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: February 28-March 6, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday February 28,  2011

I'm sitting in a Safeway grocery store this morning. I have an all day meeting at an adjacent office building today, and this Safeway has a Starbucks and a seating area and a free WiFi. For the past 45 minutes, a Chinese gentleman was having a video call with someone else - maybe the other person is in China. The WiFi is free, the store is open 24 hours a day, the halfway-around-the-world video call was FREE. Our telecommunications technology is amazing folks. Absolutely amazing.

The Vodafone system in the UK is down do to a break in. This is not a computer hack; it is a physical break in and bust up the place. This may be a first.

The Motorola Xoom was over clocked and delivered 47MegaFloatingPointOperationsPerSecond. That is a amazing for an old guy to see what you can hold in you hand.

A collection of Alan Turing's original papers has been saved.

Only 8% of hiring managers rate IT graduates as well trained and ready to go. I am not sure how much of this dismal result is from a poor survey. I know managers are usually disappointed in new college graduates. Of course those managers seem to forget how disappointed people were in them when they were young. And most managers tend to over look how disappointed the people they manage are in them now.

Consumers seem to be keeping their technology gadgets longer. The urge to refresh has slowed with the economy.

I find this one interesting: light painting to show WiFi strength in a city.

This post shows evidence of the growing influence of Apple and the decline of Microsoft.  Five years ago, people would approach me in coffee shops and ask me what I thought of using an Apple computer. No  one does that anymore.

There is, however, hope for Microsoft as long as they keep trying new things. Kinect is one example of a success. There are examples of failure (what was that phone thing they tried this year?). Google and Apple keep trying new things. Some hit it huge - Google Maps for example, while others fizzle, Google Buzz. Still, they keep trying and trying and trying.

OS X 10.7 brings "remote user multi-computing."

The federal government's list of critical-need computer security employees has not been updated in over 15 years. This could be bad, really bad, if our "leaders" in Washington succeed at orchestrating a government shutdown. Your tax dollars at waste.

Here is yet another story on IT and productivity. Let'ts try this one, people will be more productive with fill-in-the-blank-with-a-tool when they want to be more productive. People will not produce more with anything if they would rather sit on their rear and do nothing.

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

Tuesday March 1, 2011

The director of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforecement Agency) defends the seizure of web sites. ICE is probably just doing its job. Note that I use the word "probably." In 28 years of working in the Federal government I met plenty of people who were a bit too ambitious and didn't mind stretching things a bit for personal gain. Federal employees are, after all, people like everyone else and have the common failings of people everywhere.

A hands-on look at OS X 10.7 Lion.

Google now does optical character recognition in 34 languages. And this is all done at no charge to the consumer.

A look at Amanda Hocking who is selling 100,000 eBooks a month. Welcome to the new world of publising? We shall see how all this plays.

Intel shows its new line of solid state disks that have 6GigaBitPerSecond throughput. That makes them fast enough for the new Thunderbolt interface and other such things.

And Intel completed its $7Billion-plus purchase of McAfee.

Morgan Stanley was attacked by Chinese hackers. Now isn't that nice of the Chinese government?

Apple unveiled its plan for having its "Geniuses" come to small businesses to help with Apple IT issues. The charge is basically $100 a year per employee. That is pretty cheap.

Control your computer with your eye motion. This isn't a big tech breakthrough. Object tracking has been around for years. Just focus the webcam on your eyes and track the motion of the eye ball.

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

Wednesday March 2, 2011

Using data from the CIA on population, we adjust the worldwide browser market. The adjustment gives Internet Explorer a big, one-time boost.

California's government wants Amazon to collect taxes for it. Amazon doesn't want to do all that work as a favor to the state government. Amazon will pull out instead. Let's see: (1) a government puts taxes and regulations on a business, (2) the business has other places it can go to do business, (3) business leaves that area. Could anyone have possible predicted this? ;-)

Some reasonable expectations for Apple's big event today. New hardware and new software.

Why not do something like this? Put edible goo in 3D printers. The result is space shuttle shaped dinner. This may actually go somewhere in the field of cake decorating.

Guess what, the broadband speed you actually experience is about half of the speed advertised. I guess there is a point to smacking companies for exagerating claims.

This small, inexpensive device can detect cancer in under an hour. Of course the American regulators will delay its use for ten years.

This could be great. Fujitsu is showing a monitor that has no wires. Not only wireless signal but also wireless power. This could be great.

The cell phone makers are killing the unlimited data plans. I guess too many customers took them at their word.

The history of Nike - it all began with a waffle maker.

Putting a metal core in fibre optic cables increases data throughput.

Solid state drives are making digital forensics much more difficult. This is a killer for law enforcement. If, however, you are leading a revolution in a middle eastern country and are quite afraid for yourself and colleagues...

Is the iPad an expensive toy for the rich? Probably, for now. It has changed things, and who knows where it might lead.

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

Thursday March 3, 2011

Apple introduced the iPad 2 yesterday. There are a million posts on the Internet about this. Here is one. And we can already compare the iPad 2 with the competitors. Apple's hardware isn't as good as the other machines, but hardware is yet a small part of the equation. With the updated machine, Apple stays far ahead in this market. They will probably sell 30 or 40 million iPads this year. That is a big number folks. It appears that Best Buy, Wal Mart and others will have them in the stores.

On a personal note, I was happy to hear that Steve Jobs was healthy enough to be on stage at the event. Jobs did seem to educate competitors by telling everyone that iPads are not PCs and treating them as such misses the point.

This is AMAZING. A man made videos of every Windows upgrade from 1.0 through 7.0.

Congress is now funding the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy or ARPA-E. We have DARPA. We have IARPA. Now we have ARPA-E. I know some of the people who work at these various places. They do interesting research. How much of it, however, is beneficial .... well it is government.

Speaking of redundancy and other evils, the Congressional Research Service does research for Congress. And the Congress-critters think they don't have to release the results. The research is funded by public money. Hence, it belongs to .... I am waiting, yes, you got it, the public. Sometimes I really wonder about some of these people. Your tax dollars at waste.

The Chinese government will track its subjects in Beijing via their cell phones. This is one of the differences between ruling over subjects and governing for citizens.

More writers are making a decent living via self-publishing their work as eBooks. It is quite helpful to have someone edit your book. It seems, however, that people are willing to buy unedited works.

A look at the world of cybercrime. Why do it? Because that is where the money is.

Bing has passed Yahoo in the search market.

Panasonic is putting beauty software into its cameras. I guess I should have expected this. The computers in cameras have plenty of processing power, and we have made great strides in vision and image processing. Why not turn to the cosmetic appearance of portraits. That is where the money is.

Here is a nice idea AND it will probably be illegal in the U.S. very soon. Volkswagon has adapted thier van to hold an iPad. This is done in the factory, not as a hobby add-on. Since the screen will be visible and touchable by the driver...well, now we reach the part about it quickly being illegal in the U.S. Here we protect ourselves from every potential problem.

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

Friday March 4, 2011

Here is a wireless keyboard from Logitech that is powered by light. I guess this is a neat application. I would rather see the unit powered by the mechanical motion of the keys. There is a lot of energy wasted in that.

I especially like this entry in George Orwell's diary from 1941. "Now and again in this war, at intervals of months, you get your nose above water for a few moments and notice that the earth is still going round the sun." Yes, the world and life continues at times when nothing else seems to be right.

A look inside Google's car that drives itself. Outstanding technology development. This could be a tremendous aid to the handicapped and elderly.

Microsoft continues to try innovating, and that is a good thing. Here are tests with a very low-cost tablet system.

There are now more help wanted ads for Android developers than for iPhone developers. There could be many reasons for this.

Apple will ship 12 million iPad 2 units in just the Spring. That is a lot of units of anything folks.

And despite all these millions, 99% of the people haven't bought one. It is good to keep perspective.

High-speed trading takes another leap. I think this will be outlawed in the near future. It just isn't "fair" to people who cannot afford the computers. Of course, another future is that the people who own this technology will lease it in the cloud. Hmm, which future will create jobs and which future will eliminate jobs?

Our friends at the TSA are trying to build full-body scanners that look at you when you don't even know it. Oh well, something to do with our tax dollars.

A new photograph of the moon. Amazing clarity.

Some thoughts on the "post-PC world."And more thoughts on this. Perhaps people will stop buying home computers and opt instead for mobile computers in the form of cell phones and such. Really, do you need four PCs in your house? One will do for such mundane things as typing a report or making a PowerPoint for school. Want to watch a movie? Look at your tablet or cell phone.

The Intel i7-990x processor chip. This isn't a good "value," but it is the fastest processor you can buy. The chip itself costs $1,000. You could buy two iPads for that cost. You could also do a lot of other good things for people you know.

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

Go to Dwayne's Home Pag

Saturday March 5, 2011

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

Sunday March 6, 2011

The Air Force has launched a second X37-B orbital test vehicle. We don't know what these things are doing. I hope they are good spends of taxpayers' dollars.

A subway tunnel is being dug beneath the sculpture of David. I guess they know what they are doing.

Finally, distance, live mentoring is happening a little bit. The concept is simple. A retired, expert person sits on their couch or beach or fishing pond bank and monitors someone learning to do the job they used to do. They offer advice in real-time. Why has this taken so long to begin?

Seagate releases their 3TeraByte internal disk drive.

It seems that almost all of Lybia is blacked out from the Internet now.

Another entry into the Point Of View camera market. These are the things you strap on your head or something while you go skiiing and canoing and walking and sitting on the porch.

A fascinating story - squatters live in a 45-story unfinished, abandoned building in Venezuela.

Here is a suggestion - to receive better customer service in a store, carry a camera and act like you are making a video of your experience.

It seems that some writers see writing as a curse or something awful. I guess I've always seen it as great fun. Perhaps there is something going on here that I don't quite understand.

Jerry Weinberg looks back at how some publishing used to be, how and when it changed, and general thoughts on how the "haves" tend to stifle innovation.

And Weinberg relays a warning about publishers wanting a large cut of royalties on eBooks. They have to be kidding.

Writers are often our own worst enemy. We convince ourselves that no one wants to hear from us and that if we ask we will be a pest. So, we miss opportunities. I am working on this personal fault of mine.

Should a writer be easily distracted to wander into creative thoughts? Should a writer be focused so to sit and pound out the words? Yes to both. This is but one of the split personalities or tensions that a writer faces. Some writers learns to switch and balance and thrive. Some writers never learn the balance and thrive anyways.

One Word - this is a neat site. It shows you one word and gives you a writing area. You have 60 seconds to write. After you finish, you can see what other people have written when spurred by that one word. I think this is great for practice.

Here is a big web site about writing - writing-world.com

Dr. Suess was born in early March of 1904. Writers can still learn much from his examples. I read a few of his stories to my grandson last night. Silly, but he likes them.

A few thoughts on writing and fear. Most of us are afraid to write some things some of the time.

Making a plan on how you would quit your job and write online as a living. Please folks, don't quit your job until you are making money writing. One great writer - I forget the name, but you would recognize it - used a simple formula. When he earned as much writing as he did in his job two years in a row, then and only then would he quit his job and write full time.

Running into a wall in the middle of a book. I haven't experienced this. I use outlines in a high degree of detail when writing a book. Perhaps that makes a difference. It does for me.

Some interesting notes on the concept of the 40-hour work week. Perhaps we should all work half time. That would double the  number of jobs, provide less money for everyone, and we would spend more time with other people instead of things.

Seven tips on working from home. I like this post. It addresses the most common problems people have of either working too much or not working enough.

Some ideas on focus and improving your focus. I usually don't have a problem with this as once I start on something, the house can burn to the ground without me noticing.

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