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: April 27-May 3, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday April 27, 2009

The Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine opens at the end of this week. Just to confirm, I went to their site.

Washington D.C. is the center of the high-tech universe. If you don't believe me, just read the news and ask the current administration. This may work, but then again it may just close down thinking.

And Washington has a new newspaper of sorts - The Examiner. Contrary to most newspapers, this one has enough money to hire big-name talent.

Will broadband access in rural areas bring jobs? I doubt it. Such access will bring the opportunity to learn about jobs. What I fear is that we will spend $7Billion to lay the infrastructure, jobs won't follow, and someone in Congress will then pass another $10Billion to create commisions across the country that will study what happened and recommend more Billion-dollar commisions to do something that will lead to...well, you know.

Coming soon: a portable computer running the Android OS that costs $250. I am not excited about the price. Another operating system entering the market sounds good. Love that competition.

The use of WiFi is booming. I almost take it for granted, but having WiFi at my house some five (?) years ago was a great new thing. WiFi in coffee shops, motels, restaurants, and other places has changed everything.

And everyone wants to tax Internet sales. No surprise here. If we are going to tax sales in stores, we might as well tax sales everywhere. The alternative is to tax sales no where. Wait a minute...

Yesterday, I was watching some charming videos from India on YouTube. It seems that such is a money drain on YouTube and others.

Multiply the storage capacity of a DVD by 100. Why not? It is only a matter of time. Now what will we put on such a thing?

I still love reading One Sentence stories.

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Tuesday April 28, 2009

India is purchasing 250,000 computers from One Laptop Per Child. This is a big order for the project.

Jeff Atwood writes about virtual machines and how they can keep old operating systems alive - and stop us from worrying so much about backwards compatibility. That is a big worry among operating systems vendors. This all comes about because Windows 7 is supposed to have a virtual Windows XP running.

MIT cuts funding for eight varsity sports. I think this is a bad thing for MIT to do. This story pokes fun at the announcement. Years ago, MIT fielded teams in more NCAA sports than any university. MIT has always been about "well-rounded" students. They have always wanted students to do many things in addition to being brilliant minds. 

Robotic goo? What I find interesting is how many of Engadget's readers know who Steve McQueen is let alone know the connection between him and walking goo. For the connection, see (what else?) Wikipedia.

HP has a new line of portable computers with more power for business.

News flash: newspapers have a bleak future.

I had not heard of this before - private individuals answering tech questions about services from Verizon and others. These people charge nothing and put in tens of hours a week. They simply like to do this. They are providing large corporations huge benefits. Some corporations are trying to create environment to attrack such good neighbors.

Amazon buys Stanza. Stanza is a company that runs a popular ebook reader for the iPhone.

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Wednesday April 29, 2009 

Tied up between 5AM and midnight. No viewing time.

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Thursday April 30, 2009

Probably over did it this morning in a vain attempt to catch up after yesterday.

Apple's annual developer's conference is sold out. That is odd given the economy as many organizations are cutting back on sending people to such an event.

Apple may start building its own integrated circuits. I don't think that would be a good move.

The little Flip video camera line is updated again.

Cloaking devices continue their evolution towards the visible bands. This is truly science fiction stuff, but given what else we have done in technology - why not?

Ars Technica updates their system guide. This shows three "home made" computers across the price and performance range. Price ranges from $700 to $12,000.

NASA may have some new life, i.e. funding. I am afraid NASA has succombed to the plague of large government (dis)organizations that tend to reward those who keep the bureaucracy alive over those who want to accomplish mission..

Some "advances" in USB memory sticks. At least I think this is an advance.

I actually like the lools of this USB drive better, but that's just me.

The Dell multi-touch "desktop" computer arrives. This could be something big.

This appears to be a fairly inexpensive way to add monitors to your computer. One adapter.

A really-fast camera. I guess there are applications for such.

Few doctors and hospitals currently use electronic records. Perhaps they know what they are doing? How is it that lawyers know how to run medical care much better than doctors? 

Price and value are not the same thing. The newspaper industry doesn't seem to understand that.

America's "government" may soon tax us for driving. I can't wait. Just think of the great things Congress can do with that money.

The Internet will play a big role in the education of pre-teens in the UK - at least according to the official plan.

Yahoo owns Flickr, so Yahoo has laid off Flickr engineers.

Here is a commercial version of the Intel Classmate Convertable portable computer (is that enough adjectives in a row?). Looks nice. I have one grandson - six months old - this is a great time to be a grandfather, but then again, when was it not a great time to be a grandfather?

Now that Oracle owns Sun, what will become of the OpenOffice software. I hope Oracle will let it live on.

Some discussion about open source software licenses.

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Friday May 1, 2009

It is May, but Wolfram Alpha is not running yet.

PC World looks at six different pocket video recorders with HD. It seems that "pocket" and "HD" should not go in the same sentence, but they do.

This is a caloric intake and burning monitor that fits inside a band-aid looking patch. Amazing. It monitors the calories you are burning. This lets you know all sorts of things about your body that you may not want to know.

Jerry Pournelle has some thoughts on the swine flu. It isn't as deadly as the usual flu, but the news media seems set on making a big event out of it. Why is that? No wonder the news media is going out of business. The severity of a disease is relative - if one of my relatives dies from it, it is terrible. If someone I don't know dies from it, it is minor. That is not a joke, it is how most of us live.

What will Apple do next? Rumors are that they will introduce some computers with lower prices. I would like to see that, but who wouldn't?

It is possible to have Windows 7 "free" for a year. Interesting, if I had a lab and an extra machine and some free time and...

OpenBSD 4.5 is out.

I suppose someone had to do a study to prove this, but this is not a newsflash: employees will work around corporate firewalls.

Some thoughts on reinventing "the book" from Tim O'Reilly. How long will the grocery stores continue to sell romance and other novels? I would guess the answer is "another hundred years."

Some lesser-known features of Google Docs.

Project failures? Also consider the projects that should have never been attempted. Some of those "suceed," but that only adds another useless weight to carry for years.

Most users of the Amazon Kindle are old (over 40 ;).

Microsoft has an extra secure version of Windows for government customers.

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Saturday May 2, 2009

Going to the web using an iPod Touch has tripled. Still, it only has 0.15% of that market.

For more numbers: Windows XP 62% Vista 23%  Mac OS X 9%   Linux 1%   The Linux boosters are happy with their gain.

Google will use data centers on ships. There are obvious advantages such as using the cool ocean water to cool the systems. The thing that is odd (stupid) is that they were granted a patent for this idea. A patent? For puting a computer on a ship? What are they doing at the patent office?

Commercial radio music stations are going down hill with the rest of the mainstream media. Too bad. I used to love to listen to music on the radio. What happened?

Some hi-tech people are getting pay raises. See the list. Can you spell Linux?

I am not sure why I looked at this one, but I found it a good read - how to make a pizza oven at home. The "secret" is to have heat coming evenly from all directions. The secret ingredients are bricks.

Wallets for geeks and those of us who like a thin wallet. Cool. Do they make this in a pocket protector? See more of such at Dynomighty.com.

Ooh, Ahh, Swiss Army Knives. Move on quickly before I pull my VISA card out of my thin wallet.

A ride on an electric motor powered bicycle. Neat, but still $2,600. That doesn't really do it folks. These types of things have to be inexpensive.

The bad guys used simple tools and techniques AND were not caught. Oh well. Please people T H I N K !

Windows 7 is coming on October 23 2009!

Verizon may offer its home customers free WiFi at Boingo locations. That would be nice.

Chip sales may have hit bottom in March - that is a leading indicator that things are going to come up.

I love this title "The Problem with Cable is Television." I have my favorite two or three "channels" that I watch. The rest are whatever. I guess most people are like me in this respect.

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Sunday May 3, 2009

It is Sunday, so I catch up on many of the writer's blogs I view.

A question for the blogger: How can I help my readers today? I would also ask, "what interests me today?" If it interests me, I will write it better, and that will probably help my readers.

Here is some advice on battling writer's block from Ernest Hemingway. It is, "always stop (writing) when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start."

This post reminded me of a great writer's tool I used last fall when I was walking down US Highway 11. It is the camera. It was so helpful to take a picture of an historical marker or other informative sign than to try to jot notes on a card or notebook. Most cell phones today have such cameras built in.

Here are some "rights" for freelance writers. Mostly, as a writer - or any other person - you have the right to ask for what you want. You should be prepared for an answer of "no."

This story has been all over the place: IBM preparing a computer to play Jeopardy The story seems to have generated much more interest than I would have thought. What is next? Wheel of Fortune. Not important to me.

Aha, glad to see this one. It discusses how teaching is an excellent way to learn something. I have always felt that writing is a form of teaching. Hence, writing about something is another excellent way to learn the topic.

There is more to an eBook than meets the eye. You don't just take the words written for a page and save them to an eBook. I know as I have done that in vain. This post has some tips on writing to the eBook format.

Here is some pretty good advice for when you are in a bad mood (and want to be in a better mood

Remove the copyright from your work and give it away? This blogger answers, "yes." He shows the why and how of doing it.

More features for Microsoft Office 2007.

The Internet, and all us folks who write words to it, is changing the study and documentation of history.

This story is everywhere, so it must be important: man delivers baby via Google and YouTube.

Here is a writer after my own heart - sketching out a new novel with sketches, mindmaps, graphics. This writer is doing all this inside Second Life - that is where we part company. The sketches work for me and don't work for many writers I know. Second Life seems to work for this writer, definitely not for me. Learn what works for you and use it.

A good admission from Bob Sutton - "I write this myself." Yes, I do as well. I suppose there are many blogs out there written by people other than the person whose name appears at the top after the work "by."

George Will comments on the state of the State of California. It isn't good. To summarize: California is exporting talent while importing Mexico's poverty. The latter is not California's fault; the former is. Such is a shame as the climate is wonderful.

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