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.

Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page
Email me at d.phillips@computer.org

This week: November 29-December 5, 2010

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 29,  2010

Comparing the Dell Adamo and the new MacBook Air.

WikiLeaks is at it again. Someone should call it what it is - GovernmentLeaks as all the information is being leaked by government employees.

Oh, and by the way, WikiLeaks is today under a big denial-of-service attack. Why  not punish the government employees who leaked the secrets? That must be too hard.

Dean Wesley Smith on "writing fast." To him, that means working harder.  As Smith says, "writers seem to celebrate laziness" as hardworking writers are often criticizes.

More on the same topic from Kevin Anderson.  As  Anderson so well puts it, an author who writes one book a year cannot make  a living.

Sprint and Clearwire continue to expand their 4G coverage.

This robot, associated with Virginia Tech, is based on open-source software and hardware. $8,000 buys you into the project.

Two great workspaces: this one fits under an angled wall.
And this one, this is absolutely wonderful - they removed the insides of an old upright piano and built a computer desk. My son has an old upright piano, and if I could just get him out of the house for a while...

A small problem with all these new electric vehicles - the power utilities may not be able to provide the juice.

And what would a day be without at TSA story? It seems that the TSA went to Congress to demonstrate how their new pat downs are "not so bad." The demonstration had the opposite result as Congresspersons and staffers looked away as one TSA employee felt the butt and breasts of a young, attractive, female TSA volunteer. Your tax dollars at waste.

The Great Recesssion? Don't tell Apple. They had a spectacular year even for Apple.

I guess they can thank the taxpayers for those tens of billions of $$$ the government gave them...ooops I guess we gave the money to failing auto companies and home lenders who couldn't do math. But that doesn't make any sense.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Tuesday November 30, 2010

How to put a Solid State Disk into your iMac (the all-in-one desktop computer).

On how the mobile device has changed the world.

The new XM25 military weapon. You point your lazer at a wall behind which the other side is hiding. You pull the trigger. A grenade flies through the air and explodes behind the wall.

Microsoft is pushing the ruling that Word uses someone else's patented technology to the U.S. Supreme Court. Remember way back in time when the U.S. government was going to divide Microsoft into several pieces because it was a monopoly?

Aha! I knew it! If you keep your kids too clean, they are more likely to become sick.

Bruce Schneier states the obvious about terrorist tactics - they spend little money to scare the West into spending (wasting) lots of money. Why is it that he is one of the few who sees this? How stupid is our government? Your tax dollars at waste.

Some thoughts on moving to a new MacBook Air that only has 64GigaBytes of disk space (SSD). I have an old laptop computer with a 1-GigaByte disk. I never had any problems, but maybe I'm just that way. My youngest son - the music major - never has enough disk space.

Microsoft sold 2.5 million Kinects in 25 days. Good for them. It appears tht Microsoft has hit on something. There are a lot of smart people still working at Microsoft.

The Neato robot vacuum cleaner has a LIDAR scanner in it. Now someone has hacked open the scanner. Lots of fun to follor.

I like this - a bicycle lock that climbs a pole. See the video on how they made the prototype. Great stuff of invention.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Wednesday December 1, 2010

Some background on the MeeGo operating system from Intel and Nokia.

Some background on High-Frequency Trading.

WikiLeaks has run around the big Denial of Service attack by relocating on Amazon's cloud service.

The Federal government is going to freeze salaries. Google gave all employees at least a 10% raise. There is a lesson or a message in here somewhere. Something about maybe the wrong people are running the show in Washington or maybe the show in Washington is such a mess that the brightest stay away or... Time and time again when I was a government employee, the call would come, "what should we do?" My reply was always, "make every effort to recruit and retain good employees."

IBM has achieved a major milestone in silicon photonics - sending data inside a chip via light.

The iPad is gaining and the Kindle is losing in the market for eBook readers. It is a joy to read from the iPad.

Google editions will launch before 1 January (or some date near that). This is an eBook store that allows you to read just about anything from a browser.

Red Hat buys Makara. This has to do with cloud computing services and the like.

A really lightweight portable computer from ASUS. It is called the U36 - sounds like a WWI submarine.

A Steampunk USB thumb drive. Yes, it does look awesome.

Verizon is to launch their 4G LTE network on 5 December. It must be true because I saw the commercial on TV last night.

Delta Airlines is expanding its in-flight WiFi.

A look at the really neat Dell Inspiron Duo. A great mechanical design.

A map of the 88,791 awards granted under the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. So, how much money did it cost to award those grants? That is what I want to know. Your tax dollars at waste.

Some thoughts on how someone accessed all that classified information and gave it to WikiLeaks. Security? And is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

In addition to all those classified government documents, WikiLeaks claims to have similar information from private companies. Now this could be interesting, especially documents from banks.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Thursday December 2, 2010

Tim Ferris' new book - The Four-Hour Body. I have met Ferris. He has been obsessed with fitness and such most of his life. As they always say, consult your doctor first, or in this case maybe not because I am pretty sure that Ferris will tell you the opposite of the conventional wisdom.

Some thoughts on WikiLeaks. Are whistleblowers heroes of the people or terrorists? What do you do if you are "inside" and learn that unethical things are happening? Of course, "unethical" is subjective.

The General Services Administration is moving to Google Apps for Government. Is this creating the next WikiLeaks opportunity? Perhaps the taxpayers will save some money.

Lots of people want "net neutrality," but what does that mean and will we be better off with it? There are many facets to this. We know what we have now. What will we have once the FCC does something?

The Royal Navy is selling an old aircraft carrier on an e-Bay-like site. This is the Royal Navy, not the British Navy as reported in the linked story.

Printers are "smarter" today than they used to be. Hence, they are access points to networks. In other words, someone can sell you a printer that will then attack your network.

Three tutorials on Augmented Reality.

The Apollo 13 transcripts shown as a chat session. I little different perspective.

I love this title, "Balance Your Mind, Not Your Work." I sound sort of tough and unfeeling and all that stuff, but come on folks, mind over matter makes sense. Feeling over excited? Calm yourself? Feeling hungry? When was the last time you ate? Four or five days ago? If it was 12 hours ago, you are not feeling hunger, you are feeling stress which is in you mind. Put it out of your mind.

Watch this - a neat example of what you can do with your "slow motion" video camera.

This is a touchscreen, Linux-based, all-in-one computer from HP. It is quite nice. It can only be bought in India.

A comparison of 4G services.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Friday December 3, 2010

Once again, we have a shortage of engineers. Any engineer any where can quit his or her job and double their salary across the street. Well, not exactly, but some types of engineers are in a good position for higher salaries.

I love the title of this post: Working on What Counts. When I was a government employee and someone would come to me and ask, "would you like to work on such-and-such project?" I would ask back one question, "does that project count?" I could not stand to work on projects that just keep people occupied.

More tips on actually doing work while in the workplace: These are three great suggestions:
  1. “No-talk Thursdays.” A period of “quiet time” prohibiting coworkers from talking to each other and limiting distraction.
  2. Replacing active communication, like conversation, with passive forms such as email, IM and collaboration tools.
  3. Cancel your meetings. Things will still get done!
Verizon Wirless LTE (4G) is now available. And you will use your monthly data allotment in half an hour. oooops

The WikiLeaks site is up and down and on and off the air. It appears to be off the air now. Please remember, the leaks embarassed diplomats and politicians from many countries, not just the United States. Some of these diplomats and politicians who are not from America aren't nearly as nice and regulated as the Americans. For example, the Russians don't seem to like WikiLeaks.

WOW! Look at this photo of the weather. I am glad I was not there in person.

A plan to use the sand and sun of the Sahara to power the world. We shall see.

GM will only build 10,000 Chevy Volts this year. They will lose money on every one. But you can do that when the government, acting on behalf of we taxpayers, gives tens of billions of dollars to GM.

A new term: Quadroid. This means hardware by Qualcomm and software from Android.

Bruce Schneier on the security measures being considered to protect the Washington Monument. His suggestion is to close the momument so that Congress and the White House would be so embarassed that they would stop all the security theatre. Your tax dollars at waste.

It seems that a lot of college students are sending a lot of text messages while in class. What surprises me is that the students think the professors would be shocked to learn how much of this is happening. Either the students are clueless or the professors are clueless.

Oh no! These are real cameras from Pentax. What were they thinking? ooops, lost the link.

Toshiba has a few new really small portable computers. Who cares, but these have great sound.

It seems that Samsung has sold a million Galaxy Tab tablets.

These guys flew a radio-controlled plane all through New York City. This is an amazing video. I don't know how they got away with it.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks

Go to Dwayne's Home Pag

Saturday December 4, 2010

Here's a good rumor - Google will market its own really small portable computer running its own Chrome OS.

Skype is hiring engineers and such in anticipation of of IPO.

A gang of cyber-criminals were arrested for infecting all the ATMs in a Russian city. Twenty years ago, none of this existed. And once more, is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

A bill is in the Senate requiring WiFi base stations in all Federal buildings. The idea is that people using their smart phones to access the Internet would use WiFi instead of 3G. That would free the 3G bandwidth of actual telephone calls. This would of course cost enormous amounts of money because when the government tries to do something as simple as this, it always costs enormous amounts of money.

We Americans are not dumping our eWaste into our land. We are selling it to poor countries where they dump the toxic waste in their land. Perhaps we are missing something here.

The U.S. Department of State is warning potential hirees not to look at WikiLeaks. Looking at WikiLeaks may precent them from being hired. Let's see, there is something in here about hiring people with closed minds or something like that.

The X-37B returned to earth after seven months. This post even has a photo of the vehicle after landing.

I like this one - the Air Force Research Lab connected 1,760 PlayStation 3s together to form a supercomputer.

I may have to try one of these - a at-home 4G receiver with local WiFi from Clear.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Sunday December 5, 2010

The adventures of writing when you have small children about you. It is more difficult, but it is not impossible. Remember, sleep is over rated.

The Blackberry is losing market share to Android.

Lufthansa is now offering WiFi access on intercontinental flights. But what about soft serve ice cream and milk shakes. Those are the things I have always wanted on flights. I guess email is okay, too.

Technology, of a sort, marches on. Walk up to the machine, swipe your credit card, and out pops a USB thumdrive with a movie on it

A good writing exercise you can do with any sentence - turn it around.

Jerry Weinberg on why he now spends most of his writing time writing fiction instead of non-fiction.

Giving up things to have experiences instead. This is a big part of the minimalist movement. It is pretty simple, you don't buy furniture, you buy plane tickets.

Kevin J. Anderson is writing a series of 11 tips on writing. Let's look at what he has so far
#1 Shut up and write - Two great qoutes: Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, eyeballs on screen. AND Writers are the only people in the world who would rather be cleaning the bathroom than doing their job.
#2 Defy the empty page -  One thing that I consistently tell the students that I work on writing with is that the first section is often the most difficult to write. My advice is to skip it. Write the rest of the paper and then write the Introduction.  Hence, write the novel and then write the first page. You don't have to write anything in order.
#3 Work on different projects at the same time -  There are different phases in writing something. For example, today I am in the prooreading phase of my NaNoWriMo novel. When I become bored with proofreading, I can draft on another project.
#4 Dare to be bad (at first)...then fix it - It is only the first draft, so write, write, and write. "Giving yourself permission to be “bad, then fix it” frees your mind just to create"
#5 Use every minute -  Do something productive even when you only have five minutes or one minute.
#6 Set goals for yourself...and stick to them - Goals work for some of us (they work for me). If they don't work for you, forget this. But, give this a real, honest, sincere trial before saying that it isn't for you.
#7 Know the difference between writing and editing -  This is a big difference, one that kills many writers. When drafting or writing, just keep typing. Go. Go. Go. Forget grammar spelling everything else just Go ahead and get out the ideas. Like in the last line that appears here. Fix everything later.
#8 Creating the best writing environment for yourself  - I've never really done much in the way of writing environments. I find myself writing just about anywhere under any light and noise conditions. One good point here is to have a place that won't kill your back or your shoulders or your elbows or ... Get things at the right height.
# 9 Think outside the keyboard - The computer keyboard is not the only way to write. I had to relearn this a few years ago. I can write stories with a pencil and paper. Those tools still work.

This looks like a good book for writers to read. "Reading like a writer: a guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them."

Having a college degree reduces the fear of death. I suppose this makes sense. Accomplishing something often increases confidence. There are other conclusions one might draw. One is that after the hell some college professors inflict in the name of education, death doesn't look so bad.

The government is here to help us all again. Rear-view cameras could soon be mandatory on U.S. cars. Safer? Maybe a little. More expsensive? Definitely. I don't understand how a political party that prides itself on always helping the poor continues to do things that raises the prices of items that the poor attempt to buy.

Yes, it is not only the U.S. that was embarassed by the WikiLeaks. Let me rephrase that, certain persons in position of power in the U.S. government were embarassed. Persons in the Chinese government were also embarassed. Well, maybe they weren't embarassed, but we at least have better insight into how they think about things like the Internet.

Lessons for bloggers after two years of blogging. I like the points that she makes here. Good ideas.

Here are tips on proofreading, which is what I am doing right now on my novel. Proofreading is not editing. Proofreadind looks for commmas,, and typoes, and the use of to many twos and such.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page