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 20-26, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 20,  2010

Google is introducing a two-step authentication, i.e., two passwords to login. This will help security an order of magnitude. I am not sure that it will be popular. My guess is that it will be optional. It is, however, attractive to people running their applications and storing their data on Google's cloud.

The border-based laws in the European Union may kill cloud computing there. The Europeans have a choice: catch up with the times and move forward or be left behind.

Oracle's Exalogic - a cloud-in-a-box system.

The use of SMS (texting) in the U.S. is rising. This post has a nice history of SMS in Europe and then America.

The Flip video camera is upgraded.

Some thoughts on human-powered appliances. I would love to own a set of batteries that I could recharge with an exercise bike - just like on Gilligan's Island. That would be great for power loss due to weather and such. Why can't I buy such a thing?

A new Pentax camera with a 16 MegaPixel sensor.

Coming, a cool portable printer from HP.

Some history of the Stanford Research Park. I visited there a few years ago. I liked it. The cost of living in the area is incredibly high. I don't know how the research park survives with that.
Capturing carbon dioxide so that it doesn't go into the atmosphere. One day we may look back on this and shake our heads. Back in the early 1960s Doctors presribed a cigarette and coffee diet for women to lose weight after give birth. Then there was the hysteria diagnosis and treatment a few generations further back. Capturing carbon and carbon offsets. Oh well.

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Tuesday September 21, 2010

Remember yesterday's note about stuffing carbon dioxide into the earth? Here is another one in the "should we really be trying to fix the world?" category. New York city had too many rats. Solution? Introduce oppossums; they would eat the rats and then die off from starvation. Result? Now New York city has too many rats and too many oppussums. You would think... Oh never mind. People in government are just so smart that the rest of us don't have a chance so we might as well stop trying to think.

Apple is working on something called the iPad Newstand. I can guess what this is. Hey, your magazine or newspaper would appear on the iPad, and there are millions of iPads out there already. But do you become captive to Apple? A business decision.

For the seventh straight year, Apple has the most satisfied customers.

The Senate is pushing a "renewable" energy bill. Perhaps there isn't much harm in this proposal. At least I hope so.

The GM all-electric Cruze. Looks okay. How much will it cost, i.e., is this real or just another $50,000 stunt?

Or why not buy a really nice electric car from Mercedes?

Hewlett-Packard settles with their former CEO of "The CEO and the Movie Star" drama. The scriptwriters continue to revise their work to keep up with reality.

Extreme conditions? How about a sensor that works at 900 degrees C?

How about an 80 MegaPixel camera? Why not.

Two new all-in-one computers from HP.

It looks like New York and London will have cell phone coverage underground in their subway systems.

IBM buys Netezza for $1.7Billion. This is all about moves into the "business intelligence" arena. I'm not sure what this means except that someone just got rich.

And IBM is investing money in Africa. I lived in West Africa for two years. The major problem is still the inability to think beyond the tribe. That brings a lot of corruption on the national level where sometimes billions of dollars are wasted. Still, there is hope.

Some history of North Carolina's Research Triangle. Also note the mention of Cary, North Carolina. I have visited Cary or, as many natives call it, Containment Area for Re-located Yankees.

Fascinating descriptions of London during "the blitz" of 1940 from George Orwell.

I have to get one of these Etch a Sketch cases for my iPad. This is just too cool.

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Wednesday September 22, 2010 

Education departments in Australia are excited about the iPad and are trying all sorts of experiments with it. Maybe they will find something of value.

Several of the virtual  meeting services now work on the iPad - like GoToMeeting and WebEx.

Are we ready for digital textbooks? We are ready for excellent digital textbooks. We are still ready and waiting for excellent paper textbooks. There are thing we can do with digital textbooks that we cannot do with paper textbooks. Still, content is important. See, e.g., all the lousy movies coming out now that feature 3D technology, but have a plot that bores a three year old.

Have you ever looked at your friend's driver's license photo and found that you couldn't recognize them? This software attempts to help witnesses identify suspects by altering the mug shots so that people look like real people. It seems to work. Yet, is this ethical?

Entertaining fans at NFL games. The NFL has learned that technology (giant televisions) is allowing more fans to stay at home to watch games instead of coming to the stadiums and buying $10 cokes and hot dogs. They are trying to improve the "in-stadium experience." How about selling cokes and hot dogs for a dollar? How about selling really good food for a dollar? How about providing excellent service at the games? The kind of thing that you don't get at home in your den?

Carry a big battery in your backpack to recharge all your little devices. Pretty good idea. On my Grand Canyon Colorado River rafting trip this summer I carried a device that used AAA batteries to recharge my iPhone (camera). That worked well.

An architect creates clouds inside a building to give a more natural feel. It seems that you would just get wet, but I have never been in such a building. Maybe it is better?

Creating a 3D model of your face from a single, plain photograph.

A few high-end items from Hasselblad: A 50MegaPixel sensor to add to your camera. And you can step down to a 31MegaPixel camera and only pay $13K.

New York City now has WiMax service.

NVIDIA's CEO promises new GPUs every year.

LifeLine Energy is distributing its newest hand-crank or solar powered radios in Africa and Pakistan. The new models include all sorts of digital-related features (MP3, USB, and such). Great stuff. Great Stuff.

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Thursday September 23, 2010

Apple updates its office applications for the iPad. Now you can move documents up to the cloud.

Some thoughts on nuclear energy in America's future. Jerry Pournelle often writes about this topic. The U.S. among the few "industrial" nations that has stayed away from nuclear power. It seems that was a big mistake some 30 years ago.

And some thoughts on the smart electric grid. The one where hackers can tell if you are home by looking at your power usage. There is much to be saved in energy efficiency. Putting that information out on the Internet is a really bad idea until you can guarantee privacy and security, and I don't know how anyone can guarantee those things.

The state of practice in really small portable computers from ASUS. Whatever happened to the idea of keeping it really simple and inexpensive? Where is the $100 computer writing machine?

The WhiteyBoard - a stick on, peel off white board.

Blockbuster video is finally filing for bankruptcy. This used to be a great place to rent those movies on VHS tapes. My grandson is almost two years old. One of his favorite activities when he visits me is to watch Disney musicals on a VHS tape. One day he can tell his grandchildren about the wait you experience while rewinding tapes.

I've never heard this name in the silicon business - Marvell.

The world's largest wind farm is now operating off the coast of Britain.

Information on 3-D printers. Maybe we should change the name of these things. I mean, I would love to see a printer that exists in only two dimensions. Wow, that would change everything we know about the physical world. I would even love to see a printer that can print in only two dimensions. Oh well.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is donating $100 Million to the public school system in Newark, New Jersey. This is certainly a nice gesture on his part. I hate to see how the government education system squanders this money. This, however, is the kind of thing that helps America. If I were President, I would spend most of my time talking to America's rich about using their money in such a manner instead of expanding the Federal government. Just me though.

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Friday September 24, 2010

The FCC has finally approved use of the white spaces. More on the story.

It seems that Facebook was down today for a few hours. I didn't notice. I did go to Facebook this morning, but didn't notice the outage.

Apple is working on even smaller audio jacks for headphones. Smaller connectors allow for even smaller iPods.

More rumors of a smaller MacBook Air coming. It has been three years since the Air was introduced as the world's thinnest computer.

The Panasonic U1 Toughbook. At $2,800 it is a bit pricey. It is, however, a tough portable computer now with a screen that you are supposed to be able to read in direct sunlight. Have you ever seen someone at the beach with a towel over their head?

More Panasonic - the race for the world's largest HD screen now goes to the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

An attempt to bulid a robotic window washer. They still have a few hurdles in the way here.

A clever idea - this USB memory stick is built into or has a built in paper clip. You clip a soft copy of a document to the hardcopy of the document. If you work in an office where they permit USB memory sticks (I don't), this could be of use.

This prediction sounds frightful, but I have to admit that it will probably come to pass. By 2050, robots will play soccer better than humans. Soccer is a sport dominated by skill, movement, vision, and teamwork. Some sports - like American football - don't require so much of these skills, so robots should surpass humans at that by 2030.

Netflix now has a deal with NBC where they will stream year-old programs. Now I can watch all those programs that I didn't want to watch last year.

The Director of the National Security Agency is calling for a sort-of-separate, secure area of the Internet for government and critical infrastucture. I know this will cost money, but it would probably be a good idea.

If this is possible, what isn't. Here we have a human-powered flapping-win aircraft. Great.

Lower-cost, six-core processors from AMD.

U.S. colleges are not quickly adopting the iPad.

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Saturday September 25, 2010

No viewing today.

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Sunday September 26, 2010

Ooops, a bunch of big-name, high-tech U.S. companies have been caught agreeing not to hire each other's employees. This keeps down salaries and competition and runs afoul of anti-trust laws and such. It also looks like there are evil old men running these companies.

Do you want to make a great ad for your high-tech device? Give it to a cute kid and stand back.

A robot that cleans hard floors vice vacuuming carpets.

A tablet computer from Avaya. It is really more of a smart telephone than a computer. That is an interesting step to the side for tablet computers. It may be important.

More news that Apple is building a portable computer with an 11-inch screen. They are remaking the iBook G4 that I used to use. I really liked that computer with the smaller screen and longer battery life. The new 11-inch model may be a MacBook or a Mac Air.

An interesting way to build a table for your apartment.

Some advice on slowing your life and reducing anxiety. Good advice. Number one is learning to say "no." I recommend this for many people I know. I also know some people who say "no" all the time and need to say "yes" to a few things to get themselves up off the couch. I suppose most of us need a referee in our lives to help us know the difference.

Who, what, when, why, where, and how. Simple stuff, but quite powerful.

Several stereotype views of Europe. Silly or funny or sad.

There are days when life is not great. Write anyways. Write especially on these days.

Do you really want to be a professional writer? Read this post. It can be a tough profession.

And some tips on the business side of being a professional writer.

For all the noise and excitement, eBook sales are only 6% of the book market.

Here are some good personal productivity tips.

And some tips on saving your sanity. Saying "no" is in this one as well.

The benefits of writing in a personal journal. I do this every day and I highly recommend it.

Some information on writing your life story.

A suit from JPL employees against NASA goes to the U.S. Supreme Court soon. At issue - can the government check the background of employees who do not have access to classified information?

Google is warning users of Gmail that the Chinese government may be trying to read all your mail

Sometimes it is hard to differentiate the governments of the United States and Communist China. And that evil George Bush isn't even the president anymore. Change? Hope? This is all a bit too bizarre for me.

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