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: June 20-26, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday June 20,  2011

Bitcoin is having a bad week.

SEGA was hacked and over a million passwords were stolen. So we start the new week by asking, is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

DARPA is building a National Cyber Range. This is a fake Internet where cyber warfare can be practiced. A bargain at only $130Million.

Those Commodore 64 recreations haven't shipped yet, but will real soon now.

Tracking satellites with home telescopes and computers. This has an excellent video of the International Space Station.

Google is helping the British Library scan 250,000 books. These are old books, so copyright is not an issue. I like this.

Sleep more to lose weight. Sound silly? Increased sleep leads to less fatigue. More fatigue leads to more snacking and less exercise.

Paper books will "soon" be gone - at least by the year 2200. I can agree with that prediction.

Wages in China are growing by 12% a year and have for the past decade. Sometimes success leads to failure.

I've seen this strategy practiced: Skype, anticipating its purchase by Microsoft, is firing high-paid employees before they have to pay them. That is not a good way to phrase the practice as it dillutes responsibility. A better way to say it is that some people at Skype are firing their colleagues so that those some people can have more money. Hmmm.

The Huawei MediaPad running Android.

Is there a tech bubble bubbling? I don't know, but employees of tech companies are selling their stock.

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Tuesday June 21, 2011

A few more details about the coming Apple iCloud. I am confused as to why Apple offers on 5GigaBytes of storage. Why the artificial limit?

Apple is about to release a new Airport Extreme and Time Capsule. The Time Capsule will have 3 TeraBytes of storage. That is 3,000 GigaBytes - so why does the iCloud only provide 5 GigaBytes?

More rumors about a coming update to the Apple MacBook Air. More powerful processors that require less power (if you know what I mean).

Apple tried to make a black MacBook Air. The process didn't work well. It isn't so simple to "paint it." There is an amazing amount of chemistry and other science in the making of paint - something we take for granted.

And here is more information on the newer Intel processors.

The TVA is contracting to build six small nuclear reactors. Let's hope this is the future.

DropBox had a security problem where just any password would work on any account for four hours. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Google stops driving around India taking Street View photos per a Police request.

Why should somebody buy this instead of an iPad? Good question. Few have created good answers.

Some of the companies that started slow and survived the dot-com bust of the early 2000s are alive and well today. It helps to have low overhead, some cash, and expertise.

Here is a wiki created to help people find coworking locations.

The founder of Amazon is funding the Clock of the Long Now. Great. This is what the wealthy SHOULD be doing with their riches - funding projects that benefit the public.

Fujitsu now has the world's fastest supercomputer.

And Intel is trying to move into supercomputing with a 50-core processor.

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Wednesday June 22, 2011

The FBI seized three racks of servers from a server building in Maryland. The FBI was interested in one client of the server farm, but took down a few dozen client's sites.

Lenovo's IdeaPad tablet is almost available at OfficeMax.

This is a surprise to me, I am surprised this wasn't built in from the start. Google is working on a video chat feature for the Chrome OS. I have used video chat on gmail for several years. I don't understand why lots of people don't use this feature. Skype? Why Skype when you can chat through your email account. I suppose there are thing I should learn about Skype.

The Amazon tablet is coming. It is rumored to be available in August, and Amazon hopes to sell four million of them in 2011.

iCloud? Remember that Microsoft was there first with SkyDrive. And MS is updating SkyDrive, but no one seems to be noticing.

The European Space Agency is building new transport spacecraft. I think our NASA is doing a new study or something.

Canada is now issuing polymer-based money instead of paper-based money. The result is harder to counterfeit and will last longer.

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Thursday June 23, 2011

The concept of the seamless workspace. Try a few things, keep what works, and discard the rest.

I love this, a great chart. See a history of Microsoft and Apple from 1984 to the present. One little note, it surprises me that Windows 7 is still behind XP in use.

The Orwell diaries are fascinating. Germany just invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

Google had 1 Billion visitors to its site in May. This is some sort of milestone in the history of computing or something like that.

The dream of every programmer or IT worker. When the company fires you, you do something to reach back and hit them back. Professors in the late 1970s used to tell such stories with glee. It is, of course, unethical if you count ethics as important.

Congress is finally trying to address the Patent system.

Perhaps the foot pedal will return to the office. Yes, RETURN. The foot pedal was a common office tool for decades.

The government of Wyoming has moved all its employees to Google Apps instead of Microsoft Office. Good for Wyoming. They do government right: small and smart.

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Friday June 24, 2011

Driving around the Beltway instead of viewing this morning

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Saturday June 25, 2011

The Thunderbolt-equipped external disk drives are coming real soon now from Lacie.

According to this analysis, Apple makes as much profit on one computer as Dell does on seven. Apple has succeeded in making themselves a luxury brand with lower volume but much higher profit margins. Marketing.

Apple is to update the MacBook Air in July. They are expecting huge demand. I can see the people lining up around the block at the Apple store a short walk from here.

Google is stopping work on its power meter - part of the smartgrid. It seems no one wants to buy these things. Good. We don't need the national disaster. The smart grid has been touted as a wonderful thing. When you are at work or away from home, you can check your house's electric use and the electric demand in the neighborhood. Then you can remotely turn on your dryer at low demand times when power is cheaper.  If you did all this work, you could save a hundred dollars on your yearly electric bill. Wow. Not worth the effort. This reminds me of the decades-old promise of using a home computer to store all your recipes. No one wanted to type all their favorite recipes into their computer. It was not worth the effort. The promise that your smart refrigerator would know how many eggs and how much milk you had and then point you to a recipe that used just that amount. Again, not worth the effort, but people keep hyping the promise. Perhaps one day we will learn.

And Google is also stopping work on its Health program. Again, not worth the trouble.

Our government is investigating Google. Google has made the mistake of succeeding in business in America. Here, we take money from taxpaying citizens and give it to failing companies. Then we use money from taxpaying citizens to investigate succeeding companies that create jobs.

A National Robotics Initiative - funded by $70Million. Peanuts! Half the money will be consumed by the government employees administering the program.

This is pretty silly, but looks like a lot of phone. A little UAV with a camera attached. The camera follows me as long as I am wearing a special transmitter. Hence, great but silly videos. Perhaps there is a real not-so-much-fun application out there for this.

UK teenagers build a person-carrying vehicle that achieves 1,900+ miles per gallon.

A milestone in the development of a robotic lander. Having a thrust vehicle hover is a pretty good technical feat.

Do you have a WiFi camera for watching the baby's room while you are in the kitchen. Do you have a used-to-be-a baby, but is not five years old? Repurpose the baby cam for home security.

Bread-crumb routers for fire fighters and others. As you enter a place, you drop one of the little RF routers along the way enabling IP communications.

A great outdoor office.

This person is writing a book on computer vision models in the open.

How to operate a newspaper using Wordpress and Google Docs.

Food continues to be the world's greatest problem. Most people on the planet don't have enough of it. We Americans kill ourselves with an abundance of it.

With all this cloud computing happening, you would think that IT departments are shrinking. Wrong. Maybe one day they will, but the inertia of the IT Department is almost as tough to move as the HR Department and the Teachers Unions.

The 100 longest Wikipedia pages.

I just learned about this one - a Wikipedia editor picnic. Rats. Bad local location and not enough time to plan.

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Sunday June 26, 2011

I may try this one - can't sleep? Cool your brain.

Some new information on static electricity. This "discovery" seems to be all over the web.

With IPv6 we move from only 4.3 billion addresses to 340 trillion. Time to give the toaster oven an IP address now that the space is available.

Are we asking the right questions about Afghanistan? Probably not. For me at least, the question is the key; the answers come pretty easily.

An interesting idea - when a person is reading Wikipedia, the reader's computer is idle. What if we had software that could use the reader's computer to help crunch numbers on big-science projects for those moments? Wikipedia could become a supercomputer.

People on this site will do useful things for you for $5.

A pointer to ten blogs related to minimalism and other things. I like these. They help me think about my life.

Tips on building an online or freelance or writing business while travelling.

Jerry Weinberg shares excellent information on making changes. Excellent examples.

And sometimes finding the time to write means making a change in your life.

Some good thoughts on omitting the needless words. If I was to provide one piece of advice to writers, omitting the needless words would be it.

Small towns are good settings for novels. Here are a few reasons why. Use the reasons and transform them to big cities or ships or airplanes or trains or deserts or swamps or...

Fewer words usually means clarity. And good business writing is clear and a few other things.

Five tips for overcoming writer's block. I don't have that. I don't have the time and energy to write everything I want to write.

When writing, answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Excellent advice. In my work, we write plans. I still cannot fathom how complicated some people try to make a plan. Just answer the basic questions
What are you going to do?
Who is going to do it?
and so on

21 ways to stay creative. I vouch for carrying a notebook and writing away from a computer.

The narrative, persuasive, and expository essays.

What a difference a single word makes. Writing is not about discipline. I do, however, believe that it is about persistence.

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