Monday, November 18, 2019

2017 iMac freezes up

A few months ago I purchased a used 2017 iMac and installed Windows 10 on it. For the most part, this has been a great machine. However, there is now a problem. The computer will appear to run slow and then eventually freeze. This usually happens while using Google Chrome.

I am normally good at dealing with any kind of software problem that comes up, but this could be something going wrong with the hardware, like the RAM, the SSD, or some controller board. Hardware is mostly outside my area of expertise, although I did buy some new RAM chips that I have not yet installed. I could try taking out the old RAM chips and put in the new RAM chips and see if the problem persists.

On the software side maybe there is a virus, which seems unlikely because I have Norton which normally takes care of these things. It is possible there is a driver issue, but that also seems unlikely. I would not expect Google Chrome to be the problem, but I would not rule it out either. I could try a different web browser.

I need to reboot the computer into McIntosh mode and see if the problem happens again. If it does, then it is a hardware problem. However, if the problem goes away, then something is wrong in the Windows 10 world and I would consider erasing the Windows 10 partition and reinstalling the operating system, which is a time-consuming task.


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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Ching Li

Maybe I shouldn't dwell on the past, but I wanted to see if I could find anything online about Ching Li.  This is what I found...




This is the video her sister posted 11 years ago:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn8Ey9gkwfw

It is impossible to find this video on a youtube search.  I found a link to it in a ten-year-old email.  I'm glad that youtube doesn't delete old videos.

I considered her to be a good friend.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

The $89 Gamestop Premium Refurbished Nintendo Wii U is a steal | Plus Gamestop Black Friday Deals.


This offer might be interesting for some gamers.  I'm don't particularly trust GameStop on their refurbished items.  They have a reputation for doing a bad job on some refurbished (repaired) items.  However, they do have a return policy.

However, in the last couple of years, Gamestop has had some killer deals on Black Friday or Gray Thursday, like a $60 XBOX 360 with a $60 rebate.  I got one of these.  (I had to wait in line for like an hour.)  However, I found out that the XBox 360 has a high failure rate, especially the ones from Gamestop, so I sold the system.  I was also not thrilled about how bulky the system was and the fan in it was a bit noisy.

I make this point because in another month we will be looking at Black Friday Gamestop deals.  I would enjoy some of the Mario games on the Wii U, so this might be a worthwhile purchase, especially if the system is heavily discounted for Black Friday.  In terms of power, The Wii U is about 50% more than the Xbox 360 and has the advantage of being able to run many Nintendo titles, which according to the video are cheap for the Wii U.  (However, the Wii U is only about 40% of the power of the Nintendo Switch, which itself is much less powerful than the current consoles from Microsoft and Sony.)

Last year Gamestop had a killer Black Friday deal on the Nintendo Switch, which is a system that I want.  Instead of charging $300 just for the console, you could get the system with a game for that price, plus a $50 or $60 credit that you could use to buy a 2nd game.   I would have taken advantage of this deal, except that I had heard rumors that Nintendo was going to come out with a new Switch this year.  Nintendo did come out with a new Switch this year, but the only difference was a doubling of battery life.  These new Switches sell in a red box.

I don't know what is going to happen for sure, but there could be some interesting Black Friday deals.

For anyone wondering, both Sony and Microsoft are coming out with killer game systems 3rd quarter next year using AMD chips that aren't even released yet.  These have been described as extremely powerful game systems rivaling the best gamer PC's.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Unboxing a SEALED iMac G3 with MKBHD!

I think that some people will assume that older machines have more value than they have.  They might have some value as a collector's item, but as a computer, my out of date Raspberry PI 3 exceeds it in every way.


With a speed of 350 MHZ, 64 megabytes of RAM and 6 gigs of storage, the iMac G3 would be capable of only the most basic web browsing.  Many, if not most, websites would not work.  If it comes with some useful software, like word processing, then it would have some value.

Twenty years ago I remember trying to get some value out of an old 400 MHZ PC.  It was useful for playing old games, but I seriously needed an upgrade, which I did.  I went through about a five-year upgrade cycle, first getting a 2.4 GHz computer, which at the time seemed very impressive, and then a dual-core 2.4 GHz computer, and then a quad-core 2.8 GHz iMac.  I still have the iMac, and I got a whopping 9 years of use out of it, but this year I have upgraded to a better iMac.

I have learned through experience that older computers have a high failure rate.  Stuff just breaks, and the old machines aren't just worth fixing.

John Coffey

Friday, October 11, 2019

WrestleMania video game from 1995.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-vEwWk3Aqo

What I want you to see from this video has nothing to do with Freddie Prinze Jr. nor Star Wars, nor does it have anything to do with Matt Jarbo's opinion of Star Wars, nor his opinion of Freddie Prinze Jr.

In the video, behind Freddie Prinze Jr., the video game WrestleMania is on display. This is not the original 1995 arcade video game, but a recent home version of the arcade game.  There have been many home imitation-arcade systems for sale that feature original arcade games.  Usually, these systems come with multiple games.  I own an imitation arcade system with classic Atari games. (https://www.target.com/p/arcade1up-deluxe-edition-at-home-arcade-game/-/A-54281465)

I worked on the game WrestleMania.  Sort of.  I worked on the home versions along with about 23 other computer programmers.  We ported Wrestlemania to the Sony Playstation, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and many other home systems.  It was a major endeavor involving a great many people besides programmers, such as artists.

Since the arcade version of Wrestlemania was written for a RISC processor, and the Sony Playstation used a different RISC processor, I was part of a small team that wrote an elaborate program that would covert the computer code of one RISC processor to a different RISC processor.  This made porting the game easier.

We were working on the home versions of the game while the arcade machine was still being developed.  This led to a weird coincidence.  Around 1995, I was playing on the Internet Chess Club with a guy named Jason Skiles.  (https://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,66528/)  He noticed that my notes said that I was a video game programmer.  He said that he was one too.  He asked what game I was working on.  I said, "WrestleMania."  There was a long pause because he was one of the programmers concurrently working on the arcade version.  He was in Chicago and I was in Salt Lake City.

The reason we didn't know about each other is that arcade developer, Midway, had licensed us to develop the home versions with the condition that weren't allowed to bother or ask questions of the people who were working on the arcade game.

The Moby Games website also has a listing for me, but it does not have listed every game that I have worked on:  https://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,133588/
John Coffey

Sunday, October 6, 2019

DVD-RAM: The Disc that Behaved like a Flash Drive - YouTube

I remember around 2001-2002 my company gave me a 1 GB flash drive and I felt privileged.  In the stores, these were around $100, which seemed like a lot of money at the time.

Today you would have a hard time buying a 1 GB drive.  It is the kind of thing they would give away in promotional offers, assuming you could find any.  I would like to see them in cereal boxes, say for videogame promotions.

I was working for a company in 1992 when one of the programmers wanted to purchase a 2 GB HD for $2,000.  Our reaction was like, "A dollar per megabyte!  That's amazing!."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecH3OU0R4ls

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Ringworld - Larry Niven

https://youtu.be/nLjIc1DU8HE

Written in 1970, this award winning book is considered a classic. I read the book decades ago, but now I'm listening to the audiobook for free at the link above. It spawned a few sequels, and there is a body of literature by multiple authors that take place in this "Known Space" universe created by Larry Niven. I recently finished the four audiobooks for the "Fleet of Worlds" series which are prequels to Ringworld, and I highly recommend them. I think that they are at least as good as Ringworld.

I very much like listening to audiobooks before going to sleep at night. It relaxes me.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Saturday, September 7, 2019

What Happens When You Die?

Just FYI.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvdY_5iXPrU

My comments as follows:

While attempting self-hypnosis as a teenager, I had a weird out of body experience that I don't think that I will ever be able to repeat. I felt like I was floating above my body. I was completely comfortable and lacked any feeling of pressure anywhere on my body. I felt warm like wrapped in a blanket. My mind was devoid of any thought, but I started to become aware that something weird was going on and therefore had a brief instant of panic. It was at that moment I had the sensation of rushing back into my body and I awoke with a start.

I was not dead or dying. I think that I achieved some sort of altered state of consciousness similar to sleep or hypnosis. This has nothing to do with the afterlife.

As I have gotten older, I have been more likely to have states at night where I feel like I am both half asleep and half awake. I have actually had dreams while feeling like I was half awake. Then I wake before falling asleep again.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Fwd: Laramie Wyoming

FYI


---------- Forwarded message ---------

Albert Nelms

Sun, Jul 14, 12:17 PM (1 day ago)
to me
Driving downhill on unknown curvy roads is dangerous, cliffs or no cliffs.


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Steve Kusaba
Date: Sun, Jul 14, 2019 at 11:47 PM
Subject: Re: Laramie Wyoming
To: John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com>


Your first letter was more correct. There are many deadly cliff drops from west of Laramie to Cheyenne. The roads form dry ice too, you can spin out of control and many people have died falling off the cliff. Also, the road from Laramie, south to Fort Collins is one of the most deadly in the nation (in winter in particular) with an impressive array of deadly crashes. Sometimes its smart to take those roads 15 miles an hour and arrive very late but alive.

I was driving from the east to Cheyenne and the road spun me out on its pure black ice surface, I was spinning around and around and was lucky that A. There were no cars near by and B. I wasn't on the other side with the cliffs.

On Sun, Jul 14, 2019 at 9:02 AM John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com> wrote:
The reality is there are probably no cliffs to drive off of.   I have seen youtube videos of the area, and in the daytime the roads don't look that bad. However, I didn't know that.  What I knew was that I was driving downhill in the dark with mountainous terrain on a curvey road where I couldn't see where I was going.

On Sat, Jul 13, 2019 at 11:53 PM John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com> wrote:
Laramie Wyoming is an interesting place that is kind of a footnote in my life. About 26.5 years ago I moved to Salt Lake City by packing everything that would fit into my tiny Toyota Tercel.

The trip from Cheyenne to Laramie is mostly uphill as you drive west into the Rocky Mountains. It was dark, and at that time it was also very foggy and a severe winter storm was also predicted. I was hearing predictions that the state police might close the interstate, so I decided to stop in Laramie and find a hotel rather than risk driving any farther. Where I stopped was close to the University of Wyoming. Laramie is a college town. I stopped someplace and had a chance to chat with some college students.

A little over 22 years later I moved back. My moving strategy was the same because I only took what I could fit in my 2000 Grand Marquis. I stopped briefly in Laramie, and the place I stopped wasn't quite the same. It looked more redneck in a country-western sort of way. It was probably a different part of town. I saw the sunset from Laramie.

However, as I headed east from Laramie toward Cheyenne, I ran into this incredibly dense fog. This was like my experience driving the same road 22 years earlier. However, the difference was that I was driving downhill on a very curvey road and the visibility was terrible. I was pretty nervous because I thought that if I were to overshoot a curve I could easily drive off a cliff. I slowed down quite a bit, but then I got passed by an orange VW Beetle going at a pretty good speed. I decided to follow the Beetle because I assumed that he knew where he was going. I figured that if I stayed back at the right distance I would watch him take the curves, and besides, if he drove off a cliff I would have some warning.





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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Re: Laramie Wyoming

The reality is there are probably no cliffs to drive off of.   I have seen youtube videos of the area, and in the daytime the roads don't look that bad. However, I didn't know that.  What I knew was that I was driving downhill in the dark with mountainous terrain on a curvey road where I couldn't see where I was going.

On Sat, Jul 13, 2019 at 11:53 PM John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com> wrote:
Laramie Wyoming is an interesting place that is kind of a footnote in my life. About 26.5 years ago I moved to Salt Lake City by packing everything that would fit into my tiny Toyota Tercel.

The trip from Cheyenne to Laramie is mostly uphill as you drive west into the Rocky Mountains. It was dark, and at that time it was also very foggy and a severe winter storm was also predicted. I was hearing predictions that the state police might close the interstate, so I decided to stop in Laramie and find a hotel rather than risk driving any farther. Where I stopped was close to the University of Wyoming. Laramie is a college town. I stopped someplace and had a chance to chat with some college students.

A little over 22 years later I moved back. My moving strategy was the same because I only took what I could fit in my 2000 Grand Marquis. I stopped briefly in Laramie, and the place I stopped wasn't quite the same. It looked more redneck in a country-western sort of way. It was probably a different part of town. I saw the sunset from Laramie.

However, as I headed east from Laramie toward Cheyenne, I ran into this incredibly dense fog. This was like my experience driving the same road 22 years earlier. However, the difference was that I was driving downhill on a very curvey road and my visibility was terrible. I was pretty nervous because I thought that if I were to overshoot a curve I could easily drive off a cliff. I slowed down quite a bit, but then I got passed by an orange VW Beatle going at a pretty good speed. I decided to follow the Beatle because I assumed that he knew where he was going. I figured that if I stayed back at the right distance I would watch him take the curves, and besides, if he drove off a cliff I would have some warning.


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Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com


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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Laramie Wyoming

Laramie Wyoming is an interesting place that is kind of a footnote in my life. About 26.5 years ago I moved to Salt Lake City by packing everything that would fit into my tiny Toyota Tercel.

The trip from Cheyenne to Laramie is mostly uphill as you drive west into the Rocky Mountains. It was dark, and at that time it was also very foggy and a severe winter storm was also predicted. I was hearing predictions that the state police might close the interstate, so I decided to stop in Laramie and find a hotel rather than risk driving any farther. Where I stopped was close to the University of Wyoming. Laramie is a college town. I stopped someplace and had a chance to chat with some college students.

A little over 22 years later I moved back. My moving strategy was the same because I only took what I could fit in my 2000 Grand Marquis. I stopped briefly in Laramie, and the place I stopped wasn't quite the same. It looked more redneck in a country-western sort of way. It was probably a different part of town. I saw the sunset from Laramie.

However, as I headed east from Laramie toward Cheyenne, I ran into this incredibly dense fog. This was like my experience driving the same road 22 years earlier. However, the difference was that I was driving downhill on a very curvey road and my visibility was terrible. I was pretty nervous because I thought that if I were to overshoot a curve I could easily drive off a cliff. I slowed down quite a bit, but then I got passed by an orange VW Beatle going at a pretty good speed. I decided to follow the Beatle because I assumed that he knew where he was going. I figured that if I stayed back at the right distance I would watch him take the curves, and besides, if he drove off a cliff I would have some warning.


--
Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Re: iMac purchase

As far as my actual travel time is concerned, this was a bigger hassle than I expected.  It started with major road construction on an interstate forcing me onto a crowded state road for about 30 miles.  What I thought would be an hour and 40 minutes took 2 hours, which is not too big of a deal.  However, the return trip added an additional 40 minute minutes because of a big wreck on the interstate in Cincinnati.

I have driven in many large cities, but I found the traffic in Cincinnati to be a little more intimidating than most.  I am used to Indianapolis, which can be a challenge for me, but Cincinnati seemed worse.

The purchase of the computer went without a hitch.  We met at a Starbucks.  The seller was nice and set the computer up.  I tested several things on the computer, all of which worked fine.  The entire process took ten minutes.

-- 

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jun 28, 2019 at 1:10 AM
Subject: iMac purchase/Forest Fair Village
To: 

I'm going to Cincinnati tomorrow to buy a used iMac.  I am driving 100 minutes and meeting a guy in a Starbucks north of Cincinnati.  I called the Starbucks store to ask if it is okay to do our transaction there.

It is out of my way, but I heavily researched the market and this appears to be one of the best deals I can get.  I'm paying $1150 for a 2017 27" iMac.   The same thing "refurbished" from Apple with a warranty is about $300 more.  I was originally looking at a 2015 model in Louisville that I negotiated $750 on, but I decided that the 2017 model was not only newer but a significant upgrade.

If I wanted a better processor and better graphics card, I'm looking at $1700 and 150-minute drive.  If money were no object I would consider this, but what I am getting is a big step up from what I already have.  (My current late-2009 iMac is dying rapidly and is too expensive to repair.)     So it is a compromise between price and performance.  I consider the model I'm getting "good enough".   

All the computers I looked at appear to be in good shape.  Almost everybody told me that the computer was low use.  Almost everybody wanted something else after buying an iMac.  The model I'm buying is one that the guy purchased for his "ex" last year and he wants to get rid of it.

I  would not buy a Mac at all except for my desire to write iPhone apps.  The following videos illustrate how horrible they are to repair.


What I would rather do is build a new computer using the powerful chips that AMD is releasing in July. 

I noticed a "classic" videogame arcade on the map in Cincinnati.  I was curious about what games they have and if they have Donkey Kong.  I play this game up to once a day on my PC using emulation, but I wanted to see if they had the real thing.  They don't.  I called them.

This arcade is in a mostly abandoned mall, which has an apocalyptic feel to it.  I am considering stopping by since it is on my way, but I'll probably skip it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Fair_Village


Saturday, June 22, 2019

iMac

When I purchased a top of the line iMac in March 2010, I paid quite a lot of money for it, but my rationale was that it should last a long time, preferably till the end of the decade.

I tend to be a heavy user. I do tasks that are processor intensive. They used to say that computers were meant to be left on all the time, so I left mine on all the time. This is probably bad advice. The chickens have come home to roost. I recently paid to have the iMac cleaned out because it was full of dust and badly overheating. (This is a problem with all-in-one-computers, plus they tend to overheat anyway. Laptops can also have problems with overheating.) However, I have 4 major components either failing or about to fail, and the high cost of repair makes it look like it is time to get a different computer.

  

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Friday, May 24, 2019

I wrote this on Facebook

Of all the chess players that I have known, the name that sticks out the most is "Steve".  I have known so many Steves who play chess, in both Indiana and Utah. 

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, April 26, 2019

Thursday night

Thursday night I left chess club early to go see Avengers Endgame. This was a strange experience because there was no parking available in the huge theater parking lot. Every spot was taken and multiple cars were driving up and down the lanes looking for a place to park.

This was a problem because I had allowed myself barely enough time to catch the beginning of the movie after the previews had rolled.

I parked a block away in the middle of the Walmart parking lot, and I could see a bunch of other people doing the same. I then had to hurry in the rain to get to the theater. As I entered the theater I pulled out my ticket that I had already purchased, but nobody inside was checking tickets. It was fairly crowded and the movie was playing on five screens. I found my theater just as they were playing the spot that says, "And now enjoy the show!"

The only comparable experience was on December 17nth, 2015, when the first Star Wars movie in 10.5 years, The Force Awakens, premiered on a Thursday night. I had also left the chess club early, and I literally got the last parking spot after much searching.

I was worried that I might get a ticket or something, but there were no consequences for parking at Walmart. I was also worried about walking back in the dark at 11:10 at night, but I wasn't the only one.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Lawnmower

Today I bought a push lawnmower. My yard needed it badly. I had not mowed a lawn in 36 years. For the last 20 years, which is as long as I have owned my own home, I always paid people to do it. However, in my retirement, it was a cost-benefit analysis. It will take about 10 mows to pay for the lawn mower and gas, considering the money I will save.

Between my front yard and back yard is a gate too narrow for a riding lawnmower to fit through, otherwise, I would have gotten one.

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Songs of my youth come back to haunt me.

Maybe you wouldn't understand this. I found myself humming "Prepare Ye." Forty-two years ago this had deep religious significance for me, but I outgrew such notions about 35 years ago. Most of "Godspell" is not that interesting, but a couple of the songs are musically interesting, at least to me, because they meant a great deal to me a long time ago. I think that "Prepare Ye" and "Day by Day" are interesting songs, even if the message no longer has any meaning to me.



Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How Far Are The Nearest Stars?

When this guy goes on his road trip, the first thing I thought was that it looked like Salt Lake City.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCSIXLIzhzk

Speaking of Idaho, I took one trip to the relatively small town of Pocatello to play in a chess tournament.  It was 172 miles away.  I love Salt Lake City, but it is hundreds of miles away from other major cities.  Las Vegas is 420 miles away.  Denver is 520 miles, and so is Reno Nevada. Boise is 340 miles.

Friday, March 15, 2019

My old house in Salt Lake City on Google street view



The same:  Rose bushes on the left.  White railings. White shutters. Metal door.  Air conditioner that I had installed.

However, things change.

Gone:  Delapolated garage on the right behind the house, apparently.  I can't see it clearly.   Strawberry plants in the flower beds next to house. Raised stone flower bed with lamp post next to walkway.  White mailbox next to walkway close to the house.

Added:  Bushes in parking strip. Bushes in flower beds next to the house.  Stone flower beds next to sidewalk with mulch and bushes, with a dark mailbox close to sidewalk.  Two trees in front yard.  Stones around the flower beds close to the house and along rose garden on the left.  Politically liberal sign and a rainbow banner on the railing.

The front yard previously had a much simpler look that was all grass except for the rose garden on the left, the raised stone flower bed next to the walkway and the mailbox next to the walkway close to the house.  The only picture I could find was this one:



I see weeds in the driveway and sidewalk that I used to spray all the time.

I can't tell, but it looks like along the right wall they may have covered that area with rocks.  That would be a big improvement, because it was previously a dirt strip where nothing but weeds would grow, because if the sprinkler system can't reach it, nothing grows there.  That's how Utah is.  Without the sprinkler system, everything dies.  You can see some brown grass next to the driveway, which means that they might not be getting full coverage with the sprinkler system.   I got frustrated with the underground sprinkler system, because mine would break almost every year.  I was constantly paying for repairs.

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