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 22-28, 2008

Summary of this week:

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

Monday December 22, 2008

They have already cut the estimate for the Obama party in half and it's not January yet. January 20th in Washington D.C. is not a good date for an outdoor event.

And the spinning of the story of the Illinois Senate seat continues.

This newspaper is thriving while most others are dying. It is the TriCityNews of Monmouth County, N.J. It doesn't put any content on the web.

Small Internet businesses may survive the recession. The secret is basic business and good service. No surprises here.

Apple sells high-priced computers. Therefore, it will suffer most in a recession. So goes the conventional thought. We shall see.

A gem of a cartoon from xkcd.com. My middle son's most oft stated comment about school is, "they never teach us anything useful."

This is a great use of simple technology. The student has used some Wii game parts to create virtual 3-D display from a basic monitor. Watch the video.

This is NOT your average Christmas season Mac vs PC commercial. How did they make this?

Printed integrated circuits could unleash the use of RFID tags. Interesting techonology.

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Tuesday December 23, 2008

The Feds want free broadband coast-to-coast. Talk to people in these cities where a city-wide WiFi flopped. Is there a national imperative to have broadband coast to coast? Is there a sense of urgency among the vast majority of the citizens? I haven't heard it. I don't understand the push.

I like this new technology - eye glasses that the user tunes to his own eyes without a doctor.

This story is all over the Internet - the Video Home System (VHS) tape is dying. It served us well. Watching a movie or a recorded TV show boosted my spirits while 12,000 miles from home when I was 21. That was back in 1980.

Johanna Rothman blogs about "fake auditions." These incongruent auditions are a chance for the interviewers to have power. They create a little world of their choosing and make the applicant literally a "subject." This tells me much about the interviewers and their lives and their workplace. They feel the need to control someone. They probably feel controlled most of the time. Proceed with caution.

Johanna also blogs about specialists on projects and the delays they can introduce. I like having specialists around, but as Johanna notes, you cannot have them be a bottleneck on a project. If the specialist isn't here today, the entire project stops and waits for their return. Once again, think.

It seems that the CPU makers are having difficulty in consistently making multi-core processors. This is not surprising.

I am in Louisiana for the holidays visiting family. It is difficult to keep up with my viewing each day. My mother has no Internet connectivity in her home. My in-laws are practically the same. My son and I go here and there each day to find a coffee house or such that has WiFi.

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Wednesday December 24, 2008 

Here are the top ten Christmas wishes for a writer. If you know a writer and can give them one of these, please do so.

Here are some cures for analysis paralysis or over thinking something.

Michael Arrington digs a bit into Robert Scoble about the hours he spends on Twitter and Friendfeed. One thing to note about this and other "data" on hours spent doing things. Most people don't actually measure the amount of time they spend doing things. Hence, their estimates are terribly inaccurate. I have timed myself doing things. At one time I discovered that I spent 20 minutes a day on email. That was all. It sure seemed like more.

Maybe the world is changing - Orbital Sciences and Space X beat out Lockheed Martin and Boeing on a big NASA contract.

It was inevitable, worldwide sales of portable computers surpassed desktop computers.

A nine-year-old girl in India has become Microsoft certified. There are smart kids all around us. The dumbest generation? I think not.

Now to let these kids excell, get out of the way. Two stories today. Lessig rails against the FCC and their stifling of innovation.  And here is a call to repeal requirements that do nothing but burden business. All hail the "regulators," those un-elected folks from Washington who try their best to tell everyone who is doing something how to do it. I worked in the Federal government for 28 years, but never as a regulator.

Here is another piece from Lessig - this one comparing copyright and prohibition. Interesting ideas about turning an entire generation into criminals. There is much wrong with current copyright law. Perhaps...

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is now going to talk with those MIT students who cracked their ticket-buying system. Alas, sort of slow on the up-take, but better late than never.

The ACM is urging Barack Obama to include computer science in the core of education. I agree, but the ACM has a vested interest in this. They needed to have someone else, someone close to Obama make this recommendation.

I will be at my mother's house on Christmas day. She has no Internet access and the Internet coffee shops are all closed on Christmas, so no post tomorrow. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, have a joyful day.

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Thursday December 25, 2008

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Friday December 26, 2008

Even the Washington Post has doubts about these bailout plans.

It appears that holiday shopping was not good for the retailers. I heard that Obama's election would change everything. I supposed I was misinformed. So the retailers are asking Obama for help, but only in the form of some tax-free shopping days. I like that idea. When the government gives up its 10% surcharge, people shop.

Some people really take their "smartphones" seriously. Really, make a phone call, take a photo, surf the web. Get really small fingers.

Amazon's bestsellers for Christmas in the computer world. Except for Apple computers, the really small and less expensive computers topped the list.

Here is Tom Friedman's take on a national "reboot." I agree with some of what he writes. We sort of need to remove some of the stupid from national policy. I strongly agree with the idea of citizenship for foreign students who earn advanced degrees in science and engineering from American universities. Why do we kick out these people and allow uneducated people in?

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Saturday December 27, 2008

I find this post interesting on how one freelancer finds a community of colleagues. My older brother now works for himself. He is failing. He simply cannot make himself have regular hours. That hurts is productivity and is literally killing him as he has diabetes and needs regular hours.

Amazon did very well this holiday season. Few others can claim that.

Here is a post on writer's frustration. I am not sure what this post is trying to say. I am having reader's frustration.

Another one for writers - avoiding perfectionism. Is "perfectionism" a real word. Let's look it up, don't want to make a mistake in the title of a blog, maybe shouldn't write that blog, but then what to write??? Forgive me for taking off in that direction.

Sony has leaked news of its next really small portable computer.

I like this post - file it under re-use or not wasting something. It gives ten things you can do with your old iPod. It is, after all, a disk drive with an operating system.

I really like this Daily Routines blog. As I have told people for years, "I love to watch people work." Well, I can do that by reading this blog. The entry linked here is from James Thurber.

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Sunday December 28, 2008

So maybe the globe isn't warming? One day we may know something about this, but I don't think we know today.

Something has been bothering my lately, something to do with writing style on the Internet. This story is one example, but not the only one I could finger today. What ever happened to the first paragraph of a news story or blog summarizing the entire piece. Reading the first, short paragraph told me if I wanted to read the rest. Now, most of what I read has the "this is what this piece is about" buried in the third or fourth paragraph. Why? What happened?

The Windows 7 beta is out and about.

This is from a developer. It makes good sense about developing products for Linux and Apple's OS X. Be a big fish in a small pond.

This story was linked in several places on the Internet today. It seems that cell phone carriers are making lots of money on all the "texting" SMS that is going on out there.

I like this George Will editorial, more a a reflection on the value of history and art than editorial. There is much good that government can do with little funds. We need more of that type of governing.

We can use a lot less of this type of government - ruining a city with over-sized, over-priced, and useless technology.

How to Blog - from Slate.com. Pretty good advice if you want to learn this topic.

The title of this says it all - "We Underestimate The Benefits And Overestimate The Dangers Of Openness" Maybe one day government (the U.S. government) will get it.

O'Reilly has some interesting comments on economy, agriculture, and food production. My middle son is a biologist; my daughter-in-law and agriculture economist. I, as an engineer, am in the mix somewhere. We are not using our resources wisely in all this. What to do? I don't know.

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