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: November 8-14, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 8,  2010

Much has been made of Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, cashing in $1.3Billion in stock. That is his right to do.

The Norwegian browser - Opera - struggles on. I use Opera about a quarter of the time at work.

More details surface about the CEO and the movie star.

NASA stumbles and bumbles on. The space shuttle Discovery has had four launch dates set and missed due to this and that and some other thing.

Toshiba is selling those really thin SSD modules found in the new MacBook Air to the rest of us. At least they are selling them to companies who build systems.

Coming in the Spring, a color E Ink book reader from Hanvon of China.

Windows Phone 7 is now on sale in the U.S. Did Microsoft get this one right? Will this be another Kin disaster?

And Nvidia keeps increasing the speed and power of their GPUs. Those guys are apt to make a lot of money in the next ten years with supercomputers and the like.

If you have a loft apartment - small floor space, but high ceilings - you go up not out. This home office puts the bed on top of the office. I once worked in a office that was small but tall. Instead of filling the floor with furniture like my colleagues, I used narrow but tall bookshelves and filing cabinets. Everyone wanted to know why I was put in the biggest office in the building.

Remember this name: RockMelt. It is a new browser that does something with social networks. We shall see if if makes it. Regardless of the outcome, I like the spirit of "let's do something, let's hire some people, let's do something."

I like Godin's take on "doing better instead of doing more."

President Obama says not to worry about outsourcing to India. I agree. The situation is more complex than simple jobs numbers. That, however, coming from a President who pocketed millions of dollars in book deals in the sort interim between Senator and President and who lives at taxpayer expense doesn't sound too good. Funny how a caring man can easily come across as arrogant and selfish.

Add $500 to the cost of the base MacBook Air (11" model), and you have much more power. A 50% increase in cost, however, is hard to swallow.

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Tuesday November 9, 2010

A medical advance that I like - in the near future doctor's offices won't have to draw all that blood for testing. Instead, a few drops of blood dried on paper will suffice for all testing.

Kno will release its eBook readers real soon now. Unique here is their two-screen model at about $1,000.

Guess what, even in our enlightened post-modern world, people still have prejudices and crowds of people reflect the prejudices of individuals.

Many groups out there are modifying Linux to make it better able to compete with MS Windows. Is this helping or ruining Linux?

Your tax dollars as waste - our friends at the TSA have now banned printer cartridges and the like. Another good knee-jerk reaction; another victory for those who wish to disrupt a way of life, a.k.a. liberty.

Tyson's Foods has developed a way to make bio-diesel from chicken fat. This is in the pursuit of money, i.e., how to make a waste product into something useful. Good for them. I don't know if this is really practical yet, but one day it may be. Question: Is this a "green" industry?

Someone broke into the Royal Navy's website and got all the passwords. Are you ready for national electronic health records. The government assures us that your person medical information will be secure, unlike all the other things in the world.

Microsoft Windows version 1.0 is 25 years old. I used it. Gosh.

Are you craving more 3D experience? Hasbro, yes the toy company, will sell you these goggles for $30 to use with your iPhone. I guess I just don't get all this 3D stuff. I saw the movie "Avatar." It convinced me that although the technology is neat, a real plot is the most important thing.

Kingston brings out a 256GigaByte Solid State Disk for under $500. It is a good time to be a consumer.

More from the Jetman of Switzerland. Bravery, lunacy, genius - maybe the intersection of all three? Great video.

Nvidia moves on with the GTX 580 - 512 cores!

Speaking of Nvidia, get this Dell Alienware computer with an Nvidia processor. Folks, if you know how to program the GPU, you have a supercomputer sitting in your lap. Amazing stuff.

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Wednesday November 10, 2010

No viewing today as I was circling the beltway.

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Thursday November 11, 2010

The mysterious contrails off of California were most likely from an airplane. Rats. A good mystery is so entertaining.

Now this is taking a walk. WOW.

Crazy story, HP will pay $16Million to settle claims that it bribed public school officials in Texas to buy HP equipment. Crazy stuff.

The Federal government is investigating Google. That's what you get in this country for being so successful that you don't need bailouts from taxpayers. The FCC will fix Google good, then in ten years Google will get a bailout.

Harvesting energy from vibrations. Any physical movement has the opportunity to be transformed to electrical energy. ANY physical movement. Once we learn how to do this we won't have any energy problems.

About a fourth of Americans don't want broadband Internet service at home. They just don't want it. This is, after all, a free country (it still is, right?) and you can choose to do what you want.

Hughes plans to launch a satellite in 2012 that will greatly enhance the HughesNet satellite broadband service. Maybe, just maybe I could put this service at my mother's house so I could use the Internet when I visit her. Whatever happened to all that rural broadband money?

This is a different design for a desktop computer. It sort of looks like a cube from Xi3.

NEC releases its LifeTouch tablet. The words "cloud communicator" are attached somewhere. Clever.

SRI has done work in what it calls "electroadhesion." This has something to do with the way a balloon will stick to a wall sue to static electricity. Anyway, the technology enables, among other things, robots to climb walls.

People have spent a billion dollars on eBooks this year.

And it appears that there is a good demand for iPad cases that have keyboards.

I am pretty sure that I heard this story 40 years ago - a chewing gum that brushes your teeth. Didn't Dentyne chewing gum promise that?

35 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. And there is nothing worth watching? Well, I enjoy surfing YouTube.

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Friday November 12, 2010

No viewing this morning as I had lunch with some fine gentlemen.

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Saturday November 13, 2010

Soon to disappear from our lives - the white pages, a.k.a. the phone book. Come to think of it, the only time I use the phone book is when visiting my mother and my in-laws in Louisiana. Neither has internet service at home.

Google is doing quite well financially. Hence, four of its executive are receining 30% pay raises. I can argue with that.

Clever, Microsoft has some new ads that poke fun of the Apple portable computers.

Apple has been maintaining Java for its Mac computers. No more, Apple turns control over to Oracle (who recently bought Sun).

The Transportation Safety Administration is using newer, more intrusive search measures - both virtual and physical. Many people are not amused by any of this (the words porn-scanners and gropers are being used. But have no fear, the head of the TSA is to meet with transportation executives about, er, uh, getting rid of some of the stupidity. Your tax dollars at waste.

A very small projector. These things are great.

Sprint will start its WiMax service in Los Angeles by 1 December.

Some information on the Google cars that drive themselves. The details are still secret.

The Saudis are blocking Facebook from their subjects.

80% of the new videos on YouTube are in Google's new WebM format.

Two Brits send a paper airplane to the edge of space in a balloon. The paper airplane glides back to the ground.

The cost of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has grown from $3.5B to $6.5B. Way to go NASA. Your tax dollars at waste.

A look at Raytheon's latest exoskeleton. This technology will help this disabled.

I like George Will's editorial on the Chevy Volt from GM. In this case, GM really does mean Government Motors. People wouldn't buy these cars without being paid to do so by other taxpayers. GM once thought they would build 60,000 a year. That has been reduced to 10,000. And the Volt will only be available in half a dozen states. Yet more of your tax dollars at waste.

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Sunday November 14, 2010

Every now and then I stumble upon a work of love by some person. Here is one, this man carved the Declaration of Independence in wood. Look at the post, please look at the post. This is amazing and inspiring. Such is the Internet for me. It allows me to see what some guy did in his spare time. It allows me to see the wonderful things done by good people all over the world. There are lots of good people out there. This is a great place that God has given us.

Hybrid batteries that promise lots of energy with a very short charge time. Perhaps these will be real one day soon. At least people are working on these things. And they don't even get tens of billions of dollars from the government.

HP claims that its tablet - the Slate 500 - is backordered. They cannot keep up with the demand.

I love this travel post: The Futile Quest for the Authentic Experience. Folks, things aren't the way they used to be anywhere. Get over it and enjoy today.

The Sauerkraut Syndrome from Jerry Weinberg. Excellent advice for consultants and those who have to work with consultants.

The scientific world is turning upside down. China and India are catching up with "the West."

Edward Tufte's library is up for auction.

Running a computer under the hood of a car requires one super-tough chip. Hence, the computers in cars are years behind what is in my portable computer. There is a similar occurence in military computers. See this for examples.

The telephone call is fading. The text message passed it a couple of years ago and the trend is continuing. I still make more phone calls. I suppose that is a commentary on my age and the age of those with whom I communicate.

A pair of augmented reality glasses. The price is coming down, but has a long way to go (these are $2,000). I believe that such will one day be normal for people who perform maintenance on all sorts of physical devices. Your repairman is looking at the inside of your dishwasher. The manual and schematics appear in the glasses he is wearing. Same for your surgeon and dentist.

Some tips for authors on how to do marketing on Facebook. There are, after all, 500 million users on Facebook. What a marketplace.

What does a book editor do? This post sheds some light on that.

A nice standup desk by taking an antique toolbox and putting the computer on it.

Mistakes that we as new writers make. We don't market ourselves. This is particularly hard for those of us who were raised to be humble.

Some advice for fiction writers: Five Things Your Story is Missing.

Some bloggers to read. Read good writing, then write good writing.

Writing is a funny endeavor. You have to be sensitive to write, then come the comments back from an editor. Now you have to be tough enough not to kill someone, but again sensitive enough to listen, take it to heart, and change your baby without mercy.

Do you have a writing system? Is "writing system" a contradiction in terms? It is all in how you define the words. My advice remains the same: try things. Use what works for you and forget all the other things.

Some general advice to writers and those who want to be writers. My favorite:  If you really want to write, then do it. Please note, being a writer does not always mean you are making a living as a writer.

Some advice on writing well. The one item I like most is:Write a lot. Don’t publish everything you write, even on a blog, just get a safe place to write down as much stuff as you can. Try to write at least several hundred words a day, maybe a thousand. Hit  ”publish” on whatever’s good enough to share, because it’s important to “ship it,” in Seth Godin’s terms.

Ten reasons the editor rejected your idea. Yes, I have been rejected often. It is part of writing.

Some advice on freelancing and consulting. I like this post for two bits of advice: (1) what you love must be relevant to other people, and (2) keep startup costs very low. AND ONE more thing: Not everything you love makes a good business.

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