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 22-28, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 22,  2010

More on the full body scanners. Let's back up a moment. A millimeter-wave scanner provides an image accurate to within a millimeter (hence the name) to a computer. Image processing software, think of Photoshop, allows a user to manipulate the image in all sorts of ways. It seems that years ago the DHS had a chance to make the images look goofy so as not to upset people so much. The DHS rejected the idea, and we are where we are today.

And the picture summarizes the situation better than any other I have seen.

The experiments continue on how to publish a newspaper for the iPad.

A closer look at the new Lenovo IdeaPad.

Now THIS is an electric bicycle - 45 miles per hour. Of course it is totally impractical. My guess is that it will be priced around $3,000.

This could be the ultimate addition to the MacPro computer - 512GigaBytes of Solid State Disk.

Now this is something for the home, 150 MegaBitsPerSecond access. And only $200 a month.

This is an ugly vase, but it was "printed" in glass by a 3D printer. That is a major advance in the materials available for 3D printers.

Intel has demonstrated a 1,000-processor chip.

Some historical perspective on the H1-B visa program.

And we finally start building facilities that convert trash into fuel. Many will proclaim this a travesty and an assault on the environment.

Ah, political correctness even bites the U.S. State Department. Our embassy in Beijing labeled the air quality there as "crazy bad." It seems that wasn't nice and hurt the feelings of the Chinese government (and the health of the Chinese subjects). Hence, a return to a less judgemental scale.

Oh look, the government is going to help all of us again. This time the Department of Homeland Security will have authority over private networks. They just want to make sure that the citizens are doing things the right way. As a reminder, the DHS is the group that invented all the fun at the airports.

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Tuesday November 23, 2010

200 iPads used at an airport restaurant so you can place your order. I guess this is interesting to some. It will attract a few customers. Of course it is fun.

The China Clipper flying boats launched 75 years ago and changed the world.

I love to see robots walk. To have a machine balance itself is a good trick. It, however, is not a new trick. This walking robot built in 1950 still walks unassisted.

The Wii changed the gaming industry. It is now outdated and declining in sales. Success leads to failure - at least in this case. The story has not ended and the makers of Wii, as usual, have another chance at more innovation.

I like this representation of comfort and magic.

I like this one - a system for checking out eBooks from the library and then returning them. This all happens over the net so the check out and return are virtual.

This is a twist on the "eat your own dog food" saying. Only 27% of information workers recommend their company's own products.

A group led by Microsoft has bought Novell. There is a possibility that Microsoft owns the fundamental intellectual property behind UNIX.

Intel is offering an Atom processor with an FPGA attached or included. This makes the hardware programmable. This could be a stunt or a breakthrough.

NASA continues to fight with Congress or the other way around. Regardless, lots of resources are being wasted. Your tax dollars at waste.

People recently trained for "green" jobs cannot find any jobs.
We used to call green jobs construction. You re-install insulation in a building - that is now a green job. You install a more efficient air conditioner - that is now a green job. You pour concrete as a base for a wind mill - that is now a green job. The Washington Post states the obvious: "The industry's growth has been undercut by the simple economic fact that fossil fuels remain cheaper than renewables."

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Wednesday November 24, 2010

Some thoughts about AirPrint. It seems to not be working well. The goal was printing from the iPad. I guess they missed. I have recently been able to print from the iPad courtesy of a new HP printer.

Sales of Apple computers continue to grow much faster than Windows-based computers. I see far more Apple computers in coffee shops than I used to. Also, a few years ago people in coffee shops would often ask me about what it was like to use an Apple computer. I don't get those questions any longer.

This company - txteagle (text-eagle) - is trying something that may fail, but is leading to the world of the future. Have people in developing countries do small tasks for hire and pay from where they are using nothing more than their mobile phone. The rich benefit (tasks are done), the poor benefit (they are paid to do something), and the world benefits. People don't tend to drop bombs on the employees or their employers.

Silence cell phones at Thanksgiving via a portable Faraday cage (a "tent" that blocks RF). I won't need this as the only people who call my cell phone will be sitting at the table with me.

Acer will sell tablet computers in April of 2011 or real soon now, whichever comes first.

There are major differences in the use of technology among the "rich" and "not rich" in America. This is not surprising. Money affords opportunities to make more money. Of course the flip side is that the rich are losing social skills that the not rich are maintaining. How much will that cost the rich in decades to come?

Some people yawned when iTunes finally received license to sell Beatles' music. "The Beatles fans already own copies of the music." Well, iTunes sold two million Beatles songs and 450,000 albums in a week.

Someone is working on uses for "worn out" batteries from electric vehicles. The batteries may have some life left in them for other applications. I hope so.

Finally, we have a refrigerator that runs Linux.

And we couldn't have a day without yet another TSA story: TV personality Adam Savage (Mythbusters) accidentally took 12" razor blades onto a flight after having gone through the full body scanner. Your tax dollars at waste.

The rulers of Kuwait have declared that the subjects may not use Digital Single-Lens Reflex cameras any longer. Didn't we fight a war to liberate Kuwait? I tend to mix up these things.

One cargo ship pollutes as much as 50 million cars. I trust the math is correct here. The result is not surprising. Of course they don't discuss the load carried per unit of pollution. I think that would tell a different story.

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Thursday November 25, 2010

Fantastic technology - eLegs from Berkeley Bionics.

More fantastic technology - a major in advance in exericising the muscles of paraplegics.

This is a fantastic workspace - take an old upright piano, remove the insides, and build a computer desk.

Some Apple news:
Several "authorized" Mac resellers are discounting prices for the shopping season.
And Apple will probably sell a lot of everything this year.
After all, Oprah endorses the iPad.

Like gadgets? Don't know what to tell your mother what you want for Christmas. Look at Ars Technica's shopping guide. WOW.

And a gift guide for writers.

Here is Engadget's gift guide.

What is a day without a TSA story. Here is a different idea - men should wear kilts without any underpants. The new pat-down procedure for such could be interesing. I guess the same goes for women wearing skirts without underwear.

And here is a good one - wear a shirt with the Fourth Amendment on it. The ink has enough metal so that it will show up to the person looking at your full body scan. For those TSA employees who may be reading this, the Fourth Amendment is the one limiting the Federal government from searching citizens.

There did not appear to be any problems yesterday at airports. I am wondering if the TSA quietly told its employees to speed people through so that they would avoid bad TV coverage.

Turkeys (bad ideas) from 2010. The Microsoft Kin is in the list.

The Kinect hacks continue to be interesting - control a browser with the wave of a hand.

More harvesting existing energy sources. A lot of heat spews from your car's exhaust pipe. Heat is energy.

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Friday November 26, 2010

No viewing today. Instead, breakfast with a few fine gentlemen.

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Saturday November 27, 2010

People are buying the new Apple portable computers. This comes at the expense of the other makers of portable computers.

Here is a concept for a future workspace - it is curved and multi-touch.

Got $20,000 for a new camera? Check out this new Hasselblad.

This little walking robot can carry a person. Excellent use of technology.

And this little Panasonic robot made a 500-km trak across part of Japan. Yes, it was mostly a stunt, but still such would not have been possible a generation ago.

This is a notebook - you know, the kind with paper in it. It is only shaped like a computer icon. Clever enough.

A teachers sends a memo home to parents. The students were not to bring their own pens and pencils from home. The teacher would provide the necessary writing instruments. The teacher was afraid that the students would use their home pencils to build weapons. There is a lesson in here somewhere.

Sunday, April 11th, 1954 was determined to be the most boring day in history.

The U.S. government has just censored 70 websites. This is from ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforecement. The claim is that the sites were involved in copyright infringement and counterfeiting. We shall see. This type of thing happens in China and the Middle East.

Apple is rumored to have a new iPad in January and upgraded MacBook Pros in April.

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Sunday November 28, 2010

The state-of-the-market in smaller, portable computers from Gateway. This model has an 11" screen (aha, just like my ancient iBook G4 from Apple), powerful processor, 320 GB disk (why?), and so on.

And HP appears to be the first to sell a portable computer with the new Intel quad-core CPU.

Chatter about the X-37 space plane. It is supposedly about to re-enter Earth and land at Vandenburg.

Many of the sites censored by the U.S. government are still functioning on Twitter.

An interview with Justine Musk. She writes novels at home. She also has five sons at home. Her key is that she writes in short pieces of time. That allows her to write one page a day, which if my math serves me correctly sums to 365 pages in a year - a novel.

This sounds like one of those "common sense" but "uncommon practice" things: how you do things is designed to give you the results you have. If you want different results, change what you are doing.

The next version of the Opera browswer will have "tab stacking." This is interesting. I like it.

The idea of the "action day." It uses a lot of accountability among friends. You tell you friends what you intend to accomplish in the next hour. After an hour, you tell them what you did accomplish and then you repeat all day.

Using Facebook and Twitter to promote a blog. I try these things with little success, but I try them.

Some thoughts on writing your first novel. I lean towards the "get organized" side of things, but I know people who do the opposite and succeed.

Some tips on writing a first draft. I see my writing a novel in NaNoWriMo as a big first draft.

I urge writers to back up their work. Here is a similar admonition.

The logline - a one-sentence summary of a novel or screenplay. Excellent tool.

Look at "The Freelancer's Survival Guide."

This is an excellent video on voting trends in America from 1920 to 2008. The "red and blue" map evolves year by year.

Memory and writing and other things.

Motivation to write. My favorite is about "bum" glue. "Bum" is the British slang for your behind. In other words, glue your seat into your chair and write.

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