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 25-31, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 25,  2010

Apple's data center in North Carolina will open any day now. It also appears that Apple will double the size of the facility. How in the world were Virginia's politicians were asleep while Apple was looking for a location. Here is some video taken from the air of the facility. Note: (1) the beautiful farmland, (2) the relatively few parking spaces for the relatively few full-time employees.

Now available from Pioneer, burn 128GigaByes onto an optical disk.

Samsung's tablet computer will be in Best Buy before Thanksgiving. $500.

This is GREAT! The rare book room of physical libraries contains the older, priceless manuscripts. This group was able to photograph hundreds of these treasures and has put them online. We can old now look at them. GREAT.

Scoble on the risks and shrinking rewards of the operating system for the desktop computer. I think this comes down to a divide in the market between producers and consumers. You aren't going to write a great novel on your cell phone. The keyboard is too small for practical use (by a producer).

Windows 8 coming in two years. But will anyone care by then?

Yet another prediction than spinning disk drives will "soon" be obsolete. One day these predictions will become true. After all, we don't use punch cards anymore.

People in the 70s are scoring higher on IQ tests than prior generations. It is also more difficult to detect early signs of dimentia.

Adobe builds its own HTML5 video player. Has Apple won this fight over Flash and HTML5?

Hollywood loves the iPad.  Is  this  a curse?

I like this - simple - a cell phone that allows you to make telephone calls. That is all.

This clever little tool - SPIDER - is advancing surgery. Love it.

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Tuesday October 26, 2010

Google has another record financial quarter. We are living in a Google world.

Rave reviews for the new MacBook Air. I went to an Apple store yesterday and typed on an 11" model Air for 15 minutes. I forgot that I was using a really small portable computer. This is a nice machine.

Excellent - break a paradigm. We all "know" that you cannot pick up something without fingers. The guys who built this robotic hand seemed to have forgotten that one. A new method for grasping something with a sack full of grain.

I like to look at buildings. Here are ten buildings that people "love" now, but hated when they were new. I would have to be listed in the hate column still for some of these.

Some notes on outsourcing, i.e., hiring someone else to do tasks for you instead of doing them yourself. There are many tasks that are excellent for outsourcing. "I want to do it myself," is fine as long as you understand and accept the costs.

The Google TV hardware is nothing more than a really small portable computer.

Some graphical views of unemployment in America. Officially, it remains at 10%. Hope? Change? Inherited from the previous guy?

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Wednesday October 27, 2010

Microsoft Office for the Mac 2011 is now available (three months before 2011?). This version now has Outlook. It seems that Outlook is important to a lot of people. It holds nothing for me.

It is not just in America, the tablet computer is killing the really small portable computer outside the U.S. as well. We now have to wait and see what happens since Apple has its own really small portable computer (the new Air). Is it the tablet or is it the Apple on the back?

Acer is launching a line of tablets in late November.

Phantom DSL techniques may bring DSL speeds up to those promised by cable and fibre optics. More on the story here.

Barnes and Noble introduces the second generation Nook eBook reader. It has a color screen and is powered by Android. Will this kill the Kindle? $250. Ouch, that is too much.

Want more solid state drive space on your new Air? Use the USB port. Here is 256GigaBytes of new space.

Let's take a moment to mark the drop in price and gain in performance for portable computers. The first MacBook Air arrived in 2008 at $1,800. The latest Air is smaller, more powerful, and costs $1,000. In only two years.

BMW has a factory in South Carolina where Americans, many with college degrees, are workng for $15 an hour (that's $30,000 a year). Germans won't work for wages this low. The challenge now is can someone build moderate, $100,000 homes for these workers? And how long will it be before these workers demand a higher standard of living and price themselves out of jobs?

A Chinese train runs at 260 MPH. But America gives tens of billions of tax dollars to failing auto companies. I guess it is a matter of priorities (and vision).

A bicycle lock for the guitar. I can think of a dozen ways to break the lock and steal the guitar. Still, it is the best thing I have seen yet.

You and 24,000 other people can be in a music video. This is sort of silly, but it illustrates what could be done by letting everyone and anyone contribute.

NASA continues to waste tax dollars. Videos about nothing. Your tax dollars at waste.

More fun with electronic and computer voting machines. It is all just in fun, right? Like, this is nothing important, is it? Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

And if you have time and nothing to do, make an air hose that allows you to take air from one tire and put it into another tire.

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Thursday October 28, 2010

It seems that the new MacBook Air has a completely new type of display.

Apple increased the number of persons it employs by 35% during the last year. And Apple didn't even get any government bailouts.

Going in the other direction, Nintendo lost month during the past six months.

The world's fastest supercomputer is made in China. Let's keep giving tens of billions of dollars to the UAW so they can make cars that no one wants to buy instead of investing in technology for tomorrow. This is called (lack of) vision.

Software that tells you what your co-workers are doing at all times (at work). I can see great use in this. It would greatly reduce the number of times I have to call someone.

And this software finds plagiarism in research papers.

Here is an excellent communications device. It uses cell phone towers when they are near and satellites in other situations. I could have used one while on the Colorado River this past summer.

I love this one - using engineering principles to solve problems in Haiti. There are ways to "get things done" when you don't have the proper tools or materials. We need to teach these techniques.

In a similar vein, a high school in Australia installed finger print scanners to take attendance. The adults figured that the students would have to show up at school - no way to fool the system. The students, however, used gummy worms to duplicate their finger prints and spoof the system. Who is teaching whom?

Perhaps the President will listen to these law professors as they urge him to walk away from ACTA.

Is cyberwar all hype by contractors wanting to cash in?

This is probably the first photograph of a human ever taken - 1848.

And look at modern camera obscura.

Tablet computers everywhere. Walgreen's is selling a $100 model running Android.

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Friday October 29, 2010

This van travelled from Italy to China (8,000 miles) without a driver. This has become the year of the driver-less vehicle. Funny, I don't remember seeing any predictions of such. It has sort of snuck up on us.

And maybe a practical electric car - it goes 375 miles at 55 mph on a six-minute charge.

Microsoft has a record financial quarter - $5.4Billion profit.

Lacie is now selling a little 6TeraByte external disk drive. Wow.

Your tax dollars at waste. The TSA has declared that you won't have to remove your new MacBook Air (with SSD) from your bag as it passed through the x-ray machine. Their crack x-ray operators can tell what it is. I recall that when the first Air was introduced that the TSA was confiscating them because their crack x-ray operators could not see a hard disk drive in the laptop. Therefore, the laptop must have explosives in it where the disk drive belonged. At least the TSA is learning.

It looks like someone is talking on a cell phone in this 1928 Charlie Chaplan movie. This all brings a millions views on YouTube and speculation that a time traveller showed up on the set.

They finally have approval to build a $2Billion solar power plant in California. It seems odd to me that efforts to preserve the environment via alternative energy are usually killed by environmentalists. But that is just me.

Intel and others are trying for 10nm process chips by 2016.

Intel opens a $1Billion chip factory in Vietnam. Didn't we fight a war there?

This is either awful or the best thing that has ever happened - there is 3G covereage at Mt Everest.

A wonderful corner workspace, i.e., two walls of windows.

Perhaps it is time to revise those awful desks that (we used to use) force kids to sit in at school.

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Saturday October 30, 2010

No viewing today. Several hours spent buying and setting up a new printer. Now I can print from my iPad. More on that later.

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Sunday October 31, 2010

Microsoft buys Canesta. This company works with cameras and software and can change the way people command their computers. See the video.

A laser-charged multicopter flies for 12 hours without (on board) fuel. Yes, but that laser on the ground used a lot of energy. Maybe one day this technology will put objects into orbit.

A global seed vault to save seeds and prevent famine. Interesting idea, but I don't know that it is needed. At least I hope it isn't ever needed.

On Halloween morning, we find a story about how razor blades in apples and such was a lie pushed by companies that sold pre-packaged candy. And maybe the story about the story is a lie as well.

Some notes from travelling around the world. I especially like #1 - people are generally good. I walked 1,100 miles from Washington D.C. to New Orleans. I met many people who were shocked that I wasn't beaten and robbed while passing through name-your-county-in-name-your-state. Well, they would continue, had you walked through there 20 years ago there is no doubt you would have been beaten and robbed. I don't know where people get these ideas.

A code of work rules for consultants from someone who has been consulting for over 50 years - Jerry Weinberg.

Even the Washington Post concedes that electric cars - like the Chevy Volt - are stunts. Toys for rich people who like to say that they drive an electric car. They even knock President Obama - always guided by science and logic - for ignoring the science and logic of why the technology is not yet ready for electric cars.

This post is a good summary of the minimalist lifestyle - many links.

An issue many writers face is when to call a piece of writing "finsihed." One remedy is to say, "This is finished for now. I may look at it again later and write more."

This writer won't be doing NaNoWriMo this November. There are good reasons for not writing a 50,000-word novel in one month. There are also good reasons for giving it a try. I will give it a try this year.

This writer has tips of new things to try when writing NaNoWriMo. I like the idea of playing theme music while writing. I have the basic idea for my NaNoWriMo novel, but I can't think of good theme music.

I love this qoute: Novelist Robert Cormer has said, "The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon."

And the TSA has a new pat-down procedure. The idea is to make this so embarassing that people will instead submit to the fully body scanner technology and hope that the equipment operator deletes the images (yes, the images are stored on a disk drive). Your tax dollars at waste.

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