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: April 25-May 1, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday April 25,  2011

It must be nice to make the camera that every film maker wants. Such is the case at RED.

The Galaxy Tab goes on sale in Europe tomorrow. Can they make a dent in the iPad?

High-tech crime - in Seattle, it seems that a group of criminals drives about town breaking into WiFi systems at stores and stealing credit card information. The WiFi networks are "secured" by WEP, but that has known problems. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

ARPA-E, of the U.S. Department of Energy, is funding research projects that may change everything. There is little probability that these things will work. The money is too small.

And this one, unfortunately, will also fail - a back to the moon bill. It calls for NASA to return man to the moon by 2022. That timeline is too long. NASA has shown that it cannot focus on something for ten years. A back to the moon in three years is a realistic goal as it would take five years.

It seems that Apple collects all that location information on its product owners so that it can make products to sell them. Duh. Why else would a for-profit company do something that is so difficult? Sometimes I wonder about people who wonder about companies.

How Fidelis College helps American soldiers go to college. Good job.

More on the college bubble and where and how people are learning these days.

Hmmm, this could be important. Users of web pages don't read much when they scroll down. So, present everything in a single horizontally oriented page.

And the world's great mystery is solved...after an extensive study, here are the REAL differences between Mac people and PC people. None of the reasons listed are that the Mac OS is based on Unix, which is why I use Macs. Oh well. By the way, I have read both "The Millionaire Next Door" and "The Road." Perhaps that is explained by the fact that I use a Mac and a PC at home and a PC and a Mac at work.

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Tuesday April 26, 2011

We observe the 50th anniversary of the patent for the silicon-based integrated circuit.

Look for a completely new design of the exterior of Apple's portable computers next year. Will the machined aluminum case be replaced by a carbon composite one?

Sony shows its tablet computers that will be available real soon now.

Sony fans must be hoping for better sales than the Motorola Xoom. Revised estimates at sales drop to only 25,000.

HP leaks details of its tablet convertable coming real soon now.

The ASUS EEE Pad Transformer (what a name) is on sale in the U.S. right now.

YouTube will start streaming real movies for money. This will happen sooner than real soon now. Remember, YouTube is owned by Google.

Google's algorithm changes are working. They are no longer directing searches to content farms.

Netflix now has more subscribers than Comcast - the cable TV company. Netflix grew almost 70% in the past year. That was predictable. The rising cost of almost everything else and higher unemployment tends to push people to stay home and watch TV or Netflix.

Here is a call for reforming the PhD system. Actually, this is about reforming the university research system. Too much research is focused too narrowly and the result is only of interest to other researchers in the narrow fields. I doubt change will happen, but if people actually realize how much better education is on the web instead of in a university, the flight of learners from colleges may spur change.

Do higher IQ scores mean greater intelligence or a greater desire to do better on IQ tests?

The future of computers in cars. I vote for letting the computers drive the cars. The Google experiments show that computer-driven cars have almost no accidents and are much safer than people. Why? Because the computer keeps the car in one lane and drives the speed limit. In essence, the computer is not in a hurry.

Science and technology can be a lousy career. I am an engineer (BS MS PhD). I worked in a government science and technology organization. My financial mistake was not moving into management.

Being self-employed has its ups and DOWNS. I have two brothers and a brother-in-law who went bankrupt in self-employment. You must make enough money to buy  health insurance. If you can't afford health insurance while being self-employed, you are not earning enough money on your own. Get a job with a boss and all that stuff.

This is an excellent colorized portrain of Abraham Lincoln. Someone put some time and effort into this one.

I like this one - collecting money for charity via a robot. The little thing doesn't get tired and always looks cute.

This is an intriguing concept - a good camera that comes to life when you slip your iPhone into the back of it.

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Wednesday April 27 2011

Excellent - moving closer to thought-controlled lower-body prosthetics. Legs are much more difficult to make than arms as they support the entire body as well as provide balance.

Not all the tech economic news is good.

Nokia is cutting jobs in Denmark, Finland, and the UK. This has to do with dropping the Symbian OS. 4,000 jobs lost.

Amazon's earnings per share was less than expected.

While not in the price range of spinning disk drives, the price of solid state drives is falling.

There is a lot of physical motion (vibration in this case) on a highway. Physical motion can be converted to electrical energy. Duh. California is at least trying something here.

Toshiba has built a touch screen LCD that is 1mm thick. For us Americans, there are about 25 millimeters in an inch. This thing is thin.

This is a video from a Google office party in 1999. At that time, the entire company fit in one little office for a party. Silly? Yes, but shows how styles and culture have changed in only a dozen years. I dare say that everyone in the video became a millionaire or at least had the chance to do so.

It seems that $3Billion of "microwork" was performed in developing countries in 2009. I guess this is the virtual assistant type of work. The report encourages developing countries to invest in the infrastructure to enable this type of work. There are plenty of smart people out there who will work for you for $1 a day.

Someone is building a submarine that can go down 36,000 feet - that is the bottom of the ocean - and work. This is not a stunt, but a working, commercial machine. I am not sure what work there is down that deep.

Google announces its Summer of Code 2011. They are putting $6Million into this.

The last typewriter factory in the world is closing. There are millions or hundreds of millions of typewriters out there still in use. I suppose there are parts and people who repair them. The thing that will become scarce one day are the ribbons. I should buy a typewriter sometime soon before they all disappear. I wonder if my  mother still has her IBM Executive. It had proportional font - not fixed font like 99.999% of typewriters.

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Thursday April 28, 2011

"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads," he says. "That sucks." Ouch!

Panasonic will lay off 17,000 people. Ouch Ouch.

The Apple location-data swirl continues. Perhaps Apple is really trying to develop its own mapping and directions application.

Applying design to design schools. Sometimes we become so busy that we forget what it is we are doing and what we are trying to teach.

Look at these new 3D maps. Excellent imagery. Excellent.

There is a lot of excitement over the white iPhone. I'm one of those people who don't care what color the phone is. I have to look at my iPhone to tell you that it is, wait while I pull it out of my pocket, black with silver trim. Still, the color of an electronic device matters when you are designing and building something that must dissipate heat so it won't cook itself. I was on a project where the device was black because the black paint dissipated heat much better than other colors. Yes, the color matters.

Yahoo has sold Delicious to the two founders of YouTube (now running AVOS I think). This will keep Delicious alive. I use Delicious and have done so for about five years now. This morning I went through a several-click procedure to agree to transfer all my saved links to the new company. I am happy to see that Delicious will live.

Microsoft has completed a three-year project to map and photograph from the air about 7 million square miles of the planet. It is called bing.com/maps. Good stuff.

China isn't the only place where the Internet is being restricted. See India.

How to index 30 million documents a day. Greplin. And they do it with only six engineers. I wish government agencies could do one tenth the work with ten times the people.

And oops, the FBI is found to still be lacking in cybersecurity capabilities.

China's high-speed trains are falling off the rails. There seems to be some controversy about being a bit too ambitious and ingnoring little things (like trains falling off tracks).

And lest people forget, China is still run by a small group of people who restrict freedoms of their subjects. Sometimes they bust a few heads and cause a few people to disappear.

The Sony Playstation network has had problems recently. One result is that the private information of 77 million users was compromised. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Hmm, this one is new to me - Amazon's Mechanical Turk. It seems to be a virtual assistant service enabled by Amazon.

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Friday April 29, 2011

The Dutch GPS maker TomTom has given enough GPS information to the police so that the police can issue speeding tickets. Oh well.

Microsoft had a good quarter financially.

People are debating this one, but it seems that the sales of the really small portable computers are being hurt by the iPad.

Oooops, the someone at the New York Yankees accidentally released the personal information of 21,000 fans. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Samsung will be one of the first to sell a Chrome Operating System computer.

Intel promises 50 Giga bits per second interface speed by 2015. Amazing? Yes. Why not?

Altered photographs? With digital images it is hard to tell. Several companies are trying to make images so that meta data is changed when the original is altered. Just as soon as they do it, someone comes along and breaks through the scheme.

Data on what costs more and less (yes, there are some things that cost less) this year. Federal workers, Civil Service Retirees, and Social Security recipients have a 0% increase this year (and last year and maybe next year).

Some good news from the Alabama tornado story - a nuclear power plant was involved and it shut down safely.

I like this idea, instead of companies just dropping products, make them open source and release them.

The U.S. government is consolidating its data centers. At first, this seems like a good, money-saving move. I hope they are doing this in a smart manner. When you consolidate and a consolidated system goes down, everyone is down.

Google actually has physical workshops - wood, metal, electronics, etc. - where a select few employees can try to build things. This looks like great fun.

Kids now-a-days - texting while eating. Just imagine.

And now for a few items about the TSA. They "molest" a former Miss USA. Yes, of course she is a potential terrorists, so someone from the TSA must touch her sexual organs several times. And this report shows that the TSA personnel are blindly doing their jobs, using almost no judgement. I guess they are trained to turn off their brains when they enter the workplace.

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Saturday April 30, 2011

More rumors that Apple will update its all-in-one desktop iMacs next week. Why? The current ones are fine.

I guess this summarizes the history of the space shuttle program. NASA can't launch Endeavor on its last mission before retirement because a glitch delays the launch.

This could work - UUVs or undersea drones could draw power from the sediment on the sea floor.

Specs on Intel's next Atom processor. It will include a graphical processor on board.

From 1993, pretty good prediction of 20 years into the future of cooking and shopping and all that.

How you spend your lunch time matters. Alone? With others? Who?

I love George Will's editorial. He states the obvious. Businesses located in places where taxes are low. What a concept! Corporate taxes are driving businesses out of America. Oooops, jobs go with them. Maybe that is why unemployment stays above 10%, but then again, maybe there are some other reasons that I just don't understand.

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Sunday May 1, 2011

Amar Bose, the founder of the high-end audio company that bears his name, has donated most of the company's stock to MIT. There are worse things he could have done, but I always wince when I hear about people donating huge amounts to colleges that then charge students $40,000 a year to attend. How about helping colleges that the average kid can attend?

Here are some good tips for writers - especially "new" writers (who ever that is). I like the one about practicing these basics for six months. I would extend the practice period to "the rest of your life."

How to write ten good blog posts a day.

And if you are to attempt ten posts a day, here are 80 writing prompts to help you start.

Writers and freelancers must pay attention to their health. Notice I used the word "must."

And if you are to freelance at home, you may need an office. Here are some tips. What comes to mind is something that Stephen King recommended for a writer's office - it must have a door that can shut.

Here is yet another post on working through writer's burnout. I still hold that I don't ever have burnout. Instead, I have more to write than time to write it. Still, I like this post. I would rather title it something like "Recovering from Fatigue."

Some tips for travelling by air. We are approaching the summer tourist season when lots of infrequent flyers clog the planes. Yikes. Patience folks, patience.

I like this post. This IS writing, clear and simple: Anyone who can think can write.

This is a pleasing workspace. The description gives me some ideas about "hiding" my printer inside of a cabinet. I once visited a friend's house, and he hid his peripherals in custom-made furniture.

Some things about editors that most writers probably don't know.Yes, editors do like to talk with writers. And editors even like to meet writers in person at conferences. One more thing, sometimes editors are wrong, and editors know that sometimes they are wrong - just like everyone else.

Ah, a simple desk. And another simple desk.

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