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: May 25-31, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday May 25, 2009

We returned home today from a weekend visit with my mother in Louisiana. It is nice to visit and nice to be home again.

This guy just bought a Mac 128K for $35 and is trying to decide what to do with it. Suggestions?

A wordless Wednesday? Okay, just after I finish writing this one little thing...

Apple's annual back to school promo may start real soon now. They run this about every summer.

Toshiba demonstrates a system that follows the face and eyes of the driver of a car. There are many possibilities here. One that comes to mind is to sound an alarm if the driver closes his eyes for "too long" indicating sleep.

Here are some creative business card designs.

Here is a repeat, I love reading the One Sentence stories

I will be checking on this site - Pen Ten Scribes - write in less than ten sentences.

Photographs of soliders. Most soldiers are just kids - 18-22 years old, one year out of house-league soccer and not going to the prom because the prettiest girl in school didn't like them.

This is a "nettop" computer powered by the newest Intel Atom processor. I am not sure the computer has to be to qualify as a nettop. I guess it has to be an all-in-one, but then something else as well.

The world's fastest web server - written in LISP of all things. (Don't know how to program in LISP - don't worry)

Free WiFi in an airport is more important than food. I don't doubt this. Ever eaten a $6 hotdog at an airport - it is a waste of money. Even in an emergency I would take the WiFi to stay in touch with people I love. Most of us can go three or four weeks without food.

Here is a long list of whre you can buy computers with Linux already installed

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Tuesday May 26, 2009

Google has an algorithm that attempts to predict when one of its employees will leave. Good luck with that. Google now has 22,000 employees. Google is still a great company, but it isn't "new" any longer. Some people just have to work for a new company.

A look back at how we dumped nuclear waste into the ocean for decades. Gasp. Sometimes we wonder about ourselves. It is easy to look back at these "monsters" who were doing all this, but they were a bunch of guys a lot like us who had a problem and found a solution. In retrospect, those guys didn't have retrospect. For good to come of this, we should look at ourselves and do the best we can to think things through. It is easy to find examples everywhere of people today who do not think things through. Let's try to find and highlight those who do think things through.

I like this technique for motivating experienced programmers - tell them someone else is rewriting their code to make it better.

Here is some advice on taking your cell phone out of the U.S.

The Palo Alto pedestrian mall is receiving a lot of press. This is all great in a place like silicon valley where the climate is mild all year. It doesn't work in most other places in the U.S., and I doubt that Northern California residents want the rest of us to move there so we too can become more earth conscious.

It appears that Apple will build a server farm in rural North Carolina. The state government is helping with tax incentives. I live in Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia got scooped on this one. We could have used such a place in the rural areas of southern Virginia.

Online classifieds have clobbered the classifieds at newspapers. It is much more convenient to use Craigslist than the Washington Post.

More Internet access over the airwaves is coming. I am sure there will be monthly fees from AT&T, but this could all work just fine.

Swedish phone companies have to advertise "practical" not theoretical speeds for wireless broadband access.

Here are more "nettop" computers - these from Shuttle. I don't know what a "nettop" is yet, perhaps it is merely a really small desktop computer. I also don't know why companies don't put a ruler on the table next to their machine so I can judge how big the thing is.

Intel's software developers are gaining some attention with their own Linux variant - Moblin.

"Texting" among American teenagers has doubled in the last year. I am sure this is bad for them in some ways, but there are probably benefits as well.

People want to have simple, easy-to-follow instructions on how to do all sorts of things. The emphasis must be simple and easy-to-follow. This survey even says they will pay for these instructions. Ready, set blog.

Here are a couple of great photos of the night sky.

Someone is questioning the validity of ethanol. This time the perspective is that ethanol is ruining engines. Perhaps the big shade-tree mechanic lobby got to Congress.

Psystar - that company that was making clones of Apple computers - is filing for bankruptcy. Oh well, I guess it wasn't a good marketplace for that type of thing.

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Wednesday May 27, 2009 

Roxio has a little hardware and software system that helps you convert VHS tapes to DVDs. Way cool. Now for those 300+ VHS tapes I have in the house. It is summer and my sons aren't real busy...

Ars Technica shows all the little differences between Windows 7 Beta and RC. A study of a point in time.

Some towns won't turn off the traffic light cameras. The money is too good.

Jeff Atwood explains the Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks - RAID.

Engadget reviews 3G services in depth.

Here is a portable bathroom with transparent walls. Push a button and the walls become transluscent. This is a disaster waiting to happen. What could possible go wrong?

Just in time, Apple annouces this year's back to school special. A free iPod Touch is in the deal.

Build a game computer for only $800.

HP announces its newest really small portable computers. These things are much cheaper and much more powerful than the original ASUS eeeePC. Amazing progress in a short time. Here is more information on HP's Linux software.

Spam is 90% of all email. That is about right in my experience. The snail mail I get at home is about the same as well.

Here is Apple's OS X running on a tiny Sony computer.

Lenovo introduces two new portable computers. These things are lighter, thinner, and require less power than ever before. Great stuff.

I like George Will's thoughts on the recent Supreme Court nominee. It seems that race is more important than law with many in America today. Strange concept for judges

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Thursday May 28, 2009

Those little projectors that you can carry in your pocket continue to advance. Here is a similar report.

Anonymous datasets aren't. Repeated question: everyone ready for national electronic health records?

And people with good intentions keep passing privacy laws. The result is more jobs for government regulators who can be "trusted" with information that should be kept private. Then a trusted someone walks out of the office and loses a laptop computer. Poof, there go your "private" records.

This experimenter is going to test using a WiMax enabled computer instead of a phone. In theory, it should work.

I found this article about how the Federal doesn't understand the web and the 2.0 technologies. I have to agree with it. Government employees set up blogs, wikis, and such because they are supposed to. Content, however, is not generated and conversation doesn't occur. In my experience, the vast majority of senior government managers do no blog for two reasons: (1) they cannot write, and (2) they have nothing to say. They advanced through the system by not saying anything of importance, so they are not about to start now.

Johanna Rothman has a short post on saying "no" as an essential element to project portfolio management. A suggestion: Carry a 3x5 card in your pocket with the letters N O written so big that they cover one side of the card. On the other side of the card write "I have permission to say "no" to people when it is the right thing to do."

Here are solar panels on an outdoor poolside umbrella. This might be of some use, but I am afraid it is just a gimmick. "Save the earth while sitting next to the pool."

This is GREAT. This guy connected to the Internet using a 300 Baud acoustic-coupled modem.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S10. Another really nice really small portable computer.

Apple continues to expand its retail stores. They are doing all this during "the worst economy since the Great Depression" and without any taxpayers' money.

The FCC slowly grinds on the rural broadband effort. I spent three days in rural Louisiana last week. My mother does not have broadband, and I had to drive 15 miles in one direction or another to find a coffee shop with WiFi.

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Friday May 29, 2009

There is a lot of news out there about Google Wave. I guess I will have to learn about this one as well. Ahhh, some actual information on the product.

There is also a lot of news about Microsoft's new search engine - Bing.

Dell's earnings are down, but they are still positive.

Microsoft has sold 30 million XBoxes. Microsoft can make and sell hardware if they have the right idea. The Zune? Well, there are reasons it doesn't sell.

Probably the biggest technical news of the day - a six-axis motion sensor in MEMS. Such devices are changing the world, and not just so when I tilt my iPhone the picture rotates.

This is a photo - taken from Earth - of an astronaut working on the International Space Station. Wow.

There seems to be lots of news lately about cyberwarfare. This is not news as such has been occuring for decades.

The Department of Homeland Security will start a pilot program to scan the hands of U.S. citizens departing the U.S. Somone in the government thinks this is a good idea.

Asus is promoting ways to run Microsoft operating systems on its really small portable computers. Asus was once a big booster of Linux.

Companies that work mostly in open-source software are doing quite well in this economy.

There is a big meeting of newspaper executives today. The meeting is not making the newspapers as they really don't want people to know that they are discussing charging for online content.

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Saturday May 30, 2009

A busy day, no viewing.

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Sunday May 31, 2009

Don't look now, but the New York Yankees are in first place and pulling away. What is the name of that guy? Starts with a "A" or something?

And here is another attempt by a Mac clone maker. Maybe this one will work. At least they have a storefront.

Someone got a new Dell 10 miniV (a really nice really small portable computer), took it apart, put it back together, and installed Apple's OS X. Cool. Where do some people get the time? They decide this is what they want to do and they do it. They are also kind enough to share with and inspire the rest of us.

This robot rolls around the beach (note the wheels), finds and picks up a volleyball, and then sets it for you. Also cool, and thanks for inspiring the rest of us.

I like this observation. If you start taking notes, other people will give you more advice. This seems especially applicable when talking to a doctor.

Microsoft has removed the three-application limit from Windows 7 Starter Edition. MS has been and still can be a smart company that listens to people.

A homeless man runs a lot of Internet pages from under an overpass. This is America, and it is a great place to be. Complete story from the Wall Street Journal here.

Several things are crashing together with one result: there is little space available in data centers for your server.

How do you spell Billions of $$$$$? Cyber-this and cyber-that with the new Administration.

And now being it is Sunday, here are some views of writing blogs and such.

Here is a recommendation for writing less - that is short, to the point blog posts.

Advice on removing needless words. The advice mainly consists of removing adjectives and adverbs. This follows the Strunk and White advice of writing with nouns and verbs.

This is an excellent post on the tension of closing to door to write yet opening the door so people and ideas flow. I have “another blog” that I write that is not related to my profession. It helps me keep writing and gets me away from the same old stuff. I recently retired from a government job. I got another job as soon as I could. The job takes away time from writing, but it keeps me in contact with people.

Sometimes a writer needs to back away from something and breathe. Phew.

A further look at genius. 10,000 hours of practice develops genius. Another aid to genius to a mentor. I count Gerald M. "Jerry" Weinberg as one of my main mentors. I attended a couple of his week-long seminars. I then attended a week-long writer's workshop. Several books came out of that workshop. Jerry gets a big kick out of seeing people he works with publish books. The biggest thing I learned from Jerry is the "Fieldstone Method" of collecting ideas that he later put into a book.

Here is a writing tip: use a typewriter instead of a computer. It is really hard to back up and correct something on a typewriter. As a result, you tend to keep going and going and going. You save the editing until later when you should be editing.

A list of idea and name generators.

...And I still love reading One Sentence Stories.

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