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: February 7-13, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday February 7,  2011

Carl Zeiss moves into the micro four thirds market.

Aptera makes innovative cars (that no one will buy). They claim they won't produce anything for the market without government funding. Hey, we gave GM tens of billions of dollars. Why  not give these guys some seed money for something truly innovative?

Here's an idea - when you build a bridge, put wind turbines in the structure. Why not? You've already built a large structure, put it to use.

America On-Line bought Huffington Post for $350 million.

And TechCrunch becomes HuffingtonCrunch. What?

How to build a website that you update daily with one git command. Neat. I use a BASH script on my MacBook Pro to update this daily viewing of the net. It calls ftp, and that is it.

The Internet is a powerful tool for spreading information. It is also, given the right (wrong) circumstances, an easy thing for governments to control.

Less than 15% of Wikipedia contributors are women. I suppose their are many explanations for this. The Wikimedia Foundation, to their credit, is trying to redress this.

Debian 6.0 is released.

The American science fair is dying. Maybe it should die. I think I was in a science fair in 6th grade. I know my kids HAD to do it when in high school. The compulsory nature of it maybe killing it. More government funding is sure to kill it.

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Tuesday February 8, 2011

Stephen Hunter argues for large-capacity magazines for handguns in the Washington Post. The large magazine makes a handgun large and thus practically useless for criminals. The large handgun is fine for home defense as it often rests under a bed or in a drawer.

The Plaza Hotel is giving (while you stay there) iPads to all guests. It is just another appliance in the hotel. I have stayed in a lot of (m)hotels, but never this one.

Super WiFi comes to a remote Indian reservation. Perhaps they could bring it to remote Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.

The U.S. military has tools to defeat Internet kill switches. So is the claim. No comment officially, and no demonstrations of such.

Some evidence that Apple will update its line of MacBook Pro portable computers in March.

This is a pretty good idea - put your cell phone in Airplane Mode. You can still share photos, music and such while eliminating phone calls.

The Verizon iPhone has a communications chip that works both for GSM and CDMA.

Apple leads the market in movie downloads. Microsoft is second with Sony third. I guess this is about hardware platforms and not services like Netflix.

An Android phone with two screens. The neat feature is that you use the two screens like two different computers. Multi-tasking or whatever we want to call it.

Kenneth Olsen died this weekend at 84. He founded Digital Equipment Corporation. At one time, DEC was the number two computer maker in the world behind IBM. The PDP-11 was the foundation of a long-lost industry. I remember the purple toggle switches on the front console. We used them to boot the computer. Sigh.

China is building a really big cloud computing center.

The FCC is trying to move some of the Federal taxes on my phone bill to pay for rural broadband. How about just eliminating those taxes? Huh?

There is a lot of information out there on the Web (not news). You can mine that information for all sorts of purposes (also not news). Providing information to American soldiers in Afghanistan is news.

Rugged cameras from Pentax with real lenses and 14MegaPixel sensors. I could have used one last summer in the Grand Canyon while floating down the Colorado River.

The X-47B unmanned stealth bomber from Northrop Grumman.

Using the iPad camera connect gadget to connect the MIDI world to the iPad. Great stuff.

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Wednesday February 9, 2011

The National Labor Relations Board has stated the obvious: you can't tell your employees what they can and cannot do on their own Facebook account at home on their own time.

The Wall Street Journal of all people claims that the iPad 2 is already in production at the factories.

Intel will start shipping its dual-core Sandy Bridge chipsets February 20th.

A primer on the Near Field Commnications technology.

Firefox version 4 is coming, and it has a "no tracking" option to prevent advertisers and others from tracking your activities.

Dell has dropped the Adamo from its line of portable computers. It was supposed to compete with the MacBook Air or something like that. It was expensive and didn't receive the needed marketing.

This story keeps appearing on the tech blogs. I am not sure why as it seems to be a natural technical progression. Alcatel-Lucent shrinks its cell tower equipment.

It seems that real camera lenses are coming back to the digital imaging world for consumers. I love it. They will be much more affordable now.

The state-of-the-art in image sensors progresses. See the latest from Fujitsu. This chip costs only $36. That is the amazing part.

And more and more in cameras - this small one has a 14MegaPixel sensor and it appears to have a real lens.

Virtual assitants - here is a post about one such service. You pay a fee, send them requests, and they do things for you. If you are busy and your time is valuable ($$$), these work great.

I like this story - resurrecting a bit of history we never knew. These woman were called "Rosies." They were computers in WWII. No, they didn't program computers, they were computers - computing ballistic trajectories and such that went into handbooks used by soldiers in the field.

Coming real soon now (really, no kiddig) is 1 Giga bit per second WiFi - 802.11ac.

Cyber-cheating is still high at 61%. I have to argue with this. I want employees who find information online and use it. Why reinvent the wheel everytime? Cries of "do your own work" ring hollow. Besides, researching topics and finding answers IS work.

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Thursday February 10, 2011

I'll have to check this app for the iPad - Learn to Draw.

And check into BabyU for my grandson. He is amazingly bright, but then again I am partial in this matter. Their site URL is http://www.babyfirsttv.com/babyu.

The hardware of a femtocell shrinks to that of a USB stick. Nice technological advance.

The Guitar Hero game is officially dead. Guitar Hero was one of those innovations that changed everything, but couldn't sustain itself. One day in the next ten years, a guy who grew up on the Guitar Hero interface will turn things upside down and make a medical or transportation device derived from that interface and change the world again. I love this stuff.

The charges for voice calls on cell phones continue to drop. One reason is that the younger people don't use voice; they text all the time, and that is where the charges accumulate and the companies make their money.

HP and Palm introduce the TouchPad. This is a real product and may be a real competitor to the iPad. It has all the things the original iPad didn't have, but then again the second generation iPad - which may be on store shelves before the TouchPad is - has all those things as well. Price? I can't find a price tag.

Speaking of iPad, there are hints that an iPad 3 may come in the fall.

Somone finally explains why more mega pixels in your cell phone camera don't matter if you have a cheap, plastic "lens."

The same post does a good job of explaining the Pelican idea of placing an array of cameras in the same space instead of a single large-number-of-mega-pixels camera.

And that points to this post about HDR photo processing. This is great stuff. I love it.

The President calls for $53Billion for high-speed rail linking cities. I think the rail is a good idea. I also think that if the President would eliminate the regulations surrounding said construction, as well as union contracts, the price tag would fall below $20Billion and the job would be done in one fourth the time. Fantasy. I doubt anything will be done.

Alas, a case in point. The FDA thinks it has a new regulation route that will cut the approval process in half. There is, however, at least one self-imposed problem - the new process has to be approved by other regulators. Can anyone involved see the silliness here?

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Friday February 11, 2011

No viewing today. Instead I had breakfast with some fine gentlemen.

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Saturday February 12, 2011

This is a great hack or DIY project - this guy combined a vacuum cleaner robot with a portable computer to make a telepresence machine. Great.

It seems that Borders books is about to file for bankruptcy. That is too bad. I love bookstores.

The eBook continues to rise and the paper book, well it isn't rising, not necessarily falling, but not rising.

2,500 frames per second - that is slow motion video. What is amazing is that today you can do this at a cost that is so low.

And enabling this kind of thing, Samsung introduces its newest CMOS sensors at 8 and 12 MegaPixels.

The Symbian operating system dies.

Some thoughts on a the space elevator concept.

Pandora, the music station on the internet, seems to have life. I listen to Pandora all the time while at home. I love it.

Next week is National Telework Week. I just thought it was the week with Valentine's Day in it. I wish I could telework, but alas, not yet.

I like this one - the Bilibot project. They are building a robotics experiment platform based on Microsoft's Kinect and lots of open source items.

Oh no, deep cuts to science organizations in the Federal government. Alas, people hate science - NOT - these agencies have plenty of money. What they lack is management.

Internet censorship around the world.

The White House wants to put up our money for a rural wireless broadband network. Great, if they are serious they will eliminate all construction regulations so the job will get done. Note that over $10Billion is for a wireless public safety network, i.e., a wireless Government safety network that no doubt will serve the government much more than it will the taxpayers. Sigh. At least they are trying, but they can't seem to move out of their own way.

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Sunday February 13, 2011

It appears that Apple will update its MacBook Air - you know, the really thin one - this summer with newer Intel processors.

Wael Ghonim - the Google employee who had a big role in the Cairo uprising - wants everyone to know that Google had nothing to do with his activities. Google wants everyone else to know the same. The odd thing is that the Google name was used everytime this man's name was used. If a person on camera was a cab driver, the news media didn't say, "Mr. Smith, cab driver..." But with a Google employee, the media had to tell everyone that he was a Google employee as if that was significant. I guess this shows the power and prestige of the Google name.

Boeing is rolling out its new 747-8. It is supposed to be the most fuel-efficient airliner in the world. What about the Dreamliner? Where is it? Oh well. Nice photos here.

A fuel cell to recharge your iPhone and other USB-charging devices. This past summer I went through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. I carried a AAA battery-powered device that kept my iPhone camera charged. It worked well enough.

Now this is great - Fisher Price has built a case to hold the iPhone and iPod Touch so that your toddler can play with them. Grandparents of the world can now rejoice! Parents aren't going to buy this, but grandparents will.

Some thoughts on the Startup Visa Act. American immigration policy has drifted about to the point where we welcome undeducated people who drain resources from schools and hospitals while deporting educated people who start businesses and create jobs. I doubt that anyone set out to create such a situation, but the combination of many actions has brought us here. No one seems to have the will to change the situation as that would reverse many smaller, well meaning decisions. I guess that is called leadership.

This post bemoans the disappearance of cursive handwriting. I say good riddance. Cursive disappearing does not mean that hand-written material will disappear. Check into the history of cursive. It makes no sense to teach that font to 7 year olds.

Here are nine good tips for writers. I don't call the "productivity" tips so as as tips for ways to find the time to write and concentrate on writing.

Some questions and answers about typing speed and writing.

Here are some good tips about travel writing.

And more good ideas on writing a novel. I like the idea of brainstorming ideas, looking at novels you like, and outlining (or maybe not outlining if that doesn't work for you).

Dean Wesley Smith continues to write on the new world of publishing (and writing). I enjoy his posts. His guesses at the future stop me and cause me to think and think and maybe change my plans. Recent posts in his series include his thoughts on cash flow, writing  (not typing) speed, and time.

A nice post about Lillian Gilbreth. She is best known as the mother of Cheaper by the Dozen. She should be well better known for her career in engineering.

Strokes in America are running rampant among adults under 40. Obesity seems to be the big cause in this shift.

This is a clever trick to making your office look bigger. The background image on the monitors is a photo of the wall behind the monitors. It provides the illusion that the monitor is transparent.

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