Friday, January 18, 2019

Trivia

Some interesting trivia that I recently learned:

Bit = Binary Digit.
Pixel = Picture element.
Thursday is named after the Viking god Thor, because Thor in old English was "Thunor" and somehow from that we got "Thursday", meaning Thor's Day.  

So come play chess on Thor's Day at the Columbus Chess Club.

http://columbuschessclub.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sugarhouse shopping district in Salt Lake City

It has been almost 4 years since I left Salt Lake City. I was curious about the Sugarhouse shopping district, because they were in the process tearing down and rebuilding part of it when I left. I used to work a video game programming job on the second floor of a massive building (2144 South Highland Drive) where the lower floor was all shops. That building has been torn down for over a decade, but they were slow to rebuild because of the 2008 economic crisis. When I left Salt Lake City it was just a big hole in the ground.

I see on Google street view that this area is completely rebuilt with new shops. They have also added multiple apartment buildings close by, which they were just starting to build when I left.

The small building where my barber conducted his business is now gone. He was over 70 and he knew that eventually he was going to be forced out. He said that he would retire at that point because it wasn't worth the trouble to start again.

I liked living in Sugarhouse. I liked having access to all the shops. I even liked working in Sugarhouse and I miss the way it used to be.  One of friends tells me that it is not as walkable anymore, with heavier traffic and insufficient parking.

--
Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Copy of my Facebook post from 2 years ago today.

Events in recent years have impressed upon me the fragility of human life. I have lost friends, family, and associates. This happens with greater frequency as we get older, because most everyone we know is getting older too. However, I have also seen young people die from accidents. For example, a young couple I worked with were hiking in the mountains during a storm and were killed by lightning.

Cancer has claimed the lives of a few people I know.

What can we do about? I think that the first rule of living should be, "Don't do stupid stuff." Stupid stuff can get you killed. Don't take unnecessary risks. Obey the law. Don't do drugs. Drive defensively. Obey the speed limit. Keep your vehicle, especially your tires, properly maintained.

Keep fire extinguishers and working smoke detectors in your home. Get at least two carbon monoxide detectors, because if both alarms go off at the same time then you know it is not just a defective detector. This happened to me, but I also know a whole family that got carbon monoxide poisoning and had to be treated at the hospital.

I think that the second rule of living should be, "Take reasonable steps to protect your health." Don't smoke. Drink in moderation or not at all. Eat as healthy as you can. Consume more plant based foods and less red meat. Eat fewer processed foods and more fresh foods. Exercise.

By the way, there is much research to indicate that sugar is very bad for you and addictive. For this reason, I don't keep any sweets in my home, otherwise I know I would eat them.

This is all common sense, but humans in general have a tendency to ignore common sense. We think that nothing bad will happen to us, but I have seen bad things happen to too many people. There is potential disaster around every corner. This is the reality we live in.

--
Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas

Sometimes Christmas is much hustle and bustle, but it is also an opportunity to express our love and affection for all those we care about.

Here is wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

--

Saturday, December 15, 2018

My old neighborhood : Teen shot, 1 in custody in officer-involved shooting in Whiteland

Begin forwarded message:

From: Albert Nelms 
Date: December 15, 2018 at 7:42:22 AM EST
To: John Coffey 
Subject: Teen shot, 1 in custody in officer-involved shooting in Whiteland

Glad you "escaped" the violence in your old subdivision. 17 yr old teen shot multiple times by police at Harvest Meadow Way last night (?). The story is making headlines today.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving buffet

Corporations

I have worked for a few companies, and what I have noticed is that they often have relatively small teams working on projects of significant financial impact to the company. For example, 4 or 5 people might work on a project that would bring in a million dollars, or multiple millions of dollars of income to the company. This can vary depending upon the workload and the size of the project.

What this means is that the people doing the work have a heavy responsibility. If the project were to fail to meet expectations, it could cause significant financial damage to the company, and most likely end careers. One person falling down on the job could be disastrous.

Of course, management has a role too, because they have to negotiate contracts and make available the resources needed.

When I see something like a new iPhone come out, my first reaction is to think that maybe hundreds of people developed this product. However, my experience tells me that it probably was a small group of talented and dedicated people. iPhones might be a little different because the product has tens of billions in sales, so Apple probably devotes many resources to its development. I have heard rumors that some companies will have different teams of people compete with each other, which is something you only can afford to do if you are the richest company in the world.

Completely different from this, however, are the credits for major motion pictures. I watched the credits for "The Last Jedi", and at least 900 names scrolled by. It could have easily been over a thousand. Apparently, it takes a great many people to make a movie.


--

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Flash drives

Around 14 years ago 1GB flash drives were at least $90, and I felt especially privileged when my company gave me one. At the time that seemed like a lot of storage.

Now you can't even buy them. I just saw 128GB for $30.

  

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Fleet of Worlds

Finishing "Fleet of Worlds" on audiobook for the second time. The last time I listened to it was a few years ago.

This is a pretty awesome science fiction novel. It is a prequel to the award winning 1970 novel Ringworld. I am surprised to learn that there are three other prequels that follow "Fleet of Worlds."  Time for me to renew my audiobook membership.

Duke Clampett
Duke Clampett I'm not familiar with the library system down there, but you might want to look into it. I download most of the audiobooks I'm interested in from the Marion County system (reputed to be an extremely good one)and free of charge with library card.
Manage
John Coffey
John Coffey My friend Larry from Utah was recommending the same thing. My plan is to check the local library.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Apple says that they charge so much because they make the best phone.

Apple wants to make the best so that they can have the most margin. It probably costs around $350 to make this phone, and maybe $400 for the maxed out models, but Apple screws the customer on price anyway. They could charge $750 to $800 for any of these phones and be doing well.

This is deliberate. Apple will continue to do this only as long as people are willing to throw their money away. If nobody bought the XS Max, with the ironic name, Apple would be forced to offer discounts and be more reasonable in their pricing structure.

I am still happy with my iPhone 6+, but these prices are so insane that I will not buy the latest models. I could be just as happy with a cheaper 1 to 2 year or model, or a different brand. There are $500 phones that people can be just as happy with.

A dollar per day will not pay for this phone in two years. Maybe three years, but some models would take four years.


Friday, September 21, 2018

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

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



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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Googol

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

Re: My day.

Facebook posts from yesterday:

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

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

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



Once again this describes my life:






Long John Silvers

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

--

My day.

 A couple of Facebook posts I made:


I now have hot water.

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

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

  





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

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

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

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


--

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Moving to Columbus

FYI.

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

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

All the Best,
Al


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

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

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

Best wishes,

John Coffey


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


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

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



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

https://youtu.be/NJ7M01jV058

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My Facebook Post from 2 years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Greenwood Chess Club

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

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

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

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

--

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I have a deep interest in physics

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


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

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

--

Saturday, July 7, 2018

John Coffey

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


--

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Comparing AMD CPU's (corrected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

Comparing AMD CPU's

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

Monday, June 18, 2018

Surprise!

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


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

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

.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Kayden Troff

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

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



Saturday, May 12, 2018

Classic songs

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