Dwayne Phillips ' Day Book

Items I happen to view each day. Science, Techonology, Management, Culture, and of course Writing

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: October 13-19, 2008

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 13, 2008

The weekend is here, and I am going through many of the writing blogs that I do not have time to view during the week. Monday morning I will be driving, so I will post this for that day.

Here is more news about how the airlines will filter Internet use on planes. If you are going to do this, just do it quietly. The more the airlines publicize this, the more people know about it, the more some people see it as a challenge. Again, the airlines are outnumbered.

In the midst of all this money trouble, the U.S. dollar is now worth more. This is good news for bloggers, writers, and others who compete internationally and are paid in U.S. money.

Garrison Keillor's advice to writers - get out of the house, take long walk. Well, I am doing that - taking a walk. More to the point, see what people are doing, here what they are saying, be out there to know what is happening in the lives of people.

This is a piece on freelancing that I like and dislike. The best advice on being free and independent I have heard is from Jerry Weinberg. Paraphrasing, "If you want to be independent, reduce your cost of living and save half of every dollar you earn."

Here are some points about living a location-indepdentent lifestyle. One point she makes is that you don't buy things. Some twenty years ago we lived in a single-wide house trailer for two years. We did not buy things because we did not have any place to put them. It was wonderful.

How much do bloggers earn (those that earn anything)? About $25 per post. If a post takes an hour and I can do 40 posts per week...but that probably won't happen.

Here is a post on "bouncing around" which seems to describe me well at this time. I do much better when I have a scrap of paper and a pencil with me. New idea, jot it, go on, new idea, jot it, go on. I live with 3x5 cards and a pencil in my pocket.

"Recognizing Success" ouch. This one is a struggle for me. I am doing better. I often focus on the two things I didn't accomplish today instead of the 18 things I did accomplish. Decide what you are trying to do and recognize when you have done some of it.

Rule Zero for Writing: Before touching the pencil or keyboard ask yourself "Why are you writing?" I hope your answer if often, "because I want to."

And this post encourages everyone to write well.

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Tuesday October 14, 2008

Apple to is to have their big announcement today about their portable computers. The rumors still abound with fuzzy photos of cases and such. This report really interests me, maybe a less expensive portable computer. Is there a market for a less costly computer? Why does anyone ask?

OpenOffice 3.0 was released yesterday. Due to travel I have not had a chance to look at it, but that will come.

Maybe that is a good thing as it seems the OpenOffice web site has been overloaded with attempted downloads.

Guess what? Most data losses are from employees who either misbehave or simply make mistakes. Hackers and such account for little data loss. So, treat employees well and help them to not make mistakes instead of putting rules on them that make their jobs tougher.

The cell phone is 25 years old. How did teenagers ever travel anywhere safely without a cell phone in pocket in case of emergency?

Computerworld has an article on selecting a really small portable computer. Oddly enough, they recommend against using a Solid State Drive.

I guess some people are proclaiming that Web 2.0 is dead. Stowe Boyd does a good job of explaining this nonsense.

Samsung is entering the U.S. portable computer market. Hurray for competition.

And now all that CO2 that is killing the planet will save the planet as it becomes fuel. Who would have ever imagined that innovators would do such a thing? There are a lot of really smart problem solvers on this planet. Give them a chance.

Here is a PC case that has little case to it, but has a skeleton instead. Another good savings idea.

And to close today, this article on not losing weight is funny but true.

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Wednesday October 15, 2008 

Apple held its big portable computer event yesterday. There are many stories about it on the Internet. I am disappointed because I wanted even less expensive models and a really small portable computer, but that is just me being a little selfish. Technology continues to move forward and Apple is staying with the trend.

The MacBook
The MacBook Pro
And the MacBook Air had some boosts in performance.
Apple's market share of computers is at 9.5%. They continue to gain in the marketplace, so the might be doing something right.

Intel also had a good quarter.

Quantenna has introduced a new WiFi chipset that promises big gains in range and data rates.

The Location Independent Lifestyle blog takes a different turn and discusses living the digital nomad lifestyle in a place with truly poor people. I have lived in such places and the street scenes are gut wrenching. We dealt with this in various ways. My wife did not give money to begging children because the were being run by adults who took all the money from them immediately. Instead, she gave the children bags of peanuts. They could eat the peanuts before their handlers got to them. We had a weekly charity budget to give to people who came to us in need. There are other creative ways to give and to help. The key for us was to look at the big situation (like the children and their "handlers") and have a plan.

Here is another story on fraud and other misdeeds in the H1-B visa program. Both Obama and McCain want to increase the size of the program. Well, if unemployment rises in America there will be screams about importing foreign workers to take American jobs. I am for granting citizenship to well educated, productive people who come to America from elsewhere. This visa program has all sorts of loopholes for all sorts of abuse. Those coming here on the visas are some of the most abused.

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Thursday October 16, 2008

Add surfing the web to the list of activities that helps keep your brain younger. I have always wondered if those activities kept you younger or those people with active brains did those activities.

Here is a review of the ASUS S101 portable computer with 10" screen. Nice, but $700?

The ASUS 901Go is offered with 3.5G mobile wireless built in. I still don't know why all portable computers don't come with a cell phone built it.

Want a really small portable Apple computer? Use a Dell and load OS X.

Chris Anderson has an interesting take on the economic news. He call it "the vanishing point theory of bad economic news." In a downturn, the farther away an object is, the worse it looks.

After a day to let it sink in, here is a little better review of the the Apple portable computers. I still wish they cost less money.

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Friday October 17, 2008

Apple has sold over 200 million television shows on iTunes. Apple is the biggest distributor of television shows in the world. Strange what a computer company can do.

Of the top 20 selling portable computers on Amazon.com only one runs the Vista operating system. OS X, Linux, and Windows XP all rank higher in sales. Can Windows 7 come soon enough? One of my sons works as a network administrator. He says Vista is fine as everything is where it is supposed to be. Somehow Vista got a bad name and the name has stuck to it.

The ASUS really little eee PC is one year old. You can buy a model with a 9" screen at Best Buy for $299. The Best Buy near my home never has any in stock.

Here is a 3D printer (replicator) made for the home. No price yet, but this is a step into the future. Some little plastic part at the house broke? Download the file from the Internet and make your own replacement.

Computerworld has an article on the ten best-written blogs.

Even with all the electronic networking, big cities are still the places where most innovation occurs. People  bump into one another more often where there are more people.  Pretty simple really.

But to show that electronic networking also works well, here is a post about designing buildings across the network.

Not all the airlines will filter Internet usage. I think this is the best strategy. Deal with the exceptions as exceptional cases, not the norm.

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Saturday October 18, 2008

Despite or because of economic woes in general, the electronic game industry continues to do well.

The Chinese governtment will now photograph anyone who walks into an Internet cafe.

Over two million really small portable computers were sold in Europe, the Middle East, and Afica in the third quarter of this year. I guess these netbooks are doing well. Why doesn't Apple make one?

And here is a video of a review of Lenovo's IdeaPad S10 - one of those really small computers.

NASA is having technical problems with the Hubble space telescope. It is 18 years old already? Seems only like yesterday when they had a really bad technical mess up...

And the Internal Revenue Service has major security flaws in some of their software. Not to worry, it is only taxpayer data at stake. And people want to computerize all voting in this country?

Scoble writes about starting a new company during a recession. One point - we are not in a recession - not yet. I know all the candidates saywe are. They are supposed to say things are bad so we will vote for them to fix it. There is a technical definition of recession, and we have not met the definition yet. Maybe we will in a month or two, but not yet.

The new Apple portable computers do not support FireWire. People - especially those who bought a FireWire backup disk - are upset. Well, it is also hard to buy a portable computer these days with a serial port.

Some of Al-Qaeda's web sites are disappearing and not reappearing. There are many explanations possible. Good news though.

Michael Arrington writes that some of the current layoffs are not really layoffs - just a chance to remove "deadwood." That is probably ture, but the people removed still have no paychecks, pay no taxes, buy no stuff at Wal-Mart, and so on. One thing I remember my father-in-law telling me (he worked 30 years for Shell Chemical) is that in bad times, they cut to the bone. In good times, they build up needless fat. I do not know if the majority of America today is willing to accept that simple economic principle.

Pandora layed off 20 of 140 employees.

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Sunday October 19, 2008

Only 40% or organizations have telecommuting programs. Oh well. This article mistakenly cites $4 a gallon gasoline. It is now under $3 in mist places. That is one of the problems telecommuting faces. A crises comes, but it is a crisis so it passes. "Let't get back to the old status quo" wins.

Here is a chart on house prices since 1890. I find it interesting as it presents a better perspective on the current "crisis." The news media loves to use the word "crisis."

And we already have reports of voting machines swithcing votes in the U.S. Presidential election. If Obama is not elected, we shall hear much of this for months afterwards. No one trusts anyone anymore. This is not good.

TheWritingJourney blog has a series on starting a freelance writing business. Step 0 (from me) - be out of debt and have a low cost of living.

Susan Johnston reminds freelancers that they are their own boss. Some freelancers work much hard and longer hours than people with the old-fahioned paid job. There is nothing new here. Running your own business is really hard work.

Here are ten idea generators for tired writers. I assume "tired" means "I don't know what to write about. My problem is that "tired" means I have to get some sleep before I can write some more.

The MenWithPens asks about writing on holidays? If you have the energy to write AND the time writing doesn't hurt your family, WRITE!

Another MenWithPens blog entry shows a joke sign with the words "Will Write for Food" on it. That isn't a bad idea. For example, an acquaintance is struggling to write something - anything. Offer to help over lunch. They pay for lunch. You have written for food. Not a lot of money, but it is something.

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