Monday, December 13, 2021

The Matrix Movies vs The Matrix Unreal Engine 5 Experience Comparison

A video game engine can pretty much simulate reality.

The first Unreal Engine was for a video game called Unreal in the late 90's. I played the game just a a little. The graphics were very crude compared to today, but it was a step up from what we used to.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Doom (video game)


The 1993 videogame Doom practically invented the First Person Shooter, although that really started with its predecessor Wolfenstein 3D.  

It is still my favorite videogame.  I had the privilege of contributing to the Super Nintendo version of Doom.  My name is in the credits.  However, the Super Nintendo version is not as good as the PC version. (See the video at 32:45.)

I haven't played many newer First Person Shooters, which means that I'm at least a couple of decades out of date.  

So I find myself wondering how you can best a perfect game like Doom?  All First Person Shooters have their roots in Doom.  Newer games have better graphics and more story.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Is Your iPad Obsolete and Outdated?

My iPad 4 was a serious investment. I don't think that I got $400 value out of it. There are many apps that it will no longer run, so I feel abandoned by Apple.

My $75 Fire HD 10 inch tablet is almost as powerful and runs everything I have tried.

The situation is far worse with the $200 Microsoft Surface tablet that I purchased 10 years ago. It was very underwhelming to begin with, and now it will run next to nothing. There is an online support group of people who for some strange reason are still fans of this tablet.

I've been arguing that people don't need tablets if they have a good smartphone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Transistor count

Apple tops the transistor count in Microprocessors.

Object-Oriented Programming is Bad

There aren't many people that I can talk to about computer programming.

In the 1970s, I learned that you write functions to avoid duplicating code.  The example most often given is a square root function.  You only need to write it once and call it from multiple places.

In the 1980s, I learned in school that you should break long sections of code into smaller easier to understand pieces by calling functions.  For example...


This can make the code somewhat self-documenting.  I became a big fan of this style of programming, even while writing in assembly language, which is what I mostly used in the videogame industry.  In the late 1990s, one of my coworkers accused me of writing "spaghetti code" by doing this, although I still like this style.

I didn't learn about Object-Oriented Programming until the 1990s.  I had to use it with Visual C++, but I didn't do much with it, and I didn't feel comfortable with it.  Since then I have grown somewhat accustomed to it, but I never reached 100% comfort with it.  Initially, I believed that Object-Oriented Programming was only useful for Graphical User Interfaces, which is what it primarily was recommended for.

Reportedly, Microsoft was pushing Object-Oriented Programming in the 1990s.

I have found debugging objected-oriented code potentially a nightmare especially when dealing with inheritance.  In this case, it also feels like "spaghetti code."

I don't look at Objects as a style of programming, but as data structures that are occasionally useful.  If the code is very tightly bound to a specific set of data then putting it in an Object helps organize the code.  If you have multiple independent instances of a data structure, then the code is (possibly) cleaner if you put it in an Object. 

Not that I am a big fan of OOP.  In most cases, I don't find a compelling reason to use Objects.  I am glad to see a video that favors "Procedural Code".

It seems like people in the computer industry have for a long time been trying to deal with the issue of complexity.  Back in the 1980s people were pushing "Structured Programming."  Today, I don't even know what that is, but in the 1980s I found the buzzwords enticing.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is 50% off right now in Black Friday tablet deal

I'm going to start off by saying that I don't know why anybody needs a tablet.  Compared to smartphones with large 5.5. to 6.5 screens, tablets are bulkier and more difficult to take everywhere.  However, Amazon has $75 off their 2021 10.1 inch tablets, which is a heck of a nice deal on already budget tablets.  Last year during Black Friday I purchased the 2019 model for $80, and it is fine as a tablet.  My only complaint, besides not really needing a tablet, is that iPads, costing hundreds of dollars more, feel nicer to hold in the hands.

If you want more processing power and slightly more RAM, and you probably should because it will provide a better overall experience, then spend the extra $30 to get the "Plus" model, which is also $75 off.

Reviewers have complained about being limited to the Amazon ecosystem, with the Amazon store and Amazon software.  However, there are fairly easy ways to get around this, and there are videos on youtube showing how to install the Google store or how to turn the device into a regular Android tablet.

You might get much more value out of the tablet if you have an Amazon Prime membership.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

"Game Development in Eight Bits" by Kevin Zurawel

I find this very interesting.  When I was programming for the SNES, we used the same techniques, but the SNES has 192KB of RAM and up to 1 to 4 megs of ROM.  Some cartridges were much smaller.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Apple Took All My Money

Not personally interested in laptops, but I am impressed with the progress Apple has made with its custom processors.  Apple was the first company to introduce a 5-nanometer processor.  I'm waiting for AMD and Intel to catch up.  Until recently, Intel was struggling to go from 14-nanometers to 10-nanometers.

The biggest chip manufacturer is in Tawain.  It has been reported that Intel has contracted for 100% of the not yet available 3-nanometer chip production.  In other words, everyone else is out of luck and would have to look elsewhere to produce faster chips.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Neat AI does Lenia - Conway's game of life arrives in the 21st century

The "Game of Life" is not an actual game, but a computer simulation invented around 50 years ago.  It was one of the first things I learned about computers.  It follows a couple of simple rules that create interesting self-propagating patterns.

Apparently, someone has taken this to a much more advanced level.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Did Apple Just Prove the iPhone Could be Cheaper?

More than one person has pointed out that the new iPad Mini is cheaper than the new iPhones, with essentially the same hardware.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Streaming videogames

Roughly 32 years ago I had an argument with a coworker.  He argued that once internet speeds became fast enough to transmit full-screen video, we wouldn't need game consoles, since we would be able to stream video games from a server to our computer screens.  Rather than pay for expensive hardware, that hardware could be on a server someplace, saving us money.

I have to admit that he had remarkable foresight literally 30 years ahead of his time.  This was at a time when the Internet was text only.  However, I saw a number of problems with his idea...

1.  Internet speeds were still fairly low, like 1,200 to 2,400 bits per second.

2.  Latency is always an issue when playing games.  No matter fast your Internet is, there is an overhead to transmitting data back and forth.  

3.  It is always advantageous to have your own hardware.  Imagine having to share hardware with other people competing for the same physical resources.  I figured that hardware would get cheaper over time, eliminating the need to share hardware with other people.

4.  His idea reminded me of the early days of computing where you would have to dial into a mainframe using a dumb terminal, one of which I actually owned and used at the time, whereas the new trend in computing was for everyone to have their own computer.

I argued that streaming video games would never be practical.  He couldn't understand why I didn't see the obvious wisdom of his idea.

Two years ago Google introduced Stadia, which was a video game streaming service, and it totally flopped.  Other companies like Microsoft and Amazon are working on the same idea, but they all suffer from the same problems like latency. 

It makes very little sense to be dependent on unreliable Internet communication and shared hardware to play games when you can purchase a video game console like the Xbox Series X for $500.  Putting hardware in a centralized location instead of your living room isn't necessarily cheaper, except that you can share that hardware with other people, but what if you all want to use the hardware at the same time?

In theory, this could become practical someday, but the same technology that will make this more feasible will also make it more feasible for you to have your own hardware that is just as good.  This is the problem I saw three decades ago.

Apple Store vs. Repair Shop: What the Right to Repair Is All About

How THIS wallpaper kills your phone.

How are we going to do this?

He is getting faster internet across 6 kilometers of water than what I get across my family room.

I'm running a 5 GHZ wi-fi router, which is around double the frequency of your microwave oven, probably at 100 milliwatts.  He is running a 60 GHz transmitter, which is very high microwaves, at an unknown power.

My mother and step-dad couldn't get internet to work 3 miles outside of North Vernon, Indiana, using Verizon Wireless as the provider.  Fortunately, they now have fiber internet, although at a low speed of 4 to 5 Mbs.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Now Games Can Look Like Pixar Movies - Unreal Engine 5

The bottom line is that the Unreal Engine allows massively detailed images to be generated in real-time for either games, or like on The Mandalorian TV series where they use a dome with screens on all sides to generate the environment for the actors to act in.  (

The first version of the Unreal Engine was used to make a videogame in the late '90s called "Unreal".  I played this game.  By today's standards, it was very crude, but it was actually a step up from what we were used to at the time.

Monday, August 9, 2021

An honest conversation on Apple, hashing, & privacy with Daniel Smullen

How is Apple examining the data on my phone any different than Wiretapping?

It is a federal crime to wiretap or to use a machine to capture the communications of others without court approval, unless one of the parties has given their prior consent. It is likewise a federal crime to use or disclose any information acquired by illegal wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Apple is about to start scanning iPhone users' devices for banned content, warns professor • The Register

Apple claims to protect its customer's privacy.  Regardles of how good the cause is, I don't want them looking at my photographs.  It also shouldn't be their job to act as police.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Green Screen special effects

I saw a shorter version of this on Facebook that starts 38 seconds into it.  I found it impressive.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Friday, July 2, 2021

Centaur Smart Chess Set

BTW, at the Columbus Chess Club last night I helped a guy named Paul Chestnut use his new chess computer.  This thing is pretty interesting.  It typically sells for about $450.   The board can sense where you move the pieces.  Want to start a new game?  Just set the pieces back to the beginning.  Want to take back one or more moves?  Just move in reverse.  You can take back the computer's move and play a different move for the computer, which might be useful if you want to play against a specific opening, or if you want to analyze.

There are circular lights under each square that highlight where the computer wants to move.

The pieces are the same size as my nice $35 chess pieces, although my pieces aren't as tall as some brands.  The board is just barely smaller than a standard tournament board, which makes for a pleasant playing experience.  The pieces and the board seem like they are made of lightweight plastic.  The pieces don't have much weight to them except that I think that they have a magnet on the bottom.  Underneath the board, there is no covering over the electronics that sense the movement of the pieces, so overall this device feels cheaply made.

There is a small screen that shows what position the computer thinks is on the board, which is helpful in case something got mixed up.  It can also display a chess clock.

All the brains seem to be on the narrow right side panel.  I suspect that it is using something equivalent to a phone processor, or maybe something cheaper.  It is running Stockfish, which potentially makes it a very strong chess computer.

Unfortunately, it only has 3 modes of difficulty.  There is "Friendly" that tries to automatically adjust to your level, however, Paul and I playing together lost to this mode.   There is "Challenge" that tries to be tougher, and then there is "Expert".  Given that it is running Stockfish, this "Expert" mode probably plays like a strong Grandmaster or better.  The Stockfish program running on a desktop computer is far better than any human player.

An ideal chess program would allow you to set the playing ability by ELO rating, which for computers can go up to about 3600.  My rating is around 2000.  Magnus Carlsen is rated 2847.   Ideally, it could also go down to zero.  

The Fastest CPU on the Planet - HOLY $H!T

It is not necessary to watch the whole video, but for comparison purposes...

I've never seen a number that high.

BTW, I don't know who sold the computer to my mother, but her computer only has a benchmark of 300.  That is worse than most *old* laptops.  That is worse than budget smartphones.  Still, the computer can browse the Internet just fine, which is what she uses it for.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

House littered with computers

This is an update to an article I wrote 2 years ago...

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-seven 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. I bought a second one when the wi-fi on the first failed, so technically I have two. I also have a couple of older iPhones in storage. These could easily be thrown out since they are not very useful anymore.

2. I have an iPad 4. The only reason I bought it was because my iPad 2, which I loved, was stolen when someone broke into my home 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. 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's best use is to play audiobooks.

3. About 11 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.

4. Recently, I bought an Amazon Fire Tablet, normally $150, for $80 on a Black Friday sale. It is a pretty nice tablet, but there is not anything I can do with it that I can't do on other devices. I bought it so that I could attempt to write Android apps and test them on the tablet.

5. I'm typing this on my 2017 27" iMac. This is a replacement for my late-2009 iMac that has several problems, such as the display repeatedly shutting off. I occasionally still use this machine just for analyzing chess games, which is processor intensive, although my new iMac is plenty capable of doing that.

6. Four 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.

Newer, more powerful versions of the Raspberry PI are available.

7. I own both a NES Classic Edition and a Sony PlayStation Classic. These are both game emulation boxes. Both are good for playing games and both can be hacked to play even more games.

8. I bought three Arcade1up machines. These are 3/4 scale arcade games that you assemble yourself. They are essentially emulation boxes that come with classic arcade games. I like my Star Wars Arcade game the best.

9. 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 that good, but I still occasionally use it because it does a great job with one game in particular, which is Pole Position.

10. I have an old Sega Genesis with some cartridges that I plan on selling. Over 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.

11. I was able to fix an old laptop that I gave away to a chess player in need. Then I was able to purchase 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, but otherwise, I don't really need a laptop anymore.

So I count 18 computers. My house *is* littered with computers, some of which I could easily throw away.

I am not going to count the three electronic chess clocks that I own. I don't know if they use a CPU or just dedicated logic chips.

I didn't count the Star Wars Storm Trooper Robot that I got in a package deal with my Star Wars arcade game.  This device can interface with your smartphone and play games.  I have been trying to sell it for a year.

I also didn't count my robot vacuum cleaners.  I own two, one of which is broken.  I have had these for well over a decade, and the one that works is starting to have problems.

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

Friday, June 25, 2021

The price of Flash drives

Five years ago I wrote:

I think that the first flash drive I owned was either 128 or 256 megabytes. Later I would get a 512 because I had a computer that could record television and I could fit a single program on a 512, which at the time seemed impressive. Now you can purchase 128 gigabyte (128,000 megabyte) flash drives for under $30.

I remember 1-gigabyte drives costing like $90. When my company gave me one I felt privileged. Now you can't even buy them, and no one would want one anyway.

When the IBM computer came out with its first hard drive in the mid-1980s, it was only 5 megabytes and cost a fortune.

Now it is possible to buy a 1TB flash drive for around $180 to $200. However, there seem to be a bunch of cheap ones for sale that are fake.

For $15 to $60 you can get 128GB to 512 GB flash drives which are a better deal.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Sunday, June 20, 2021

A specific network name can completely disable Wi-Fi on your iPhone - 9to5Mac

Using "%p%s%s%s%s%n" for your wifi network name is probably an attempt to hack the phone.  These characters are used inside computer languages to format text.  Using codes like this is usually an attempt to create a bug on the device, which it did.  The device read the name and then did something with it that it wasn't supposed to do.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Transistor: a 1953 documentary, anticipating its coming impact on technology

I found this very interesting to watch as a piece of history from almost 70 years ago. At 8:10 it talks about how the transistor will affect computers.

Friday, May 28, 2021

NVidia+ARM: Everyone's got it wrong

There is a huge computer processor hardware war going on right now.  I'm going to try to be as accurate as I can here...

Since most software is written for Microsoft Windows, people were forced to use x86 chips, which are mostly made by Intel, except for AMD which has a license going back to the 1980s to make x86 clone chips.  

Intel has been falling behind AMD.  They were slow to release chips with smaller than 14-nanometer circuits, with the latest offering using 10 nanometers.  However, AMD has already released 7-nanometer chips with plans to release 5 and 6 nanometer chips soon.

There is a 30+ year war over design philosophy.  The x86 chips have huge instruction sets, called Complex Instruction Set Computers (CISC), making them more versatile.  However, in the late 1980s, ARM starting developing Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) processors that could run more efficiently by limiting the instruction sets to what was most important.    RISC chips typically run faster while using less power, making them ideal for mobile devices. 

ARM RISC chips recently have caught up and even surpassed most x86 chips.  Apple developed their own versions of ARM chips for their mobile devices that were starting to rival desktop processors.  Then Apple stunned everyone by releasing their ARM-based 5-nanometer M1 processor for their new laptops and lower-end computers.  The M1 chip is surprisingly powerful rivaling some of the best x86 chips while using far less energy.  The M1 processor can also run many Apple x86 programs using emulation while still maintaining strong performance.

Reportedly Apple has plans to release much more powerful versions of the M1 chip for their high-end computers.

The x86 oligopoly is starting to fade.  Microsoft has released versions of Windows that can run on ARM processors, although these are not compatible with x86 programs.  There have been ideas around for a long time that have started to emerge again, such as Just In Time Compilation, and Virtual Machines such as Java that will allow software to be developed that can run on different kinds of hardware.  In addition, many companies are starting to make software for both x86 and ARM.

With Nvidia acquiring ARM for 40 billion dollars, they are looking to become the new dominant chip manufacturer.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

There's a Hole at the Bottom of Math - YouTube

The first three minutes of this video talk about "The Game of Life."  This computer simulation was very popular in the early days of computing with the first personal computers going all the way back to 1975 when I first saw it.  Since early computers weren't capable of much of anything, this computer simulation was an interesting program that could be run on primitive computers.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Fwd: Happier times, maybe

Google Chrome and their blog service have been going crazy lately.  Google Chrome completely blocked my chess opening blog as a "phishing website."  They claimed that it was "dangerous."   I contacted Google and it no longer seems to be a problem.  In addition, the image and text below were sent to one of my blogs, and Google's Blogspot service notified me that they deleted it because of "virus and malware."

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John Coffey 
Date: Mon, Mar 1, 2021 at 4:57 PM
Subject: Happier times, maybe

Our family used to go to this place, and I loved it.  I remember the food being pretty good.  Sometime between 1974 and 1977, while I was in Jr. High School, there was a tornado that hit Columbus, Indiana.  I remember it well.  It tore the roof off of the King's Table building while people were inside dining.  The restaurant reopened (I think) but eventually went out of business.  That location is now a gas station.

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: <>

Read in Browser

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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Frisbee »
PC Case »
Lamp »
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."