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 27 - November 2, 2008

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 27, 2008

Jeff Atwood has a good essay on his family's experience with a really small portable computer. He sees these as "cheap, portable web browsers." I agree. Who cares what operating system is under the hood as long as there is a web browser running. This agrees with my experiences in the last six weeks while Taking A Walk. I use Firefox and Firefox and Firefox.

CopyBlogger has a good story on finding photos for blog posts.

DailyWritingTips expands on something I wrote to them. I find sources of short story fiction in the Bible. Your religious beliefs don't matter here. There are great stories in the Bible. Take the story, back up, look for the underlying plot, and make your own story from the plot.

FreelanceParent writes about something that I have experienced. Writing about something helps me to learn about it.

The FreelanceSwitch has a post on staying sane while working from home. These are good tips for some people. Working at home provides as many challenges as there are people trying to work at home. Learn your own challenges and deal with them.

Something more on knowing yourself - know how you are creative. When you need to be creative, go to that place.

I haven't mentioned this yet, but November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. Write 1,500 words a day and string it all together in a novel. I find this to be great fun, but alas am already going 24 hours a day on other great fun. Maybe one year...

And perhaps this is a practical way to add a "print" button to blogs.

And really irritating - Comcast changed the clock on my DVD player a week too soon. We fall back NEXT weekend, not this weekend.

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Tuesday October 28, 2008

The iPod is shrinking in importance at Apple, at least financially so. Of course, the iPod has led to the iPhone which is growing in sales and bringing in money. Now there is speculation that Apple could sell the iPhone for $99, and that would spur sales - I would sure think hard about buying one.

Microsoft is pushing Windows Azure (Windows blue) as a cloud computing solution that works best with Microsoft products.

The Linux platform is gaining developers. People are actually porting applications first written on Linux to Windows and OS X. The Windows ports would seem to be more difficult. OS X is built on Unix/Linux.

Here is a portable, consumer-grade device that uses ultrasound to stop pain. This could be of great use for elderly. Folks, the elderly are growing as  a percentage of the U.S. population. Products for the elderly will sell for the next 20 years.

And the last of the VCR (VHS) makers has stopped making them. Over 900 million were produced through the years. 

Here is an article about Microsoft Research in India. I met some of these people at last year's Emerging Technology conference. They are doing good work on finding ways to bring helpful technology to hundreds of millions of people in underdeveloped areas.

North Korea is sitting on its subjects who use cell phones. There is again this year a food crisis in North Korea - not like the gasoline crisis or other such in the U.S. Once again, millions of starving in North Korea due to its government. Said government doesn't want people spreading the news, and call phone chatter is one way to spread the news. Maybe one day the rest of the world will realize what has been happening in North Korea for decades.

IBM has just lauchned UnderTheMicroscope.com - a site for young women who love science.  I like that.

Here are some lessons learned from a teacher using a wiki to teach a class.

A teenager found a security flaw in a school database, reported the flaw so it would be corrected, and is of course being punished.

Samsung has a breakthrough (in the lab) with e-paper using nanotube technology.

OpenOffice 3.0 has set a download record in its first week. 80% of downloads are for MS Windows users. I was home over the weekend and downloaded 3.0 onto my iMac. 3.0 does not work on the older Apple computers using non-Intel CPUs. 3.0 works as promised. No need to have the X11 system working. Great stuff.

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Wednesday October 29, 2008 

London is the world's WiFi capital. I wish I were there this morning. My motel's WiFi works poorly, even here in the lobby. In  my room I get the WiFi signal from the dialysis center across the street. I wonder if they will give me their password?

Google takes a step backwards in its scanning of books. It is wrong to scan an author's work without permission. How do you find all the authors? How do you find the relatives of deceased authors?

The troubles with e-mail. Some are trying to quit it altogether. Some have quit it and work well without it. E-mail is another technology and technique that needs to be managed like all others. I have little sympathy with some who do not manage e-mail but let it run their lives.

An 18-year-old designed and manufactured a product in 24 days. It wasn't a complex product (coasters), but it was a physical product. Yes, the world is changing and much of the innovation is in hardware.

HP is diving into the really small portable computer market. They are introducing a line of "Mini 1000" computers.

The Christian Science Monitor will stop printing its daily edition and go online only. This after 100 years of paper publication. This is the first national newspaper to go online only.

And Microsoft will finally have a version of its Office applications available through a browser (online).

The Hubble Space Telescope is awake again after a month of being down.

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Thursday October 30, 2008

The motel I am staying in the last two days has a weak WiFi system. It doesn't work in my room and it barely works in the lobby. How do you do that? Anyways, slow and intermittant access and all, here is what I was able to view. Perhaps the next motel will be better in this regard.

With the economy and such, LinkedIn is growing fast in use. I use it, but not much. Perhaps I should pay closer attention.

Jeff Atwood has a good instructional post on URLs and the problems with parentheses.

ASUS and Intel have opened portable computer design to the masses. Visit WePC.com

Sales of three-wheel motorcycles are rising. They are frugal on gas and require far less coordination and attention than two-wheel motorcycles.

Here is a review of the first Android phone after six weeks of use.

The next version of the Lenovo IdeaPadS10 will have instant on ability. I like that. An information device should be ready when I am ready.

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Friday October 31, 2008

Jerry Pournelle links to another reputable scientist who predicts global cooling instead of warming. Who knows? Jerry's conclusion is one I believe we should remember at all times: And if our fate must be either warmer or colder, I'll take warmer every time. Colder brings famine.

We are staying in motels each evening while taking a walk. Several times this week the television in the lobby has the news (CNN, whatever) on. Does anyone tell those people how really annoying and trite they are? I believe high school journalism students could do a better job.

Google will now index scanned documents. This technology has been available and used by some people for over ten years. It is nice to see Google using it now.

A court ruling limits the use of software patents. It also limits the use of "business method" patents. Were people trying to patent business methods? Why did the U.S. Patent Office get into that nonsense? It seems the court ruling is good for innovators and bad for those who wanted to patent something and have exclusive rights to it.

Linux systems have "fast boot" capability. MS Windows and Apple OS X don't. Therefore, Linux will ship more desktop machines next year than the other two systems. This is a good theory, let's see what happens.

This is strange at first (and second), but there is this technology. A guy has his own home-built CNC machine in his garage that he uses to carve pumpkins. Well, maybe not a great application, but put these machines in 100,000 garages across the country and watch the magic happen. Technology has the capability to explode the economy if the government will stay out of the way and not tax away all the profits.

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Saturday November 1, 2008

Great images of the planet Mercury.

A step in the right direction - backwards. Virginia and Maryland are two states that will be ridding themselves of electronic voting machines in favor of paper ballots.

In a related story, Bruce Schneier has a few comments on the (un)security of voting machines. Interesting one about the money - no one loses money if the voting machines are hacked.

$99 portable computers? Yes, if like with a cell phone you sign up for a two-year contract on broadband service. It is a choice to make. I like choice.

Here are some tips for attending a writer's conference. I have never attended one of these. Perhaps I should.

Try to stay away from hospitals as there are too many mistakes there that are fatal.

Someone stole half a million bank and credit card accounts - not half a million dollars - half a million accounts. They broke in through Microsoft Windows. And some people still want to use Microsoft Windows machines as voting machines. Please, let's back up and use a much simpler operating system for computers that run important applications.

The revised MacBook Air is now available.

How much RAM can an Apple computer support? This report says 6GBytes, Apple says 4 GBytes.

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Sunday November 2, 2008

I enjoyed George Will's editorial this morning. He ends with: Tuesday night might be chaotic: Elections are government undertakings, so they are not expected to be well run, and judging by the multiplying warnings that voting arrangements might buckle under the weight of large turnouts, Election Day seems to have taken many state and local governments by surprise, yet again. Which is why I writer again that if the already declared winner (Obama) does not win, there will be choas in the streets and courts for months.

Do incentives work for students? How about paying them money, but you only pay the poor kids money for good grades? The education machine tries something else.

Motorola will layoff 3,000 people world wide in 2009.

Problems with the H1-B visa program continue and continue and... If the U.S. economy struggles with layoffs (see above) and such, this visa program will reduce its numbers greatly.

Tough times ahead for "innovators?" At least in government, we have run that word into the ground the past few years. It is always time to work smart and to have a sense of urgency.

The problem with knowledge work? Is there a problem? Perhaps people trying to manage knowledge workers like they would manage carpenters is a problem.

Acer is selling more really small portable computers than ASUS (why do the names all seem to begin with 'A'?).

Here are some tips for working during the day when you are supposed to be working at home. Jerry Pournelle has a place in his home where nothing else functions (cell phone, WiFi) but his writing computer. No interruptions.

We are in November, which is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of November (only 30 days). Not this year for me as walking all day drains me.

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