Monday, June 18, 2018


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:


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: 

Monday, April 30, 2018


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 


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 "". Even with these you have to be careful that it doesn't say something like "".

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.


Sunday, February 18, 2018


I struggled to print color chess diagrams using a black and white ink cartridge on my HP F2100 printer. I had done this successfully using the same type of printer belonging to someone else. However, when I tried to print the chess diagrams, the black and white squares came out blank. So I fooled around with the print settings and nothing seemed to help. However, I kept fooling with the print settings and it suddenly worked correctly. I honestly don't know what I did different to make it work.


Monday, February 12, 2018

iPhone battery replacement.

I'm blown away by what happened today.

I have been trying to make my 64GB iPhone 6+ that I purchased 40 months ago last as long as possible. I'm past the point where I would buy a new phone every two years, especially since modern phones are good enough that the changes from one year to the next are not as revolutionary as they used to be.

Apple received some bad press when it was revealed that they were slowing down older iPhones with worn out batteries to help preserve the battery life. Because of the bad press, Apple put their $79 battery replacement service on sale for $29. I had an appointment to get the battery replaced a month ago, but when I showed up for my appointment they didn't have any batteries available. So I waited a month to be notified that the battery had arrived and I went in today to have the service done.

I dropped off the phone at the Apple store and they told me that the repair would take an hour. So I got some lunch at the mall and wandered around to pass the time.

At this point a thought creeped into my mind, where I wondered what would happen if the repair didn't work? After all, my phone is 40 months old, so maybe something would go wrong and the phone would not work with the new battery? This might seem like an unnecessary worry, except this is actually what happened. They informed me that my iPhone did not power on with the new battery installed.

They immediately informed me that they were giving me a new 64GB iPhone 6+, and still only charging my $29. I was shocked by this, and asked if the phone was refurbished, but they told me, no, it was a new phone. So I walked into an Apple store with $29 and a 40 month old phone, and walked out with a brand new phone of the same type.

I'm impressed.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Rian Johnson Podcast

Out of curiosity I listened to this extended interview of Rian Johnson.  It is long.  It is an hour and 47 minutes long.

Since The Last Jedi has plot holes you could drive a truck through, and after seeing the title, 'Rian Johnson Talks 'The Last Jedi' Criticism, Says He "Wouldn't Change a Thing"', I had to know how Rian Johnson responds to criticism about the plot holes.

Well, after listening, I conclude that Rian Johnson doesn't have a clue as to why these things are plot holes, and why those things might turn off the audience.  I can only guess that he looks at the story from an artistic point of view and not a logical one.  And to think that he is going to be directing the next trilogy?

Unfortunately the interview doesn't talk about Social Justice Warrior messages, which would have been a very interesting topic.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

My trip to and from Salt Lake City.

FYI, Someone I know on Facebook was sharing this video:

Although it takes place on I-80 in eastern California, it looks just like driving I-80 through the mounts of Utah. I commented that there are some really steep roads in Utah, so the person who shared the video wanted more information. So I responded ...

As you go east from Salt Lake City on I-80, you find yourself going up and down some steep grades as you travel to the Park City exit. Going uphill, my car could not go full speed, and the semi-trucks were even worse going at most 30 MPH. The return trip from Park City is even more interesting, because the first thing you do is go up a long intense slope. When I had a Toyota Tercel, it almost couldn't handle it. I went up that long hill at about 20 or 25 MPH because my feeble car couldn't go any faster.

When I first moved to Utah, I took 4 days to leisurely drive out there on a trip that can be done in 2 days. The trip from Cheyenne Wyoming to Salt Lake City Utah is particularly interesting. This takes 7 to 8 hours with stops. I drove the first hour of that trip late at night going uphill on winding roads into extremely foggy mountains until I stopped at Laramie Wyoming, which is a college town. I spent the night there. Oddly enough, when I made the return trip 22.5 years later I had the same problem with fog at night on winding roads, going downhill this time, which felt really dangerous because you could potentially drive off a cliff. In both cases the visibility was very poor. The remainder of the trip to Salt Lake City is a mixture of mountains and desolate landscapes. That winter in 1993 was pretty bad and there was some concern about the highway being passable. However, during the last part of the trip I felt like I had been driving in the mountains for hours, going around many curves and up and down hills, until finally, I went around a big curve and then magically the mountains disappeared and Salt Lake City appeared before me. Much to my surprise I found myself immediately in the city.

Thirteen years in a row I drove I-15 from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas for the National Open Chess Tournament. Crossing from Utah to Nevada involves going through 20 miles of Arizona, and it is downhill most of the way through winding mountain canyons. The red cliffs are on both sides are particularly beautiful. On the return trip, there is a place in southern Utah that that you go steeply downhill on a straight road for several miles. It is a descent of at least a few hundred feet. When you first reach the top of the hill before you go down it is quite an impressive sight, because you see a vast valley stretch out before you about as far as the eye can see. It is not quite as noticeable going the other way toward Vegas because it just feels like you are just going uphill for a few miles.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The War

I binged watched the PBS Ken Burns series "The War" on Netflix streaming. I had seen it before, but it is so powerful that I felt that it was worth watching again.


The first roundabout I ever saw was in my neighborhood of Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City. It was fairly small, and replaced a 4 way intersection. As you approached it there was a sign that said "Traffic Circle" which created some confusion in my mind as to whether it should be called a roundabout or a traffic circle.

It turns out the two terms are not for the same thing. Traffic Circles are larger and do no require you to yield before entering. Roundabouts are smaller, and you must yield before you enter. The traffic is slower on roundabouts than traffic circles, making them safer.

In the last decade we have seen an explosion of roundabouts and I like them. They are safer and faster than normal intersections.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Copy of Facebook post.

In the stone age, before Facebook, when I wanted to share something, I would send it via email. In fact, I still have different mailing lists set up in gmail for sending out different kinds of content.

So what then is the value of Facebook? There is no guarantee that when you post something on Facebook that people are going to see it. I have read that maybe only 20% of posts are visible to people because there are too many posts, and Facebook itself tries to figure out which ones you might want to see.

The first thing that Facebook has done for me is that it is allowed me to connect with people that I would have otherwise had no idea how to contact. It turns out that the friends of my friends are also my friends or at least people that I would like to stay in touch with. And Facebook allows you to search for people. I created my account all the back in 2008, but rarely used it until certain people found me on Facebook.

The second thing that Facebook has done for me is that it is pretty darn entertaining. Not a day goes by that I don't see several things on Facebook that are amusing. Sometimes it is informative, but usually not, so Facebook is not how I get my news.

This also makes Facebook time consuming. It is interesting to see how many people have their face buried in their phones looking at Facebook. For many people, Facebook is the Internet.

Facebook is also a weird form of social interaction.

So I have spent much time on Facebook. In the last three years it has become an integral part of my life, whereas before it meant very little to me.

I am contemplating deleting my Facebook account for a week to six months. It would be interesting to see what life is like without Facebook. Go dark. This would save a bunch of time and make it easier to focus on other things. However, maybe I can no longer live without Facebook. It is almost a certainty that I will come back.

Youtube has also become a form of social interaction. It is interactive in a different way, where you subscribe to channels of things that interest you, and then people exchange comments on the videos posted to those channels. Plus, if you are ambitious enough, you can make your own videos. I am as much hooked on Youtube as I am Facebook.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Decent result in USCF Online rated blitz tournament.

​I got a draw against one higher rated player and lost to a master.  My rating went from around 1784 to 1800.  Lately I had some
trouble staying above 1800 on

Although it is not like I won the tournament, but given the
competition I was just happy just to place 3rd.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Facebook post from 2 years ago.

If you want to install Windows 7 on pre-2012 Mac computer, then the
only way to do it is with a bootable DVD using the internal DVD drive.
Never mind running to store to purchase the flash drive that all the
instructions and Bootcamp tell you to use. It doesn't work. Neither
does an external DVD drive. If you want to make a bootable DVD from an
ISO, then your best bet is a Windows 7+ PC using the Windows USB-DVD
download tool. Not using the tool will fail. Also, Windows XP is
apparently not 64 bit enough to burn the disk successfully, and the
ISO I burned from the Mac didn't seem to work. Fortunately I had a
Windows 10 laptop. And as far as that internal DVD drive is concerned,
if yours never worked right from the time you bought the Mac (like
mine), or currently doesn't work right, then you are out of luck. I
just had a repair shop order me a new one.

I should add that if Bootcamp refuses to remove XP from your Mac, and
then tells you to boot up in recovery mode to remove the partition,
that this is an easy way to turn your Mac into a very big paperweight.
Likewise if something goes wrong with the bootcamp install, your Mac
may refuse to boot. If this happens to you, don't panic like I did and
spend $65 at a repair shop to get your operating system reinstalled
back to factory settings. It turns out that if you hold ALT (Option)
key on boot up that you get to a boot menu where you can get back to
your operating system.

The only reason I bought a Mac in 2010 was so that I could write
iPhone Apps. Otherwise, I can't see why anyone would want to own one.
The 27 inch iMac is a very beautiful overpriced computer with a pretty
operating system, but I find that operating system clunky and
restrictive to use. Also, I am too dependent on Windows to not have
that as well.

Hello, I'm a PC.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I occasionally listen to old episodes of Greg Garrison, who has retired.

I especially liked this episode.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Galaxy Song - Monty Python Live in O2 Arena.

I was going to write a Facebook post about how absurd it all seems to
me, that we live on a big rock, rotating at 1037 miles an hour (less
as you move away from the equator), going around the Sun at 67,000
MPH, and moving around the galaxy at unfathomable speed, and all of
this is like a grain of sand on the beach of an immense cosmic ocean
that is forever expanding at an ever accelerating rate.

However, this video expresses it much better:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Star Trek

Around 1989 I was having lunch with coworkers when one person asked what seemed at the time to be a reasonable question, "How does the computer on Star Trek know everything?", like maybe that would be impossible.  

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, November 3, 2017

Intermittent fasting

A friend introduced me to an idea called "Intermittent Fasting." There are different kinds of intermittent fasting, but the easiest is one where all your meals are contained within an 8 hour window. Actually I am using a 9 hour window which is fine. Even a 10 hour window is okay, but maybe not as effective.

To do this, I skip breakfast, eat a good lunch somewhere between noon and one, and the last thing I eat is around 9 PM. That's later than most people, but I keep a pretty late schedule.

I still count calories to the best that I am able. I figured out a long time ago roughly how many calories I need to maintain my body weight, and if I eat slightly less than that then I lose weight slowly without going hungry.

Anyhow, using the 9 hour window seems to be more effective, and I am losing weight, although somewhat slowly.

The point of intermittent fasting is to have more time in the day when your body is not producing insulin. Insulin is the fat storage hormone, and gets secreted pretty much after you eat anything, but especially carbohydrates.  When your body is not producing insulin, that signals your body to use up your fat storage.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017


I have been physically and mentally off since the state chess championship.   I've had some problems sleeping, but mostly last week. 

​My family
 and I ate Chinese buffet in Columbus on Saturday, which I normally love and it was our third time that week, but I then had diarrhea for 
​.  I'm still feel off and borderline sick.​

My results in the State Championship were good, and just slightly better than I would have expected.  I nearly lost to a 13 year old prodigy who was rated almost as high as me, but my experience enabled me to get a draw.  I also had trouble with another teenager, but my experience allowed me to barely squeeze out a win.  I also beat a chess master and former state champion.

I feel like age is a factor in playing in these long tournaments.   I took a bye in round 4, which you are allowed to do, because I thought that five games of four hours each would be too much in one weekend.  Against the current state champion, I was holding my own, but lost some of my focus about 3 hours into it and lost.  I enjoyed the tournament, but it was so long and so hard that it was also an ordeal.  I told my friends that it would be better for me to play shorter tournaments.

Apparently I have experienced some chess burnout after the tournament.  I have spent 20 months studying chess trying to get as good as I can and only got minimal improvement for my investment of time.  I normally take great enjoyment in going to the chess clubs, and to some extent playing online, but these last few days I felt like I was just going through the motions.  I lacked focus, which for me is normally pretty intense.

I wondered if I was experiencing some sort of personality change, because I wasn't feeling the same level of joy playing this game that I normally would?  Normally I really enjoy playing, but not so much this last week.

I think what is really happening is that I have developed an interest in writing computer code again, and this has been very much in my thoughts.  So my interests are shifting to writing computer code.  I don't want to abandon chess, but for the moment I don't want to give it the same level of intensity.

Best wishes,

​John Coffey​

Friday, October 13, 2017

I was a big fan of the Atari ST and wrote a videogame for it.

In the mid1980's we saw a ton of small computer makers that would quickly fall by the wayside.  Atari and Commodore were fairly large, but ultimately lost to more mainstream computers.