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: July 5-11, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday July 5,  2010

I'm trying to catch up after being out of touch on the Colorado River for a week.

Jerry Pournelle posts Isaac Asimov's story of the Star Spangled Banner and its four verses.

Incompetent Russians spies are captured
- eventually. The harm they did before their capture is yet to be realized.

And by the way, anything with a USB connector can take all the data off your hard drive - even a USB coffee cup warmer.

President Obama is giving $2 Billion in loan guarantees to solar energy companies. This is HOPED to create 5,000 jobs. For those of us doing a little mental math, that is $400,000 per job. With the same money, you could pay 50,000 people $40,000 each. Hmmm. Math is funny sometimes.

Intel shows a prototype car that has everything connected to the computer
. Cameras and other sensors are the real evolution here. All the technology is off the shelf and has been around for years. I don't know that people will go for this idea - especially Americans. Sometimes we just don't adopt the latest techology.

DARPA is working on a vehicle that can fly and also submerge
. Jules Verne wrote about this a few years back.

A few nice workspaces: one in an attic,  one in a loft,  and this one, well, I just don't understand this one.

Learning through simulations or experiential learning. I love the technique.

The Microsoft Kin has failed - even with all those TV ads. MS's commercial products just aren't working in the marketplace.

Robotic pets - a chilling thought in some respects, but read the story. These robots are bringing something positive to the elderly.

New materials store energy far better than anything we have now. I suppose this is yet another example of, "unless someone invents something new, and that often happens, we will never..."

NASA has a plan to put a robot on the moon in 1,000 days. Go for it. No doubt someone in the government will have veto authority over this.

Here is an interactive kitchen cabinet. I'll have to think about this one as I'm not sure it would do much good. I can think of good uses of this technology for things like machine repairs and human surgery.

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Tuesday July 6, 2010

An interesting video about nuclear tests. Starts slow, but builds. I was intrigued to learn that Britain did much of its early testing in Australia and France did much of its early testing in Africa.

I like this post about using a Starbucks as your office. The name "Startbucks" is used as using a coffee shop as the office of a lean start up company makes some sense. Clients can meet you there for meetings instead of coming to your home. Good tips in the post.

HP has now built an "ePrinter." You can email something to this printer and it will print what it receives. This permits simple printing from a mobile device. Hmmm, I need a new printer, well, sort of need a new printer.

It turns out that publicly funded R&D may actually hurt a nation's economy.

Oh the fun we have in Washington - say one thing and do another. $795 Million for rural broadband, but $602 Million is quietly diverted elsewhere.

Do you take your digital photographs somewhere to be printed? Do you use a USB memory stick? Well, many of those photo machines are used to pass viruses.

More errors in the global warming reports. They also claim, however, that none of the errors matter. The conclusion is the same - we are heating the planet to death. Maybe one day someone will sum all the errors and find something noteworthy.

The TSA is blocking websites that contain "controversial" opinions from its government offices. An agency has the right to do this. It does, however, raise suspicions among those of us who tend to be suspicious. I flew these past two weekends. Let me report no noticeable improvement in TSA operations at airports. I suppose that statement now makes this website controversial and will cause it to be blocked at TSA offices.

A study shows that reading an eBook is slower than reading a paper book. That seems reasonable and agrees with my experience.

Russia's Rover Computer introduces five tablet computers. I find this interesting as most companies are showing tablet computers that they built but later decided not to put on the market.

Qualcomm jumps in to augemented reality on cell phones

Pressure-sensitive drawing on the iPad. Now if we can just get some handwriting-recognition software.

This is surprising - email newsletters are still big business.

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Wednesday July 7, 2010 

Sales of Apple computers increased about 20% year over year for May.

And semi-conductor sales are up 47% year over year.

Such good news leads me to ask about unemployment in the U.S. Much of the above goods are not made in the U.S. by American workers. Another thought that comes to mind is that I don't recall either Apple or the semi-conductor industry getting bailed out by the American government. Hmm, we invest in failing businesses and tax sucessful ones. Is that some new formula for economic recovery?

Microsoft is cutting some jobs again. This is the usual let some people go and hire others. Times change and the skills they need change.

Some comments on Andy Grove's comments about manufacturing jobs. Others have written the same for decades. Pure capitalism can lead to slavery and stupidity. There is a point where regulation helps capitalism and national economies. The location of that point, however, is subjective. That is where the arguing begins.

Will blogs get stamps of approval? This type of thing always comes down to one question: who will hold the stamp of approval? That leads to other questions like why is someone trying to restrict entry into a market and who is paying them to withhold a stamp of approval on some blogs? Interesting times.

Gateway shows a new line of really small portable computers. I wasn't sure that Gateway was still in business. I used to buy only Gateway computers for years. Then their quality when down.

Audi has outfitted mechanics in the UK with helmet cameras. You can watch the mechanic work on your car over the web. This is an interesting social experiment.

A rugged and waterproof HD video camera.

This is an office? It looks like, well, I am not sure what it looks like. It does look peaceful and inviting.

Charities are now trying to help government function. Yes, these are interesting times.

It seems that finally, someone is working towards a universal power supply for portable computers. Please.

Here is a "no duh" story - Silicon Valley claims that Washington D.C. just doesn't understand today's technology. Most of the article is about the slowness of Congress to deal with technology issues. The same could be written about senior government managers across agencies.

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Thursday July 8, 2010

Developing crops that will grow in otherwise useless land. A good idea.

Perhaps the ultimate in a ruggedized computer.

Sad but true, most "recycled" computers are not. A major scam.

The Bluetooth Core Specification 4.0 has been adopted.

An excellent use of technology - a $10 attachment changes a cell phone into a microscope good enough for medical labs in developing countries.

Watch this film. These things take months to make. How does this guy get money and eat? The creator's web site is here at blublu.org.

The NSA has a new program to help the rest of us detect cyber attacks on us. Yes, the government is here to help us. We shall see.

Clearwire's 4G receivers. The Washington Post had an early report today on the WiMax network in the Washington D.C. area. Clear says my neighborhood doesn't receive the service, but if I drive a mile from my house I can receive it. I am not sure if my annual education budget can afford the price.

A few things  to consider in this George Will editorial on Prohibition. It was all an effort to help Americans live better, healthier lives. The unintended consequences have been deep and wide and are still with us today. There is a current rash of "we're passing this law because it will help you live better and healthier" and "we know better" in Washington today. The fact that American once repealed a Consitutional amendment gives me hope.

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Friday July 9, 2010

No viewing this morning. Breakfast with friends and then a drive around the beltway.

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Saturday July 10, 2010

"Shear-thickening" materials. They act as lubricants at low velocities, but harden at high velocities such as when struck by something like a bullet.

Ford's Synch will read your text messages to you so you won't be glancing down to read. Good idea, simple technology.

That solar-powered airplane flew for 26 hours. That means that it flew in the dark, which means that it was able to store the energy needed to fly over night.

About 10% of U.S. fliers are using in-flight WiFi when it is available. It is available on about one third of the flights.

Put a small telescope in your eye. If you are over 75 and cannot see, this is a miracle. One question, will atheletes try this to improve performance?

America's manned space program ends in 2012, well sort of. Perhaps one day, those with imagination will return to the helm.

There is something about red walls that make a great home office.

The Wikimedia Foundation has big plans for the future. They are going to double their paid staff this year. I hope that does not signal the end of them. Doubling a staff in a year is often a precursor of disaster.

The $7.2 Billion stimulus that is supposed to bring broadband to rural areas is trickling into reality. I hope at least 10% of it becomes real.

Colleges are investing a lot in anti-cheating technology. It seems that someone in this story is missing the point, and I am not writing about the students.

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Sunday July 11, 2010

Google has been investing in a games company. Google Games may be on the way.

I have never thought of this one - there are no copyrights on food. Everyone seems to function well without those copyrights. What can we learn from this?

Geography doesn't seem to matter on the Internet, but there are those who want to charge you money depending on where you are sitting.

Some notes on musicians marketing directly to fans. The day of the record label is waning.

Some variations on autonomous vehicles for the military. These are basically mules. They carry heavy loads at walking speed and follow someone.

Some thoughts on bursting the writing bubble. It is comfortable to write a few things here and there for no one but myself. It is much tougher to write for others, be rejected, rewrite, resubmit, and all that tough stuff. There are times when both of these are good for me. The crux is deciding when.

iPads are selling big, but so are all portable computers. Look at this linked post for no other reason than to see the photo of the GRID portable computer from the 1980s. That thing weighed a ton.

Good ideas on travel "hacking." This is about creative ideas to travel. The author is currently flying through West Africa. I lived in West Africa (Nigeria) for two years. If you can fly through that part of the world, you can fly anywhere.

Some ideas on simplifying your life. The basic advice is to remove as many things that you now own or that now own you.

A different type of PowerPoint presentation - show 200 slides 12 seconds each. This is the Lessig style of presentation. Believe me, it is a lot of work to build one of these presentations. They seem to work especially well with younger audiences.

Yet another case where government tax policies kill jobs. It seems that governments would do things that promote jobs, but I’m not an economist so I don’t understand how these things work.

Big mistakes that writers make - all variations on being distracted. Close the door, sit in the chair, put your hands on the keyboard, and write.

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