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: January 10-16, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday January 10,  2011

Apple will begin having personal setup services for computers purchased at its stores. How can they afford this personal attention? Apple is loaded with cash from all those record-setting sales of everything they sell. In a sense, all those people who buy Apple products and ask for no personal service are paying for the personal service.

Those darn printers. What will they do next? This one prints on your fingernails. Perhaps someone will make a fortune from this.

Combine Volkswagon, pretty good cars, with Fender, awesome audio, the result is as expected.

LG has a lineup of connected "smart" appliances. I hope they are secure, as last week's views showed that many such smart things aren't secure.

And speaking of security, Vodafone had a problem so that lots of customer information has been exposed. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

I guess this is a meta-leak - a leak about leaks. Your tax dollars at waste. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records? Did I ask that once already today?

Samsung will introduce its own line of really thin portable computers in February.

The government is going to do us a favor, again. National Internet ID or something or whatever that is. The details are, well, they don't exist, so maybe we will be surprised next Christmas. Your tax dollars at waste.

Think about this one for a moment: a governement agency (FCC) has recommended that schools and libraries (what a coincidence, other governement agencies) should have more broadband access. Let's guess who should provide the money for this. Perhaps the taxpayers? Maybe just the printing press will do it.

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Tuesday January 11, 2011

While the stock market goes down a little, Apple's stock continues to rise.

Here is a new formulation of glass that may be good for dental work as it is "stronger" in steel.

In last year's gulf oil spill, lots of methane was released, and it appears that bacteria ate much of it. Nature's way of cleaning up what actually happens every day under the ocean.

The government is coming to help us again. Many hospitals and doctor's offices use WiFi networks. The FDA is deciding that such WiFi is a medical device and should be regulated by - guess who? - the FDA. Oh I will feel much better next time I visit my doctor knowing that the reason my bill is higher is because the FDA is making the doctor waste lots of money doing stuff that adds no value to his WiFi.

Every time someone proposes a one-way mission to Mars, there are hundreds and thousands of qualified people volunteer for the trip. They don't mind the idea of staying on and dying on Mars. These aren't nuts and wackos. They are people who thrive to explore and learn.

Today, Verizon and Apple are expected to annouce that iPhone owners can use Verizon instead of AT&T. There are many angles to this story. One is that Verizon will lose a lot of money in the short term.

A person who keeps everything on the cloud has second thoughts. Yes, there are dangers in letting other people hold all your information for you.

Partners? Intel and NVIDIA are becoming partners of sorts. Intel has to pay $1.5 Billion to enter this agreement.

Best Buy will get Apple "Genius Bars" this Spring.

Excellent image processing capabilities being put into Microsoft's Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Google Goggles can now solve Sudoku puzzles. That is a bit silly, but really, the technology involved is amazing.

Universal Music Group will donate 200,000 original recordings of early 20th century music to the Library of Congress. Good for them. I wish the LoC will handle these prudently.

Amazing - the BPG Motors Uno ... ur, uh vehicle. It can be a three-wheel motorcycle or a two-wheel self-balancing ... ur uh vehicle. Amazing. I can see applying this technology to provide mobility to people whose legs no longer work. This could be wonderful.

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Wednesday January 12, 2011

The Verizon iPhone is here.

Something worth mentioning - the iPhone 4 from Verizon can act as a mobile hotspot. I like that one. I could connect a real computer (keyboard) to an iPhone to the Internet.

This hotspot feature will soon come to many more iPhones. I can't tell if it will work on my iPhone. My guess is probably  not.

Sony's VAIO S series of really small portable computers. They seem to be offering more customization choices than in the past.

Google is dropping the H.264 video codec on Chrome and only using its own WebM format. Is this being evil? Sounds like something Microsoft would have done 20 years ago. ooops, even this post evokes the Microsoft comparison.

And Microsoft is fighting Apple's use of App Store as a trademark. This all seems silly to me. Once upon a time, Microsoft trademarked the work "Bookshelf." "App Store" is silly as well. Why do large corporations want to make it illegal for people to use common words?

Someone has put a 14 MegaPixel camera in a cell phone. But it still doesn't have a lens.

Motion tracking software continues to improve. This is great technology. There are many applications for public safety and of course law enforcement.

Someone has figured out how to use the Mac App Store to improve remote working. Of course, my in-laws, not to mention my mother, would have to have up-to-date Macs, as well as Internet connections, in their homes. I guess I will continue to bring my own computer with me.

In 2011, one billion people will be using mobile broadband. There are implications good and bad, expected and not.

Bjarne Stroustrup gives an interview.

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Thursday January 13, 2011

The "home" button, that little dimple, is disappearing from future iPads and iPhones and such. It seems Apple has found a better way. I hope they know what they are doing. It is easy to find the home button in the dark.

Version 4 of Firefox is coming in February. That is only three weeks away.

We are now time-shifting our reading. We don't read news when it appears; we read it later. Mobile devices are allowing this just as the video tape recording allowed it back in the 1980s.

Do you like numbers about the Internet? Well, here they are. The number of web sites is still growing by about 10% a year. I would have guessed that the increase was less by  now. I mean, haven't we already invented every web site possible?

The Apple iPad has hurt (30% drop) the sales of Acer really small portable computers.

The world of eyeglasses as we know it may have changed. These glasses change focal length electronically. Bifocals go away. This may change everything or it may just pass as a gimick.

I like this one. Exam cheaters were caught when exam monitors watched a spectrum analyzer for RF emanations in the cell phone band. Great.

There was a big data breach at the Pentagon Credit Union. The personal information of who knows how many Pentagon employees (soldiers and civilians) was leaked. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Samsung has a refrigerator with WiFi. Two opposite thoughts: (1) given all the security holes in software, hackers may break into your home using this. (2) maybe it will work. People keep refrigerators for ten years, so I hope they put a reprogrammable computer in the fridge.

New Governor in California, new set of eyes trying to cut expenses. It seems that 40% of all California state employees had cell phones paid for by the taxpayers. 40%??? Are you kidding me?

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Friday January 14, 2011

The Alesis StudioDock. Connect your iPad to the dock and you can connect all your music equipment to the dock. Great stuff.

Neat video - a flash bulb (remember those?) at a thousand frames a second.

This graphics processor card shoots hi-quality video to your television wirelessly. I suppose this is useful. You remove one set of wires from your house. How much money are you willing to pay for that convenience?

Nice little video on the history of video games.

IBM is doing a stunt now by programming a supercomputer to play on the TV show Jeopardy. This is cute, but there is much technology at play here. This tech will soon apply to real-world problems.

Hiding military vehicles by coating them with eInk. The concept isn't new, but the technology is finally catching up.

A wonderful image from an South Pole outpost. Maybe one day I could...

Apple? Remember Intel? Intel had its most profitable year in history in 2010. It is amazing how an "old" company can continue to innovate and prosper.

A man breaks into 3,200 email accounts to get, well whatever he got doesn't matter. What matters is that these things are not secure, and I don't understand folks who claim that national electronic health records and other government databases will be secure.

Unless something drastic happens, Borders the bookseller will soon go out of business. I don't like that.

I guess the U.S. Patent system needs some reform. Here is a patent granted for a stick.

I am amazed that scientists put out this like this. 2010 was the warmest year on record. The other warmest years on record are all in the last 12 years. This in the face of historical records of much warmer times in the last few centuries. Amazing stuff.

The tablet battles begin in earnest with several newcomers (to this market) making a million tablets each in the first quarter of 2011.

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Saturday January 15, 2011

No viewing today.

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Sunday January 16, 2011

I really like this one: Michigan researchers have built a system of sensors that interface to an iPhone iPad via the audio jack. They obtain power from an audio signal and send data into the iPhone iPad. Great stuff. The iPad now becomes a universal field collection device. Great.

NASA is paying contractors to draw cartoons of future airplanes. How about working on getting to the moon and Mars and forgetting all the other nice stuff? You tax dollars at waste.

Wikipedia turned 10 years old yesterday. Great stuff. I have loved Wikipedia since I first saw it. I put a lot of photos of small towns on it while I was taking a walk.

Russia goes to national ID cards in 2012. Maybe the U.S. should (not) do the same thing. Think of all the (not) benefits we would have.

The JFK Library has the largest online presidential library ever among U.S. presidents in the U.S. or something like that. I wonder if they have any videos of Marilyn M...

Some predictions on how the Stock Market will be a bad investment for the next decade. This prediction has numbers and history behind it.

Taking fingerprints from two meters away. Maybe this will work.

The Department of Defense is reducing its budget. One way to do so is with productivity multipliers like UAVs.

More energy-efficient computing centers. I find it amazing that computer companies with their server farms have taken so long to move to energy-efficient buildings. Where have they been?

In less than three months, the Beatles have sold five million songs and one million albums on iTunes. And the reason they didn't want on iTunes was...

Something for the writer to watch with a wary eye - too much research. Concentrate efforts on the story, the fabulous, engaging, can't-stop-reading story. Editors and such will ensure that the facts are correct.

38 books that every blogger should read. Take care that you do not spend all your time reading these books and not enough time blogging.

Some myths about freelance writing online. It appears that you can still make money online, and the important thing is not who or where you are, but what you can write.

Neat interactive maps of the world. The size of the country shown varies according to the topic, and there are a lot of topics.

Some good before, after, and aerial views of Haiti. It is said but predictable and predicted that Haiti isn't much better after billions of dollars of aid.

Here is an interesting computer desk. The computer has no case. The circuit boards and disk drives are bolted to the desk.

I love these characteristics of a published. You don't have to "be published" to fit these. My favorite is "Office supplies excite you."

If you write, read this. We have to reread and revise our work. One of the more difficult things is reading my own writing. Here are good techniques for such.

A balance between work and home life is good for you. Everyone knows that, right? Well, a lot of freelancers will tell you that this is important for people who have jobs in offices with employers, but not important for freelancers. That is WRONG. Many freelancers and writers are the worst workaholics in the world and die young because of it. Beware.

Some realities about being a travel writer. One: the average pay is about $6,000 per year.

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