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: December 21-27, 2009

Summary of this week:

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

Monday December 21, 2009

Psystar is closing its doors. When a judge decides that your business is illegal, this is probably the best thing to do.

Ten million Blackberries sold in the third quarter. Bad economy? Where?

The next generation of Atom processors from Intel: a graphics processor on the same chip as the general processor. I hope they are not trying to be too complex. Simple performance will do at low power.

It seems that Microsoft didn't search the name space well enough when they produced Bing. Law suit over the name.

The Coppenhagen conference ended with basically nothing being agreed. I may be outdated or something else that is really bad, but I am happier when large government bodies meet and don't write laws.

I don't understand the news from Barnes and Noble about their Nook eReader. It will be updated this week. $100 gift certificates are being offered to people who didn't receive their Nooks yet. Is there something contradictory about these two stories?

Someone is making a million dollars a month writing iPhone apps. This is a great country that is still full of opportunity. 

Given that, this seems silly - programs to help interest kids in digital careers.

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

Tuesday December 22, 2009

It looks like someone is finally going to accept the job of the government's cybersecurity coordinator.

Fewer high school students are taking computer science classes. There are many reasons for this. One, not reported, is that this is yet one more thing that public schools have managed to ruin.

Apple changed the music industry with the iPod and iTunes. Apple may be about to change television. It is all about how you deliver content.

GM (government motors) has made its last big V8 engine.

And Ford (non-government owned) will enable its new cars to be WiFi hot spots. Hmmm, is there any connection between government ownership and innovation?

Some Christmas gift advice - buy nothing. Really he means buy no things. Berkun advises buying experiences like tickets to plays and going places and doing things with people instead of giving them a sweater.

A bedroom and office all in a 10x10' space.

The relationship between Nikon and NASA continues. I am happy to see that NASA has the good sense to buy and use commercial cameras instead of trying to build their own. As silly as that sounds, government employees have a tendency to build their own things instead of just buying them.

Environmentalists battle environmentalists. The environment loses. Solar and wind power are killed to preserve the Mojave Desert.

A camera and display almost make a truck transparent. This is a neat (not unique) idea. I doubt we will see it anytime soon.

The world's thinnest LCD panel becomes thinner.

Government to the rescue! Maine may require cancer warnings on cell phones.

A study shows that chewing gum reduces stress. So that is why they prohibit it in schools.

Some tips on making a quick outlines. Roman numerals and indents are not  necessary. One thing I have done is to tear a piece of paper into strips. I jot one idea on each strip until the ideas stop coming. I then move the strips around on the table until I like the order. If I want to keep this "outline," I tape the strips to a piece of paper. With high-tech, I take a digital photo of the strips on the table and put the photo on the computer for later use.

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

Wednesday December 23, 2009 

Guess what, the Federal government hasn't been able to hire as many computer security "experts" as it wanted. Lots of reasons are given, but one not mentioned is that some people just don't want to work for (what one of my supervisors termed himself) brain-dead managers. I always found it amazing that Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, worked in private industry and not the government.

A wild rumor about Apple - the tablet will be announced in January - that is in a week.

This could prove V E R Y interesting - a Federal appeals court has told Microsoft that it must stop selling Word on January 11, 2010. This is all part of that patent suit about XML in Word.

That $7Billion in broadband??? A whopping 2% has been awarded so far. I recall predicting such a mess.

The sales of those really small portable computers went up 100% in 2009. Bad economy, well maybe that helped cause the rise as people bought less-expensive computers that were powerful enough.

The new concept for the One Laptop Per Child of 2012. They want to make these for $75. Perhaps they can, we shall see.

And a concept for a digital camera with a flexible fibre optic attached. Er, look to see what I am failing to describe.

A workspace for a keyboardist - that is piano keyboard, not computer keyboard.

Harvard Business Review names Steve Jobs as the CEO of the decade. Apple grew 3,000% for the decade (an average of 34% per year). Darn, missed an oppotunity to buy stock way back when.

The U.S. needs more cool nerd programmers. I have heard this since the 1970s. I have also heard rumors that U.S. companies pay lower-wage programmers in India instead of Americans. Hmm, who is not being truthful here?

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

Thursday December 24, 2009

I saw the movie "Avatar" yesterday. The computer generation animation is excellent. The science fiction is pretty good, but it has a lot of holes in it. The plot? This is a remake of "Dances with Wolves." Surely Cameron could have done better than that.

An uncle of mine passed away recently. Here are a few thoughts on his influence on me.

The new 27" iMacs seems to be having more than the usual problems.

NASA continues to stumble.

Women who play online games play more than men. I am sure this means something. What it means, I don't know.

There were some hopes for a tablet computer from Apple in 2010, but that has all been dashed. The New York Times has proclaimed 2010 as the Year of the Tablet. Such proclamations doom the future.

See, for example, this view of 2010 from the year 2000. Nothing much happened as predicted.

People are happy with Windows 7. So happy that they are buying computers. The OS is part of the content. The computer is just the package.

Ten technologies that may (should) go away in 2010. I doubt that any of them will.

The U.S. is a leader in broadband use. Wait, this is the opposite of what other studies say. Are there any hidden agendas in these studies? Surely not, after all, this is science. The next thing you know someone will be twisting climate data for fun and profit.

Sometimes success leads to failure. The Nook from Barnes and Noble may be one example. They sold a lot more of these than expected. We will wait and see if they catch up with the orders or sink under their weight.

And sometimes technology all works as expected. This person used free WiFi on Virgin Atlantic to have a video conference. That is the stuff of science fiction a generation ago.

The journey to being a competent manager. One of the best piece of advice I ever received: prepare to be unprepared. Have it in your pocket. Be ready to say, "Wow, that is a surprise. I wasn't prepared for this. What do you think we should do?"

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

Friday December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

All the Internet cafes are closed, and my mother doesn't have internet access at home. I guess the rural broadband stimulus isn't quite up and running yet.

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

Go to Dwayne's Home Pag

Saturday December 26, 2009

Steve Jobs is happy with the unannounced Apple tablet computer. I wonder if I could be happy with a few dozen unannounced products as well. Such as the unannounced airline that actually gives good service to its paying passengers. The unannounced health care plan that doesn't have a thousand bribes, uh, I mean earmarks in it. The unannounced...

And the new tablet may be called the iSlate. This is because we have learned that Apple purchased the domain name iSlate.com back in 2007.

Here is another unannounced tablet computer. It really looks neat. Since we have photos of it, perhaps it is semi-announced or something.

If you have some time on your hands during the holidays, you can build this. I don't know what it is or what it does, but you put a Mac Mini, subwoofer, and coffee maker into an old iMac case and you have...whatever this is.

I have learned from my son that ASUS makes portable gaming machines. Here is a new one coming. In addition to playing games you can run weather and nuclear explosive simulations as well as making full-length movies and in your spare time search for mineral deposits.

Some people think it is funny to trick others into thinking that terrorists are attacking. Never - I repeat - Never limit your thinking as to what some people will think is funny.

Cygwin 1.7 is released.

Home batteries - large enough to power your house for a week - are "coming real soon now" from Panasonic. This could work, if Panasonic can actually make them.

A video of the moons of Saturn.

On the science of the movie Avatar. There are holes in the science - especially the physics.

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

Sunday December 27, 2009

This seems to be some sort of economic tragedy in America, but it sounds like good sense to me. Even the poor are saving money instead of spending it.

Change you can believe in: the chief of the Federal Trade Commision now regulates companies for whom he once lobbied.

There are so many rumors about the Apple tablet computer that we now have a guide to all the rumors.

The Barnes and Noble nook is new - so it has a few problems. The bleeding edge retains its name.

The terrorists win again - the "failed" attack brings with it new problems for legitimate travellers. When will the "safety" people learn the true purpose of these attacks? It is not to bring down airplanes, it is to make travel so painful that people stop flying and either the airlines collapse or governments collapse while trying to bail out the airlines.

And more on this mess.

Amazon sold more Kindles than books on Christmas.

And what books you buy for your Kindle can be shown on the web site. Privacy? And now the obligatory question, is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Using the crowds of home viewers to watch the U.S.-Mexico border webcams.

Someone actually repairs broken cameras.

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