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 17-23, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday May 17,  2010

No viewing today as I drove around the beltway in the rain. Traffic was bad, so I detoured, and things just became worse.

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Tuesday May 18, 2010

The Polaroid camera goes on display in a museum. My deceased uncle always had a Polaroid going back into the 1950s. As much as I admired the instant hardcopy, I never owned one.

The Germans keep on hating Google.

The essential accessory for the iPad(?) - a large foldout solar panel. Surely I am not the only one to see how absurd this is.

Apple updates its lowest price portable computer. The big deal is that the battery life supposedly goes to ten hours.

This could become something of great import - a fuel cell implanted in a body that uses glucose for fuel.

In the genre of "this is just plain stupid," it seems that about half of the full-body scanners to be used in American airports use a form of x-rays. Too many x-rays are harmful, but still we are deploying them at airports.

Big data in academic papers.

This quad-monitor workspace belongs to a high school student. When I was in high school, the thrill was when I got a circular slide rule instead of a stick slide rule. Let's hear it for the kids. Go get 'em as we are depending on you.

OnStar has a new partner - Google.

Transmitting data via light emitting diodes - the Chinese demonstrate 2 MegaBits Per Second.

According to a study, happiness in life is more abundant when you are 70 instead of 30, 40, 50, 60.

The Bodyweight Support Assist from Honda. This is a small exoskeleton that helps people walk. This is a great use of technology. Yes, it looks a bit odd, but if you couldn't walk and now you can, I don't know that you would care about looks.

Ten reasons to not watch television. Most have to do with wasting time and spending money that you don't need to spend.

Andy Grove donates $1.5Million to education combining engineering and medical research. We spend a trillion or something on a health care bill that does nothing for medical innovation. I don't get it.

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Wednesday May 19, 2010 

Here is one for recycling - old cigarette butts have a chemical in them that inihibits rust on steel girders. This is from Chinese researchers, and China has more old cigarette butts than anyone.

HP had a good quarter financially.

And maybe HP has figured out how to turn the manure from 10,000 dairy cows into enough methane to power a server farm. More recycling. And yes, China has more cow manure than anyone.

IBM has chosen to use Hadoop (open source software) as part of its bigdata services.

The Summer Olympics come to London in 2012. London hopes to have city-wide WiFi by then. Everyone to date who has attempted to have city-wide WiFi has failed. Maybe the Olympic push will work. One note, it sounds as it they will charge money for access.

Ah, a simple desk for working. I love it, but alas I will probably never have one.

The SEC is attempting to craft new regulations that would essentially make it illegal to make a mistake when trading stocks. If they succeed, I ask that they next craft regulations that make it illegal to make mistakes in driving, mistakes in writing software, mistakes in talking to your wife (I can dream can't I?), mistakes in...I have to wonder if anyone in Washington ever pauses, steps back, and wonders about what they are doing.

As another example, the FTC is compelled to tell everyone who buys copy machines that store images on disk drives that those copy machines store images on disk drives.

Duke University is about to shut down its Usenet server. It has been running in one form or another for 30 years.

"Cyberspace Officer" - a new title in the US Air Force. There are 30,000 officers now with this title.

Former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell is now an executive at Booz Allen Hamilton. McConnell has been talking about cyberwar, the government has been spending billions on cyberwar, and BAH has won hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts in this area. Is this all a plot and unethical? Is this is all legitimate as a company seeks to help the government address threats to national security? Let the debates continue. [Disclosure: I work for ITT - a "competitor" of BAH and a company that does business with the Defense and Intelligence communities.]

Is the "music recording industry" in any way relevant? Who cares if you have a record contract? Who cares if you record a new album?

Internet porn sites are the source of a high percentage of malware.

The iPad is selling well. Here are some other tablets or whatever we call them that are likely to hit the market.

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Thursday May 20, 2010

The Nvidia tablet computer. So far it is just a prototype, so the outside isn't as nice as the iPad. The inside, however, is better.

Many employees value having unfettered access to the Internet more than higher pay. This poses great problems for government agencies and private businesses alike, but much bigger problems for government agencies.

The government of Pakistan is blocking hundreds of web sites. Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, and the blocked sites are mostly deemed heretical to Islam.

Now I will have to learn how to use Google TV. Some people see Google TV as an attempt to battle Apple (the Apple TV is still out there, but not moving fast). Look at this lineup of CEOs. How did they all arrange their calendars to be in the same place at the same time? Who paid for lunch?

This could be really important - a backpack incubator for transporting ill infants to hospitals. An excellent use of technology.

This is a tough one for those who want to minimalize and be able to move about from place to place - what do we do with our books?

Apple's best selling computer at the moment is the iPad. Yes, it is another computer.

Congress wants to put black boxes in cars to record crash data. Somehow this will make driving safer. What would we do without Congress?

Perhaps the Federal government could spend more time watching itself. The Centers for Disease Control used flawed data on purpose to mislead people in Washington D.C. about the safety of the drinking water. Who regulates the regulators?

In the same vein, the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer violated government ethics rules.

And those stories were in the Washington Post. What would I learn if I read news media that didn't like the current administration?

Oh, here is one - the National Academy of Sciences is advocating a carbon tax. I wonder if the carbon in my body is taxable. Will we tax people who cremate their deceased family members? That could be a big revenue generator for tax-starved governments. How did the cost of government go up so fast?

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Friday May 21, 2010

Stanford is going to a "bookless library." This could be interesting.

Facebook will soon have 500 million members. That would make it the third largest country on earth. Friends without borders.

But most of Facebook members may leave it over privacy concerns. We shall see.

The iPad comes to Congress. This seems to make sense. Congress critters don't write much, but they do read much. I am not sure that the iPad will ensure that these folks read bills before they vote on them, but I wish they would. But seriously folks, flipping through stacks of emails and SMS and such, the iPad is excellent for these tasks.

iPad customer satisfaction is at 91%. I am okay with my iPad. I am still looking for the handwriting recognition software. Things will turn up for me when that happens.

Pac-Man is 30 years old. I never enjoyed playing this or any of the other games. Just me.

And The Empire Strikes Back is 30 years old today. Now I enjoyed the first three Star Wars movies.

The Europeans have higher goals for the spread of broadband. They leave the U.S. in the dust. We shall see what, if anything, happens with all these grand plans.

Now this is a display, all run by an Apple portable computer.

Here is a tablet computer from ExoPC. We await the release of this and all those other iPad-killing machines. Ah, competition in the marketplace is a wonderful things.

Here is a little Lenovo portable with built-in WiMax. Now, were are all the WiMax towers?

Wow! This is the bathroom in the first-class cabin of a Lufthansa A380.

This is a nice office - lots of storage and dark walls tastefully done.

John Shepherd-Barron dies at age 84. He invented the Automated Teller Machine or ATM. I mention this because a few years back I attended a number of systems and software seminars. Every seminar used the design of the ATM as an example. I grew ill at the thought of design an ATM yet again. In real life, however, this has been good a good device. It may only last ten more years before paper money just goes away.

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Saturday May 22, 2010

This portable computer from Toshiba has an 18.4" screen. It also has enough processors and memory to play big games. Ah, computing at its finest?

On to the more practical, this portable from MSI promises 15 hours of battery life. I like that.

You can extract images for MS Word files. Interesting.

There is some hope in the Open Government Initiative, but only some. It purports to allows techies to solve government problems. Solutions are not the issue - policy is. And this post once again knocks lobbyists. Let's state this once - lobbyists do not hold guns to the heads of elected officials. Elected officials do what they want to do. Don't blame bad decisions on anyone else.

AutoCAD is coming to OS X.

MS Windows 3.0 is 20 years old. This was the first working Windows (not an) Operating System that worked.

The U.S. Air Force is trying to build a re-usable first-stage rocket booster that flies itself back to the launch pad. Great thing if it works. Note how the Air Force is trying to build this, not NASA.

An Internet Cafe in a shipping container. Great idea. Ship these to Africa and other places where wireless cafes are scarce - like the rural U.S.

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Sunday May 23, 2010

The "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" ad campaign is over. Many are happy to see it go. It was creative and different and some were pretty funny. This link has a three-minute review of the highlights. I like it.

A secure search from Google. I'll have to try it.

I really like this one - the InfoLadies of Bangladesh. Small, simple, local, and effective. Let's try a little of this in America instead of trillion-dollar, two-thousand-page legislation. I know, I am naive.

And perhaps there is some hope with medical care in America. Again, the answers seem to be local, simple, and effective. The technology exists to help local doctors and patients change the system one person at a time. This does not refer to national electronic health records. Anything with the word "national" at the start of the phrase is doomed.

A few thoughts on the pathetic state of English being taught in public high schools in America. Oh well. I think we will survive the 20th-century government-operated school system. I am not sure how, but I think we will survive.

I like this post for writers. It is about finding what works for you as a writer. That is the key - don't do something just because your high school English teacher told you that is what you are supposed to do. How many books did your high school English teacher write? Here is a step-by-step system to learn what works for you. If this system works, use it. If not, don't.

Eleven reasons you aren't getting anything done. Nice tips.

Trouble getting out of bed in the morning? Throw away your bedding. Sleep on a bare mattress. After a few nights you will become accustomed to this and will be able to sleep. In the morning, the bed won't be comfortable and you will be more likely to roll out.

It is possible to earn money writing. The practice is probably not what you imagined, but it is possible to earn money writing.

Tips for working with other people on their writing.

And writers invent ways to waste money. Here are four ways. Watch out for the coffee shops. Shop wisely. What is necessary? A typewriter.

Barnes and Noble will open its own self-publishing service this summer. This may open a few avenues for writers.

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