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: February 1-7, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday February 1,  2010

This is true as much as purists would like to deny it - video games have trained a generation of athletes.

Students hacked into a Washington D.C. area high school and changed grades. These are high school kids. Computer security securing all this information? Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Conflict of interest on Defense contracts: the waters are muddy with good people disagreeing on what the regulations state.

Carly Fiorina is running for the U.S. Senate in California. She is of HP infamy. I heard her speak in person a couple of years ago and was quite impressed with her command of issues and strategies for the future. The photo of her on this post is awful. Where did they get that?

The iPad is a computer for the rest of us (or the rest of them, depending where you sit). Seems like I heard this slogan somewhere before. Funny, the people who created that slogan were right.

Stephen Colbert used one as host of the Grammy Awards. Good move my Apple to do that one.

Authors and publishers in India don't like the Google book deal. The best of intentions are the best of intentions as some people see them. Other people sometimes disagree.

Beware of gifts made in China. They often contain malware that attacks your computer and sends important information to China.

It seems that Apple just doesn't like Flash from Adobe.

A 16-year-old invents a system for low-frequency radio communications underground. What's the use? How about rescuing people trapped in caves or buildings collapsed by earth quakes? Pretty darn useful, I would say. Please note, this was not part of any government-sponsored study.

Samsung advances the technology of memory chips. Greater capacity consuming less electrical power.

Here is another beautiful workspace. I think someone cheated on this one as they hired a decorator or something.

175 million people log onto Facebook everyday.

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Tuesday February 2, 2010

Version 8 of the Boeing 747 is coming. This is one of the most successful airplanes ever built.

The polygraph is born on this day in 1935. Known as the "lie detector" machine, the polygraph has been proven time and again to NOT work as advertised. Still, for some reason, it continues to be used today.

Electric bicycles are booming - in China. As usual, government regulators around the world are not sure what to do as these bicycles creep into their countries. After all, what is the thing? Have fast should they allow it to go? Where can it go? The streets? The sidewalks? Oh, some people have such challenging professions.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 is the world's most used browser. Firefox is second while Chrome is gaining at third.

The Big Dog robot receives $32M from DARPA for the next step in its evolution.

A new hearing aid that uses jaw bone induction to transmit sound to the wearer.

Ah, poor grammar raises its ugly head again. We have yet to see the fruition of all this texting and chatting and blogging and such on the world of the written word.

Watch this video for a future concept of "the computer." A device that looks like a fountain pen projects a monitor on the wall and a keyboard on the table.

A list of 100 blogs to improve our writing.

This week, before you draft each piece of writing, ask yourself, "How is my reader going to feel about getting this message?"

Four free video editing applications.

Some news from portable computers:
Dell's Latitude 13 - thinner and lighter yet still equipped for business IT.
Acer will also focus on making thin and light portable computers - not pads or slates or tablets or whatever we will call those portable computers without keyboards.
The Alienware M11x - a gaming portable computer.

More on the Administration's new plan for NASA.

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Wednesday February 3, 2010 

Intel's six-core processors should be available in Apple's Mac Pro computers real soon now. This is the large, under-the-table model of computer from Apple, i.e. their big machine.

Apple still views the Apple TV box as an experiment. This is a three-year-old experiment.

For-profit companies pay for the production of "research" papers that show the company in a good light. In the medical field this is known as "ghostwriting." I guess that term is more pleasant than unethical and duplicitous.

Google and the Middle Kingdom. It find it refreshing to find someone who knows that the Chinese still call themselves the Middle Kingdom as they are literally at the center of the universe.

I find much of the minimalist movement to be admirable. Hence,
The Art of Being Minimalist, a new book.
And a definition of minimalism.

Want a new digital camera? Hasselblad has a 40 MegaPixel model for only $20,000. Or perhaps you could settle for this nice 12 MegaPixel model from Olympus for $600.

Recycle all your kitchen waste in your kitchen. There are some good ideas here, but I don't know if any of them are practical.

Textbooks may be one of the driving forces behind the iPad. The low-end iPad costs $500. I would buy one of those for my son in college if I didn't have to pay $150 each for four or five textbooks. Is that a possibility?

OpenOffice has a 21% market share in Germany.

Spray-on silicon dioxide. It breathes yet is waterproof. Sounds like a good competitor to GoreTex.

Previously unseen footage of the 1986 Challenger explosion.

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Thursday February 4, 2010

Teenagers don't like Twitter. I am surprised that the Washington Post is running this story. This is old news.

And now teenagers don't like blogs either.

The National Security Agency and Google are supposedly working together on something. If that isn't vague enough, no one is commenting on the rumors.

This is an old idea with a new twist, walls that absorb heat in the day and dissipate the heat during the night.

There is some connection between being depressed and looking at the Internet a lot. It seems that there is not much of a news story here. Depressed people tend to escape the real, depressing world by scanning the net for things that cheer them.

Here is a new journal to watch: The Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results.

NASA moves in a new direction (again).

Coming: Oracle Cloud Office. No one seems to know what this will be, but it sounds like Google Docs. Perhaps Oracle will surprise us with something much better.

LTE garners a major supporter - too bad for WiMax.

HP maintains its lead over Acer as the world's number one provider of portable computers. Perhaps the HP acquisition of Compaq was a good idea after all.

The JooJoo tablet goes into production. This was the "CrunchPad" before all the fighting and lawsuits began. Now that Apple has named their tablet the iPad, everyone seems to be calling these things "pads" instead of "tablets." I suppose that is the power of Apple.

The fellows making GIMP are giving it a new user interface.

Early indications are that when a University offers some of its courses free to everyone online they don't hurt their enrollment. Hmm, maybe there is something here.

The really small portable computers could one day be 90% of the personal computer market. This makes sense. There is so much computing power out there on the web or in the cloud or whatever we call all those server farms...so why carry a supercomputer under your arm. Use a small, low powered computer to log onto the big servers. The communications infrastructure is in place.

Jerry Pournelle writes about education and parts of education that people don't want to discuss. This is not for the faint of heart. He concludes: "My point is that when we decide there are topics we can't talk about, we may be making a more serious mistake than we know."

A news story that I have not seen reported: the Haiti earthquake is an economic boom to the Dominican Republic. Thousands of people are travelling through the DR buying supplies and such to take into Haiti. This is the normal situation in any natural disaster. Regions just outside the disaster become the staging area for relief efforts. While these regions often give and give and give, they also sell and sell and sell supplies for relief and for housing and feeding the relief workers. 

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Friday February 5, 2010

No viewing this morning.

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Saturday February 6, 2010

An Apple portable computer shows itself in a benchmark test using a more-powerful Intel processor. These things keep getting better all the time.

Coming - 48-core processors. It is only a matter of time.

One in five doctors plans to buy an iPad. Aha! Apple may have hit the gold mine. With the billions that are about to pour into health care, making a "computer" that serves doctors is a good move.

An iPad was spotted in a New York City Starbucks. It seems that Apple has released a few hundred or so into the wild so that people can ooh and ahh and get ready to order them.

Everyone is fighting over how much to charge for eBooks sold through Amazon. I think we will go back to the old way where the publishers pick the price and the book store takes a standard percentage.

Turn office reports into toilet paper. Really, no joke, this mahcine does it.

A simple idea - power street lights with the wind. Why didn't I think of that one?

Someone at the New York Times has disicovered that there are a few dozen "computers" in a car.

Studies and counter-studies on the health affects of cell phones and WiFi. I doubt we will ever know what is what on this.

I think this one is significant: Ubuntu has stopped installing OpenOffice and instead points users to Google Docs. I use Google Docs several times a week - almost as much as I use Apple's Pages word processor. I do most of my writing these days on this KompoZer HTML editor with my number two writing tools being the WordPress blogging editor. Hmm, maybe there is something here.

India has formed its own climate study group and has stopped relying on the UN's IPCC.

Do you trust hardware made in China? I suggest you don't.

Here are five pretty good tips for life.

Get ready for the mileage tax. Since we drive cars that have better gas mileage, the gas taxes won't bring in enough money to support Congress' spending.

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Sunday February 7, 2010

Getting and staying organized in five steps (each step begins with the letter "S").

The advantages of taking public transportation anywhere in the world. One is a big advantage for writers - you see people and culture.

A few thoughts and pointers on creating an outline for a novel. I use mind maps as an outliner most of what I write. I know many writers would die trying to make an outline - it simply doesn't work for them.

Here are some excellent pointers on running a one-person business. I highly recommend this for study and practice.

I find this to be an excellent productivity tip: Don't go online before breakfast. Instead, write.

I am looking forward to this one: plasma jets instead of drills to remove tooth decay.

95% of user-generated content is SPAM? I guess that depends on the definitions of user-generated content and SPAM.

If you have a lot of time on your hands, and I do mean a lot of time, you can put optical illusions in your home. My wife wouldn't approve.

This isn't good. It leads to mistrust of the government by the governed, yet it is true and it is happening. Constant surveillance does not lead to public safety. Large databases are abused. This isn't good. Where I work, we gaze out the window at mid-day in the spring and fall and watch the local police give speeding tickets on a 35-MPH street. This is only done in the spring and fall when the weather is pleasant. We have never seen an accident, so this appears to be a safe street. Still, the police write ticket after ticket after ticket. Public safety? I think not. This isn't good.

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