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 14-20, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 14, 2009

This reporter's experience agrees with my own - the really small portable computers are appearing in stores in big numbers and also in coffee and internet shops. Apple may never have an entry in this marketplace, and that may never hurt Apple a bit, but sometimes I wonder.

Intel is putting more "chips" into one chip. The processor itself is not growing in capability as fast as might be expected. The chip that holds the processor, however, has much more capability.

Apple makes some quiet changes to its TV line. What is in the future?

LG brings out its first Android phone.

Some Windows 7 upgrades took 21 hours to complete. That sets some sort of record.

This story is all over the Internet - their is an empty cavity in Apple iPod Touch where a camera would go. My guess is that Apple wanted to have the camera in the cavity at their recent big announcement. Technical problems, however, caused them to pull it until they had it working the way they wanted. I think that is a good move by Apple. Their market is based on luxury that works all the time. Microsoft and others use a "good enough" model. The different models work well for both.

The integrated circuit is 50 years old. That thing has changed the world.

Photographs from space for $150. Great stuff. This is an outcome of the integrated circuit. The IC put powerful hardware into the hands of millions of people to experiment, learn, and advance. Previously only big research centers could do those things.

Whatever happened to all those city-wide WiFi projects? My guess is that government bureaucracies got in thier own way. Too bad.

Some history of "wiretapping."

Someone is catching on (slowly) to the revolution in college education. To remain viable, colleges need to find some experience that can only happen in person, face-to-face. Much of "college" can be done just fine from a distance.

The current health care reform bill takes 24 hours to listen to. Thanks to this group who recorded it on voice. Metalesson - if a bill cannot fit in 20 pages, break it into several bills. It is harder to hide things in short bills. It is almost as if Congressional members like long bills so they can  hide things. ooooops.

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Tuesday September 15, 2009

Here is a system that can identity autism in children as young as 24 months. The hope is that early treatment will be much more effective.

Really small computers are selling like...well you know, small, less powerful, less costly computers.

Apple's computer sales are up over last year. Everyone else is losing sales.

This whole global recession has done nothing to slow Internet usage.

HP's latest portable computer looks and feels much like an Apple portable computer.

This guy spent $1.1Million on his stereo. I wishing for...

Multi-touch portable computers from Lenovo.
Intel has begun production of its 32nm processors.

Intel has 80% of the world's processor market. That is a four-year high.

As silly as it seems, it has taken several days for people to speculate that the MTV show with Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, etc. was a setup. I didn't even know MTV still had their video awards show. I think MTV shows about two music videos a day now. It was all a publicity stunt, and it worked well.

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Wednesday September 16, 2009 

The Obama Administration itself estimates that cap-and-trade would cost each American household $1,700 a year. I don't know if you can sell that one during a recession.

Now NASA faces budget shortfalls from Congress. They are arguing about $3Billion. $3Billion used to be a lot of money, until we passed a $800Billion "stimulus" bill and bought GM for $50Billion or whatever it was.

Google launches Chrome 3.0. I like using Chrome. It is different enough to make it interesting. It seems to work just fine.

The Federal government is working with Google to move much of its work to a special Google cloud. This exists a apps.gov. A special classified cloud is out there somewhere as well. As a retired government employee (28 years), I believe the government pays too much for its IT and receives too little. Perhaps this will help.

For future reference, How to make money with your travel blog. I am not sure why I am marking this page. Maybe something will come of it one day.

A home server for wireless printing and all sorts of things. I was looking for this some 5 or 6 years ago.

What is Apple's Grand Central Dispatch? It has something to do with software to access the power of multi-core processors and it has gone open source.

They have done it, someone (Packard Bell) has remade the Apple iBook G4 with an 11" display. It is a netbook with notebook performance. Enough of the buzzwords.

And Congress is thinking (sorry, maybe I should use a different verb here) about a per-mile vehicle tax system. That would replace, well probably augment, the current tax system on gasoline purchases. I haven't yet figured out how to drive miles without first buying gas. Rumor has it that the new system would require government contracts to companies that are friendly with the bill's sponsors, but that is just rumor. This is all silliness, but then I am not smart enough to be in Congress, so I probably just don't understand.

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Thursday September 17, 2009

NASA has built a new lunar rover. The trouble is, NASA doesn't have a way to get it to the moon with a driver on board. Does someone have their priorities straight?

"Buy American" - Good in principle, but then reality hits us on this one. This is an excellent example of a failure of leadership to select a course and stay with it.

A case against patents in medicine.

U.S. Intelligence agencies are warning IT executives about their visits to China. Some are heeding the advice.

This is, well, interesting. College football stars have to dodge cell phone cameras. People are trying to set them up by taking embarassing photos of them. Tim Tebow has had to duck out of four or five photos with suddenly topless women. Cameras are everywhere today.

The new iPod Touch is about 50% faster than the old one. Better processor, more efficient software.

Worldwide PC sales are down 2.4% from last year. Worse, they are selling at discount prices so the money has dropped 19%.  The really small portable computers are selling well.

HP is shipping some of its portable computers loaded with Linux. It doesn't want to admit this for some reason.

Here we have advances in solar power panels, but it still isn't good enough. There is a reason we burn fossel fuels - it works better than everything else we have.

Maybe this one will work a little - changing plastic garbage into an oil-like fuel.

The Obama Administration gives money to the arts - the artists support Obama health care plans. This is all too sleazy. Why do we have to make everything a political trade in this country? Please try to keep your well-meaning organization from being recruited into a political collaboration.

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Friday September 18, 2009

There seems to be less cheating in online courses than in traditional ones.

Wow, look at these photos of older computers. Most of them are blue, that was a trend for a while. They don't show any Kaypro portable CP/M machines. How did they miss those?

Another concept car (from Volkswagon this time) that promises near-200 mpg when it hits the market some time in the next decade. Who knows, maybe one day one of these will actually be in the showrooms.

This post sort of makes it look silly, but this is a bed that transforms into a wheelchair. This is fantastic for the elderly and infirmed. A great use of technology.

Here is another technology for a better light bulb. I hope that Congress doesn't latch onto any one technology and mandate it. Let people innovate and the market decide.

Johanna Rothman on learning what works for you and doing it. Finding a way to works for you is hard work. It is much easier to find an article in an airline magazine, return to the office and declare, “Make it so!”

Google is now working with the makers of the Espresso Book Machine. That machine can print and bing a 300-page paperback book in about five minutes. This will allow people to buy paper copies of all those books Google has scanned. It seems that they would have sold a million of those machines by now. Every university book store in the country should have one. It is almost as if the universities were tied in too closely with the textbook publishers ;-)

This is great. 1950 - a man builds his own portable radio and puts it in his hat. Way ahead of his time.

Secure medical records revealed again. Ready for national medical records? This story has several twists. A man wrote spyware to spy on his former girlfriend. Several twists and it reveals hospital records.

I like this way of summarizing the plight of newspapers: it (the newspaper industry) suffers from a different but more acute malady: being an institution during a time of disruptive change.

There is something scientific and logical about this xkcd comic. I have yet to find a good explanation of it, but I think it explains many of our problems in economics.

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Saturday September 19, 2009

The Department of Justice doesn't like the Google book deal. This may go on forever.

This evidence points to an eBook reader directly from Barne and Noble.

Interesting little Venn diagram. The intersection of people who overpay and people who brag about overpaying are the early adopters.

WiMax will be here big time in 2010. Well, maybe.

No one wants a CRT television. You can't give them away. Strange.

Judges are experts in law, not technology. So if you have a technical case you go to....a judge who doesn't know much of anything about technology.

The Securities and Exchange Commision wants to outlaw "flash trading." This practices uses supercomputers to make 100s of trades a second. People are making a lot of money on paper using flash trading. I suppose it is unfair to someone or something like that. It takes a lot of money to build a setup where you can do flash trading. Other they other hand, somone created an idea to make money, and they are making money and paying taxes on that money and employing computer programmers, system administrations, and buying computers from manufacturers. Seems like a lot of people are employed here and a lot of taxes are being paid. Someone created a way to make money, created wealth, and many people are benefitting. Outlaw it, and a lot of people are unemployed. I think employment is better than unemployment.

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Sunday September 20, 2009

Haier (never heard of them before) has this really thin portable computer.  It looks neat.

A good pointer to English as a Second Language sites.

I really like one of the writing tips in this post: Write when you are excited, not on schedule.I write notes when I am excited, enough notes to carry the excitement to a later time. I usually write later as I never know when I will become excited, and often times I am not in a place where I can write.

Facebook claims 300 millions users. That is a large number.

I am not sure why I am noting this, maybe one day I will. This post is about the amount of self-storage space that Americans use. It is now possible for everyone in America to stand in a self-storage space. We have a lot of stuff in America. I am not sure what percent of that stuff that we need.

Here is a variation on scheduling games - multiplying estimates by magic numbers. A solution is so obvious it is amazing that it isn't used often. After the project completes, compare the original estimates with the reality. Discuss the variations and learn something. Whyisn't this used all the time? Answer: people don't want to do it.

All-day lectures should not work, but they do. Here is a discussion of Edward Tufte's lectures - that work well. I have never had the privilege of attending one of Tufte’s lectures. I guess that his all-day lecture works because people want to be there. They choose to be there. They spend money to be there. They are interested in hearing what he has to say, not the guy next to them in some breakout session.

A not-so-favorable review of Intel's Atom and how it works in a really small portable computer. Use an operating system and applications that match the processor. But what do I know?

A good tip on setting aside a draft and then trying to edit it as if someone else wrote it.

This is wonderful - a vintage writing corner. The blogger here could no longer write on a computer connected to the Internet with email and everything else. He set up another desk with an old computer having no connection to anything and using a simple, old word processor. Isolation to write is a common theme among many successful authors. Jerry Pournelle has his monk's cell. In his book On Writing, Stephen King claims that the one thing a writer needs is a door that closes.

Windows 7 for $30 for college students.

Freelancing and writing isn't always glamorous. Sometimes it is downright ugly.

But freelancers need to take breaks. The biggest reason is health.

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