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: November 2-8, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 2, 2009

The past and future of the Solid State Disk. We used an SSD in a portable system we built some 8 to 10 years ago. It was a leading-edge thing at the time. It worked.

And what do you do with all those old computers, cell phones, cameras, and such?

If we could only stand on the shoulders of others, instead of their toes. Can we learn from the mistakes of others? Must we assume that we are so unique that the experience of others cannot apply to us?

A visit to one of Microsoft's huge data centers.

A very early look at a new portable computer coming from Lenovo.

The "Spider Holster." A little different way to carry big cameras.

Go to church online. Churches that serve people's needs are finding new ways to do so.

This post addresses a great fear of freelancers - not being able to pay their bills. It repeats an often-said but infrequently heeded piece of advice - live below your means. Want to "get rich?" Spend less than you earn over a long period of time. I tried that, it has worked for me. Consultant Jerry Weinberg speaks of this often when talking to people who want to become consultants. The income is not steady. If things are good, there are big checks and no checks coming in.

Turn your Windows 7 computer into a WiFi hotspot. No, this feature wasn't supposed to be in the operating system, but you know...it happened. This is known as a "easter egg" in software. The only way to find such is to read all the source code. Few people read all the source code in an operating system. Is this like congressmen not reading all the words in a a bill that they vote?

A document that explains how to use Google Wave. For future reference.

Ford made $1Billion profit in the third quarter. Reminder - Ford didn't take any government money. In other words, the government continues to reward failures and tax successes. Shouldn't that be the other way around?

The FCC is making a lot of rulings lately on the Internet. Do they have the legal authority to do so? Does everyone today merely assume the Federal regulators can do as they wish? What was that document we used to read? Oh, yes, the Constitution.

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Tuesday November 3, 2009

30 million people are using the Google Chrome browswer. This is a large number, but still relatively small in that market. I have tried it and found that it works just fine. I guess I don't study the browsers close enough to see much of a difference among them.

This story is in many places on the Internet. I don't like it, but Apple is setting its OS to not work on certain processors. I guess Apple doesn't like the "hackintosh" idea, and this is one method of preventing those things.

Windows 7 has brought a spike in the sale of computers. I had lunch with a friend yesterday who was on his way to the store to buy a replacement for an aging home computer. He had waited six months for the release of Windows 7 before buying. Does this make Microsoft "too big to fail?"

Do you like to keep stuff? Not digital, but real stuff. Some computer tools that help you.

A simple workspace.

Here is another great workspace from LifeHacker. This "desk" is designed to distribute heavy objects. This allows the desk to have no legs that touch the floor. Nice idea and nice execution.

Alternatives to Windows 7 for a really small portable computer.

A little twist on detecting IEDs. One way to find an IED is to detect RF from the circuitry in the IED's receiver. A problem with that technique is that you have to by close to it, and being close to an IED is not advisable. Hence, a small, unmanned helicopter to do the RF sniffing. Nice idea.

Want a lot of sound from your iPod - try this wall of sound.

Can a public high school have a policy that states what kids can and cannot do when they are away from school?

A little different view of NaNoWriMo. Ooops, today is Novmeber 3rd and I haven't started yet. I was going to write a novel this year, but I let the calendar slip by me. What to do? Some good points in this post. Notably "When I am reading about writing, I am not writing" and "Top 1 Habits of Amazing Writers: 1. They write."

Some thoughts on intuition versus analysis. I suggest using both. Intuition alone is fine for hobbies. I am not denegrating hobbies - I have several hobbies for which I am passionate (like this daybook thing I am doing right now). I do wish that people understand the differences between a hobby and a business.

I enjoyed this article. It shows how people are leaving high-tax states like California and moving to low-tax states like Texas. That isn't surprising. The main problem states like California have is that their government services are poor quality and dropping. People are learning that government rarely delivers what it promises. California may be the next big drain on the Federal government. As the article ends, we will all be paying California taxes.

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Wednesday November 4, 2009 

A clever paper notebook design. It turns inside out. Perhaps someone could use such an idea on portable computers.

Another exoskeleton demonstration. This one is a bit too large and too powerful for home use. I do believe that exoskeletons will be a great benefit to disabled persons.

And another eBook reader - this one is the Alex. Is the eBook reader really here or is this year yet another false start?

A bed, a TV, and a game console. What else would anyone (under 16) want?

This is an interesting really small portable computer. It uses a new and different operating system. It costs way too much, but explores some ideas that others may use.

What is next for One Laptop Per Child? It seems the innovative dual-screen idea is out. Too bad.

It has become much easier to run the operating systems from Apple and Microsoft on the same computer at the same time.

This experiment may come to something. $7 buys this sheet of solar cells that also has LEDs. Lay they sheets in the sun during the day and have a lamp during the dark night. These are terrible inefficient, but could still make a big difference to people in many areas of the world.

A cubicle from the 1980s. I worked for the Federal government in the 1980s. We didn't have cubicles yet as they were too advanced for us.

A media center, storage boxes, desks for two people, and a guitar all in a 10'x12' room. We had a lot of 10'x12' offices in the Federal government, but we were never allowed to do anything efficient like this.

In writing, beware starting with "it is." This is an excellent example of inserting unnecessary words - a technique learned in high school to placate teachers.

If you run Windows 7, you should also run extra virus protection software.

NASA awards money in one of its lunar lander contests. The contests were so limited and did not actually involve the moon in any way. I don't know if anything will come of this technology.

What is a job saved? The debate continues among some. One problem that people don't seem to notice is the amount of time that tax-payer funded workers are spending debating how to count jobs saved. Waste waste waste waste waste waste.

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Thursday November 5, 2009

This has been around the Internet - you will be able to buy everything the Beatles ever did on a USB flash drive. You will get everything, but you have to buy everything - no pick and choose as with iTunes. Will this work? Will this only work for someone super-famous like the Beatles?

The state of New York is bringing anti-trust charge against Intel. One side - if we had been enforcing anti-trust laws for the past 40 years no one in America would have grown too big to fail. Another side - Intel is a successful American company in a tough world, why are we giving them grief? Another side - other countries have a single nationalized "company" in each industry. If we don't let one of our companies grow large, we cannot compete. I am sure there are many  more sides to this.

Change is constant. I don't know how many times we have to repeat that before people get it.

Verizon promises tethering for the Motorola Droid in 2010. This is the ability to connect the cell phone to the Internet and patch the Internet through to you computer. Apple doesn't do this yet or at least as a standard feature. Why not?

This person provides Linux for his relatives. He has far fewer questions than he did when he provided them with Windows.

320 Gigabytes on a 1.8-inch hard disk drive from Toshiba.

The saga of Starbucks, customer rewards programs, and WiFi. It can become so complicated as to be silly. The folks running Starbucks are not stupid. They seem to know enough about people to run a profitable outfit. Someone in there realizes that it is the people behind the counter who bring in the customers.

What happened to the CrunchPad? Most likely the cost and benefit equation.

And here is the $300 HP portable computer offered by WalMart. This is a real computer with impressive specs at twice the price.

Here is the world's first USB 3.0 thumb drive.

Even in India, new technology means fewer jobs (in some areas).

A couple of books on reducing clutter: here and here.

Here is how one person simplified his home desk - he treated it like it was a motel room. Great idea.

Speed cameras. I am not sure how this reversal of the U.S. Constitution has ever been allowed to stay, but that is life in the big city. American justice has been based on what a reasonable person would do. "Yes, I sped down this block because I saw a person in trouble at the end of the street and I was rushing to help them. I cannot prove that with a photograph, but I am under oath here to tell the truth and I am telling the truth." And the judge says, "Sorry, I have a photo of you speeding and you have no physical evidence. Guilty, pay the fine, next."

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Friday November 6, 2009

And now it seems that OS X won't turn off if it detects non-Apple hardware.

The successful Ares rocket test may lead no where.

Connecting cars with 4G data services. This may be big or nothing.

Windows 7 is being adopted much faster than Vista. Vista may become like New Coke or Windows ME or a number of in-between products that failed miserably.

Ars Technica is looking for freelance writers.

More in the search for the magic deception detector. This time there is an actual sweat response to fear. Aha! Anyone showing fear at a security checkpoint is a terrorist. Of course we shall have to weed out people who are afraid of flying and people who are afraid of being in crowded airports and people who are afraid of taking off their shoes in public and people who are afraid of people in uniforms and people who are afraid of being searched and ...

A few things going on in Washington, D.C. that don't seem to make any sense:

Unemployment hits 10.2%.
The Congress wants to give more money to the housing industry.

The current health care bill has incentives for people to drop their health insurance, pay government "fines," and buy insurance only when they learn that they are ill.

And the current health care bill also delves into rewriting the tax code so that if your salary grows with inflation, you will bump into a higher income tax bracket.

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Saturday November  7, 2009

Poor Internet service at my location this morning.

Could Microsoft switch to a Linux-based operating system? They should have years ago.

Inflatable seat belts. I guess these are like air bags for people in the back seat.

A Google VP is Glamour Magazine's Woman of the Year.

Some members of Congress actually want to rule the world and re-engineer our climate.

A couple of Congressmen are trying to reform the Universal Service Fund (they first tried this in vain three years ago). This "fund" is a tax on everyone's phone bill. It takes money from areas that are relatively inexpensive to fund for telephone service (cities) and send that money to areas that are relatively expensive to fund for telephone services (rural). They want to expand the use of such funds to include broadband service as well as basic phone service. It sounds good to me as I like rural areas, but then government has a way of turning good-sounding ideas into a mess.

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Sunday November 8, 2009

An excellent use of cell phones with cameras: as microscopes testing blood samples.

Reading comic books improves literacy. Reading is reading - it improves reading ability. Comics, Internet, whatever.

The Chinese are easing up on Internet use - they will no longer torture kids as a remedy for Internet addiction. Perhaps literacy will rise there. And we do lots of trade with these guys.

Motion sensors in homes may provide early warning signs that an elderly person is about to fall  in the coming weeks. Yes, this is a big invasion of privacy. As long at it is voluntary, it can provide a great benefit to the person and the person's family.

Two thirds of men won't read their manual before calling the help desk. The reason they don't read the manual is that the help desk exists. Hide the phone number for the help desk and the "problem" goes away. Is there a puzzle here that I am missing?

Self publishing and eBooks - thoughts from a writer.

Preserving the recent history of technology - the Internet.

Blogging is writing, and writing comes from life. Great bloggers leave their computers behinds several hours a day (some even more than that), venture into the world, and notice.

Good illustrations of a bad situation - unemployment in the United States.

Another NASA prize is awarded - this one for a robotic climb up a cable. This is a precursor to the space elevator concept.

A post from a NaNoWriMo writer.

Facebook has 325 million users.

I like this cartoon. A famous science fiction writer (I wish I could remember which, but my memory fails me on this one) was at one time a teacher in the day and a writer in the evening. He decided that if his writing income equaled his teaching income two years in a row, he would quit his day job and be a writer full time. That happened. I advise writers to know the difference between a business and a hobby. I write because I like to write. I have made some money doing it some years. My writing income has never equaled my "day job." Hence, writing remains in the evening and on the weekend.

WriteThisMoment - jobs and opportunities for writers

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