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: May 10-16, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday May 10,  2010

Rumors about Apple - one is that a new MacBook Air is coming. What are they going to do, make it thinner? Yes, they can use a faster processor, more memory, more disk - how about lowering the price?

A couple of RF data moving groups have come to an agreement on how to use the 60 GHz RF area.

This could bring about WiFi with 7 GigaBitsPerSecond data rates.

We can turn mechanical energy into electrical energy. There is nothing new in that. This shock absorber promises to do so for vehicle that use electricity. It is approaching practical as it pays for itself in 18 months. Let's go for paying for itself in one month.

The Federal government is spending about $7Billion a year on cybersecurity. That is just in the unclassified world. Who knows how much is being spent in the black world of Washington. This could be a great big bubble that will burst into more unemployment.

And the President is encouraging young people to turn off, tune out... No wait, that was in the 1960s, and it wasn't the... Well, I don't know. It seems some of us are worried about some others of us having too much information and becoming confused. Actually, it sounds like some of us have decided that now that we are on the inside, we want to keep information from getting to the outside.

The standing desk is making a comeback of sorts. It is supposed to be better for your back than slouching uncomfortably in a miscellaneous chair like I am doing right now. I move from office to office frequently. The "public" access areas in my company use the chairs that are left over from who knows what. Ouch.

Google is doing a few things with eBooks and book searching. I need more time to study this one.

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Tuesday May 11, 2010

I need to create a tag called something like "you-can't-make-this-up" and another one called "government-in-action." I would use them both on this story: Jolly Rancher candy is classified as a "minimal nutrition" food in Texas schools. Possession of said Jolly Rancher candy at lunch break earned a third-grader (age 9) a one-week suspension from school. No doubt someone here has good intentions, but...lacks something else.

Phones using Google's Android OS outsold iPhones last quarter.

There are thirteen open-source hardware companies who now have revenue over $1Million. I love it.

Some promising research into object recognition in images. I worked in this field 25 years ago. Advances in computing power accompanied by drops in the cost of such power has moved the field forward.

Just when we thought we were reaching the limit of disk drive storage...along comes a new technique that may enable five times the storage in the same area. I have written about this before. Always replace "we are running out of blank" with "unless we discover something new (and we usually discover something new) we are running out of blank."

Lenovo releases its IdeaPad Z series of portable computers.

More neat ideas in the mechanical design of gadgets. These twist and flip and such mechanisms are improving the electronics underneath.

It is possible to be "minimalist" with children. In some respects, this is how we raised our three sons. We didn't buy a lot of stuff. We went on vacations to visit our extended family (only one visit to DisneyWorld).

"So much complexity in software comes from trying to make one thing do two things." Excellent thought.

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Wednesday May 12, 2010 

Verizon and Google are working together to build a tablet computer. It appears that it will run Android. Interesting times.

Ah, the insecurity of computer systems. Multicore processors provide more avenues of attack that the good-old single-core processors. Let's go back to the Z80 and CP/M.

Something for all you mobile device builders. An HD camera with two lenses for 3D work from Sharp.

Samsung releases their own all-in-one computer with touch screen.

Using LIDAR (lasers) to map ancient cities. This is neat, but I struggle to find a good justification for it.

Coming in June, MS Office 2010. This promises a free online version of the software. We shall see how it works and what the catches will be.

Oooops, a communications satellite is out of control and drifting in orbit. It could interfere with other satellites and disrupt TV viewing in America. Now this is a national emergency!

Intel does not make the processor for the iPad. Intel is, however, pushing tablet designs with its own processors.

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Thursday May 13, 2010

An excellent use of advanced technology - the thought-controlled prosthetic arm. I did a grad school project on this topic some 25 years ago. I am thrilled to see how far we have come.

Now this is neat - an autonomous car doing a 180-degree spin and slide into a parking space. There is a lot of intelligent behavior in this maneuver, so there is a lot of science behind this cool. A bit silly, but still, the science can do some real things for us. How about an old lady has a stroke, rolls herself into her car, and the car speeds through traffic all by itself to the hospital to save the lady's life?

A look back at "portable" computers.

Oh, this is all from England. No wonder I didn't recognize and of the names. Anyways, an exam board has removed C, C#, and PHP from a computer science test. Students aren't supposed to know those languages anymore.

A little systems thinking here: don't buy an iPad with 3G. Instead buy one of those gadgets that get 3G and rebroadcast in WiFi. The data plans are less expensive.

What is iPad? What is Newton? Apple tried and failed with Newton. The reason was that they had no content, no good information to put on the Newton that people wanted to have. Then came the iPod. I believe the iPod was the first truly successful handheld computer. It had content - something people wanted to hold in their hand.

This is an excellent editorial from George Will. He explains how in today's world "weak" groups (Greece, GM, California) have all the power. This stems from what seems to me is a fanatical desire to keep our friends from suffering the consequences of their actions. How did we get here?

Canon has shipped 40 million EOS cameras.

Oh the promis of 4G. High-speed access anywhere over the airwaves.

An "energy" bill appears in the Senate. It would tax businesses for doing what they do related to that evil element "carbon." This is amazing stuff. I don't expect Senators to be scientists and businessmen, but really folks.

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Friday May 14, 2010

Driving around the DC beltway. No viewing.

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Saturday May 15, 2010

Where did the day go? I worked all day, so no viewing.

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Sunday May 16, 2010

I am too far behind viewing the Internet to recover. Oh well, here are a few things for today.

Access to information seems to make people happier. I guess this makes sense as information provides me with a feeling of control. I can look at the weather radar any time I want with my iPhone. I am less likely to be caught in bad weather and that makes me happier.

The lowest-price Apple portable computer is about to be updated. The usual stuff, more power, same price.

AT&T is going 3.5G (or something). They are updating to High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) which will provide better data rates if you are lucky enough to be in the right neighborhood.

Smaller, simpler homes. This would be a good thing for America. If developers would just build such. In my humble opinion, this is something the President of the United States should advocate in speeches. Not propose laws and regulations about home size, but encourage smaller homes and praise those who are building them. Let's have leadership, not legislation.

One person's experience of two weeks on the road with nothing but an iPad.

Cell phones are now used more for data transfer than talking to people.

We may see portable computers running Google's Chrome OS in two weeks. The biggest competitor to Chrome may be Google's own Android OS. One company creating two operating systems can be a good idea. Competing design bureaus is a strategy that has worked well in the past few hundred years.

The laser is 50 years old.

Take note of this little computer - the Litl Webbook. Its price is dropping which means that it will probably go out of business soon. I love the design.

I stumbled on this at Starbucks this morning - Willie Nelson has a myspace.com page. There is something significant here, but I can't figure out what it is.

This story is all over the place, so it must be important. While Google drives about taking pictures of streets, it also notes where WiFi networks are and their names ("linksys" is probably the most oft-used name). It so happens that Google also collected a lot of WiFi packets. Someone at Google could actually look at what you were surfing for the three seconds they were in range of the coffee shop where I sat. Oh well. Big story. By the way, anyone can do this and I don't think it is illegal.

At least a few people have finally realized what all these in-car computer and communications systems could mean. People can hack into my car and take control of it.

Three excuses that keep you from a successful freelance career. I am not sure about the "successful career" part, but I have heard lots of excuses about not writing. If you want to be a writer - write today. Do you want to write songs? Write a song today, and a song tomorrow, and so on. Practice.

A few ideas on writing. First, capturing ideas as the pop into your head. Next, letting those ideas slowly turn into stories.

And a completely different view of finding ideas.

I like this view of relationships. Don Corleone (The Godfather) explains to the baker that he wants to have a long-term relationship where they can do little things for one another over a period of years, not just make a little deal.

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