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 28-April 3, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday March 28,  2011

Mistakes in requirements may not be the main cause of project failures. There is so much that occurs and doesn't occur in a project. I cannot think of a "one major cause."

Professors who tweet personally are seen as more credible by students. There is something to being a real person - I think the post-modern term is "authentic" - that attracts students these days. The same probably attracted students back when I was one.

Send in the robots - of course you send the robots into buildings that may collapse on people. These robots are neither sophisticated nor expensive.

This is the first ever portable blu-ray disk burner. This seems like a good candidate or that new Thunderbolt high-speed interface.

Amazing! Here is a UAV that literally flies like a bird with flapping wings and all. This could be the ultimate surveillance platform for military and law enforcement as it "hides in plain sight."

Lenovo rolls out its new portable computers. The technology is amazing. This is a great time to be a consumer who buys the tech and produces with it.

It is all about the input/output - more add ons for Apple device to increase the options of I/O.

Here is a little ingenuity. Qatar - a really hot place in the summer - will host the World Cup soccer (football) tournament in the summer of 2022. To cool the playing fields, they will employ remote controlled clouds, i.e., vehicles that will block the sun. Difficult? Yes. Interesting? Yes. Costly? Yes, but hey, this is Qatar and this is all for entertrainment purposes for a short time.

The London Underground (subway) will get 120 WiFi hotspots in advance of the 2012 summer Olympics. There not be any access while riding underground, but the stations will have access.

This is a neat little experiment. For $15, buy two disposable film cameras, tape them together, and make your own stereographic (they call them 3D now) images.

I like this - The Saylor Free Education Initiative.

This is an amazing story. President Obama has appoint GE CEO Jeff Immelt to chair his committee on "Jobs and Competitiveness" whatever that means. The story is that GE pays $0 tax in America. It has a 1,000-member staff of former government employees, lobbyists, and Congressional staffers who job it is to influence law making and accounting practices. They are obviously succcessful as GE has managed to move enough of its jobs outside the U.S. and juggle the books enough to pay no U.S. taxes. I am not bashing GE. Hurrah for them for being smart. I am bashing U.S. corporate tax laws that drive jobs out of the U.S. Fix the tax laws and companies won't waste so much effort to manipulate accounting. Fix the tax laws and companies won't move jobs outside the U.S.

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Tuesday March 29, 2011

This goes to the top today. An implantable chip has allowed a tetraplegic to control physical things with her mind for 1,000 days. This is technology restoring life to people whose bodies no longer work. This is incredible good.

The classic "clam shell" design of portable computers now comes with both sides of the clam being a touch-sensitive display. The dual-screen Touchbook from Acer is coming to the U.S. in April.

Store your music on the Amazon Cloud, play it anywhere on any device. This is a nice idea. Let's see how the implementation works.

This one has surprised me - the Barnes and Noble nook eBook reader is a success. B&N is now taking delivery of three million more color-screen nooks to be sold in their stores and online. I thought that they moved into the market too late with a product that was just like Amazon's. I was wrong.

Intel introduces a new line of solid state drives. The prices drop while the storage capacity more than doubles. Technology continues to advance, and this is a great time to be a consumer who then produces.

It is possible to extinguish flames with electricity. This has been known for several centuries, but a practical device will be available real soon now.

This is an in-depth post about why the Mac and OS X make a poor web-development package.

This 12-year-old is Jacob Barnett. He is working on a new version of the theory of relativity. I shudder to think of what his parents worry about at night. The boy could do wonderful things, but then I say that about almost everyone I meet.

Ah, a simple desk.

The world may soon come to an end - Stanford wants to open a satellite campus in New York City. The current mayor is trying to attrack this and other schools to open graduate research facilities in the city. Such usually spawn new startup companies.

I heartily agree with Seth Godin on this one - smaller screens means less visibility which for me usually means poor decisions.

I found myself watching this entire video end to end. They have made a device that will pick up splotches of mayo and ketchup and set them down again. Who cares? I don't know about moving ketchup, but these guys have hit on something that seems to eliminate the adhesion of one material to another. In a sense, they have made frictionless surfaces. Now that has application to about a million things that can change the world.

You may not be a preacher and you may not know what "Monday-morning hangover" is for preachers. Regardless, this is a good post about knowing when I am tired and not thinking well and adjusting activities accordingly.

These quadrocopters see a ball in the air and intercept it. In effect, they are "juggling" balls. This is remarkable sensing and reacting for computers.

This self-balancing robot greatly improves the telepresence experience. This is a project by undergraduate students. What is wonderful is that tools are less expensive so that thousands of times more people (not thousands more people, but thousands of times) can have tools to build. We are multiplying our technical advances. I recall in the mid-1980s I left graduate school to return to work. I bought a computer for $3,000 (not trivial for me at the time, but something I could do). I completed my PhD experiments on a home computer. I was no longer tied to the physical university research lab. That type of thing is exploding now.

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Wednesday March 30, 2011

For some of us, this post describes the "problem" with the iPad and other tablets. They are great for consumption, but not so great for contributing. I have augmented my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard. That makes a great difference, but really, I have a clunky really small portable computer. The newer MacBook Air would be better. Oh well.

Rumors about Apple's next big things with the iPhone. Voice command would be nice. There are times, however, when I don't want everyone in Starbucks to know what I am doing on my phone.

It seems that it is possible to monitor Twitter and discover actual news events among all the chatter and gossip.

The HP Pavilion dm1z - is that a bad name for a consumer product? - sort of competes with the MacBook Air, but can be bought for only $400.

This is the most hated video on YouTube. I didn't know we had such a category or prize. The kids look nice enough in the video. When I was in high school, my small circle of music friends called this "teeny bopper" music. I suppose there is still lots of money to be made in this genre.

This isn't a surprise - NASA's computer network has big security holes. What is surprising and almost hard to believe even for NASA is that their network connects to their spacecraft. Yes, a hacker can disrupt a space mission. You could load malware on the shuttle or the space station or ... gosh.

The first photos of the planet Mercury.

If you make a new digital camera that looks like an old, and I do mean old, film camera, you may have a best seller. Fujifilm does. The X100 is selling fast at $1,200 for a 12MegaPixel camera.

More servers abound, but not more system administrators. More efficient and more workload for the people.

A simple desk with a not so simple microphone for recording podcasts. This is, in essence, a recording studio on saw horses.

A Federal judge is ruling on piracy and copyright cases. Okay, but the judge used to be a lobbyist for the RIAA. Conflict of interest?

Oooops, BP lost a laptop computer. The trouble is the laptop had personal information of 13,000 claimants in the oil spill mess. Sigh. Security?

I like this one - Skype in the classroom - enabling an international network of teachers. Now if we could just rid ourselves of last-hired-first-fired in the U.S.

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Thursday March 31, 2011

America's X37B is orbiting the earth again, and once again amatuers are following it. Given such, I tend to think that the professionals are also following it.

A company named SmithBucklin has given each of its 600 employees an iPad 2.

Remember last year when Google announced it would put an ultra high-speed broadband system in a city? Well, the winner is Kansas City, Kansas. NOTE, this is not the more well known Kansas City, Missouri (home of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals).

Google drops support for QR codes in place.

FOIA - Freedom of Information Act - requests were supposed to handled differently under the Obama Administration. Well, it seems they have not been.

Will silliness ever end at college. I am writing about silliness in college administrators, not in college students. Boston College tells its students that using a wireless router, a.k.a, WiFi, is a sign of copyright infringement.

The Russians are back in the space race. They have recently put up their first world-class satellites since the Soviet days.

This story is everywhere on the net today. Some people claim that Samsung has keyloggers installed on their portable computers. This would let Samsung know everything you do, including knowing all your passwords. Samsumg admits to this, sort of, but denies it. Around and around we go.

Wikipedia is actively seeking input from college professors. It seems that the professors would get over the "don't dare qoute Wikipedia in your papers" stuff and join. Isn't college about the spreading of knowledge or something like that? Or does that only "spread knowledge for a fee?"

A look at Knuth's latest addition to "The Art of Computer Programming." That is probably the single best writing on computer programming, ever.

Just like NASA (see yesterday's view), the computer network of the European Parliament has been hacked. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

MIT has put a Microsoft Kinect on their quadrotor UAV. I love those Kinects. Who would have thought that a game sensor would change the world?

When I was a kid, we would chew on our pencils. That was an indication that we weren't getting enough rubber, wood, and lead in our diet, or something like that. Now, you can buy a pencil made of candy. I like that idea.

Here is a good picture of how the iPad dominated the tablet market in 2010.

Samsung claims to be manufactoring transparent LCD displays.

Google's steetview now has views of some of the world's great landmarks. When will they crawl up the face of Mount Rushmore? Also, a complete trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon would be a great project.

Coming real soon now to the iPad - a fully functional version of Photoshop. This is amazing.

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Friday April 1, 2011

Today is April First. There are no April Fool's jokes in here.

There is a new satellite boradband service up and running - LightSquared - and the Pentagon is worried about interference with GPS.

HP is about to release a new "ultraportable business laptop." Those words seem to contradict one another, but the computers look pretty nice.

Television networks are struggling to find their way in the age of watching "television" on "the Internet." I am not sure what either of the qouted terms means any longer. One thing, if I produce a "TV show," I would love it that anyone watched in any location at any time in any format delivered by any means. But that is just me.

This is amazing. Take an excellent digital camera, a computer mount, four days, and 2,900 individual images, throw in some computer stitching, and you have a photo inside  Prague's Strahov monastery library. It says it is a 360 degree view, but it is actually more than that as it allows you to study the ceiling (beautiful painting) and the floor as well. Fantastic. This links to the site where you can explore all day.

Intel promotes its SSDs.

Excellent, a tiny generator that you power with your fingers. Any physical motion can be transformed into electrical energy. We just have to do the technology. Let's stop buying solar panels from China and invest into this like this.

Outstanding advances in object detection and following in video. Watch the entire enclosed video.

This is a silly application of a surgical robot, but an excellent demonstration of capability.

Some Congressmen are now swinging back to increasing the number of H-1B visas.

A prediction of today from 1971. They did a pretty good job.

A squadran of undersea robots will search areas of the Atlantic ocean for Air France flight 447.

It seems that today is a "backup your files" day or something like that. This post shows two external disk drives that you can connect directly to the Internet so that you can back up to your own local server from anywhere. I like this.

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Saturday April 2, 2011

The world browser market as of March 2011. Funny how we have a marketplace when all the browsers are free.

From 1897 to today, the discussion of copyrights hasn't changed much.

More news on the Google driver-less car proejct. Perhaps letting computers drive all the cars will greatly reduce traffic accidents and injuries.

Kroger grocery stores have a big computer database of customers. Guess what? Yes, someone hacked into and retreived all the personal information. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

More excellence from college students. A thought-controlled prosthetic arm.

Looking back, the Osborne computer would have been 30 years old had the company survived. I bought a Kaypro instead. The Osborne had the IEEE-488 interface on it. That made it excellent for controlling test equipment. The company just didn't make it.

I love this one - Hasbro will sell 3D viewers that work like the ViewMasters of my childhood. You connect them to your iPhone and there you have it.

I applaud this decision - Lond will not let the Chinese install their cell phone system in the underground system.

Minimalism qoutes from the ages. The best one for me: 1774. Elizabeth Ann Seton. “Live simply so that others may simply live.”

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Sunday April 3, 2011

The Chinese government is reacting to all the unrest in the Middle East. They are quietly rounding up all the usual suspects, i.e., those who want to be citizens rather than subjects.

Oops, another big case of hacking into a large database of private customer information. If big business isn't very good at protecting the private information of paying customers, how is it that some people believe that government will be really good at it?

Yes, this is a good Apple iPad commercial.

Are people craving tablet computers or just wanting the latest from Apple?

Just love those gadgets. This one is interesting. It is a tiny camera, i.e., it can capture images. It plugs directly into the USB port of your computer. That gives me an idea of its size. And of course it can hold a Micro SD memory card. It only costs $60? Wow. I could see using this as a document scanner, taking photos of pages in libraries and such.

I didn't know that movies were shot at 24 frames per second.

Put this one under the category of achieving the opposite of what you wanted: those hands-free faucets spread more bacteria.

If you have some spare time, you could build a ship in a bottle from Legos.

There is a lot of money to be made in illegal drugs. If you don't think so, look at this drug-running submarine. The sophistication and technology is amazing for a home-made vehicle.

When eBooks dominate the world, what will we do with bookshelves?

Some thoughts on writing chapters of a book. I am pretty sure the writer here is discussing fiction books such as novels.

Here is a good description of "parallel" construction in writing.

Here are ways to attract people to your blog. The headline contains the word "foolproof," and that makes me doubtful. The tips, however, look pretty good.

I love this post on writing - writing in the twilight zone. Strive to find the Wonder of everything. Great.

I love this one - "If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea."

Links to good posts on writing for March 2011.

There are many opportunities out there for earning a living, or part of it, as a writer.

Do you have a story in you? Just write it. Don't worry about what your mother will think, what your spouse will think, what your neighbor will think, if you can sell it, if anyone will pay to read it, and so on... just write it.

The difference between copyediting and proofreading.

A top ten list of freelancer's blogs.

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