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.

Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page
Email me at d.phillips@computer.org

This week: September 21-27, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 21, 2009

Today I drove 550 miles to Chattanooga TN to resume Taking a Walk.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Tuesday September 22, 2009

Dell is buying Perot Systems for about $4Billion. One thing, it shows how much cash Dell has lying about. About $400 million goes directly to the Perot family. Just think of the windfall for the IRS.

The DOJ continues to call for changes in the Google book deal. This is a wonderful announcement for many authors I know. It is also a dud for many others. The majority of the public at large probably likes the idea of having all these old books online. This is why we have a judiciary in a republic - to protect the minority from the majority.

There isn't much science behind torture or interrogation. I recommend the current film "The Informant!" for a peak into the reliability of informants and intelligence assets and "stool pigeons."

20 years of portable computers from Apple.

Toshiba announces the first Solid State Disk drives with the mini-SATA interfaces. Smaller and smaller.

And smaller and smaller - Samsung puts a 1GHz processor and 5MegaPixel camera sensor on a single chip.

A waterproof, rugged, wearable camcorder. I can think of many applications for boys as long as they don't show their mothers the results.

Using sea water to cool a data center. Finally, someone is going to do this. It makes lots of sense, and I cannot understand why we haven't been doing it for years.

A video surveillance system that is smart. I don't know, but if it works it is a major breakthrough.

Netflix discovers that offering $1M prize for a good idea is economically feasible. Now if the U.S. government would only rediscover this idea.

The use of Bing.com continues to grow slowly but steadily.

Linux is bloated. Well maybe. Try to have the OS run on a couple of thousand different makes of computer and you have to in all those device drivers and such. Keep it running on only a dozen different types of computers, and you can keep it small.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Wednesday September 23, 2009 

Guess what? There is a big difference between the Federal government culture and other tech cultures in the U.S. These guys attended a Government 2.0 conference and saw that difference. When I was a government employee, I attended all the "outside" conferences I could. My government supervisors didn't like that. THey wanted me to attend government-only "training."

Electric cars are much quieter than internal combustion-powered cars. And someone has decided that is a bad thing. People will adjust without - legistlation not required here.

Problems with Microsoft, taxes, and the states of Washington and Nevada. Here is a business secret: businesses will locate in states with lower taxes. Taxes are an artificial expense that lower profits with no benefit to the company. If a state has lower taxes, a business will locate there, hire people there, and those people there will bring money to the state. I am not an economist, so my logic is probably all wrong.

More delays in the Google book deal.

Long endurance airships may actually happen.

22nm chips coming in 2011 from Intel. Smaller and smaller.

Restoring sight. Amazing, but the details - put a tooth into your eye - sound a bit, well you know. It has something to do with the body accepting something that comes from the body.

The Location Independent has settled down for a little while. Coming back to a culture from a foreign one brings many lessons. This person has learned that much of a "normal" culture is waste. Wasted spending, wasted time, and so on. Save your money. Save your time. Save your life.

This is a quiet story that could have a major affect on national security. The Obama administration wants agencies to prove to a team of Justice Department lawyers that information should be classified. Several problems here: (1) Justice Department lawyers have no background in security and intelligence. Much time will be wasted educating them. (2) This will cost a fortune in manpower. (3) This will cost a fortune in time. The Obama Administration doesn't seem to understand the quantity of classification decisions there are everyday.

I like George Will's editorial today on import tarrifs and tires from China. I love the quote about he President, "perhaps he cannot keep track of the multiplying contradictions in his endless utterances." Governing is difficult. There are too many issues to keep in your head, no matter how smart you are. That is why it is best to have a few princples and let those guide all the decisions.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Thursday September 24, 2009

The French want to require disclaimers on every photo everywhere that has been "Photoshopped." Two things: (1) practically every photo published anywhere (blogs included) has been processed to better its appearance. I do it, I just don't take good photos. (2) Adobe Photoshop is so successful that it has acquired the name for an industry, like kleenex (for tissue), xerox (for copying), scotch (for tape), and so on.

The Ubuntu versions keep coming on schedule. 10.04 will come in April and be called Lucid Lynx. I could do without the cute names, but they seem to work for most people.

This is showing up around the Internet. It seems the Microsoft made a video about Windows 7 launch parties. Someone goofed here.

Speaking of goofed, these "police officers" played video games while executing a search warrant. What has happened here?

This is amazing. Honda has built a self-balancing "unicycle." It really isn't a unicycle as it can move in all directions - side to side is one example. I am not sure how anyone would use this, but then again the technology could be a great aid to the elderly and infirmed.

An HD video of earth from 107,000 feet. A camera suspended from an inexpensive baloon.

We shall see if this rumor is true: water on the moon.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Friday September 25, 2009

Once again, someone is pushing teleworking for Federal workers. This comes around every few years with a lot of hoopla. Then the mid-level managers and first-line managers kill it quietly.

One of the advantages of cloud data centers is that they can be run more efficiently. That is true, the "can." Still, the home computer user will have a computer anyways, so the net is more energy consumed. Right? I could be missing a lot here.

Your gadgets are being inspected as you cross from Mexico back to America. Yes, the ability to do so has always been there and always been legal. It is just that they didn't bother before.

Microsoft is working on "Barrelfish." An operating system for multi-core computers.

Microsoft's vision out ten years into the future requires a lot of invention in display technology.

It seems that the government has slackened its accounting rules on Apple and other companies. I don't understand all the accounting talk, but it seems to be a good idea. I guess in five years someone will come along and scream about not enough regulation causing some castastrophe or other.

Someone in government knows about prizes. I had missed this one, but the Department of Energy has a $10Million prize for a better lightbulb.

Intel shows quad-core processors for mobile devices. I guess this will be of use to someone.

Here is a video of the Espresso Book Machine. Wow. There is much potential for this. Many parties will want to kill it as it will transfer money from some people to others and change how books are published and sold. We shall see.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks

Go to Dwayne's Home Pag

Saturday September 26, 2009

I am learning how to do this daybook while walking. I am not satisfied with the results yet.

WhiteFi (wireless in the white spaces vacated by analog TV) could be big both technically and economically. That is good. The part I don't like to hear is that some in government are eager to tax this to death and pay for all sorts of programs that will save us all. Funny, those programs don't exist today and most of us seem to be alive.

TI is offering their business calculators on the iPhone, just like HP. Back to the future or something like that.

You can boot Windows 7 in ten seconds with a new Phoenix BIOS. Let's do it.

A new phrase, the Duct Tape Programmer. He ships pretty good products instead of endlessly trying to design perfect ones.

Jerry Pournelle has been writing this week about net neurtrality. One of the major issues is, what are talking about? There are a thousand little issues and sides on every little issue. As Pournelle states, a big problem will be that Congress will vote on a thousand-page bill with all sorts of things hidden in it.

Alzheimer's may come from sleep deprivation.

Another study of NASA reaches the all too often stated conclusion - NASA is lost. They have no realizable plans. They will have to invent technologies out of thin air at zero cost to do what they claim they can do. Maybe we should close NASA and start over. This is tragic.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Sunday September 27, 2009

Waiting for inspiration to write? Start writing and writing and writing. Something is likely to come.

A top ten list of blogs for writers. I read most of these already, but I will look at the ones that are new to me.

Is full-time travel an act of engaing or escaping? Funny question for a guy sitting in a motel lobby eating the free breakfast (not worth the price) while walking a thousand miles.

More people are attending college. The average ability of a college graduate declines. This is predictable.

More on the death of journalism and newspapers. In the San Franciso area, students are reporting on stories. The paid professionals are upset that they will be wiped out by the students. Hmm, so years of experience and a paycheck provide no advantage.

The amount of time people spend on social networking sites has tripled in the last year.

I agree here that regular blogging is important, but five or six new posts each week?

Track the time you spend writing. I have kept a work log for, oh wow, 20 years. In it I write the date and what I did that date. I track the number of hours each project (article, book, etc) takes. This blog post asks to track the time spent thinking, drafting, editing, and so on. I haven't kept records into those finer categories. I don't know if I have the energy for that much precision.

Some workspaces from LifeHacker. I like this comparison of old and newer. A simple and clean one. A great example of neon back lighting.

The Duct Tape Programmer.

Our tax dollars at work - The U.S. government has loaned $500Million to a company to build a hybrid sports car in Finland. If built, the car will cost close to $100,000. One of the owners of the company is former vice president Al Gore. This news is so grating that it is difficult to remain sane.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page