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: September 6-12, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 6,  2010

Today is Labor Day in the U.S., and Seth Godin has a few comments on what it means to him.

Today is a Monday, but the sites that I frequent are acting like it is a Sunday.

And another look at Labor Day and Labor Unions. Sometimes labor unions kill themselves and everyone else in the community to prove a point.

This really small portable computer from Samsung has two versions of 4G networking built in. That is pretty impressive. Now if someone would just broadcast any of those 4G signals.

IBM has a production model 5.2GHz processor - the world's fastest.

On the state of the practice in home robots. We have a ways to go and we may not want to go there. I do, however, find some useful machines that will allow the elderly and infirmed to live in their own homes. I like those applications.

And another idea I like, a gubernatorial candidate in Nevada proposes allowing people to pay $25 a day for the privilege of driving 90 MPH. If you live on the Washington D.C. beltway, don't panic. I have driven east to west across Nevada. If your vehicle is in good working condition, this is a safe speed to travel.

This is a great technology breakthrough - a "tea bag" that you put in the top of a bottle, pour water from the bottle through the bad and it is safe to drink.

Let's try to walk through this complex financial situation: (1) The U.S. has higher tax rates on corporations than many other countries. (2) These corporations go to lower taxed countries to hire people and make money. (3) The U.S. loses all the corporate taxes it could have collected as well as all the individual income taxes on the jobs it lost as well as all the money that these people spend in the communities as well as...enough. (4) These corporations could spend their profits in other countries. (5) These corporations could spend their profits in the U.S. if Congress would change some tax laws. Hmmm. Let's think a moment here. Does Congress want Google, just one example, to spend $30 Billion outside the U.S. or inside the U.S.? Hmmm, tough decision if you are a Congressman. Seems like an easy decision to me.

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Tuesday September 7, 2010

This is a GREAT graphic on modern science. It traces and links the works of many scientists. Must see.

MIT researchers have made some self-repairing photovoltaic cells. Maybe this will come to fruition one day.

Take a photo of these British stamps on your Android or iPhone and software triggers things. They claim these are intelligent stamps. They seem to be links to other applications. I don't see the intelligence there, but this is a neat application.

How about removing co-pilots on commercial flights to save money? I think this is a disaster. The primary reason that pilots sit in the front of the plane is to give confidence to the passengers. The technology for having commerical planes fly by remote control has existed for decades. This is a form of the "eat your own dogfood" situation. If you don't trust the safety of your planes enough to fly on them yourself, who else would?

I see promise in this idea - self-powered parts. Why have a power supply when the parts can generate their own power?

This could be an interesting toy. It is a radio controlled helicopter that has two cameras. Your controller is your iPhone et al and you see the imagery live. Fun.

About thinking, solving problems, and patterns of such.

The CEO of "The CEO and the Movie Star" is now at Oracle.

Despite high profits, the tech sector isn't hiring. There are no guarantees out here in the world.

Sigh, another wonderful, simple, and peaceful office.

Two great things here: (1) a Nerf gun with everything, and (2) a high-tech, high-quality blog that shows it.

There is more to video games than great graphics. Some also have some good writing hidden in there.

This is a neat idea. Many surface-to-air missiles (shoot down helicopters) look for heat. If you can't shoot down the missile, you try to trick it into going after something else like a flare you drop. Here is a different method - use a laser on your helicopter to generate false heat signatures in the air.

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Wednesday September 8, 2010 

The ACLU is taking the government to court over the search and siezure of portable computers at U.S. borders. I wish them well on this one.

And maybe they could go after this one as well: a Federal judge says law enforcement doesn't need a court order to obtain location data on people from their cell phone logs. Pull the battery from your phone or leave it at home. There are ways to defeat this. Oh, and the evil Bush administration isn't doing this - the current administration is.

An electric plug that reduces the opportunity for children to shock themselves
. This seems practical to me.

Seiko introduces a watch with an e-ink display.

A new take on the candle
- yes the candle. Actually this is a new, fancy form of lantern, but it is cute.

HP is suing its former CEO of "The CEO and the Movie Star."

This looks strange, but it is an excellent use of technology. This is a small robotic device that helps stroke victims regain the use of their fingers.

A Swiss team has a brain-controlled wheel chair. What sets this one apart is the use of AI to augment the human control with obstacle avoidance and other such safety features. Great use of technology.

Some researchers in Utah are able to translate brain "waves" into words. I see this as a great aid to stroke victims.

IBM is using its World Community Grid of PCs to research how to provide cleaner water to a billion people. A like that use of idle computing power.

This is a new one for me - the Apple Peel. It is a slip-on case that has a slot for a SIM card. It turns your iPod touch into a cell phone.

Here are two tablet computers from the country of Columbia (not to be confused with Columbia, Maryland).

Those $35 tablet computers from India are promised in January.

Samsung plans to ship ten million tablet computers.

Here is the world's smallest electric-powered airplane. Neat toy.

The online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It is online, it is reviewed by panels of experts, and you and I cannot edit it. There is value in such a thing. There are only 1,200 entries so far. Here is the one on Alan Turning.

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Thursday September 9, 2010

The Department of Homeland Security has hundreds of security holes in its own IT systems. I guess the cliche of "physician heal thyself" or something like that is applicable.

A new term for me - "snake-oil security." Evidently, lots of people are spending lots of money on security products that are about as much help as oil squeezed out of a snake. See, for example, the story above where the entire DHS is snake-oil security.

The Big Bang Theory may be proved wrong. So much for everything taught in science classes for the last few generations.

A small prototype demonstrates that you can lift a rocket with microwaves instead of lots of on-board fuel.

Telephones have been working on the so-called VGC or Voice Grade Channel of 4KHz bandwidth for, well since they were invented. The bandwidth may soon widen. Who knew we really wanted HD TV until we saw it. Perhaps the same will happen when we widen the Voice Grade Channel.

Some California schools will replace Algebra textbooks with iPads. Cute, but just change the teaching methods instead.

An Iowa school district is asking kids to have a PIN so they can monitor what they eat. Here is another old idea - have someone watch the trash can to see what kids don't eat. Duh.

Some tech history - how companies got their names.

Another ooops for the climate change crowd - the estimate of ice lost should be cut in half
. Yes, they missed by 100%. What's a few decimal points among friends? It isn't like anyone is contemplating spending billions of dollars based on these findings. oooops again.

Google "Instant" came out yesterday. Search results appear as you type letters. This works pretty well. Let's back up a step or two. (1) Remember the day when a new version of software on the market meant that disks where shipped in big cardboard boxes and you had to go to a store to buy them? Now new software appears. (2) This software product runs online, not on my computer. (3) New software comes out whenever. There is no quarterly or whatever update. (4) Some thought could probably produce a few more numbers in parentheses.

A wonderful desk for a writer.

Dell is still selling computers loaded with Windows XP. B U T this is it! October 22nd deadline is really, really, really final. Of course people still want XP. There are millions of systems out there written for XP that have not been ported to Win 7. There aren't commercial applications, but in-house ones that people need to do their jobs.

The 15" screen is still the king of portable computers.

George Will on the politics of identity (race) vs. the politics of ideas. You may never guess which political party puts race ahead of ideas.

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Friday September 10, 2010

Here is a concept that appears to be maturing quite well. Carry your "computer" on a USB memory stick. Plug it into a big machine somewhere, access the "cloud" (Google Docs for me), and leave no trace behind on the big machine you borrow. This one is called CloudUSB.

A subway system is going to generate much of its own electricity. There is mechanical energy everywhere. Much of it can be transformed into electical energy. Just do it.

The iPad killed the SmartBook. Lots of nice marketing in that phrase. I guess there are some technical reasons there as well. Us Techie, engineer types need to get used to this type of stuff. The "computer" is now an applicance; it is now a piece of jewelry, like a wristwatch. Its all in the accessories.

Speaking of wristwatches, someone has done a clever thing turning the new iPod Nano into a wristwatch.

Kno receives more funding, so we may actually see their giant dual-screen what-you-may-call-it computer thing textbook.

Online programming classes for women only. I know that if someone did something for men only people would howl. But I guess this is okay.

I use the Google Reader RSS feed everyday, but here are a list of keyboard shortcuts that I didn't know. Amazing how they use some of the vi editing keystrokes in this.

This is a fascinating topic, or at least it is for one person. He made a 12-volume set of books that has every edit in the Wikipedia page "The Iraq War." There is only one copy of the printed book, and it is not for sale. Many people have much spare time if they can write 12-volumes of comments and changes. This is our modern or postmodern world. We have spare time and energy and brains and we can do things like this.

Sigh, our tax dollars being spent at the TSA (notice I didn't write our tax dollar at work becuase this doesn't seem like productive work in any way). A TSA poster warning against people who take photos of airplanes. I recall transiting the Hong Kong airport in the early 1980s. Photographs were not allowed there as they weren't allowed in most airports outside the U.S. Different countries, different rights. Folks, in the U.S. we have citizens. Citizens have rights. In many countries there are subjects. Subjects don't have rights. Hence, this "citizen of the world" stuff is bologna.

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Saturday September 11, 2010

No viewing today.

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Sunday September 12, 2010

Microsoft's Office for Mac 2011 is on schedule to be released in late October. Whew. They made it before 2012 came around.

A U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld a software user agreement. If the fine print says you don't have a right to resell a product, you don't have a right to resell a product. What are you to do? Buy another product instead. What if all the makers have the same user agreement? Build your own product. This is the market folks.

Cisco doubles the pay of its CEO. Actually the growth from about $9 to $18Million came through the value of stock options. Still, this will aggravate some. This is the market folks.

GoDaddy is for sale. It should bring about a Billion dollars. For what? Again, this is the market folks.

GE closes the last incandescent light bulb factory in America in Winchester, Virginia. That is an hour from my house. This is a example of government clobbering an industry. This is not the market folks. Oh, by the way, the jobs lost here are going out of the country. Sometimes I wonder if the government wants Americans to have jobs.

Birmingham, England is spending about $50,000 a day to keep its web site running. That is NOT how the market folks. That is government.

The Patent Office admits that it takes six years not three years to either be awarded a patent or have an application rejected. There are 730,000 patent applications pending. Again, that is government.

A setback for the Boeing Hummingbird - unmanned helicopter.

Android will soon be the most popular operating system for mobile applications.

Some experience with a telepresence robot. Telepresence, you stay in California but wander about the New York office remotely, is an interesting application of basic technologies. I think it is a good application as it saves on travel time and allows some presence in a remote office.

I like this advice - don't buy a new computer for college. Buy a used one and install Linux. This is especially good advice for liberal arts majors who will use their computer as a typewriter with storate. Maybe they will do a few spreadsheets, but writing is the major application.

The Dual-Track Vehicle - this looks silly at first, but watch the videos. It is sort of like a skateboard with tracks. I find myself unable to stop watching the videos. This does more than a motor cycle and can be remotely controlled.

Some tips on mind mapping.

Information on the "Millenials" at work. These are the folks who are now between 18 and 30 (=/- 2). They won't use the corporate email. Threaten to fire them. Go ahead. Threaten to fire them. They really don't care. I have yet to decide if people in this group will use their fierce independence to create wonderful things or if they will just be another bunch of whiners who do nothing. No doubt the answer is somewhere in between.

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