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 27-August 2, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday July 27, 2009

This experiment is worth watching. The book  "Free" was available for free download for several weeks. Up to 300,000 downloads occurred. Now it is on sale and is in the top 20 of the New York Times list.

And look at this, putting songs on YouTube and other free sites on the Internet actually increases sales of those songs. Hmmm, it seems that someone in business or communications or advertising would have known about this long ago. Oooops, they did.

Should people honor legal contracts or sway with the winds of public opinion? Law should rule, but hey this is a new era.

Is handwriting dead? I doubt it. Is cursive dead? I hope so. I no longer write in cursive. I have learned to print quickly and much more legibly than I could ever do in cursive. I have three sons in their 20s who rarely write in cursive. Cursive is a font created for silver smiths to inscribe fancy plates. Who ever thought it would be a good idea to force six-year-olds to learn that?

It seems that Jupiter catches a lot of debris that would harm the earth. It is as if someone was pretty smart and put it there, but that flies in the face of science and logic, so...

Computer book sales are down again this year. I write technical books; I don't think they qualify as computer books, but they aren't selling. Maybe they aren't very good or aren't marketed well or any number of reasons.

Western Digital introduces a 1 TeraByte disk drive for portable computers. I won't go into how big the first 1 TeraByte storage device I ever saw was...but it was a lot bigger than this. Great stuff.

I have to admit that I did not see this one coming: people are stealing the cameras from those traffic light cameras. It appears that the cameras in those boxes are high price and high quality.

Technology and entertainment at a megachurch. I will have to think about this one for a while.

This sure sounds like a good idea: Microsoft worked with several hardware makers so that Windows 7 would perform better. There are still some pretty smart people at Microsoft.

It seems that "minorities" in America have skipped the home computer connection to the Internet and jumped to mobile devices instead. They broke the "rules" and ruined a lot of studies that showed them far behind "non-minorities."

Highly educated and hard working immigrants are leaving the U.S. There are many factors to this story and many perspectives, but just read that first sentence. I don't like it.

Yet another new fuel technology. Some of these may work well. I don't like the current political thought that using energy is evil and needs to be punished. I am for the thought of new technology. Author Jerry Pournelle often writes about the economic boom that will come from cheap energy and far less government regulation. Perhaps one day...

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Tuesday July 28, 2009

Gadgets everywhere. Yes this can be a problem.

But first I have to get one of these gadgets - a little sleep monitor. The writer of this post thought he was waking four or five times a night, but instead it was 15. I often wake in the morning feeling more fatigue than when I went to bed the night before.

On working from a Motel room. The desks and tables aren't the right height. Pile your pillows on your chair to get the height correct. I have stood outside the lobby in the fog to get good WiFi reception. Not fun, but it worked.

This story will make the rounds in many forms this week - is Apple trying to block use of Google Voice on the iPhone?

Verizon is trying to offer free WiFi access to its DSL customers. This is sort of like AT&T offering free WiFi to its customers at Starbucks. There are many problems that Verizon has yet to solve - like you have to be using MS Windows to access the Internet. Yikes.

And Verizon isn't doing well financially - it cuts 8,000 jobs.

The music industry in the UK is up despite the Internet.

Are women becoming more beautiful? Absolutely, my wife is more beautiful now than she ever has been. Oh, and there is some science behind the "yes" answer.

More information on the coming sequel to the movie Tron.

Bill Gates looks back on 1979 when Microsoft had 13 employees.

A study shows that texting while driving is dangerous. I am glad someone did a study on this one. Who would have guessed the outcome? Duh.

A 98-inch TV screen installed in the ceiling of a 14-year-old boy's bedroom. This could be a dangerous combination in the long term, surely fun in the short term.

Here is more on High-Frequency Trading or how to make millions in the stock market with your garden variety supercomputer. It seems that the computers run highly guarded algorithms that make thousands of trades a minute. Each trade turns a profit of a few cents. Multiply this out and you make lots of money every day - that is if you can afford a supercomputer and the brains to invent and program the algorithms on the fly.

I don't like this news and I am surprised at Microsoft. They are not offering easy upgrades from Windows XP to Windows 7. Come on Microsoft. Admit that there are millions of people out there who you could make happy or not.

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Wednesday July 29, 2009 

The rumors keep coming as to Apple's tablet computer. It will be here for the Christmas shopping season. If this doesn't happen, someone is going to be disappointed.

And another rumor - a big deal is about to be announced between Microsoft and Yahoo.

Climbing trees. As a little girl, my wife was known as "climbing Annie" due to her propensity to do so.

A tiny USB thumb drive (call it a thumbnail drive?) boosts its capacity to 32GigaBytes.

An HD video camera for under $180. No, the lens isn't that good, but all the convenience features are here from Kodak.

The computer world is upside down. "small fish (netbooks) eating medium-sized fish (notebooks) eating large fish (desktops)" The trouble for manufacturers and Microsoft is that the profit margin is smaller on the smaller machines.

Too dangerous for human firefighters? Send in the machines. A good use of technology from my perspective.

A high school teacher demanded and got the Facebook name and password of a student. I understand that their is a lot of stress in public schools and everyone has a bad day. Still, come on.

Transparency on the TARP funds? Hardly. Some people are trying, but they are being sat on by the weight of the bureaucracy.

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Thursday July 30, 2009

Today is the 26th anniversary of my wedding to Karen.

Yahoo and Microsoft sign a deal of cooperation. This isn't as flashy as buying one another, but it is interesting to see what will happen.

City libraries are located in cities which means they are left out of the $7Billion in rural broadband funds. Ooooops. Someone in Congress messed up again. I see another spending bill coming to "correct" this oversight.

Intel and AMD are taking some of the graphics market from NVIDIA.

And all I have is a TV set! See these home theatres. Recession?

A 10 MegaPixel camera from Nikon and a 37 MegaPixel camera from Leica. The Nikon is $600 while the Leica is above $25,000.

Sony and Google have dealed with the result being a million out-of-copyright books becoming available for the Sony eBook reader. I like moves like this.

The Eye-Fi card continues to evolve, now with a 2GigaByte model with geo-tagging.

Where does the money go? Here is a good visual on the spending of the "average American." Housing and transportation are the big ones (no surprise). I am surprised that housing accounts for 34%. I always kept that one under 25%.

Microsoft announces the locations of its first stores. One is next door to an Apple store.

Microsoft worked hard to ensure that Windows 7 will work well on the really small portable computers. Smart move.

Have you ever used a couple of monitors at once? It is wonderful, and you actually accomplish more. Here is a set of photos of a four-monitor desk. Wow, I want one. What I find odd about myself is I love things like this and I love sitting at a table with a pile of blank pieces of paper (printer paper - no lines) and a bunch of freshly sharpened pencils.

Want to get more done? Try going someplace where the RF doesn't reach you.

AOL is making big moves into Internet news. I even recognized the names of some of the journalists AOL has hired away from old media outlets.

I like this commentary on old and new media. "Good enough" content with free distribution channels beats "professional" content on limited channels. It turns out that the amatuer content is often better than that from the professionals. The blow to the ego is often harder to bear than the economic result.

Some U.S. Senators are trying to extort states into banning texting while driving. Extortion is  a strong term, but what else do you call it when someone says, "Do this or I will take a hundred million dollars away from you?" Yes, you should not text while driving, but this is a redundant law that will cost money to enforce.

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Friday July 31, 2009

Apple has doubled the storage capacity of its Time Capsule to 2TeraBytes. This also means the price of the old model has dropped. Yes!

The Firefox browser exceeds one billion downloads.

Motorola makes a profit this quarter. What recession?

but Kodak continues to lose money.

And here is hacking into parking meters for free parking. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records? Again, there are more people out there working to break in than there are on the inside trying to keep people from breaking in. The numbers win.

Some experiences with WiMax in Baltimore.

A quick lesson in reading faster.

Jon Stewart of Comedy Central is the nation's most trusted newscaster. This says a lot about the people who sit in front of the cameras on the "major" news networks.

The Wall Street Journal is trying (a second time) to build a LinkedIn killer.

A trend in Silicon Valley: unemployed techies are trying to move into non-technical fields. This is perplexing for me, but interesting.

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Saturday August 1, 2009

I spent half the day on the Shenandoah River in a canoe. I spent the other half of the day driving to and fro. It was a good day.

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Sunday August 2, 2009

Jeff Atwood's impressions of Windows 7 - the best service pack for Windows Vista ever. I have always thought of it as Vista version 2.0. I am looking forward to using it in late October.

73 ways to be a better writer. I thought we were supposed to keep these lists to 7 plus or minus 2. Anyways, there is some advice in here I like. Find what works for you at this time and use that at this time.

A new term for me "ramen profitable." This means your little company is barely earning enough money to pay your living expense. The name comes from living on nothing but Ramen noodles (sometimes available 6 for a dollar). There are many advantages to paying your living expenses. One is that you don't NEED someone else's money.

Write more by subtracting from your writing life. That works.

The "ecofont" saves ink and such by leaving holes in the letters. It is quite readable for drafts and such, uses 20% less ink and toner. This all saves $$$$. HP printers used to have a "draft mode" of printing that used about half the ink. I don't know why HP dropped that feature.

Here is a slight variation on mind mapping to aid a writer - "clusters." I like the use of colored pencils in this technique.

Some ideas on making backup copies of what you are writing. I know people who write for a living, didn't make backups, and lost months of work. I cannot imagine that.

Excellent video on this page about eating local or imported food. I haven't checked the facts, but I love the presentation.

I like this post about "sunk costs." Two qoutes, "Sunk costs means you look at the situation from “now time,” without regard to how you got here or what you spent to date." and "Sunk costs is about the worry of looking stupid. Get over it. Your job as a project leader is to deliver the best results possible based on where you stand today. "

Great photograph - the space shuttle docked to the space station as they cross in front of the sun.

Motivation for morons. Rah Rah Rah

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