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: January 19-25, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday January 19, 2009

Here is an update on Michael Arrington's attempt to build a simple, inexpensive, web-browing tablet computer. One issue I see is that he is learning that it may cost $299. We can buy fully-functional portable computers for that price. Once again, the general purpose computer makers have bypassed someone trying to make a special-purpose computer. I have seen this happen again and again for over 25 years.

Intel announced price reductions in its processors. The reductions are in the area of 40% to 50%. Tough economic times are great for many of us. Look for the price of computer to continue to fall. Less-expensive computers are more likely to be purchased, and that spurs the economy.

And the Windows 7 Beta continues to show good performance. If Windows 7 works as well as the Beta indicates, I may have to have a Windows machine sitting next to my OS X machine.

A Green Energy Machine (GEM - give them credit for the name): converts trash into energy in a building's parking lot. Excellent. These conversion technologies are marginal. Therefore, they have to work on site as hauling the trash to the machine uses more energy than the machine can save. This appears promising. Amercian science and technology can make more than a dent in these issues. And the Bush Administration was bad for science and technology?

It seems that Belkin paid people to write favorable reviews for its products on Amazon. The abuse of such reviews has always existed. I am a little surprised that this doesn't happen more often.  Perhaps it does, but the perpetrators are not caught.

Scott Berkun writes about some of the trials in writing. Yes, writing is fun for some of us. I am one of those. I feel better at night on days when I have written something - anything. There are days when writing is excruciating - excruciating to start. Once started, well it feels much better. One pithy statement to try - BICHOK Butt in chair, hands of keyboard. Sometimes the most difficult physical position to assume.

The IMAO.US blog is usually irreverent. Today's entry, however, starts that way, but ends with a serious commentary on the events of this week. I recommend it.

People are trying to build software that will disable cell phones in moving cars. That isn't difficult and I like the idea.

The Democratic Congress wants to prosecute outgoing Bush Administration officials. I thought the Justice Department enforced Federal laws. A Democratic President will appoint a like-minded person to administer the Justice Department. A Democratic-controlled Senate will approve such a like-minded person. Is there are problem here that I don't see that requires the Congress to try to be the Justice Department?

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Tuesday January 20, 2009

Johanna Rothman blogs about hiring innovative people. My former organization went through a year or two where "innovation" was the buzzword. We didn't do anything innovation, but we talked about it a lot, went to classes on it, made posters, and other such nonsense. I especially like Johanna's final statement - it is problem solving after all.

Here are some good tips of proof reading your writing from FreelanceSwitch.

Someone actually did some experiments with WiFi placement and bandwidth. Excellent.

I really like this post from Scott Berkun - top ten reasons managers become assholes. I worked for more than my share of this curse.

O'Reilly has cut a few jobs from its workforce.

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Wednesday January 21, 2009 

Some thoughts on why the switch to digital TV should not be delayed.

Here is the HP mini 2140 really small portable computer. They are starting to load these machines with features which drive the price upwards to $500. They are losing much of my interest in doing so.

Portable disk drives are smaller and hold more bytes.

Here are some satellite photos of the Presidential inauguration from yesterday. (1) I thought there would be more people there. (2) Why are the people standing in groups in stead of a uniform spread?

This post shows word clouds of several Presidential inauguration speeches. What strikes me is how large the word "must" is in each speech. I don't like that word. To me it shows a sense of despair and a need to "do what I tell you to do." I guess every new president wants to convince people that things are terrible and the new person is here to fix it all - "if you would just listen to me."

The title of this post says it all (and says a lot): What Crises? Tech Wages Rose 4.6% In 2008

This USB memory-stick-thumb-drive thing looks "nerdy," but the prices are great.

Here is the daily routine of C.S. Lewis. A two-hour walk right after lunch. It seems that he "worked" hard for about seven hours a day.

It appears that the Obama administration will apply the same "solution" to banks as the Bush administration has been applying. I am not surprised. They are both politicians whose main goal is to be elected and re-elected.

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Thursday January 22, 2009

Jeff Atwood comments on musicians being programmers and programmers being musicians. The possibility of a link is intriguing, but I have never seen numbers that prove it. My youngest son is a music major in college (second year). This semester, he is starting on a computer science minor (CSC guys get paid). Most commentators (like me) are pushing for programmers and the like to be better at working with people. This is not a new push. The vast majority of musicians collaborate all the time. Perhaps that experience will serve my son well, but then this is college and not the real world.

Apple just had its best financial quarter in its history.

But Apple still shows no interest in the really small portable computer market.

Apple did boost the value of its lowest-price portable computer. They did this without much fanfare.

Sony expects to lose $3Billion for the year. Yikes!

The young, hot-shot, 2.0 Obama workers ran into the Federal government wall yesterday. Guess who won. It seems there are many regulation when it comes to working for the public. Someone should have foreseen this.

Britannica is announcing some changes to its online content. They will actually let some people edit it. I hope this works as I would like to see some competition with Wikipedia. I love using Wikipedia, but it could use some competition.

I like Jay White's comments on the people who populate WiFi coffee shops. I have been one of those people since the birth of my grandson (notice how clever I worked my grandson into the comment. Have you seen photos of my grandson? I have some here with me. ;-)

The solid state drive race continues: Intel will sell a 320GByte model in the fall.

But Intel will also cut 5,000 jobs.

This is something different. The Printed Blog will print a paper filled with blogs and local ads. The ads will cover the print and distribution cost as the "paper" will be free. They have permission from some 300 bloggers to print their blogs. These are "free" reporters. If this works, they will have permission from thousands of bloggers. I will give them permission to print my content. I hope this works.

I like this vision of the future: very small robots crawling inside my body doing very small surgery. I have discussed this idea with others. The concept came to me after a visit to my dentist. I think we can have this in 20 years with $20Billion investment. That is pennies compared to the money Washington is wasting right now.

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Friday January 23, 2009

One study claims that even though people are buying really small portable computers, they don't like the machines.  That is possible, but not likely.

Microsoft is cutting 5,000 jobs.

Microsoft is closing its game studio - Flight Simulator is dead?

More praise for Windows 7 - and it is still in Beta.

Amazing. Here is an iLimb artificial hand in use by a teenage boy.

Unemployment is up, gasoline prices are down. Hence, telecommuting is dead for this year. Insecure bosses can force people to come in to their domain, i.e. the cubicle farm, because if they don't want to do so, they are fired.

Here is a look at a different type of co-working space.

This is an amazing "image" of the inauguration. Pieced together from many digital images. Zoom in and everyone is in focus.

The C programming language seems to be alive. Many have proclaimed for many years that C was dead and object-oriented everything was alive. Data structures plus algorithms. That is still the foundation.

Linux finally surpasses Unix. At least it seems that way as Red Hat keeps growing and Sun keeps, well you know.

Type "miserable failure" in Yahoo search and the number 1 answer is Barack Obama. Welcome to the White House. What was the name of the previous occupant? I forget.

Obama's choice for a person to push open source software for government has in the past opposed it for business. Perhaps this contradiction will work itself in the coming days, or perhaps not.

There is a $6Billion broadband stimulus package moving through Congress quickly. Congress doesn't usually move quickly, so I hestitate to think what might actually be in the bill.

Even if the broadband is built, many people won't pay for it. Travel the rural areas of America. There are satellite TV dishes on house trailers and shacks. People will watch TV - especially cable news and movies. Many people are simply not interested in conversing on the Internet.

Things are not going as expected between the Obama administration and the press. See here and here.

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Saturday January 24, 2009

I blogged about people and 3 to the nth power. It is about the breakpoints in the size of a team of people.

Check out this site: i-hacked.com. These guys hack into all sorts of things like Coke machines. All the machines out there have diagnositic and test codes. Press the buttons on a street crossing machine in just the right order and you control the traffic lights. The Coke machine sounds better.

Someone is asking questions about U.S. companies that layoff Americans yet keep foreign workers in the U.S. on H1-B visas. Interesting questions. The answers could be interesting as well.

More reporting that the Obama capaigners are learning what it means to be employees of the Federal government. I trust they are learning about how many private industry perqs are violations of Federal law. And, by the way. There is classified information floating about the White House, so no, there is no WiFi.

Excellent presentation of data. See this zip code visualizer.

25 years ago today, Steve Jobs and the Macintosh.

Jerry Pournelle's mail bag provides an excellent example of oligopoly. In this instance it is the colleges and textbooks. Pournelle gives a few other examples of when the government creates such a situation. Then almost everyone loses.

George Will's editorial runs through yet another bad example of how politics stretches the definition of "poor."

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Sunday January 25, 2009

Yet another flavor of Linux - this one is called Jolicloud and is tailored for those really small portable computers. See the image. This looks much like the display on the iPhone.

Wikipedia may change its policy of letting anyone's edits appear instantly. It seems that there are enough morons in the world to ruin this system.

Someone puts their material on the Internet for free, people like it, and go out and buy the DVD. This time the "someone" is Monty Python.

Here are some tips for avoiding the "Freelancer Blues."

The Mobiu USB stick has everything a writer needs on a USB memory stick. At least it sounds that way. Opinions will of course vary, but it looks interesting. Only for MS Windows.

Here is some good advice on using the Wordle tool to find over-used words in writing.

Posting less can improve a blog. Here is why.

Fortune cookies aren't a bad place to find stories.

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