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 16-22, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 16, 2009

There has been some change in the Google books legal matters. I struggle to follow the nuances here.

And Google is entangled in more legal tangles with newspapers. It seems that some people associated with newspapers want to close the Internet. I believe they are a small minority.

Shorter copyright periods would spur more music and other creativity. I agree with this general idea. The current U.S. law (life plus 70 years) is just too long.

And the courts rule that the Apple clone maker was all wrong. Enough legal stuff.

The debate continues - teach a programmer programming skills or teach them to learn. Tech school vs BS in Computer Science. I believe that a programmer should know chemistry, physics, and calculus, but I have always worked in number-crunching fields.

Teachers are selling lesson plans on line. I trust these plans were created at home on their own time. If they created them while being paid by a school, the school owns the plans.

A good idea - underwater kites to generate electricity. It appears that underwater currents are far more predictable than winds.

Some thoughts on why Apple will (must) introduce a tablet portable computer. The iPhone is a small, small tablet computer, so scale it up a bit, keep software compatibility and such, there you have it.

A study (from the New York Times) says that half of Americans are willing to pay for news online (like the New York Times). I sense a conflict of interest here, but that is just me.

WOW! Look at this home office built around a tree to have a treehouse feel. It has everything inside it. Quite a project.

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Tuesday November 17, 2009

I find this interesting (a terrible word to use) - regarding Apple's maybe, perhaps tablet computer "analysts heaped praise on the mythical device." I am speechless.

An introduction to using a wiki in the workplace. I have tried on several occassions to do such. Most of the instances failed miserably. I have found a need to have a large number of people eligible to participate as maybe 5% of the eligible actually type words.

It seems that record pirating goes back to the late 1800s. Someone always wants to cheat a little.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has cancer.

The cyber-war arms race is on. What next, treaties to slow the race?

More higher-performance computing. This portable computer coming from Lenovo and graphics processors from Nvidia that may cut the cost of supercomputers by a factor of ten.

In ten years we will be using computers with 100 million processor cores. This sounds far fetched, but it probably not. I recall when a 1 GigaHertz processor sounded far fetched.

I like this little research project - swarm robots using open-source software.

Here is a study on the reliability of portable computers. Asus and Toshiba are the most reliable. HP doesn't look good, and neither do the really small portable computers.

Counter to the New York Times study, this study says that people won't pay for newspaper content on-line.

Now this is a good iPhone stand - an old cassette tape case. Who would have known that the iPhone has the same dimensions. I guess all these things fit in a shirt pocket. Is there a standard for shirt-pocket sizes?

Tomorrow's air traffic control system. People in my building at ITT are building this.

Electronic health care records aren't saving any money. The government is spending $19Billion because such computer use will save us $100Billion. Ooooops, someone figured that wrong. This is not a surprise as over estimating the benefit of computer technology is a common malady.

New Zealand is about to go into space with a privately built rocket.

Intel has released all the details of its 4004 4-bit microprocessor from 1971. This is good for historians of technology.

Hmmm, songs and such from as late as 1978 will have their copyrights expire in the next couple of years. This means that the artists will be able to sell their songs directly on the Internet instead of having a record company own them. It also means that the songs will be part of public domain so people can email them around freely. At least that is what I think this all means. There are plenty of lawyers already in the room.

Bing now has about 10% of the search market.

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Wednesday November 18, 2009 

Television broadcasters don't want the white spaces to be autioned to telecommunications firms. The old versus the new. I am betting on the new.

Fedora 12 has been released.

A new mapping robot from the Stevens Institute of Technology. This does the same work that existing systems do at one-fifth the cost. There are many applications of creating 3D maps in places that humans don't yet want to go.

This is not the way it was supposed to happen. A crane accident cuts a house in half. Be careful when working with trees.

This featured workspace is a mobile one: an entertainment center built on a tool cart. Excellent ideas for conealing cables and including everything in one movable space.

And Spain has declared a right to Broadband access of the Internet.

NASA is willing to team with China on space exploration. I don't know if the Chinese are willing to step down to NASA's current level.

Yet another idea on cooling data centers. This one uses some type of cooling bag. There are ways that we haven't explored.

Lawyers write laws and make money from those laws. This doesn't qualify as news at it is one of the things that legislatures have done for centuries.

A two-minute video on the innovator's dilemma. I like it.

And it like this as well - a remote control for your TV that doesn't need batteries. By pushing the buttons you are generating enough electrical power to operate the transmitter. Another example of turning mechanical energy provided by a person to electrical energy. Simple, excellent.

Here is a tiny USB thumb drive. At 16Gigabytes you are guaranteed to misplace it.

The Dell Adamo XPS 13 is now available for purchase.

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Thursday November 19, 2009

Ars Technica reviews Ubuntu version 9.10.

And Ars runs Windows 7 under OS X via VMWare Fusion version 3. Whew, that is hard to say all in one breath.

The House of Representatives was embarassed by leaks of information from its computing systems. So they passed a law making peer-to-peer use illegal. This probably won't become an actual law (needs the Senate and the White House in there as well). Also, making computer security a law doesn't do anything technically, so this is just plain silly.

The beta of release of Microsoft Office 2010 is out. We still use Office 2003 where I work. We have to as our customer is the U.S. government, and that is what they use. Sigh.

Here is a battery-powered skateboard. You control the throttle wirelessly via this thing that looks a little like a gun. It will go about 13 miles on a charge.

This skateboard allows you to skate on video games.  I saw the Tony Hawk commercial yesterday. It looks like good clean fun.

This story is odd - The National Security Agency helped Microsoft with Windows 7. This is wrong in too many ways to mention here. There must be something in this story that isn't being reported.

After six months of analysis, NASA engineers move their Mars rover one inch. No wonder NASA wants to cooperate with the Chinese. I doubt the Chinese will stoop that low.

And the Washington Post concludes that a smart electric grid can collect personal information and leak it to others. Wow, they are really on top of things at the Post.

The city of Chicago has linked their police cameras with thousands of other security cameras. This is a really juicy target for those people who love to break into computer networks. How long will it take?

Apple has made lots of money by building its own hardware AND software. Will any of the other hardware makers out there do the same?

Next year's Flip video camera will have WiFi in it.

Apple, and other big hardware makers, have hundreds of supplies. Apple, and all those other guys, have codes of conduct for their suppliers to ensure that they don't run abusive sweat shops or worse. Apple's own audits show that 60% of its suppliers violate its code of conduct. What to do now?

George Will on how it is unconstitutional to require people to buy health insurance. Pesky thing that Constitution. Perhaps no one while notice the technicality (not).

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Friday November 20, 2009

Crazy schedule today. No time for viewing.

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Saturday November  21, 2009

AOL is cutting a third of its workforce - about 2,500 people.

Someone hacked into the system at a climate research center. Again, everyone ready for national electronic health records. The big news may not be the hacking but the information revealed - scientists going for the money and not the science.

Google's Chrome browswer is coming to the Mac and Linux. I have been using some sort of pre-release version of the it on my MacBook Pro.

Cars that run on compressed air are interesting, but not practical - at all.

The Swine Flu has peaked in the U.S. already. Given the above story on the climate change researchers, I doubt much of what I heard about the swine. That is the most unfortunate part about people lying in public to get money. We tend to doubt everyone.

Cyber attacks against the U.S. are up sharply in 2009.

The really small portable computers are more likely to fail than the regular portable computers. The news isn't that bad. The really small one fail at a 5.8% rate while the regular ones fail at 4.7%.

California has enacted new rules for televisions in 2011. That may not be interesting if the state declares bankruptcy as many are predicting. Much of the regulations in California have driven productive people to other less-regulated states. That is a shame.

The Barnes and Noble eBook reader - the nook - is sold out for the holidays. The local store doesn't have any in yet, but promises to have them real soon now.

I like this one. Cannot hide your cables? Show them, creatively.

This huge building at Instanbul's new airport is safe from earthquakes.

This coffee cup, well, it just about does everything for you, and you can plug it into a USB to charge it.

Coming in 2012 - Windows 8. They will have to think of a better name than that.

And electronic health records may improve quality, but they won't reduce costs. Everybody else has already experienced this. I don't know why people thought the health care industry would be different.

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Sunday November 22, 2009

A pearl of wisdom from Bob Sutton - leaders get the behavoir they display and tolerate. There is much I can say about this with examples of pain. Perhaps a blog post later.

Things are looking better at NASA (not). Now they are spending taxpayers' money to hire pro wrestlers to make commercials for them.

More on the emails hacked out of a climate research center.

A pointer to a book on qoutes by writers for writers. Instructive.

This is an odd story floating around the Internet: Apple voids the warranty on its computers if they detect that people were smoking around the computer. There is nothing in the wording of the warranty about smoking near the computer. Again, an odd story.

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