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: September 7-13, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 7, 2009

A 1 TeraByte external disk drive for $65. Amazing.

It looks as if ASUS will sell an eBook reader this year

Lenovo asked people what they wanted in a desktop keyboard - here is the result.

Something happened in the skies over Ireland.

The Life Recorder: "Imagine a small device that you wear on a necklace that takes photos every few seconds of whatever is around you, and records sound all day long. It has GPS and the ability to wirelessly upload the data to the cloud," Yes, the technology is here to build and use these things. Do we want them? No doubt some people will and some won't. I guess the tougher question is, "will we accept government law enforcement officials wearing them?"

The big sports leagues claim more rights than they have. For example, for me to legally talk to a friend about a football game I saw on TV I have to obtain written permission from the football league. That is what the league claims. They have yet to arrest me on this one, but...

Michael Arrington on the New York Times and ethics. Sigh. Newspapers, what are we to do with them? I once took a class in journalism. It seems that the author of the text book we used was out of touch with reality because I never see news organizations behaving they way "they should."

Perhaps we should look to India's health care system?

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Tuesday September 8, 2009

An attempt at removing paper documents from one person's life. I would do more of this, but my scanner is so slow. There must be something wrong with it. A good alternative to scanning is taking photos with the digital camera. It is a much fast method.

Okay, this is what a man uses to carry the cell phone and everything else. It looks like a gun holster, so be prepared to be stopped and questioned.

Slip this table onto your steering wheel so you can eat in your car. Don't do this while driving. Who invents these things?

Anonymized data (is that a real word) isn't.Sorry folks, but several large organizations, the most recent being the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission, have released data for studies and removed all the identifying information. Well, along comes some nice student who takes on the anonymous data and quickly puts two and two together to start identifying people. Is everyone ready for secure national health records? I know, I mention this too often, but it is a simple matter of numbers. There are more people who are willing to spend time trying to break the schemes than there are who are paid to make the schemes.

More mess from Google Books - this one from inaccurate information. I like what Google intended to do - make books available for people to read. Implementation, however, is tougher than concept.

Another one on Google books and such. This one points at our copyright laws. Technology changed everything related to owning rights to ideas. The laws have not kept pace - neither have the lawyers who pass and sign laws.

Typing as a mandatory class in high school? I never took a typing class. I taught myself on my mother's typewriter with a book of drills and such. I would go for a requirement to pass a typing test in school, but not require a person to sit in a class. Schools have a way of making classes painful. But then again, Gerald Weinberg often tells the story of how he scored something like minus five words a minute in high school typing. As he asks, "at minus five words a minute, how long does it take to write 40 books?" And he has written at least 40 books. So schools can mess up even something as simple as, "can you type?"

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Wednesday September 9, 2009 

I really like this one. News Dots. Connecting news stories in a network.

Americans continue to save their money and pay off debts. We set some sort of record in July, the biggest savings month since anyone kept track of this sort of thing beginning in 1943. All this saving and paying debts is bad for the economy or something.  I have never been a good consumer. I always pay my credit card at the end of the month and save money.

Some innovation in coverting garbage into fuel. This may work in some areas.

The next Linux kernal promises to be "noticeably faster."

There were 10 million downloads of the Opera 10 browser the first week. I am one of those people. Opera seems to work just fine. I am not a browser expert, so I cannot show the fine differences among the competitors.

Apple has cut the prices on its iPods. This in anticipation of today's big event.

Intel changes its desktop computer architecture.

NASA is a disaster. We couldn't put a person on anything is less than ten years. It seems that NASA has been dreaming outside their budget. It is nice to dream, but it doesn't get you anywhere. To accomplish something you have to have some realists in the room as well. This is terrible. More on the bad news.

I found the following in the mail side of Jerry Pournelle's site: "Numbers: Did anyone run the numbers? - I was playing with some numbers...check me, have I forgotten something? I guess I must be on the wrong page... A vehicle at 15 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline. A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year. So, the average clunker transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year. They claim 700,000 vehicles - so that's 224 million gallons / year. That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil. 5 million barrels of oil is about of one day's US consumption. And, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $350 million dollars at $75/bbl. So, we all contributed to spending $3 billion to save $350 million. How good a deal was that??? They'll probably do a great job with health care though!!" 

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Thursday September 10, 2009

Apple held a big event this week with Steve Jobs on stage. They updated their iPods and iTunes. There are countless stories about it on the Internet - here is one. I am glad to see Jobs' health has improved.

The Hubble telescope is back in full operation
. Great photos.

Nerf is 40 years old. I spent many hours playing with Nerf balls. Great fun for a boy. Now I get to see my grandson do the same. More fun.

This speed bump generates electricity. Another example of transforming one form of energy to another. The potential energy is literally everywhere. All we have to do is use it.

And here is another energy one - 100,000 generators in German homes that make electricity for the grid and heat for the home. There are solutions out there.

A really small 160 GigaByte disk drive. This is what is in the new iPod classic.

The latest Dell portable computer is half the thickness of the Apple MacBook Air. I still don't know why people are optimizing on that dimension.

The terrorists convicted in the UK were done so with the aid of NSA e-mail intercepts. Oh, I guess taking terrorists off the streets is a pretty good outcome for the Intelligence Community.

Working in chunks. Yes, this will help you be more productive.

There seems to be this great rush to digitize everyone's health records. I understand the possible benefit. What I don't understand is that people don't seem to understand that our health records will not be private once they are on the network. I cite too many examples in this Daybook of protection schemes being broken routinely.

George Will writes more about the bad news from California. The numbers are astonishing. Didn't anyone run the calculations when they passed the laws? This was all predictable.

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Friday September 11, 2009

Microsoft has a new set of Windows 7 commercials. Nice enough. They have cute kids, and it is hard to go wrong with cute kids.

People catch odd sights on their surveillance cameras.

A nice work space built from an attic.

The Linux kernel v2.6.31 has been released.

The Japanese contribute an unmanned vehicle to the International Space Station effort. This helps NASA. And NASA will depend on the Russians for manned transport for years to come. What happened to NASA?

Here is a really small portable computer that looks a lot like an Apple Macbook Air.

A "speed holster" for a flashlight. Someone must have worked hard to invent this and then spent a lot of money to set up manufacturing for it. But why?

AMD has made the muli-monitor configuration easier to configure.

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Saturday September 12, 2009

One of those Saturdays when lots of things happened.

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Sunday September 13, 2009

Here is a great video capturing examples of special effects from 100 years of movies.

Writing in batches is one way to take advantage of those times when the writing flows. I write blog posts in batches. Friday I wrote four blog posts one after another. I will post them at different times, but they were all written together.

One view of "the writing process." There are other views out there. Pick the one that works for you and use it.

I like this post and the video. Dan Pink talks about why rewards don't work. His idea does apply in some cases; it also fails in many others.

And look here, an opposite point of view. Nasty task? Bribe yourself. I prefer the words "reward yourself."

Microsoft is putting servers in one building and people in another. The result is much greater efficiency in cooling the servers. This means much smaller costs.

There are good reasons for a writer to write for free on their own blog. In addition to writing “for free” on your blog, engage in conversations on other blogs. Write comments. Build your network.

This stuff is amazing - people turning old books into works of art.

Here is something that most writers and freelancers don't know - you can negotiate. The other party does not have all the power. Ask for things.

50 tips to improve your writing. Good material here.

I like this idea - a shopping fast, i.e. NOT SHOPPING. This one family stopped for a year. Start small, go for a week without shopping for anything but essentials like food..

This is an idea to pursue. Set up an old computer for nothing but writing. All the distractions are gone. I have an old iBook with a 12" screen. Perhaps...

"Done" is a beautiful word - Amen.

George Will comments on another outcome of the McCain-Feingold Act - we are banning books now. Unless the Supreme Court reverses.

We continue to give billions of $$$$ to failing companies while giving grief to successful companies. Is this America?

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