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 24-30, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday August 24, 2009

Google's Chrome browser is making inroads in the Linux world.

The Swiss don't like Google's street view. Google has to do more to ensure privacy. This is a sign of success for Google. They are in Switzerland and working and and taking photos and providing maps and making a name and on and on.

These cute little "toy" cars may be the key to one day having autonomous vehicles. These are inexpensive, which means lots of researcers can buy them, which means lots of brains working on a problem instead of just a few well-funded brains. The numbers will win.

The Xbox 360 has a 50%+ failure rate. Hmmm.

Another great workspace example via LifeHacker. One of these days... Those of us with not-so-nice looking workspaces are left to wonder, "do these people actually accomplish any work or are they just spending all their time dusting?" Alas, such wondering is not a good use of time.

Sentiment analysis. This is a form of data mining that bears watching.

Some students are UNC are trying to do journalism. They are asking, listening, and acting. Funny, I wonder if such would work at the Washington Post.

Chicago goes to "smart" parking meters. The result is less than hoped. Government at its finest. Maybe that is too harsh. Some individual people in Chicago made poor decisions. I hope that instead of graft is the explanation.

This is a reversal of policy - the government is leaning towards more outsourcing at NASA. Elsewhere - here in the Washington D.C. area - the government is leaning towards less outsourcing. We shall see what happens.

Gerald M. Weinberg on 50 ways to improve your business. Weinberg credits me with some idea for this. I cannot remember it, perhaps he'll remind me. Anyways, look at the list. Weinberg is a successful business person.

Apple stores are going in the opposite direction of the rest of the economy. Maybe there is a message in there, maybe not. Something about niche markets, luxury items that are not too expensive, and such.

One benefit of a down economy is that there are plenty of good, smart people out there wanting jobs. Facebook is trying to expand its engineering staff this year by 50%.

Here is another story of the brain drain happening in the U.S. I don't like this. In ten years we may see the horrible results.

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Tuesday August 25, 2009

If you haven't heard a million times already, the next OS X update from Apple comes August 28th.

A criticism of the high-tech, high-speed trading now happening on Wall Street. Yes, the brain power could be used for things that benefit society more, but there is nothing illegal here. Immoral? A subjective question.

Microsoft's Bing isn't having much of an affect outside the U.S. I like some of the mapping features of Bing like the Bird's eye view.

Newspapers claim to serve the public. Yet, they are fighting like craze to keep people from reading the news on the Internet. Odd.

Google's Android phone concept hasn't made much of a dent in the marketplace. It has a 3% share, yet that is a pretty big number in absolute terms.

Two weeks in Europe with only an iPod Touch. No cell phone, no portable computers. It mostly worked.

Using the web to raise a little money for startups. No, you cannot live off the amounts raised, but for some people this is a significant boost in finance, and more importantly, in emotion.

Here is an example of electromagnetic comaptibility or EMC. Calling this phone turns on the gas burners of this digitally controlled stove. Odd, but possible.

Did you ever want to write a college textbook? If yes, check out flatworld Knowledge. They are "publishing" free college textbooks on line. I like the idea.

The rumor is that Steve Jobs has been working on nothing but the Apple tablet computer.

For some reason, this is big news all over the Internet. Wikipedia will limit how edits are made to pages about people who are still living. I am puzzled by all the news as this isn't really news. Wikipedia has always tried to throttle the edits on living people.

Also everywhere is this new Apple computer TV ad. I think it is funny. I don't know if it will sell any computers, but it is funny.

I'll have to get one of these for my wife so she can make Lego-style snacks for our grandson.

All those cameras on the street everywhere in London are not solving crimes. One crime solved per 1,000 cameras. Hmmm. Perhaps someone hyped the camera system and took public money for nothing. Technology doesn't solve many public problems. Can you say "National electronic health records?"

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Wednesday August 26, 2009 

The MacBooks - those plastic Apple portable computers - won't be dropped but instead will be updated. My son has one of those and it works just fine. I just wish Apple would name their products correctly.

"Arrandale" from Intel - two processors cores plus a graphics processor on one chip. Coming soon to portable computers.

And Sony competes with the Amazon Kindle.

And yet some more posts on Augmented Reality.

It seems the 4GByte memory limit on Microsoft Windows has more to do with licenses than technology. Oh well. I've never understood such limits. I do understand how the number of bits in your addresses limit memory range, but really folks. If you were to build a system today, how many bits would you have in your address bus? Enough of a terabyte? Why not?

NASA may be looking for partners to help with a Mars mission. Where did we go wrong with NASA?

At least the New York Times is trying something - having their staff journalists teach classes.

People are not buying Blu-Ray disks in their computers.

What is in a Slim Jim? I don't understand all this, but who cares? They still taste good.

An outstanding use of technology - EyeWriter - draw with your eyes when the rest of your body stops working. Outstanding.

Is there any gadget that this bad doesn't have?

Here are the photos that Microsoft used in ads that got them into a lot of trouble. Note in both photos that the man in the center although his face changed race, his hand on the table did not. There are all sorts of other implications here. One is that it whether everyone likes it or not, race plays a role in advertising in other countries.

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Thursday August 27, 2009

A computerized class scheduling system has failed in one Maryland county. The school year will start a week late as a result.

The iPhone is moving into China in October.

A little insight into China - 2/3s of "donated" organs come from executed prisoners.

Something on high-tech blimps used by the Army. People have been using baloons for intelligence since the 1800s. Today's are quite sophisticated.

The world record speed for a steam-powered car has been broken - 140 miles per hour. Here is more on the story with a video.

This is known as earth-coupled cooling. In this case, a man ran copper pipes through the cement slab of his house. I hope he knows how long those pipes will work before dissolving.

I don't know about this recipe, but I like the concept. Cook meals in a motel room using the coffee maker. This would work. I may try it in the coming months.

And something else to argue against obesity - it shrinks and ages the brain. I don't know how we got to where we are with obesity in America. Many people blame fast food. I don't really care. I just wish we would do something.

This is a homemade Apple tablet computer. Great work. I am impressed by people who spend the time, energy, and expertise to build such devices at home on their own time.

TiVo is losing money - lots of it.

Google has made a million books available in the format compatible with Sony's new eBook reader. These books are in the public domain. This is a nice thing for Google to do, thanks.

Here is the IBM Power7 processor. It can run 32 processing threads at the same time. This is not for your average portable computer.

Some comments about comments about Apple's OS X 10.6. It sounds like it is more efficient. More speed on the same hardware is good for me.

The personal computer market is seeing a recovery. Apple is doing better than most companies with big gains in the business market.

A State Department employee recently asked Secretary Hillary Clinton, "Can you please let the staff use an alternative Web browser called Firefox?" It is amazing that Federal agencies are still in this situation. Change?

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Friday August 28, 2009

Not much Internet viewing this morning. I was having my bi-weekly breakfast with friends.

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Saturday August 29, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security talks on siezing computers and cell phone when you enter or return to the U.S. Yes, this is all legal.

People are moving in to the white spaces vacated by analog television. Good stuff.

GPS updates on traffic flow are helping people. I like that. There are few things in life I dislike more than sitting in traffic. For years I have worked odd schedules to avoid traffic.

More pocket or pico-projectors. This one is from 3M with a nice video ad - good price too, under $450.

"Good enough" is the future? Everyone was writing about good enough over ten years ago. What is this?

Cover the roads with solar panels? Why not? How about covering the easments with the panels. They wouldn't have to be nearly so tough, you would get the same amount of sun, and you wouldn't have to cut the grass. Are people at the Dept of Transportation thinking?

A Stanford study concludes that the Internet is increasing writing instead of killing it. I am happy to see that someone in an academic setting is proclaiming this. It is a bit distressing that anyone has to do so. Look at the millions of text messages teens send, ten years ago they weren't doing that. Texting is also writing. Writing on Facebook walls is writing - another form of writing that didn't happen ten years ago. Of course the Internet is increasing writing.

Here is some advances in building tiny robots. There is a huge potential for health care in tiny robots that crawl and swim through the body doing tiny preventative maintenance. The same can be applied to machinery. This is a first step.

Nvidia is ready with the chips for a new generation of tablet computers. Now the world waits on Apple and Dell and ...

Good grief, a bill in Congress would allow the President to declare an emergency and take over much of the Internet and require companies to use government-certified professionals to monitor security and so on and so on. What next, taking taxes from some people and giving to others to buy new cars?

And in Australia, people are proposing that you must first have a government-issued lisence before you can surf the web.

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Sunday August 30, 2009

Computers are selling again in the consumer market, but not in business. The losses at Dell and other places have not been as bad as predicted. I suppose this is some good news.

More bumbling and stumbling at NASA. Where did we go wrong with NASA? Little if anything has gone right since the moon landings a lifetime ago.

More news on the giant floating garbage patch in the Pacific. I have yet to see a good photo of this thing and I cannot really understand it well without a photo. Has anyone seen such a photo?

On keeping a simple home when you have children. I like this post. Keeping a home with kids simple isn't simple. It is possible and can be fun as well. Don't sweat it so much. Enjoy it.

Make use of some time on days when you are flying. I have done all of these activities. It was a good use of time for me.

Some excellent information and examples on the growing availability of augmented reality on cell phones. A problem or not with this is when you show it to people under 25, they say something like, "Yeah, I've seen this before, right?"

A generation of multi-taskers, well maybe not.

Another beautiful workspace from LifeHacker.

Here is a concept: a $600 Apple computer. It is called the Mac Mini. With it you get all the Apple software. A pretty good idea.

Crtique and edit - two different things. It is not easy to read someone's writing and talk with them about it. It is very easy to do harm.

Many freelancers have trouble with friends who feel sorry for them because they don't have a job. I suggest reframing this from trouble to an opportunity to share and maybe teach.

Here is another one of those blog posts about making yourself into a writer. Most of them are good and have nuggets of gold. One point in this one is, call yourself a writer. I like that one as long as you are not lying to yourself and others.

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