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.

Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page
Email me at d.phillips@computer.org

This week: December 29 - January 4, 2008

Summary of this week:

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

Monday December 29, 2008

We took a road trip today. No Internet access all day.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Tuesday December 30, 2008

Consumer confidence is the lowest it has ever been. I thought that once Obama was elected and Bush was on the way out... I guess I was misinformed.

Acer is the third largest PC maker in the world and they are now selling a portable computer with a quad-core processor. I suppose someone out there has a use for that much portable power. I am still looking for a $500 MacBook Air.

The FCC has removed the "filter requirement" for nation-wide, free, wirless broadband access. I like the removal. I have written many times before, filters are challenges to many people. There are far more people trying to break filters than there are trying to make filters. Guess who wins?

Conferences and training sites need more Internet bandwidth. Motels and conference centers are struggling to keep pace.

This article is about the woman who built the Gates Foundation - at zero salary. I applaud.

Here are some first impressions on a really small portable computer from BenQ.

Expectations influence what we "see." Hmmm, that was part of the foundation of my PhD dissertation in 1990.

Jeff Atwood writes about how good it is to be a computer programmer. Try shoveling rocks for a living or something that is hard and not appreciated. I have been visiting relatives in Louisiana for about two weeks now. It is not the country club that is the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. If you go to "work" in an air conditioned and heated office, you are blessed.

I am finally seing this story reported: the Chinese are making digital pictures frames (with many different company labels on them) that are full of viruses. The nasty viruses go to your computer when you move images from the computer to the picture frame. Then when you connect your computer to the Internet, the virus calls home to the virus writer and tells them all your financial information.

This looks neat - a lens that you attach to your cellphone camera with a magnet.

I had not seen this before - the loop of unconstructive criticism.

I like this little post - develop exercise routines for your motel room. While watching TV, bounce around, wave your arms, stretch and bend and ... Do something to keep your body moving. It works.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Wednesday December 31, 2008 

I am not sure what to make of this. The US Air Force has created a Blog Assessment decision chart. I guess they want personnel to read blogs about the Air Force and assess them as to their affect on the Air Force. See the chart. In my experience, it probably cost a million dollars in meetings to produce the chart.

It seems that there are problems with OpenOffice - not so much in the software but with the people contributing to this open source project.

This post discusses energy storage in the form of compressed air. It is efficient, but is one way to store energy from otherwise wasted stuff like excess heat and trash. There are many such energy ideas. As long as people skip the hyperbole, we may gain a little here and there.

Via Technologies is preparing a competitor to Intel's multi-core Atom processor.

This story is everywhere, so I guess it qualifies as more than yet another Apple rumor. Apple may release a 7" or 9" screen version of the iPod Touch in 2009. Given its accelerometers, it would be a good game machine as well as a music and video player.

Lenovo has one of those portable computers with a second screen that slides out for use. I guess there are applications for this.

Ford will soon sell a car that will parallel park itself. This was on the TV news yesterday as some sort of new science big deal. Neural networks were doing this little trick over 20 years ago. Strange that it is a big story now.

Intel adds to its line of mobile processor chips - including a quad-core chip.

I like this blog post about being transparent. If you are a big organization (company, church, government), people will poke around you and learn things. Join the conversation.

Here is a blog to link: Top 100 blogs for developers.

There will always be people in government who believe that the best thing to do is find new ways to tax citizens. Oregon is considering putting GPS in every vehicle so they can track how much each citizen drives and tax them by the mile. Citizens become subjects - sort of like in China.

I like the way this post summarizes the plight of newspapers and what they could be doing to stay alive.

Chicago politics continue. It will be interesting to see how long this anchor pulls Obama.

This is a story about a man who was arrested for wearing a t-shirt that said "POLICE." Abuse and law suits followed. I think this is one of the worst things happening in America today - the battle between citizens and law enforcement. Friendly relations among the two are a foundation of American liberty.

I will probably be off the Internet the next two days. Most Internet cafes are closed on the 1st of January, and I will be driving all day on the 2nd.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Thursday January 1, 2008

I had some Internet service at a Chick-Fil-A - but it was really bad service. I couldn't view much and certainly couldn't post.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Friday January 2, 2008

Arrived home at 2PM after driving 1,100 miles. No energy to view anything.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks

Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Saturday January 3, 2008

The world returns to some sense of normalcy. I am home. Ahhhhhhh.

Open Source Software is gaining ground in unexpected places.

A cute but maybe-not-essential use of technology - a washing machine that calls your cell phone when the load is finished.

Here is a new RF antenna that would make broadband access from a train more likely. The same can be applied to road vehicles (cars, trucks, RVs).

The Android operating system in now running on a really small portable computer. There are many possibilities here. Let's let theopen source community and the entrpreneurs run with this one.

The Renegade Writer blog has three posts so far on reorganizing a home office (#1, #2, #3). It seems that many people have home offices, but go to coffee houses with Internet access and then sit on the couch in the living room with their laptop computer. I visited my cousin over the holidays and saw her nice home office. She has an online job with what I would call a strict, disciplined company that requires regular online hours to do the job. I find all of this interesting as my mother has given me my father's old desk - not in my house yet as we have to figure out how to transport it. It is a small desk, but I have no idea where I would put it or how I would use it. Perhaps if I had a small house or cabin in the woods or the mountains, I could ...

I like George Will's editorial. He walks through yet another example of how the actions of Congress often provide a result which is opposite of what they wished. The American socio-economic system is a complex one. It is difficult to think through all implications of a policy action, especially if you don't try to think about them.

While on the subject of unintended consequences, we are in the middle of the College Bowl season - two weeks or so of a few meaningful games sprinkled among many seemingly meaningless games. "Eveyone" (including Mr. Obama) wants a playoff system in college football. Let's think through one of the possible consequences. The current bowl system brings in lots of money to the colleges. That money pays for scholarships for football AND a lot of other sports that do not make any money. Most of those non-money making sports involve women atheletes. Less money for the college atheletic departments means less college sports for women. Given the current regulations, if a college drops a women's sport, it will also have to drop a men's sport. I contend that going to a playoff system in college football would result in the loss of thousands of college scholarships each year. Now, what is more important, a "legitimate" football national champion from a playoff system or thousands of scholarships each year? Please, think it through.

While everyone is getting a Trillion Dollars, the state governors would like one as well. Why not, it is only paper money.

CNN falls to the level of vulgar comics to report the news. Can CNN get a Trillion Dollars?

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Sunday January 4, 2008

I like George Will's editorial on health care costs. The news is all bad, but predictable. Kind hearted people in Congress several generations ago decided that the working will pay for health care for the non-working - both the retired and the poor. The health care providers have no competition to hold down costs, and whoever tries to create competition is crushed by Congress after visits from the friendly lobbyists. Will ends with, "if you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it is free."

It seems that Oprah Winfrey endorsed the Amazon Kindle. This practically guarantees its success and maybe the success of eBooks.

WriteToDone posts Eight Things to help finish the first book. These things worked for this writer. Other things work for other writers. Some of what is listed in WriteToDone are poison to other writers. Learn about yourself and use what works for you. Don't let anyone tell you that a practice is universal (except of course for the practice of not letting anyone tell you that a practice is universally good).

Here is some fanciful thinking - replacing a desktop computer with a portable one. Some people just need or want such things.

To mark a point in time, there are the most popular portable computers for December 2008. I put my hands on the Acer Aspire One at Best Buy in Baton Rouge this week. I was impressed with the usability of the keyboard and the price ($279 for a model running Windows XP).

Juiced on Writing discusses a business plan for the year for a writer. Since I don't write for a living (seriously) I don't write such plans. Now and then I will set goals and work towards them. For example, last year I set out to write a short story every week. I wrote 53 during the year.

I do like this post from Juiced on Writing - New Year's Resolution for Writers. I don't do resolutions, but these ten ideas are pretty good as goals or concepts to remember.

Wikipedia just raised $6 million to stay on the air. There is a lot of money out there, and people are generous.

Here is the universal gadget-charger USB cable.

The Windows 7 beta is beating Vista and XP already. Maybe it is the winner the Microsoft needs.

Here are some thoughts on security and insecurity of worker for yourself. There are no guarantees, but you are in control.

Apple continues to gain market share in the operating system field.

I like this idea - developing devices that do not require the user to be able to see. Sure there are applications for the blind, but there are also many applications for those of us who can see.

Obama is thinking about linking the Department of Defense with NASA (military and civilian). The combined brains will be needed to compete with China in the next space race. Sounds good on paper. It ought to work. Good luck actually doing it.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page