Friday, September 28, 2018

Cheap computers

The golden era of video games and 8 bit home computers was in the 1980's. As a side note, it was also the golden era of chess playing computers. Around 1995 the shift started moving toward PC compatible computers, but rather slowly at first, because they were still very expensive. I got my first PC compatible around that time, but at enormous cost. Prior to that I had used 8 bit computers and one 16 bit Atari ST. Even worse, around 1990 I was still using a "dumb terminal" with the slowest modem in the world (maybe 150 baud) to connect to my workplace.

The kind of computer speeds we were talking about in the 8 bit era were typically around 1 megahertz, with some systems going up to 4 MHZ. In 1995, my first PC compatible computer ran at 16 MHZ, and when I would later upgrade it to 32 MHZ I thought it was a miracle

Compare that to today, where you can buy various versions of the Raspberry PI for $10 to $35. Each of these is a full computer, but you also have to buy some cables and accessories to make them work. These computers cost next to nothing, but depending upon the model run 1 to 4 cores (processors) at 1 to 2 *Gigahertz.*

I am seeing a ton of video game products that run classic video games from the 1980's and early 90's. These are hot consumer items right now. They use processors similar to the Raspberry PI, but usually just one core running at one gigahertz, which makes them very cheap, but that is all it takes. Likewise, these types of processors are turning up in all sorts of devices, like refrigerators with LCD displays.

We live in an interesting era where moderately powerful computing devices can made really cheaply. Of course, for your home computer you are going to want to spend more money to get something more powerful.

I also find it interesting that many high end smartphones rival desktop computers in terms of computing power. The Apple A11 chip, from last year's iPhone, benchmarks better than my 2009 $2,000 core-i7 iMac. Amazing.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Apple says that they charge so much because they make the best phone.

Apple wants to make the best so that they can have the most margin. It probably costs around $350 to make this phone, and maybe $400 for the maxed out models, but Apple screws the customer on price anyway. They could charge $750 to $800 for any of these phones and be doing well.

This is deliberate. Apple will continue to do this only as long as people are willing to throw their money away. If nobody bought the XS Max, with the ironic name, Apple would be forced to offer discounts and be more reasonable in their pricing structure.

I am still happy with my iPhone 6+, but these prices are so insane that I will not buy the latest models. I could be just as happy with a cheaper 1 to 2 year or model, or a different brand. There are $500 phones that people can be just as happy with.

A dollar per day will not pay for this phone in two years. Maybe three years, but some models would take four years.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

iPhone prices

I guess all those rumors that Apple was going to cut prices turned out not to be true.  Anybody want to spend $1300 on a smartphone?

Apple's new ad is cool.

That's what it looks like when you spend 5 billion dollars on a building.
Every time I post an ad to Craigslist, I immediately get text messages from scammers. It is almost instantaneous, which means that they are using bots.

However, their latest pitch is rather clever. They claim that they want to verify that I am not a scammer, so therefore they are going to send me a verification code, which I should send back to them. This makes very little sense if you think about it, but what they are trying to do is connect to my email account and use the the forgot password feature to send a passcode to my phone. Then if I send them the code they get access to my email. How this does them any good I'm not entirely sure about, but I suppose they could use the account to spam or propagate other scams.

Just based on the craigslist ad, I'm not sure how they know what my email account is.