Sunday, July 30, 2023

Re: The tale of four displays

BTW, it only took me about 5 hours to sell the unwanted monitor on Facebook Marketplace.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

The tale of four displays

I bought both used computer monitors with the intention of comparing them and selling one.

The 4K monitor appears to have more washed out colors. Faces are more pale. The Star Wars crawl is yellow orange on the 1440p monitor, but pure yellow on the 4K monitor.

The color on the 1440P is closer to my 5K iMac display, which is reportedly a high quality display, and has a slightly better viewing angle than the 4K monitor.

I had all three displays playing the same movie at the same time.

So I just compared the cheap 40 inch TV that I originally purchased for my Mom and stepdad, but I am now using as my TV. It appears to have the same washed out color range as the 4K monitor.

I would have never known the difference had I not compared these side by side.

This makes my idea of using a cheap TV as a computer monitor look bad. The color quality might not matter as much for watching television, but depending upon what you do with it, I think that it matters more for a computer monitor.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, July 28, 2023

Missed Amazon Prime Day TV deal

During Prime Days, Amazon had this special deal that was invitation only. You had to sign up to be invited. The deal was for a 43 inch Amazon Fire smart 4K TV at $99. Of course, quantities were limited.

I'm kicking myself for not getting the deal.

According to the specs and reviews, the latency and color accuracy of the TV was a little less than ideal for use as a monitor, but I felt that it was good enough. I don't think that something like a 20 millisecond latency is going to be much of a problem.

I like the idea of having a 43 inch 4K monitor that is also a TV.

It would have saved me much trouble that I recently went to in order to buy a couple of used (high-quality) monitors. The 4K 28-inch Samsung monitor I bought only has 1-millisecond latency.

During Prime Days I was not feeling the best, although I've been feeling better lately.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Putting a Penny on John Wilkes Booth's Grave

Forty years ago I was complaining about how little one-cent coins were worth, comparing them to pocket lint, and wanting the country to get rid of them.   

Around 1968, my sister and I both bought two Hershey Kisses for a penny.  Today a package of 112 Hershey Kisses costs $7.44.  That's slightly less than inflation, but not sure what they would cost in small quantities. 

The American 1-cent coin is not technically a penny, except through popular usage.  We should just rename it to a penny. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Changes to Columbus Indiana

I was dreaming about the difference between Columbus fifty years ago when I was growing up here and now.

Back in the 1970s, Columbus had a population of 30,000 people.  Now it is roughly 50,000.

Fifty years ago the downtown area along Washington Street was a hub of retail activity.  Now it is a shell of its former self.  Many parts of downtown, including most of the former mall, have been taken over by Commins Engine Company.

Back in the 1970s and the mid-1960s, I lived close to downtown.

The other major retail area was 25th Street which is still partly true.  State Highway 46 used to follow 25th Street, but not anymore.  The current mall on 25th Street is almost dead and the city is spending millions to remodel it into a recreational center, whatever that is.

Today, the main retail area of Columbus is along US Highway 31, which is also called National Road.  It was also a retail area in the 1970s, but today a retail store needs to be close to National Road to survive.

Since the 1970s, Columbus has grown somewhat north and east, which makes National Road more relevant.  It has also grown west of Columbus on state highway 46.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, July 14, 2023

Lunar Lander (video game genre)

This is still playable on one of my Arcade1ups despite a malfunctioning screen.  (I am looking into getting a replacement screen.)

Before the 1979 arcade game came out, I had seen a text-only BASIC version of the game and may have even written one myself.

Around 1979 to 1980, when I was a high school senior, a buddy of mine named Richard and I loved playing Space Wars ( against each other.   In 1980, he signed up to go into the Navy for six years, so we made a pact that after he got out of the Navy he and I would get together and play Space Wars again.

It is my understanding that most of either Lunar Lander or Space Wars arcade games were converted to Asteroid machines which were much more profitable.

Richard and I lost touch with each other.  There was almost no hope of us getting together to play a game that didn't exist anymore.   However, he now lives down the street from me.  I'm thinking of inviting him to see my home "arcade".

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Arcade1up spinner modification

The new spinner will not work with the trackball unless I get this interface device which adds to the cost.  The spinner would work by itself on a game that didn't have a trackball, like a Tempest cabinet.  

I ordered this board yesterday and it is supposed to arrive today.

A couple of years ago, the person who makes these told me that I don't need the interface board.  He said that I could attach the spinner to the trackball.    However, the wires to the original (crummy) spinner are soldiered to the trackball control board.  If I had soldering skills I might be able to do it without the interface board.

I thought that I had to open up the spinner and this caused much delay in doing the upgrade.  I could not remove some of the screws and I had to enlist the help of my step-dad.  This has turned into a bigger project for something that I thought would be just plug-and-play.    I didn't need to do all this work if I just used the interface board.


Friday, July 7, 2023

Frankenstein computer

My friend Larry and I were talking about how both of us from 1995 to 1999 had Frankenstein computers that we kept upgrading piece by piece. Mine started out as a 486 33Mhz with absolutely no peripherals like a sound card or CD-ROM. At the time, it was all too costly. I updated the processor at least twice and kept buying peripherals as they became more affordable.

When CD-ROM drives first appeared they cost hundreds of dollars, and ones that could write CDs cost more.

Today a CD-ROM drive costs next to nothing.

I estimated that by the time I was done, I had spent $3,000 on my computer. By the year 2000, I had spent a fortune on it and it was already outdated. This felt like a big waste of money and I vowed to never do this again.

My new plan was just to buy a new computer every five years. By this point, computers came equipped with everything you need. I bought computers in 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2019. I only bought the last computer because the old one had been slowly dying for about a year.

Around 1989 or 1990, before I could afford a PC, I bought a dumb terminal and 150 baud modem so that I could dial into my work mainframe. (Faster modems were available, with 1200 baud being the best, but I bought used and outdated equipment because that was all that I could afford.)

I could type faster than the modem could transmit characters, but this gave me access to Usenet, which was an early form of text-only Internet. This was before 99.99% of the public had heard of the Internet. I used to read and post to the Star Trek and chess forums.

This was actually pretty entertaining.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Thursday, July 6, 2023

iMac LCD Inverter Replacement 2009

I am attempting to fix my 2009 iMac.  It is outdated, but it was a pretty good computer with a core-i7 processor that I think still has some value.  It has a display problem due to a bad inverter board.

One reason I am fixing this computer is that it has a nice 1440P display that can also be used as a display for other computers.  I tentatively planning on buying a very powerful mini-PC.

I ordered an inverter board for just $20.  The following video explains the installation.

Since I have to open the case, I am also upgrading the storage.  Getting an SSD should make a big improvement in the performance and make it feel more like a modern computer.

I have decided to use the roughly same parts that are used in this video because I know that they are likely to work.  I ordered a 960 GB Kingston SSD for just $40.

I debated on whether to get a newer, faster, and more costly SSD. The 2009 iMac uses Sata II instead of Sata III, and I read someplace that if you buy a Sata III drive, then you need to get one that is backward compatible.  The only SATA III drive that I could find that claimed backward compatibility was a 2 TB Samsung drive which was a good deal at $99.   However, I didn't want to spend the extra money in case this old computer runs into problems that I can't fix.  I would be throwing good money after bad.

As of this year, the cost of SSD drives is so low that regular hard drives are mostly obsolete.  For mass storage, you can get really large hard drives cheaper, but for everyday usage you are much better off going with an SSD.