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 23-29, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday August 23,  2010

Motorola is likely to be the big iPad competitor? Maybe. My bet is on someone that we have never heard of.

But for fun, here are photos of Toshiba's coming tablet computer.

Computers in trash cans? Why not. The city of Cleveland is trying this to monitor people's recycling and such. Is this legal? Does anyone care what happens in Cleveland (a city that has LOST half its population in the last half century).

I like this - photos of a number of home offices.

A little different - what people carry in their backpacks and satchels.

Ah, meetings. Some thoughts on running meetings so that something is accomplished other than burning resources.

Another evil of PowerPoint - kids in school learn to write "bullets" instead of sentences.

The National Park Service reports that GPS and cell phones are emboldening hikers to venture into places that they should be venturing. The results are predictable and are costing taxpayers' lots of money in rescues. We should post signs "Don't go here. If you do, we won't rescue you!"

Iran now has a UAV that can drop bombs. Note, I didn't call it a "UAV bomber." A UAV bomber is someone who bombs UAVs. It seems that the newspapers would understand how to write in English, but maybe not.

The Space Shuttle is about to die. NASA's biggest worry is that the best employees are leaving early to find jobs elsewhere. This threatens the viability of the last few months of the program.

At first I thought this would be neat - travel without any bags. But this guy is cheating - take lots of money, okay, and then he has a sponsor buying his clothes and tickets and a camera man travelling with him. Oh well.

Here are some little gadgets that are supposed to help you save energy in your home. If you want to save energy in your home and elsewhere, buy something and use it for an extra very really long time (enough emphasis here?). The energy used to operate most devices is tiny compared with the energy used to build and dispose of the device. Long use cuts energy costs. Simple idea, but not fashionable.

And some more on the same idea. Connect everything in your home to the Internet so hackers will know when you are not home. This system will be secure! (not!!!)

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Tuesday August 24, 2010

Apple's sales of computer to government are booming. It appears that some government IT organizations are gaining some independence.

The Chinese have another one of the "world's biggest" stories. This time they have the world's biggest traffic jam. Every now and then I read something about whether China will learn from the mistakes that the industrial world made decades ago. Then I wonder why anyone would wonder about such. Of course China will not learn from the mistakes of others. Large organizations never learn from the mistakes of other large organizations. Just look at the current U.S. administration.

Los Angeles, which is going broke, has just opened a $578Million public school. For a local view of this, see Jerry Pournelle's comments. Caution: Mr. Pournelle's comments are for adults only.

Nokia Siemens sold monitoring equipment to the government of Iran. This helps said government monitor its subjects.

An email classifier that sorts your email in order of importance. This is not a product yet. I want to see it one day as a product. Then there is the surprising aspect of the article - the young lady in the photo is the "chief scientist" for the company. Surely you must be older than she appears to be the chief scientist.

This is a clever device for iPad users - a case that contains a full Bluetooth keyboard. In stores soon?

Canon has built a 120MegaPixel sensor for cameras. No one seems to know if this will actually be used in cameras anytime soon or if this is just a stunt.

Intel has sold 70 million Atom processors. Now its dual-core Atom is being shipped.

Microsoft shows how it built a Xbox on a chip.

Someone thinks it necessary to engineer the earth and stop rising sea levels. Sigh. Throughout history water levels rise and fall. That is why people with any sense don't build expensive structures at the water's edge. There are plenty of examples of people who don't have such sense and a few billion examples of people who do.

California tries to outlaw impersonating someone else on the Internet.

Did weak copyright laws allow Germany to progress in the 1800s at a much faster rate than countries with stronger laws? It is a possibility with good arguments for such.

The iPad is better than paper books. So says this "study." It may be, but the study is almost silly. It talks about carbon dioxide. I produce carbon dioxide sitting here reading all this stuff online. When are people going to stop being silly about carbon dioxide? Back to the original story. eBook readers maybe better than buying lots of paper books. The article, however, doesn't provide evidence.

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Wednesday August 25, 2010 

U.S. energy use dropped in 2009. The study claims to consider the slowed economy, but there is the weather and then this and then that and then...I doubt the findings. Plus, the study has the "right" answer, i.e., the answer that will bring more money for more studies.

Small wind turbines that can power a house. I suspect that at this point, these don't pay for themselves. If, however, you live in a place with no power or frequent power outages, these would be great.

Dock and recharge two iPads, four iPhones, or is it two iPads and one iPhone or six iPhones and one iPad or is it...Anyways, if you have lots of these Apple things in your house you may have a use for this.

Samsung quits the ePaper business.

People are putting noise makers in their hybrid cars so that pedestrians can hear them coming. Whatever happened to noise pollution and the desire to make machines quieter?

Some information about the CIA's Open Source Center.

Microsoft responds to Google Docs with Docs.com.

A video display - with a video - is inserted into magazines. The magazine is called Successful Farmer. The 7-11 near my house doesn't carry that magazine, so I don't know where I would find an issue.

Astronomers have discovered another solar system with seven planets. That is the most planets they have found in a system. I guess our solar system is pretty special.

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Thursday August 26, 2010

Not much viewing today. We travel back to Reston from southeast Louisiana later today.

This could be a big one - we can now make phone calls from Gmail. A little dialing pad pops up, you dial, and there you have it. VoIP all built into a simple interface. Yes, this could be big. Then again, so many people already have telephones in their pockets that this could be a big nothing.

Self-cleaning solar panels from Mars to earth's deserts. No, they don't have windshield wipers. Instead they use an electric charge to repel dust. This may work and prove workable.

I like this use of technology - artificial corneas seem to be working in people's eyes.

A new camera from Canon. I like the "articulating" screen. This way I can take photos of myself and my grandson together. Hey, that is a big deal to me.

Sony beats Apple to the new iTV or Apple TV or whatever Apple will call it. $130 lets you put anything Internet on your television (like Netflix movies). When will someone compete with Netflix?

Just introduced a couple of days ago, dual-core Atom processors are already being sold in some really small portable computers.

Executives at high-tech companies continue to chide the White House and Congress about immigration laws that remove highly educated people from the U.S. while allowing floods of non-educated people into the country. That policy does seem sort of backwards, but what do I know.

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Friday August 27, 2010

This is great - the original Kodak digital camera from 1975.

Cell phone bills for consumers fell by 50% over the last ten years.

This won't go away, the idea of making cell phone makers put an FM radio in every cell phone. This is "sound public policy." Who knows.

The Patent Office has a fast-track program for green inventions. There is a problem, no one has any patent applications in that area. You cannot just decree innovation, even if you are the President.

I know people who play Farmville. I don't know why anyone would play such, but I know people who play Farmville.

HP will be one of the first to sell really small portable computers with dual-core Atom processors.

Apple's own office application now allows making ePub format documents. You can then distribute these as iBooks on the iPad.

H.264 video streaming remains license free.

MIT proposes a swarm of little swimming "robots" to clean oil spills. This might work.

Coming real soon now: this replica of a Commodore 64 computer with all new insides (32 vice 8 bits).

It seems that wind tubines create black zones for radar. In essence, a terrorist can fly a B-52 over a wind farm and not be detected by radar. Hmmm.

Maybe something will come of this idea - social networking just for college students. But that is what Facebook W A S. CollegeOnly.com tries to recreate it. It seems that someone at Facebook would have kept such a product in their line. Perhaps they don't have a product line.

I didn't know this one - Google Docs has an OCR function to help avoid typing.

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Saturday August 28, 2010

DARPA is running a project to improve U.S. manufacturing. That is a good use of taxpayers' money. We need more manufacturing.

And DARPA is also funding the attempted building of flying Humvees. Some of the expenses aren't so good for America.

Paul Allen has sued a lot of people for stealing his ten-year old patents. Here is one take on the situation. Here is a more conventional reporting of the story.

Companies are changing how they hire people. Going the way of the newspapers are the professional recruiters.

A Colonel in Afghanistan is fired becuase of his editorial about military bureaucracy. I read the editorial. This is a smart person; he knew he was going to be either removed (highly likely) or given a medal (not likely).

As an example of how much we now get in such little space, here is a 1TeraByte external disk drive.

George Will has an excellent editorial on the awful plight of the African American family.

I don't like this: it is legal for police to put a tracking device on your car without a court order. This item will probably appear again in U.S. courts.

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Sunday August 29, 2010

Real telephoto lenses for real cameras. They still exist.

Now this is a home computer project: overclock the already fast Mac Pro computer and cool it with liquid vice air.

And a home calculator project: mill a calculator case from aluminum.

Some people think that a world without physical books would be great. I am not sure about that one yet. Still, there are some advantages to all the eBook readers. If they would just decide on one file format.

The 21st century may be here soon - two companies are selling jetpacks.

The full-body scan technology is now being used on U.S. streets. The application makes sense: scan vehicles on the streets to see their contents like bombs and illegal substances. Oh, wait a minute. In America we have the fourth amdendment to the Constitution that limits search and seizure. Rats, it seems that someone forgot the Constitution. 

Be careful when you run experiments on the real world instead of in a lab. Duke slipped a bit and disrupted the Internet. Yes, Internet simulators are costly and are only simulations, but the danger of a boo-boo is greatly reduced.

This is a pleasant essay on living with enough. Contentment is a blessing.

Draw a picture, then write about it. I have used this technique so long that I didn't realize I was doing it. "Drawing" is used loosely here. Many of my drawings contain lots of words, and few others would consider them drawings.

Writing never gets easier. Sometimes I wish it would, but then where would the fun be?

Some manuscript submission guidelines.
 at Facebook would have done something like this.

Back to basics - go to the Library.

Two things I like in this post: (1) stop trying to "be creative," and (2) get rid of the "thinking out of the box" cliche.

Good places to look to find writing jobs. One thing, write daily even if you don't have a writing "job." Writers write. Writers are paid for a small portion of what we write.

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