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: July 13-19, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday July 13, 2009

Tales from the retail business (rotten meat in a box that is supposed to contain a computer). These have been around for years. Some are urban myth, some are true.

People aren't saying they will "skip" Windows 7, but 60% of business say they will wait a while. Wait a while for what? XP service patch 27? Buy Linux, buy Apple, do something.

Consumers have comfort zones, but businesses? They should know better and act as if they know better.

Do you really need a "smartphone?" Of course not. America is rich; Americans are rich despite what you may frequently see in the news. We buy lots of things we don't need. Visit your average poor person and notice all the non-essential items they have.

This summer road trip continues. I wish I was out there.

The next iteration of Intel processors are coming. I am not sure what we will do with all this power, but we will find out.

The past couple of weeks working on a proposal have brought me several insights. Here is one on shortcuts. Here is one on documentation.

The crux moment for a writer. It still comes down to sitting in the chair with your fingers tapping away at letters, words, pages...

Fact: swine flu kills obese people in disproportionate numbers. It is all about breathing. Being obese hampers breathing. This is not about beauty and fashion; it is about abusing your body.

Here is an advance in UAV flight duration.

Microsoft is to make an announcement today about Office 2010. We use Office 2003 where I work. Why would anyone use a priece of software that is six years old? Because our primary customer - the government of the United States - uses Office 2003, and we have to deliver files in a format that they can read EASILY. Yes, that change guy is president now, and the organization that he administers is using Office 2003.

Build credibility in your blog mostly through "care and concern." I don't agree, but I now know another point of view on this one.

Holly Lisle continues to write her next novel and blog in detail along the way. If you want to now how one writer does it, I receommend following her.

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Tuesday July 14, 2009

Microsoft Office 2010 will have web-based versions of its applications. It won't be available until - think hard on this one - 2010. Hence the name, but that date is disappointing a lot of people.

Scoble is impressed with the new Office.

Our Federal  museums cannot maintain their scientific collections. How about give some of the collections to local and private groups to keep and maintain?

The NY Times reads TechCrunch everyday. Why not?

Good news for science historians - NASA has found video tape recordings from Apollo 11 - the one where we landed on the moon. This is bittersweet. Great to have them, but that was 40 years ago and look where the space program is today - no where.

The International Space Station will come down in 2016. Maybe it will be finished by then.

Build a 10 TeraByte array for $1,000. Fifteen years ago we built a 1 TeraByte machine. It cost a lot more than $1,000 and barely worked.

A really reliable Apple rumor - the touchscreen netbook is coming in October.

A baby comes to the Location Independent Professional. Since my grandson was born in November I notice babies much more than I used to. I guess I went about 20 years without noticing babies. What a wasted 20 years.

The "public" likes "scientists" but distrusts their conclusions. Odd? I think not. One problem is that scientists live on funded research. Where there is money, there is mistrust.

Something to read slowly (later today) - What Detroit can Learn from Silicon Valley.

Just because people are NOT doing something, doesn't mean it would be good. Just because people ARE doing something doesn't mean it is good. Sometimes we all need time to learn what works and what doesn't. The market place has delays in it.

The Washington D.C. economy thrives during the recession. Of course it does. The answer to all our problems - as some think - is to hire government employees who will show everyone how everthing is done. Is there a problem with this concept?

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Wednesday July 15, 2009 

Don't have enough time to do everything? Cut your work week to four days and concentrate. It has worked for some people. I wonder if this would work for government spending?

Bill Gates has put several classic lectures on Physics online. Good for him. I am starting to like Bill Gates.

Ancient climate change. Guess what? There may be things about this which we still don't understand.

Both parties in the U.S. were more concerned about security than legality after 9/11. Again, this comes as a surprise to some people.

You can read PC disks in OS X and vice versa.

You can boot some versions of Linux in one second. The may be important to some people.

This story is making the rounds all over the Internet - poor working conditions in Apple factories in China.

And Apple's App Store for the iPhone has moved beyond 1.5 Billion downloads

The New York city Police Department still uses typewriters. The city is paying a million dollars to buy more typewriters and $100K  a year for maintenance. I am dumfounded on this one.

Even the U.S. Postal Service has moved to Linux (instead of typewriters).

Writers, broaden what you see, hear, taste, and so on. Read things that "you aren't supposed to."

Business is looking up a little bit at Intel, and that gives hope to the computer industry.

What is next for newspapers? No one knows. Now that is something I agree with.

It seems there is much unrest in the "mommy blogger" segment about writing reviews when someone gives you a product. This seems quite simple to me. You put a statement like, "I was given a review copy of this product for free," at the top of your review. Many industries have worked this way for years. Is there something new here?

And some members of Congress want to give every American school kid a Kindle. Long sigh.

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Thursday July 16, 2009

I ran the beltway and sat in several long meetings.

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Friday July 17, 2009

Last night, ABC ran a special on author JK Rowling. This link takes you to a YouTube version of the show, part 1 of 8. I don't like the Harry Potter books; I never have. They just aren't for me. I like this show. Sure, ABC played it in the usual big media ways about how Rowling likes to buy shoes. What was that about? Still, it was nice to see something about a writer on television. I found it funny, even silly, that ABC was putting out that Rowling would no longer write. Of course she will continue to write, not Harry Potter, but she will write. She is a writer. She writes like she breathes. There is no other existence. Late in the show, ABC admitted that, yes, she would continue to write, but they kept it a mystery what she would be writing.

Different sources give different numbers, but it seems that Apple continues to gain market share in the U.S. in computers.

Harvard University Press will put a thousand of its titles on Scribd. Good. It is tough to make any money with publishing books that sell a thousand copies. I know, I have been in that. Why not put them out there online?

Americans are using the Internet during this recession. Perhaps this will be known as the first Internet recession or the first Internet recession recovery or something.

Who thought of this one? A cigarette lighter built into a cell phone. I just knew there was something that Apple left out of the iPhone ;-)

This is fascinating. A dark flash that uses other types of light to illuminate a subject. The result is poor colors. So the camera takes a second photo an instant after the first to learn what the true colors should be. Software then combines to two producing a good photo. Here is another story on the idea.

Here is a nice looking wooden weather station.

Lifestyle inflation I've never heard that term, but I have seen the behavior in many people. Here is a "secret" to becoming "rich:" spend less money than you earn over a long period of time. I have tried this, and it seems to work. But then again, I am an engineer and I don't have to dress nice or try to impress anyone. I guess those are side benefits of being a nerd.

Video game sales dropped 30% in June from last year.

But IBM had a better-than-forecast quarter.

I love reading One Sentence stories. I know I have written that a bunch of times in this daybook, but I just can't help myself.

These stories make some sense. A new data center in Belgium that has no air conditioners. An older story about "free cooling." Back in December 1982 through January 1983, we operated a remote data location facility with no AC. We had to as the AC parts didn't arrive and were not installed. We got by just fine. We opened the windows and let the winter air come in. Sometimes I wonder if we become so smart that we wrap around the cylinder and end up on the stupid side.

Intel is advocating really thin portable computers over the really small portable computers. Somewhere in there are more profits for Intel.

A better Google Docs is coming from Google. The current Google Docs is okay with me, but I realize that I am not the usual user. For example, when writing on my computer at home I use the vim ASCII text editor.

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Saturday July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite dies at 92.

Pay-as-you-drive auto insurance. Sounds pretty good except that someone has to follow you around to see where and how you drive. We could have a problem with that part.

Wikipedia inches towards having video. It is those pesky video formats and codecs.

Scans of paintings appear on Wikipedia. The museums want some money. Isn't this what museum are for? Allowing people to see things?

Cnet's road trip passed through Yellowstone and brought us the photo of an eagle's nest. Yellowstone is a wonderful place.

NASA's satellite orbiting the moon has sent back photos of the Apollo landing sites. The stuff is still there. Too bad we aren't.

A "car" equipped with an array of lasers can be driven by a sightless person. Let's hear it for Virginia Tech.

Johanna Rothman writes about receiving feedback on why you didn't get a job you interviewed for. Do you want to learn or debate?

This story is all over the Internet. Amazon deleted some George Orwell books from Kindles. People had paid for these eBooks.

A breakthrough of sorts in OLED light technology.

How RFID tags make running marathons more fun. I guess there are worse uses of technology.

7 simple steps to improve writing. No, there is nothing original here. I do, however, find it good to remind myself of such from time to time.

Everyone is getting into cloud storage. Why not? Big companies can buy disk drives cheaper than I can. Something about supply and demand and discount bulk purchasing.

What phones do people dump for the iPhone? Motorola seems to be a big loser.

Tata Motors of India has started selling their $2,500 cars. There is a looooong waiting list. I guess these guys didn't get the memo from Al Gore. This brings to mind something that occurs often. Gore and other climate change proponents rant against such spread of oil-addicted vehicles. Gore has accumulated vast wealth while giving his speeches. He has the money to buy all these cars and keep them off the road. Putting his money where his mouth is? A different matter.

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Sunday July 19, 2009

We can read body language in others, but not in ourselves, even when watching a video of ourselves. Being self aware is one of the greatest challenges.

Intel is building a 320GigaByte solid state drive. I guess there is no end to this.

Job losses in the tech field are slowing. They haven't turned into job gains, but the losses are slowing.

It seems many people are not ready for smart applicances and the smart grid.

If a business wants to use the online version of Office 2010, they will have to pay - a lot.

Here is an excellent post from Steve Smith on recidivism in managers (they cannot let go of what they used to do, so they keep going back to it). I have seen this everywhere. When in doubt, when in trouble, when tired...people go back to what they know. They stop managing and start writing software or such. I congratulate Steve on finding the word "recidivism."

I had not heard of this one - Google has been taking over email and other services at universities FOR FREE. A big savings for the universities, and a big foot into the door of millions of future customers for Google.

Creativity and the use of "empty time." If you are busy, busy, busy you may not innovate or create much.

Some points to consider before writing a novel.

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