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 8-14, 2008

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 8, 2008

Google's imagery bird made it into orbit. That is no small feat as some of these do explode during launch.

This is worth wathcing: a flexible e-newspaper reader from Plastic Logic. I believe we are moving in the right direction here.

This is a little different. Most development teams have a daily build of their software in development. The same is true for Google's Chrome browswer, what is different is that you can download the daily builds and run them yourself. This could be interesting.

Here is a surprise (NOT!), a journalism student is disappointed in that her school of journalism isn't teaching about Web 2.0 and the new media and such.

For future reference, here are 1,000 things learned about blogging (really only 100 phew). Some of my favorites: any writing is a bonus and persistence counts.

These word clouds provide a perspective on the political convention speeches.

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Tuesday September 9, 2008

Someone has OS X running on an ASUS really small portable computer. This is tempting to try, but I have too much to do already. I'll just keep carrying my old iBook G4.

The Dell Mini 9 really small portable computer has a 3G wireless capability built in. Dell isn't telling people this yet because they don't have their contracts in order. Interesting that they will announce a major hardware item after they have been selling it. Is that in the wrong order? Oh well.

Google is working the energy equation. What is old is new again. Save energy, save money. I gear that the climate change crowd has hurt more than helped by polarizing people whereas a simpler approach would have worked much better.

I like the advice in this post, but hate the title. "Expand Your Verbal Intelligence" Do verbs have intelligence? Anyways, good advice here on how to improve your knowledge of the language.

For writers, some tips on how to keep writing. The one I like here is "keep a tangent journal as you write." While writing a piece (usually pounding the keyboard), key a sheet of papaer or something at hand with a pencil. The writing often spurs tangent ideas for future writing. Note these ideas.

A coming technology? TransferJet promises to allow fast transfer of data between devices in close proximity. The usual consortium of companies has formed.

A technology that is here, Intel's first solid state drive is here. 80GByte capacity and it is very fast.

Jerry Pournelle has posted his Chaos Manor column for September. Jerry has announced that his doctors proclaim him cancer free. I am happy to hear that news.

Toshiba has a portable computer of interest: 12" screen and weights LESS THAN two pounds.

Here are some screenshots of OpenOffice Version 3.0. Testers can now download it. I am anxious to see the OS X version that will run without the X11 package.

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Wednesday September 10, 2008 

Something different, underground lakes and rivers.

A good reference, "free" software to use instead of expensive software.

Apple had its big event yesterday with everything announced being about the iPod. I guess I should be excited here, but I'm not. The iPod is the device that turned around the corporation, so for that it is historically significant. I suppose the iPod Touch is a good device with Internet connectivity and all. Perhaps I will look at one.

Google is a success, so now it is time for the U.S. government to haunt them. Wasn't the U.S. the capitalist place and the Soviet Union the communist place or do I remember that backwards?

Maybe living in America isn't so bad after all. The availability of broadband Internet access is growing.

And Google is spending hundred of millions of dollars on satellites to bring broadband access to "emerging markets" in Africa. A current U.S. politician keeps telling people that America is the source of much evil in the world. This seems like the American system working pretty well for people in other countries.

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Thursday September 11, 2008

I've seen this float as a rumor for a while, but now it appears to be true. HP is marketing a portable computer that will run for 24 hours on a single battery charge. The secret is a Solid State Disk and lots of power saving ideas.

I like this concept, but not the implementation. The Peek is an e-mail only beeper-type of device - much simpler than leading-edge smart phones. I like that concept. I don't like the $100 price tag and $20 a month fees. I don't know the financial well being of the vendor. There is a market for something like this, but it may not be large enough to support a company.

Now that Apple held its big event for September, we can start the rumors for the next big event. So, Apple is rumored to announce a big change in their portable computers in mid-October.

I like this post from Cesar Torres about "co-working." As the title of the post suggests, working alone can drive some of us crazy. What some people do as an alternative is create physical places where lone workers gather in the same room at the same time to work alone. That sounds a little goofy, but a little background noise and a few chats about the weather during the day do make it easier to accomplish work.

Even as the economy slows (I never liked that phrase), computer sales grow. One factor are the really small portable computers that have been introduced this year. Portable computer sales are predicted to keep the industry growing.

I love this post. It provides resources for naming characters in fiction. I struggle with that.

The use of bottled water in the U.S. is slowing (but still growing). I hope this continues. Bottled water carries with it incredible waste. I hope that society becomes safer and people drink water from a water fountain.

This one could really hurt a lot of research grants. Perhaps carbon dating doesn't work as well as most people believed. This means, for one thing, all the talk about how much CO2 was in the atmosphere at a point in history is suspect.

And some interesting chat about Microsoft's errors in introducing the Vista operating system. Lessons learned from Apple? "the hardware is slick, the price is OK, and Apple doesn't annoy its customers (or allow third parties to)"

Electronic voting? Computer voting? I think they are dreams. See this post on how to hack an election. This is a problem. Counting 200 million votes is not easy as many solutions do not scale that much. It does no good for the party that "lost" the election to point fingers at the party that "won" the election. A democracy loses when the votes of its citizens are corrupted by anyone. Punish the criminals and be done with it.

It appears that e-readers will become much better in the next 12 months. I like it.

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Friday September 12, 2008

Toshiba enters the really small portable computer market. It seems that most people have run out of ideas on how to make thier product different from everyone else's.

BenQ does the same.

It is Friday, so why not point to this.  A "printer" that prints the images on bread as a toaster.

EU lawmakers are reducing the amount of fuel they are requiring to be produced from food. I like it. Now if the U.S. Congress would do the same.

Western Digital has a 500 GByte disk drive for portable computers. I suppose this will never end.

The Integrated Circuit was invented 50 years ago today by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments. But more people on the Internet are talking about the latest Bill Gates-Jerry Seinfeld commercial.

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Saturday September 13, 2008

A crowned tooth fell out of my mouth this morning. Finding and visiting a dentist on a Saturday consumed lots of time, so this is it for the day.

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Sunday September 14, 2008

My next great endeavor begins tomorrow. I start walking from Northern Virginia to Southeastern Louisiana. See my blog on this Taking a Walk. The about page tells the background. The walk may mean less time for this DayBook. We shall see what happens.

There are two editorials in today's Washington Post that I like. Donald Luskin explains that the economy is not as bad as both political parties proclaim it to be in this year's campaign. Luskin uses actual facts to argue his case. Is such a use of facts allowed in a political campaign. Sometimes I wonder if politicians concern themselves with credibility. Maybe anything said during a campaign is understood to be loud, falacious, and silly. George Will describes a school in Chicago whose students are primarily children of Mexican immigrants. The school teaches basics and manners. 99% of its graduates are accepted in colleges. Will ends by writing that we do know what to do with schools in America, but we just are doing it.

Someone is actually forecasting slower sales for Apple computers. They write that the Air portable computer will really slow. I was in an Apple store this past week. The Air doesn't stand out on the table while sitting next to the MacBook Pro. The Pro is pretty small and slim itself with much better performance.

This seems to be an odd change in direction. Lenovo will stop selling Linux-loaded machines from its online site

The really small projectors are here - called "pico" projectors (I guessed we skipped mini and micro and nano altogether). 3M is shipping a model.

Drinking tea is healthier than drinking water. Maybe so.

I like this. A new use for UAVs in the medical field. Use them to carry medicine and other biological samples.

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled anti-spam laws a violation of freedom of speech. I find myself agreeing with the court. It is against the law to send irritating and unwanted emails to other people.  The words "irritating" and "unwanted" are subjective. I find neither the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater.

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