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: March 1-7, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday March 1,  2010

The Internet surpasses newspapers as a source for news in America. It still trails local and national TV news broadcasts. I used to watch Headline News, but then it forsook news to become a talk show. Now I get all my news from the Internet.

A boat covered with solar panels. This is a nice gimmick. Maybe someone will learn something that will lead to something practical.

HP has put the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors into its smaller portable computers. More power in less size and weight - consumers win again.

Here is a tablet computer from China that looks remarkably like an iPad yet is running Windows 7.

Now THIS is a home office. Dozens, yes dozens - plural, of displays. Now all you have to do is pay the electric bill.

eBooks should be a lot cheaper than printed books, right? I mean you don't have all that paper, shipping, printing, binding, and stuff, right? Well, it seems that publishers are incredibly efficient at those things, so they don't cost much. Writing, editing, royalties and all those things that still come with eBooks are the major costs. Hence, eBooks won't be that much cheaper.

I agree with Seth Godin on this one - I didn't feel like getting out of bed this morning, but I did anyway. For me, much of the struggle is starting. After ten minutes or so I enjoy myself. It is those first ten minutes...

Google has a competitor to Microsoft's Photosynth. This post has a video demonstrating the feature. Amazing technology. I like it.

The UK appears to be ready to outlaw open WiFi. I guess they have a reason for this. I can't see it, but...

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

Tuesday March 2, 2010

Ooops, a manufacturing glitch may slow the relesase of the iPads.

Here is the latest version of Intel's Classmate PC. And some photos and videos of it. "Really solid." That is important when you hand a thousand dollar machine to six-year-olds.

Maybe we are a step closer to harvesting the physical energy of body movements and creating electricity.  Piezoelectrics and extremely thin and flexible "rubber" are the keys here.

And a step forward in telepresence. The MeBot from MIT. This thing is pretty small, so moving about the hallways doesn't seem practical. It does, however, incorporate gestures in the "hands" and "arms."

Google buys the online image editing company Picnik. I guess they are going to incorporate some of the image editing into their online photo service Picasa. Can anyone out there spell words correctly?

Someone at the New York Times needs to work on their headline writing. "3-D TVs are Arriving." I have never seen any television that didn't have three dimensions (height, width, depth or whatever you want to call them). Do they read and write English at the New York Times? When someone has a television that only has two dimensions, please call me. I want to see that one.

I am frightened - the U.S. government is beginning the largest IT consolidation in history. There are benefits to combining computing centers into few places (efficiency). There are also large risks - one center goes down, ooops you lose a huge percent of resources. Also, if you can hack into one data center, you have practically everything. And we seem to know how susceptable computers are to hacking. I wish these guys know what they are doing, but I don't have high hopes.

The Opera browser 10.5 is now available. I use Opera about a third of the time. It works just fine.

"Think of yourself as your own writing department." So urges this post. I wish this were the case. I worked with members of the Senior Executive Service (the equivalent of x-star generals and Federal judges) for many years. Most of these nice people could not write a paragraph. Many could not write a sentence. I am not exagerating. It was truly sad.

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

Wednesday March 3, 2010 

Here is a remarkable finding (remarkable that anyone spent money to "learn" this): Teens who spend more time on the Internet and watching TV spend less time with other people. Remarkable conclusion. How do you get funding to do these studies?

Another remarkable event: the Administration is outlining a secret cyber security plan. If they outline it, it is no longer secret. Perhaps I am too confused to understand how these things work. More on this from the NY Times.

LEDs could be in short supply later this year. That means that prices of a lot of products will rise.

Apple is working towards owners of its portable computers storing their data on Apple's servers instead of on the individual computers. This makes some sense if you are carrying a iPad with "only" 16GigaBytes of storage, but if you MacBook Pro has a 300GigaByte disk...

This could be significant: NASA thinks it has found over a trillion pounds of frozen water on the moon. If true, living on the moon becomes far more realisitc. And if water is on our one little moon, it is probably also on...

Also potentially significant is this power plant that occupies only nine cubic millimeters. This model use a solar array, but could also find energy in heat and movement. I hesitate to report on university research as most times nothing comes of it. I note this one due to its enormous potential.

AT&T thinks that most traffic to and from the iPads will be via WiFi, not 3G. That is probably correct. I plan to obtain an iPad without 3G for experimenting.

Some new portable computers from Smartbook. Nice designs.

ASUS' eBook reader actually exists. Flood the market with different models and let's see what happens.

0 to 60 in 3 seconds, top speed of 200 miles per hour AND fuel mileage of almost 80 miles per gallon. There is no telling what the price tag would be on this Porsche, but who cares?

Ohhhh, I love this workspace from LifeHacker - an office on a tropical balcony. How do they keep the mosquitoes at bay?

The BBC will cut its Internet offerings. Keep in mind that the BBC is funded by taxpayers.

Some government employees don't have enough to do. See, for example, citing a family for removing their lawn and saving 250,000 gallons of water in a drought-plagued area.

I love this qoute, "I think we have nontechnology people making decisions about technology." Ahh yes, hospitals being told by politicians that they need more computers. Only in government. There is a lot of money to be made in IT in hospitals. I don't think patient care will improve any, but there is a lot of money there.

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

Thursday March 4, 2010

Some thoughts on space:
Buzz Aldrin proposes a route to Mars from here. His plan is practical, which probably means that no one will listen.
And Burt Rutan explains why space tourism could be important. I like his reasoning, especially the part about unexpected benefits.

These guys may have just invented lip-reading software. That could be huge.

A new look for the Ubuntu Linux distribution.

Western Digital enters the SSD marketplace.

Keep cloud storage secure with a 4,096-bit key. How do you keep that key handy? On paper. See the image in the link's link.

A $10 processor could enable eBook readers at less than $100. Well, duh. I am glad to see someone figured this out. The processing power required of an eBook reader is small. So why wouldn't someone make a less-powerful, less-costly CPU?

Memory chips that require less power and have more speed. Let's keep going in this direction.

USB memory sticks with 256-bit encryption keys. Great stuff.

It seems that many, many, many cities are begging Google to install its 1GigaBitPerSecond fibre. I hope Reston, Virginia is on the list of applicants. I am sitting in a coffee shop 100 feet from a Google office in Reston. Please Google, please come here.

I have just reached 300 followers on Twitter. That doesn't sound like much compared to many Twitter users, but it is more than it used to be.

Some thoughts on the future of "books." Books may be replaced by video that has some words appearing on the screen from time to time. I point back to a blog I wrote last summer about the physical limitations of eBook readers like the Kindle and now like the iPad.

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

Friday March 5, 2010

A little different schedule today, so posting this comes in the evening instead of the morning.

The iPad will arrive on April 3rd. You can order one on March 12th.

A Zendo workspace. Really nice. It looks peaceful. It does take a lot of space.

Office 2010 is almost here. If you buy Office 2007 now, you will receive a free upgrade to 2010. Can't lose if this is the product you want.

The ARPA-Energy Summit was this week. There is nothing more optimistic than a young researcher. Perhaps something will come of this.

Intel releases a six-core processor made just for gaming.

It is not about your blog, it is about your business.

Taipei gets 1,000 taxis equipped with WiMax and WiFi. That is pretty good. I can see that the taxi drivers will like it as well. Fewer people will complain about long, slow rides.

The PlayStation 2 is ten years old now.

Microsoft will spend $9Billion on R&D this year.

"There is no cyberwar." So says the Obama Administration's new cybersecurity chief. If there is no cyberway, why do we need a ... never mind.

Popular Science has put its 137-year archive online. It is free to view. This is great. National Geographic, are you listening? Is anyone else listening?

Intel will release its eight-core processor later this month.

I like this move: AT&T moving to less packaging and packaging this is degradable and recyclable. Perhaps it is a way to lessen theft, but the packaging today is silly and a pain.

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

Go to Dwayne's Home Pag

Saturday March 6, 2010

A study of Wikipedia entries shows patterns surrounding good and bad pages. Guess what? First-time writers don't do so well.

Another guess what. Good teachers teach better than bad teachers. The teacher system, however, seems at a loss for a way to identify good and bad teachers. No one wants to point fingers at others in their group. The kids know which teachers teach, and since they are not teachers, they are not afraid to point fingers.

Some thoughts on our transition from printed-on-paper books to digital ones.

Here is one of several different proposals for the future of NASA.

"Burn the boats" and move forward.

FAQ about the iPad.

MIT's new Media Lab Complex. $90Million buys a lot of style.

The "road train" idea surfaces again. This requires computer-controlled vehicles where all the followers are controlled by a computer in the lead truck. In theory, this should all work fine and is actually quite simple. But finding volunteers to demonstrate it may be difficult.

This computer comes with 40 solid state drives. And it only costs $60K.

This is the "Courier" from Microsoft. They tout it as a digital journal. It has a different form factor from the iPad. Time will tell what works for the rest of us.

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

Sunday March 7, 2010

Looking more into RF radiation and cancer. This piece also shows that people who claim to be able to detect RF waves really cannot do so anymore than when flipping a coin.

Whatever happened to programming? In one sense, it became a far more productive endeavor than it ever has been. Programmers paste together code that wasn't meant to go together and then smooth out the edges. That is also called system integration. It is far more productive than writing every line of code yourself when someone else has already written 90% of the code you need. Sigh, it may not be as fun as the other way. If you want to have fun programming, program the fun way at home. When someone pays you to program, program the system integration way. I have done this for years and had lots of fun while being paid a good salary. Also see the original post at this link.

And since it is Sunday, I can read some of the writing blogs that I pass during the week.

Some thoughts on public domain access to creative works and further creative works. See Alice in Wonderland as an example.

Free eBook versions of paper books tend to boost the sale of paper books. A thought for the future.

Smart meters - connect your house to the Internet. Is this secure? Hardly. These could be a predator's best friend.

Why one reader keeps reading or sometimes just tosses the book after a few chapters.

Someone reads your writing and has lots of suggestions to "improve" it. Now what do you do?

Ten writing rules and their exceptions.

This writer suggests a thesis statement and an outline for all writing. Again, give it a try. If it works for you, use it.

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