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: August 2-8, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday August 2,  2010

This is a telepresence robot. Okay with that, the scultped form factor - not okay with that.

This is a practical robot arm. It attaches to a wheel chair and reaches things that a person cannot
. This is a great use of technology and a life saver for those who cannot do the bending and reaching.

GM will increase its planned production of the Volt. This is a luxury car, not a practical car, i.e., it is yet another stunt to promote electric cars.

Hey look, someone agrees with me on this Volt is a stunt. This person even has more harsh words. 

This is an excellent xkcd cartoon. It is funny, but shows how bad university, and most other, websites are.

The One Laptop Per Child group is offering to join with the government of India in its efforts to build the $35 tablet computer. I like that.

Linux kernal 2.6.35 is released.

This earth-bound telescope has out-performed the orbitting Hubble. The "trick" is a set of computers that constantly adjust where the mirror points.

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Tuesday August 3, 2010

Here are three wonderful and different home offices.
My favorite is this office built in a walk-in closet. You can close the door and it is gone. Then impress your friends by opening the door.

Next is the cool setup. Orange, silver, and black work well together.

And finally this stylish office.

The MindMeister mind mapping tool is now available for the iPad.

Is the telephone call dead? Not yet, but it certainly seems on the way out. I know people who have not answered a ringing phone in years. They use email, instant messaging, and such to schedule chats or video chats, then they use the phone or the skype or the Google or who-ever's video chat.

The story of a brilliant, MIT-educated person who cannot stay in America and work. What would we do without the Department of State taking such good care of us? I guess they are just following the laws written by the all-knowing Congress and signed by the all-knowing President.

Twelve reasons why a smaller home is better. I like this.

If the iPad is a laptop computer, Apple is the number three seller of laptop computers.

A new form factor for a computer. The display is any flat surface onto which the computer projects a display.

Amazon and Apple are too successful in Connecticut. They are being investigated there. What would we do without such help from government?

Some new point-and-shoot cameras from Casio.

Too strange, so it must be true. China is building buses large enough that cars can drive under and through them.

Microsoft will release Office for Mac 2011 in October of 2010. That is a new twist, title the release so that you are early. The prices are lower this time, and some speculate that Google Docs is the reason.

This is how China's government governs or controls its subjects: 47,000 cameras in the western city of Urumqi.

A survey of what Americans do online. The #1 is social networks, a distant second is games.

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Wednesday August 4, 2010 

Android recently outsells Apple's iOS for the first time.

How to make you own Apple charger. Given the time required, it is cheaper to buy one. Still, some love to do it themselves.

Different regions of the U.S. have different patterns of use of high-tech devices.

Some concepts of aircraft several decades from now. They are far more energy efficient than today's. NASA is involved in this. This is all great science and engineering, but again, why is NASA burning taxpayers' money on this? No wonder NASA can't fulfill its primary mission.

There are great photos. Someone "photoshopped" scenes from WWII onto the same locations as seen today. Great.

An engineering assessment of King Tut's chariots.

I look forward to the results of this work. Tests begin on a mind-controlled robotic arm.

The boys at Stanford may have invented something that doubles the efficiency of solar cells. Keep going guys. If enough people are looking, someone may find something that becomes practical.

Intel and GE are partnering in a new home health device company. I hope they have some good products that allow the elderly to live in their own homes. This all ties into the item at the bottom of today's notes about health care costs.

An update to the Spy Camera that looks like a button on your shirt. Only $60. This is actually pretty good.

Several Middle Eastern countries are banning Blackberries. It is a simple matter - the governments reserve the right to listen to your cell phone conversation. Blackberries use an encryption that these governments cannot break. Hence, they cannot eavesdrop on their subjects. Out goes the Blackberry.

The telephone companies have helped the FCC write the net neutrality regulations. They like the result. This is a tough situation. The telcos hire retired government employees - the ones with the most experience and knowledge. These people know more about the subject that those younger, less-experienced government regulators. They aren't evil people. They are paid to do a job and they do it. The government employees are busy and confused - both as a result of poor managers in the government. Then Congress steps in. Congressmen have all sorts of agendas, most of them not evil either. The result is predictable.

More research into concussions is sports. Of course this will one day translate into aid for the average person. This is good, but the devices that will do these things cost money and once again people will complain about the rising cost of health care cost. Of course health care costs are rising. X hundred years ago we got sick and died. Today we are healed with the aid of medicine and machines that cost money. You get what you pay for. It seems that people in politics today never learned that little economics lesson.

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Thursday August 5, 2010

Sometimes even Google has product flops. They are dropping Wave as no one is using it.

I like this one, I don't understand it all, but I like it. Researcher are using volunteer help from 60,000 gamers to examine proteins. Great idea.

Maybe we are getting somewhere with energy production - a utility-sized wave farm is to be built off the Oregon coast.

Global sales of integrated circuits will reach a new record this year. Bad economy? Where?

Some new Lenovo desktop or rather under-the-desk computers.

I guess this isn't groundbreaking, but it provides a reference point for advances in technology. This ASUS external disk drive hold 30 GigaBytes but only costs $31. I love it. Usually, companies give you more than you need for $100. This is just right.

This really small portable computer from Acer dual boots Windows XP and Android - only $375. Interesting way to learn about Android.

China and Japan have a maglev train war or race in progress. Who will have the faster train?

Wow, someone found some color photographs from the Depression era. Great stuff.

Another great workspace from LifeHacker - this one in a tiny attic corner.

How LinkedIn handles 120 billion relationships a day.

Oh, and if we didn't already suspect this, the Federal government is storing images from full-body scanners. This despite claims that it was technically impossible to do so.

More numbers on how the Chinese set up cameras in public places. A mistake in the graphic - it uses the word "citizens." The correct term is "subjects" or even "serfs." Citizens have inalienable rights. Subjects and Serfs don't.

It seems that from the "dawn of civilizaton" until 2003 we created X amount of data. Now we create X amount of data every two days. There is no mention of the quality factor here.

Aren't American taxpayers nice. Here we are building battery factories in Michigan. Why does Michigan receive all our tax dollars? Why does the battery makers - this one Korean - receive our tax dollars? It is called politics.

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Friday August 6, 2010

Not a lot of viewing today as I had a wonderful breakfast with some friends.

A couple decades of a person's life in A Polaroid a Day.

Old computers don't die, they ruin the landscape and a lot of lives. Use your computers as long as you can - four or five years at a minimum. They still work actually do more than when they were new.

A dozen years of Apple computer usage at the University of Virginia. Apple is now 43% of computers on that campus.

Keep your muscles young by reducing calories. Yes, this is one of those studies in mice that may or may not actually mean something to humans, but the idea is a basic one. Cut down on the calories folks. Lose weight. Exercise - not running marathons but have physical activity every day. Go outside and play.

Why do kids avoid computing classes? Because they are boring and teach things the kids already know.

SpaceX has big plans for heavy-lift rockets. They believe they can scale up their current vehicles. Scale can be a deceiving thing.

The second age of airships is coming. I have heard that one since I was a kid. It has always been exciting, but has never happened. Maybe this time, or maybe not.

A simple, I mean S I M P L E, workspace. Wonderful.

This must be an important story as I have seen it in half a dozen places this morning, Google Books estimates that there are 129 million or so books in the world.

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Saturday August 7, 2010

HP fires its CEO Mark Hurd for financial misbehavior of some sort. Or was it sexual harrassment? I am confused on the reason, but certain of the result.

With all the tablet computing rumors flying, here is a really strange one - a tablet computer coming soon from Best Buy.

WikiLeaks - when is it treason and when is it blowing the whistle on a corrupt government?

The physical book is dead, according to Nicholas Negroponte. It has maybe five more years.

And Bill Gates things the university is just as limited. Self-motivated learners will skip it. I think people will still go to a university for the social aspects and the discussion, but will learn from the Internet between debates and football games.

This guy built his own graphing calculator for $200. Excellent.

Toshiba's dual-screen portable computer will be available in Japan next week.

Want your computer to run faster? Over clock it and pump in frigid air (-40 degrees C).

This is odd that a court had to rule against it. Federal law enforcement felt it was fine to attach a GPS device to anyone's vehicle without a warrant to track the vehicle. What? Oh well.

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Sunday August 8, 2010

Great stuff here - a growing list of mobile aps for the disabled. These will be great aids for the disabled and elderly.

Maybe the Blackberry will be allowed in Saudi Arabia after all. RIM is making a deal that will allow eavesropping by the government of its subjects.

Virginia Tech, where I sent lots of money so my first son could get a degree, is building yet another supercomputer. This one will use CPUs and GPUs.

Maryland is adopting Google's education aps - a cloud service. Google and Microsoft are competing for states to use their cloud services. The cost is free to the state. This is much like the way Apple used to give computers to elementary schools. Do they still do that now that they are popular?

A space craft is being built to travel to and then orbit Jupiter. Special care is taken to shielf it from harmful radiation. This is going to be a real problem in manned space flight.

A story of government, intellectual property, frightened government managers (the big story here), and open source software. The big story is the government managers. The vast majority of them honestly don't know what to do when someone walks in the room with a new idea. They aren't very bright folks.

A story sort of comes to an end. The system admin in San Franciso who changed all the passwords and wouldn't tell them to anyone is sentenced to four years in prison. Of course the government-employed managers in San Francisco who allowed a situation where one person could hold the city hostage are all okay. None of them were fired or sent to prison. They aren't very bright folks.

A high-tech startup company in the small town of New Hope, Pa. This is a town on the outskirts of several metropolitan areas. There is lots of talent in these far out towns.

I really like this post on how to setup your writing as a real business. Even if you don't aspire to have your writing be a "business," i.e., full-time salary earning business, these are good ideas.

Is it writer's block or thinking too much )also known as analysis paralysis)? Another perspective on writer's block.

Ten ways blogging can improve your life. Using your brain is one of the big ones.

Some tips on goal-setting for writers. As usual, try these, use them if they work for you and discard them it they don't.

One thing about being a location-independent professional - you are a professional. That means that you work almost everyday. Don't forget the WORK part.

Tools that keep you going while travelling. One of the tools is pen and paper - they still work.

And speaking of pen and paper, here is a challenge, write with pen(cil) and paper every day. Just for the practice, just for the fun, just for the learning.

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