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: March 30-April 5, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday March 30, 2009

Skype is expanding to the iPhone.

IBM has an "Open Cloud Manifesto." Sounds neat. I don't know if anything will come of this.

HP's MagCloud allows you to print your own magazines. This could work as many people who want to print their own magazines are not looking to make a profit.

This story is everywhere on the Internet today - playing video games improves eyesight.

So much for saving CO2 and energy and such - the hotelicopter. The ultimate in luxury or something.

I like visualizations of data. Here is a blog on that topic.

It is official, the U.S. government is running the U.S. auto industry. The government decides who is CEO of GM and decides who Chrysler will or will not merge with. Interesting times. How is the Post Office doing lately?

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

Tuesday March 31, 2009

Here is more information on the GhostNet spy network operated by the Chinese.

Western Digital is moving in to the solid state disk market. How else? They bought a company.

Jeff Atwood explains why English is the worldwide language of programmers. He acknowledges that this is sort of "the ugly American" (what about all those other countries where English is the main language?), but makes a good case for English.

I like the design of the computers from Shuttle.Here is a new model.

I remember this George Will column from late last year about Ford and what separated Ford from GM and Chrysler. The CEO of Ford was able to keep that company in decent shape. Ford didn't take any money from the government. Now the Federal government isn't trying to run Ford like it is trying to run GM and Chrysler. Smart move.

Sun is laying off 1,500 people this week.

Computerworld describes 25 open source releases coming this year. In addition to the usual Linux updates, there are plenty of mobile applications.

Tough economic times tend to kill telecommuting as there are plenty of people willing to do just about anything to keep their jobs. Some firms still cannot find a way to ensure that people are working when they are not in the office. I have two cousins who work from home. Their companies are far more strict on them than the vast majority of non-telecomuting companies are on their in-office employees. There are ways to do telecomuting well.

Some of the new Mac Pro computers support 16GigaBytes of RAM. These are the upright, under-the-desk machines. I think of them as supercomputers for the home. I wish I had one, but I don't know what I would do with it.

I love to read these one-sentence stories.

I have not thought of this one before - how to make a really small portable computer appear more "manly?"

Man of the world Tim Ferris provides his secrets to eating with chopsticks. Years ago while stay in Asia for a few months at a time, I learned to eat with chopsticks left handed. There are very few people in the world who can do this. The reason is that the culture says “you eat right handed.” This has nothing to do with the toilet as many suppose. Some of these same cultures also say “you write right handed.”

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

Wednesday April 1, 2009 

Watch out for April Fool's stories on the net today. Perhaps the big virus worm scare was one such joke.

This little black box takes WiMax in and output WiFi. I guess this will be needed one day when WiMax becomes real.

Why go on the Survivor TV show when you can be locked into a tiny space capsule for 105 days? This could be interest for us on the outside watching those locked on the inside.

As expected, people are poking holes in the Microsoft ad that shows a nice lady buying a 17" display-equipped "PC" for less than $1,000 while the Apple equivilant is so much  more expensive. And here is some more of it.

And spam is back up to 94% of all email. That is about right for me. Even with a spam filter, I delete 9 out of 10 emails without reading.

HP is testing Google's Android as a possible operating system for some of its really small portable computers.

I love this subtitle - how to improve your writing and your life. The subject is looking for items worth writing on a 3x5 card (my practice) or anything else. Just do it. Notice.

Are universities going to way of the newspaper? I say yes, but strangely enough, the Federal government will keep universities in business. This won't happen from subsidies or the usual nonsense. Instead, companies are sued by those who don't get the job. It is pretty easy to find some type of discrimination or other in a company's hiring practices. Along comes the college degree - that piece of paper that certifies or doesn't certify the person as worthy of a hire. At this time, judgement has been tossed out the window. To judge an individual on their merits invites law suit. Hiring managers hire based on the college degree. The threat of lawsuits makes a college degree a necessity. Hence, the university will stay in business and will be able to continue to over charge and under provide.

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

Thursday April 2, 2009

The new, little, less expensive Apple iPod is selling quite well.

Here is a nice high-definition video camera from Sony. It has GPS built in so all images are geo-tagged. Nice.

Atwood blogs about computer programming and mathematics. It was years before I wrote any computer programs that did not involve math. I guess I came to the field differently than most. The comments on this blog post are most entertaining.

Intel's Atom processors are popular, but Apple still doesn't use them.

This post poses a quandary for writers: do you hold back in your blog so you can make money elsewhere? My advice: if you are going to write, write as well as you can with as much as you can. Holding back hurts your writing, and that doesn't help your business.

Johanna Rothman blogs about senior people trying to find jobs now. I just came out of this funk with a job. It isn't easy. (1) Remember, it only takes one interview to be hired. (2) Every week, speak to at least one person who will encourage you. We need encouragement.

This sounds almost too good to be true, (I checked, and it wasn't posted on April 1st.) a telescope implanted in the eye to improve failing vision. An excellent use of technology. Technology is ripe for many such inventions.

Google finally talks to people about its servers. Google builds its own servers. One little surpises is that they attach a 12-Volt battery to each server to keep it going in the presense of power glitches.

This post tells how to build your own desk that you stand at instead of sit at. There are health adavantages to most people. For some, it is a necessity not a nicety.

Some tips for those of us who spend much of the day writing. One - get up and walk around - is not needed if you have a desk where you stand (see above).

This post sings the praises of a simple mind-mapping tool for Apple computers. Here is the web site for MindNode. I will have to try it.

Why actually "go to" class when you can watch it via webcam? Stay in bed, keep on your pajamas. What's more, record the webcast and watch it when you wake up at 4PM.

I like this George Will commentary. Are you ready for the Federal government to run the auto industry? First read how well they did with light bulbs.

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

Friday April 3, 2009

This Sony UMPC uses a mini-CD drive. I didn't know that anyone used a mini-CD anymore. Apple doesn't, which I think is a mistake on Apple's part. Did I just contradict myself?

Voicemail is on the way out. We have voicemail on our home phone, but then again my wife still doesn't do her own e-mail.

Clearwire is building a small WiMax network in Silicon Valley. That will allow programmers to experiment and write code. I hope this works and then moves nationwide. Something like WiMax is long overdue.

Internet surfing at work boosts productivity. It gives people a break, they refresh, then go back to work.

Gmail celebrates five years in Beta. That must be some kind of record or something.

Five famous founders of fabulous Silicon Valley companies.

And it looks like IBM will now buy Sun ($7Billion). An entire successful company sold for less money than the current administration is pouring into rural broadband. I think we lost our way somewhere along the line.

I like this idea - GE and Intel are working on devices that monitor the health of people in their homes. This allows people - like my mother - to live in their homes longer. They will spend $250Million over five years. Again, not how small this investment is in comparison to what the government is pouring out.

Verizon plans to put its LTE wireless broadband service all over rural America - good for my mother. They don't, however, say when. Bad news.

Ritz camera is closing 300 of its retail stores. (43% of its stores)

Silicon Graphics Inc. is closing and selling itself. At one time an SGI workstation was the most powerful on the market.

Google to buy Twitter?

This is all over the Internet - some people (a lot of people) don't like it when a car covered with cameras attempts to drive through their town.

The Stanford course on iPhones programming is being put online - free education! Good stuff.

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

Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Saturday April 4, 2009

Some people really studied the recent Microsoft ad with "Lauren" buy a portable computer. The commercial itself - when analyzed and replayed in slow motion - proves that Lauren didn't even enter the Apple store. Folks, it is a commercial with an actress, a script, a director, and all that stuff including errors.

ATI and NVidia continue to push each other in the graphics processor market. The competition is good for us.

RIM has sold 50 million Blackberry phones. No bailout needed for them.

Fast Broadband in Japan is much cheaper than it is in the U.S. One reason is that there is more competition in Japan.

Here is a use of technology that I like: An easy to use device that allows a bakery to tweet that they have right-out-of-the-oven goods.

Scott Berkun writes about the bottlenecks of innovation and where good ideas die. My suggest is to keep a record of all your ideas. One day someone may come along who is willing to listen.

Japan continues with its plan to send robots - two-legged walking robots - to the moon by 2020. The next nation to land something on the moon will not be America. America's only hope is to take space exploration away from NASA. NASA is too old and has succombed to what happens to all older government agencies.

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

Sunday April 5, 2009

Bob Sutton writes about the removal of the CEO of General Motors. The CEO was the annointed scapegoat. Naming a scapegoat and such has lots of show and little substance.

And Sutton writes about simple competence. I agree with him on this one.

This writer has just turned 70 years old and he has many plans for the next decade. In many ways, it is a blessing to be a "writer." One is that you can continue to do it up to the day you die. Just don't lock your computer with a password that no one else knows.

I agree whole-heartedly with this blog post title: Hurrah for the Index Card! I carry index cards in my shirt pocket. I keep stacks of them handy in places where I sit and think. They have many uses and I have used them well for years.

This post gives a list of links to writing lessons. Ah, too much good material to read it all and use even a tenth of it. One thing I find that I should do as a writer is not read everything about writing. That would leave no time for writing.

I must admit that I have never thought of this - software that shows a typewriter on your screen. It gives you the sense that you are using a typewriter instead of a computer. The software is here at VisualTypewriter.

I like Jeff Atwood's classification system of programmers in 8 levels. It appears that the goal of being a programmer is to become a famous former programmer. That makes sense as programming is pretty hard work, something that younger people can do because of their physical and mental energy.

And Atwood writes about Michael Abrash's efforts at writing code that will allow general-purpose processors to run games as well as special-purpose graphics processors.

Microsoft has another TV commercial out there showing how bad an idea it is for a normal person to buy an Apple computer. The scrutiny has started early on this one. Why is Microsoft running ads for HP computers? There is probably a connection there.

Dell leaked its plans for a really small portable computer with an 11" screen. Five years ago, there were plenty of portable computers with 11" screens. One day soon, someone will sell a portable computer just like my Apple iBook G4 that is four years old. It would be nice if they would sell it for $300.

Many expensive and oft-used medical treatments do no good. They do earn some people lots of money - wasted taxpayers' money.

Linux on a thumb drive. This has been done before, but it grows easier year by year.

Given lots of data - more data than a person can consider - software can find underlying principles. This software "discovered" some laws of physics from pendulum data.

Some employers are pushing telecomuting because they discovered that the telecomuter is paying for four walls and a roof instead of the employer paying.

Here is another "how to organize your time so you can write" post. I like this post. One of the tips is to simplify your life. This is the biggest one for most people I know. We simply have too much junk in our houses, too many social activities (fun, but not writing), and too much too much. Sell your stuff on eBay or give it away on FreeCycle. Become a hermit, hide out, say good bye to friends. Well, maybe don't become a hermit, but plan your time with friends so that you enjoy one another in less time.

I like the way George Will writes (seems I am  not alone in this one). I enjoyed his commentary on the administration trying to run the auto industry. Too bad consumers don't like the cars that the politicians want them to like. Not to mention the ties between the UAW and the Democractic party.

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