Thursday, July 29, 2021

Storm



For the 22 years that I lived in Utah, I never experienced weather of this intensity.  However, it seems pretty common in Indiana, with at least one nasty thunderstorm per year, if not several.

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

How Does Film ACTUALLY Work? (It's MAGIC)


For most people, film is obsolete.  I remember having a camera as a kid and there was something magical about cameras before technology came along.  

As best as I can recall, I didn't really bother with cameras from my college days onward.  It wasn't till sometime in my early 40's I got the most primitive digital camera possible, that only took 640x480 pictures, which matched some early computer monitor resolutions. I actually had fun with this camera despite the pretty low quality.  Eventually, mobile phones could take pictures even before smartphones.  

In 2008, I got an iPhone 3G which had a 2 megapixel camera.  
In 2010, I got an iPhone 4 which had a 5-megapixel camera.  
In 2012, I got an iPhone 5, which had an 8-megapixel camera.  I still own this phone.  The metal bands around the edge of this phone made it pretty tough, which allowed it to survive a pretty big accidental drop onto the pavement.  This will be relevant below...

In 2014, I got an iPhone 6+ which also has an 8-megapixel camera.  When I tried to participate in an Apple battery replacement program, something went wrong with the phone, so they gave me a free replacement which I still have.

Years later I got an iPhone 6S+ on a Black Friday sale.  It has a 12-megapixel camera.  Because the wi-fi died on in, I bought another one of these on another Black Friday to replace it, which is still my primary phone.  

Today I dropped my iPhone 6s+ and the screen cracked, but I managed to get it repaired the same day for $89.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

House littered with computers

This is an update to an article I wrote 2 years ago...

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-seven 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. I bought a second one when the wi-fi on the first failed, so technically I have two. I also have a couple of older iPhones in storage. These could easily be thrown out since they are not very useful anymore.

2. I have an iPad 4. The only reason I bought it was because my iPad 2, which I loved, was stolen when someone broke into my home 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. You can do all the normal internet stuff with them, but I have plenty of devices that can do that. I think that my iPad's best use is to play audiobooks.

3. About 11 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.

4. Recently, I bought an Amazon Fire Tablet, normally $150, for $80 on a Black Friday sale. It is a pretty nice tablet, but there is not anything I can do with it that I can't do on other devices. I bought it so that I could attempt to write Android apps and test them on the tablet.

5. I'm typing this on my 2017 27" iMac. This is a replacement for my late-2009 iMac that has several problems, such as the display repeatedly shutting off. I occasionally still use this machine just for analyzing chess games, which is processor intensive, although my new iMac is plenty capable of doing that.

6. Four 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.

Newer, more powerful versions of the Raspberry PI are available.

7. I own both a NES Classic Edition and a Sony PlayStation Classic. These are both game emulation boxes. Both are good for playing games and both can be hacked to play even more games.

8. I bought three Arcade1up machines. These are 3/4 scale arcade games that you assemble yourself. They are essentially emulation boxes that come with classic arcade games. I like my Star Wars Arcade game the best.

9. 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 that good, but I still occasionally use it because it does a great job with one game in particular, which is Pole Position.

10. I have an old Sega Genesis with some cartridges that I plan on selling. Over 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.

11. I was able to fix an old laptop that I gave away to a chess player in need. Then I was able to purchase 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, but otherwise, I don't really need a laptop anymore.

So I count 18 computers. My house *is* littered with computers, some of which I could easily throw away.

I am not going to count the three electronic chess clocks that I own. I don't know if they use a CPU or just dedicated logic chips.

I didn't count the Star Wars Storm Trooper Robot that I got in a package deal with my Star Wars arcade game.  This device can interface with your smartphone and play games.  I have been trying to sell it for a year.

I also didn't count my robot vacuum cleaners.  I own two, one of which is broken.  I have had these for well over a decade, and the one that works is starting to have problems.

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.

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Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Aphantasia: The People Without a Mind's Eye | 'Out of Mind'

The first three minutes of this video talk about how a few people can't visualize things in their minds.  


This is an interesting condition because I have always been kind of the opposite.  Very often I close my eyes and visualize things in my mind.

I have played chess in my head many times although with a great deal of difficulty.  I think that I was better at this when I was younger.  Under the right circumstances, I might get a good visual of the board in my head.  It helps to have no distractions.  Even when I play chess normally I am easily bothered by distractions.

Every time I have written a computer program I've tried to visualize ahead of time the different parts in my mind.  Some people might do this on paper but I might spend hours just thinking about it before I write any code.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Housing prices

Although the Zillow estimate on housing value might not be perfect, it is a pretty good judge of which way the market is going.
The housing prices in Salt Lake City have gone through the roof. The house that I paid $130,000 back in 1999 is now estimated to be worth $647,000. I sold it for a fraction of that.
Indiana is not as bad, but it seems recently that prices have taken off. The home I purchased less than 3 years ago is up by 25% from what I paid. My previous home in New Whiteland that I paid $120,000 for six years ago is now estimated to be worth $220,000.
The key point is that I could not afford to move if I wanted to. I would have to sell my home first or make my next purchase contingent on selling my home first.

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Monday, June 14, 2021

Columbus, Indiana

I just heard on the radio that Columbus, Indiana is going to celebrate its bicentennial. I was in Columbus when they were celebrating their 150th anniversary. I attended a parade. What a way to remind me of how old I am getting.

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Friday, June 4, 2021

Columbus Chess Club anniversary of sorts.

I first went to the Columbus Chess Club 46 years ago *today*. The club started in either 1972 or 1973.

Half a century seems to go by pretty quickly.





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Thursday, May 27, 2021

What exactly are mushrooms? What are they made of? They're not vegetables?

I am not thrilled with the idea of eating a fungus.  They are pretty good on pizza.  While I was in college I would occasionally eat deep-fried mushrooms, but it has been at least 35 years since I last did that.  Why eat deep-fried mushrooms when you could eat french fries or onion rings?

The bulk of the information is in the first half of the video.

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

What Are You Doing With Your Life? The Tail End

This video seems particularly relevant to my life, and prophetic.  It is more of a casual observation, but the shoe fits.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Coroner identifies man found deceased under Anderson bridge | News | heraldbulletin.com

I worked with Eric at two different companies in Salt Lake City. We were friends and sometimes ate lunch together. He once did me a favor by getting something for me at Sam's Club when I didn't have a membership. However, over a decade ago it seemed like he was starting to have mental health problems. It is surprising that he passed away in Indiana. I wouldn't have recognized him from the picture. He was normally clean-shaven and I remember him from when he was much younger and doing well.

At this point, it would be hard to count the number of people that I have known who have passed away.

https://www.heraldbulletin.com/news/coroner-identifies-man-found-deceased-under-anderson-bridge/article_bd9ee9b0-b980-11eb-98aa-176e8afedd83.html

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Playing The Playstation 5 On A Sony CRT TV

Get a load of this TV.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2EQ8gZ9BgM

I had a couple of 33 inch regular TV's that I got for free and they weighed 156 pounds. Two of us had extreme trouble lifting one of these. I decided that they weren't worth the trouble and gave them away.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Robison Crusoe

The book Robison Crusoe is a little over 300 years old. I read it as a teenager.

It is one of the most widely published books.


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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Can't Focus? It's Not Your Fault, You're Being Tricked. This is How.

https://youtu.be/h6bIhubBA_k

I have a problem with YouTube addiction, which I am trying to manage.  My problem is that YouTube has a great deal of content that I find interesting.  I suppose that any form of entertainment is an escape from reality.

It's not you. Phones are designed to be addicting...

https://youtu.be/NUMa0QkPzns  

The following uses very crude language, but he is not wrong:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t53Y8eBfzI

I'm not sure if this is helpful...

https://youtu.be/q_xm5Weu3nE




Saturday, April 24, 2021

#15 puzzle

I used to be fond of the #15 puzzle, and even Bobby Fischer was fond of it. The 19nth century puzzle maker Sam Lloyd claimed that he invented it, but it was actually invented by a 19nth century postmaster named Noyes Chapman.

It seems to me that the puzzle is a precursor to the Rubicks' Cube. Both involve sliding pieces in a limited way. It is possible to take apart and reassemble both in a way that can't be solved. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_puzzle

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Cataract

I went to a new optometrist in Columbus, who recommends that I have a cataract in my good eye removed.  I'm supposed to make an appointment at South Emmerson in Indianapolis to be evaluated.  I have had a cataract in my good eye for at least ten years.  Since I only have one good eye, Doctors in Salt Lake City recommended that I do nothing until this condition got worse.   According to the Optometrist, I have progressed from stage 1 to roughly stage 2.5.  I am only seeing about 20/40, whereas in the past I was correctable to 20/30, which is about as good as my heavily nearsighted eyes can get.  It appeared to me while driving, especially at night, that my vision was a little off.

I don't know yet when the operation will be, but I am holding off on some other plans I had until I find out.  I am told that this operation might correct my much of nearsightedness.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Remember warming up the TV before watching it?

For those who don't remember, on powering up really old televisions the image would start as a dot in the middle of the screen, and then expand. It might only take a couple of seconds to a few seconds to reach full size. The reason for this is that old televisions used vacuum tubes instead of transistors, and these needed warming up. I remember going to a repair shop that had dozens of different types of tubes for replacement parts.

Sometime in the mid-1970s, manufacturers began to advertise televisions that were "Instant On". Since many of these TV's still used vacuum tubes, I noticed that these TV's kept some of the vacuum tubes powered up even when the TV was "off". I could tell because most vacuum tubes glowed. Many old televisions had heat vents toward the back and an orange glow would emanate from these vents. It would light up the wall behind my television.  The TV also put out a great deal of heat.

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Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

My long distant past keeps catching up with me

My long distant past keeps catching up with me, especially on Facebook.
Leroy Watson
Facebook
You're not friends on Facebook
New Facebook Account

1:12 PM

Leroy sent Today at 1:12 PM

Are you the one that wrote the BASIC compiler from JRC Software? If you are I just wanted to say I really liked that program and learned a lot from it.
Seen by Leroy

2:40 PM

You sent Today at 2:40 PM

Yes. That was me. I wasn't terribly happy with that program because I thought that I could make it better but I didn't have the time. I am trying to explore the 2068 computer again because I am retired and I have the time. I have an idea for a video game that I want to write. I worked for videogame companies in Utah from 1993 to 2000.
You can now message and call each other and see info like Active Status and when you've read messages.

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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Amish Facts: These Amazing Facts Will Teach You More About Their Culture

https://definition.org/amazing-facts-amish-will-make-appreciate-culture/22/

According to this article, the Amish population in the United States has increased rather dramatically to about 300,000.  I find this number surprising because it means that roughly one in a thousand people in the United States is of the Amish faith.  

There is or was a community of Amish people living somewhere between Scottsburg and Salem, Indiana.  I was born in Salem.  When I lived in Scottsburg back in the 1980s, I saw some of them in a buggy while driving to Salem, even though I didn't take that trip very often.  I would on rare occasion see a few of them in Scottsburg, and I met and talked with an Amish young man in the mid-1980s.   My impression of him was not very favorable.  He seemed to me to be remarkably ignorant, but I assume that his faith does not encourage knowledge beyond what he needs for life in his community.  Because of this, I feel like his faith is repressive, although he no doubt chooses that lifestyle.

Friday, April 9, 2021

How Crash Bandicoot Hacked The Original Playstation | War Stories | Ars Technica

I find this interesting as a former videogame programmer.  When the game came out, some programmers thought of it is as not true 3D, although actually, it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izxXGuVL21o

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Denny's

It took me 3.5 days to drive to Salt Lake City in 1993.  I would stop at restaurants that were familiar to me, especially, Denny's, because I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to get.  So I used to really like them and associated them with a good dining experience, but I went to one in Fort Union, Utah around 2014 and I was disappointed.  I had fried chicken tenders and french fries, but this seemed to be the typical type of thing on their menu.  Plus the booths were small and crowded together.  

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

TV Resolution

A couple of months ago I decided to temporarily swap my 4K 55" smart TV with my Step-Dad and Mom's 40" dumb 1080P TV that I had purchased for them as a Christmas gift.  They need a bigger screen more than I do.  I watch most stuff on my computer anyway.

Comet TV is one of the few broadcast stations that I can get.  It broadcasts re-runs of Sci-Fi TV shows and mostly terrible Sci-Fi movies.  I occasionally watch shows on it.

Unfortunately, Comet TV broadcasts only in 480i, which is also the same resolution as videotape and CRT televisions.  On my 4K TV, it looks absolutely terrible.  Surprisingly, on the 1080P TV that I am now using, it doesn't look so bad.

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