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 9-15, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday August 9,  2010

The resignation or removal of HP's CEO becomes more or less interesting - depends on your point of view. I sense that USA or or some other smaller cable network has been working on the script for the TV movie over the weekend. Filming will begin next week.

Ah, the promise of electronic health records. If it only were to be secure maybe it would be worth it.

And yet another story on the folly of computer security - private browsing isn't.

Jet fuel from wood chips? Maybe. At least they aren't trying to burn food.

The Senate is trying to fund better border patrol with higher fees for H-1B visas. This is the game of legislating via (dis)incentives. Such usually brings unintended consequences that result in the opposite of the objective. Time will tell.

And the Senate approved a $26Billion (with a B) spending bill. They rushed it so fast that they forgot to name it. Please, don't attempt to do this at home. These are professionals at wasting taxpayers' money.

A limo company is planning to put WiFi routers in 20,000 vehicles in New York City. This will create a moving city-wide WiFi service at no cost to tax payers. Fascinating. Will this actually work? Theory says there are lots of problems. An interesting experiment to observe.

Maybe all this "net generation" stuff is a myth.

Google buys a German-made micro-drone. Possible uses include updating maps and inspecting wind farms, two things that Google does.

An office in a closet.

More comments on "the death of the book in 5 years." My wife considers the idea silly. "What," she asks, "will happen to all the libraries?" Good question.

A glance at the near future of tablet or pad computers.

What else would you do with a used school bus but put a jet engine in it and go over 300 mph?

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Tuesday August 10, 2010

Good technology - inexpensive flourescent microscopes.

Google's count of 129 million books is disputed. So, hey they are wrong and lots of people are angry about their books being scanned, but I like the project.

GeoEye and DigitalGlobe each win contracts worth more than $3Billion to build the next generation of imaging satellites. This is a big deal. I hope the boys at the NGA know what they are doing.

An artificial bee's eye can improve the visual range of tiny flying UAVs.

Google's office in South Korea was raided by the Korean National Police Agency. This is all part of Street View and collecting WiFi hotspots.

Larry Ellison blasts HP for removing CEO Mark Hurd.

A joint statement from Google and Verizon on net neutrality.

Comminicating via low-frequency magnetic waves instead of radio waves. This could be a life saver for people in mines. 

Neat, housing an iPad in an old TV cabinet. I knew I should have kept my old TV.

A new line of home-monitoring video cameras from Logitech. These allow you to watch what is happening at your home. They also allow for email alerts when motion is detected.

The computing systems in cars communicate wirelessly. Hence, there is a big security vulnerability. Yes, people are already hacking into these things.

A new company is going to build server farms on ships docked in San Francisco bay. I trust they will take advantage of the cool water. But then again, someone may sue because of the environmental damage in raising the temperature of the bay by an unmeasureable amount.

No surprise here, hybrid cars don't pay for themselves in gas savings. At this time, they are merely stunts and luxury toys for those who can afford luxury toys. And our taxes are paying for the Volt from GM (government motors).

It appears that we have a test that can predict Alzheimer's disease. I am not sure if I want this test as there is nothing we can do to cure this. I would only dread the passing of time.

Place this polymer sticker on your existing solar panels and they will work 10% better. Great. Let's keep going in this direction.

"Crater hunters" are finding meteorite impact sites all over the earth from home using free and open source software and Google Earth.

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Wednesday August 11, 2010 

Yet another "new way to fight wars" bites the dust, a.k.a., a fad. Network-centric warfare goes down.

Software that removes people completely from Google Street views photos. I guess this is an important problem for some people.

I saw this yesterday, I won't mention which real, famous web writer hailing it as great. It was a hoax, one of those too-good-to-be-true things that was truly too good to be true. And we aren't even close to April 1st.

And by the way, HP employees didn't like Mark Hurd anyways. Being CEO of these companies isn't easy, but cutting jobs while you make tens of millions of dollars a year...well I don't know if I could sleep at night doing that, but I haven't walked in his shoes.

The FBI has shifted its priorities - copyright is more important than missing persons. Funny, copyright is a civil matter between two parties while little things like kidnapping are criminal matters. But then again, I'm just an engineer (and a citizen).

KDE releases development platform 4.5.0.

Google struggles with what it should do with all the information it has about people
. Knowledge is power, power corrupts, and some people don't want to be corrupt.

China is to close 2,000 energy-hungry factories. It is easy for the Chinese government to do these types of things. What are its subjects going to do? Write their congressmen? The reason it to cut energy use at inefficient factories. This sounds like a good idea on the surface. Maybe they have done a complete systems analysis and understand all the consequences, but then again this is just another government bureaucracy, so I doubt it.

Scoble provides a look inside Microsoft's Bing.com maps. Microsoft is ahead of Google maps in the quality of photos. I especially like the bird's eye view. They are currently doing a flyover of the entire U.S. in low-altitude airplanes. Great stuff. I used Bing maps daily while Taking a Walk.

MIT's OpenCourseWare is ten years old. They have materials from about 2,000 classes on line. See it here.

The video game industry is growing much faster than the U.S. economy. Two things: (1) it is an INDUSTRY, not just some guys goofing around. (2) Of course it is growing faster than the U.S. economy as private citizens who work hard and are creative are running it. Political appointees and such are not running the government while they attempt to run the economy as well.

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Thursday August 12, 2010

Some tips on booking flights via the Internet. Yes, we take this for granted. I do use bing.com/travel to look at the trends. Next week we are flying to Louisiana to visit family and we were able to find surprisingly low air fares.

So now the stone age extends a million more years into the past.

The HP CEO TV movie script writers need to back up a few pages and add another character. It seems that the former CEO's chief of staff is also leaving HP.

The iPad is in, the laptop computer is out, or so it seems.

It also seems that Apple is about to update the Apple TV product or make it a real product instead of a hobby. I don't usually follow the Apple rumor industry, but this one is being reported by many sources.

Here is a new bicycle-sharing system. The key to this one is that is can use regular old bike-locking facilities, e.g., a pole. The GPS and other brains are built into the bicycle instead of into an expensive, fixed-location docking station. I like it.

Here is an idea (which means it probably won't happen), one of the space station's modules could be used as a crew housing unit for a trip to an asteroid.

This makes sense, data losses are more prevalent in the summer. We have more frequent and severe thunderstorms in the summer. Those events tend to cause problems.

This guy has driven 2.8 million, yes M I L L I O N, miles on his 1966 Volvo. Speechless.

We put a lot into computer security systems so that programs written by evil-doers won't work. But then someone comes along and pays low-wage people to break in via brute force.

Survey Says: Most Americans disapprove of the $7.2Billion allocated to rural broadband. My mother - who lives in rural Louisiana - hasn't seen any broadband service come her way. And per the wisdom of government spending, see the item below on where a lot of TARP money went.

I am anxious to see how this "tablet" fares in the marketplace. The Kno has TWO 14" screens and replicates the pages of a textbook.

The $35 tablet computer from India appears to be real. This Indian television show on gadgets shows it for real. We've yet to see someone outside of India with this device. It will cost $35 to Indian educational institutions - subsidized by the Indian government. We have yet to see what the non-subsidized price will be. Good stuff, congratulations to India and their government for doing something worthwhile. Now back to Washington D.C. ...

...where we learn that billions of dollars of TARP money went to foreign firms instead of U.S. citizens. People around the world should love us, or at least love the current Congress and Administration for sending them so much money. Was it intentional that billions of taxpayers' dollars be sent to buy love from other countries or was it just another mistake?

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Friday August 13, 2010

Breakfast with friends and an unexpected drive around the beltway kept me from viewing the Internet today.

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Saturday August 14, 2010

I was terrible ill today. Some items I had collected during the week follow.

Discarding books is difficult. I still have some college textbooks (graduated 1980 - wow). Here are some good tips about removing some of your old books.

Tips on taking photos for the rest of us. Yes, hold the camera steady.

Paper books provide things that eBooks cannot. I guess we have to make trade-offs. Rats. And for one more thing that eBooks don't provide, I can't hug my grandson with an eBook.

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Sunday August 15, 2010

It is Sunday, so lots of writing items.

Put this at the top of the list: how to publish your book on iPad iBooks. This is another link that gives the steps in the process.

Sharpie has a liquid graphite pen. The "ink" doesn't really dry for about three days. Up to that point, you can still erase what you have written with a standard eraser. This is neat technology. I am not sure what you do with it. Except of course write.

Cafes are removing WiFi connections. This is because of the "freeloaders" who occupy table space, don't buy anything, and don't tip. This is opposite of Starbucks who recently opened their WiFi to everyone at no charge. We need a better more high-tech term for freeloaders. Something like Free-Fiers or something.

Paper tweets!?!? Well, I use 3x5 cards, have been doing so for years.

Book writing tips from published authors. Pretty good stuff.

Tips from JK Rowling's success.

This is an ideal work area. One of these days I will submit a photo of my workspace at a coffee shop where I work for an hour every morning.

Some notes from Edward Abbey that he wrote to himself while writing the novel "The Monkey Wrench Gang." I recently went through the Grand Canyon via the Colorado River. Abbey is one of the authors I am reading now because of that trip.

The "weird" trick for writers. It makes sense, try it.

Writing while the little kids nap. Ahh. Then they outgrow naps and what do you do? I worked on my PhD dissertation during nap times. Somehow I got through it before the naps went away.

And some tech items, too.

No competition for the iPad? Here are 32 models coming later this year.

The EinsteinAtHome.org project finds a rare pulsar using home computers. Keep it going folks.

I guess even Apple has evil people working for it - one of its managers was arrested for taking kickbacks from suppliers. The human condition is pervasive, or something like that.

Ruport Murdock is planning a pay only iPad (mobile) newspaper. This will be more general readership than the Wall Street Journal. Many doubt this will work, but time will tell.

A peak into Intel's 2011 plans. A 400GigaByte SSD? Perhaps someone has a use for such.

Oracle and Google are suing one another over Java and Android and other such things.

Put hardcovers on your paperback books. The Library of Congress does this to all the paperbacks they have. I doubt the LoC uses the same process, but this one should work at home.

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