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: February 16-22, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday February 16, 2009

I tried to put a video on YouTube this weekend. I am disappointed in the results. I am trying to embed the YouTube in other web pages, but get a strange message (don't have it with me at this time). It seems that I am not "sharing" the video properly or something. Six year olds can do this, so with enough time I should be able to as well.

This is a good article on a school librarian who understands the 21st century. We need more people like her.

Texas Instruments hopes to have its pico-projector chips in just about everyone's cell phones by 2010. I like the technology. I am not sure I will like what I see from users, but that is part of the world.

We are still debating the role of experts in places like Wikipedia. I doubt that there is a solid answer to the question.

I am not sure what this "laptop" is, but it has two screens.

Bad science in movies. Why should science be exempt from the non-sensical ways that movies treat all fields of endeavor?

I don't understand all this talk about national electronic health records. This story didn't enlighten me one bit.

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Tuesday February 17, 2009

I blog about using commercial parts in critical systems.

PC sales fell big (17%) in the fourth quarter of 2008. Keeping the market afloat were the sales of the really small (and cheaper) portable computers. People have learned that they don't need all that computing power. Less computer at a lower price is good enough. I think that is good, but then I don't make my living making and selling computers that do too much.

The Federal government is finally looking at abuses of the H-1B visa program. There are too many unemployed Americans to ignore it any longer.

One more time, some oft-repeated advice for those who are now working from home part-time and full-time - get out of bed, get dressed! I am between careers at this time. Everymorning I get out of bed at 5AM, get dressed, and leave the house. I go to coffee houses and restaurants that have WiFi, but I move.

A motion-detecting SIM card for cell phones. There are many good possible applications.

Lenovo is rumored to be building a portable computer with a 12" screen. Portable computers today come in 9", 10", 13.3", 15.4", and 17" models. My good old Apple iBook G4 has a 12" screen. It works fine.

Texas Instruments continues to make smaller, better projector chips. The pico projectors will soon be in all cell phones. That may not be good news.

Some cool science fiction that one day may become reality - a skyscraper that is a farm.

The battery industry is a big winner in the spending bill signed this week.

400 TV stations will switch from analog to digital tonight.

A fascinating daily routine of biographyer Robert Caro. Discipline and organization mark this man's life and work. It seems to work well for him.

This story is in several places today - Silicon Valley had a recession. This is very good news for those doing Federal contracts. The big defense contractors in the valley - those guys who really keep the economy there going - will be able to hire a lot of smart people to work on the contracts.

The major media has done a fine job in the past month of covering itself. Yet another reason major newspapers are going out of business.

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Wednesday February 18, 2009 

Canon introduces ten new cameras. Great stuff.

Verizon has done field trials with their 4G system - 50 megabit download rates. More great stuff.

Nvidia shows off its newest chip set. Yet more great stuff.

$7Billion of taxpayer money for broadband is just the start. The great stuff has just stopped.

ASUS introduces as WiMax-equipped portable computer. Will WiMax actually happen? Verizon (see above) is building LTE instead.

Shuttle ships a liquid-cooled computer at $2,500. That used to be a standard price, but now it is a high-end price. The market? Games of course.

This was predictable - "confusion reigns" with switch to digital TV. It seems that by midnight tonight almost 700 stations will drop analog and broadcast in digital. The media is still favorable to the current administration, so this won't be a big story.

This company plans to move a Gigabit per second over a super-charged WiFi. That would allow moving HD-quality video wirelessly. Of course you have to have their chips on both ends of the link.

Here are some tips on writing fast or is it writing quickly. Anyways, remove distractions - especially the ones in my own mind.

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Thursday February 19, 2009

I find this interesting - use of one field of science applied to something completely different. We need more of this as breakthroughs happen when such thinking occurs. Alas, since actually finding Bin Laden is in the hands of career bureaucrats whose primary focus is maintaining the bureacracy, such thinking will not occur.

The Hubble telescope could be doomed by the recent collision of satellites. The resulting debris has made a space shuttle mission nearly unacceptable. I am not sure what that means other than NASA won't think of a way to do its job.

You can beat biometrics sensors. Simple enough.

Wikipedia is financially sound without ads or government bailouts.

I still love to read the One Sentence stories.

HP's profits are down, but HP is still making a profit. That is better than most. I guess HP won't get any bailout money. It seems that we are only rewarding the failures. I wonder if that will encourage ... oh never mind.

I enjoyed reading Jeff Atwood's post. It is about several different things - experts, experience, learning, speaking, writing. It is at the same time focused and sprawled all over the floor.

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Friday February 20, 2009

This little post says something. Something about neat 1968 motion picture cameras and also the wisdom of HD-capable camcorders.

I am not sure if this is a serious story - someone has introduced legislation that would require all WiFi access places (like the coffee shop I sit in everymorning) to keep all data for two years to aid possible future police investigations. Surely this is not a serious proposal. The data-storage requirements would cause all the WiFi hotspots to turn off their services.

Someone has proved that one rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch. They did it with people. Yes, I agree as I have seen many fine groups ruined by just a few or even only one incongruent person.

My sons used to make these things - paper flexigons. A geometry teacher taught them this in school.

Shuttle continues to live in its niche of the market - small box, lots of performance.

Intel's solid-state drives seem to fragment after long-term use. The result is an ever degrading speed.

Great advice for a consultant or any freelancer - don't rely on one client.

Really small portable computers with 9" screens are going away. The models with 10" screens seem to have hit a sweet spot in the market.

Here are some aspects of a home office and the extremes of each aspect that can give you trouble. For example, save money on office furniture, but get a good chair.

Here is a way to donate your spare CPU cycles to various causes.

This post has a chart showing one reason why Generation Y is so important - it comprises a lot of people!

Oooops! Scratch that one about the catastrophic ice melt near the North Pole. It seems that some sensors weren't working.

Here is an inexpensive solar concentrator. Science and business moves forward to solve problems - without a government bailout! Imagine that.

Jerry Weinberg,  Johanna Rothman, and Esther Derby are holding the Problem Solving Leadership course in March in New Mexico. I highly recommend this week-long course. I attened 6 or 8 years ago. It expanded my life.

Even the Washington Post reports that the national broadband billion-dollar-whatever-it-is may not accomplish whatever it is supposed to accomplish.

I haven't heard of this before, or at least in this particular format. Gratitude Journals - write the good things that happen to me each day and write about things I appreciate. Studies show people are happier when they write about good things.

I would like to try this one, but where I live local and independent businesses are hard to find. Spend 10% of your money at local, independent businesses

Oh look, another big government software project is a big failure. Folks, don't worry about the really big government monitoring all your purchases. The technology is present, but the compentence isn't.

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Saturday February 21, 2009

Ubuntu keeps rolling out its releases every six months. The names? I could do without them.

There are a lot of rumors and fake and real photos of the next Mac Mini. Here is a video. Who knows?

I like this idea. Build a 70 mpg car for $7,000. The cute new smart cars are neat, but they are expensive, and that defeats the purpose.

More performance enhancing drugs among the intellectuals. I blogged on this  recently.

Dell's really small portable computer with a 10" screen is now on its web site.

ASUS is experimenting with the Android operating system on its really small portable computers.

On top of everything else, the Obama Administration is supposed to spend $30B (that used to be a lot of money) on the Comprehensive National Cyber Initiative. I am not sure than anyone is sure what this means.

It appears that companies that lay off H-1B visa workers are trying hard to find other jobs for them. I like that. I hope they are doing the same when they lay off Americans.

The next pre-release release of Windows 7 is scheduled for April 10.

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Sunday February 22, 2009

I'm fighting with some cold or flu bug, so I am not viewing the Internet today. Here are views of some writing blogs from this week.

I love to read Daily Routines - this one for Michael Lewis. I loved his book "Moneyball."

Here is a review of the book "Notebook Know-How" by Aimee Buckner. Aargh!! I hate to love to hear about good books on writing and writing practice.

This is a different take on writing - writing while you are living in a foreign country. I wrote a book once while living in Nigeria. This post highlights some of the things you will notice in a foreign culture that you are less apt to notice in a familiar culture. Once you notice those "notices" you are more apt to notice them at home. Does that make sense?

This post highlights the historical value of writing your memories or memoirs. I love to watch movies from the 1930s on TV with my sons. I point to the items in the rooms, the clothing, the mannerims, the slang speech. The people making those movies weren't trying to record history, but they did.

I believe in giving. I don't like the phrase "giving back" as I find all sorts of problems in that phrase. This blog discusses giving from the perspective of a published and paid writer. Interesting twists and turns in all that.

I like this post from another person who writes at home when there is time and when there is no time but the urge to write still wins.

The title of this blog pulled me in. I work with Sticky Notes and Note Cards all the time. They are great tools (for me).

Now this is a neat way to decorate a cubicle - black it out.

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