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: March 22-28, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday March 22,  2010

It appears that Palm will go under (unless they get a government bailout, which isn't likely).

Nintendo is sending its handheld games into schools. After all, it is a computer with a display and a clever interface. Of course you can put educational software on these things. This could work well for everyone.

The iPad will be able to read Kindle books. I don't understand the use of different file formats by different vendors. If something is popular, other people will write software to read the files.

Someone has "discovered" how to daisy-chain USB plugs. This is an old, old concept and I wonder why it took so long for someone to apply it to USB.

This makes sense, a body scanner that can provide autopsy information. I don't know how this particular model works, but with a dead body you can hit it with all sorts of "harmful" scans. The person is already dead.

This is how we used to do computer animation - from Russia and 1968.

India builds a supersonic cruise missile. They are the first and only country to have such. Mathematics plus computers plus materials permits such. Mathematics is free, computers are almost free, and materials are rapidly approaching plentiful. Given a large enough population - which India has - you can grow a sufficient number of brilliant scientists and engineers. The U.S. population may soon not be large enough. I guess Linus Torvalds was write with his law - given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

According to carbon dating, many old bottles of wine aren't so old. So now we have to decide if the scam artists are selling cheap wine or if carbon dating is faulty.

Now we move to health care and CO$TS. A new development with nanoparticles fighting cancer. This is great new technology which also costs a lot of money. Should every U.S. citizen, regardless of means, have access to this technology, regardless of cost? Such is the crux of the issue, and I have yet to hear any politicians discuss such.

A long post with a lot of "simplifying" ideas. One I like is "Assume that there will be no Social Security, no pension, and there should be no time when you’re not engaged with doing something meaningful, that you love, that produces slightly above and beyond what you require to live consciously and deliberately." Several keys are to live below your means and be happy doing it.

Clearwire's WiMax service is providing 3 to 6 MegaBitPerSecond download speeds. That is as good as my cable modem service (even though I was promised higher rates). Too bad Clearwire doesn't serve my neighborhood.

At least I am not the only person concerned about the questions the U.S. Census asks.

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Tuesday March 23, 2010

This could be significant - a small, practical desalinization machine. Attach one of these to every life jacket, and people will survive all sorts of boat and ship accidents.

It seems that if you contribute enough to the Linux community you receive a special title and a portable computer autographed by Linus Torvalds.

A little experiment in systems engineering using MS Word by me - how to use Word to make an RVTM (requirements verification traceability matrix). And on youtube no less!

Teenagers seem to do better with school when the school day starts later. I think this is an artifact of modern (or is it post-modern) life. We invented the teenager during WWII and we have yet to understand out creation. Still, experimental data to date shows that teens do better later in the morning.

Virgin's commercial space flight vehicles enter a new phase of testing.

People who hold politcal power tend to be better liars. Is "better liars" an oxymoron?

Oh look, technology advances to eliminate some of the problems with nuclear energy. This seems to happen often, I mean the advancing technology to address problems. See my post on this topic.

So maybe we can have small nuclear power plants for the home or neighborhood or small town.

This looks neat, a little device that allows you to plug in some of your USB thumbdrives and then access them wirelessly. It turns those thumbdrives into network storage devices. Neat.

SanDisk ships a 32GigaByte microSDHC card. Can I use this as a network storage device? Maybe next week.

Clip a video camera to your shirt. This is not new technology, just a new package. You might have a lot of people turn their back on you and stop talking to you.

Some information on displaying information.

I like this one. Apple is offering 10-packs of iPads to schools. The ten iPads all come in one box. Good. We don't need all that packaging.

Something new to me - Google University. I like the quality of the content.

And someone else is now making film for the old Polaroid cameras. I like this.

Chrysler, are they still in business after we bought them, promises an all-electric car in 2012.

I may have to get one of these - a 3G door bell with camera and all that.

George Will on the economic consequences of health care reform or medical insurance reform or whatever it is we are calling it this hour. There are good people with good intentions directing actions that are unaffordable. This is too bad.

The Chinese government doesn't like Google treating its subjects like citizens. Funny, in the U.S. we seem to be on the way to treating citizens like subjects.

Jimmy Wales applauds Google's decisions regarding China. Good for him.

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Wednesday March 24, 2010 

Apple will probably enter the home HDTV market in a couple of years. It doesn't seem too difficult to build a computer into a big HDTV. After all, Apple and others have built computers into basic monitors for years. I am puzzled why companies are selling these things now.

Tutorial on how to edit your videos once you are at home with your really powerful computer.

Sprint shows its first 4G phone. I guess it works in the many places where 4G is not available. Basically this is a computer with a radio that receives and transmits on WiMax. And at that, it is pretty darn good.

These really small portable computers from Dell are shipping with WiMax capability.

And Qualcomm adds 4G (LTE) ability to its line of modems for portable computers.

Dell has made a really little computer using Google's Android operating system.

And now for under-the-desk computers with lots of power - Alienware's newest machine. This is what $4,500 buys you today. It buys a lot.

HP packs their 17" portable computer with a lot of power as well.

So plug in a 100 GigaByte solid state drive and you are ready to go.

Beware of little guys with rolled-up magazines. Notice how this guy does not drop the rubber band on the ground but intead puts it in his pocket. No littering. Nice video.

You can make a house out of just about anything. Here we have tanker semi-trailers turned into housing.

While Google and others have really really really big computing resources, they are dwarfed by botnets.

As time passes, we re-interpret history. This study of paintings of The Last Supper shows that the amount of food on the table has grown over the centuries.

Ah, more help from our central government. National ID cards - what about passports, and then national drivers licenses. How have we existed so far without these?

The UK has created its own space agency.

I love this standing desk placed next to a fireplace. I could do this in my den and...

When I get my iPad on the 3rd, I'll have to try this Instapaper app.

I must get one of these for my iMac. This is cool.

Believe it or not, and some people choose not, there are bad things brought about by widespread availability of broadband access to the Internet. While some people benefit from almost any change, there are about the same number of people who, well shall we say not benefit?

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Thursday March 25, 2010

Case Western Reserve University is giving its poor neighbors 1Gigabit Per Second internet access. Giving, as in gift, as in no charge. Good for them.  Perhaps I am naive, but this is the cure for much of America's ills - benevolence, not government taxes and regulation. And this is what our elected leaders should be doing - encouraging and praising such benevolence instead of creating new taxes and regulations.

The Anit-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is now in the open - leaked vice released. So much for transaprency in government.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is paying students $5,000 to work on EFF projects this summer.

91% of America uses cell phones. Statistics can be misleading, but this is a big number.

A comparison of national broadband plans and actions - the US and the UK.

USB thumbdrives that are smaller than a quarter.

A two-person concept vehicle from GM. So this is what GM is doing with our taxes.

Verizon promises to cover a third of America with 4G (LTE) this year.

And Lenovo adds 4G (WiMax) to some of its portable computers.

The Commodore 64 is making a comeback? The "64" in the name meant it had 64KBytes of RAM (not Mega or Giga Bytes). It seems that the "64" in the new model means 64-bit processor. Wow. Check out the Commodore web site.

It seems that Wikipedia was unreachable for some for some period of time.

The debate continues: how much math skills do programmers need?

What a great title for a post: Bad Things Happen When Politicians Think They Understand Technology. Too bad that it is also a true statement. Sigh, good people with good intentions, but oh the unintended consequences.

Microsoft introduces an add-on for Word that allows putting chemical equations and such in documents.

Lady Gaga gets one billion online views. One day she will be a famous figure in history. That's Entertainment!

A great quote: "Pretense invariably impresses only the pretender."

Some thoughts on the Startup Visa Act. The discussion will be complicated. I wish the reason is involved.

Some thoughts on Mindful Eating. This is probably the one thing I have read this week that can affect a person's life in a large way. I recommend this.

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Friday March 26, 2010

4G? 4G? What is 4G? Some explaining to do here.

More 4G (WiMax) coming. This article claims that Washington D.C. has WiMax. I live in the D.C. suburbs and don't see any WiMax. I have to wonder about all of this.

You don't need to be big and rich to innovate. See, for example, Manor, Texas.

They are standing to applaud our health care reform - in India. All those new forms and processing and such can be done cheaper by outsourcing it to India. And to save money, one of the proclaimed benefits of this reform, it will be outsourced.

I didn't know this, until this week, the movie "The African Queen" has not been available on DVD. I don't know how many times I have watched this movie on TV (with lots of commercials).  I love it and will look for the DVD.

Ah, politics, the Internet, and all that stuff. On Google and GoDaddy pulling out of China and getting praised in Congress.

For about $1,000 this guy took great photos of earth and space. The photos are here.

A list of occupations that have disappeared in the last century. What jobs will never disappear? Medical doctor, counselor, what?

Best Buy has better-than-expected profits.

While Oracle's profits fell, but Oracle is still profitable.

Now I  L O V E this office.

Guess what, another well intentioned bill in Congress hurts start up businesses (jobs).

Radio Shack is looking for a buyer.

About half of poor Americans go to the library for Internet access. The Internet access table at the local Reston library is always fully occupied.

I like this concept for a future book. An eye tracker senses what you are seeing and changes illustrations and sounds accordingly.

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Saturday March 27, 2010

Apple and Google settle things over coffee in Palo Alto. Yes, this story is a bit silly, but greater things have been resolved by sitting and conversing. The silly thing is that people started taking photos and eavesdropping. Please folks.

Now ACTA draws the ire of Harvard law professors. Some people (politicians) don't learn fast.

And more depressing information from ACTA.

I suppose this is important as it is reported in many places today - Apple obtains the iPad trademark from Fujitsu.

And the fall out from the Health Care bill starts falling out. AT&T taking losses and reducing benefits. I expect many others to follow.

A tiny island disappears. The culprit is global warming? Surely people are smarter than that. Islands off Louisiana disappear frequently. Global warming?

Sigh, lawmakers in the state of Washington are messing about with software taxes. The results could be that all innovators simply leave the state.

The Environmental Protection Agency is granting Energy Star seals of approval to products that don't exist. Oh well, government at its finest.

More "news" about Lindsay Lohan suing E*Trade. I've yet to read about the probability that E*Trade is paying Lohan to sue them so they all can garner publicity.

The iPad orders keep coming - 240,000 the second week.

News flash: Smart Meters have security flaws. Is anyone surprised? Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

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Sunday March 28, 2010

I think that Apple is selling a lot of iPads. If you order one now you won't see it until April 12th instead of April 3rd. I don't like this one: the camera connect kit won't be available until late April. How am I going to put my photos on the iPad? I know I can work around this with WiFi and duct tape, but...

Fall out from the health care bill keeps falling out. Some members of Congress plan hearings to convince companies that the companies don't know how to do the math and run companies. Congress knows better and these companies need to see the Emporer's clothes.

1,100 communities applied to be part of Google's 1GigaBit network. I hope mine is in the bunch.

Supercomputers are shrinking in size. I worked with supercomputers from Cray and others in the early 1990s. They were certainly much bigger then.

And maybe the iPad just won't be a bigger iPhone. Perhaps people will innovate and create a new family of apps that we haven't imagined before. Who woud have thought of such. This is why I am getting one on April 3rd. Well, at least I have my pre-order in and they are supposed to hold one for me and...

I want one of these. This is a Victorinox "executive" Swiss Army knife with a USB thumbdrive in it. I have the basic knife in my pocket right now. I love it. Now, just to get the thumbrive and...

People are doing more work to create technology that permits the elderly to live in their homes. I like this.

Wikipedia is supposed to be changing its look and feel.

And now that it is Sunday, I look at a few writing blogs.

Sometimes you write a book or essay to pull something out of your system and put it in a place.

Here is a tip on writing that has worked for me: set a timer. Often, when I set a timer I find myself going far past the timer and writing far more than any goal that I had in mind.

Good post on using a blog as part of teaching a class.

A list of 40 Mind Mapping tools. I use mind maps to help gather my thoughts as part of writing. This is a good collection of computer tools. I use pencil and paper most of the time.

Staying active and keeping some income flowing for a freelance writer.

I like this post from one freelance writer about her career. One of her points is that she is dependable. It was hard for me to believe it, but many writers get contracts for books, but never finish writing the books. Perhaps I was so thrilled that someone wanted my book that I worked hard to finish it. Guess what? That is not the norm.

It seems that a lot of writers are creating fan pages on Facebook. Sigh, I'll have to look at that.

On being barefoot. There is a lot here.

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