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 15-21, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday February 15,  2010

The Adam tablet computer from Notion Ink. Maybe something will come of all these "tablets."

A chart of where Microsoft makes it money. There are no surprises here. The Office suite makes lots of money while the online services lose some money.

Something to watch later - a TED presentation of new ideas in Microsoft's Bing maps.

Wow, what a view with this workspace. Plus a pointer to a tutorial on how to connect dual monitors to a Mac Book Pro.

Someone has built a robot that solves Rubik's cube. There are worse things to do with your time and genius.

Intel and Nokia have worked together to create a new operating environment for smartphones. I get lost in the names, but the final product is called MeeGo.

Google's Chrome for the Mac keeps evolving.

Daily Writing Tips discusses one of my favorite or least favorite word mistakes: flammable. The word "flame" is a noun like the work "dog." No one says "dog-able" but many people seemed doomed to often say "flammable." The word "inflame" is a verb, hence the word "inflammable" is correct while "flammable" is just plain wrong.

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Tuesday February 16, 2010

The White House is putting some of its reports into the special eBook formats. I guess a PDF isn't good enough. Why don't the eBook readers read PDF files? There must be some good reason for that.

A clever twist on the bicycle. The rear wheel has no spokes. The front wheel was also supposed to be spoke-less, but this was a semester-long student project and they ran out of time.

More speed - this microSD memory card has a data transfer rate that is more than double its predecessors. It costs a lot for now, but the price will come down real soon now.

More storage - a 64GigaByte NAND flash card. Two years ago, 16GigaByte was the limit. By my envelope calculation, you can store a movie on this chip.

More small projectors - look to Texas Instruments for smaller, thinner digital light projection chips.

More television - coming, mobile digital TV.

More eBooks - coming from Qualcomm, a color eReader whose battery lasts longer than everything else.

Here is something I could do with my dad's drawer full of slides.

This is the application for eBook readers - glasses that display information to your eyes. I believe, and have believed for 30 years, that the one application is in maintenance. A mechanic looks at your air conditioner or whatever and sees all the relevant information in his glasses.

A counter to Linus' Law - all bugs are shallow if you have enough eyeballs (or something like that).

The Washington Post editorial column calls for more teleworking by Federal employees. Maybe the government managers will listen to the Post. They won't listen to anyone else. A big problem is that government managers don't manage well. That is a charitable statement from someone who spent 28 years in government (defense of freedom, not regulation).

I like this advice on editing and working with other people on their writing. Work with the writer, not the piece of writing in front of you. I suppose this is a variation of the theme "give a person a fish ... teach a person to fish."

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Wednesday February 17, 2010 

Good blog post on how a couple survives and thrives while traveling together all the time. Much of this advice is good for the rest of us who just try to make it day to day in an "average" lifestyle.

Yet another possible use for nuclear "waste" from power plants. It is all over the radio this morning that President Obama has okayed two new nuclear plants - the first in 30 years in the U.S. Creating jobs is one reason for doing this.

Google donates $2Million to the Wikimedia Foundation. That foundation raises millions of dollars every year in donations. I like Wikipedia and the other things the foundation produces. I also like how they do it.

Google's Buzz has been out a week. I am still not sure what to think of it. As this post remarks, "forcing" it on users instead of allowing them to choose to install it was a mistake.

Maybe it will work this time - producers of bio-fuel claim that it is now cost competitive with oil. Maybe grass and corn cobs can be turned into fuel. Let's not go through the food-into-fuel route again.

Using robots to clear WWII mines from the sea bottom. This must be interesting to watch. It probably works.

In 2009 the amount of spam emails jumped from 600 million to 3 billion per day. Software bots are to blame. Isn't software and technology great or not so great in some instances.

A lot of hacking went here to turn a consumer camera into a high-speed video machine. If you have the time...

About SpaceX - one of the private companies that hopes to shuttle government astronauts to space.

Little shelves move the monitors off the desk to create space. These "floating shelves" make it look so much better.

Someone has made it - the universal translator. All we have to do now is... Well, maybe this will work pretty well. There is always a risk in using machine translation, but these things are improving.

A UK police department recently caught some criminals with its UAV. Then someone discovered that the UAV needed a license to fly and they didn't have one and... well the story doesn't end well.

Here is a 3G to WiFi hotspot that operates on a battery. That is nice as it makes the device far more portable.

Broadband use in the U.S. has continued to grow despite the economy. Inexpensive telecommunications will spur growth. Inexpensive energy will spur growth. I find it unfortuante that many in Washington D.C. don't agree with these statements, or at least they act like they don't agree.

Sales of Apple computers grew 36% in January (year over year). Again, bad economy?

Earth has 6.8 billion people and 5 billion cell phone subscriptions. Huh?

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Thursday February 18, 2010

A third of Americans do not have broadband access to the Internet. A third of Americans do not use the Internet at all. My inlaws don't have broadband access. Well, they could buy it if they wanted, but they don't want it. My mother doesn't use the Internet at all. These are educated people who worked their entire lives, paid all their bills on time, and raised familes. Some people just don't want the net. No problem here.

This could be something wonderful: tiny sensors that you can put in your body that will detect cancer EARLY. It could also be something horrible. If you can make such tiny sensors just think of all the invasion of privacy abuses that you can do.

Photos from the WISE telescope.

Will cloud computing soon become a commodity? I think so.

HP's profits rose 25% for the quarter over last year.

A rugedized PDA. Of course it is ugly or beautiful depending on who you are. Such would be good for the thousands out wandering around doing the census.

A tough camera coming from Sony, only it doesn't look like it is tough.

Aha, a different type of user interface - this one for writing music on a computer. You literally put notes on a light table.

Apple to sell eBooks cheaper than Amazon; HP to sell tablet computers cheaper than Apple. It is a great time to be a consumer.

Yet another tablet computer. This one from iiView. Who is that?

You have to watch this video. It has a dog, a camera, and comedy or sorts. I can't describe it, you just have to watch it.

The best-selling vehicle of all time - the Honda Super Cub. 60 million units sold. Where can I get one? These are probably illegal in America as we know better than everyone else.

Something to read later - How America Can Rise Again.

Photoshop turns 20 years old. It's just image processing with a good user interface. Of course the word "just" greatly diminishes the accomplishment. Still, if I had stayed with image processing instead of ...

Some folks at the New York Times think that people will pay $20 a month to read it on the iPad. Keep thinking those thoughts.

Very few people in IT like their jobs. What is up with that? There are many theories.

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Friday February 19, 2010

Breakfast with associates and a few other activities prevented viewing the net this morning.

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Saturday February 20, 2010

This person made their own desk instead of buying a $700 desk. Also, not the great picture drawn on the lid of the Apple portable computer. Sleeping Beauty is holdind the Apple.

Watch this film. The characters are folded paper. Watch this film.

No surprises here - hacking attacks were traced by to two Chinese Universities.

Take your Apple computers and gadgets with you on this cruise line.

What is better than a sign that says you have a security system (when you don't)? A phoney security camera.

Plastic bottles made from plants; they are now possible. This is a good, biodegradable substitute for petroleum-based bottles. I hope these plant-based bottles don't raise the price of food like the biofuels did.

Absurd? $21 in damage, $675,000 fine. Yes, that sounds absurd to me.

The FEDERAL Communications Commission has given the okay for LOCAL schools to allow citizens to access the Internet at the schools. I am sure someone can explain to me how the FCC has authority over local schools, but, as above, this seems absurd to me.

Is the Internet killing the ability to read "long things" that are complex? Most experts say "no."

A small fuel cell to recharge batteries.

Google can now buy and sell electric power. The main reasons seems to be to better provide power for its own facilities.

The FlyFire project at MIT. The idea is to have a tiny helicopter with colored lights. Then fly a couple of thousand of these in tight formation and you can have huge displays in the air. The concept is fine, let's see if they can execute.

Will WiMax be available to hundreds of millions of users in the next twelve months? Some think so. I think I have been hearing this for a few years. I still wish it would come true, but...

As the article title says, this defies belief. The school district loaned portable computers to students and then monitored use via the webcam built into the computers. Sigh.

Social Media and education - This professor found that a blog is a good way to supplement a college course.

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Sunday February 21, 2010

It is Sunday, so I view some of the writing blogs that I don't read during the week.

On creative flow in some of the simplest, easiest-to-understand terms I have yet to read.

Rid yourself of stuff and hit the road. Today's telecommunications and computing technologies allow this to happen and still earn a living. I see downsides to this life style such as depriving your wife and kids of stability. Perhaps stability is over rated, but perhaps stability is quite important to some of us.

Starting a creative business has many risks (potential problems). Here are some tips. The big one I see in this post's list is minimizing expenses. "All you need is food and shelter." That is true. Then again, as in the above note, a wife and kids changes the situation. The situation is not necessarily worse or better, but it is changed.

Cal Poly students build a gas-powered vehicle that acheives over 2,000 miles per gallon. Of course it can't be driven on the street as the Federal and state governments wouldn't allow such. Here is more on the vehicle.

A short story competition with some real prizes. Publish in the Saturday Evening Post.

I love it when people agree with me. Here is a post on augmented reality used as a repair manual. I have pushed this idea for 0ver 20 years.

The best writing advice ever? Maybe not, probably not, but some pretty good tips.

51 words you shouldn't use. I love lists like this.

I like these tips on reducing stress while traveling. Good ones: you aren't going to miss your flight and don't worry about spending small amounts of money. Then there are the safety ones like keep copies of your passport in different locations and memorize your passport number.

The Law of Jante: “You aren’t worth a thing, nobody is interested in what you think, mediocrity and anonymity are your best bet.  If you act this way, you will never have any big problems in life.” I find some wisdom here. This could become a long topic of discussion.

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