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: December 7-13, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday December 7, 2009

Some history of YouTube and the service they performed for all of us. Yes, they did perform a service.

Speaking of YouTube, it spawns Vevo - sort of an MTV on the Internent. At least what MTV once was - actually playing music videos and not unreality shows.

MIT (who else?) wins the great DARPA balloon hunt.

LG has a smartphone with a projector built in. This is a little clunky, but it is only the start. In five years most cell phones will have projectors built in. Yes, we will survive teenagers projecting clumsy videos on the ceiling at McDonald's. The human race has survived worse (remember disco?).

For only $200,000 you can go into space on a commerical vehicle. Yes, this is a stunt, but perhaps some good technology will come from it.

How to keep student protests off the Internet - shrink the bandwidth. That is pretty easy when the government controls everything. See, for example, Iran.

Men tend to overestimate their (our) intelligence; women underestimate theirs. What is surprising to me is that kids think their fathers and grandfathers are smarter than their mothers and grandmothers. There are many implications.

QR Codes (2-D bar codes) may now become practical. Google mailed the codes to 200,000 businesses (a small fraction to be sure, but a start). Point your cell phone camera at it, Google gives you lots of information. Maybe this will catch on.

A new idea in luggage - your bag becomes a scooter and can carry all your other bags. I like it.

Two things related to me - circuit boards and guitar picks. How could I lose? $8 for a guitar pick is a bit much though.

A preview of the Barnes and Noble nook. Maybe one day us consumers will be able to hold one.

The iPod Touch. This is a big deal in the handheld Operating System market.

The single-atom transistor.

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Tuesday December 8, 2009

The Ann Arbor Chronicle - a new newsroom trying to keep local news coming using web tools.

Time Denial - we used to call it being overly optimistic in your estimates of how long a task requires.

Some advances in collision avoidance of robotic arms.

Truth is stranger than fiction: a Federal government workshop on openness is closed to the public.

And there is no end to moronic behavior in government. The TSA published a document, "hid" the sensitive parts under black boxes, but no one told them that the "hidden" text is still readable in the file.

The CrunchPad becomes the JooJoo. I think we shall see much legal movement around all of this. And the $200 price tag? Rename that as well to $500.

One way they could have built Stonehenge. Moving large blocks of rock using small sticks and stones and mostly gravity.

Wow, a Mac and glass office. I like the featured workspaces, but this one seems too far out for me.

The giant screens at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium promise 3-D replays this Sunday evening.

Seagate makes the thinnest disk drive even thinner - now 7mm.

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Wednesday December 9, 2009 

The Google Chrome web browser is now available in beta for OS X users.

This must be the final, final, final word on this: Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP in July 2010. I think I have heard this before, but they sound serious this time.

Another excellent use of technology - robotic fingers for an amputee.

A new term for me: Connected GPS. This sounds like as you move, your pocket computer knows where you are and retrieves relavent information for that area. Yes, this would be nice and not that difficult to implement given the hardware advances.

Everyone needs one of these for the home - a projector that provides an image 65 feet wide.

I listen to music on my computer via Pandora. They are now aiming at streaming music into cars. I already have a radio in my car.

More battery research. There is a chance that some of this will come to the marketplace.

NASA is still piddling with its little Mars rover. I guess they have nothing else to do all day. If I sound criticial of NASA that is because I am. I have seen government employees waste years of salaries and funds first hand. I can recognize it from a distance.

This guy has made a fully automatic crossbow. At least he didn't do it while on a government salary.

Change a plain wall into a work of art to enhance your workspace. I prefer classic Winchester firearms prints on mine.

India wants to move up from outsourced work to new science. This isn't happening fast enough for many Indians.

In our world today people are still put in prison for what they say and write. China, Iran, and Cuba are three of the top five governments who practice agreement through jail. And the U.S. is trying to be friends with these three. The situation is not simple, but at times I wonder about what we are doing.

"Mining" the real-time web. There is much information out there, and the challenge is if anyone can use it.

The Open Government Directive is here. I have to wonder if the government will follow its own directive or simply require others to do it.

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Thursday December 10, 2009

Here is a cloud computing service you can use to test your passwords. There is a small view. It is an example of what a computing "cloud" can do. Instead of running one computer on a problem, it runs 400 computers on the problem.

A nice video on the difference between innovation and invention.

Some lessons  from the DARPA baloon challenge. I don't see anything new here, but it is nice to see these principles work on demand. We could of course use these principles to locate missing children or stolen cars. That would be a good use of all these networks.

I find this worthwhile: how to stop yelling at your kids.

Face recognition moves to the shopping mall.

IBM's newest mainframe computer runs only Linux. Whatever happened to OS/360?

This company is training autistic people to be software testers. It seems that the autistic are excellent at spotting imperfection and also doing routine or monotonous work.

NASA is busy working on helicopter safety by attaching airbags to the outside of test vehicles. NASA? Helicopter safety? No wonder we can't return to the moon. We are spending money on ... who knows what?

America OnLine and Time-Warner finally split. Their merger was to be the future of everything, but nothing came of it. I live in the Northern Virginia, the birthplace of AOL. I knew a lot of people who made millions as AOL employees. That spurred much real estate development around here. Little is left of it.

Some thoughts on mimimalism. A quick summary with an excellent qoute. A full post on the minimalist century.

Johanna Rothman on team size for agile projects.

In yet another example of computer (un)security, personal data for 24,000 employees of the University of Notre Dame we put on the public web for three years. Once again I ask, is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

I am confused about when the Barnes and Noble nook is shipping. There have been several announcements of delays, but some people have received their already.

This story is all over the Internet today. Someone took some information about bytes transferred or saved and divided by the number of people in America to conclude that the average American consumes 34 Gigabytes a day.

I avoid rumors about the Apple tablet computer. This one makes some sense - the Apple tablet will come in the spring of 2010. The big news won't be the hardware but the way it allows you to get books. Once again, it is the content that really matters.

Companies that layoff people last and least prosper in the long term.

A self-help book for people who hate self-help books.

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Friday December 11, 2009

I was on a different schedule today and didn't view the Internet.

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Saturday December 12, 2009

Thinking back on radio. Much of what we think of radio is gone. We have streaming music, and DJ's play music for us while we are on hold trying to find out why our bank messed up our checking account.

Google is giving some of its satellite imagery to climate researchers.

NASA's Cassini probe showing us things about Saturn. This is the type of thing NASA is supposed to do.

Democrats in Congress seem to disagree with Democrats in the White House on the direction of NASA.

The number of people 65 and over who are using the Internet is growing - 50% growth or six million in the last five years.

Nikon has a new $6,000 camera lens. This is physics, optics, the real stuff. Something about garbage in garbage out still exists. Image processing techniques (I wrote a couple of books about that topic) can do much to improve a captured image. Still, there is a lens.

The first off-shore wind farm is coming. I hope this works. Since it will be the first, it won't be as efficient as the second and so on, but it should teach some lessons. I hope that learning is the main point of this and that everyone involved understands that.

Teens still text while driving because they are teens, not because they are stupid. Youth brings with it a lack of experience. Many experiences are bad and show that bad things can and do happen. This is one reason why young programmers and engineers often under estimate the effort of tasks they accept. They simply haven't seen enough bad things happen to understand that bad things do happen.

This will be great one day - the ability to operate on a human heart while it is still beating. The problem is the darn patient and his heart won't sit still. A computer can one day track the movements, have a robotic arm move with the heart, and allow the surgeon to operate on a heart that is still relative to the robotic arm.

Lessons from the CrunchPad (now the JooJoo).  A big lesson, it was a bad idea from the start. $500 for a device that does less than a really small portable computer that costs $300 - sounds like a bad idea.

Congress wants to fix college football. Let's look at some results for a moment. College football makes large profits that fund a lot of things at colleges across the country. Seems to be successful. Congress is running large deficits. Doesn't seem to be successful. Who should be calling the shots? Something to consider.

While the tablet replace the netbook? Will writers ever stop using jargon and speak English?

The U.S. still lags the world in broadband penetration. But I thought the stimulus package was throwing $7Billion at the problem. What happened?

Seagate has been slow to move into the area of solid state drives. We are a decade or two from the disappearnce of the spinning disk for data storage. Nevertheless, Seagate should be a bit quicker at this.

A speech recognition app for the iPhone - and it costs $0.

People use their cell phones while driving. High fines and a higher risk of accident doesn't seem to deter the public. Outlawing common behavior only serves to make outlaws of most of the people. See, for example, prohibition and the 55 MPH speed limit in U.S. history.

This is neat, house a data center in an old concrete silo. They seem to be using a good method of moving heat.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of things that are right in front of me everyday. For example, who cares about MSNBC? Few if any. Answer the same "who cares?" question about Facebook and Twitter let alone Google.

In the vein of inventing new forms of energy instead of crying about energy going away, turn coal into gas without digging.

Writing for peanuts? This is a bad idea in the long term. Sometimes, however, peanuts keep you alive in the short term.

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Sunday December 13, 2009

And now LG is making a really thin portable computer. Who isn't making computers these days?

Coming in January - an actual Google phone from Google. Some Google employees were given these to test on the streets recently.

NASA may be getting more money from Congress. Check this, it isn't the amount of money you receive, it is how you use it that counts. NASA already receives plenty of money from Congress. Oh, by the way, Congress gets its money from American taxpayers.

And speaking of Congress, they don't seem to mind leaks of inside information, but do want to close sites that post the leaks. It seems that leaks are intended to go to certain outlets and no others. Perhaps money is involved in these leaks?

Look at this ad for a computer desk. It pays to put the adjectives and nouns in the right places. "Black Kids computer desk" should be "Kid's Computer Desk (Black)". Sigh.

An interesting idea: the Mediterranean filled in just a few months.

Heads or tails is NOT a 50/50 event.

And now that it is Sunday, I view the writing blogs I like.

Gather ideas from everywhere all the time. I use techniques like this.

Going the opposite way, get ideas by constraining yourself.

Everyone seems to have a list of books that every writer should read. Here is yet another list, but this is a bit different. At the top of the list is the King James Bible. Also included is a book about Thomas Jefferson. Pretty good books. The King James Bible is available free in many places on the net.

Great title for a post for writers: Are Bloggers Creating their own sweatshop? This of all the writing, all the words, all for $0 per word. Well, if earning money is the goal of writing, then don't waste any time blogging. Write for money markets all the time. If blogging, however, is a place to write thoughts for possible use later, keep blogging. I do.

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