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 One could use it to browse the internet and read email, but it is way out of date, and it was never very useful to begin with.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!!!