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: April 16-May 2, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday April 26,  2010

A lesson in economics and the market from the real world - where much doesn't seem to make sense at first and the situation is dynamic. The states with the lowest incomes have the most competition for broadband. Rich people are supposed to be smart consumers. They usually are, but there are time when rich people just don't want to bother with a bunch of choices.

The PocketPC was introduced ten years ago last week. It was to compete with the Palm. Ten years is a long time in this industry.

The Hubble Space Telescope is 20 years old. Twenty years isn't a long time when talking about NASA. It is amazing how little NASA has accomplished in 20 years given the money they have spent. It is unfortunate that a large portion of the money was spent on studying what the next generation of this or that will be. NASA never got around to delivering the next generation of anything.

oooops. I should have bought stock in Apple instead of those Apple products. I would have lots more money today. See the chart. Oh well.

Sony stops making the 3.5" floppy disk. 12 million were sold in Japan alone last year. I have a few unopened boxes. I have several dozen 5 1/4 inch floppies that I would like someone to read for me and put on CD. I have found some service companies that will do this, but for about $10 a floppy. A dollar a floppy sounds reasonable to me, but I'm cheap.

Throw away the trash, buy furniture on CraisList, repaint it, and there you have it - a much nicer office.

Internet advertising dollars eclipsed the same for magazines for the first time in 2009.

Researchers discover a star that doesn't act right. It is impossible to have a star without methane. Let's reword that one - we've never seen a star without methone, until now. The right words make all the difference in how we think about things.

Put a charge-coupled device sensor behind a camera lens (no matter how old), and you have a 39 megapixel camera.

Fascinating research stations in Antartica. Great photos and clear explanations.

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

Tuesday April 27, 2010

Intel updates its Classmate PC. I guess you can buy these somewhere. It seems to be more of a demonstration platform for evolving technologies. Sort of a, "see what you can do with our processors."

Government marches onwards:

This one is hard to believe, but believable. The Justice Department claims that once an email has been opened it is no longer private and protected by the Fourth Amendment. Sigh.

Buried in the 1,400-page financial regulation bill now before Congress is a provision that would allow the FTC to regulate much of the Internet. It is almost as if some persons in Congress write long bills so they can hide things. Naw, that can't be the case. That is too cynical a thought.

Security Theatre continues at the airports. That is too bad for all of us.

People are learning some tricks and workarounds with the iPad. An extender cable lets you turn the iPad sideways when using a keyboard dock.

Some five-foot-tall robots from Virginia Tech. This is pretty good for a bunch of students at a college.

Okay, a Nokia smartphone with a 12 MegaPixel camera. The lens looks really cheap, but look how far we have advanced in hardware.

If you find a prototype device made by a major company lying on the floor in a bar, take it back to them. Don't sell it to a blog. Some people don't like this stuff. The reaction seems heavy handed to me. I think Apple should back away from this before someone gets hurt.

For those of us who didn't like PowerPoint before today, now we can really disdain it.

The Prompt Global Strike weapon. This is an old idea with a few new twists. Put a convential high-exposive device on a rocket.

This is bizarre - a woman is photographed 43 times by Google Street View.

As man puts more satellites over the moon, we are spotting old stuff that we left there decades ago. We actually used to put things and people on the moon decades ago. What have we been doing since? Is this the dark ages or something?

A list of top ten technology mistakes. None of mine made the list. Whew.

I like this concept - Santa Math. Give because your heart is in it. Maybe something will come back some day, but that isn't the reason for giving.

100 things you will never regret doing. I like this as well.

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

Wednesday April 28, 2010 

Our friends the Chinese want Internet companies to provide more information on its subjects. Google and others have pulled out. I guess we have to see who else gets a conscience and pulls out.

Google is collecting publicly available information in Germany. Many Germans don't like that.

NASA is looking for ideas on what to do in the space station experiment lab. That seems like an odd request.

Perhaps NASA's problem is that they are spending resources building submarines instead of going to the moon. Can anyone at NASA spell f-o-c-u-s??? This is neat technology, but really folks, NASA building submarines?

Photos of disassembled home appliances. I am surprised that some of these have so many parts.

Another attractive workspace from LifeHacker. This one uses special "down lights." I thought these were called spotlights.

EyeFi updates its photo-memory card with special features for Apple computers.

The next step in all-digital control of a helicopter is the option of leaving the pilot in the hangar. It is called OPV or Optionally Piloted Vehicles. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages. Let's hope the military chooses wisely.

Fair Use of copyrighted material generates trillions of dollars a year in the U.S. economy. Well, this is all speculative, so the numbers may be correct or they may be bologna.

This story is all over the Internet - Apple buys Intrinsity. This is a chip-making company in Texas. Recall that Apple bought a chip maker a couple of years before it introduced the iPad with its custom-made processor, i.e. not made by Intel.

Here are photos of a 16GigaByte USB thumb drive. I point to these photos because they show the little thing next to household items. This provides a sense of scale, something that many photos of tech items don't provide. 

I like this video of how air travel in Europe resumed after the ash fell. The UK was slow to restart.

What would God think about lawns? What would any intelligent person think about lawns?

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

Thursday April 29, 2010

HP buys Palm for $1.2 Billion.

Lexus has a prototype hybrid bicycle. Of course it is not practical. Maybe one day.

Now this is a plasma TV! 13 foot by 10 foot.

I still can't use my iPhone as a 3G modem and "tether" it to a computer. The issue seems to be bandwidth. The system doesn't have enough of it.

The U.S. government has approved a huge wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod. Rich people who live in Cape Cod have protested this for decades. I am not sure how the Secretary of the Interior has the authority to say yes or no on this, but whatever.

Seth Godin on the coming crash of the traditional university
. I agree with much of what he has to say on the topic. This is particularly true in the liberal arts education. Go to the library or stay home and read it on the Internet.

You can spend $400 on an iPad case. I use the cover of an old Composition Notebook with my iPad taped into it. It works, also an excellent disguise.

This could lead to something amazing - a UAV that "lands" and "parks" on a vertical surface - yes on a wall.

Video taken from the latest cell phone from Nokia. This is pretty good from the little lens on a cell phone. Watch out world.

Some tips on working with a partner. I wrote a book with another person. The exercise was different, and we wrote a pretty good book. I find the advice here pretty good as well.

I've not seen this before - the Litl computer. This looks good - no it looks great. $700 is a bit steep, but some of the iPads cost this much and don't seem to do nearly as much as this does.

Creating is better than consuming. I agree.

George Will comments on Arizona's new immigration law. There has been lots of screaming about this, but little thought and reflection. Will contributes some of the latter.

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

Friday April 30, 2010

The next release of Ubuntu is right on time - six months after the last release.

Microsoft was working on a fold-open tablet computer. Key word is "was" as they dropped the project.

Apple is now the largest U.S.-based phone maker. When did Apple become a phone company. I think this all started with that darn iPod.

Are they kidding? Is this a three stooges video? No, just NASA crashing a million-dollar observation package during an attempted liftoff. No wonder we can't get back to the moon or anywhere else for a few more decades. Why is NASA wasting resources on projects like this one anyway?

But NASA is not idle, no. They have hired James Cameron (Avatar director) to build a 3D camera for a future Mars rover. Nice publicity stunt. The challenge is not a camera but getting the camera to the surface of Mars.

The world's first radio-controlled heart surgery. If we can keep the time from transmit to action short enough, this will work well.

Someone had to do a study on this one? Why not. At least we can point to something. Here is the finding: Many good scientists concentrate on research and neglect teaching science. The teaching is left to those who do not know and cannot teach.

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

Go to Dwayne's Home Pag

Saturday May 1, 2010

One in eight Americans to reduce their cable and satellite TV service in the next year. So days this survey. We shall see.

Is the era of the personal computer over? Will we all go to downloading low-cost apps onto low-performance machines? Maybe.

The Federal government is to spend tens of billions of IT (this year alone). Amazon have moved its way into the list of bidders for government cloud computing work.

Here is an electric bicycle from Volkswagon. It also folds to the size of a spare tire. I see no price here, so I don't know if it is practical ($500 seems practical).

All those tablet and slate computers we heard were coming, well maybe not. HP drops theirs.

"since 1952 federal law has said: 'Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him.' " Hmm, it seems that if you are a citizen of another country and are visiting the U.S. legally, you are supposed to carry your immigration papers. When I visit a foreign country, I always have my passport with me. I guess having such a practice in Arizona is somehow facist and all other kinds of evil.

The U.S. Census Bureau can't seem to get out of its own way. First, they were going to use hand-held devices for volunteers to knock on doors and count people who don't send in their forms. The effort to build "cellphone like" devices failed after spending $700Million of tax payers' money. I know people who worked on that effort. The government could never settle on the requirements. Okay, let's go back to using paper. Except now the computer system that is supposed to work with paper isn't reliable. How can you have a computer system that is not reliable? What are they running - Windows ME? Anyways, the whole affair is at least $3 Billion over run. That is not the cost, that is the over run. The next census will be in ten years. I wonder if they can find a reliable computer by then. And is everyone ready for the government to run health care for all of us?

But this is not enough. Some in the Federal government want the FTC to regulate how Facebook handles privacy issues.

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

Sunday May 2, 2010

The Atom processor - that small, low power, lower performance chip - is now going dual core and all that. I hope they keep the low power attribute.

NASA continues to stumble. While the James Webb telescope passes a milestone in its development, it is years behind schedule and already $1Billion over budget.

Stop judging and stop expecting
. Pretty good advice for some of us.

"Hypothesis: There is a positive correlation between how uncomfortable an individual is prepared to get and their likelihood of success – irrespective of the field of endeavour."

Six ways to waste your time as a writer. The big one? Talk a lot about writing, but never write.

Chuckle about what writers say out loud and privately about their work.

These are great - photos of messy desks. I have seen worse.

Now this is an "office." I love it.

An extensive review of the iPad from someone who uses it all the time.

And here is a day-by-day journal of an iPad user.

I write in a journal. I find it to be a good help. Some think otherwise. Again, try things. If they work use them; if not, move on.

I love reading these one sentence stories. I write that statement here every now and then. I find that I must say it again as I really do love reading these.

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