Dwayne Phillips ' Day Book

This is my day book for this week. I have modeled this after science fiction and computer writer Jerry Pournelle's view, or as he calls it, his Day Book. I encourage you to see Jerry Pournelle's site and subscribe to his services.

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This week: September 1-7, 2008

Summary of this week:

Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday - Sunday

Monday September 1, 2008

Today is Labor Day in the U.S. The weekend is extended and likewise many of my Internet sources extended their weekends.

This post suggests Apple start licensing its OS X operating system to other hardware makers. That would be a risk that could pay well, but then Apple would learn about how tough it is to ensure your OS works with every piece of hardware someone decides to make. In the old days, the IBM operating systems only ran on IBM hardware. They worked. Much of the complaints about Microsoft comes from poorly built hardware making their operating systems look bad. Beware Apple.

Texas Instruments has a DLP Pico projector. Look at the photo and the video. It seems this class of device is here or will be on the market really soon now. Western civilization may come to an end.

I didn't know the Commordore computer brand still existed. Evidently it does as here is a small portable computer. The post notes that there isn't much to note.

Stowe Boyd quotes John Stuart Mills, "It is hardly possible to overrate the value … of placing human beings in contact with others dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar… Such communication has always been, and particularly in the present age, one of the primary sources of progress." That guy sounds pretty smart. I have to agree. This is the greatest learning I had while attending some seminars and such led by Jerry Weinberg. I learned that all those "super successful people" were like me in that they were ordinary. I also learned that they were nothing like me. They had completely different experiences and thoughts and feelings about things.

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Tuesday September 2, 2008

GigaOm privides a guide to the really small portable computers. They hesitate to recommend the Linux version of many of these computers. I love the Linux versions.

It seems a lot of people don't like CafePress.com That little outfit allows you to make t-shirts, coffee mugs, and even self publish books and such. Everyone sues because of copyright and trademark infringement. At least that is what this post proclaims. I have tried CafePress.com It works well for some things and is fairly easy to use.

NBC got 72 million video streams from its Olympics coverage, but that is awful. YouTube had 4.2 billion streams in May. So while NBC set some type of all time record for network (bad) coverage of a sporting event in China, they really didn't do much.

Google is to release a new browser later today called Chrome. Lots of mumbling about it all over the Internet. We shall see.

More Google news - they are putting facial recognition into their online photo storing software.

And one more bit of Google news - they are ten years old.

Here is amazing video of last week's NASA rocket explosion. Somehow, no one was injured.

Researchers are doing amazing things at Stanford with small UAV helicopters. Twenty years ago we dreamed about this kind of thing.

Microsoft is still the most-used word processor, but it isn't in the majority at 46%. Open Office is second with 17%. Google Docs (online) is at 11%. I use all three of these word processors plus Apple's Pages. I guess I like variety.

GNU is 25 years old. Wow! I have benefited greatly over the years from GNU. Here is another version of the story.

For writers, this is a good post about things to do when you don't feel like writing. Number one on my list is to take nap. Then sit with my hands on the keyboard. Start typing "blah blah blah blah..." Real words tend to follow, then sentences, and then I am writing.

Here is something that (thankfully) never happened. In 1931, the Nationalist government of China (the guys who left and went to Taiwan) had plans for making the Great Wall of China a highway for cars. I am glad that other events (like WW II) got in the way.

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Wednesday September 3, 2008 

Some Apple rumors are coming to a conclusion. Apple will hold an event on September 9th, and it will be about iPods - not computers. I am amazed at the industry surrounding Apple rumors. It is a full time job for many people.

Google's Chrome browswer came out yesterday. Cnet has a bunch of stories on it. It is too soon to tell anything. Oh, it is for Windows only so far. I guess I can wait for the OS X version.

The U.S. Army just signed a $200 million contract with iRobot. My guess is that most of that money will be spent on parts, service, maintenance, and training. The hardware isn't expensive while the people with the expertise are.

And to keep going into the future, the U.S. Army may have lasers mounted on trucks to shoot down missiles, artillery shells, and such. I picture a scene from the old movie "Earth vs. Flying Saucers." Maybe it is time for this technology to work.

This post is about enjoying freelance work, but I take the lessons to enjoying life. A big one: Work with people that you like. Life is too short to spend with people who make my life miserable. Another big one: Live within your means financially. Jerry Weinberg talks about this one often. People freelance to become independent, but their lifestyle makes them financially dependent on others. The old saying: debt robs you of choice.

I find this post on income from blogging and other things quite instructive. One of the few that carry that recommendation. I especially like how the writer diagrams the different types of content and how to use each. Keep this post for future reference.

Here is some good information on proofreading your own writing. I use most of these techniques daily. They work for me.

This is not new, but news to me. The hole in the wall project demonstrated that kids in a slum in India could learn how to use a computer and surf the web without any instructors. The kids then taught other kids and so on. Education budgets? Maybe we can think about that one again.

Here are photos of the Sikorsky X2 Technology Demonstrator helicopter. It is supposed to fly twice as fast as current helicopters. Interesting.

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Thursday September 4, 2008

The Long Tail and Sarah Palin. From Peggy Noonan and a WSJ editorial. "There are 262 cities in this country with a population of 100,000 or more. But there are close to a hundred thousand small towns with ten thousand people or less. You do the math..." Big cities represent 2.62 million Americans. Small towns represent 1 billion Americans. It would be foolish to assume that all small-town residents would vote for Sarah Palin. It is, however, a different perspective on the situation.

This may be an opportunity for writers. DailyLit.com emails snippets of books to people each day. It seems that some people will read a five-minute piece of a book in email everyday, but won't hold a paper book in their hands and read five minutes a day.

Scoble has an interesting post on innovation in America. It is one topic that no one is discussing during this year's campaign. How about something simple? Foreign nationals with PhDs and MDs get on the fast track to visas and citizenship. Bring the brightest and most educated people to America.

Good advice for writers. Here are bits and pieces from ten great writers on what they did. Notice the variety. Try each of these; try variations of each of these. Learn what works for yourself.

HP has come out with a gimick. They are selling a laptop computer without the box and all that packing material that clogs my garage. Instead they sell the computer in a carrying case. Put it on your shoulder and walk out the door. I like it.

Dell finally has their really small portable computer out - they call it the "mini 9." The lowest priced Linux version is $350. Here is another source of the information. Rats, the Linux version won't be available for "a few weeks." Here is a hands-on quick review.

Oh, and beware of the new Google browser and your privacy. Google may use everything you do on the browser. This isn't settled yet, but Google has always used most of what people have done with its products.

Here are some tools of a digital nomad. I will soon become one, reports to follow.

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Friday September 5, 2008

Here are Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. I don't know if this is supposed to be a commercial or what. I laughed while watching it.

If you are already looking to buy a Dell notebook, you can add a new Mini 9 for only $99. This is an interesting package deal. I am not in the market for a new notebook, so it won't help me.

This is a nice post about mind mapping. I have used mind maps for - wow 20 years. I must be getting older. Anyways, mind mapping has worked for me.

I like Johanna Rothman's blog about red flag words. A few years ago Roy O'Bryan and I wrote a book about projects and people. A key part of the book were the red flag phrases we heard on projects. One of the recent red flags I hear is, "When so-and-so arrives, everything will be much better," or "when such-and-such technology arrives, everything will be better." Magic is coming. Evil will be vanquished. WE won't have to do anything. My advice is to run and hide.

This is a neat video! The moon flying in front of the earth. This was taken from 31 million miles away.

Maybe this is why so many people are overweight. This study suggests that heavy mental work increases appetite, while it burns no more calories than sitting and watching TV. The other reason for obesity maybe that food tastes good and is really convenient.

HiVision, a Chinese company, has a $120 portable computer. They hope to eventually sell it for $98. Yes, a sub-$100 computer. I recall when the sub-$1,000 computer was a big deal. Here is another view of the machine with photos and a video.

This is what I really like about Web 2.0 and such. Tom Hillegass is a retired government employee who looks for and swims in good old "swimming holes." His web site swimmingholes.org is a place where people can put information on swimming holes. There is - or at least there was - a swimming hole near my mother's home. We called it the gravel pit. It was very deep. It was a nice place to spend an afternoon.

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Saturday September 6, 2008

Jim Estill of Copyblogger writes that he can write an article (500 words) in 20 minutes. I believe him. One of his keys to do so is that "I often 'incubate' an article for a few days." The same is true for me. Often the incubation is an hour or a few minutes, but when the time is right to write, the words can come quickly - limited only by my typing speed.

I like this post - the tickler file. It looks back at the back conept of 43 folders. You have one folder each per each month of the year and one folder each per each day of the month - 12 + 31 - 43 folders. I know, for some people this is obsessing on trivial matters, but for some of us it grants peace of mind.

A nice post on Trends in Teleworking. It does save a lot of money (and carbon if that interests you).

Dell may sell some of its factories outside the U.S. This will allow them to cut costs. Local companies can run the factories cheaper than Dell. I am afraid this means that local companies can treat local workers worse than Dell could do (bad publicity for Dell). This is how the cruise ship industry works.

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Sunday September 7, 2008

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