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: August 3-9, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday August 3, 2009

Technologies are soon to collide in some sort of a coordinated manner. New chips from Intel + new operating system from Micrsoft. These are great times in this field.

Google starts advertising its apps on billboards. Is this inspiritation or desperation?

Nissan shows its all-electric vehicle for 2010. 100-mile range and five passengers. It is to be "competitively priced."

Microsoft and the Europeans continue their feud about Internet broswers. I guess I just don't get it.

This is neat - for $8,000 you can put your own little satellite into orbit on board someone else's rocket.

It appears that CentOS is back on track. The missing person returned. This was a strange episode, but all appears to be normal again.

A list of cities that may get WiMax this year. Mine is not on the list. Rats.

Here is HP's $300 portable computer. It seems to work.

Now, this is something I am anxious to see - a combination digital camera and really small projector.

Energy efficiency (that means stop wasting) may be America's answer. These are subjective terms, so there will be much arguing about the details. Nonetheless, I like efficiency much better than tax programs.

This one snuck up on me - Microsoft Word is over 20 years old.

Old news, but the cash for clunkers program is out of money. People want the President to "redirect" funds from other bills to it. "Redirecting" funds is illegal, but that has never stopped Washington before. The legal way is for Congress to pass a new bill and the President to sign it. The legal way is inconvenient while Congress is on vacation.

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Tuesday August 4, 2009

This is old news, but worth repeating. The "smart meters" for the house are not secure. Calamity is soon to follow if we jump into this one.

Google has quadrupled the number of newspaper articles in its search archive.

And Google has lost some employees to VMWare.

The xkcd comics will come out in a book. I enjoy xkcd.com. It is computer comedy of sorts and is not for everyone.

Intel has found some problems in its new SSDs. Intel is pulling them back from resellers to fix the issues.

SUSE has a product that makes it easier to build your own custom Linux distribution.

Here you go - a 1 TeraByte Solid State Disk.

How to be secure with your computing devices. These things take a lot of time to do everyday.

The White House lost its top cyber-security aid. The reason was delays and delays.

The top 1% of earners in America (1.4 million people) pay more combined Federal income tax that the bottom 95% (134 million people) combined. The rich don't pay enough taxes? The best explanation of taxes I have ever heard is a saying, "Don't tax me, don't tax thee, tax that fellow over there behind that tree."

Once again the politicians fail to take a systems view. The cash for clunkers program is only one of many in which people are encouraged to throw away an existing item for one that is more efficient. Efficiency of operation is good, but this scheme neglects the energy and other costs to build a new item and dispose of an old one. Cash for clunkers is an energy waster and a pollution causer - opposite of the desired result.

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Wednesday August 5, 2009 

Intel is using Facebook to promote distributed computing projects. Donate some free processor time. I have a few free processors at the house, maybe...

This might be an interesting book "Digital Barbarism." It argues against everything the Web 2.0 crowd argues for.

Something is wrong with Twitter.com this morning???? All the twitter URLs lead me to the Google home page.???? An hour later it is back to normal. What happened?

Sony shows off some new eBook readers.

I like this folding bycicle. The trick of course is to find a way to manufacture this and sell it for a couple hundred dollars.

Aha! Someone actually did a lifecycle study of total energy costs of LEDs and compact flourescents. They are about the same in energy consumption. At least it was a study of the total lifecycle.

Perhaps the maybe rumored coming tablet computer from Apple will be a replacement for Apple TV. This is, of course, all speculation.

And some people believe not no one wants tablet computers anyways.

HP has some new portable computers for business. The specs are amazing or groundbreaking in any way. The prices are nice: all under $450.

Beating facial recognition systems by wearing a goofy hat with LEDs in the bill. Hmmm. After all, this should work.

And more from DefCon 2009.

The video game industry may be turning back upwards again. Electronic Arts had a better-than-expected quarter.

Here is a list of top-rated science blogs. Interesting.

Really small portable computers with 11-inch screens. People are trying hard to recreate the iBook G4 portable computer that Apple stopped making four years ago.

Making music in Linux: This person switched from Apple and GarageBand to a much less expensive really small portable computer running Ubuntu Linux. He loves the result and the savings.

Windows 7 inches towards release. I am looking forward to running it. It has been a long time since I have written such about a Windows release.

Personal supercomputers. I like this - a lot. It isn't big news, but it is often forgotten: the astounding success of the people who make the integrated circuits has changed the world. That has enabled legions of people to write software, build computers, and do all sorts of unexpected yet wonderful things.

Will success at Wikipedia lead to failure? Achieving success is not easy. Maintaining success is really hard.

Oh look, the Federal government is going to save us from ourselves again. The Department of Transportation is going to "take on" distracted driving. Ooooooo

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Thursday August 6, 2009

Some tips for those who work at home. It is often a struggle to work the right amount of hours - not too much - not too little.

Graphene inches towards being a reality in the marketplace.

Remove the engine or fuel from a rocket? It may be done with beam-energy propulsion.

Publication of books banned in America. These are interesting times. Someone please have a talk with the judge.

Somone is going to study that big floating island of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean.

Open Office is "improving" its user interface to look more like the current Microsoft one.

It seems that there are lots of neat things at the SIGGRAPH conference in New Orleans.

The next hot field of endeavor - statistics? They work in baseball, why not other areas as well?

I have waited for years for this machine to come along: a pancake making machine that makes 200 an hour. Rats, it costs $3,500.

And something else I really need, a helmet cam that is crash proof.

But I will live without this - a credit-card sized LED light that you can put in your wallet.

Here is a mobile hotspot from Sprint that works with WiMax as well as 3G. Cool.

Apple's stores continue to having declining sales, but they are good at helping people switch from Windows to Apple.

Coffee shops and others are banning portable computers during lunch hours. Why? They have free Wifi, and web users sit for hours taking tables away from paying customers. I have seen similar situations in my local area. One coffee shop "asks" that computer users not occupy tables on Saturday mornings when they have weekend coffee drinkers and pastry eaters come in by the doznes. If you are like me and go to a coffee shop to get out of the house and surf the web, be conscientious and courteous.

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Friday August 7, 2009

The problems with Twitter.com seem to continue this morning.

Laptop Mag finds Apple's service to be the best.

51% of young Internet users watch TV online. This exploded during the six months ending in April 2009, so it is a recent event.

A gallery of views of Windows 7.

I find this article interesting about a future where American programmers will travel the world in search of interesting projects. A key to all this is liberty and freedom in many countries of the world today where such doesn't exist now. At least my opinion.

How about living a while and working in Barbados? Look sgood to me.

There are some bad things about cloud computing. Beware of the intellectual property that you store on other people's computers.

Lenovo lost $16 Million last quarter (they profitted over $100 Million the same quarter the prior year).

Comcast, on the other hand, increased its profits largely on higher prices. Hmmm.

This is a little different. Will the government scare us to death or will entertainment numb us to numbness?

The stories coming out of DefCon are great warnings. I don't know if anyone is listening, but...
Federal Agents who visited the conference had all the RFID tags on cards in their pockets read and their pictures taken. Oooops, so much for privacy. Such RFID readers are cheap and easy to build.

And in a similar story, the proposed UK national ID card was broken and cloned in 12 minutes. Everyone ready for national electronic health records, smart grid, and whatever else some people think are great ideas?

It seems that there are many problems with the Large Hadron Collider. Science can be difficult and cost a lot of money.

Try to visit this site and their service again, ContactOffice - computing in the cloud without much fuss? Maybe.

Comcast continues to move into DOCSIS 3.0.

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Saturday August 8, 2009

This is a little surprising about Twitter, older people are using it, not teens. My theory is that teens see older people using it and stay away as a reaction.

Tesla made a million dollars profit last month. I think the government is involved in loans and such, so I am not sure of the accounting.

Dell's Mini 9 reappears on its web site. The Mini 12 is gone. Excess stock? Sold out? New models coming?

Companies are moving their server centers to states with better tax laws. Let's review that one: lower taxes attract business and jobs. If wonder if the same works with countries as it does with states?

Poor passwords are a bigger security problem than hacking worms and such. Once again, it is the people instead of the technology.

Tech stocks are rising fast.

Now this looks neat. A USB hub in the form of a cassette tape.

This is interesting, but definitely not practical - yet. Self-heating cans of food. They cost $8 each, so forget them for now.

A recession tends to make people more wary of scammers. The Nigerians - specialists in the art of the scam - are having to work harder. I lived in Nigera a couple of years during the 1990s. They didn't have Internet access at the time. They do now, as many of you know.

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Sunday August 9, 2009

It is Sunday, most of the sites I view each day have little new on them on Sunday, so I try to catch up on some of the writers' blogs I view.

Playing at the edges - something writers might do from time to time.

Some information on plots and novels and such.

Here is Focus Writer - yet another "full screen" word processor that shows the writer only what they are writing. Such tools seek to remove all distractions.
Some writing is never finished, some is a waste of time. I agree with the first, but not the second or at least no much. All writing can be instructive. If I spend the time on some writing (pay the tuition) I can choose to gain the learning or not.

Here is a good technique to improve your draft(s): print it to paper and then read it aloud. How does it sound when you read it? Be ready with something to make marks on the paper.

There can be a dark side to writing. Many writers are afraid to write about bad things. I think these fears stem from childhood and what we were told by parents and other adults. There were some things that we were not supposed to hear, see, say, touch, feel... It isn't easy to one day wake up and realize, "Hey, I am an adult now. I don't have to obey those rules they gave me when I was six years old." Those rules the adults gave us REALLY stick with us. Hence, we have the fear, "If I write about cruel, grisly, (fill-in-the-blank with more forbidden words) things, does that mean I am a bad person?"

On having a space to work at home. This writer lives in an apartment. He found that a corner of a bedroom didn't work, and moved to where he would have an entire bedroom to write.

The first ten free applications to install on a Windows computer. I take note of this as I am about to get a Windows computer at home. It has been years since such an occurence.

I like this advice for writers and other freelancers. Set aside certain tasks for certain days of the week. Get it done and enjoy your weekends. Qoute: "Epiphany? If underwear can be labeled by days of the week, so can my job list. I recently switched modes from "do everything I can on Saturday morning" to a daily schedule of writing on particular topics for particular forums each day of the week. I now enjoy my Saturdays and Sundays much more - and I still write as much as I did before.

I think this is good advice for journalism in the coming years: provide data that we can grab onto our computers so we can perform our own analysis.

Another person testitifes to some of the advantages of living in a foreign country. The cost is less and the lifestyle you lead makes it even lesser.

Some tips on the story in fiction writing.

I think this guy has eight monitors on his desk. It is hard to count from the photos. All I can say is WOW.

And this guy's office seems to be just about perfect. Hanging off a hillside in the woods.

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