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 9-15, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 9, 2009

An introduction to cloud computing.

Barnes and Noble is having a bigger than expected demand for its Nook eBook reader.

A new small camera from Leica. I use a camera from Panasonic that is a clone of a Leica.

Buying and selling the technology behind the eBook readers.

Exercise doesn't always lead to weight loss. The body is an amazing and complex system. We don't understand it well. One thing we should be able to understand is the folly of attempting to describe such a system with a simple measure like weight.

Hacking the power system. Yes, it is possible to do, and we have little in defense of such.

Several excellent videos linked here. Watch the first one, Derrick the soap salesman.

Dealing with unemployment.

Ways to buy Windows 7 for less money. Here is how college students can do so.

Sometimes it takes a year or more for someone to come back to you and pay you for writing. While I don't label anything as necessary to being a writer, patience comes close to necessity.

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Tuesday November 10, 2009

There are more and more man-made objects orbiting the planet. The Air Force is trying harder to track them.

I had not thought of this one, but heart pacemakers can now communicate with doctors wirelessly. This also means that a hacker can hack a pacemaker wirelessly. Perhaps I am glad that I didn't think of this one.

The Firefox browser is five years old.

Perhaps the Wall Street Journal will blog Google, perhaps not.

1924 - The U.S. Navy is listening for broadcasts from Mars.

Would you enclose a small city in a one-mile dome? It has been contemplated seriously in the U.S.

This is a different idea - road trains. Vehicles form a line. The lead vehicle controls or drives all the other vehicles via a wireless link. They all drive the same speed, no lane changes, the "drivers" in the train read the paper(?) If they are in this high-tech arrangement I would guess that they are texting or viewing the Internet.

Electronic Arts is cutting 1,500 jobs (17% of its workforce).

And Sprint is cutting 2,500 jobs.

Nokia is still atop the smartphone market. They continue to grow, even in this economy.

The computer industry is climbing out of the sunken economy. The shipment of processors in the third quarter was 23% higher than it was in the second quarter. This sets some type of record for growth quarter-to-quarter. Perhaps this is a leading indicator of the economy. Will all those people whose jobs were cut come back to work some day?

The new iMac computers from Apple have begun shipping with quad-core processors. This is a change as Apple used to put the mobile version of processors in the iMac to reduce heat.

Google is giving free WiFi in airports through the Holidays. This will cover about 35% of U.S. travellers. That is a nice gesture.

Tilt-shift photography - amazing.

This is an odd story. I have seen photos of the OpenOffice Mouse this week - I don't like it. How in the world did the OpenOffice suite people do this? Well, they didn't do this. Retractions or lawsuits to follow.

A look into the future of computing - Trillions.

Intel has its own eBook reader - for $1,500! But this is built by and for people who cannot read due to physical disabilities
. Read the linked article. This is an amazing device - an excellent use of technology.

Google is shifting its focus from software to operations. It is the content pointed to by the software, not the software, that has the value.

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Wednesday November 11, 2009 

Today is Veteran's Day in the U.S.

Apple's annual revenue has doubled since 2005. Apple's total value is now $180Billion (Microsoft at $250Billion).

Google creates a new open source programming language: go. And here is the go website.

From Bob Sutton - 21 things that great bosses do. I never saw these at work, so I guess that means that I never...

Adobe is cutting 9% of its workforce - 680 jobs.

And America On-Line is cutting 100 jobs.

A Linux distribution made especially for the elderly.

I like this use of technology for the elderly - researchers at Lehigh University are apply the autonomous driving technology from the DARPA Challenge to wheel chairs. The goal is to build wheel chairs that can navigate through crowds and towns by themselves.

Lenovo is selling a (almost) really small portable computer for $700. It has a 250GigaByte disk drive. Gone are the days of a 4GigaByte solid state drive in this type of machines.

NASA has figured out how to put a chemical sensor in a cell phone. That is neat, but I fail to see how it has anything to do with getting back to the moon and going beyond. Have the people at NASA completely lost sight of their mission?

Intel continues to advance the technology of solid state drives. They introduce new models at all parts of the market.

Another nice workspace from LifeHacker. The lesson here is that what worked in one house may not work in another.

Google isn't the only one doing free WiFi for the Holidays. Also doing so are Microsoft, eBay, and Yahoo. I like this.

Ten percent of the electric energy generated in the U.S. comes from fuel from old Soviet weapons. I like this one as well.

College professors are using PowerPoint - no surprise. What is a little surprising is that they haven't learned how to use it well. The lectures are rushed as it is easy to click to the next slide before anyone has a chance to actually learn the material.

Coming this Christmas, a little device that converts some of your walking energy into a form that will recharge your cell phone. Simple. Why didn't we have this years ago? There seems to be a reluctance to build devices that convert muscle power to electrical power.

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Thursday November 12, 2009

HP is buying 3Com for $2.7Billion.

Multics (the father of Unix...Linux...) is 40 years old.

I am weary of this story, but now it seems that Apple has officially killed OS X support for Atom processors. This means that OS X checks to see what type of processor your computer has. If it isn't the right kind, i.e. the kind that Apple sells, the OS won't run.

A great photo of the Milky Way.

Video bingo is big in Alabama. Is it gambling? While taking a walk, I stayed at a motel near Eutaw, Alabama and ate dinner at a dog track that had what looked like a couple thousand video bingo machines. The guy at the motel called the place a "casino," but then changed his words and told me that it "really isn't a casino."

A new home, a new office, a new custom-built workspace.

Windows XP has a longer battery life than Windows 7. I wonder what CP/M could do with today's batteries? I am puzzled at why no one markets a simple S I M P L E little operating system for portable computers.

Perhaps Windows 7 will not knock Linux off the really small portable computers.

Apple computers are gaining market share in Europe.

Some news on the broadband stimulus money. One little bit in here is that after a year almost none of the $7Billion has been awarded let alone spent. I guess I was right in that it is hard to spend a billion dollars.

Denying service on Federal wiretaps. It is possible, probably easy to do.

The student-to-teacher ratio seems to have no correlation to SAT scores. Hmmm, perhaps more money and more teachers are not the answers. What are the answers? I fear that we know the answers, but we don't like them so we keep looking for more convenient ones.

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Friday November 13, 2009

Intel and AMD will be legal friends for a while, after Intel pays AMD $1.25Billion. Can you be friends when the basis of the friendship is money? Nevertheless, AMD has financial problems and Intel has anti-trust problems.

And so AMD announces some new processor designs.

Here is a DVD that is supposed to last 1,000 years. No one needs that quality, but having a disk that is readable for 10 or 20 years would be a good thing.

Dell is running their ads already for the shopping season.

The original Chumby gives way to the Chumby One - open source hardware.

Google's Chrome operating system is almost here, is almost here, is...

A great office-on-a-wall workspace. They had little floor space, so they went up. For years while working in small government offices I tried to have people do the same - go up. Instead, they continued to buy short, wide furniture that gave little actual storage for the square footage.

Apple has 17% of the world's smartphone market.

NASA and ESA want to work together to go to Mars. The target date is 2025. That is far enough into the future to label all this as science fiction. Neither has the political will or power to conduct a 15-year project.

Small, less-expensive exoskeleton and robotic devices will allow stroke victims and others to do muscle therapy at home. Great use of technology.

It is possible for software to mimic the performance style of people - even dead people. So you can create a recording of Elvis singing a song that is yet to be written. The copyright battle will be interesting.

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Saturday November  14, 2009

No viewing today, just doing Saturday.

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Sunday November 15, 2009

I consider this excellent advice for writers - sometimes you just write. I have a file folder on my computer called "justwrite." When it is time to just plain write, I go there, start a file, and just write for a while.

India has become an R&D center for the world. How? Low taxes, easy immigration laws...hey, wait a minute. They are doing the opposite of what the U.S. is doing! Do they know something that we don't?

Read about the changes that are happening at General Motors (the one we as taxpayers own). Amazing, these guys were just as bad as the Federal government still is.

Video games sales haven't been good lately. This is a part of the economy that I thought would have held strong.

As Apple's share of the smartphone market grows, Windows Mobile's share falls by a third.

Medpedia - medical information input in a Wikipedia manner, but only doctors are allowed to contribute. This is a semi-public model. Let's see what happens.

Perhaps the CrunchPad isn't dead after all. Still, $300 to $400 seems steep as you can now buy a do-everything portable computer for the same price.

I am hoping this is a joke, but it probably isn't. NASA has been figuring for six months on how to spin their little rover out of the sand on Mars. Six months? Do they have any idea how much that manpower costs? I am sure they mean well, but... No wonder we can't get to the moon or anywhere else.

The newer, more powerful iMacs from Apple are indeed more powerful.

A mystery tablet computer from NVDIA?

The burden of proof lies with the writer - not the reader. As the writer, always go farther than you think necessary to be clear. If the reader understands something other than what I intended, I have to rewrite. It is easy to tell myself that the reader misunderstood because he is stupid, but that doesn't do any good. Hence, I show my writing to a reader and ask things like, "What did you read? What was the point you read? What did you get?" I listen to the answers.

I like to read the blog Becoming a Minimalist. This post is especially to my liking - minimalists can be more generous to others.

Ahhh, I really like this post about the humble sketchbook and pencil.

NASA believes they have found water on the moon. This is all based on remote sensing. Tell me when they are making coffee from that water and I will be a solid believer.

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