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: March 21-27, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday March 21,  2011

It seems that the Chinese government is meddling in the gmail accounts of its subjects.

Boeing had a big weekend. The newest model of 747 completed its first test flight. And while people were out to watch that, Boeing did a couple of stunts with the 787 Deamliner. The 787 is woefully over budget and behind schedule, but may one day be a success.

Now this is a hybrid car - from Porshe and it only costs $800,000.

In the last 12 months in the U.S., sales of eBooks have doubled. Sales of paper books have dropped 10 percent.

Combining statistics, probability, and python programming.

Fascinating - I didn't realize there was so much to extracting actual content from HTML.

The "super moon" of this past weekend in great photographs from around the world.

When it comes to social and shopping - women rule the Internet.

AT&T wants to buy T-Mobile for $39 Billion. Now comes the year of antitrust hearings.

Combining maps with scientific mappers shows where the science is being done. Interesting results.

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Tuesday March 22, 2011

The choices we make in college - Larry Page of Google almost went into research of automated cars instead of Internet search. Maybe if I had concentrated on tennis instead...

DropBox will generate $100Million in revenue this year. I use DropBox and like it. Good for them.

The New York Times has paid $40Million or thereabouts for a paywall so they can charge people to read it online. But then people are hacking through the wall with four lines of code. Folks, these filters and walls and such have holes in them. There are more people out there who want to sneak in than there are people filling the holes. The numbers win everytime.

LinkedIn now has 100 million members. I am one of them and landed my current job through LinkedIn.

Can we feed 9 billion people on this planet in 2050? I will be 92 years old then. Maybe I will be lucky and not make it that far.

I love this title: My $200 laptop can beat your $500 tablet. Good content as well. Yes, you can find good used laptop computers for $200.

The movie versions of The Hobbit are now being filmed. This is grand news to many people out there.

It seems that if you listen to the radio you can learn when and where military operations in Lybia are occuring.

The Chinese government is cranking up its monitoring and censorship of its subjects. This has to be consuming vast amounts of resources.

Firefox 4 is out, and I am using it.

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Wednesday March 23, 2011

Samsung has yet to release to the public its Galaxy Tab, but it has already updated it at shows. The Tab is now practically the same size and weight of the iPad 2.

The state of the personal computer as it exists today from Ars Technica.

This story is everywhere yesterday and today - a Federal judge has rejected the deal that Google has been working with authors and author groups concerning Google Books. Another post about this here.

The next version of the Chumby is available. The Chumby doesn't fit into any category I know. You have to see it appreciate it (or not).

I didn't know this - there is a computer vision library available for the Chumby.

NVIDIA will shows its next graphics processor Thursday. Expect to be amazed.

DARPA unveils yet another robotics research program.

This guy turned an old flat-bed scanner into a multi-touch display. Ingenious.

Verizon promises to keep expanding its 4G LTE network. If they hold to schedule, it will even be available in Louisiana. That is pretty good.

The Wall Street Journal will sell you today's edition for $2. That seems like a lot for one issue.

This is 2011, and this post shows a recording studio. It is an amazing age in which we live.

One person's experiences with the iPad for a year.

Hey, look at this - the death rate per watt of power produced from coal, oil, and nuclear. Interesting that nuclear is by far the safest form of energy. I haven't seen this in the newspapers lately. I wonder...

Here is a way for anyone to measure the light polution at their home.

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Thursday March 24, 2011

Apple's OS X is ten years old today.

The sales of iPad 2 units continue. There is an Apple store two blocks from where I sit in the morning. Several days a week there are a couple of dozen people sitting outside the store waiting for it to open. I think this means that a new shipment arrived the night before. I sit in a coffee shop each morning - the Community Canteen at Reston Town Center.

Some thoughts from an engineer on what engineers can learn from the massive Japanese earthquake.

Chrome 11 allows you to speak to the search engine. Chrome 11 is only in Beta at this time.

Is another tech bubble about to burst? This writer doesn't think so. I hope not as tech is the one thing that seems to be working in America. Perhaps a tech bubble is an underhanded plot to get tens of billions of dollars as gifts from the government. That plan worked for GM and Chrysler.

But Red Hat is about to be the first open source company to hit a Billion $$$ in annual revenue.

In praise of MIT.

The tree islands in the Florida Everglades are probably the result of garbage piles from people over the centuries. I love this qoute,  "the findings show that human disturbance of the environment doesn't always have a negative consequence." Three cheers for humans. We actually do some things right.

A Microsoft Kinect is being used to alert blind people of nearby objects. Yes, this is just a student project and the package is impractical, but ...

A surveillance robot that can hide while surveilling.

The Air Force builds a supercomputer from 1,700 Playstation 3 units. Excellent. Of course the bad side of this story is that Lybia or just about anyone else in the world can scrounge around on Craigslist or eBay and gather all these machines and ...

The greatest invention of the 20th century - the washing machine(?).

The Chinese government continues to attack gmail in China.

Food prices are at a record high world wide. Let's see, if you burn food to make fuel, that reduces the supply of food. High demand and low supply raises prices. I think that is something you learn the first day in Economics 101. But then again I took economics at a small state college in Louisiana. They must teach the right stuff at Harvard, or perhaps we can't blame this one on Harvard but merely on some of the people who attended Harvard.

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Friday March 25, 2011

Hmm, look at this connection kit for the iPad. It allows you to connect your iPad to a bunch of devices. Finally. All the computing power in the world means little if you don't have the I/O.

One of the accidental benefits of the Mac Mini is that it comes in a small package that you can hide here and there if you have the right mounting hardware.

I am fascinated by studies on dreams and the other things we do while we are sleeping. No, I don't "sleep well" and don't seem to follow any of the norms of sleeping and dreaming. This video shows a person going through the day's learnings while sleeping. It is evidence that the mind is active when the body is asleep.

Intel has tried several times to put its processors in cell phones. Another attempt is coming. It may work this time.

The things we do with technology - this guy put a message in a bottle along with an antenna and satellite tag. He tracked its slow progress from California to the Phillipines. He is hoping someone will pick it up.

Robotics-assisted surgery is proving to be safe. One note about technical advances in the medical field: being better is not good enough. They must prove to be almost 100% effective.

This is called qualification testing or "qual tests." How far can you bend an iPad glass cover without breaking it? Break a few to find out.

iRobot now has a commercially available surveillance robot. It is tough, remotely controlled, and capable.

This is in several places on the net today: why have a plastic smart cover for the iPad 2 when you can have a beautiful wooden one?

Things are becoming interesting with cars and cell phones. Ford is providing an interface to some of its cars for cell phone app writers. I trust that this doesn't have big security holes so that others can hack into your car at will.

I like this - a Chrome extension that makes reading Wikipedia much easier on the eyes.

Students at the University of Texas built a satellite or two that separated and operated in tandem. Cost: $250,000, which is much less than normal. And NASA is spending billions doing what?

It seems that there are several mobile phone applications where users can alert other users of the presence of driving-while-intoxicated checkpoints. Some of our U.S. Senators have taken it upon themselves to urge cell phone companies to ban such applications. Legislation to follow. Let's think a moment. It appears that tax paying citizens are telling other tax paying citizens what the tax spending police are doing with public funds. Hmm, should we discourage such citizens from disclosing what is happening with public funds?

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Saturday March 26, 2011

Samsung has been caught in misleading advertising about its Galaxy Tab. Given the number of eye balls looking at everything today, I am still surprised that some people think they can trick others.

I am not surprised that Congress is trying to find a way to raise taxes quietly. The idea is to tax miles driven not gallons of gas purchased. The technology exists to have cars record every mile driven and then transmit that information to a government taxation agency. This amounts to surveillance of the population without just cause and without approval from a judge. Everyone becomes guilty of driving, which last I checked wasn't a crime. This could be interesting.

A Frisbee game is coming to the Apple mobile suite. I love tossing and catching a Frisbee. I guess that is a sign of a mis-spent youth.

Game Over! Game endings in teh 8-bit era. This is a cute video. I smiled a lot while watching it.

U.S. satellites have successfully tracked a balistic missile flight from launch to impact. This feat enables a host of anti-missile defense systems.

Six free eBooks on how to program in Python.

Computing is reaching the age where the pioneers are dying. See, for example, this post about Betty Jean Jennings Bartik.

CMU eliminates object-oriented programming from its freshmen programming course. In many ways, the concept is no longer relavent.

The Oxford English Dictionary has added several Internet slang terms. The world may come to an end soon.

Change that, the world is coming to an end soon. Case in point, over half of Americans 12 and older are on Facebook.

The founder of LinkedIn sent an email to each of the first one million participants. I received mine (member number some where in the 800,000s). That is a nice thought. LinkedIn went over 100 million users this week.

Apple's shift to aluminum cases has dramatically increased its recycling. This is a good example of doing smart things to improve environmental impact. Apple put up the money. It is unfortunate that so many environmentalists won't do this - put up the money. Instead they demand that other people do all the work and put up all the money.

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Sunday March 27, 2011

Cell phone companies are tracking our every movement - at least in Germany.

Microsoft explains the AI algorithms behind how the Kinect works.

A study on Twitter consumption. It appears that half of all tweets that are listened to come from only 20,000 sources.

The Iranian government continues to launch cyberattacks against individuals worldwide who criticize it.  Computerworld magazine printed this story, so we have to wait to see if Iran attacks Computerworld.

Here is a tutorial on using rsync for backups. I use rsync on all my Apple computers. Since Apple's OS is based on UNIX (Linux), rsync comes with it. This works pretty well.

Here are tips on being a busy freelance writer. Okay, you want to "be a writer" and make a living. My guess is that you need enough money in the bank to live for a year with zero income or have someone who will feed, clothe, and house you for a year. Once you have that, you write eight hours a day and search for markets the other eight waking hours of the day. You do nothing but those two things for a year. Does this sound difficult? It is.

A little review is never a waste of time - manuscript preparation. Yes, people still want Courier font and double spacing.

Look at this - great displays of information at HistoryShots.

I like this simple desk from Danny Bligh by way of Simple Desks. A nice wooden table with a Mac and wireless keyboard and mouse.

Tim O'Reilly on why his publishing company doesn't "protect" its eBooks.

As an engineer who writes short stories, I love this one - Story Engineering. The advice seems natural or "common sense" to me, but that is just me.

Working around and through writer's block. This doesn't affect me, but it does affect many.

Advice for first-time book writers. Nice advice. I particularly like the one about enjoying yourself and not worrying about everyone else in the world.

A big story this week - an author turned down a $500,000 advance so he could self-publish his book as an eBook instead. There is a certain amount of risk here, but he is an adult and understands the situation.

In traditional publishing, writers wait and wait and wait. This may all change before our eyes with eBooks and such. Wait for your editor to come back to you? What editor? What is an editor. We shall see how this plays.

Seven online resources for writers. I love these sites. Why go to the library?

Fifty ways to find a freelance writing job. You never know when one of these will work for you.

I love this post for writers - ways to keep your ideas organized. Yes, the outline is in the list. The other items are what I consider to be variations of the outline that provide different views and perspectives. I love this. I have used all the techniques given.

The opposite sides of the coin - staring at a blank page with nothing to write and so enraptured in the writing that you cannot stop to eat or sleep or anything else.

I watched the movie "Super Size Me" about gaining weight eating at McDonald's. Now there is a movie "Fathead" about a guy who ate at McDonald's and lost three pounds a week for four weeks in a row. Read the details.

Writing a thousand words a day on a thesis. Writing a Master's thesis or a PhD dissertation are two of the more difficult things in life. The reason is simple: you take a person who has written no more than a half dozen two-page essays and tell them to write a book.

This is excellent - the history of the world according to Wikipedia. Take all the events recorded in Wikipedia that have a date and a geographic location. Make a video. Wow.

The daily schedule of Ben Franklin.

This is a really nice workspace.  A difference here is that there are no Apple computers anywhere.

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