Sunday, September 13, 2020

This is what a Mensa IQ test looks like

I find IQ test questions interesting.  In particular, I got fascinated by #8 in this video.  She doesn't give the answer, but I figured out the pattern by doing the square of 63 in my head.

I have one problem with some of these questions ...

Imagine if you had two pairs of numbers like so ...

Five is to six as 10 is to ____?     Well, by one rule you would have 11 as an answer, but by another rule, you would have 12 as an answer.   If you have just a number problem then they would most likely make it unambiguous, but I feel like some geometric shape problems can be confusing because I'm not sure which rule to use.  For example, in one problem she had to base things off of the geometric center, which I did not think to do.   In another problem, she seemed to go backward, like 1 is to 2 as 4 is to 3.   In a completely different test, they had shapes arranged in 3 by 3 grid, so I wasn't sure if I was supposed to look at these shapes horizontally or vertically.  Again, I wasn't sure which rule to use.

In the above video, I was confused by #7.  The problem is like this ...

1, 0, -1, 0.  What is the next logical number?  

I am guessing that the four numbers are the cosine of 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees respectively.  Then the next number is the cosine of 360 degrees, which is 1.

However, they might be looking for something completely different.  What if these are two pairs of grid coordinates?  What if there is some other pattern I am missing?

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Fwd: 2452 Cedar Crest Dr - Google Maps


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John Coffey <>
Date: Sun, Sep 6, 2020 at 8:16 PM
Subject: 2452 Cedar Crest Dr - Google Maps
To: Kevin Keyes 


Wednesday, August 19, 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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Phosphates and dishwasher detergents

For about 50 years the United States has been phasing out phosphates used in detergents, and they were completely banned about 10 years ago. The phosphates cause algae blooms that are supposedly harmful to fish.

The problem is that the phosphates were very effective in automatic dishwashing detergents. They not only helped clean the dishes, but they acted as a kind of water softener to prevent hard water stains, calcium build-up, on glassware on other dishes. About a dozen years ago there were a ton of complaints by consumers that dishwashers weren't getting dishes clean as they used to, and because of the hard water stains, the glassware looked dirtier after they were washed in the dishwasher than before.

I have been having this problem. There were noticeable hard water stains on my glassware and other dishes. So I tried washing once with dishwashing detergent, and a second time with no detergent, but I poured vinegar into a 16 once container and set it in the top rack of the dishwasher. After the second wash, everything was spotless. Since the vinegar is acidic, it dissolved any calcium stains.

It is believed by many people that "Tang" can be used to clean out your dishwasher. Since "Tang" is an acid, it might actually work. I had a dishwasher salesman tell me to put "Tang" powder in a cup on the top rack. (I would not do this with the detergent, because one is basic and the other is acidic. At the very least they would cancel each other out, if not react with each other in unpredictable ways.)

However, if you have stains in your dishwasher, bleach is much more effective. In my old house, I had a cheap GE dishwasher that was not stainless steel inside, but it had a cheap plastic interior. That interior got so badly stained that I thought that I was going to have to replace the dishwasher. After I played around with the dishwasher, I realized that each wash would go through three cycles: an initial rinse and drain cycle, a long wash cycle, followed by another drain and rinse and drain cycle. All dishwashers work this way. To solve my stain problem, I waited for the long wash cycle to start, and then I poured a bottle of bleach into the dishwasher. However, when it got to the final drain and rinse cycle, which could have drained out all the bleach, I turned the knob back to the wash cycle so that the bleach would not drain out. I did this a few times so that there was plenty of time for the bleach to circulate in the dishwasher. The end result was amazing because the dishwasher was spotless inside.


Saturday, August 15, 2020


I have been experimenting with making salads with store-bought shredded cabbage because it stays fresher much longer than lettuce. I could also see using a combination of the two.

My simple recipe is to use 20 to 50% of a package of shredded cabbage with a generous sprinkling of bacon bits and a generous amount of Italian dressing. This is very good by itself, but with tomato wedges, it is almost perfect.

In the last couple of days, I have tried adding strawberries, chopped apple, and cashews. These don't necessarily make the salad taste better, but it is a good way to eat fruit and nuts. I especially like the apple in the salad.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Monday, August 10, 2020

Power outage/Transformer blowing up?

A major storm front moved across Indiana in a southeastern direction, causing property damage across the state and about 50,000 people to lose power.

On Monday nights I run online the Greenwood Chess Club that I started five years ago. We are not meeting in person because of the pandemic.

While I was playing chess online, I noticed that it was storming outside and at 8:35 PM my power went out. This was accompanied by a very loud buzzing sound that had me worried. The first thing I did was to text the guy I had been playing to tell him that my power went out.

The power toggled on and off, again with the troubling loud buzzing. I decided to investigate. The power came back on. I opened my garage and stepped outside. This time I saw what looked like a huge electrical spark above my neighbor's house accompanied by that loud buzzing sound again, but this looked like nothing I had ever seen before. It was obviously an electrical spark, but it looked more like an orange vertical bar. (Electrical sparks cause the electrons to be stripped off of air molecules, which turns the air into the 4th state of matter, called Plasma. When you see an electrical spark, what you are really seeing is the plasma emit light. You can't actually see electricity.) I figured that this had to be a transformer in the process of blowing up. Maybe it was on fire, which might explain why the spark was orange in color, although I'm not sure that this is a good explanation. Maybe the chemicals in the transformer caused the spark to look orange.

This looked scary. My first thought was that I did not want this to burn down my neighbor's house and then take mine with it. There were people in the street watching this strange sight, and I yelled at them and asked if they had called 9-11. They said that they had. One of the neighbors yelled that there was a tree on fire, but I couldn't see this from my vantage point. Then immediately the power went off again and I was relieved because the situation looked very dangerous. Very shortly fire trucks drove by, so I thought thank goodness the Fire Department is here, but they just kept on driving. In the middle of a thunderstorm, they probably had other problems to deal with.

I was not inclined to get any closer to investigate, especially since it was still storming outside. There was a huge crack of lightning close by which convinced me to seek shelter back in the house.

So I mostly sat in the dark texting my friends about what happened until the power came back on 2 hours and 20 minutes later.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, August 7, 2020

Re: Frustrated

I tried to send this from my phone.  I incorrectly copied his comments and copied his same comment 3 times.  I'll fix that below.

On Fri, Aug 7, 2020 at 8:48 PM <> wrote:

I am really really frustrated

I think I'm studying and learning more and it's like I play worse and worse.

I think that I have been expecitng hard work to pay off too fast.

It is a common complaint.  I don't seem to have this problem.  I have a friend who thinks that studying tactics makes him worse. My attitude is that I try to master the easy stuff trying to make that as automatic as possible. Someone once said that to be "extraordinary" you have to do "extra ordinary" stuff.  It is like the pro who practices layups hundreds of times. The 1, 2, 3 move problems on my website I have done at least 200 times over the last 25 years.  Same for the slightly more advanced 1000 problems on the Shredder App.  I have rehearsed basic endings just so that I can do them without much thought.


I guess that what I put in will keep building on on what I got.


Slow and steady wins the race.

You have a plan that you follow consistently, not that this is always possible since human existence is difficult, but I really focus on mastering the "fundamentals".

Best wishes,

John Coffey



I am really really frustrated

I think I'm studying and learning more and it's like I play worse and worse.

I think I'm studying and learning more and it's like I play worse and worse.

It is a common complaint. I don't seem to have this problem. I have a friend who thinks that studying tactics makes him worse. My attitude is that I try to master the easy stuff trying to make that as automatic as possible. Someone once said that to be "extraordinary" you have to do "extra ordinary" stuff. It is like the pro who practices layups hundreds of times. The 1, 2, 3 move problems on my website I have done at least 200 times over the last 25 years. Same for the slightly more advanced 1000 problems on the Shredder App. I have rehearsed basic endings just so that I can do them without much thought.


I think I'm studying and learning more and it's like I play worse and worse.


Slow and steady wins the race.

You have a plan that you follow consistently, not that this is always possible since human existence is difficult, but I really focus on mastering the "fundamentals".

Best wishes,

John Coffey

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.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Cracked tooth

I got a crack in a tooth. For insurance reasons, I had to go to an oral surgeon in Seymour to have it removed today. I saw my Dentist yesterday, who said that the tooth was cracked and recommend that an oral surgeon take it out. He first tried to book me for a "3D XRay" at an Endondist, but I was going to have to wait a week to get the XRay, so I called the Dentist and told him that I did not want to wait that long. I was in too much pain. He then booked me with the Oral Surgeon today.

On Saturday I ate some hard croutons on a salad that I made. The tooth started hurting on Sunday, and it only got worse over time. By the time I saw the Oral Surgeon on Tuesday I was more than eager to have the tooth removed. It was hurting me quite a bit. I tried using Orajel, which only helped a little. (BTW, I have used both the name brand and the Walmart generic. I suggest sticking with the name brand. The generic did not seem to work as well.)

The surgeon told me that the croutons could have caused the crack, but he thinks that the tooth already had a crack in it and the hard croutons made it worse. I told him that I used to eat popcorn quite a bit, which I no longer do because of diverticulitis, and he said that popcorn can be hard on the teeth.

I asked the oral surgeon if I should avoid hard foods in the future, but he didn't think that was necessary. I brought up the fact that I'm now 60 years old, but he didn't think that it mattered.

My recent experience with dental procedures is that it takes an extra shot to make me numb. He started to remove the tooth but I was still having pain so he gave me another shot. He said that he would wait two minutes for it to work, but I think that he waited less than a minute. He seemed to be in a rush. I had some strong pain as he pulled the tooth out, but for only about 15 seconds. I'm unhappy with the way he handled this.

I assumed that once the tooth was out that everything would be fine, but once the numbness wore out I was in almost as much pain as I was before. The oral surgeon put me on a regiment of both Tylenol and Advil, which maybe is helping. I am just trying to get through the day hoping that tomorrow will be better.

Prior to this I only had about five hours of sleep because it is hard to sleep with a sore tooth.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Housing prices in Utah

It is amazing how much houses are selling for in Utah. Not just new or nearly new houses. Some older houses that I had looked at and rejected are selling for $250K to $300K. My old three-bedroom house built in 1939, the same year The Wizard of Oz came out, which I paid $120K for, is now estimated at $476K. I didn't even like this house. It was too old and had too many problems.

I would not be able to afford to move back to Utah.


Friday, July 24, 2020

Power outage

An equipment failure caused the power to go out in part of Columbus, Indiana last night. I was in the middle of a chess game online with a friend from Indianapolis when the power went out at 6:45 PM. Within 5 minutes I got a text from the power company saying that the power was out and that it was estimated to be fixed by 9:30 PM.

It is a weird feeling because I couldn't do hardly anything. My only access to the world was my iPhone. I couldn't cook anything so I ate chips with salsa. I took a short drive because I was curious about how extensive the power outage was. It seemed to affect a large area. The local radio station was not broadcasting.

Then I did yard work until it was close to dark.

It gets more creepy when things get dark. You feel helpless. I took a shower using a LED flashlight as my only source of light. My thermostat, which has a battery, showed that my house had warmed by 3 degrees. At 9:30 PM I got another text from the power company saying that the estimated time of completion was now 11:30 PM. I was worried that if this were out to go all night that my large stockpile of food in my fridge would go bad.

Fortunately, at 11:01 PM the power came back on. There have been other power outages in the past, but they didn't last more than an hour.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Personal "air conditioners" aren't what they seem

I had a swamp cooler in my first house in Salt Lake City. It worked very poorly and my house would get unbearably hot, which is why I installed central air. I wouldn't dream of using a swamp cooler in my current home Indiana where the humidity is already at unpleasant levels.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Historically, 1980 was a very interesting year. Technology was almost non-existent by today's standards. Some 8-bit computers were available, but they were exorbitantly expensive, infinitely underpowered, and not very useful. Only a few electronic hobbyists would have any interest in computers, which certainly included me, but I would not be able to afford a computer until 2 to 3 years later.

Microwave ovens and VCRs were not yet affordable and very few people had them. In terms of technology, people were more interested in CB radios.

Arcade videogames were just beginning to take off. Although still primitive, in terms of gaming they were significantly better than what could be done on a computer or on one of the very primitive overpriced home consoles available at the time.

The country as a whole was in a serious malaise. The economy did not do well in the 1970s and took a big downturn during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Inflation was high, unemployment was up, economic growth was almost non-existent, and interest rates along with energy costs were at record levels. Consequently, most people were just trying to get by.

On the international scene, things did not look good. The Soviet Union appeared aggressive by invading Afghanistan. Iran was making the U.S. look bad with the hostage crisis. Opec controlled the world's energy supply.

With the election of Ronald Reagan in November, I had high hopes that things would change for the better, but it would take a long time for things to turn around.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Mary Hopkin Those were the days lyrics

Big 6-0.

Time does something weird where everything post-High School seems like one big motion blur. It divides your life into two seemingly equal time segments: youth and adulthood.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

I wrote this on the Facebook Arcade1up fan page.

I bought the Star Wars Arcade when Walmart had that package deal with the Robot for $350.

I had much more difficulty building this one. My step-dad usually helps me. He is 83 and I am almost 60, so we are not real fast. It usually takes us a while. The problems started when we tried to attach the second side. We couldn't get anything to line up properly, so later I attempted this on my own. I started with the lower front and worked my way around the bottom and up the back and finally the light-up marquee. Often I had to loosen screws that I had already put in to adjust it so that I could get the next screw to line up. Then I had big problems with the marquee getting it to line up.

However, the biggest problem was attaching the display panel to the second side. The holes did not line up at all. It was like the cabinet was slightly too wide. I had to remove the plastic brackets from the display panel, attach them to the side, and then reattach the display panel. The trouble was that the most I could get were 3 of 4 screws in each of the two brackets, which is probably good enough to hold it forever.

I had trouble with the display brackets with the other two arcade1up's I built, but they weren't near this difficult.

My total build time was around five hours. I spent well over an hour trying to get those display panel brackets to line up, and I spent quite a bit of time trying to get all the other holes to line up.

So was it worth it?

This was my all-time favorite arcade game, so I definitely wanted this one. After playing a couple of games, my feeling on the yoke controller is that it might not be as good as the original but close enough to have fun with it. I feel like the buttons take more effort to press, and this is where I started to have a problem. I absolutely loved this game in the 1980s when it was in the arcade, but the last time I would have had an opportunity to play it was around 1990 give or take a couple of years. That was 30 years ago. I was 30 years old then, but now I turn 60 in three weeks. I found my fingers getting sore from all the button mashing on just a couple of games, so I am wondering if the buttons really do take more effort to press compared to the original arcade? I may have to limit how much I play if my fingers bother me too much. However, I also figure that this might be good exercise for my hands.

I am happy to have the Star Wars Arcade. I'm sure that I'll have some fun with it.

  • Gerardo Follano
    Gerardo Follano I had both the sitdown and upright original arcade back in the 90's and the buttons feel very like i remember, but the yoke was smoother less resistance
  • Dusty Potter
    Dusty Potter Where's the robot?
  • Chad Kirstein
    Chad Kirstein That cabinets was a bugger to put together. I usually have my son do it but I had to jump in and assist him.
  • Patrick Prevenas
    Patrick Prevenas This is my favorite cab by miles, but it was a bit harder to assemble. The kickplate had some trouble staying in place while lining up the second side panel, and the control deck screws didn't quite line up with the holes in the mounting boards. Overall I spent between and hour and 1.5 hours to put it together, but I've been loving it ever since.
    • John Coffey
      John Coffey On the other arcade1up's, the kickplate just slid in. Not with this one. It is a real pain to get everything to line up.
    • Patrick Prevenas
      Patrick Prevenas John Coffey Yeah, I think it's because of the orientation and assembly of the control deck. It was kind of frustrating, but once it's done, man, what a great cabinet.
  • John Marx
    John Marx Yeah getting the marquee to line up with the 2nd side panel with everything else was a pain in the ass.
  • Attila Tihanyi
    Attila Tihanyi Yep. I have 6 and SW was the most stressful built. As you said the wholes for the monitor don't line up. I also had issues with other wholes... the finished product is outstanding tho
  • Mark L Morrissey
    Mark L Morrissey Glad to see I wasn't the only one who struggled with that part... i just stayed quiet because i didnt want to look dumb...
  • Paul da Silva
    Paul da Silva The buttons on mine are and have always been easy, and the yoke feels like I remember it in the arcades. A few people on here have mentioned that they had stiff yokes that loosened up over time, so perhaps your buttons will do the same. Can you use the triggers instead? And is there any chance that your hands are just sore and over-sensitive from five hours of wringing hand tools? Congratulations on wrenching that monster together! I remember it took me twice as long as usual to assemble mine. I hope the buttons work out and you enjoy the heck out of it.
  • Richard Ortiz
    Richard Ortiz I'm 59 have suffer from RA and arthritis. So I'm with you there on the hands not being as fast or as flexible as they used to be. My Star Wars and the 12in1 are my to favorite cabs. Love vector graphics games.
  • RJ Chellman
    RJ Chellman I'm 36 and I had problems with that side too
  • Lucas Singer
    Lucas Singer I had nearly all these problems with building it too. It was by far the hardest out of my 5 cabinets to setup and took me several hours. I really feel like everything wasn't aligned very well or maybe there's just too many variables to make everything See More
  • Chris Gibson
    Chris Gibson Love mine.
  • Neal Giordano Jr.
    Neal Giordano Jr. Love it, but SW is the one that gave me the most trouble with assembly. Getting the 2nd side to line up with everything was rough, then I had problems getting the marquee to line up correctly. Took a little over an hour, when all was said and done. Two people would definitely work better than one.
    John Coffey
    Write a reply...

  • Duane Davis
    Duane Davis Don't feel bad. Twig is 107 & had to hire the Geek Squad to finish his. He tried on his own and it looked like a Picasso painting. 🤣🤣
  • Ron Ailurophile Hall
    Ron Ailurophile Hall So the consensus is there are assembly issues and we are all getting older! Well done though it looks great!!!