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 16-21, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday May 16,  2011

This is a nice post on why MIT, and related places, matter. I just wish MIT didn't charge $40,000 a year for students to attend. They do offer all their course materials on line at no charge. That isn't the same thing as attending, but it is a good thing.

The State of Texas may ban the TSA from searching people without probable cause. This could start a series of court cases about State's rights and such. It may also raise the question, just who are TSA employees? Are the law enforcement authorities? I don't think they are, but I am not a judge who will have to rule on such.

The Playstation Network returns after being down for 26 days. Yes, it is "just" a game, but there is a lot of money riding on the surrounding industry.

Here are a few reasons why Android tablets are not selling like the iPad. Marketing is a big failure.

Samsung is testing a foldable - yes, fold it in half - display technology.

I had to read this post about the "Yahoo boys" of Nigeria. They are smart, hard working, and criminal. Some have stopped their criminal activity. The term Yahoo boys stemmed from their use of yahoo email accounts. I lived in Lagos, Nigeria 1995-1996. That was before the Internet hit it big. I kept telling people that the Internet was not ready for Nigeria. It wasn't and it still isn't.

I like this web site NetSpeak - start a phrase, and it tries to finish it for you. Good if you know the first few words of a line or a song and can't remember the rest. Good for other things as well.

Seth Godin on the future of the library. I love it.

I love this, not the start, but the finish. The Syrian government has closed the Internet, its subject respond by making videos and smuggling them out to the world via donkey.

I have never linked to a picture from this web site, but this one is too good to pass.

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Tuesday May 17, 2011

The tenth anniversary of the Apple retail store is this Thursday the 19th. It appears that Apple is going to do something special on that day.

HP is about to announce its quarterly results, and everyone expects bad news.

Microsoft is tying Bing into Facebook in some way. I don't get it, but some people think this is a big deal.

It seems that Amazon is indeed planning to release its own tablet computer devices.

Verizon is expanding its 4G LTE service into new markets.

A post about how Facebook is booming and there are many jobs created around the company. Let's see, our Congress gives tens of billions of dollars to failing businesses in America while succeeding businesses pay the highest corporate tax rates in the world. I must be missing something in all this.

Chrome OS version 12 is now in Beta. This seems to be the version that will be "shipped" with the first Chromebooks in June.

You can boot a Linux system in your browswer window. This is interesting. I am not sure what you can do on that "computer."

Every dollar that Al-Qaida spends causes the U.S. government to spend $1Million. The figures may not be precise, but they are probably accurate. Much of the money has gone to the Dept of Homeland Security, a name that is much to close to the Committee for State Security, a.k.a., the KGB. This is probably one of history's most successful war campaigns.

There are plenty of places that we can convert physical motion to electrical energy. One uses the blood flow in the human body.

The stock prices of Chinese Internet companies are crashing.

I found last Friday's viewing notes. Here they are:

I love this application of technology - 3D imaging to allow a sightless person to move about in a wheel chair.

Harvesting energy from food scraps. This will work well in the developed world where we discard lots of food daily (go to the back of a grocery store or a restaurant to see for yourself).

An analysis of Steve Ballmer's record as CEO of Microsoft. It isn't good.

Cisco is trying to cut costs, so they will cut jobs - up to 4,000.

Samsung shows a new 10" display with much higher resolution. Could this be the iPad 3 display?

Sometimes I wonder about people. Facebook hired a firm to spread lies about Google. Consider this one. A company that makes its living depending on masses of people sharing information thinks it can do something without that information being shared. Again, sometimes i wonder about people.

A user's experiences with one of the new 27" screen iMac with those new, powerful processors. This user loves the machine.

And a look ahead to what the new Chromebooks may bring. The emphasis is cost savings in the IT department. Basically, you work in the Google cloud all the time and Google does all the work. It seems that Google's software is doing all the work, so their costs are low. So, who has a more efficient IT department? You or Google?

Here is a look at Samsung's Chromebook hardware.

How did bin Laden send email without being detected? He stored them, gave them to a courier, the courier went far away, copy, paste, and send. The message is delivered, and there is no electronic trail back to the writer. In security, this is known as an "air gap."

The great Linux world map.

I guess the TSA can't go a week without, well you know, acting like the TSA. Pat down that baby.

Here is a nice workspace. What else would you do with three monitors and two iPads?

Wow! A video of a comet hitting the sun.

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Wednesday May 18, 2011

There appears to be an update on processors and Thunderbolt coming to the MacBook Air in June or July.

Somehow, someone measures this - Netflix is the leader in hogging Internet bandwidth.

Is the PC era over? Experts and market analysts disagree.

I like this headline: hack us and we'll bomb you. The strategy is simple, combat cyber war with good old kinectic war.

McDonald's is adding 7,000 kiosks in Europe. The machines will take your order and payment by credit and debit card. There have been many times in America when I wished such a machine were available at McDonald's.

The University of Maryland is able to lift its human-powered helicopter off the floor. Notice how small and lightweight the human power plant is.

The tablet is the future(?), and Intel has not been a big player in tablets. Intel hopes to change that later this year.

I like this project - send a swarm of small (one square foot) robots into a building. They map the building while communicating with one another and a central system. This would especially be useful after a disaster.

A 20 gigapixel image of Webley stadium. I love these things. Amazing resolution.

It seems that there are companies that are giving every employee an iPad with no idea what the employees will do. Good can come of this, but it sure is an expensive experiement.

This is an excellent personal web page. I'll have to study and learn.

Here is a nice home office. It is also a bedroom. The "tongue" desk can be moved and makes space for a Murphy bed. The site also has links to many other nice home offices.

HP had a bad financial quarter. The Japan disaster is part of the reason.

but Dell had a better-than-expected quarter.

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Thursday May 19, 2011

This is a must have for a grandfather (like me) - Mattel has built a Hot Wheels car around a little video camera. Think of the possibilities.

The coming revolution in robotics.

Two researchers were going to talk about hacking into SCADA systems at a conference. They cancelled at the request of industry and government officials. Yes folks, there are security holes everywhere, which is why I frequently as, is everyone ready for national electronic health records? How about we do something really crazy and have national elections via a national computer network?

Google now has a big research office in Canada. Why? Corporate tax rates. Canada wants jobs more than the U.S. does. Let me rephrase that - the Canadian Parliament acts like it wants jobs more than the U.S. Congress acts like it doesn't want jobs.

Apple opens a new data center in Silicon Valley. I don't understand this one. Real estate, utilities, and taxes are high in Silicon Valley.

Ten years ago today Apple opened stores in Glendale, Ca. and McClean, Va. I have shopped at the McClean, Va. store often. Now I shop at the one much closer to my house in Reston, Va. (a short walk around the corner from where I sit typing this note). The stores have been a huge success.

Google claims that it won't build a facial recognition database although it can. We shall see who builds this; the database is inevitable, and will change the world.

The crippled walk with an exoskeleton. This too is changing the world.

Eight of the top nine government officials in China are engineers. In America, well, we have a lot of lawyers deciding on medicine and technology. They are reported to be really smart people, but I tend to doubt their ability to master calculus and other methods of analytical thinking. But then again, I'm an engineer, so I am biased.

Drinking a lot of coffee seems to reduce the chances of prostate cancer.

I love this editorial from George Will. In California, it now costs $49,000 to keep someone in a state prison for one year. It costs $42,000 a year to attend Dartmouth. There is a strong message in there somewhere.

This is a "nap pod." I just close the office door.

Angry Birds has been downloaded 200 million times. I don't really know what Angry Birds is, but I know that 200 million is a large number.

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Friday May 20, 2011

This is quite experimental, but amazing. This paralyzed man has a device implanted in his spine. The device sends electric pulses just like the spine would transmit. He can stand on his own. This is science fiction turned reality.

I saw this photo earlier this week - a cool desk and computer combination. A really cool combination.Here is another story on the same desk. Will this guy turn this desk into a commercial product? I wonder if he has an equally good alarm system in his house.

I finally learn what "planking" is. For years, it was an exercise, now it is just a foolish fad.

A man has eaten 25,000 Big Macs over 40 years. He kept all the receipts and cartons. Contrary to quick (non)thought, he is healthy. Of course, eating a hamburger is not going to ruin your health.

LinkedIn went public and its stock almost tripled in one day.

AT&T demonstrated its LTE network and acheived 28MegaBitsPerSecond download speeds. It was just a demo folks. Let's wait for the real thing later this year.

Willard Boyle, the man who invented the charge-coupled device, dies at age 86
. The charge-coupled device or CCD is the heart of all digital cameras.

This is a fantastic electric bicycle - 30 miles per hour, 30 miles on a charge. $6,000, so it isn't practical, but would be a lot of fun for someone with the money.

Google is stopping its project that was scanning old newspapers. It is just too much to do at this time.

Yet Google has $5Billion to invest in power lines to bring offshore wind-generated power into the mid-Atlantic coastline.

Prototype "robot" that crawls around and can also fly.

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Saturday May 21, 2011

HP brings out a few new lower-cost portable computers.

Heads Up Displays for automobiles are coming. This one, however, is rather dull. There is much promise in this area.

4G is coming, really, truly no hype this time it is coming. Lots of little portable computers will have transceivers built into them so we can be on  the Internet anywhere.

3M is building systems so that libraries can loan eBooks. I am not sure that this concept will work, but I am happy to see someone trying.

The Eurocopter X3 has flown 280 miles per hour horizontally. That is a new record for a helicoptor type of vehicle.

The user interfaces of today's gadgets, well, they aren't very good. One researcher believes that these interfaces are keeping the elderly from adopting newer technology. I have to agree with his assessment.

There appears to be an ongoing battle between Texas Instruments and hackers over control of the TI calculators. There are far less constructive things that people could be doing with their time. I think that TI should be flattered that their calculators garner so much attention.

We now know, from a recent study of course, that sitting all day is bad for your health. Hence, the web worker lifestyle, where you can stand and move about far more freely, is good for your health.

I like this post and this idea. Companies give employees an amount of money to outfit their office as they need. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame had a similar idea years ago about office supplies. This post extends the idea to allow employees sit in whatever building they wish anywhere they wish as long as they accomplish their job. This shift requires a lot of trust from the managers. I don't know if many companies have such managers...yet.

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Sunday May 22, 2011

Read This. If you read nothing else, read this. It is written by a man with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. His story and his life are amazing. If you read nothing else, read this.

I like the logical thought process here - the myth of discipline.

This writer has just completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing. The experience appeared to be a good one for this person. I am happy for them.

It is Monday in Australia, and the Apple Stores there have been revised. I guess I should go to the Apple store in America tomorrow - Monday. Wait, I'm a bit confused here on when it is Monday...

Do you know someone who is entering or leaving college? Stand next to them, move close, and whisper in their ears the words, "big data."

WOW! IBM is now more valuable than Microsoft. Who predicted this would happen again?

Writers evolve. Well, duh. Of course we do. Everyone does - a little everyday.

Oh my goodness, sometimes you push a shovel into the ground and out pops a baseball-size piece of gold. See this periodic table of storytelling. And then see this mammoth search area of writing ideas.

I like this web site. You type a word, then you type two words, then five, then 10 and so on until you are writing 500 words. Great writing prompt tool.

Apple is making big in roads into the business market.

I love this question, when did you first know you wanted to write a book? I could write a book about that.

I love this idea: find a rock, paint a face on it, give it to a kid to write a story. I think I'll do this with my grandson. Whatever he tells me, I'll use a story. If I make a million, I'll share the royalties with him when he is 18.

Three tips for aspiring writers. One I like is, never stop trying to be a better writer. Years ago after I had written a book and had it published, I wanted to attend a writing course. I was severaly criticized by a manager at work for wanting to improve. Ah, such are the trials and tribulations of working for the government.

We may work imperfectly but faithfully.

While eBooks and such are soaring, the regular old paper book is still increasing.

Resumes? They are gone. Instead, write an autobiography.

Ten ways NOT to be a travel writer.

Eighty writing prompts.

I like this post. Scott Berkun shows how he writes a 1,000-word essay. He actually recorded a video of his screen while he was writing. Thankfully, he shows the video in fast motion. I've never seen anything like this before. Perhaps, one day, I shall make such a video.

Ten ways to double your writing speed. One thing not on this list, and maybe it won't D O U B L E your speed, is to learn how to type faster.

Here is another post on writing more in less time.

And ten ways to manage your time better. I like the first one - record everything you do now and the time it requires. The next step is to think about what you have recorded. The next step is to do something.

On writing in the dark.

F O C U S your blog writing. I do; I focus on a wide range of topics. The idea of focus is a good one if that is what you want to do.

Want to make (more) money writing? You have to think about his one a while. Here are some thoughtful tips that also require thought.

Writing clearly has much to do with the words chosen
. Yes, it pays to increase vocabulary.

If you are interested in those distraction-free editors, here are a few for the Apple computers
. I write books using the Linux terminal window and the vim editor. Once I write for five minutes - my dreaded warm-up period - I can write for a few hours without noticing anything else.

Five lies unpublished (and published) writers tell themselves.

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