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 However, Apple felt that Flash was outdated and slow, and they thought that the upcoming HTML5 would replace Flash, which it mostly did.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.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Review of Fire HD 10

Here is my quick review of the Fire HD 10.

If 20 or 30 years ago you were to say that in the future you could have a handheld computer with a 10-inch high-resolution display, built-in telecommunications, 2 gigs of RAM, 32 gigs of expandable storage, along with an 8 core processor running at 2 gigahertz, and it would only cost $80 (on Black Friday), then people would have thought that this was science-fiction and you were talking about the year 2100.

As a tablet, it is every bit as capable as my iPad 4, even more so since my iPad 4 is out of date. When it comes to browsing the web, reading email, listening to audio, or watching videos, it works flawlessly. This is like having a computer. It is as capable and as fast as a mid-range laptop.

This tablet is designed for viewing Amazon Prime member content. Amazon tries to limit your to their own app store, but there are ways to download the Google Play Store giving you the full Android experience, and I have already done this on mine.

The 2-megapixel camera is not great, but I don't think it is terrible either. I have owned worse and I was still able to take passable pictures.

The dimensions of the Fire HD 10 are a little taller and thinner than the iPad, which makes it better for watching videos, but a little worse for holding. I prefer the feel of the iPad in my hand, especially since the metal exterior gives it a cooler feel than the plastic exterior of the Fire HD 10.

My only problem with this tablet is that all the things it is capable of I already do on my phone or on my computer. I didn't really need another tablet, except that I like gadgets, and I wanted an Android device to test apps that I want to write. The only way I might get practical use out of it is if I were to take it on a trip or on an airplane. It would be fun to have on a plane because I could play games or possibly watch videos on it. Fortunately, it comes with an earphone jack.

I haven't tested this myself, but reportedly it has really good battery life.


No Forbes, The Xbox Series And PS5 Are NOT "Disappointments"

I'm 60, and a former videogame programmer. I got started with arcade videogames in 1975. I still love games and get excited over new hardware.

Let's take a brief look at history. In 1986, the typical home computer was an 8 bit CPU with limited sprite capabilities if you were lucky. I had a Timex Sinclair 2068 which had no sprite hardware, but I was still able to write games for it. In 1986 I bought an Atari ST for a ton of money, and it had no special graphics hardware either, but I could write games for it because it was a 16-bit system.

Most arcade games in 1986 were 8 bit, but they had sprite and other graphics capabilities that allowed them to have good games. Arcade machines cost $2,000 to $3,000 and this kind of hardware did not exist in consoles nor home computers. If you wanted to play the best videogames, you had to go to the arcades or your local 7-11 to play them. 

The hot new arcade game in 1986 was Super Mario Brothers. Along came a new videogame console, the NES, which for about $100 could play the same game. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it. For a relatively low cost, this system was almost as good as any 8-bit arcade game. No home computer was as capable, except maybe the Amiga, which cost $1,600. 

My point is that home consoles used to have capabilities that we could not get on computer hardware, at least not for a reasonable cost. This trend continued throughout the 1990s. BTW, the introduction of arcade-quality consoles pretty much killed the arcade videogame industry.  

Now the new generation of consoles is exciting because they do have hardware beyond what most people have on their computers. If you are willing to spend 3 times as much for a gaming PC then you can do as well or better, but the new consoles give you an amazing amount of power for the money.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Democracy only counts when it goes the way I want it to Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive HDD

My old 4TB external hard drive is the size of a brick.  It is also heavy.  It started to have problems where it sometimes won't let me access the hard drive.  The hard drive seems to work, but maybe there is an electronics problem.  Power cycling seems to fix it.

I replaced it with a 5 TB "portable" hard drive for $100.  This seems like a great deal.  I was amazed by the size.  It is like 2 decks of cards side by side and lightweight.  It also doesn't require a separate power supply.  

It took 2 days to copy all the data.  The new drive is somewhat slow on write speed because of SMR (  Also, I had to power cycle the old hard drive at least a couple of times.

8GB vs 16GB for M1 Mac — The TRUTH About RAM!

People are all excited at how powerful the new M1 chip Macs are, but non-upgradability is the Achilles heel of these products.  There are a bunch of videos showing that you can do just fine with just 8 gigs of RAM, but that is just for running one task.  These machines are designed to multitask, so 8 GB is really not enough.  

An adequate amount of RAM today probably won't be an adequate amount of RAM five years from now.  I upgraded my iMac from 8 GB to 40 GB, which is twice as much as I really need, but the difference in cost wasn't that much.

Because you can't upgrade the RAM on M1 computers, this chip really should just be used on tablets and phones.  Instead, it is being used on the Mac Mini, which is a desktop, and laptops that are desktop replacements.  

When Apple comes out with the next generation of iMacs, I hope that the RAM will be user upgradeable.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020 Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB)

Last year I was watching the rave reviews for this $150 Amazon tablet. When they had it on sale for $100 during Black Friday week, I figured that was a great deal, but I also figured that I didn't really need another tablet. This year it is only $80 for the Black Friday sale, so I decided that for that price I could use it to test Android apps that I want to write. SanDisk 1TB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card with Adapter

Instead of spending $100 for a 5 TB hard drive, which arrived today, I could have bought this ...

I didn't know that such sizes were possible.

Monday, November 23, 2020

How Apple Just Changed the Entire Industry

The first 20 minutes of this video is pretty interesting.

As a side note, I was surprised that my old iPhones 6+/6s+ could run Stockfish at similar speeds to my Core-I7 iMac.

Sunday, November 22, 2020 Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB) – Black: Kindle Store

I don't think that most people need a tablet, but I do find this one interesting since it just went on sale.  It is listed for the same price on the Target Black Friday sale.  This is $20 less than the Black Friday sale from last year.

From the reviews I have seen, this is an excellent tablet for the price.

Friday, November 20, 2020

M1 MacBook Air is Faster Than You Think! (Real Tests) - Krazy Ken's Tech Misadventures

Apple has performed a minor miracle with its new M1 chip.  It has 8 CPU cores, 8 graphics cores, and RAM all on one chip.  It has a 5-nanometer process, which is better than the current Intel and AMD processors.  It might not be possible to make smaller circuits without developing new materials.  So far, there isn't much progress in this area.

What is surprising is that this same chip can run on the Macbook Air, which has no active cooling.  This is essentially a mobile processor.

You can buy high-end desktop processors that are more powerful, but this System On a Chip is at least 22% faster than my 2017 (14 nanometer Intel quad-core I-5) iMac desktop according to a benchmark that I saw.  That is not a reason for me to replace my desktop, but compared to their previous mobile processors, this thing is pretty impressive.

Reportedly Apple is going to come out with something better for their desktop computers.  It would make sense that a desktop processor would be more powerful.

The only downside is that they can't run Intel-based programs natively, but have a software solution for running those programs.  I'm not sure about Windows compatibility, but I heard something about being able to run some Windows programs through emulation.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Dear Linus...You're Wrong About the Apple M1

At 3:50 they have a benchmark for the new Apple M1 chip in the Macbook Air, and it is about 22% faster than my iMac desktop computer.  That is with no active cooling.  Apple is making mobile processors and getting desktop performance out of them.

There is a rumor that there will be an M2 chip for the future desktop iMac computers.  Maybe eventually.  The M1 was supposed to target mobile devices.

Monday, November 16, 2020

This $28 Android Tablet Isn’t All That Bad - The Cheapest Tablet on the Market

I'm not sure that people need tablets when they have smartphones, but I think that this is interesting. 

Last year, Amazon discounted their $150 10.1" tablet down to $99 during Black Friday.  During Prime Days a month or two ago it was $80.  For the money, this is an extremely nice tablet.  I might even get one if I can get a good deal.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Make The Amazon FIRE STICK LITE A Retro Gaming Machine EASILY! How To Add RetroArch & Roms!

Raspberry Pi 400: New All-in-One Pi!

At the end of this video, he compares the Raspberry PI 400 to the ZX81.  Seems like a fair comparison, although the Timex Sinclair 2068, which is a computer that Ioved, might be a closer comparison.

I couldn't find a CPU benchmark, but I have a refurbished laptop that I got for $80 that probably outperforms it.  Still, this seems like much computer for the money.  I wonder if one could get a used PC for $100?

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Tesla Autopilot Not Detecting Stopped Traffic on Highway

These self-driving cars give us the false security that cars can actually drive themselves.  In terms of artificial intelligence, it seems to me that we are a long way from having machines that understand visual cues as well as humans, or your dog for that matter.  It is my understanding that most of these are using something equivalent to a graphics card for the pattern recognition.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

PassMark Intel vs AMD CPU Benchmarks - High End

It is interesting how much power some of these processors have, and how much more cost-efficient the AMD chips are.  I am especially liking the low cost of the Rizen 9 3900X.  This puts my Core-i5 7500 to shame.

A14 Bionic

The new Apple A14 bionic processor in their new iPhone and iPad Air, with its 5-nanometer circuits, benchmarks its processor power between my old iMac and my new iMac, and this is without any active cooling. This is desktop processing power on a phone. Apple is planning to use similar chips in its upcoming laptops because they are abandoning Intel processors on at least their portable devices.  

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Fwd: Xbox Series X Fridge Unboxing

Thursday, October 15, 2020

6G - Explained!

I think that 5G is not very practical yet, given that the high frequencies are easily blocked. However, this video is already talking about 6G, to come in 10 to 15 years.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Amazon Tablet

I don't need a new tablet, and I'm not sure that anyone needs tablets these days when we have smartphones, but I was pretty impressed with this $149 Amazon tablet when it was on sale for $99 last Black Friday. However, Amazon is now having a 2-day sale for Prime Members, and the tablet is only $80. 

This link claims that you can join Prime for 30 days for free...


Monday, October 12, 2020

Intel lost the game - AMD Ryzen 5000 Reveal

In the old days, Moore's law (as I remember)  said that computer power would double every 18 months.  This was true for a long time.  However, as they made the circuits extremely microscopic, the laws of physics started to get in the way.  Over the last ten years, improvements have been more incremental.  Now people get excited over a 20% increase.   

However, AMD has made some big advancements recently.

Why People Restore Vintage Computers, and How You Can Too

"Do keep in mind that fully repairing and upgrading an old computer can easily cost more than the original purchase price of that machine. Plus, if you ever want to resell your upgraded machine, there's no guarantee you'll be able to recoup your costs."

This seems like the most worthless piece of advice.  An inexpensive Raspberry PI most likely can outperform older computers.  The only reason to restore an old computer is if you are a collector, or extremely nostalgic for the days when computers were far less powerful.  

Sometimes there is older software that doesn't run on modern computers.  Fortunately, your modern computer can run emulation software to emulate almost anything, including older computers.

I could see some 8-bit enthusiasts like myself pining for the old days when computers were very simple.  From the standpoint of a computer programmer, those days were fun because the computers were far less complicated; you had access to all the hardware and you didn't have to learn an extremely complex operating system to create a program.

Fixed my Wi-Fi problem

When I got my new Internet Service, with advertised speeds up to 1000 Mbps, there was an immediate problem where I was getting only 30 Mbps using Windows 10 on my 2017 iMac. If I boot Mac OS on the same computer then I get up to 660 Mbps, which is more than I expected. You never get the full advertised speed anyway, especially over Wi-Fi.

AT&T customer service couldn't do much more than verify that the service is working. They recommended that I do a Windows Update, which didn't help and took a really long time, and I also tried reinstalling the Bootcamp drivers which helped a little.

Apparently, this is a well-known problem with the Broadcom 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Windows 10 driver on the iMac. I tried to follow the advice on many websites and videos, most of which didn't work. However, I did get the speed up to about 200 Mbps, although it was frequently less. Last night I noticed that the speed was only about 80 Mbps, which I found very disappointing.

So last night I tried a different approach. I used a program called "Driver Easy" which claims that it can update all your drivers for you automatically. People recommend that you shouldn't update your drivers unless you are having a problem because you risk breaking your computer, but I was definitely having a problem. Normally, Windows 10 will update your drives for you when it does a Windows Update, although the driver that Microsoft gives you for the wireless adapter doesn't work very well on the iMac.

The Driver Easy program will download the latest driver software, but it won't install it for you unless you pay for the program. If you don't want to pay, then it gives you clear instructions on how to install the driver yourself, which was easy for me since I already knew how to do this.

So after updating the driver with Driver Easy, I was getting speeds over 400 Mbps, which is quite adequate. If I want higher speeds then I most likely would have to run an ethernet cable from the computer to the router directly and not use Wi-Fi.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Saturday, October 10, 2020

PlayStation 5 - Official Teardown Video

Many people think that Playstation 5 is ugly, myself included, but its design is to help keep it cool.  It has a huge heat sink to cool it down.  The much smaller but more powerful XBox Series is reportedly getting very hot according to early reviews.

Why Does Wi-Fi Use the Same Frequency as Microwaves?

The other day I guessed that a router would broadcast at only 0.1 watts, which would make it about the same power as a cheap walkie-talkie.  In theory, the 5ghz band allows for higher speed, but shorter range.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Wi-fi problems with new AT&T Internet

I have resolved my Wi-Fi speed problems as best I can. It turns out the latest Broadcom drivers for Windows 10 are not good, at least not for high speed. Initially, I was getting only 30 Mbps. I did much research on the Internet, and I saw a few different websites and videos recommending switching to older drivers, a couple of which I had to download and install. I have switched between 4 versions of the drivers, and the oldest one seems to work the best. My speed tops out at about 200 Mbps, although reality might be a little less. I did a large download to test the speed and I calculated about 120 Mbps, which is at least double the speed of my old internet.

However, the same computer running Mac OS gets up to 660 Mbps with my new AT&T internet. My iPhone gets about 400 Mbps. One option for me is to run an ethernet cable to the router, which would work, although in my current setup that would not be convenient.

It was slightly helpful to turn off power saving features on the ethernet and wifi cards by selecting "maximum performance" instead.

The AT&T technical support couldn't do much other than test that the internet is working. They recommended that I do a Windows Update, which took an extraordinarily long time and didn't help. It was also recommended that I reinstall the Bootcamp software, but for some reason, the install crashes and does not finish. I tried manually copying the driver from the Bootcamp software, which helped, but I got better results by downloading and installing an older driver.

It seems odd to me that the Microsoft Windows Update installs the latest Broadcom driver that is apparently defective. This could happen with my next Windows Update and I'll have to fix this again.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Is the Smartphone Market Ready for This?

Apple has the only 5 nanometer processor available to the public so far.  It is no wonder that Apple is dumping Intel and going with their own chips on future computers. 

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Begin forwarded message:

From: John Coffey 
Date: October 3, 2020 at 11:29:30 PM EDT
To: Albert Nelms 
Subject: Re: Is the Smartphone Market Ready for This?

This performance is comparable to my old Core-i7 iMac computer.  On an iPad Air. 

What is astounding is how many nodes per second Stockfish gets on my five year old iPhone 6s+.  Around 2 million.  On my 2017 iMac I see 3 to 5 million. 

Best wishes,

John Coffey

On Oct 3, 2020, at 6:00 AM, Albert Nelms wrote:

iPhone 12 p, A14 chip performance review.

Friday, September 25, 2020

RTX 3090 8K Gaming - FIRST in the WORLD

$1500 graphics card with $30,000 TV.

I still think 8K is unnecessary.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Fwd: Watch Ring's indoor drone prototype patrol a house - CNN Business

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

Have you seen the indoor flying security drone? Looks cool. Effective? Maybe.

Watch Ring's indoor drone prototype patrol a house - CNN Business

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.

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Electromagnetic radiation can warm tissue, but not enough to be noticeable.  I found out that microwave ovens don't actually contain 100% of the microwaves.  You can put your hand in front of the door and feel a slight warming.

Friday, March 27, 2020

2K versus 4K and 8K

When 4K TV's first came out, some people pointed out that your eyes can't see in 4K. (I know mine can't.) I bought a 4K TV anyway on a Walmart Black Friday sale at a great price.

The 4K designation is a bit deceptive because the 4K refers to the number of horizontal pixels. In the past, video resolutions were designated by the number of vertical lines. Therefore, just so we are clear, 4K is 2160P, and 1080P is 2K.

Old tube TV's broadcast in 480i, which means the video was only 480 lines, and the TV takes two 1/60th of a second cycles to draw the entire screen.

The most you can get out of broadcast TV right now is 1080i. The old TV shows that dominate broadcast TV were recorded on videotape, which is 480i, so that how they are broadcast today. Blu-ray disks are typically 1080P, and DVD's can be as low as 480p. There is a special Blu-ray format that is 4K, but you need a Blu-ray player that supports it.

When movie theaters started using digital projection, the format they used was 2K, and some later movies were shown in 4K. I am one who sits on the front row of a theater when everybody else sits 2/3 of the way back. (That's kind of nice for me actually.) Even with a giant screen in front of me, I can't notice any lack of resolution with a 2K or 4K projection.

My favorite computer resolution is 1440P, which is technically 2.5K, and this is what I use now. This is an ideal resolution for playing games. The Apple iMac that I own is capable of 5K, which is overkill on Apple's part because it doesn't make sense to have that much detail on a 27-inch monitor.

On my computer, I routinely watch videos that are 720P and I never notice any lack of clarity.

So now the industry is developing 8K TV's, which is insane. Your eyes will not see the difference, and there's not going to be any content available in 8K. The new videogame systems that are coming out this year are also going to support 8K, but likely just for content and not for games which will be in 4K instead. Right now you can buy a 98 inch Samsung 8K TV for $79,000. This is insane.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Walmart's $250 laptop is AWESOME!

Because of new chips, people can get much more power on budget devices.  The processor benchmarks at 90% of my 2009 Core-i7 iMac, which is not bad.  The graphics are far superior.  There are few drawbacks, but just enough that a person might want to wait for next year's model or a cyber Monday sale.

On Walmart's website, this currently lists for $299.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Finding text in Chrome web browser

If you are looking for some text on a web page using Google Chrome, you can search for the text by hitting the control key and the 'f' key at the same time. Chrome tells you this when you click on the options, which is the three dots in the upper right corner. However, I have run into some frustration when using this feature, because if you navigate to a different page and hit the same keys, it will not work unless you retype the text that you are looking for.

However, I inadvertently found a workaround. Hitting control plus 'g' searches for the same text again.

There are many shortcut keys available in Chrome which most people will not know about. This website talks about them:


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Computer History

A brief history ...

Around 1982 to 1983 I purchased my first computer, a Timex Sinclair 1000. This small computer had 2K of RAM, which I would later upgrade at some cost to 16K using a plugin module. It only displayed in Black and White, and both the graphics and 3.5 MHZ Z80 processor are comparable to a TRS-80 from the previous decade. It was a very limited machine whose hardware was inferior in every way to other 8-bit computers at the time.
However, it was the only thing remotely affordable, costing around $100 to $150, whereas other 8-bit computers started at around $500, which is equivalent to about $1300 today. However, it did have a rather clever operating system that made the best use of its limited resources, and I liked it for this reason. The machine was popular because it allowed many people to own a computer who otherwise could not afford one.

In 1984 I upgraded to the Timex Sinclair 2068. The biggest differences were a real keyboard, sound, more memory, color graphics (although still inferior to the competitors), and a better operating system. At $200 it was a good value compared to other computers. This computer, along with the European version, were hugely popular both in the U.S. and internationally. It allowed people to have a halfway decent computer for the time at relatively low cost compared to other computers.

For a short while, I had a thriving business selling software I wrote for this computer.

In 1986 I bought my first 16-bit computer, the Atari ST. Cost was a major factor, because it had much value for the money, but the market would be dominated by much more costly computers. I tried unsuccessfully to make a living writing programs for this machine.

By 1990 my computers were out of date. I eventually sold them to collectors. I no longer had computers at home until the internet was barely starting to become a thing.

Around 1995 a few brave souls were exploring the internet using only text because graphical web pages weren't available yet. I discovered that you could play chess on the internet, with the help of a program designed for that, so I began looking into getting a computer. What I got was bare-bones to the extreme, and cost around $1200. It didn't even come with Windows, and Windows 95 wasn't a thing yet. It had a 33mhz processor, which I would later upgrade to 66mhz. I spent a fortune upgrading this machine. Things that would cost next to nothing today, like a sound card and a CD Drive, weren't standard and cost a lot of money to get. My one regret is that I spent so much money upgrading this computer instead of just waiting for better machines to come out. By the time I had $3000 invested in the computer, it was obsolete.

Around 1998 I got a 400 MHZ machine, which was a huge improvement, but it quickly became obsolete.

So around the year 2001, I got a single-core 2.2 GHz computer. This was a big step up. However, by 2005 it was looking rather limited, so I upgraded to a new dual-core computer, which was the hot new thing at the time. This machine ran at 2.4 GHz.

However, what seemed impressive in 2005 seemed rather limited by 2010. I think that the machine was also having hardware problems, so once again I was looking again for another computer.

In February 2010 I took a bonus that my company gave me and bought a $2,000 Core-i7 iMac. It was significantly better than the average computer at the time, and I justified what seemed like an extreme expense by telling myself that I would try to make this computer last ten years. I still have the computer, but by mid-2019 the display was failing, and the repair shop told me that other components are starting to fail too. The computer still runs, barely, but it is too expensive to try to repair it.

So in mid-2019, I bought a slightly used 2017 iMac for $1150. This was a compromise between performance and price. Although it is 60% faster than my last computer and it has a much better graphics card, it is not a top of the line computer by today's standards. It is more like average.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

P vs. NP - The Biggest Unsolved Problem in Computer Science

A crude chess program in order to look 10 half moves ahead would take the hypothetical 25 moves possible and do roughly 25 to the 10nth power calculations, which would take a very long time. However, the alpha-beta algorithm eliminates mathematically unnecessary calculations making this more like 5 or 6 to the tenth power, which is a huge difference.

What surprises me is that program Stockfish reduces this to more like 2 to the N power, which is considerably less. Exactly how it does this I'm not sure, although I have some idea.

I would contend that looking deeper in chess will always involve an exponential increase, by definition. To not be exponential means that we could look infinitely far ahead and completely solve chess. This is kind of the point of the video.