi Starter Course. And better yet, it's taking pre-orders now. Don't wait; LEGO Mario sold out in a day. Read More »

Buy an AirTag, Not a Tile Tracker (Unless You Use Android)
Buy an AirTag, Not a Tile Tracker (Unless You Use Android)

Tired of losing your keys? Worried about your backpack getting stolen? Adding a Bluetooth tracker to either item can greatly improve the chances of you finding it. But with the introduction of Apple's AirTags, if you own an iPhone, there aren't many reasons to buy a Tile tracker. Read More »


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Meta Human looks amazing

I have thought for a long time that digital actors in movies were inevitable.  I have mentioned in the past that we might be able to recreate dead actors.  Online I suggested that your gaming console might be able to play a realistic 3D-generated movie, although I am not sure how that is any better than pre-rendered videos.

The same people who made all the AT&T "You will" commercials in the early 90's more recently predicted that in the future that the distinction between movies and games will blur.  In a way, this is already happening.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Why does Apple still sell this absolutely terrible Mac?

It does not surprise me that Apple would sell people a crappy computer for $1,100.  I also hate the idea of a 21.5-inch display.

He points out that for $1,100 you can buy a used 2017 27 inch quad-core iMac.  I paid $1,050 for mine almost 2 years ago.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

CPU? GPU? This new ARM chip is BOTH

This video is over a year old.  Cutting to the chase, some of the features of this advanced chip can be found in Apple's more recent M1 chip that is a bit of a technological revolution:  Put CPU cores, GPU cores, and ultra-fast RAM onto a single chip, along with specialized compute sections for things like video rendering, and the result is a single chip that uses much less power while delivering more performance.  In the near term, this is probably the future of computing.

One of the advantages of being one of the richest companies in the world is that you can spend more on R&D.

Apple's low-end computers, like the M1 Macbook Air or the M1 Mac Mini, deliver a lot of computer power for the money.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The SMARTEST Thing About USB

The early days of "Plug and Play" weren't so much plug and play.  Usually, you had to install the drivers.  Six months ago I had a driver problem with my new 1 gigabit Wi-Fi (actually about 600 Mbs.)  I spent days trying to fix this, but a program called "Driver Easy" helped me to fix it.  This program will install drivers for you if you pay for the program, otherwise, it will tell you which driver to install.  I had to an Internet search to figure out how to install the driver.  I actually tried multiple drivers until I found one that worked well.

That was only in Windows mode.  When I boot my computer in Mac mode it had no problems.  In fact, Mac mode is still a little faster with the Wi-Fi.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Google Stadia Disaster Is Even Worse Than We Realize

Thirty years ago a coworker predicted that streaming games would be inevitable.  His reasoning was that internet speeds would be fast enough eventually to stream any video to your PC.  I thought that this was a horrible idea then, and I think that it is a horrible idea now.  What could possibly be the benefit?  Offloading the compute power to a server means that I am competing for that power with everybody else.  I would rather pay $500 for a console and know that I can play games anytime, rather than $100 for a special controller because I think that I can save a few bucks.  The Netflix of Gaming is going to be like Microsoft's subscription game service.  No matter how much the internet improves, home hardware still will become more powerful and possibly cheaper.  I was around in the early days of computers when you had to use a dumb terminal to dial into some mainframe.  It is far better to have your own hardware.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

An American Original - Timex/Sinclair

In the early days of computing and videogames, magazines devoted to specific systems were very popular.  By 1986, the Sinclair and Timex-Sinclair lines of computers were a dying brand, but they had a very devoted set of followers, of which I was one.  The primary feature of the Timex-Sinclair 2068 computer was its relatively low price of $200.  Compare that to the Commodore-64 introduced in 1983 at $595, which is around $1600 in today's dollars.  Other brands of computers were higher.  Most of these were way too cost-prohibitive for me, so I went with the cheapest model, but I happened to very much like the brand.

I did an internet search for a videogame I wrote in 1985/1986 called, "Diamond Mike".  I found a magazine that I had completely forgotten about where I had a quarter-page ad on page 34 for the game, along with another quarter page of products that I was selling, most of which I don't remember selling.  I think that I had entered into some kind of partnership with another company to sell their products.  The wording of the ad looks somewhat unprofessional like it was written by me, which it was, but this was typical of these relatively obscure magazines of the time.  I think that I had the advertisement typeset by a professional printer because in those days we didn't have modern computers to help us do that.  The game was in color, but the magazine was black and white, so the advertisement is Black and White.

The magazine did a "review" of the game on page 4.  Essentially they were scratching my back for buying advertising.  The wording of the "review" isn't that different from my advertisement, and they also said a few nice words.

The graphics capabilities of the 2068 computer were not as quite good as the more expensive brands, and since I did my own artwork and I am by no means an artist, the graphics of the game are pretty basic.  This was typical for many computer games of the time.  What I could do well is write efficient code in "machine language", which is the internal language of the CPU chip.   An honest review of my game would have said that it was an imitation of another game called "Boulder Dash", but when "Boulder Dash" was ported to the 2068 computer months later, its code ran too slow.  They didn't do a good job on the port.  They should have gotten me to write the game.

This kind of work eventually led me to get a job in the videogame industry.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Nintendo is "working without stopping" on its next new console after Switch | GamesRadar+

There have been rumors of this since 2019, but Nintendo repeatedly denied that they were working on a new system.  Ironically, the Nintendo Switch, which is a low-power portable tablet has been outselling the new ultra-powerful systems from Microsoft and Sony.

Hypothetically, if Apple were to put their new M1 chip into a portable game system, it would be remarkably powerful.  The chip should be better than anything Nintendo can get their hands on.  I have heard rumors that Apple might do something like this.  Even their latest phones should make for a powerful game system.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Grab an Off-Screen Mushroom in SMB #Shorts - YouTube

John Coffey
1 second ago
Speaking as a former videogame programmer, I am going to make a big assumption here, and maybe my assumption is wrong:  The collision detection is probably just using a single byte for the coordinates in both the horizontal and the vertical, giving it a range of only 0 to 255.  This would make sense because the 6502 processor only does math 8 bits at a time.  Doing 16-bit math here would be too much trouble, but maybe only the vertical is just using 8-bit math.  As the mushroom or Mario moves off-screen, the coordinate wraps to the other side.  The NES displayed 240 horizontal lines compared to the 224 lines on the SNES, so the objects wouldn't have to go far offscreen to wrap.

This is similar to a bug on Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man that turned into a useful feature. The different ghosts are trying to reach different locations depending upon which way Pac-Man is heading.  The pink ghost is trying to reach a location two characters (8x8 pixels) in front of the player.  However, Pac-Man does this math using 16 bits, which the Z80 processor supports, but the cordinates are two 8 bit values x and y combined into a single 16-bit word.  I don't remember why this is, but when Pac-Man is moving up this can create an overflow on the Y coordinate that ends up subtracting from the X coordinate.  This sometimes means that the Pink Ghost will move to the left when he wasn't supposed to, but this gives him extra "personality."

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021

New powerful phone microprocessors

The most notable thing about this particular phone is that it uses a new processor that will also be used on an upcoming flagship Samsung phone, and the only thing notable about that is the Geekbench score, which is around 3600 to 3700, which is almost exactly the same as my 2009 Core-I7 iMac desktop computer.  My 2017 iMac is not a huge improvement but it scores over 6000.    The latest iPhone is around 3900.

With 5-nanometer processors, compared to the 42-nanometer of my 2009 iMac and the 14-nanometer of my 2017 iMac, we are seeing desktop performance in handheld devices, with no active cooling.  Apple made an upgraded version of their phone processor for their laptops, called the M1 chip, and it has a Geekbench score on the Macbook Pro of 7331.  

Apple is trying to abandon Intel processors.  Reportedly they are working on more powerful chips for their future desktop computers.  I have heard incredible predictions of around 60 processor cores for their upcoming pro computers, using two processors.

We are seeing exciting changes after a decade of only marginal improvement.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

This Fisher-Price “Gaming Controller” Knows the Konami Code – Review Geek

When Konami accidentally left in a cheat code to one of their games, used by the programmers to debug the game, it became so popular that many videogames began to support the code.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Computer processors

We have spent at least 35 years dependent upon Intel microprocessors or equivalent from AMD. A quiet revolution is happening where both hardware and software are switching to ARM Risc processors, giving great performance with lower power consumption and more battery life on portable devices. It is about damn time! There is now more choice in the marketplace, and the software makers aren't forcing you to use just one type of processor.  

Best wishes,

John Coffey

xkcd: Compiling

This is a famous classic cartoon that computer programmers can relate to.

Back in the 1980s, I did not have any good programming tools for my Timex Sinclair 2068 computer, so I wrote an "assembler" which was unfortunately really slow.  It took 6 hours to "compile" a videogame that I wrote.  (Normal compile times might be a few minutes.)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Webpages and HTML5

I started working on my chess instruction website 25 years ago. I originally wanted to write a book, but I turned it into a website instead. At that time, only a small minority of people had Internet access, and web browsers were still at a primitive stage, with the first one being Netscape. Initially, when I got on the Internet, I didn't even have a web browser, but I was using computer programs to play chess and access email on the Internet. I was also accessing a type of text bulletin board called Usenet, which before web browsers was one of the more popular things to do on the Internet. Today it is almost nonexistent. When I finally did download Netscape to my computer, I wasn't even sure what I could do with it. The Internet was so slow, it didn't seem like there was much point to it. Over the last 25 years, but mostly in the last 10 years, there has been a quiet revolution going on. This has happened so slowly that most people didn't notice. The first web pages, like my website which hasn't changed much over the last 25 years, were no different than pages in a book. If you clicked on a link or a button then that simply took you someplace else. The most sophisticated thing that webpages could do was allow you to enter information, like a password or to type an email. However, people wanted to do more with webpages, like play video or play games. This is why in the 2000s many websites told you that if you wanted to look at their website then you had to download a piece of software, like Flash, to make the website work. There were so many versions of Flash that people kept having to download updates in order to access certain webpages. About 10 to 12 years ago people were criticizing Apple for not allowing Flash on their iPhone and iPad, saying that Apple wasn't allowing you to have the full Internet experience on their devices. However, Apple felt that Flash was outdated and slow, and they thought that the upcoming HTML5 would replace Flash, which it mostly did. HTML is like a computer language that runs on your web browser that controls how web pages will look and act on your Internet device. The revolution over the last 10 years is that websites now can do almost anything that you could do with a computer program. The site has a complicated user interface that does things that I would have thought not possible on a webpage. It is like a sophisticated computer program but inside a webpage. For the average user who is not technical savvy, it just means that webpages developed more features over time. Like I said, this happened so slowly that most people didn't notice the change. It also means that we don't necessarily need computer software to perform tasks, and computers like Chromebooks try to do everything on the Internet. If webpages have become much more sophisticated over the last 10 years, then what will they be like 10 years from now? I don't know, but in the 2000's I was noticing a trend where we were moving away from computer programs and more toward just doing tasks on the Internet. Maybe in 10 years, people will not need any computer software, except for their web browser. That is already true for people who just access social media and email.  


Saturday, December 26, 2020

'Deepfake' Queen's Speech: Channel 4 criticised for 'disrespectful' Christmas message

This is a computer deepfake of the Queen of England.

The actual Christmas message from the Queen was religious and hopeful.

I think that Americans took much more interest in the monarchy when it became an entertaining soap opera.  Also, we have felt a closer connection to England as an ally since World War II.

I think that "The Crown" series on Netflix is extremely good.  Also, the movie "The Queen" made in 2003 is critically acclaimed.  I liked the movie so much that I watched it 3 times.

Queen Elizabeth is an interesting figure.  As a young lady during World War II, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (equivalent to the Woman's Auxilary Corps in America) and worked as a truck driver and a mechanic.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

How Microsoft Flight Simulator Recreated Our Entire Planet

No need to watch the whole thing.  I think that this program is awesome.  I will shortly have a game membership with Microsoft where I will be able to run this simulator on my computer.