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 18-24, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 18,  2010

The use of power lines in your home as data lines now has an IEEE Standard - IEEE 1901.

Over the next several months, Sprint will bring its 4G coverage to New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Washington D.C. already has this, but not in my neighborhood.

Intel and Microsoft haven't exactly ignored the iPad and other tablets, but they haven't made the tablet a keystone of their work. The reason? Although popular, the tablet market is just a small piece of the bigger computing market.

This is great - Legos, remote control, robotics, tiny video cameras. Just great.

Also on the Legos front and also great - a 3D printer made of Legos prints 3D Legos structures.

The use of Linux in corporate servers is gaining while Microsoft's products are losing. I remember when it was big news that Microsoft was gaining on IBM's operating systems.

Microsoft has made some ads about the failings of OpenOffice. One way to interpret this is that Microsoft is scared, scared a lot, of OpenOffice (now called LibreOffice).

Let's stop wasting time talking about ways to bury CO2 in the ground and start thinking about the real problem - the earth may not be big enough for all of us come 2030.

We could all be driving jet-powered cars. We wouldn't need the speed, but the efficiency would be great. Government regulation killed it.

I love the way George Will puts things into perspective. "There is way too much money in political campaigns. The money is distorting politics (and bribing politicians)," so "they" say.


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Tuesday October 19, 2010

This is something I shall have to spend more time with. A Google slideshow of interesting things.

Wow! Take a look at these fallout shelters or survival shelters or whatever they are. Big underground homes.

Freedom of speech lives in Canada. A university is told that it cannot punish students for their comments on Facebook. The comments were about a professor.

This one is odd: a thief stole a professor's computer. The thief then put all the data on the computer on a USB thumbdrive and mailed that to the professor.

Why is it that some people don't trust people who work in government? Case in point. Defense Secretary Gates said one thing a few months ago, but now the opposite is shown to be true. Trust is a precious and fragile thing. After 25+ years in government, I hate to report that many in government don't respect trust much.

Maybe this design will actually become something real - a desalinization plant that is powered by the sun.

What is we ran universities like Wikipeidia? Don't hold your breath waiting for an established university to go to this system. There is too much money at stake. Then again, someone may come along with nothing in their pockets and just do this.

This writer believes that Linux is dead as a desktop operating system. This is probably true as all desktop operating systems may be dead in ten years.

Here is one new gadget that I think I will avoid: an instant coffee straw.

Ray Ozzie was the chief software architect at Microsoft. "Was" is the key word as Mr. Ozzie has left Microsoft.

Apple has yet another record quarter. The dollars continue to pour in. A few more details here - almost 4 million Mac computers, 14 million iPhones, and 4 million iPad.

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Wednesday October 20, 2010 

Apple is to have a big event today. New OS? New applications? New MacBook Air?

Starbucks is rolling out its digital network today. When you "login" at a Starbucks WiFi (free) the features are to appear. I shall have to try this at lunch today.

And new from Micrsoft is Office365 - a collection of online applications. $6 per month per user? What?

Intel keeps moving forward. How about an $8Billion investment into new chip technologies so that the rest of us can have smaller, less expensive, and less power consuming computers? Those evil corporations ;-)

A robot arm that can bowl a strike every time. Just what the world needed. Perhaps something can come of this.

The Google Chrome browser version 7 is out on time.

Here is an electric-powered motorcycle. It will go 80 miles on a charge (plenty). It will cost about $9,000. That is close to practical. I wonder if it will be street legal in the U.S.

3TeraBytes of disk space for under $250 from Western Digital. Time marches on and technology continues to advance.

Seth Godin mention that most Americans will not buy a book this year. Such is always interesting, but neglects the idea that some people read lots of books without buying any books. There is a building nearby that loans you books to read. It is called a library.

Government-employed scientists have set up their own web site so they can tell the public what they are thinking. This is seen as a big deal. I don't get it. I also don't get it when scientists are employed by a governement and then those government-employed scientists say the government is anti-science. Perhaps I am missing something.

This may come to something. The bicycle rider is wearing a collar. If there is a collision, the collar inflates like an airbag.

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Thursday October 21, 2010

Apple held a big event yesterday. One of the announcements was a new MacBook Air really small portable computer. Here is one post about that. There are many out there. Here is a short, hands-on review. The smaller of the two Air models is quite attractive if you are moving about most of the time and want a full-sized keyboard.

Lost is the Apple show, you can now buy faster Mac Pros (the under-the-table supercomputer).

Requirements are SINs. An interesting perspective from Alistair Cockburn.

Why did it take 30 years for someone to do this? An R2D2 swimsuit for women.

Lenovo has a new line of desktop computers for business.

And Dell has a new line of portable computers.

Panasonic introduces a Blu-Ray disk burner. This is a quiet introduction for what may be a significant piece of hardware.

Netflix, who conquered a marketplace with a DVD-mailing service, is now do most of its business by downloading movies.

This took too much work, i.e., this college student has way too much time on his hands. Anyways, he embedded the lyrics of a Rick Ashtley song into a paper he wrote for an English class. You must give this kid an A.

In the too-much-time-on-your-hands department, these guys did a study of how dogs  shake themselves dry. Great slow-motion video and a lot of science and math thrown in as well. I trust that this was not funded by the taxpayers, but I am not sure. In case you are wondering, animals shake at about four shakes per second. That is pretty darn fast.

Do you want to build your own home computer? How about putting 70 TeraBytes of disk space in it? It can hold, well you know, more songs and photos and movies than anyone else on the block.

All that yelling and screaming in Germany about privacy invasion from Google's Street View? Only 3% of Germans opted out of Street View.

The Canadian government believes that Google is collecting personal information over WiFi as it drives around. Representatives of the Canadian government discovered this while visiting, by invitation, Google and closely examining, again by invitation, Google data. Hmmm. It appears that Google is not attempting to hide anything from anyone.

U.S. computer-aided elections are still using proprietary, closed-source software. That means, among other things, no open testing by interested citizens. I wrote a blog post about this topic recently. Alas.

Build a telegraph system from stone-age technology. It has been done. So, people several thousand years ago could have been several thousand (minus 150) years ahead of us. Interesting to ponder.

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Friday October 22, 2010

Someone agrees with me on this: the new MacBook Air is a much better machine for a travelling writer than the iPad.A little user testing on the smaller Air (11.6" screen). It isn't a powerful computer. It is a small one.

And the MacBook Air is close to being "instant on." All that solid state disk and memory and such enables this.

Google starts its testing of a 1 GigaBitPerSecond fibre network at Stanford.

Microsoft is starting a new online store for PC games.

Google doesn't pay much corporate tax. It does this trick by moving money around. This is all legal. Good for them for figuring out how to use their money for the good of their employees.

There appears to be water and lots of other good things on the moon. This is good news for the Chinese as they will be able to use these things when they land there. NASA will still be studying future efforts on that date.

This application helps you to map old photographs. Then you go to other photo-mapping apps, find new photos in the same spot, and show the before and after. Pretty neat.

Here is yet another great home office. They put a half wall in the middle of their living room to separate the office from the living room. Very well done, but this one looks expensive $$$.

Here is HP's tablet computer - the Slate 500.

From a minimalist's perspective - 15 ways to impress others. I like this list.

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Saturday October 23, 2010

No viewing today. I cleaned part of my garage instead.

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Sunday October 24, 2010

It is Sunday, so most of todays viewings are about writing.

Five ways to write magnificent copy. The title is a bit cheesy or something. The content of this post is excellent.Much of it is about ways to edit and revise what you have written.

Working remotely? This answer is still often "no." It isn't technology barriers, it is culture.

The tech industry, who onced hailed President Obama as the "tech president," now gives him a mediocre score.

Good tips for writing fiction. The most important one: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Writing is simple, but it isn't easy. I agree with that statement.
Here is a post on the topic.

This is interesting - one page per day. I went to the site and started writing. Why not? It could prove to be something useful. If not, I will stop using it.

The California State University system is "banning" the use of a site where students can share, buy, and sell their notes. Yes, universities cannot have this sharing of information. Your tax dollars at waste, but then again given all the waste in the California pension system for state employees, this is pretty tame.

One person's method for writing a book.

Going in the opposite direction, here are efforts that make the OpenCourseWare from MIT more useful. Good for these guys.

Some reasons why you do and don't start a business or become a writer. I caution people against the "do what you love and you will be a success" advice. I have two brothers and one brother-in-law who started businesses doing what they loved. They all faced bankruptcy.

A good photo to inspire a story. The year that I wrote a short story a week, I used photographs on the internet for many of my story ideas.

Ooh, I like this airline travel website - hipmunk. It shows the flights on a timeline and gives prices and allows you to buy the tickets from different sites. A big improvement here.

Some thoughts on writing slowly and writing quickly. I think much of this has to do with age. Us older writers tend to write fast. This is because (1) we have been practicing longer and are a little better at the craft and (2) we realize we don't have as many years to live so we had better get on with it.

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