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 24-30, 2008

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 24, 2008

You cannot make up stuff like this. NBC fired its Weather Channel environmental unit during its Green Week. I guess we know which Green NBC was considering.

This isn't good news, but it is factual. The first decade of this century will be described as a lost decade for stock market investors. The stock market as a whole will be down. But maybe it is backing up to get a running start.

But a company called Super Micro Computer is thriving financially and every other way. They use expensive American engineers, too. How do they do that?

What is your oldest code that is still running? I have code that I run at home from 1990.

The broadband providers are increasing their supply slower than the demand is increasing. At this rate, we will run out of bandwidth. Seems this is an opportunity for someone to step in and make lots of money. They will, however, need lots of money to enter the market.

Samsung has demonstrated an OLED screen that folds completely. See the video. Now we are getting somewhere in portable computing.

Six Apart is giving laid off journalists free "pro" accounts on TypePad. Well, they are offering people something. There are a lot of companies that could be offering people something.

A tool bag dropped from the space station is orbiting the earth. People have captured it on video. Amazing.

I really like this little web site. Stories told in one sentence. These are great seeds for short stories, novels, and the like.

Here is a look at global warming or climate change or climate crisis or whatever it is being called this week. I guess more and more of us believe the earth is flat and the moon landings were faked.

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Tuesday November 25, 2008

Jerry Pournelle has a good statement on the concept of work regulations and protective tariffs. Is this too simple for people in Washington D.C. to understand? "Meanwhile no one seems to understand that you cannot have Free Trade coupled with onerous work regulations. This is not to say one should not have work regulations; it does mean that if the cost of those regulations exceeds the transportation costs of the overseas competing goods, the overseas goods will have a competitive advantage."

Apple's stock went up 12.5% in one day. Apple is peeling away Windows users. I guess that means they are convincing people to switch. This is a fascinating occurence. I switched to Apple a few years ago because I wanted to have the Unix shell back. I guess relatively few people have the same reasons.

Best Buy is have a four-day sale this week with instant rebates on Apple computers. My local Best Buy only sells the older Apple computers. What's the deal with that? How long will it take that store to have the new products?

Google is reducing the number of contractors it employs.

Here is a review from ComputerWorld on the updated MacBook Air. It is much faster. That is a good thing. If they would just lower the price by five or six hundred dollars.

A rumor (I guess if it comes from ComputerWorld it is a prediction not a rumor) that Apple will release a really small portable computer in 2009. I hope it is true.

Scott Berkun has advice that I agree with: if you are working this week, you are smart. Work when other people are on vacation, vacation when other people are working.

Intel continues to improve its already fastest-on-the-market solid state drives.

As we approach the holiday shopping season, here are ten things not wished for Christmas.

And Sheila Kelly has written 52 novels in ten years. That is intimidating to many of us and inspiring to a few. It is an example that this type of thing can be done with some practice. The practice part is the thing that kills most of us. I have written 40-something short stories so far in 2008. One result is that I can write a short story in far less time than I could back in January. I imagine that Ms. Kelly can write a novel in far less time than ten years ago.

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Wednesday November 26, 2008 

The discounts on Apple computers have already begun. What do you do with a computer that you buy a month before Christmas? Keep it in the closet all wrapped or open it just to try it a little?

e-commerce has shrunk for the first time ever. This means that buying over the Internet has made itself such a part of the regular economy that it is subject to the ups and downs like everyone else.

This user's experience shows that Google's Chrom browser is indeed faster than Firefox.

There seems to be a big market in used computers, but for some reasons that isn't so.

Fedora version 10 is out. There was once a rule in computer software that anything that reached version ten was bad. I guess Apple's OS Ten broke that one.

HP is now showing its hybrid memristor-transistor chip.

Stowe Boyd has an interesting idea he calls "slow money." The basics is to spend money in locally-owned places instead of nationally and internationally owned places. The money circulates locally longer than if spent at the big places. I think the new president should promote these ideas in speeches instead of trying to have a tax policy for it. Encourage people instead of trying to legislate behaviour.

Here a qoute on optimism from a source that suprised me - Woody Guthrie. I had to think about this a while, but I agree with Woody.

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Thursday November 27, 2008

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.

Here is a Japanese digital equivalent of the Polaroid camera. It has a printer built in and can print a hardcopy in 45 seconds.

Here are some thoughts on email. It carries some good advice about what to do instead of sending email.

Semco is a Brazilian company where the workers set each others' wages and make strategic decisions for the company. It is working for them.

Kill the performance review? I say yes regarding those performed in the U.S. government where I worked for 28 years. People at work talking to one another about how they perform their jobs and influence others is a great thing. The formal system we used accomplished none of that. It worked in rare occassions where people communicated despite the system.

I like this movement, Dell is offereing a 3G modem in its Mini 9 really small portable computer. You have to sign up with AT&T for $60 a month for two years. Same thing as with the iPhone.

This guy has built 26 robots over the last 30 years from scrap materials. They all actually do something useful.

The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to use a satellite-based tracking system instead of radar to track aircraft in the U.S. This is supposed to be far more accurate. It will, of course, require more computing and software. The FAA has a history of botching large computer and software projects. Any predictions on this one?

Here is proof, as if we needed any, that you can carry just about anything you want onto airplanes in the U.S.

Terrorists have been doing what they do in India lately with a big attack in Mumbai in the last 24 hours. Western technology companies claim that this does not change their plans in India.

Here is more nonsense floating around about Barack Obama and his Blackberry smartphone. He is concerned, as he should be, about becoming isolated in the White House. That is not a technology issue but a management one.

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Friday November 28, 2008

This blogger is quite unhappy with Canada's plight in the world of Internet communications. At least one person doesn't think that America is the worst place in the world.

One of the largest groups of Americans using the Internet are grandparents wanting to see their grandkids on a webcam. I know several familes who see their grandkids in Europe and Asia via webcam.

Micron increases the speed of access for their solid state drive.

With the date fast approaching, people are still confused about the TV broadcast change from analog to digital.

It seems that there has been some confusion in the marketplace over the netbook - the really small portable computer. Intel and others thought it would be just right for kids and other low-dollar purchasers. Instead, it is mostly for people who want to carry a really small computer with them and use it now and then. This is the computer equivalent of the little cottage on the lake or the little cabin in the woods.

This one is a little silly and a little funny. Rick Astley himself Rickrolled the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in person. His hair is longer and isn't red anymore.

Here is an outstanding example of tilt-shift photography. This technique makes real-life things look like little toys. Watch the "video" and try to remember that these photos were taken at a real event. This is not a bunch of little plastic models.

And yes, bloggers and twitter'ers fed most of the news about the terrorist attacks in India.

Bad bosses can literally kill you. The writer questions why people with a bad boss don't quit and find a new boss. The writer appears young, and that is a natural response for the Net Generation. I knew they were smarter than us older folks. We were taught to literally die for work.

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Saturday November 29, 2008

It seems the Obama team still has its fund raising team going full speed. I guess on January 21st they will start raising money for the 2012 campaign.

Climate change is losing support worldwide. I lose track of what people call it. Is climate change what global warming was called before data showed that the earth was actually cooling?

I like George Will's editorial on hoping that president-designate Obama will not try to revive the New Deal.

Jerry Pournelle has a clear explanation of the proper titles of Mr. Obama from president-designate to president-elect to president. It is a shame that the national media calls things by the wrong name and thereby confuses the public. Civics teachers everywhere must be crazy by now.

Intel, Linux, and Atom processors. The result is new Mobile Internet Devices (MIB). These are really really small computers that can do a lot. I guess they are like super-PDAs or something. The iPhone without being able to make a phone call.

Maybe this is the year of the eBook. Amazon cannot keep up with the demand for the Kindle. People are turning to the iPhone as an eBook reader.

Another tech area that is growing is accessing the Internet over the 3G cell phone system. I really like my iPhone because of that ability. It is slower than the cable modem at home, but it is always with me. As Pournelle often writes (paraphrasing), "you use the device you have with you."

And Linux is now running on the iPhone.

This is an economic indicator I can understand - middle seats were unused on airplanes during Thanksgiving week.

It seems that some people actually expect Mr. Obama to do what he said he would do. This instance deals with changes on Change.gov without showing people the history of the changes and who made the changes and why. Wikipedia shows all this information. People are accustomed to  seeing that information and are suspicious when they don't see it. The situation has changed, let's see if the change president will keep up with change.

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Sunday November 30, 2008

Today is my official retirement date after working for the U.S. Federal government for 28 years.

I found one person at the Washington Post who will put in writing what I wrote the day after the election - Barack Obama is not black, he is of mixed race, and he seems to be quite proud of that. Good for this writer and good for Obama.

The Amplifying Your Effectiveness (AYE) conference was held in early November. Participants are still blogging about it. See this page for links to those blogs.

Michael Arrington doesn't like netbooks - those really small portable computers. Two of his gripes are the keyboard and the screen. I find those two items critical to user satisfaction since the 1980s. The netbooks are excellent for some things, but (like all else) are not great at everything for everyone.

Here is a favorable take on the netbooks. The netbooks are not supercomputers. They have less power than many portable computers, but really, how much power do you need?

Here is a story about collective intelligence which has something to do with tracking everything some people are doing on their smart cell phones. This is an experiment, and the people - MIT students - are volunteering.  Such raises fears that one day the government will do this to all of us. Really folks, do you think the bureacracy is this competent?

There are now 10,000 applications on the iPhones apps store. There is something there for almost everyone. I have been surprised at the number of applications that can help musicians.

This story is appearing in many links on the web. I am not sure why as it is about TV sales this holiday season in the U.S.

You have got to be kidding! Tesla - they make a $100,000 all electric concept car for the rich and famous - is seeking hundred of millions of dollars of Federal bailout money. Since this is an all electric vehicle - alternative energy and such - they will probably get it.

Creative ways for writers to earn extra cash - nice post. One of the suggestions is to teach a class. A good job that earns some money is to be a substitute teacher in public schools. Look into it.

Here are the top ten social networks for creative people. I know of and use a few of these. Maybe I'll have to investigate the others.

NaNoWriMo ends officially today. This blogger wrote 104,000 words (I think that is double the official goal).

Here is some simple yet powerful advice for freelance writers - learn what works for you and use it.

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