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: December 8-14, 2008

Summary of this week:

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

Monday December 8, 2008

The Chicago Tribune may go into bankruptcy. Blame the Chicago Tribume.

Apple had to turn off its GPS in the iPhone to sell the phones in Egypt. Of course they turned it off. Compromise to a dictatorship?

This analysis argues that 16 cores on a CPU is all that is useful - you simply cannot get data into and out of the chip. Perhaps at this time we don't know how to do that. I suspect someone will figure it out one day.

There seems to be a price war in progress in the market of really small portable computers. Lenovo has lowered the prices on thier IdeaPads less than 24 hours after HP lowered the price of its little computer. Again, how much does it really cost to make these things?

Johanna Rothman has a post on checking references. She really checks references. I used to ask about people I was interested in working with.  I stopped doing that when I found that most of the answers I got to "What do you know about so-and-so" were absolutely wrong. People were pinned with labels that were wrong 99% of the time. I lost track of the number of people who were labeled as "stupid" "lazy" "no good" who then worked out great working with me.

I like this phrase about the "big three" U.S. automakers and their recent efforts to get taxpayers' money - this is the privatization of profit and the socialization of loss.

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Tuesday December 9, 2008

Here is more on the death of newspapers and what might replace them. Bloggers won't travel to Kuwait to report on stories, but people who live in Kuwait may report on what is happening. This of course depends on the government of Kuwait - or whatever place we use an example - allowing such.

A comparison of Ubuntu and Fedora show they perform almost indentically.

Scoble has a video made inside Seagate's HDD factory in China.

Hillary Clinton and close Obama aides are already fueding. No surprise there. Mr. Obama wants the U.S. Representative to the United Nations to report directly to him, not through the Secretary of State as it has always been. In Washington bureaucracies, this is a not so subtle hint.

Congress will soon own a large part of General Motors et al. I thought the idea was to help the auto industry, not doom it.

And the Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy. They own the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Cubs.

Here is an article on a server system in a shipping container, this one built by Dell.

Here it is in America (finally), a $99 really small portable computer with 3G built in. You must agree to a $60/month 3G access plan.

College students are now following their professors' lead - using drugs to as a study aid. I don't like this one.

Broadcom has put 802.11N, Bluetooth, and an FM transceiver on one chip.

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Wednesday December 10, 2008 

Chicago politics continue. Here is one view of the story. There are many other views out there more and less charitable to Mr. Obama.

This post encourages buying  a stripped down computer and doing the upgrades yourself. I caution against such. If your computer is important to your livlihood, buy it whole. If your computer is a hobby, by all means play and play.

HP will be selling their portable computers next year with a new type of battery from Boston Power. The newer batteries will allow for far more recharges before needing replacement. HP will warranty the batteries for three years instead of one year.

Most Americans (53%) are playing some type of video game on some type of machine.

I am not quite sure what the "MiFi" is, but it is on the Internet in several places. It is from Novatel and appears to create a hotspot that you can move around with you. This page seems to confirm that. The MiFi takes data in via 3G and pumps it out to you and your friends via WiFi. The 3G is the choke point - not very fast.

Beijing will be blanketed with free WiFi in 2011. Of course the Chinese government will be watching. WiFi allows all sorts of surveillance.

Even Lessig thinks the bailouts are a bad idea. His reasoning is quite similar to what George Will expressed several weeks ago. I am not sure what to make of it when those two agree so strongly.

People don't trust blogs run by corporations. Imagine that. People do trust their friends. I guess that is how they became friends.

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Thursday December 11, 2008

I am travelling much of today and tomorrow. This may be sparse for those days.

The UN "knows" that climate change is caused by people. Hundreds of scientists disagree. As I once heard, "I 'know' what it means to 'know something.'" I don't know that climate change is caused by people.

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Friday December 12, 2008

Travel kept me away from the Internet.

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Saturday December 13, 2008

A brief summary of Thursday and Friday. I only mention this because of the SNOW. I landed in New Orleans at 9:30 AM Thursday. There was an inch of snow on the ground. The city was in panic and celebration. I slowly made my way to my mother's home (usually an hour north of New Orleans, but two hours on this day). They had 4" of legitimate snow on the ground. The trees still have their leaves on them at this time of the year. The leaves caught all the heavy, wet snow. Therefore, many limbs and entire trees fell and pulled down power lines with them. I took my mother back to a motel near the airport in New Orleans. By 4PM there wasn't a trace of snow left in New Orleans. An amazing day. Friday my mother and I flew back to Northern Virginia. No anomalies to report for Friday. Just really tired.

The full moon tonight is the largest in 15 years.

Bailing out the Michigan automakers failed. Many blame Senators from other auto-making states. Somehow, making automobiles in those other states is profitable. This appears to be a natural process in a democracy. Auto factories in most states are profitable. Why should tax payers' money in those states be sent to one state where auto making is not profitable? Perhaps I just don't understand the free enterprise system.

This is an interesting blog. It provides daily routines of famous and productive people.

Some people at Apple are pushing the iPhone as a game console. I received an iPhone several weeks ago. I find it to be a good computer that I can carry in my pocket. I can also make a telephone call if I wish, but that is rare.

Apple is doing well financially with the iPod Touch (the iPhone with the phone turned off) and the newer MacBooks (the alimunum-cased portable computers).

This article claims 100,000 "tech and media" jobs lost. I tried to read the article carefully and I cannot understand their numbers. I find that many sources are confusing lost "media" i.e. newspaper and TV news station jobs with the current economy. I believe those job losses are result of poor management for the past ten years.

Lessig is leaving Stanford for Harvard.

The Obama transition team is fussing with NASA. Governing is far more difficult than campaigning.

I like the title of this post about traffic lights that are backed with solar power. "Why don't we have these already?"

An American visits Paris and learns that the Europeans seem to be permanently pessimistic, but they like us now that Obama is about to be the President. Does anyone else see some ill when the pessimists like us?

Here is more on the MiFi, that device that uses 3G to create a small WiFi hot spot. I still think the data rates will be too slow.

MEMS gyroscopes should come to smart phones in 2009. Look for many more applications. I believe the iPhone is just a small beginning.

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Sunday December 14, 2008

"Do you think outside the box?" My response to this question is usually "what box?" I've never liked the concept of "the box."

Lessig has another perspective on the proposed bailout of the auto industry. Those congressmen voting to give the auto companies money receive a lot of money from the auto companies. Payback, or at least it sure looks like payback.

I heartily endorse this recommendation for journalists: Don't write much of the stories you have been writing. They are junk and they are probably the biggest reason that people are turning from newspapers and TV news to the Internet. It is not the technology as much as the content.

The Czech president called global climate issues "a silly luxury."

Another perspective on the bailout or no bailout of the big three auto makers - a regional one. Auto workers in Tennessee work a day a week without pay to keep their jobs. They don't think their tax dollars should go into the pockets of auto workers in Michigan who are unwilling to make any concessions. Michigan had a good hundred years with "the big three." I am sure my words do not resonate with many that we should save during times of prosperity for the times of woe.

It appears that the Obama New-New Deal construction projects are nothing new. Most are things that have been on the to-do lists for years. In government, this is a frequent occurence. When a crisis occurs, you tell little lies so that your pet projects, which lack the merit to be funded in normal times, are funded with crisis funds.

MIT students used a one-semester class to build mobile applications. This will be the norm across the country next year.

The "software personal assistant" may arrive next year as well. Such applications have been around for a while. They learn from your patterns of computer use and "anticipate" your next pattern, e.g. I look at WashingtonPost.com every morning. The operating system on my computer should open a broswer to that site every morning when I touch my computer.

This pertains to me: blogging while looking for a job.

My wife doesn't like to wear a big wrist watch. She would never wear this one: it has a 1.6" display, a still and video camera, a USB port...need I go on?

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