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:

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.


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.

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. (

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.  (,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:,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!."

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Ringworld - Larry Niven

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