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 16-23, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday August 16,  2010

My experiences with handwriting software on the iPad.

A great iPad stand made of Legos.

A new battery company hopes to cut the cost of batteries for electric cars by 85%. Maybe one of these ventures will work. I hope so.

Speaking of hope - tech for and by Africa. Lots of hope there. I lived in West Africa for two years. There is much untapped talent there.

I love this one - these guys built a model aircraft that flies around and finds WiFi hotspots. Great stuff.

Guess what? People who weigh more consume more fuel in their cars and on airplanes. Yes, it takes more fuel to move more weight. We needed a study to tell us that one.

A scene deleted from the original Star Wars trilogy. Listen to the people cheering at the event when the clip is shown. Great stuff. I saw the original movies four or five times each in the theatre (life before VHS and DVD).

The WiMax 2 standard becomes final in November. 1 GigaBitPerSecond downloads in 2012 or something like that.

Online research - when will school teachers stop berating students for reading Wikipedia? See below - they are union hacks with closed minds. They won't allow Wikipedia until the union bosses say so. I know that sounds mean, but let's get real folks. It is 2010.

The President has moved $300Million from rural broadband grants to teachers unions. I guess this is a payback. There is much said about sending money to cash-starved states, i.e., states who cannot manage their budgets, to save teacher jobs. All these billions will save about 1% or 2% of teachers jobs. Funny, this is the only endeavor in the world that a 2% loss in labor is a national catastrophe.

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Tuesday August 17, 2010

Verizon has complete a demonstration of 1GigaBitPerSeconds on its fibre optic network. That is a milestone, but not a practical speed that anyone can expect at home.

Intel and Nokia are pushing MeeGo as a mobile Linux alternative to Goodle's Android. I love the competition.

There is a movement afoot to force cell phone makers to build FM radios into their phones. I am sure this makes perfectly good sense to some people. I don't know those people, but no doubt there are out there.

How do you save energy? How about this one: buy something and use it a very very very long time before you replace it. Consider cars, TVs, computers, and cell phones. The energy required to build and then dispose of these far exceeds the energy required to operate them. See the camera strap item below.

As an example of the energy use of disposing of items, see this NY Times photo essay on computer "recycling" places.

This little Nikon camera again isn't that important but for the general capabilities available today. It has a 12 MegaPixel sensor and more processing power and software than a home computer had 20 or even 10 years ago. It fits in your pocket and a 6th grader will teach you how to use it. We are living in interesting times. And if you work at McDonald's you can afford to buy this.

And Nikon updates it small line of cameras that also are projectors.

Now if you have a real camera, you need a real strap of canvas and leather
. One that will last a very long time. Use it for a lifetime and save energy.

This game server has been ordered to pay $88Million in damages. That is an interesting fine as no doubt the company has no where near those assets. Oh the justice system in America today - sense not required.

ASUS reduces its shipments of really small portable computers. The iPad is more popular. And I read lots of people explaining how bad the iPad was when it was introduced.

Qualcom to ship its next processor before 2011. More power and choice for the consumer. I love it.

Turn your old MacBook Air into a keyboard computer. Maybe not.

I guess when you are Apple you have celebrities visit - Lady Gaga recenlty visited Apple's corporate headquarters. There is something wrong with all this. I cannot put my finger on it, but yes, there is something wrong here.

Dell buys a data storage company. Dell could build all this itself, but buying a company puts you there faster.

Debian turns 17 today. This is a popular Linux distribution.

This story is all over the Internet, here is one copy: our representatives in Congress are considering a law to force consumer electronics makers, cell phones computers games and such, to make their devices accessible to the deaf, blind, and others. I guess Congress has granted themselves the authority to tell companies what to do. I am not sure the Constitution gives them this authority, but again the Interstate commerce clause has been interpreted by Congress to mean just about anything.

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Wednesday August 18, 2010 

It seems that some companies were founded on the premise that Congress would pass cap-and-trade laws. Now those companies are folding. Depending on unhatched chickens is one thing; depending on politicians to do what they said they would do is just plain foolish.

I write in a journal daily because I find many benefits to the practice. Many people start this, but it doesn't become a habit. OhLife sends you a reminder email everyday. For many people, that little reminder will make all the difference in the world.

Guess what, ISPs that advertise high data rates are not quite honest. Really? False advertising? 

This is great. Tiny Linux-based computers that are the size of a wall wart (one of those cubes that you plug into the electric outlet to provide DC voltage to some other device). These wall-wart Linux devices are fully functional computers that can do a lot of embedded things for you (like be a server or a sensor).

This is another good idea - one that you wonder why it took so long. Instead of preventing infammable gases from forming at a sewage treatement plant (expensive to stop), let them form and use them as fuel to power the plant. Simple. Again, why did it take so long?

The Mindset List is out again at Beloit College. Here is the list. Big ones: kids don't write in that damned looped-cursive style any more (great!) and they don't tell the time by looking at wristwatches. Why have a wristwatch when you cell phone tells you the time?

This is a neat little video for those who always wanted to shoot a sabot slug through your iPad.

Toshiba continues to advance the state of the art in disk drive data storage. This new technique will hold five times the data per surface area than current techniques. 2.5TeraBytes per square inch. Wow.

HBO says it will have an iPad application in six months. I am trying NetFlix on my iPad now. Signing up was a problem, but I think I have it working.

Microsoft is bringing back the Flight Simulator "game." Aren't "simulator" and "game" redundant?

Someone else now has a browser for the iPad.

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Thursday August 19, 2010

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is everything but what its name implies. Oh, this isn't a surprise as lawmakers and regulators often think of clever names for things. The goal is to have a clever name much more so than something that works.

"Researchers" at Georgia Tech have published a steganography tool. It allows you to hide messages in Flickr photos and other common things that people put on the Internet. I guess there is a reason for putting such a tool out in public. Never mind as there are many such programs available. I wrote a steganography program myself once and published an article on it in the old C/C++ Users Journal.

The new D3100 camera from Canon.

I guess Apple has a new commercial out about the iPad because someone has already made a parody of it.

Shuttle has a new really thin desktop computer. Shuttle has always been on the leading edge of creative desktop packages. This one continues that legacy.

Toshiba's dual-screen, foldout portable computer sells out at Amazon.

I love this stuff. Project the computer display on your desk and detect how you touch your desk. All made with some basic parts and lots of imagination.

The iSSD - Integrated solid state disk - from SanDisk. 64GigaBytes for your portable device - the size of a postage stamp. This is great.

One illustrated history of the Internet. I am sure there are others.

A Russian scientists blames many of the world's ills on an American climate change weapon.

A new MRI technique to diagnose Autism. This would be a big improvement over current techniques.

And then we have ADHD. Nearly a million kids in the U.S. have probably been mis-labeled as ADHD. A study shows that on average the youngest kid in a kindergarten class is labeled ADHD. No one seems to have checked their birthdates and figured out that perhaps the smallest kid in class acted a certain way because he was the smallest kid in class. Sometimes I wonder if schools have the ability to figure out anything anymore. I am sure that various legislative bodies at all levels play a big part in this lack of figure-it-out-ability.

The U.S. high-speed rail system. Sure, it would be great to have, but if the government is going to attempt to build it we might as well spend the money somewhere else.

George Orwell comments on the tendency of people to believe that things are really bad somewhere else.

Windows 7 has now passed Windows XP. Vista? Don't even ask.

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Friday August 20, 2010

A little humor - we need that in our world - some tips for saving dying industries. All based on the idea of forcing cell phone makers to put an FM radio in each cell phone.

Intel is going to buy McAfee of virus detection fame.

HP will release a tablet computer early in 2011. It will use Palm's WebOS.

U.S. copyright laws are making it difficult for museums to "display" or play music collections. The current copyright life - life of the author plus 70 years - is, well it makes it difficult for anyone else to do anything useful with the work. As an author, I appreciate receiving royalty checks, but 70 years after my death my grandkids will be splitting the little checks and no one else will be able to read my writing. I don't see how that will help anyone.

Since the German government won't let Google put Street Views photos of building online, this German photographer wants to photo the buildings and do a lot of other work so that the views are back on the Internet. Really folks, photos of buildings that are out there in the open in the public. I don't follow the logic of the German government, but then again I am not German.

The short, content-full presentation is not new. Actually, a government organization employed four-minute presentation in the early 20th century.

A project that shares all data that everyone has on Alzheimer's seems to be working. I once worked in a research lab. People who have never done so seem to believe that scientists and medical researchers all share everyone all the time for the greater good of science. Wrong. Researchers are trying to make money by competing with other researchers. It is rare, and wonderful, to find researchers actually sharing and advancing science.

Ahh, slow-motion video.

Despite all that trouble with the CEO and the movie star (sounds like a good title for that TV movie that is no doubt already in the works), HP made $2.3Billion PROFIT in the last quarter.

And Dell's financial picture improved as well.

And so did Lenovo's. Bad economy? No recovery?

It is surprising to me how many people are doing reviews and such about Sharpie's new erable liquid graphite using pen/cil.

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Saturday August 21, 2010

I am visiting family in Louisiana. Neither my mother or my in-laws have Internet access in their homes. I am at the mercy of reaching a WiFi-enabled coffee shop. Some days I can, today I couldn't.

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Sunday August 22, 2010

The next iPhone to be the long awaited "iWallet?"

I love this. An illustrated guide to a PhD. Follow it all the way to the conclusion. Perspective is important.

All this digital stuff has enabled some people to live without much of everything else. The external hard drive and the online storage services are surprisingly the last item that has enabled this. At least it is surprising to me.

The follies of the U.S. Patent system and the U.S. Patent Office.

The story of "The CEO and the Movie Star" continues. This is my title of the TV movie, and this is my record of first having it so if the TV actually has this name I will claim some royalties, maybe ;-)

This is something that I must try on the iPhone: Prizmo. Point it at a sign, a receipt, any printed text. It does and OCR and even a text-to-speech and language translation.

The iPhone changed the cell phone industry. Perhaps the iPad will do the same for the really small portable computer industry.

This will be an interesting story. The LA Times did a long, big study on public school teacher effectiveness based on test scores. The Times then published its findings - actually listing the best to worst teachers by name. Oh my gosh. Someone needs to explain to the Times the concept of unions and workers hiding behind unions. Yes, it will be interesting.

Meditating may help people with attention deficit disorders. Interesting school teachers may really help kids with such disorders. Maybe.

Using Google Earth to find unauthorized swimming pools. Is this a violation of the 4th Amendment? They are using satellites to peak over your fence and find you doing something "wrong."

A collection of good workspaces in small places.

Some tips about the clock for someone who freelances at home. The big point: learn what works for you and use it.

How to F O C U S when writing. Again, learn what works for you and use it.

Mistakes that freelancers make. Note the one about not resting enough. That is a big one.

Here are some good ideas for editing another writer's writing. The big one is to ask what they would like you to do. Don't waste everyone's time doing something else.

The coming German ID cards. Maybe the current administration can build something like this in America - I hope not. Pardon my paranoia.

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