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.


Friday, September 21, 2018

This is what I saw on May 7nth, 2015.

This is what I saw on May 7nth, 2015.   Just reminiscing.  After a long trip, seeing this sign got me excited.



This is on I-74 next to the Illinois border.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Googol

Searching for the word "google" on Google did not give me the definition that I was looking for. It turns out the word I wanted was "googol". I assumed that they mean the same thing, but they do not.  

Re: My day.

Facebook posts from yesterday:

Still trying to wrap my brain around the move. I'm not fully settled in yet. Still unpacking and dealing with a few issues. I'm not yet adjusted to my new surroundings.

Having to take a longer drive today to the Greenwood Chess Club, which is a club that I started, felt perfectly natural. I'm already used to driving between New Whiteland and Columbus at least once a week. I traded a 15 minute drive to the Greenwood Club for a 37 minute drive, but I save more than that by being very close to the Columbus Chess Club and being closer to my mother.

However, I did not return straight home. I went from the Greenwood Chess Club to my old house in New Whiteland just as I always have in the past. I needed to do a couple of things at the house and pick up a few items that didn't make it during the move. This very familiar drive back to my old house felt weird because I knew that I don't live there anymore. So did being in the mostly empty home.



Once again this describes my life:






Long John Silvers

On Tuesdays Long John Silvers has some pretty good fish tacos for just a dollar.  One of these restaurants is about a mile from my old house and only half a mile from my new house, so today I ordered five of these things.  However, I only eat one or two of the tacos a day.

--

My day.

 A couple of Facebook posts I made:


I now have hot water.

I noticed that my water wasn't very hot, and in fact it wasn't hot at all. It was just that the water heater is in the garage where it is at least a hundred degrees, so I was able to take a shower with lukewarm water. Therefore I assumed that the water heater was working, but not very well and that it needed replacing. However, this morning my shower was pretty cold so I did some investigating.

I discovered that the pilot light on the water heater was not lit, so I read the instructions on how to light it. My first three attempts were not successful. The way this works is overly complicated, but after turning a couple of knobs the correct way you are suppose to press a button several times activating a piezoelectric crystal that sends a small electric spark to the pilot light. On my last attempt I pressed the button about ten times mostly out of frustration, and then I heard the thing light up.

  





My favorite Walmart is in Franklin mostly because it is not too big, nor is it too small. Also the parking lot is fairly straightforward and easy to get in and out of.

Compare this to the Walmart in Columbus off of tenth street, where the parking lot is more complicated with lanes going at weird angles. The same thing can be said of the Walmart in Greenwood, and it is even worse at the Walmart in Southport off of highway 31. When I lived in New Whiteland I didn't like going to either one of these Walmarts and would drive to Franklin instead.

The Walmart in Columbus is so large that it feels more like a chore to shop there. I traversed the length of the store both ways at least three times because I kept remembering things that I needed.  If I want to do this efficiently, I need to plan better.

I ordered so many times from the deli at the Franklin Walmart that they know me by name there.


--

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Moving to Columbus

FYI.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
On Aug 28, 2018, at 11:37 PM, Albert L Nelms <> wrote:

Just curious, what made you decide to move to Columbus? Will you still be able keep running your club in Greenwood?

All the Best,
Al


On Wednesday, August 29, 2018, John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com> wrote:

There is an issue with
the
railroad behind my house.  The traffic is going to go from 8 trains per day to 22 and they will be twice as long. I've know about this for awhile, but
I
only heard rumors, so I assumed incorrectly that I would have more time.   I did some research and found out that it may be October.

I'm trading a drive to Columbus every week for an equal drive to Greenwood.  But it already takes me 15 minutes to
get to
Greenwood.  Now it will be 36
minutes
.   I'll be a mile south of the Columbus Chess Club, and I
will
save 30 minutes to my mother's place.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


On Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 3:48 PM Albert Nelms <> wrote:
I see what you mean. I knew about the tracks near your subdivision, but I didn't know the trains were that active. Well, your decision to move makes sense now. I'm relieved to hear it's not something personal or tragic necessitating the move. If I could pick one small town to live in, away from Indianapolis, it would be Columbus.


From: John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 3:56 PM
Subject: Re: Moving to Columbus
To: Al Nelms <>

The train tracks wrap around Mill Race Park in downtown Columbus.  Because of a sharp bend, the trains will only be able to go 20 MPH through there.  There is much concern about the trains blocking traffic, especially on the west side of town where the tracks cross highway 46, which is the main entrance into the town.  This is thought to have such an impact on the city that they are going to build a 30 million dollar overpass there.



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Scientist Spilled 2 Drops Organic Mercury On Her Hand. This Is What Happened To Her Brain.

When I was young there were plastic maze toys with a drop of mercury inside.

Years ago I had an environmental activist knock my door. His agenda was that his organization wanted tighter government controls on mercury emissions. I wasn't particularly interested at the time.

When it comes to poisons, concentration is everything. What could be deadly in one dose could also be harmless in trace amounts. Chemical structure is also important.

https://youtu.be/NJ7M01jV058

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My Facebook Post from 2 years ago.

The first two rounds of the U.S. Open Chess Championship have not gone as I expected. For a big open tournament with hundreds of players I expected initially to alternate between opponents who were too easy and too tough. Then the later rounds would be closer.

After winning a hard fought first round against a class C player, I expected to play someone tougher. I wanted to play someone tougher, but my pairing showed that I was playing a Class D player. My friend Al teased me about that by saying, "Maybe you have a chance."

At the US Open they are running some national scholastic tournaments concurrently with the main event. Some kids are playing in both tournaments. The person who showed up at my table looked like he is nine or ten, and he was carrying a trophy almost as tall as he was that said "Elementary Championship First Place."

The problem with playing kids in a tournament is that you don't know what kind of opponent you are really facing. The low rating might not mean anything because kids often improve very rapidly. He could be taking lessons from a Grandmaster. He could be the next Bobby Fischer. Utah produced a number of child prodigies who used to beat me regularly. I have lost to enough children to know that you can't take them for granted.

So I was curious as to why I was playing this kid after winning my first round. I figured that the kid must scored an upset in the first round, so I checked the wall chart and I was right. He beat a 1984 player in the first round. Someone I know. Someone rated barely below me. At this point I was thinking "Holy crap. I've got a tiger by the tail." He really could be the next Bobby Fischer.

The bottom line is that he played very well but not well enough. I won. For a young kid he showed intense concentration, which is how most prodigies play.


Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Greenwood Chess Club

We had 15 to 17 players show up last night.  I lost count.

Normally I try to "direct traffic" a little at the chess club.  For example, if I see a couple of people standing around, I likely will suggest that they play each other.  Sometimes people don't play because they are not aware that there is a chess set available.  Likewise, I might suggest that two similarly strength players start a game.  

However, there seems to a be a magic number, which is around 12 players, where things suddenly become chaotic and I lose any sense of control.  That's not a problem, but things happen more organically, which is to say randomly.  I don't even know for sure how many we had last night, because people were coming and going at all times

For example, I try to speak with new players and get contact information for them.  However, we had three new players last night, and I only had a chance to speak to two of them.

--

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I have a deep interest in physics

I watched this video twice to try to understand it.  I will probably watch it a third time.  The math is way beyond my level.  If I were to work hard enough,  maybe  I could learn the mathematics, but it wouldn't be worth the effort.


Since I like physics so much, maybe I should have made that my profession.  However, I think that I like computer programming even more.  In the very early days of micro-computers, back in the 1970's, I seemed to have a talent for programming in the same way I had a talent for chess.

I think that my interest in physics comes from wanting to understand how the universe works.  However, there are subtleties in the physical universe that are too deep for anybody but a physicist to understand.

--

Saturday, July 7, 2018

John Coffey

A long time ago some coworkers told me about this guy named John Coffey.   The story I heard is that he woke up drunk one morning and didn't make the trip on the Titanic.   Somebody asked me if he is an an ancestor of mine, but it is impossible since his lifespan overlaps the life of my grandfather.  You probably would have to go back many generations to find a connection, if any exists.


--

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Comparing AMD CPU's (corrected)

Much attention has been made in the press over the new AMD Threadripper CPU.  With 16 cores and 32 threads, this thing is a monster.  But it debuted at $1,000 just for the CPU, and I saw that some computer builds were costing like $4,000.  It seems that buying the most expensive CPU also means that the parts to make it work are also just as pricey.

But if we look at its benchmark, https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+Threadripper+1950X&id=3058, compared with the next lower chip, which has half as many cores and less than half the cost, https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+7+2700X&id=3238, there is not enough difference between them that would justify the extra cost.

When I bought my Core-i7 iMac in 2010 it was close to top of the line, https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-860+%40+2.80GHz&id=6, but now it is more like average at best.  After eight years I am wanting more power.  I am also wanting more graphics power, because what little graphics power that came with my late 2009 iMac is pretty terrible, and these all-in-one computers are not upgradable.

If someone wants to do gaming on budget, there are videos on youtube telling you how to build a gaming PC for around $500, using the Ryzen 3 2200G https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+3+2200G&id=3186.  This and the 2400G have gotten much attention because they are 'APU's', that have some limited graphics capability built into the processor.  Because of the low cost of the 2200G, it has gotten the most attention, but the 2400G seems like a big step up at just $70 more in cost.   https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+5+2400G&id=3183   Since the processor is only a small part of the overall cost, it seems to me like it would be worth it to spend marginally more to get a more powerful system.

Likewise AMD has some older slightly slower processors that are lower in cost, but considered a good value.  However, I don't see the value in settling for slightly less power to just save a few bucks on the processor.

If you want more power than what the 2200G and 2400g can deliver, then you have to give up the built in graphics and buy a seperate video card, for which you can expect to spend $300 to $500, or more, just for the card.  That is the problem.  People are claiming that graphics cards are coming down in price, but we are not really seeing it yet.  Graphics cards have been very expensive because people have been buying them for cryptocurrency mining.

So I would like to build a Ryzen APU based computer for relatively low cost.   My current computer occasionally shuts down for no apparent reason, but after I cleaned the dusty vents it seems to be doing better.  I figure that eventually I will have to repair it or replace it.  I would rather replace it.

According to AMD, they are coming out with new APU's in both 2019 and 2020.  Newer probably means more power, which is what I want.  I should try to hold out until at least 2019 to see what they come out with.

I want to do much more with a computer than just play games, but if that is all you want then the Microsoft XBox One X is graphically pretty powerful for its $500 price tag.  An equivalent computer might cost $1,000.  The XBOX One X also uses a custom AMD APU, but you can't buy that processor;  It is only available on the XBOX One X.

--

Comparing AMD CPU's

Much attention has been made in the press over the new AMD Threadripper CPU.  With 16 cores and 32 threads, this thing is a monster.  But it debuted at $1,000 just for the CPU, and I saw that some computer builds were costing like $4,000 to $5,000.  It seems that buying the most expensive CPU also means that the parts to make it work are also just as pricey.

But if we look at its benchmark, https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+Threadripper+1950X&id=3058, compared with the next lower chip, which has half as many cores and costs half as much or less, https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+7+2700X&id=3238, there is not enough difference between them that would justify the extra cost.

When I bought my Core-i7 iMac in 2010 it was pretty much top of the line, https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-860+%40+2.80GHz&id=6, but now it is more like aveage at best.  After eight years I am wanting more power.  I am also wanting more graphics power, because what little graphics power that came with my late 2009 iMac is pretty terrible, and these all-in-one computers are not upgradable.

If someone wants gaming on budget, there are videos on youtube telling you have to build a gaming PC for around $500, using the Ryzen 3 2200G https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+3+2200G&id=3186.  This and the 2400G have gotten much attention because they are 'APU's', that have some limited graphics capability built into the processor.  Because of the low cost of the 2200G, it has gotten the most attention, but the 2400G seems like a big step up at just $70 more in cost.   https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+5+2400G&id=3183   Since the processor is only a small part of the overall cost, it seems to me like it would be worth it to spend marginally more to get a more powerful system.

Likewise AMD has some older slightly slower processors that are lower in cost but considered a good value.  However, I don't see the value in settling for slightly less power to just save a few bucks on the processor.

If you want more power than what the 2200G and 2400g can deliver, then you have to give up the built in graphics and buy a seperate video card, for which you can expect to spend $300 to $500 just for the card.  That is the problem.  People are claiming that graphics cards are coming down in prices, but we are not really seeing it yet.  Graphics cards have been very expensive because people have been buying them for cryptocurrency mining.

I would like to build a Ryzen APU computer for relatively low cost.   My current computer occasionally shut downs for no apparent reason, but after I cleaned the dusty vents it seems to be doing better.  I figure that eventually I will have to repair it or replace it.  I would rather replace it.

According to AMD, they are coming out with new APU's in both 2019 and 2020.  Newer probably means more power, which is what I want.  I should try to hold out until at least 2019 to see what they come out with.

I want to do much more with a computer than just play games, but if that is all you want then the Microsoft XBox One X is graphically pretty powerful for its $500 price tag.  An equivalent computer might cost $800.  The XBOX One X also uses an AMD APU, but you can't buy that processor.  It is only available on the XBOX One X.

--

Monday, June 18, 2018

Surprise!

The link below should start the video 8 minutes and 16 seconds into it.    Please listen for at least 20 seconds.   You might have to skip the advertisement first.


I saw this guy's email before I saw the video.

Only if you are extremely curious about what this product is, here is another video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3WoG20E37I

.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Kayden Troff

This was 10 year old Kayden Troff right after he won the Utah Blitz Championship in January 2009.   I was the tournament director.  In May of that year he turned 11.  Five years later in May he became a Grandmaster at the age of 16.  He is now 20 years old and serving on a 2 year mission for the LDS Church.

The last time I won against him was when he was 11, which was in the Utah Blitz Championship the following year.  Overall my record against him is not very good, as he was already winning half the games against me around age 8.  At age 9 he was winning the majority against me, and when he was 10 I lost every single tournament game I played him.



Saturday, May 12, 2018

Classic songs

Ever have a song stick with you for most of your life? My parents liked listening to older styles of music.  They had a record with "The Last Farewell" which I listened to many times growing up, so the song has stuck with me:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKdRpDpIR70 



Monday, April 30, 2018

iMac

My 2009 iMac shut down for no reason. It rebooted okay. If I had to guess I would say it is a problem with the power supply, which I had to replace once before. Chances are this will get worse over time until I do something about it.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Star Trek Deep Space Nine




I remember somewhat fondly the four different Star Trek Series that aired from 1987 to 2005, but especially Star Trek Deep Space Nine for its really interesting and vast assortment of colorful characters.  It was the second most popular Star Trek Series of that era, behind Star Trek The Next Generation.  It aired from 1993 to 1999.

Star Trek The Next Generation spent a couple of years setting up Star Trek Deep Space Nine as a spin off series.  It introduced two new alien races, the Cardassians who were the oppressors of the Bajorans.  When Star Trek Deep Space Nine started, Cardassia had ended its occupation of Bajor, and The Federation was helping the new Bajoran provisional government get started.

In the 90's I really loved this show.  So much so I still remember most of the individual episodes.  I found myself feeling nostalgic for the show, missing how much I enjoyed watching it.  So I made an attempt to watch it again on Netflix Streaming.

The problem with watching this show again is that nobody cares about Bajor anymore.  We were only introduced to Bajor as a plot device for this series.  We will probably never hear of Bajor again, because it is not part of the current Star Trek universe in films and TV shows.  Most of the shows are episodic where they don't deal with a grand story arc, but instead focus on some sort of political strife on Bajor.  I chose to not rewatch many of these episodes because they don't seem as interesting as they were when the show was new.

Instead I chose to mostly rewatch the episodes that dealt with a larger story arc, which was introduced at the end of the first season.  A new enemy is introduced, The Dominion, which is run by The Founders, who are intent on conquest.  We get a big surprise when we learn that The Founders are the same alien race as one of the main characters on Deep Space Nine.  The bad news is that the next four seasons would only barely touch this grand story arc, just three or four times per season.   However, in the last couple of seasons the show hit high gear with an all out war between The Federation and The Dominion.

What makes the show great is the characters.  It has a variety of alien humanoids who are interesting and endearing.  Many of the main characters are in one way or another outcasts from their respective societies.  They develop relationships and mutual dependencies with the other characters, making the show very much a space opera, and a good one at that.

After rewatching the series, I am impressed with the way it ended, and overall I am very pleased with the show because it has many layers in its storytelling.  It weaves together many complex storylines over its seven year period.

​John Coffey​

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Retro arcade

Please give this a couple of minutes.


I'm one of those guys in his 50's (57) who likes retro games.  Star Wars The Arcade Game was my favorite arcade game.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Columbus Chess Club new location and meeting times.

Effective this Thursday, 2018-04-05, The Columbus Chess Club will be meeting at the Lewellen Chapel on 2580 Grissom Street, Columbus, Indiana, 47203.  This is close to the airport.

The hours will be from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.  Games will continue to be 10 minutes in length.  Boards, pieces, and clocks will be furnished.

Open to all players.  Children under age 16 must be accompanied by a parent or an adult.

It is not expected that you come and stay the whole time, although you are more than welcome to do so.

There is ample parking just west of the Chapel.  Please enter on the north side of the building.

For additional information, please call 812-603-3893, or see http://columbuschessclub.blogspot.com/p/about-columbus-chess-club.html 

--

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pocket knives

When I was a little kid, pocket knives were fairly common. So were Swiss Army Knives. Before the age of technology, people thought that Swiss Army Knives were cool. 


So when I was little, my father gave me a small pocket knife that was also a bottle opener.  It was fairly harmless.  I kept it with me for about a decade until I broke it trying to fix a loose chain on my bicycle.  


I don't think that there was any problem taking something like this to school.  It was a different era.  Today it would be considered a weapon. 


Best wishes,

John Coffey

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Beware of Phishing scams

In the last month I have been getting a large number of scam text messages telling me that there is a problem with my craigslist account, or my bank account, or that I have a text telling me that I have a message on Facebook, with a link that looks like Facebook, but isn't. The link looks like:


This scam is trying to get me me to give away my login name and password. The way you know it is a scam is to look at the domain name, which is the part before the ".com" or ".net" or ".info", which shows that the link is not from Facebook, or your bank, or whatever.

I can't think of a reason why anyone would need to click on a link in a text message. If your bank has a problem with your account, chances are they will send you an email. However, these kinds of phishing scams happen in emails too, and sometimes they are harder to spot in emails. What I do with an email is look at the who the sender is, which should be the same as the service, like "facebook.com". Even with these you have to be careful that it doesn't say something like "facebook.com.scammer.com".

I remember around 2004 I feel for a scam in an email, which was ransomware. I should have known better, but it is easy to slip up. It locked up my computer and then offered to sell me a "virus checker" to fix the problem. I took my computer to a repair shop instead.

--

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Burger King

I get coupons in the mail from Burger King.  This included 3 coupons for a killer deal, which is for two croissant sandwiches, small hash browns, and a small coffee for just $4.  Although I don't normally eat breakfast, I have gone a couple of Sundays in a row to get this deal, and it makes for a most satisfying breakfast at not much cost.

--

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Re: Columbus Kentucky

Steve Salo wrote the following:

I have never been there but I am quite familiar with Columbus Kentucky. It was made famous in the civil war because of it's location within Kentucky and also lying on the Mississippi river (just a little south of the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers). Rivers were the main "interstate" means of travel back in that day, and also provided natural barriers for defense. Early in the war, Kentucky declared neutrality and prohibited any northern or southern troops to invade their state. Kentucky being a border state could easily have tipped the scales in the southern favor if they had succeeded. Lincoln's famous quote was "I would like God on our side, but we need Kentucky".

About six months after the war started. Leonidas Polk (a southern general) violated Kentucky's neutrality and set up a fort at Columbus to guard traffic on the river. His goal was to prevent union traffic from penetrating the deep south via the MS river. Since the south was first to violate neutrality, Ulysses Grant used the opportunity to fight a battle there (actually directly across the river in Belmont) and "liberate" Kentucky. The battle was a minor win, but was given much publicity in the press because the north needed a win after losing badly at Bull Run. The battle was successful, and from a political standpoint it was very successful to gain Kentucky's loyalty. It was Grant's first battle, and the important lesson he learned form it was that "the enemy is often as afraid of you, as you are of him". Throughout the remainder of the war Grant applied this principal and fought with a vigorous offense. 

Eventually the fort at Columbus fell, and Grant also captured two more confederate river forts (Henry and Donnelson) which opened up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. At fort Donnelson he captured nearly 13,000 confederate soldiers. Donnelson was an amazing victory in so many ways. That left the upper Mississippi in the hands of the Union and later Grant would seize the entire river down through New Orleans by eliminate a nearly impregnable fort at Vicksburg, MS. And fort Henry and Donnelson opened up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers allowing union access to all of Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and Northern Mississippi. The battles in the Eastern theatre still to this day get the most publicity, however the Civil war was truly won in the western theatre.

Grant is considered by military historians to be among the top generals in world history, right up there with Alexander the Great, Napoleon, etc. Unfortunately, his subsequent presidency was not as spectacular, although not terrible either. Grant had to oversee reconstruction and integrating millions of black slave into a free society - with factions from both the north and south who fought any improvement in the civil rights of the former slaves. As a result of a difficult presidency, his military honors have not always been fully realized in this century.

Steve Salo

Columbus Kentucky

I was looking at a map and I just happened to see that there is a town called Columbus in Kentucky. It is microscopic, and not near anything except the the Mississippi river. Downtown consists of a very small post office and a restaurant or bar called "Jen's Place", and that's it. Next to the river is a park and a Civil War Museum.

Sometimes, I wonder why a few towns exist at all. This is even true for some places I have lived in, like Little York, Indiana.

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