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: May 2-8, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday May 2,  2011

Osama bin Laden is dead today. A sign of the times is that a couple of people unknowingly tweeted about the attack while in progress. Twitter has become what CNN was in the 1990s - the place people go to hear breaking news. This links to a pretty good report from Wired.

I like this presentation regarding China. They are having a rural-to-city migration involving a group of people who equal the population of the United States. The Internet Cafes in China are N O T like the WiFi at Starbucks in the U.S. See the photos.

Some evidence that Apple is building a cloud service of some kind.

And some recently re-discovered history of the Internet. I didn't know that there was so much misinformation that has been circulated about the Internet's origins.

OpenBSD 4.9 has been released.

The National Security Agency recommends that individuals use Windows 7 at home for security. There are so many things wrong with this at so many levels that I don't know where to start.

Here is a blog entry about a Washington Post editorial I read recently. It is about an event called  the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. What was once a once-a-year party of people who work in a similar place has become the worst of what being around power can do to people.

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Tuesday May 3, 2011

I have to smile when I see things like this. Super Soaker has introduced a new line of squirt guns that use magazines to hold water. Quick reloads. Kids have all the fun.

The first set of commercial exoskeleton legs have sold. Yes, the are expensive, $150,000, and bulky, but this is a start - this is an amazing start.

The Apple store is down. Perhaps all those rumors about updated iMacs are true.

LG shows new portable computers that are thinner and have smaller bezels on the displays. The result is more computer in a smaller, easier to carry package.

AMD's new processors can support up to six displays. Where would I put those displays?

I am viewing from behind an Internet filter that won't allow me to see the post I want. Anyways, I learn about Ralph Baer - the man who escaped Nazi Germany and invented the video game in 1966.

I love little gadgets that have anything to do with writing. This "pocket briefcase" includes a pen and paper.

This could be valuable one day - the most complete word-frequency list yet compiled for different languages.

What kind of tree is that? Simple, take a photo with your iPhone and LeafSnap will identify it for you. This is cute, this could save your life, and there is a lot of technology behind the app.

It appears that Amazon is building its own tablet computer. I think they will have more success than others in that Amazon has a huge customer base and has suceeded with its eBook reader.

Nice office, nice view, nice desk.

Who was in the White House watching the raid on bin Laden? Fascinating. Several notes: there is only one active duty military person in the room, and he is only a one star. The DNI is back in the second row. There are only two women and one half-black person in the room. We could go on with this.

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Wednesday May 4, 2011

Recent problems at Amazon and Sony show that running a cloud system isn't easy.

Nevertheless, HP is moving into cloud services.

This could become something important - researchers are finding ways to use the antenna properties of the human body. One application is to make any wall in the house a computer interface.

Is the DVD dead? Sales of DVDs dropped 20% in the first quarter of 2011. I think the DVD is valuable if you want to keep a copy of a movie. I own maybe a dozen movies, none of them made after 1990.

American Airlines is now offering streaming video to passengers. The system uses their in-flight WiFi. You use this much like Netflix at home.

Apple indeed updated the desktop all-in-one iMacs yesterday. There are many reports on these. Here is one with some benchmark tests. One the outside, the new machines are basically the same as the old machines. Inside, however, are more powerful processors, more capable graphics, a better camera, and Thunderbolt interfaces. I am not sure what a person would do with all that power. Perhaps someone will post soon about what is practical about this. For now, they are just plain fun.

A new record for the world's smallest video camera. This on is just under 1 millemeter. There are 25 mm in an inch for us Americans.

What can you do with 17 old Apple IIe main boards? Build the AppleCrate II parallel computer. This looks like great fun.

Google is collecting all those Google Voice voices to help develop its algorithms. Smart.

Dell is trying again with a thin and powerful portable computer.

No, you can't hold your camera still, especially when you push the button.

The ultimate power in a portable computer is of course for breaking cyber codes - NOT. It is for playing games. See the newest Alienware from Dell.

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Thursday May 5, 2011

A suit in California alleges that executives from many well known tech companies agreed to limit salaries of employees.

The Daily - that tablet-only newspaper - lost $10million in its first quarter. Maybe with time things will change direction, but...

The Candaian government has set a target of 5 Mega bits per second for all of Canada by 2015. This goal is a little higher than the U.S. and much lower than some other countries. It seems to be a reasonable goal, and thus will probably be met by half of that country.

There is lots of news about Intel and "3D" transistors. I guess I should study this topic more. I thought that all transistors made so far occupied three dimensions. If someone could make a transistor that occupied only two dimensions, not that would be an accomplishment.

We may be getting somewhere here - E Ink has a prototype display that you can bend in two planes, i.e., you can crumple it. The possible applications are almost limitless if this can be mass produced.

People with electric and hybrid vehicles don't buy as much gasoline. That means they pay less fuel taxes. They still use the roads, which are maintained by fuel taxes, without paying fuel taxes. Hence, several states are drafting laws that will put other taxes on people with electric and hybrid vehicles. It all comes back to the money - citizens have it, government officials want it.

An autism epidemic? Better diagnosis techniques? How about this one: what was once considered just being a bit odd is not considered one type of disorder or another. Why? Because you get more money when you tell the government, i.e., the source of money, that your community is full of people with disorders.

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Friday May 6, 2011

This is pretty amazing - all these photos were taken with an iPhone 4.

Facebook is moving into a new office campus in Silicon Valley. The big corporate headquarters is usually a kiss of death for a company. Let's see what happens.

It isn't easy to completely erase and recover a disk drive. Read on.

Working to try to save the U.S. Postal Service. It may be too late.

This might change the world - a $25 computer. It looks like a USB memory stick, but it is a complete computer (without a keyboard and display). The idea is that every child in school would have one of these clipped to their backpack. They plug it in when in the classroom and take it home with them and such. It might work. Here is more information.

The HP 12C financial calculator is 30 years old. HP still sells them for $70. I know that I used to own one. I think I still have it somewhere?

Our government is trying to save us again. There is a bill in Congress that not only would create a per-mile-driven tax, but would also create a new Federal Agency to collect the tax.

There are a lot of stories - all anonymous - coming out of the Osama in Laden operation. We will be hearing these for a couple of generations. Most sound plausible and most are not true.

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Saturday May 7, 2011

No viewing today - too busy I guess.

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Sunday May 8, 2011

This is a fascinating use of computers and algorithms - a 9/11 memorial that places the names of victims next to those with whom they were friends.

U.S. Cellular announces its plans for a 4G LTE network in a few dozen cities.

What everyone needs for (a distance) beach vacation - a solar-powered iPod boombox. Great, as long as people are somewhere that I am not.

Here is yet another 4G mobile WiFi hotspot. The significance is that the price is falling as the competitors increase.

A cell phone that you can bend. Building circuits on flexible materials is the future. They are thinner, lighter, and more durable.

A short, concise guide to visual design.

In the vein of "everyone is a senor," here is an effort to put radiation monitors on large numbers of people in Japan.

Here is one reason that health care costs have risen to high - doctors have drastically lowered the threshold of being "sick."

I like this phrase - share your confusions. Instead of telling me what is wrong with my product, tell me about your confusions you experienced while using my product.

Google recently changed its search algorithms to steer searchers away from content mills, and the changes have worked. One result is that companies are hiring real writers to do real research and write real posts.

Excellent advice for writers - Perhaps the approval of every person in the entire world doesn't need to be the goal of your work.

Why is it a great time to be a freelance writer? The Internet. But you have to market yourself.

And if you are writing writing writing, also learn how to make a little video of yourself talking talking talking.

Predicting traffic jams 40 minutes before they occur. Why not?

I like these tips on improving your fictional characters.

And write at least 750 words a day. It sounds like a good idea to start the day by just writing 750 words about anything that comes to mind.

Could you cut down to 15 items?

Things to read.

Here are several online freelancer communities.

Ten websites that may be of use to writers.

Here is one writer's method of editing. As usual, try things. Use what works and forget the rest.

Are you writing for a penny a word? Why this is not a good idea. I write for fun. I don't earn nearly a penny a word, but I have fun.

Put your office in a closet. One of the benefits is that when you close the closet door, no one sees it.

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