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 23-29, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday May 23,  2011

An analysis of the recent earthquake in Japan. What surprises people who study these things is that such a large earthquake was not believed possible in this area. oooops. Time to adjust our spectrum of believability.

Microsoft has closed its Pioneer Studios - a place where experiments leading to consumer products occurred. Basically, the place didn't develop any successful products. It didn't pay for itself.

The world didn't end this weekend as predicted. What surprises me about all this is the attention this received. People study this topic and conclude that the world will end every year. No doubt someone is predicting that the world will end during the Fall season of 2011. How did this prediction gain so much attention? Is the news world that slow this year?

I have been following the story of the self-adjusting eye glasses. It is unfortunate that they haven't come to fruition yet.

This is the world's largest photograph. It is not a digital image.

Brazil will host the World Cup in 2014. The 12 host cities will have 4G service in time for the event. The rest of the country, well, you know...

Lady Gaga uses Google Chrome. Silly? I don't think so. This lady knows how to sell billions of songs world wide. That doesn't sound like silly and stupid to me.

Here is yet another report stating how far behind the U.S. is in Internet technology. After a while, I start to doubt these things.

Largely unnoticed compared to the Alabama tornadoes is the flooding around Vicksburg. Excellent photographs here of homemade levies. Some of them have worked while some haven't.

Seth Godin writes about being under-extended - not filling your time, not expending all your energy. Years ago while working in government, my supervisor told me, "Let's not meet so-and-so's requirement. If we do that, he will expect us to meet all his requirements in the future." Alas, that is government.

American Airlines intends to grow its use of streaming WiFi movies this summer.

The Chinese grew up digital with cell phones. They never had the PC in their home. Hence, they all want tablets, i.e., mobile computers.

I may buy one of these - a nightshirt that monitors your sleep. As the years pass, I struggle to sleep. I fall asleep quickly, but I suspect that I lie awake for hours during the middle of the night.

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Tuesday May 24, 2011

A few thoughts on objectivity and transparency in journalism. That field is floundering and changing and in a state of chaos. One day it will settle to a new status quo.

We may see Windows 8 next week, at least someone will show us how it will appear. There are strong hints that Windows 8 will be released next year. Perhaps Microsoft is learning from Apple and is concentrating on major OS releases at no more than two years apart.

This is a neat little gadget - it gives you a 360 degree view from your iPhone 4 video camera.

An explosion at a factory in China may cut Apple's production of iPads. Oh how the world is connected these days.

Vehicle platooning is coming. This is where the computers on cars and trucks communicate with one another and follow one another down the Interstate highways. One effect is a reduction in traffic. The cars don't speed and slow like an accordian. Instead they all speed and slow together just like human drivers should be never do.

Linux may move from the 2.6.x kernel versions and proceed to 2.8.x.

How about 26 TeraBitsPerSecond? That is the new record for fibre optics. That is moving 1,000 HD movies in one second.

Silliness. The Google founders move about a lot in their private jet. So what? Well, they felt guilty so they bought carbon offsets. Some people are getting filthy rich by selling these non-existent items to people with guilt. I wonder if my mother could sell some. She owns ten acres of grass. There should some carbon offsets there somewhere.

Direction for Toshiba: no Chromebooks and now Windows 7 tablets.

This is a video game that was made in the late 1940s. I think that means that it pre-dates video game history.

These are not big laptop computers from HP. They are "mobile workstations." Clever? Not.

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Wednesday May 25, 2011

oooops, perhaps we won't have Windows 8 in 2012. Forget all that stuff about Microsoft learning from Apple and having a major OS release every two years.

Barnes and Noble has released a simpler, less expensive eBook reader, the Nook Simple Touch.

Panasonic is making electric bicycles. The feature is the light weight. The range and such are not impressive.

This is what you have when you pair a 3D scanner with a 3D printer. You make 3" models of yourself.

Cray builds a 50 petaflop computer. Someone wants one of these.

Google will open a seawater-cooled data center in Finland. Of course we should do these things. What is the mystery here? I always go back to the early 1980s when I worked a winter-cooled operations center. Our air conditioning units were inoperable, so we opened the doors and windows.

Cool. Here is a new library at the University of Chicago. All the books are stored underground and are retrieved by robotic arms.

Fedora 15 is released.

Laying fibre optic cable can be a mess with lots of heavy equipment involved - unless you use draft horses. Great idea.

A European space plane is moving throught its design phases. It appears that America, rather American politicians, will squander decades of technical leadership in space travel.

Apple's portable computers are number one as rated by Consumer Reports.

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Thursday May 26, 2011

The iPad as a musical instrument.

If you have nothing to hide, you won't mind us ... Some thoughtful thoughts on privacy and secrecy. The desire for privacy may mean that someone wants to conceal something wonderful about themselves.

Speaking of hiding from our government, the Federal government wants all cars to have black box recorders. I wonder how they will push this one over the U.S. Constitution.

Will the "big data" companies ever have a code of ethics?

Stowe Boyd and others on the problem with news. I wanted to know who won the NBA playoff game last night. I could have learned that from Twitter streams or blogs from people who were there. I want to know the closing numbers of the stock market yesterday. I could have learned from the same types of sources. I want to know what Barack Obama said in Europe yesterday. I could have learned, well you get the point. Now what does the Washington Post add?

And here is more on investigative journalism. Instead of knocking on a door and saying, "I'm John from the Washington Post and I am investigating a story about such-and-such. How about knocking on a door and saying, "I'm John. I am a citizen and I am investigating such-and-such."

They call it satellite archeology. Using infra-red imagery from a satellite, researchers have found 17 pyramids, a thousand tombs, and more than 3,000 ancient settlements. And that is just in Egypt. What would we find if we looked elsewhere? I guess there is much we don't know about ourselves and our history.

The best optical illusions of 2011.

Former Huffington Post employees are fleeing AOL. I guess when companies buy other companies, let's rephrase that, when people decide to buy other companies, they understand that these things happen and they plan for them. I guess.

Wind energy had a bad year last year. The U.S. fell behind China in power generated from wind turbines. There are wishes for a better year, but fossil fuels are cheaper. Folks, there is a reason why we burn fossil fuels - they work.

Hasselblad does it again - a real digital camera. 200 megapixels and only $45,000.

Something a little more affordable - a compact camera from Leica for only $750 with 15MegaPixels.

64 GigaBytes on a micro SD card.

I've never thought of this one before - cover the walls with Lego or Duplo material.

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Friday May 27, 2011

Tips of using Google Docs. The most significant thing I find in this article is an aside statement. "In word processing, there are three beasts: Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, and Google Docs." I have to agree with this.

This makes sense. Solar panels on the roof and car charging stations under the roof. Let's concentrate on doing things that make sense and forget the rest.

Polaroid keeps trying to have instant hard copy of photos in the digital age. For the sake of jobs, I hope they succeed in some form.

It appears that movie theatres put some type of filter on their projectors to show those (not so) wonderful 3D movies. It also appears that they often forget to remove the filters when showing normal movies. Are they kidding? Do they all work for the government or something?

Google announces the Google Wallet mobile payment service. And PayPal sues Google about taking some of their technology without permission.

NASA selects a crew ship for future manned space exploration. NASA is really good at selecting things that they (won't) use in ten years. Your tax dollars at waste.

Some good advice on reading books for people who read slowly or believe they read slowly.

I like this (non) desk, desk.

Excellent message from Seth Godin about building an organization that cares. "If you want to build a caring organization, you need to fill it with caring people and then get out of their way. When your organization punishes people for caring, don't be surprised when people stop caring."

An alternative to Facebook begins - Altly.

I like this. Give $100,000 to 24 people who are under 20 if they quit college for two years and start businesses. Don't study job creation - create jobs instead. People under 20 have the physical energy required, and they don't know the things that should frighten them.

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Saturday May 28, 2011

The Patriot Act is renewed for four more years.

but no one seems interested in violations of the War Powers Act. Surely someone can bring suit on this?

Bored? Gather a group of teens and build a fusion reactor in your garage.

Bored? Grab a spare room and 250,000 Lego blocks.

Lockheed Martin's security networks were hacked. That is really bad news.

A new cash cow for Microsoft - $5 for every Android phone HTC makes. Like the good old days of $50 to Microsoft for every PC sold.

A screen that you can roll around a dime. We are approaching something big here.

Oooops, the Securities and Exchange Commision violated Federal regulations in 2008 when it purchased $1Million of computers from Apple. Who is regulating the regulators? People, of course.

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Sunday May 29, 2011

The Iranian government has plans to disconnect thier country from the Internet and establish a government-run intranet.

This story is everywhere this weekend. Alaska Airlines is using iPads in the cockpit instead of paper charts. Gone will by the "chart case" from our vocabulary.

Am I wasting energy on decisions that I could instead put into a default category? How much energy do I spend deciding not to eat a cookie?

The book you shouldn't be writing.
A few tips on writing with simplicity. Know what you want to say; remove everything else.

On the importance of daily writing. I write daily. I should be writing more every day, but...

To write, you need to be able to tell people NO! Writing requires time. Sometimes writing requires writing right now, not later.

Increase your energy and make writing easy again. Interesting thoughts.

Write about what you love. I agree with this. I agree with this more than I agree with "write what you know." If you love something, you will learn about it as you write.

For those of us who love to plan - make a summer writing plan.

Walk through the woods (or the streets). Find something and write about it. Just write about walking through the woods (or the streets).

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” - Thomas Jefferson

Tips for a home office.

Practical? Yes. Attractive? No. Don't use coat hooks, use paint cans.

Avoiding distractions. Working in dedicated, focused half-hour chunks.

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