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: January 25-31, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday January 25,  2010

Alistair Cockburn has some thoughts on what "software engineering" should be. I am not sure I agree with all he writes. I do like his objective that we teach the next generation of software developers things that help them succeed.

Here is an article I like on communicating uncertainties in science. This article considers climate change - a great example. Giving uncertanties to celbrities to use in big speeches is fraught with problems. People can concentrate on the messenger - half of America doesn't like Al Gore - instead of the message. Celebrities are, well famous for something, and that something is usally different from the subject at hand. The list of problems goes on and on.

CNET news interviewed Bill Gates about a year in his work with his foundation. The video is half an hour in length. I shall try to watch it. For all that people may think of Microsoft, Gates is a pretty smart guy, and spending your life giving away money is admirable.

NASA will maybe shift space transportation (manned as well as unmanned) to private companies. I think (some) private companies operate far more efficiently and effectively than (all) government agencies. The post mentions Lockheed Martin as being interested. Please understand, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman - these companies are not owned by the government. They have, however, been government contractors for so long and for so much of their business that they operate almost identical to the government. Tell me that Google will be building space transport, and I will become interested.

Woody Guthrie's New Years Resolutions from 1942. Precious. Another wonderful example of what a journal or notebook can do for people - including yourself - even decades later. And here is an actual Woody Guthrie official website.

Some good questions about how we file income tax forms in America. The government already has 90+% of the information, yet the IRS requires me to fill forms with the information - that they already have. Did I write that they already have the information?

On being bored at work. I have worked some projects in my life that excited me. I have spent much of it doing work that bored me.

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Tuesday January 26, 2010

Apple is doing well in the marketplace. They now have $50Billion in sales. iPod Touch sales went up 55% over last year. They sold 3 million home computers in the last quarter. The bad economy? I suppose this is one of those "Tale of Two Cities" things.

And things are going well for Texas Instruments.

But not at Ericsson.

There is now an open source project to develop a mail program for OS X. It is called Letters.

Looking for a new digital camera? The Leica M9 is almost here at $7,000. It is a good camera.

Apple is not the only one with a new tablet computer thingy. More on the HP Slate.

Here is a new TV from LG that looks like an old TV. They will sell some of these, not many, but some.

Another nice workspace from Life Hacker. In this one, the owner built a 1-cm tall shelf. He put his monitors on the shelf and ran his cables under the shelf. Clever.

Simply "Office to go." Someone stole this from me ;-)

Some high-tech gadgets that didn't make it, but came back later. I guess that means they were ahead of their times.

Little-known bands can make money on iTunes.

A University of Georgia study finds that people won't use e-readers to read the newspaper.

The Apple Paradox: closed systems that foster creativity. This is a good example of restrictions and freedom that I wrote recently. Restricting yourself in one area allows all your energy to go to creativity in another. For example, I didn't build the computer that I am using right now. I just use it as it is. That allows me to concentrate on writing.

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Wednesday January 27, 2010 

Apple will have their big event today. I hope to find a place to watch live.

Today is the birthday of the National Georgraphic Society, formed in 1888.

College yearbooks as vanishing, displaced by Facebook and the like.

Ah, speeding cameras and what some cities will do to extract money from citizens.

Government Motors is selling off Saab.

The National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies. Congress has created this new Federal agency to perform research directed at education - sort of like DARPA. I wonder if they will bring back the McGuffey reader? It worked well, but you know didn't make any money for any government agencies.

Is computer programming a lucrative career? Some are touting it as such to entice high school kids into majoring in Computer Science. Others disagree with this. I believe it can still be fun as a career. It is, however, moving more towards the technician type of work than creative work. Still, understanding how to use these super-powerful little computers can spur lucrative ideas.

Possibly using thorium instead of uranium for nuclear power plants. It could work.

Living and working in one room. This is another nice workspace from LifeHacker.

NASA gives up (stops wasting money) on its Mars Spirit Rover.

Texting while driving will soon be a crime. Whoa, I feel better already. It is about time that we get these criminals off the road. Yes, I am sure there have been accidents - some tragically fatal - where distracted drivers were involved. Such happened before texting was invented and will happen after texting is outlawed. There are better ways to reduce traffic fatalities, and wasting time on things like this is not helpful.

Sharp has a cell phone powered by the sun, sort of. I am not sure that the solar cell provides all the power as it is called a "hybrid." I guess there is some good in having some of the power from the sun.

McGraw-Hill has told people that yes, Apple does have a tablet computer. Also, McGraw-Hill books will be available on it as well as on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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Thursday January 28, 2010

Apple introduces the iPad. There are lots of stories about this everywhere. I am a bit confused on what the device actually has on it (GPS or at least some GPS capability). I am also a bit concerned on why it won't be in people's hand for 60 or 90 days. Then, there is the question of what I would do with one. Several of my programmer friends have the same question. I, believe it or not, have friends who are not programmers and they are thrilled about this and cannot wait to have one. Since there are more non-programmers in the world than programmers, Apple may have a big hit here.
Here is the Apple Inisder view after one day. One thing I told people is that I would want to hold one of these in my hands before deciding. Apple Insider's changed thier opinion when they were able to hold one.

Oh, don't buy the special dock. The Apple wireless (BlueTooth) keyboard works with the iPad.

One surpirse is that Apple is using their own "A4" processor instead of an Intel processor.

Scott Berkun has some good thoughts on hours worked on the job and time off from the job.

I have a terrible migraine this morning and can no longer view the net.

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Friday January 29, 2010

Some details on the A4 processor - the heart of the iPad.

At first this is silly, but then it makes sense. Put a cowling on your motorcycle, motor scooter, motor anything that has two wheels and greatly increase its energy efficiency.

Microsoft is making lots of money again. Windows 7 is selling big - the most units over time in history. I think this is the result of pent up demand.

Dell lowers the prices of its high-end laptop the Adamo.

ClearWire is expanding its WiMax coverege little by little, city by city. Per this report, it works well. It works well enough that you may turn off your cable modem or DSL. Maybe one day it will come to my neighborhood.

Another nice workspace from LifeHacker. I have thought about a similar setup using my MacBook Pro as my one and only home computer. The trouble is that the Apple monitor costs $900 (an iMac costs only $300 more). Perhaps I can find another brand of monitor that will work for me.

Something has gone amiss with the WiFi here at Starbucks this morning. Viewing was curtailed.

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Saturday January 30, 2010

No viewing today as result of two events:
(1) 6" of snow
(2) working on income tax

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Sunday January 31, 2010

This is (not) news: distracted drivers cause accidents, not cell phones. If, however, a person steps out of their car after an accident with a cell phone in their hand, you can prove something and punish them. How do you prove that someone wasn't paying attention?

Robots, with the right algorithms, can learn and adapt. To their advantage is that they can go through hundreds of generations in a few days instead of hundreds of years.

Even if Apple sells 4 million iPads in a year, 35 million of those really small portable computers will sell in the same time.

The Russians and the Indians are building a fighter plan together.

As the U.S. space program flounders with constant changes of direction.

The masses are not quite satisfied with the Kindle. It costs to much and shows to little on the screen. Amazon, however, has sold a lot of them, so someone likes them.

Intel and Micron keep pushing the technology on flash memory. Their 25nm process will yield 600GigaByte chips by the end of 2010. I'll settle for the 320GigaByte models for my portable computer.

This is a "Swiss Army Knife" from the year 200.

More on how the iPad is not about computing but about doing what people do everyday in their lives.

Great video of a water drop - 2,000 frames per second.

The fear of success for writers. This makes some sense.
Ambience for writers. This points to a couple of sites that play background noise (yes, just noise) and rain sounds. This is relaxing at times.

Some of the challenges that extrovert writers have. They just love to stand around and talk to everyone. Introverts - me - don't have this challenge as we make some other ones for ourselves.

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