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: June 1-7, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday June 1, 2009

Four simple rules for Twitter useful: 1. You learn something new everyday
2. Twitter is not chat
3. Don’t be a needy jerk
4. Ignore rules 1 to 3 if you are in marketing
I can do with these.

Here are tips on how to spend less than you earn - a good skill for freelance workers (and the rest of us as well). And more on being frugal.

Here is something to start a debate in the IT office: the top ten applications that changed computing. Hmm, TeX didn't make the list.

I wasn't the only person to find a job through LinkedIn, others are doing the same.

A 12 megapixel camera in a cell phone. This may be of use to some people, but I am not sure who.

Qualcomm announces its next set of chips for small computers and radios. Good stuff.

Some advice on resumes. As mentioned above, I got my current job through LinkedIn. My resume and all the other things I did were for naught. I am not saying they were worthless, but they didn't work for me at this time. And now there is a study published on the affects of handshakes in interviews.

April IC chips sales are down from last year, but up from last month. It seems the recession has hit bottom, and we are coming out of it.
There are good and bad sides to blogging. I go with the good as blogging is writing and writers should be writing. Don't, however, let a blog keep you from writing that novel or whatever it is you depend on.

Google to enter the eBook market.

Microsoft's Bing is on the air early. There are many games you can play with announcing product releases and then releasing them. Perhaps MS has learned a few.

Here is Nvidia's view of the future of really small portable computers. Scroll down to see their computer hardware next to a stick of gum. That is an effective, communicating photograph. Others should see it and learn.

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Tuesday June 2, 2009

The American taxpayer owns General Motors. Does this mean I can get a free oil change and car wash? A later thought, are UAW members all now government employees? Some lawyer could answer yes to this question. Some judge could as well. That would turn the US upside down and be far more significant than nationalizing the auto industry.

Project "Natal" is Microsoft's motion sensing gaming device. It won't be out in 2009. Okay, this is for a game, but in the near future there will be serious and beneficial uses for such technology.

Google docs is accepting more file formats for upload. I use Google docs often. I rarely upload existing MS formats to Docs as I usually type on Docs from one computer and access them later from another

Intel continues to announce new processors. A smart thing is that they are all across the marketplace from low electical power and low processing power to high processing power and RF.

The Associated Press will deploy technology to stop people from misusing its content. This could be interesting to watch.

This is too odd to pass up: a machine that converts office paper to toilet paper.

This is too weird to pass up: the US Supreme Court will decide if business methods can be patented. What have the people at the US Patent Office been doing? I want to patent my method of putting Post-It notes upside down in my books as markers. Then I can patent my method of putting Post-It notes into notebooks sideways as tabs. Then I want to patent my method for...

More thin portable computers.

Johanna Rothman writes about grace degradation, hard failures, and hot water heaters. Ah if only the entire world were ones and zeros. Sadly (for some of us) most of the world is analog.

Twenty slides with fifteen seconds per slide - sounds good to me.

Some thoughts on newspapers charging for online content. Such discussions won't go away until the newspapers finally go away. There are many factors here, but the end of newspapers seems inevitable. Perhaps a traditional newspaper person will find an answer.

A look at Intel's Moblin - its Linux variant optimized for its Atom processor. Kudos to Microsoft for realizing the money in the really small portable computer market and optimizing one of its Windows 7 releases for that market. 

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Wednesday June 3, 2009 

Windows 7 to go on sale in October of this year. More on that story here.

Newspapers are thriving, no their are starving, no they are thriving, no they are...

This is not a new story, and this is not news: the Chinese government cracks down on social media use of its subjects as the anniversay of Tiananmen Square approaches.

Some actual testing of the Verizon MiFi router. It seems to work fine.

Each Digital TV comes with a royalty charge of about $30. Well, Microsoft always (and still does) got $50 or so from every PC sold.

The Gender Gap in Mathematics seems to have vanished. I like this news.

This post brings an old saying to mind for managers: Look for the difference that makes a difference.

This is pretty good advice about starting a digital nomad or location independent life - take a three-month sabbatical to a foreign country.

This is an interesting little portable computer. It has 3G, GPS, and an accelerometer, plus navigation software.

The Justice Department is investigating Apple and a few other "tech" companies. Let's see, we give $50Billion of taxpayers' money to General Motors so it can declare bankruptcy and we investigate successful companies. This must be a complex situation as I don't understand what I understand here. I am open to explanations.

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Thursday June 4, 2009

Apple, and a BILLION $$$, is coming to rural North Carolina. As a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia right next door, where was our legistlature?

A list of American civilian nuclear sites was accidentally posted on the Internet this weekend. Repeating an earlier question, is everyone ready for nation electronic health records?

Nine days until the switch to digital TV. Everyone ready for the screaming?

Sometimes cheaper is better. The white plastic Apple MacBook outperforms the more expensive aliminum body model. No doubt the aluminum model will be updated soon and it will leap frog the plastic one. Here is more information on this story.

More advances in image processing. Turn a still photo into a video. I haven't been able to find the actual video. I will keep searching.

Unix is still not dead despite many proclamations over the years. And here is a Unix family tree. I have used many of these. Gasp.

This is great. A little video camera strapped to homemade rockets. This is simply GREAT.

And look at the photos of these world records. More great stuff.

UAVs that can perch and stare persistently. Persistent sensors are important, far more important than the notice they receive. Add mobility to persistence and you really  have something.

This is a video of a hydraulic analog computer from the 1940s.

Here is some progress in solar energy - flexible, rollup panels. There is yet hope.

Michael Arrington's Crunchpad continues to step towards reality. To be really real, they have to sell it for under $100.

The cyberwars heat up. At least governments are going public with this.

And guess what, if Congress goes ahead with the President's plan to increase taxes on U.S. corporations some of those corporations (like Microsoft) will move jobs overseas. Who would have ever predicted such a thing? ;-)

"Reengagement with reality is among the recession's benefits." Great stuff from today's George Will editorial.

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Friday June 5, 2009

It appears the Steve Jobs is healthy after six months away from Apple. Hmm, that doesn't sound right. Six months away from Apple and ...

It is probably impossible to tell if the stimulus money spent on science is a success. That also means that it is impossible to call it a failure. This is a classic ploy in government. Paraphrasing a line from Alice in Wonderland, "if you don't know where you are going, any destination will do." Politicians do this often. Make the goals vague and you declare any outcome a success.

Here is a neat little computer that bolts onto the back of a monitor.

This is just plain weird, or cute maybe. A Lego-print dress. My wife wouldn't like it.

Sales of disk drives is down 18% the first quarter of 2009 compared to 2008.

This is different, i.e. innovative: A really small portable computer running XP. You detach the LED screen and have an Android-based tablet computer in your hand. Two vastly different computers in one small package.

And a really small portable computer that dual-boots XP and Android.

This eBook reader from IAC has more Internet access options than the Kindle: EV-DO, HSPA, WiFi, and WiMax. Who else will try this market? We need more such competition.

Great video of the moon taken from a Japanese vehicle. This is in HD.

Microsoft's Bing has been more popular than Yahoo Search this week.

Governing is not as easy as campaigning. While the Obama team used Web 2.0 extensively during its campaign, the Obama Administration (despite promises) is not using it much.

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Saturday June 6, 2009

Jerry Weinberg provides some insight into consulting by posting an exchange between himself and a client

The nation's Chief Technology Officer sure has the "innovation" buzzword down.

Some people are concerned about preserving the original lunar landing sites. I guess this idea has some merit. It would be nice if we could see, for example, the spot where Columbus first landed, but then again it would probably be a tourist trap.

Perhaps some of those college ranking are manipulated by money. Who would have ever guessed that?

More great photos and video from a camera strapped to a homemade rocket.

Look at these computer "desktops." Wonderful design ideas. More examples here.

Louisiana will tax Internet users - its only 15 cents a month (to start).

Mozilla is seven years old. Off to a slow start, their browser will probably pass Microsoft's in the next few years.

George Will provides an analysis of the General Motors situation. Sigh. GM is too big to fail, but is about the same size as California Pizza Kitchen. I know they aren't the same, but...

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Sunday June 7, 2009

The Tetris game is 25 years old.

It seems that Twitter's employees don't use Twitter much. That violates the Dog Food Rule (you must eat your own dog food or you must use your own product).

This is a great video on hype, media, advertising, the Internet, and all such things.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council has brought in several noted hackers. Time will tell if this is yet another publicity stunt or if something really happens.

More comment on newspapers trying for paid content.

Some writing careers and some writing careers that actually pay money.

It is Sunday, and as usual I catch up on viewing many writers' blogs.

Holly Lisle explains her blog and he philosophy behind it. I find it odd that some people take great offense when a blogger ignores them or deletes their comments. After all, commenters are not paying the blogger. Why should they expect something from the blogger? This seems curious, but that is the way we are. By the way, those commenters provide reams of material for writers.

Holly is writing a novel at this time. She is posting often - sometimes several times a day - about her writing. If you ever wanted to know what a writer does while writing a novel, Holly is providing excellent insight.

This is an excellent post on how to get poor and stay that way. Most of the steps are avoidable, but many people choose them anyways. I believe that the desire to not be poor and not be a drain on society is a gift from God. One for which I am thankful.

Here are some ways to make a little money on the side by selling your knowledge.

We all need recreation. Even web workers need it. We all need recreation. Note that word re-creation. I rest now and then. Sometimes with my eyes closed, sometimes with them open. My wife asks me, "are you doing anything right now?" Sometimes my answer is, "Yes, I am resting." Resting is a legitimate activity. Do it.

Auren Hoffman has a good observation about reading a real book vs. reading an eBook.When people see him reading an eBook on Kindle, they interrupt to talk about the Kindle. When people see him reading a real book, they interrupt to talk about the ideas in the book. This is one of those unintended consequences of technology. Who would have guessed that the Kindle would reduce conversations about ideas?

This is funny. Freelancers and consultants are often asked to give a price break "just this one time." I like the way the waiter in the restaurant handles it.

And some advice on avoiding these troubles.TEXT

People you don't want to meet at a writer's conference. I've never been to a "writer's conference." I have been to other conferences and to some writer's workshops. I have seen the types mentioned here at other conferences. Fortunately, none of these people attended the writer's workshops I did. Just plain luck.

For those of us who struggle to write a draft, tear it up, and write a final, consider this - a draft is like a prototype. One of the wonderful things about writing on a computer is that a draft does not consume any of the precious physical space in my physical filing cabinet. I can write a draft, read it, and PUT IT AWAY in a file on my computer (I got 200GBytes or something, enough "space" to hold a gazillion drafts). Note, I "put it away" and not "throw it away." I can always go back to the draft if I choose. Putting it away is a key point of safety with some of us. We've created a "put-away prototype" and not a "throw-away prototype." Ah, safety, security, knowing that I have not "wasted" that effort it took to write the draft.

In a similar vein, sometimes a writer needs to stop thinking so much and just write for a while.

Some good writing tips from a magazine editor. One of them is about listening to what the editor tells you. Taking criticism or answering questions about what I have written isn't easy. I remind myself that the other person took the time and energy to read what I wrote and say something. I should listen and listen with an open mind and heart. It is rare when I find someone's comments empty. There is almost always something there to teach me.

Holly Lisle continues posting as she writes a novel. This is a great insight into a person writing a novel.

Websites for Writers is a "new" site that points to sites for writers. This has a different user interface. I will watch it.

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