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 11-17, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 11,  2010

Perhaps one day books will be written about the phenomenon of the iPad. Once only sold in the Apple store, the iPad has moved into Best Buy, Target, and now Wal-Mart.

A Gmail plug-in that tracks how long the email has been out without reply and other such things. I suppose this is helpful to somone.

Here is a year-old photo of one of Google's self-driving cars on a California highway. I am amazed that Google was able to keep this research "secret."

A lot of people are commenting on Google's automobile research. Here is a commentary on the commentary. I believe that Google has done a wonderful thing with the money that it earned honestly. Despite what we hear from the current occupant of the White House, big businesses aren't all run by vile, greedy crooks.

Some people think that the Silicon Valley types are wasting their time. They need to work on important problems like how to convince everyone that the Federal government should run the health care system because all American doctors are stupid and greedy. Something important like that.

Here is a shocker (not): intelligence services the world over have been trying to learn about Iran's nuclear program.

A new species of carnovoire has been discovered in Madagascar. File this one under biology. Also file it under "we really don't know that much about our planet."

Alaska is selling some of its fresh water to India. This could be a salvation or a horror. See above story about us not knowing much about our planet.

They are building their own operating system in India. I don't know why this doesn't happen much more often. We know how to build operating systems. Creating them from scratch is neither difficult nor expensive. Why on earth do we trust voting machines to existing operating systems when building a single-user, single-tasking operating system would be far more secure and effective?

Virgin Galactic takes another step forward with a flight test of its SpaceShipTwo. The ship was released at 45,000 feet and glided to a safe landing.

Ubuntu 10.10 is now available.
UnLogo - outstanding use of computer vision technology. The software finds corporate logos in video and blanks them out.

Ooooh, an excellent home office makeover.

TDK has developed a 1 TeraByte optical disk. This is amazing folks.

Samsung's newest display has an even smaller bezel. You can stack these things and make an impressive wall display. I guess that is really important to some people.

Bill Gates believes that online classes could make a difference. I agree with him. Online classes have existed for years. We aren't using them well. Let's step out of the program and get with it.

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Tuesday October 12, 2010

The Windows Phone 7 was launched. We shall see if this works at all or goes the way of the, well what was it called, the Kin phone? Was that the name of it? Microsoft is still an American company, so I would like to see this succeed.

Ars Technica has been banned in Iran, or at least blocked there. This after Ars had a couple of pieces about the Stuxnet virus in Iran. I suppose this is some type of sucess for Ars. At least the Iranian government knows they exist.

Rice University has been running a free (government-sponsored) WiFi network in Houston. It will now use the newly allocated white spaces to do the same. This is all government-funded research for the greater good of someone. There have been far less useful expenditures of tax payers' dollars.

A new phrase for me: jargon monoxide. Sounds like the poisonous misuse of the English language. I like it.

Ooops, the Chevy Volt isn't an all-electric car. Rather it is a step closer to all electric than the Prius and other current hybrids, but it is still a hybrid. So much for Government Motors. As the day progresses, many attempts to spin the story occur. Now some want to change the definitions of hybrid and all electric and such. Just admit that it works better this way and go on. So much for managing expectations. So much for Government Motors. Your tax dollars at waste.

Google pours $5Billion into infrastructure for wind farms off the east coast of the U.S.

The Gates Foundation is putting $20Million up for use for improving online education. The program is called Next Generation Learning Challenges.

Some kids misbehave because that is the only way they obtain their parents' attention. Some employees misbehave because...ooops, duh.

A town in Florida is putting its data center in an old water tower. The reason is simple: the water tower was built to withstand hurricanes.

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Wednesday October 13, 2010 

Today is the first day that I am using a new release of the KompoZer HTML editor.

Intel had a big financial quarter. Many hope that others will follow and the recession will actually end. The problem here is that Intel sells the parts for computers. Companies are buying computers, but are not hiring people. Unemployment remains high, which means tax revenues remain low, and ... More on Intel's good fortunes here.

Intel and Microsoft are eagerly anticipating the Oak Trail CPU that will power tablet computers next year. This, they hope, will give them an edge over the iPad.

DARPA has developed a better telescopic sight for military snipers. This is the digital version (with improvements of course) of the analog ART (Auto Ranging Telescope) that has been in use for decades.

The trapped miners in Chile are rescued. This is really good news for the miners, their families, and their country. It is being portrayed as a success for the entire nation - we can do something right! This is also a great example of how the entire world is connected today through the Internet and television. A hundred years ago no one in America or Europe would have been aware of this.

Remember that planet discovered a couple of weeks ago by astronomers? The one that would support life? Well, no one else can find it. The experiment was not repeatable. Hence, the results are probably false.

Robin Hood still lives - an electrician near London pirated electric power to 1,500 homes.

Your tax dollars at waste. The IRS took their servers down over the Columbus Day weekend and couldn't bring them back up on Tuesday.

Guess what, many people are very good when it comes to passwords.

Semi-autonomous vehicles are being used to guard huge government facilities in Nevada.

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Thursday October 14, 2010

DARPA is trying to create a means of tracking what soldiers eat.

After being available for decades, video phone calls are finally gaining in usage.

If you know how a person uses their cell phone everyday, you can optimize things like the battery. This is great, but the cost is that you have to let someone watch you to learn how you use your cell phone everyday.

Have a computer translate voice from one language to another. We have been working on this for decades. We aren't there yet, but we (at least Google and Microsoft) are pretty darn close. Linguists are about to lose their jobs.

Badgers are digging up human remains at England's oldest graveyard.

IBM Australia is building a new international research center. We can't do this in America because the Federal government won't issue visas to the PhD-educated foreign-born researchers while it allows millions of uneducated illegal aliens to live in the country. There must be some great outcome of our current policies that I am unable to understand.

Apple is to have a "back to the Mac" event next week. The rumors are about an operating system update as well as updates to the portable computers - especially the thin MacBook Air.

Your tax dollars at waste. The Federal government has 2,000 data centers, not 1,000 as had been reported previously. The current administration wants to consolidate these and save lots of money. That is a good goal, but since they can't count well I have doubts that they will save a penney.

Microsoft is building a system to allow cell phones to use WiFi sites that fly buy as you drive. The results to date are surpisingly optimistic.

Apple is now the third largest computer vendor in the U.S. with 10.6% of the market. I remember when Apple's share was a tenth of that.

Nation-E has converted a Hummer to all electric (as opposed to the hybrid Chevy Volt). This Hummer has enough spare battery capacity to charge other vehicles or power a small home in an emergency.

Samsung is using a new semiconductor making process that will double the capacity of its SD cards and thumb drives. The new products will be out real soon now.

Bruce Schneier analyzes the recent case of an FBI-planted GPS tracking device. Good analysis. Good questions. I know a lot of people who work at and with the FBI. They are not all as stupid as this case makes them appear. Someone over there is giving the rest of them a bad image.

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Friday October 15, 2010

Google continues to do well financially this year. It appears that Google will bring in $1Billion this year in the mobile market alone.

The iPad has been an amazing success. The really small portable computer, a.k.a. netbook, still dwarfs the iPad's sales. The netbooks are cheaper, more powerful, and so on.

Lexmark has a new scanner that uses a camera instead of a scanning bar. The result is that a scan takes less than a second. Great!

At one time this was called "farmsourcing," moving IT services and programmers to low-cost rural areas. I once wrote a paper for the Cutter IT Journal on this. It is a good deal if you like the rural life and a high-tech job. I do.

The C++ programming language is now 25 years old.

People are not buying 3D televisions. I know I am not. I don't understand what they are supposed to do or why I would want to experience it.

The price of copper is high. Hence, people are stealing the physical copper broadband lines.

Nine things that you don't have to do.

Here is a good use for thin, flexible displays - strap them to your wrist. Most of us won't need this, but they can be good for soldiers.

Us engineers and scientists have invaded the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. We are still infested with lawyers and those in the soft, i.e. junk, sciences.

This is neat - a self-balancing unicycle. It is only $1,500! It will go about 12 miles at 10 mph on a single charge.

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Saturday October 16, 2010

This is excellent - tablet computers likes the iPad are proving to be a great platform for applications that aid special needs kids.

Some rumors on the coming update to the MacBook Air.

Some people are blogging that they never use their CD drive. I use my CD drive a lot on my Apple portable computer. Then again, data that I would move with a USB thumb drive I have to move with a CD. That is because the USB ports at work are disabled. All this is in anticipation of the update to the MacBook Air.

The last time AutoDesk offered AutoCad for the Macintosh was 18 years ago. The wait is over. The super-powered Mac Pro is a great machine for AutoCad.

I just love these studies. Tell us things like how dirty our cell phones are.

I also like this study - sleeping more every night helps you lose weight.

An external Solid State Drive. I thought that is what USB thumb drives were. There are some advantages to this form factor.

The use of automation in manufacturing, a.k.a. robots, is eliminating middle-class jobs in America. So says this study.

Finally, an idea I like from the airlines - you and your wife buy three seats for the price of 2 1/2 seats. You can lie down and sleep.

We are moving, as some say, into a post-PC world. The iPad is a good example. As with almost all changes, there are good and point points.

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Sunday October 17, 2010

Some thoughts on the current MacBook Air and possible updates. Heat and the price are among the current issues. The Air is expensive compared to all other portable computers.

The MIT Media Lab is 25 years old now. Here are some of their projects.

Tips on using Mind Maps. I use mind mapping frequently. They work well for me. As usual, try these things. If they work for you, use them. Otherwise, move on.

Twenty inspirational qoutes to brighten your day. Sometimes these are the type of things we need.

A few tips on shortening and lengthening a piece of writing.

The "real work" of writing comes in the rewriting. Here are some thoughts on rewriting a book. It is a lot of hard work.

Turn a dining room table into a desk for two people. This really works as I often use our dining room table as a weekend desk. The one problem I have is that the chairs are too low. I pile cushions from the couch in the dining room chairs to raise myself up to my computer.

I have found at least one person who writes in a bunch of different notebooks - sort of like me.

The Novel notebook - one author's tool for organizing thoughts for a novel. I like this idea, but then I am an organizer person.

Fitting more in the standard day. Here is the way one person does it. You have to decide what you are going to do and not do.

Reasons why you should do the NaNoWriMo in Novermber. I am 98.6% sure that I will do it this year.

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