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: November 17-23, 2008

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 17, 2008

Articles like this from the Washington Post are nonsense. They come out every time a president, who the Post endorsed, is elected. President Obama will invogirate the Federal workforce and renew their purpose. Folly.

This article looks at why women are not majoring in Computer Science. One question is, is this important? One reason that women I know cite is that the men treat them so poorly. Why major in something where people seem to hate you?

Here is a post on trust among knowledge workers. In my experience, if people at work don't trust one another, then simply turn off the lights and go home as nothing else you try matters.

And this survey shows that employers want ethics and morals in new employees. Those things rank higher than tech skills.

There is lots of chatter about new modes of communication the Obama Administration will use. In all the chatter, people do include that there are some things Obama will have to keep secret. It seems that many of these people chastised the Bush administration for doing just that. Politics and political campaigns bring out excellent examples of the Love-Hate inconguent stance.

Here are some thoughts on what the next Great Depression might be. Interesting in how they take the cultural aspects of the last one and update them to today's technology and culture.

A laid-off systems administrator was arrested for threatening servers of his former employee.

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Tuesday November 18, 2008

I like George Will's editorial today on bailing out failed auto makers. I love his phrase regarding government bailouts "redistributing wealth from the successful to the failed, an implausible formula for prosperity." That summarizes the situation well.

Internet bandwidth keeps increasing, but you have to pay more for it. The DSL and Cable Modem suppliers slow down the data rates that customers can use. That allows them to increase the number of customers ($$$$) and avoid buying expensive equipment at their own facilities to handle the load. The infrastructure has always been present to handle higher data rates.

Programmers use Apple computers. The Intel chips, virtual operating systems, and smart phones are all part of the switch. Excited? Well, there aren't that many programmers out there, so this isn't going to shift anyone's market share much. 

Jerry Yang is resigning as Yahoo's CEO.

LG has some new computers out, but the real news is they find ever yet shorter skirts to put in their ads.

This is kind of silly in a way, but I had to link to it - a shoulder holster to carry all your high tech gadgets.

I suppose we should have expected this, a woman who has only one eye wants to put a webcam in the place of her missing eyeball. I can think of all sorts of good uses for this. I can also think of all sorts of bad uses for this. Now that someone is considering it, I expect thousands of people in similar situations to do this.

Daddy, where's your phone? If you don't know something or have forgotten the name of the author of that book you read last month, pull out your smartphone and find the answer on the Internet. Technology has changed how we access knowledge. In many ways, it is making us smarter.

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Wednesday November 19, 2008 

Today is my birthday. I am 50 years old. I guess this is some sort of a milestone.

Apple's computer sales went up 28% in a recent month as compared to the year before. And the "big three" auto makers are demanding more taxpayers' money. I know there are many factors in both cases, but really.

I bought an iPhone yesterday, so I am apt to view iPhone items now. This is a neat iPhone app. You blow into the microphone and move your fingers on the touch screen. It is like playing a little flute-like instrument. Cool.

Be careful what you let wander out of the factory. Someone took home a prototype of the MacBook Air and is selling it on eBay.
HP introduces a portable computer with a multi-touch screen. Let's keep going this way folks.

And some people out there are using Web 2.0 technologies to do things that other people don't like. It's a tool, and people use tools per their own values.

Game console-based supercomputers are here. How do you stop the spread of these things to people who do things you don't like?

This post by Jeff Atwood takes me back. It is about programmers who still type with two fingers. I used to see programmers do this back in the 1980s. I thought that was all gone by now. I guess not.

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Thursday November 20, 2008

Here are some reasons why the Drudge Report may be the best designed site on the web. It isn't pretty, but pretty is only one attribute to consider.

Samsung will soon be selling 256 GByte soild state drives. Bigger and better, I guess.

Mozilla, a non-profit foundation, made $75 million in profits last year. $60-something million via Google and search ads.  Mozilla has to do something with this money or lose its non-profit status. May I suggest saving people's homes from foreclosure? Perhaps even funding Computer Science scholarships? The latter seems to be a no brainer.

Boston College will stop giving incoming freshmen bc.edu email accounts. The freshmen already have well-established digital identities, so why mess with it? I think this is a good idea.

Apple is waiting for Intel's new smaller, more powerful CPUs. They may update the Mac mini (yeah!) and the iMac.

I had to view this blog post "The TSA and their consultants are incompetent nincompoops." This is also a lesson in how to write a blog headline. The post is about the TSA's program of pulling aside people "who look anxious" before boarding an airplane. Some people actually believed this was some type of science. I agree with the author - these people are nincompoops. Oh, and by the way, the data show that the program doesn't work.

It appears that Science 2.0 is here. Basically, people are able to share their work easier and faster. If we can keep the egos out of it, this will work, but that is not likely.

Obama will appoint a Chief Technology Officer for the United States. My experience in such positions in government is that it is a job nobody wants. You write policy statements that everyone below you ignores.

And Obama will have to decide the fate of NASA. I believe that Obama and his advisors want so much to do so much good that they will bog down in all these things and forget any agenda they might have once had. Of course, that provides the excuse for a second term or more.

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Friday November 21, 2008

The Obama team is trying to lower expectations of his pending administration. I have yet to hear much talk about the linkage between people selling off their stocks now instead of later because later the taxes on the profits will be higher. Hmmm, stockholders are pretty smart. Sell now and save tax money.

It seems that Second Life has lost much of its luster.

Apple has 14% of the smartphone market - that makes it number two on the charts.

The time teens spend online may be time well spent. Hey, they are typing, writing, reading, conversing with people from all over the world. Yes, you can misuse this, but these activities are a pretty good way to spend the day.

This digital nomad post praises Boingo. They have about 100,000 WiFi locations worldwide. Ten bucks a month gives you access to them all. If you travel most of the time...

As I predicted, people have worked aroung the airline filters on in flight WiFi services.

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Saturday November 22, 2008

The New York Times is re-evaluating its assets.

The AP is laying off ten percent of its workers in 2009.

The Weather Channel is laying off workers.

And I caught a minute or two of Rush Limbaugh on the radio yesterday. His ratings are higher than ever and his group is hiring people. Hmmm.

Apple will spend $500M on ads next year.

The Chinese continue to attack the U.S. - via the web. Maybe one day someone will write the history of this quiet war that the Chinese have been waging against us.

Here is a really, really small portable computer for $175. It connects to the Internet via the cell phone system and has a little QWERTY keyboard. Again, I don't know why portable computers don't have cell phones built into them. I see signs that the cell phone in a computer is coming.

This post is interesting in a way. How to survive tough times? Learn from a crocodile.

The Internet is now the most reliable source of news - at  least this poll says so. Why not? I get my news and sports from the net. It is so much faster than listening to people fill hours of TV by talking and repeating themselves over and over redundantly being redundant.

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Sunday November 23, 2008

Here is a report from using WiFi on an airline.

And here is a similar report. One day soon the novelty will be gone.

Lawsuits, fair use, politiccs, it is all here.

Some solace to writers in tough economic times - use the time wisely to build your craft.

Scoble has some good advice for American auto companies. Basically, get smarter. Focus on making just good cars and innovate.

Running for office is not the same as being in office. Mr. Obama (he isn't a senator any longer as he resigned that office recently and he isn't president yet) will have to make that switch. Many of his avid campaigners are searching for the next big thing to do.

Microblogging is the new thing. Brevity returns. I feel that brevity and clarity are often found together. The challenge is thinking long enough and hard enough to be brief.

Here is an online tool to help you write that novel. It appears to be similar to many off-line tools, but being online, you can write that novel during breaks at work on the office computer.

Here is a recommendation for a book on self-publishing that novel once you have it written. Making a living from writing novels is not easy. I have met several successful novel writers (they have half a dozen novels on the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble). Their health insurance and other such come from their spouse's full time job. It can be a rewarding life, but not always financially.

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