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: October 4-10, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 4,  2010

A great qoute: “The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts the moment you get up and doesn’t stop until you get into the office.” ~ Robert Frost. I have to wonder if Frost worked for the government. And the rest of this blog post is pretty good as well. There is a lot of fear in the list of things that crush creativity. Create first, edit later. There will be plenty of time for editing and killing ideas later.

T-Mobile sort of has a 4G HSPA+ network in San Francisco and San Jose.

Samsung shows WiMax 2. When will we get WiMax 1?

Acer now has a really small portable computer with a dual-core Atom for only $300. This is quite impressive to see. You can buy a lot of little computer for a little money these days.

LG's tablet computer has been delayed until January 2011.

When you bury a time capsure, be sure to seal it from moisture.

Two thirds of MS Windows users are still using XP. We still use it at work. But then again, we are a government contractor and have to stay compatible with the government.

A father and son team from Brooklyn launch a baloon to 100,000 feet. It had an HD video camera on board. Great!

Buffalo is now the data center capital of the world. The cold weather there is a bonus at it provides cheap cooling for the computers Duh! When will people ever figure out that there is plenty of cool air out there waiting to be used?

The Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago.

And we now have a travel warning for Americans in Europe. I thought that once the evil George Bush was out of office that everyone in the world would love us Americans. I was misinformed.

Congress may raise the retirement age for Social Security. Congress has a problem in passing laws in that they don't include a formula. Instead of saying that you can collect Social Securty when you reach 90% of some life expectancy number, they put in a fixed number. Then, because of fear, they don't change the number. Social Security was created to provide income the last five years of a person's life. Now people live for 20 and 30 years on Social Security. Duh. There are plenty of other examples in U.S. law. See, for example, the AMT.

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Tuesday October 5, 2010

Apple has to pay $200Million in a patent infringement case. Apple may appeal. Apple has some grounds for showing that they had the technology first. Sigh, whoever decided to give a patent instead of a copyright for software? Your tax dollars at waste.

Red Hat, in the same Federal court, settled a patent dispute case for much less money.

Still, the UK Prime Minister is a big Apple user.

Skype now works on Android phones if you are in the right country. The USA is not one of the right countries.

West Virginia sits atop a geothermal hot spot. Now some people are speculating about drilling really deep holes in the group to let the heat rise and use for energy. I think those folks should take a long nap and do something else.

One Laptop Per Child will receive $5.6Million from Marvell to develop their next tablet computer.

Some history on Charles Babbage and his Analytical Engine. He was 100 years ahead of his time.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer, or Exploder as a colleague calls it, has dropped to slightly less than 50% market share.

My teddy bear never did this stuff.

Lenovo has sold 60 million ThinkPads over the years. They calculate that to 14 every minute.

Barnes and Noble introduces their own self-publishing service - Publt! I will look into this.

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Wednesday October 6, 2010 

Some Apple news
Mercedes is using iPads in all its dealerships as a portable computer. They process loans on the showroom floor with the iPad. I never understood why all car dealerships weren't doing this all the time.
Target is attempting to sell iPads, but has everything locked away out of reach. They aren't selling many - no surprise.
Android overtakes Apple in the smart phone market.
The iPad has been adopted faster than any new product in history.

A review of the Apple Mac Pro with 12 cores. A supercomputer under your desk.

A recent study of the planet's oceans revealed 750,000 previously unknown species. I suppose there is much we don't know about our planet and especially its oceans. Yet somehow lawyers understand the climate a thousand years back and a thousand years into the future. That seems odd to me.

Videoconferencing for the home is become cheaper and easier. Put on your clothes before exiting the bathroom or bedroom.

People are packing more pixels per inch in their displays. Amazing stuff. Just in time for my failing eyesight.

A practical, wearable augmented reality device inches closer to us.

Intel continues to push the envelope in SSD technology.

And Western Digital has a 3 TeraByte external disk drive. As the photo shows, it is the size of a passport. This is amazing stuff for an old guy like me. I am not sure what I would do with 3 TeraBytes, but there is someone out there who can use it.

Great - the map of online communities. Facebook really has taken over the world. What disturbs me, for some reason that I cannot yet put into words, is the size of the Farmville community. Yikes. Also look at the link for some history.

Facebook will show a redesign tomorrow

A spammer in Canada has been fined $1Billion. I hope no depends on collecting the money. This is just strange.

The District of Columbia tried a new online voting system. They first opened it up for testing. Within 36 hours hackers had total control of the system. The hackers could do anything they wanted in the systems including ensuring any candidate would win any election. Okay, now lets move to national electronic health records and put every house in America on a smart grid. I don't know how many times we have to demonstrate the insecurity of computer software before the lawyers in Congress figure it out.

Steve Ballmer sort of leaked that a Windows-based tablet computer will be available before Christmas.

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Thursday October 7, 2010

Signs abound of the coming update to the MacBook Air.

Here, someone agrees with me that the smart grid power grid is a big security hole waiting for someone to hack for fun and profit. Never underestimate what some people consider to be fun.

Some details on Google's WebP image compression.

More on the trials and tribulations in crafting ACTA. This seems to be a law that no one likes, but the momentum to have such a law is unstoppable. I call this negative synergy; some call it groupthink. It is yet another example of your tax dollars at waste.

The Mexican government is pulling out of ACTA.

Can't throw a life preserver 150 meters? Use this "bazooka" instead. Please be careful not to hit the person in the water as that would hurt - a lot.

Three Britains created public key encryption in the early 1970s. Their work was classified by the government, and they almost disappeared from history.

The current resident of the White House is going to stick solar panels on the roof. I hope these are not permanent. They are such an eyesore. Maybe one day residents of the White House will understand that they do not own that house. They are merely temporary residents who live there at the pleasure of the citizens.

CEOs of high tech companies have a suggestion for how the Federal government can save a trillion dollars. It all has to do with approaching IT the way private industry does it. I doubt any of the advice will be implemented. Your tax dollars at waste.

A little supervisory advice on working with people who have made mistakes. Given that we all make mistakes, this could be used frequently.

Somone has put an iPod touch into a home remote control unit. This looks neat, and it probably works just fine. This is a good example of integrating systems into a completely new system.

Sony has built a 16MegaPixel camera for cell phones. As usual, the problem is the cell phones don't have a good camera lens.

Once you buy the Government Motors Chevy Volt for $50,000, you can buy this charger for $2,000. And this is all going to save us  money. I think. At least that is what they keep telling us.

Here is the map of Verizon's rollout of LTE (4G).

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Friday October 8, 2010

This is fantastic. Berkely's eLegs exoskeleton enables a woman to walk for the first time in 18 years! This should be on the front page of every newspaper in America. Such is the culmination of decades of progress in computing, software, hardware, materials, power sources, and many other contributing technologies.

Ready for purchase right now, today, right now is this Android-powered tablet computer from CherryPal.

From MIT students, a webcam and a little software can monitor your pulse from a distance. No wires, no tangles, none of that old stuff.

The state-of-the-art in graphics calculators from Casio.

A student finds an FBI GPS tracking device hidden in his car. Lots of photos and embarassed FBI agents. The device is surprisingly crude. For a student to find it, it wasn't concealed well either.

The Israelis have built a gyroscope the size of a grain of sand. This post discusses the locating of people who are out of reach of GPS satellites. Such people are in caves, mines, burning and collapsed buildings and the like. This is pretty good.

A lot of college professors fled Iraq. Technology has allowed them to teach college in Iraq while not being in Iraq.

The rings of Saturn may be what is left of a moon that exploded.

Some notes on the future of the One Laptop Per Child project. Maybe the rest of the world will build a $50 tablet computer so OLPC won't have to.

Flat pay in the IT field is leading many to seek another career.

Oxford's Bodleian Library adds 153 miles of shelf space. This is the oldest English-language library in the world. It is a pretty neat place to visit.

This sounds a bit goofy, but perhaps it isn't. Some people in the UK have learned that they can mix mud, seaweed extract, and refuse wool fibers to make a strong brick. They don't have to put the bricks in an oven, so these strong bricks use much less energy to produce. Goofy? Maybe, but also maybe quite practical.

Your tax dollars at waste - The Federal Trade Commission is proposing updating its guidelines for calling a product "green." Russ Limbuagh told the tale of a gasoline-powered alarm clock that was given the "green" label. It is a farse. Well, at least the FTC is proposing something new.

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Saturday October 9, 2010

Instead of a rover rolling around the moon or Mars, how about a "hopper?"

Some thoughts from a woman who has started companies on why women don't often start companies.

In the background, way in the background, Google has built cars that drive themselves in traffic. And they have driven 140,000 miles on real roads to prove it. Here is the story from Google.

An interesting way to look at things reveals that someone from the mid-1800s would recognize today's school rooms. Ouch.

More on the easy hacking of an online election system.

A writer writing novels using vim (an ASCII text editor). I have done the same; it works just fine.

A Carnegie Mellon computer is reading the Internet and learning how to speak English.

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Sunday October 10, 2010

If you write your dates in a certain way, today is 10/10/10 and that means something wonderful to some people. In China, this is known as double ten and marks a mostly forgotten anniversary of Chinese independence.

A Chinese subject wins the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Chinese government does everything it can to block the news from reaching the rest of its subjects.

A German university team has performed a feat similar to that of Google with a self-driving car. Amazing.

A Body Area Network (BAN) transmits your vital numbers to your cell phone. The cell phone then sends the numbers to your doctor in real time, 24 hours a day. This is another example of integrating existing technologies with some software and producing a new and useful system.

NASA is photoshopping its images from space. NASA explains the efforts, and in some way the explanations seem legitimate. One still has to ask why. If NASA has a good reason to touch up the photos they put on their site, they should put those reasons as a footnote to the photo. Waiting until other people reveal the doctoring of the photos only breeds mistrust in yet another government organization. Come on NASA, think a little bit.

Someone built a small building out of old yellow pages books. I like this. What a great home project. I don't think that my wife would let me do it.

Apple buys an acre of land in North Carolina for $1.7M. Why couldn't I have bougth that land 30 years ago?

In praise of the Moleskine notebook. I too use Moleskine as my journal. Here is some history on the revival of the product.

The Red Pen Rule for writing. After writing a piece (draft, edit, edit, edit, finished), delete 30% of it. The 30% figure is aproximate as anything from 20% to 50% will do.

Ten free pieces of software for writers.

A nice qoute: "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense." Ralph Waldo Emerson

The rules are grammar can often stifle your creativity. Just let go and write. There will be plenty of editors available later.

Sometimes a writer has a piece to write. But then fear sets in and the blank screen stares back for hours. Some tips on fighting through.

It seems that stretching before exercising is bad for you. This, of course, is opposite of what trainers said for a couple of decades. Now let's see, are eggs good for you or bad for you? I have lost track of the flip flopping on that one as well.

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