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 24-30, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday May 24,  2010

A new chip may actually determine food allergies as opposed to the haphazard "testing" in use today.

The Department of State tries to move from telegrams to a wiki. State is not the first and only department to attempt this. While there is some success in these efforts, there are still plenty of old-line managers that tell their employees not to use these things.

Manure can be used as a biofuel. Well, no duh, who didn't know that? The problem with this as with all biofuels tried to date is that we burn more fuel moving the bio-materials to the processing facility than we produce. The solution, yet to be implemented, is small, small, small (did I say they have to be small?) processing facilities that are located close, close, close (did I write close?) to the source of the bio-materials. This means a refrigerator sized processor in the dairy barn with feet of the source of the manure. The resulting liquid fuel must be used in the dairy barn as well. There can be no transporting of either input or output. Someone call me when we have the details worked.

Maybe Apple isn't dead in TV circles after all. This gadget from Elgato puts TV on your Mac as well as your iPad.

From Intel this June, ultra-low voltage dual-core processors for those who need ultra low voltage, e.g., really small portable computers.

20 frequently asked questions about 4G answered. The one I want to know is when is 4G coming to my neighborhood?

Another neat workspace from LifeHacker.

The autobiography of Mark Twain will be released 100 years after his death. The delay is per his wishes. Fascinating that autobiographies and books and such still exist a hundred years later.

Seagate releases a hybrid SSD and spinning disk.

People are trying to bring barefoot running back to someone from somewhere. I used to run barefoot a lot every summer as a kid. I guess Nike and helicopter parents did away with the practice. Now you can buy $100 "foot gloves" so you can run barefoot safely. Somehow I survived barefoot summers with just plain bare feet.

Writer's block seems to bother a lot of people. I have the opposite problem - too much to write and not enough time. This post agrees with me.

Our current military excursions in the Middle East are the first YouTube wars. Professional film crews are not providing all the footage. Soldiers are. This is not a case of the media trying to make war look bad. It is a case of war making war look like war.

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Tuesday May 25, 2010

I seem to have read this story 30 years ago. The Chinese are trying to design their own products, not just manufacture things designed by others. Communism still has its reach.

Technical debt lives on in the IT world. Patch, patch, patch, blow out. It is inevitable.

Once again, someone collects more data than they can analyze. This time it is NASA collecting images of the moon's surface. Maybe, however, there is hope this time. NASA is releasing the images to the web so that thousands of enthusiastic lovers of such (aka amatuers) can help with the analysis. Good idea from NASA. There may be hope.

I like this - Random Hacks of Kindness. Gather smart programmers and such, and let them work on society's problems.

In praise of single-tasking on the iPad.

The all-in-one ASUS Eee PC Keyboard. Yes, the display is really small. I am not sure what you would do with this device.

Apple's annual back-to-school promotion starts this week. Buy an Apple computer and receive a free iPod.  I don't need one this year.

Are we there yet? Who cares if your car is a WiFi hotspot.

Wind farms are coming to Lake Erie. I hope we do this well. We could use some practical wind-generated electricity.

It seems that the government is not sending many of its research ships to the gulf oil leak. Interesting. Are we trying to hide something or just not interested?

Great photos from the space shuttle. What a terrible waste this whole excercise has been. Delivered years behind schedule, NASA never really go the shuttle program going. Yes, lots of experiments that were good, but nothing of substance.

Some photos of the X-51A which hopes to fly at Mach 6 today. Note, this is work done by the Air Force, not NASA.

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Wednesday May 26, 2010 

Driving the beltway and no viewing.

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Thursday May 27, 2010

Fedora 13 was released.

Microsoft's Hohm website gives you information on your home and the annual energy cost. I tried it. The site seems to work fairly well as it return a dollar amount that approximately equals my utility bills. The site's URL is here.

Everyone wants the Android tablet computer (I guess). Guess what, these things aren't easy to build, so we all have to wait.

Germany and Hong Kong wants Google's WiFi data. Why don't they just collect WiFi data themselves. Anyone can. I digress. Google is slow to give it away.

The "tube robot" for surgey. It really isn't a robot, but more of an extension of a surgeon's hand. Neat use of mechanical technology.

An underwater HD camera from Kodak. It is small, and the quality of video is about what you would expect from a little lens.

The One Laptop Per Child tablet computer XO-3 could ship in December of 2010. Neat concept and only $75. We shall see.

It appears that the oil leak in the gulf has been stopped.

The X-51A hit Mach 6 for 200 seconds. The previous record was 12 seconds, but the goal was 360 seconds.

A stylish three-piece suit with iPad pockets. A combination of ... well never mind.

The state of IT education in the U.S. It is mixed. You can pay money and get about just any degree you wish without learning anything.

Some work is in progress on open-source software for an open-source robot. Education will be the chief beneficiary. I like this.

The U.S. government was to engage citizens in solving the government's problems. After a year of work, the GSA has announced that it has - ready? - selected a contractor to help it do so. Well, how fast do you want a single government agency to move?

Someone is finally augmenting paper books with online content. This is a nice way to do it: QR codes, cell phones, and such.

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Friday May 28, 2010

No viewing today.

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Saturday May 29, 2010

The Washington Post discovers Ubuntu. The Post is always on top of things like this.

Orwell's diaries from WWII have now become far more interesting.

In Canada is it illegal to move songs from CD that your purchase to your iPod. I guess you are supposed to carry all your CDs in your pocket. I don't know that anyone in Canada is enforcing this law or even know the law exists. Such happens when processes designed to be slow - national legislatures - collide with processes design to be fast - consumer electronics.

The Pentagon wants to monitor everyone's network. I thought this all vanished when Bush left office. Perhaps President Obama didn't get this memo either.

There is some hope - a platform off the Texas coast will use tides to generate electricity. They power will be used right there to run a desalinization plant.

Some little-known history of auto making in America. The Department of Transportation once built cars with safety as the number of one priority. There were many innovations. Somewhere along the line though, the whole thing was scrapped and the cars were destroyed.

And maybe the gulf oil spill has not been stopped. It was reported two days ago that it was stopped.

NASA stumbles into Congress. It appears that folly is replaced with folly. There doesn't seem to be any realism in budgets.

You don't need much space to live and work. This workspace is in a 274-square-foot apartment. That is really small folks.
And this workspace is on a porch. Another great room.

Google continues to advance its speech reognition technology. It plans to make this available as a plugin for all browsers.

Willie Nelson got a haircut - the waist-length pony tail is gone.

Since the release of the iPad, many groups have dropped thier plans for releasing tablet computers.

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Sunday May 30, 2010

Now we hear that the oil is still flowing in the gulf.

Build your own tablet computer. This one has a carbon fiber case.

An 18" computer monitor - no big deal, but the only cable going in is a USB. No power cable. The USB carries everything. This shows how power efficient a monitor can be.

Use your iPhone as a motel room key. Why not? It works.

I like this talk on motivation, money, and performance. I love the way it is animated.

Water is short in the developing world, so we put electronics manufacturing plants in the developing world to use it. Go figure.

I find this fascinating - the Japanese have a plan to build a moon base used only by robots. The 600-pound robots would move on tracks and such. They robots seem to be remote controlled in one sense. They also plan to return the robots to earth at some time.

Now on to writing - just write. Just sit and write.

And get something finished. Whether or not something you write is published is not in your hands. Someone else decides that. Nevertheless, you decide to put it in an envelope and ship it to a publisher. Ship it.

Tips for working at a coffee house or whatever. I "work" at the Community Canteen in Reston for one hour each week day morning (except the past few weeks because I am driving around the beltway and so on).

This is sort of an argument against self-discipline and writing. Jerry Weinberg is the most prolific writer I know personally. He professes to have ZERO self-discipline. I think the concept of self-discipline means different things to different people. As usual, find out what works for you and do that.

A great practice - the not-to-do list. Try it.

The opposite of writer's block is having so many things to write that you sit and think about which one to write and you fall asleep days on end without writing anything and... Pick something and write. It doesn't have to be the single best thing in the world to write, just pick something and write.

Business card designs.

27 reasons you should not have a job. This works well for some people, but is a disaster for others. Take great care with this one, especially if you have people depending on you for food, clothing, and shelter.

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