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 14-20, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday February 14,  2011

It appears that Apple will announce a major change to its MacBook Pro line of portable computers on 1 March. It has been almost two years since the last major redesign. I guess that means that the machine I am typing on right now is about two years old. That means that I should...

Paper flight charts are being replaced by the iPad. This took a lot of work by someone to receive approval from the FAA. That bureaucracy doesn't approve things lightly or quickly.

We learn some real details about the Galaxy Tab. The tablet competition begins for real.

We complain about search results. Let's look back ten or four years to see how far technology has progressed.

Go to a school building? Why? Watch the videos instead. It appears that the future of school will be to teach social skills. And that really begs the question, "Do you want government employees teaching your kids social skills for the 21st century?"

Look here for outstanding education videos. The Khan Academy.

The mobile market may be killing the "traditional" desktop computer market. All this depends on the definitions. Mobile = tablet plus smartphone. Traditional = laptop plus desktop. Funny how things change. Still, I have yet to see anyone write a novel on an iPhone. Not to say that hasn't happened, but I don't know about it. Content creation still requires a large screen to see what you have plus an input mechanism that works. Perhaps when speech-to-text becomes better (better than 98.6% accurate), the keyboard will go away.

Speaking of speech-to-text, a look at Google's speech technology.

Cooliris gets some funding. I love the Cooliris interface.

Some thoughts on space colonization and that inconvenient issue of having babies in all the radiation you would encounter.

A computer virus closes an Australian ambulance service. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Another wonderful workspace from LifeHacker. This one definitely falls under the category of interior decorating. Beautiful, peaceful, probably not for me.

For all those in the media and elsewhere cheering the departure of Mubarak from Egypt, please consider the future of any religious tolerance there.

Qualcom is shipping all sorts of new chip sets that will do more and better than before. This is good news for the consumer.

Okay, I have to show this one and drool. The Leica M9 Titanium model - a steal at $32,000.

I have to close today with this one: I write in a journal and have done so for about ten years now. Why? Well, read this post about one man and his journal and his special pen. Perhaps this gives some insight into the journal and the handwritten lives that journals contain.

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Tuesday February 15, 2011

A report from one of Apple's China plants reveals much of what is ugly in mankind. This is not to pick on Apple as such happens in many factories in China. There is almost a limitless supply of people who will work for money regardless of the conditions. They are that hungry for a share of wealth. I pity those who will put people through such misery. They must have had a terrible childhood.

Through acquisition, Intel is now making communications chips for 3G and soon for 4G. The 3G chip in the iPad was made by the company that Intel now owns.

NASA struggles with its budget. NASA, like all the other Federal agencies, has plenty of money. What they lack is managers who can find their way. There are "tough" choices, but everyone else has the same "tough" choices and seems to get by just fine. Your tax dollars at waste.

This video game company - Valve - makes more profit per employee than Google and Apple. Perhaps some of their managers would take jobs at NASA for a while and...naw, never happen.

There appears to be a link between diet sodas and strokes. Perhaps the link is that most people who drink diet sodas are overweight and that overweight people have more strokes. I don't have the facts, but that is a strongly held belief of mine.

Texas Instruments shows its smallest projector so far. These things are almost the size to fit in a cell phone. The world will not be the same once teenagers can project video on the ceilings and walls of everywhere.

The Obama budget proposal has in it money to build small nuclear reactors. If he is serious, he will waive the regulations that drive the cost of such through the roof. Budget proposals are nice, but cutting out the regulators is the path to actually getting things done. So I guess we learn if people are serious or just like to make speeches.

This clamcase turns your iPad into a small portable computer. It should work just fine. I am enjoying my ZaggMate case and keyboard.

Motorola's anti-Apple Super Bowl ad looks a lot like plagiarism. No law suits yet.

A look at Intel's miniSATA solid state drive.

Google, in a never-ending effort to improve search results, has a new feature that allows users to block sites from search. This is a battle against "content farms." I am not sure what content farms are, so that means I probably am

Here is an accelerometer printed on paper. This low-cost device is disposable. In the future, we will see these things everywhere. One day, we will have the spell-checking pencil I have always wanted.

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Wednesday February 16, 2011

Ah, government and politics. Our Secretary of State is urging Internet Freedom abroad (good for her). At the same time the same Federal government is restricting Internet Freedom in the U.S. Your tax dollars at waste.

Here is one of those carry-on bags built so that you don't have to remove your portable computer.

An Australian airline will be renting iPads for $10 a flight. Neat.

It appears that the IBM computer is doing quite well at Jeopardy. This is a cute stunt, but behind it is a lot of years of technology development by many people.

Sprint may abandon WiMax in favor of LTE. What will happen to ClearWire and the WiMax that I am using right now? The future doesn't look good for WiMax.

Stanford researchers claim to have found a way for radios to transmit data on the same frequency at the same time. DSL, and other systems, can do this over wires.

The three kingdoms of China's Internet.

Whoa, wait a minute. People who use wireless (like cell phones) are paying far more taxes than people who do almost anything else.

Another nice workspace. This one saves desk space by hanging the pens, pencils, and such from the wall.

A look at the "battle" between OpenOffice and LibreOffice office suites. I thought OpenOffice no longer existed. I was wrong on that one.

I thought these were long dead, but I guess not. 2011 is the first year that no one offers an in-dash cassette tape deck. I still own two vehicles that have these things. I don't think that I have any cassette tapes any longer. I had dozens of them in the 1980s. Oh for the original Sony Walkman. It changed the world.

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Thursday February 17, 2011

President Obama will meet with a few of Silicon Valley's big names. Perhaps they can persuade him to remove government regulations that kill jobs. And perhaps Bill Gates can convince him that the quickest and cheapest way to improve American schools is to remove the worst 10% of the teachers. Then again, perhaps not.

The MacBook Air may be the blueprint for all future portable computers. The concept is for fewer moving parts, fewer heat-producing parts, and fewer batteries.

Here is an example from Samsung.

And in the category of, "No, really?" It will be almost impossible to secure the smart grid power system.

A 3D printer that makes ceramic pots. This is a cute trick, but there are more useful examples from this technology.

New OLED monitors from Sony.

Why not turn USB thumbrives into cartoon characters? Or is it the other way around? Just think of the possibilities.

Someone is trying to re-invent the wristwatch. Yes, there are many useful functions that we can put in a device on our wrist. Please remember, that is it foremost a piece of jewelry and not repeat the great Texas Instruments wristwatch debacle of the 1980s.

ooops, while shutting down child pornography sites, the U.S. government mistakenly shut down another 84,000 innocent sites. You tax dollars at waste.

Here's an idea worth considering - rebuild the Internet around plug servers. Everyone has their own small, inexpensive server with their own information. This, of course, kills most of the big ISPs and such.

IF (1) in government AND (2) have a perceived problem THEN (3) throw money at the problem. The Pentagon is to spend $500million this year on cyber security. Your tax dollars at waste.

And here is an ooops from an academic writer of sorts - yes, you are supposed to tell people when you are copying other people's words.

An example of the use of text-mining software.

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Friday February 18, 2011

If this works out it will be wonderful - driving a car with your thoughts. This would be one of the great technological achievements of our life for those whose muscles don't work.

The FBI has big plans for more surveillance (legally of course) of U.S. citizens. I am all for helping law enforcement catch criminals. I have, however, met many government employees who are a bit too ambitious for my stomach. These are who I fear.

Clear continues to gain subscribers to its 4G WiMax service, but it continues to lose money. That is too bad. I am using Clear for a few months to learn a few things. I like the service.

Lenovo will brings its "LePad" tablet computer to the U.S. in June. I don't like the name, but that is just me.

President Obama met with Silicon Valley executives to discuss his ideas for technology innovation. Perhaps the media didn't give an accurate report of the meeting. That is like me meeting with Tom Braday so I could tell him what I think of how quarterbacks should play their position. I guess I just don't understand the President. Here is a photo of the gathering. Funny how Obama shrinks in this group of people.

What it is like to work in an Apple store.

Another neat workspace from LifeHacker. Interesting is the background image on the screen is a photo of the workspace. This sort of gives a picture in a picture in a picture on to infinity look.

NetGear shows some 42Mbps routers.

This is the U.S. National Broadband Map. It shows who in the U.S. does not have broadband access. Neat. Oh, it cost $200Million to make the map. Your tax dollars at waste. Here is the home site for the map. I entered my zip code, and the map showed the wrong area. Gosh! Yes, this is a big waste of tax dollars.

Augment reality comes to car navigation. You peer into your cell phone's display and follow an augmented car turn by turn.

A new family of video recorders from Panasonic.

Survey says...a lot of Americans are not looking forward to national electronic health records.

It seems that the Jeopardy matches between humans and the computer were "rigged." The computer was input the questions in ASCII files. It didn't understand the questions either through OCR or listening by natural language understanding. Since the computer received the questions much faster than the humans, it is no surprise that the computer had the answer much faster. Oh well, a disappointment in TV game show entertainment. No news there.

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Saturday February 19, 2011

The government of Lybia has hit the kill switch on its Internet connections.

The video game industry is down 10% this January from a year ago. Microsoft, hower, is up up up with its Kinect. Kinect has been a game changer. Can Microsoft continue the trend or will Kinect go the way of Guitar Hero?

This is great - using tech to help people regain the use of disabled arms and legs.

In the line of "why didn't we think of this earlier?" the water moving through a shower head powers a radio. Of course. Anything that moves can be used to generate electric power. There is lots of fluid moving through lots of pipes in lots of places - lots of possible applications.

This is a good question, why can't tablet makers ship? There are more and more announcements of coming tablet competitors to the iPad. Still, we don't have many of them in our hands yet.

More news leading to a redesign of Apple's MacBook Pro portable computer. I looked on some finance records this morning and learned that mine is almost two years old. It still works, so I doubt I will buy a new one this year.

Are IT investments keeping unemployment up? I doubt it. I point to increasing government regulations. The government has raised the cost of hiring someone to an untenable level.

The U.S. Navy has a laser that burns through 20 feet of steel per second. This all exists in the lab only.

The nano-hummingbird. It is a remote controlled flying machine the size, weight, and appearance of a hummingbird. It has two wings that flap. Great stuff for the lab.

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Sunday February 20, 2011

The FBI is lamenting all the troubles it is having with legal phone tapping due to Internet services. They want Internet laws similar to CALEA, which covers cell phone systems. Such laws would add greatly to the cost of running Internet services.

The Maryland Department of Corrections wants employees to provide their Facebook passwords or be fired.

High-speed trains still are slow considering the total time of the trip. Much of the talk of high-speed rail is just political posturing.

Another computer that was supposed to compete with the MacBook Air is gone - the HP Envy 13. It was a good computer, but I never liked the name "envy." I guess it was supposed to sound like a cologne or something.

Intel will spend $5Billion on a new chip-making plant in Arizona.

I saw this item in several places today, so here it is - the cousin of the Loch Ness Monster was photographed with a cell phone. People have studied this image, and since it came from a low-resolution cell phone, they can't tell if it is a fake or has been Photoshopped or all sorts of things. So, we have to wonder a little bit.

And since it is Sunday, I use the time and space to look at writing items.

One writer's experience with writing more efficiently - same amount of writing in less time each day.

A good tip for blogging - teach something while blogging.

Read it again. Edit it again. Revise it again. Isn't that all boring? Yes, it can be, but the product is usually much better.

Some pros and cons of freelance writing. It can be rewarding, but not always financially rewarding.

More tips of breaking writer's block. Several of the tips follow a theme: you don't have to write the piece from start to finish. You can start in the middle, at the finish, anywhere in between.

One way to break the block is to make a "one minute outline." I make outlines in a circular form - sort of like a Mind Map and sort of like an outline. That seems easier for me to move things.

Here is a beautiful, simple desk. Here is a site that collects such.

The life and experiences of a ghost writer. I liked this post. This person does what she does and she is happy with it. Her friends and relatives never seem to understand what she does, but that too is okay with her.

Writing tends to be a feast or famine endeavor - or at least it seems that way. Here are some tips for smoothing the peaks and valleys.

Ways to remove stress from your day in less than a minute. Be careful of #10 - eat. Many people eat to relieve stress and wake up one day with a lot of stress because they are 50 pounds overweight.

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