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 28, 2009-January 3, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday December 28, 2009

Lots of driving around today prevented viewing the Internet.

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Tuesday December 29, 2009

I have read several reviews of the movie Avatar written by scientists. I thought the technology of making the movie was great, the plot stupid, and the science full of holes. What I like is that people are talking about science; the general public is looking to scientists to explain what could be on other worlds and what and why some things in the movie were bologna. These scientists are coming across much better than those climate change researchers who call themselves scientists.

Apple sold 11 million iPhones this quarter. Bad economy? Where? Visit Real America to see it.

Yet the iPod Touch far surpassed the iPhone as the platform for applications.

This will be the year of the eReader or eBook reader or whatever history will call these things. We shall see.

There is some movement to release movies and shows for download to your computer before DVDs are in stores. Some movement, but maybe the start of a trend. There are other content providers who will fight this. Guess who is going to win here.

Some predictions for the music industry over the next ten years. I agree with the vast majority of this.

GSM encryption ("protects" 80% of the world's call phone conversations) has been broken publicly. It has no doubt been broken privately for years. Now the cell phone makers will have to move up a notch.

China is pushing renewable energy - at least on paper. I think this is a political move meant to make more news than actual energy. While the Chinese continue to burn coal, they can point to thier laws and say they are the most progressive in the world.

A Vespa scooter that will carry three people. I guess there is a use for this somewhere in the world.

And the TSA is trying to figure out how miserable they will make airline passengers.

The Blackberry is ten years old.

Ah, the return of the Sony video Walkman. Well, not exactly, but people are introducing products for mobile digital TV.

And China's new high-speed train averages 217 miles per hour. Isn't it great that America is funding all these new technology in China?

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Wednesday December 30, 2009 

The next version of the Opera web browser promises to catch up to the other browsers. I use Opera at work about a third of the time. I like it.

Reduce clutter by buying better products. This also reduces waste and trash and junk in landfills and lots of other things. It is a shame we have moved to a "good enough" world with many of the products we use.

Buy every issue of National Geographic - all one an external hard drive. This could be a treasure.

The biggest tech losers of the decade - America OnLine is one of them. AOL made a lot of millionaires of young people in Northern Virginia. They bought houses and drove up the price of real estate. Oh well.

Unexpected success stories of the decade - the iPod and Microsoft's game hardware. The iPod is everything that the old Newton failed to be and everything that the AOL-Time Warner merger failed to do.

Are you a writer? Are you backing up your material daily? If you answered "yes" to the first question, I pray that you also answered "yes" to the second one.

A new term for me: the ULV laptop - ultra-low voltage processors.

Light-emitting wallpaper - this will save the world in some way or another. I don't get it. I don't think anyone is calculating the total system cost.

Researchers at Stanford are moving closer to implants that can restore human sight.

Microsoft is hiring people to help it compete with OpenOffice. It seems that MS has 99% of the market share, but is taking no chances. That is probably a smart thing to do.

Bruce Schneier on airport security. Bruce is an expert on computer security and, as a hobby, pokes large holes in the TSA and other silly forms of airport and travel security. Yes, the TSA is largely silly. They wear white shirts and all, but don't really do anything but make your day miserable. For example, my son and daughter-in-law flew during the holidays. Thier 14-month-old son had to take off his shoes and run them through the x-ray machine. A 14-month-old plane hijacker. Gosh.

On Thomas Jefferson and patents. Jefferson, and others of his time, felt that some things were too important for society to be patented and thereby limited in their use. Interesting. But then again, these men were already rich and didn't need the money that that the exclusive rights to something would bring. Interesting.

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Thursday December 31, 2009

The first draft for a writer is usually bad. Don't be upset by that, just revise it or rewrite it. Good thoughts often come later. Don't, however, confuse the first draft with the first thing that appears on paper or on the screen. Often, the first draft is written in my mind or on a napkin or on a table or on a ....

And the best video games of the decade. I guess someone needed to write this story. I just never have been interested in playing video games. Many of my friends wonder about me because of this, but...

Being open and public is now the default. Being private is something you have to choose to do. This is true for many, but hey, I'm in rural Louisiana and we have no broadband internet access here. And on top of that, I cannot get any 3G connectivity for my iPhone. So, how public can I be? I have to "drive to town" just to get access.

How do you say "2010" out loud?

Computers are mining the world for information. There is much money to be made in this field. Organizations with a narrow interest in events want big filters on all the information.

There seems to be a connection between engineers and terrorists. My thought is that us engineers are the only people on the plante who know how to do anything. Others, however, believe that engineers are usually conservative and dissatisfied with society (i.e. couldn't get a date with the prom queen). I suppose that both views are correct.

Some perspective on terrorist attempts on commercial airliners. It just doesn't happen often. The real difference after 9/11 is that passengers no longer cooperate with plane high jackers. Before 9/11, we were told to go along, wait it out, and everything would be fine eventually. After 9/11, no one cooperates. Anyone messing about on a plane is quickly beaten to a pulp by the rest of the passengers. That is airline security! Stop x-raying my shoes. Let me carry my pocket knife on the plane.

Or maybe we could all fly nude. That might get...well, you know.

A house with only 96 square feet of floor space. I love it.

Ten gadgets that defined the decade. Good stuff here. I like the perspective.

WOW! 100 lectures from leading scientists and engineers. This is great.

A great photo of Saturn.

The people who drive Microsoft are growing older. This happens in every organization. Now, what is MS going to do about this?

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Friday January 1, 2010

Wikepedia raised $7.5 Million in donations this year. Bad economy?

I guess the Apple tablet computer will really be real in 2010. This article claims to know what is happening on the inside, and Apple will ship 10 million tablets the first year.

An Apple executive may be the next CEO of Government Motors. Sounds like a stunt to make GM more hip and young and all that stuff that has nothing to do with automobiles.

The TSA issued some subpoenas against some bloggers about a new security directive. Now the TSA is withdrawing them. As far as I can tell, those documents were not classified - hence they are part of the public domain in America - but then again, I am just a guy who can read. I am not up to the TSA's standards of something or other.

Here is something with some hope. Congress is discussing reforming immigration and visas. It would be nice to allow people who want to start businesses and grow the economy to stay in the U.S. Producers not consumers - I thought that is what immigration laws were always supposed to encourage. Perhaps my civics teacher was just kidding.

A baseball cap with a camcorder hidden in it - with a remote control. I guess this could be fun.

Those of us in our 50s are not impressed with how far technology has come. We are still behind the Jetsons (a cartoon from the 1960s for those of you too young to know). Science fiction in my life has been too good for my own good. I can imagine a lot of things we could be doing except for government bungling, see as two examples NASA and FEMA.

The Webbook from Litl. This might be interesting.

18 tech things that we didn't have a decade ago. Most of these "things" aren't what I consider things (hardware). They are software running here and there - mostly out there. Examples are Wikipedia, Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and so on. The inexpensive and powerful processor, the inexpensive and expansive disk drive - these are the ever evolving things that make all this software possible.

I will share this one with my wife - being a writer's spouse.

Writing while travelling. I have been on "vacation" the last two weeks. I have been able to keep up with this and a couple of other blogs and such. I have not, however, kept up with my personal journal. Some things slip when you are out of your element.

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Saturday January 2, 2010

No viewing today as an 18-hour overnight drive home from Louisiana leaves me tired. The fatigue also affects Sunday's viewing.

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Sunday January 3, 2010

Michael Arrington writes about bloggers standing firm when threatened by government officials. If you believe in something, you go to jail for your beliefs. Easier said than done, but true nonetheless.

And Apple isn't the only one with tablet rumors - Google joins in.

Another list of technologies that are dominated by software. I guess I don't consider software technology. Perhaps I will have to adjust my way of thinking about these things. Ooops, there I go again, software isn't a thing, it is the expression of an idea. Hardware is a thing. Perhaps I will have to adjust...

NASA is spending lots of time, money, and people to determine where to look next. Why doesn't NASA determine to get going again?

The HP 210 mini is here. Yet another step in the improvement of the really small portable computer.

An end to the holiday season: ELVIS PRESLEY - 'Santa Claus Is Back In Town' - 1957 78rpm Brian Setzer has a great recording of this song.

Scientists need to speak up! Oh well, there is much to be said about this. Jerry Pournelle has written extensively on this the past few weeks. The crux of the matter of studying climate over centuries is simple: If I measure the temperature in my front yard today with a given thermometer and I want to compare that to the temperature in the same spot 200 years ago, I need to have measured the temperature 200 years ago in precisely the same manner with the same thermometer. Well, I cannot go back 200 years and repeat the measurement precisely the same. Hence, I have to do some estimates, and estimates are subjective. Should we spend hundreds of billions of dollars over the next few decades based on subjective estimates? Stating repetitively that "there is a consensus among scientists" does not change the matter. Clouding everything is that people make money from research grants and other means based on which subjective estimates are used. It is unfortunate but true that many people involved in the science have a conflict of interest in that such money is involved. Sigh.

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