Tuesday, July 23, 2019

GameStop Is Gonna Try Some Big Changes To Save Itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwVpywoDM-c

The Cortana at 1:12 is the funniest thing I have seen in a while. It has happened to me before.
As a result of this, I just tried to see if I could get Contana (on Windows 10) and Siri (on the iPhone) to talk to each other. The result was surprising and amusing. The conversation went like this: Me: "Hey Cortana!" Cortana: Beep. Me: "Hey Siri." Siri: Beep. Cortana: "Shirley you are not Siri-us." (Exactly like that!)  
Siri: "I am always serious."

Saturday, June 29, 2019

How many computers do we own?

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-five 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.

2. I have an iPhone 6+ that mostly works, except for the wi-fi, which is why I don't use it anymore.

3. I have an iPhone 5 that is becoming obsolete, but it would still be functional. It only uses the AT&T type radio bands, which means that it could also work with some discount companies.

4. If I were to look really hard in my junk pile, I could find my old iPhone 3GS. It might still function as a phone, but nobody would want to use it.

5. I have an iPad 4. The only reason I bought it was because my iPad 2, which I loved, was stolen. 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 Fire 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 is best used to play audiobooks.

6. About eight 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 One could use it to browse the internet and read email, but it is way out of date, and it was never very useful to begin with.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.

7. I'm typing this on my late-2009 27" iMac. However, this computer has a number of problems, such as the display repeatedly shutting off. The computer has 4 major parts that have been identified by a technician as showing signs that they may fail in the near future, which makes the machine too costly to consider fixing. Even just dealing with the display problem is not really worth it.

8. Which is why, today, I bought a 2017 iMac, which is a significant upgrade from my old iMac. It will take at least a day for me to get all my software installed and working on the new machine.

9. A couple of 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.

A new Raspberry PI 4 has just been released, and it is more powerful.

10. I own both a NES Classic Edition and a SNES Classic Edition. I used to sell these for profit because they are often hard to find. I plan on selling at least one of these. Both are game emulation boxes, and I have hacked one of them to play more games. I plan on hacking the other one as well.

I am also considering also getting a Sony PlayStation Classic. It is a more powerful system that has been discounted down to $30 and can also be hacked.

11. I bought an Arcade1up machine. This is a 3/4 scale arcade game that you assemble yourself. It is essentially an emulation box, and it comes with 12 classic arcade games.

12. 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 particularly great, but I still occasionally use it because it does a great job with one game, which is Pole Position. I don't have anything else that can play this game.

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

14. I have a really old laptop that someone gave me. It is very slow, but I was able to use it to run chess tournaments. However, it recently stopped booting. It appears that the hard drive is corrupted. I thought that maybe I could fix it, but...

15. I was able to get 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.

So technically my house is littered with computers, some of which I could easily throw away.

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.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Saturday, June 22, 2019

iMac

When I purchased a top of the line iMac in March 2010, I paid quite a lot of money for it, but my rationale was that it should last a long time, preferably till the end of the decade.

I tend to be a heavy user. I do tasks that are processor intensive. They used to say that computers were meant to be left on all the time, so I left mine on all the time. This is probably bad advice. The chickens have come home to roost. I recently paid to have the iMac cleaned out because it was full of dust and badly overheating. (This is a problem with all-in-one-computers, plus they tend to overheat anyway. Laptops can also have problems with overheating.) However, I have 4 major components either failing or about to fail, and the high cost of repair makes it look like it is time to get a different computer.

  

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Monday, June 10, 2019

iMacs and all-in-one-computers

The problem with all-in-one-computers is that if something goes wrong then you have to fix the entire computer.

My current problem is that the display shuts off.  If I had a standard desktop tower and the display was quitting on me, I would just buy a new monitor.

My previous problem was that the computer was overheating because it was clogged with 9 years of dust,  First of all, you aren't likely to have this problem on a regular tower computer, but if you did, it is far easier to get to the internals to clean them out.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ryzen Threadripper - AMD - WikiChip

My 2009 iMac has a first-generation Core-i7 chip that has 42-nanometer circuits.  I just bought a refurbished laptop with a Core-I5 that has 35-nanometer circuits, and it performs 80% as well as the desktop even though it has half as many cores.

This is an interesting website about microprocessors.  I don't think that I would want to buy a processor with a 10 to 14-nanometer process when 7-nanometer processors are coming from AMD in August.  I find it interesting that Apple introduced 7-nanometer chips in their phones many months before either major processor company came out with 7-nanometer processors.  I also find it interesting that both the new Play Station and the new XBOX will have 7-nanometer processors from AMD.

In terms of the laws physics, it is almost impossible to get much smaller than this, although I have heard talk of a 5-nanometer chip.  I also heard about a possible 1-nanometer chip using different materials, but the technology is a long way off, and I have my doubts about how well it could work.

https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/amd/ryzen_threadripper

Friday, February 22, 2019

Fwd: The Verge: Apple is reportedly closing two stores in a Texas district to avoid patent trolls

Apple is reportedly closing two stores in a Texas district to avoid patent trolls

The Verge

The Eastern District of Texas is notorious for patent cases, and Apple wants out Read the full story


Shared from Apple News


Saturday, January 26, 2019

AMD APU's

I have some interest in getting an APU at some future date with the idea of building a lower cost computer. An APU is a chip that has the processor and graphics "card" on one chip, and this can save quite a bit of money over buying a seperate graphics card. For the moment, if you want the best performance, you need a separate graphics card, because you can get both better processors and better graphics cards that way.

The AMD APU that comes with the XBOX One X is fairly impressive. The processor is not fantastic, but the graphics are really good. However, you can't buy this APU and put it in a computer. The APU's that AMD released for computers in 2018 were just for low end gaming. However, I have read that AMD is going to release new APU's in 2019 and 2020.

Both Microsoft and Sony are planning on releasing next generation consoles either this year or next. Reportedly, these both will have higher performance AMD APU's, but not necessarily the same processor. I don't like the idea of buying a console that has PC hardware that you can't use as a computer. It would seem better to have the same performance in a computer, but so far AMD has not been releasing those chips to the general public.

This video gives an interesting history about how the technology has been evolving:

 
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Saturday, January 12, 2019

RIGHT TO REMAIN PRIVATE

This is an important video with profound implications for personal privacy in the age of smart devices.

The PROBLEM with the Foldable Phone

I want to see what Apple does with this.  They are not likely to try this until the technology is nearly perfect.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

iPhone 6s+ processor speed

Way back when I had an iPhone 4, I tried running the chess program Stockfish on it in analysis mode, and it was examining around 250,000 nodes per second, which at the time seemed to me to be pretty good for a handheld device.  This was not as good as my desktop, but still a good substitute for it.  Two years later when I got the iPhone 5, the speed had improved to around half a million nodes per second.  Two years after that with iPhone 6+ I was impressed to reach a million nodes per second.  However, I have just upgraded to the  iPhone 6s+, which is a three year old phone, and the same Stockfish program on this phone is examining an amazing two million nodes per second.

Compare this to my late 2009 iMac with a quad core 2.8 ghz core-i7 processor.  For its day it was a top of the line desktop computer, but today it is about average.   Using one core, the Stockfish program examines around 450,000 nodes per second.  If I use all 4 cores then the program sees about 1.5 million nodes per second.  The iPhone 6s+ only has two cores, but it is outperforming my desktop computer by a good margin.  

Since the iPhone 6s+ came out, Apple has released the iPhones 7, 8, 10, and 10s, all of which are faster than the previous generation.  (The 8 and 10 are part of the same generation.)  The 10s is only slightly faster than the 10, because we are reaching a point where the laws of physics won't allow them to make the circuits smaller, therefor faster.  I personally wanted an iPhone 10 or an iPhone 8, because I knew that the processor on those phones kicked ass, but I didn't want to spend a fortune for a phone, so I settled for the good enough iPhone 6s+, which I got on a Black Friday sale for $300.

Speaking of kicking ass, Apple has been doing that with their processor development.  No other mobile phone manufacturer comes close.  Apple is using a 7 nanometer process with their latest phones and tablets.  Compare that to Intel, the world's largest microprocessor manufacturer, who recently backed off of their 10 nanometer chips because of problems and instead released 14 nanometer chips.  AMD, who is already kicking Intel's butt, is scheduled to release 7 nanometer chips early next year, with a whole new line of processors that undercut Intel on price.

This is an exciting time because of how much progress has been made in computer processing power.  It is also impressive how much power Apple has been able to put in mobile devices.  The latest iPad Pro's, which use the same processors as their latest phones, outperform many desktop computers.

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