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: July 4-10, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday July 4,  2011

Excellent application of technology - robotics that assist the disabled. This is one of the more exciting areas of technology today.

Something new to me - turns out it is old to my son the musician - an orchestra where everyone "plays" a laptop computer.

Toshiba's tablet computer will hit Best Buy next week. Will it sell?

Samsung sold three million Galaxy S II cell phones in 55 days. The definition of success keeps changing.

The quadrocopters have had their failures in development. See the blooper video.

But here is a new one - controlling the quadrocopters by waving your hands with a little help from a Kinect sensor.

Amazing photo restoration via the computer and a skilled, patience person. And then you make it look old but not scratched.

Here is part of Apple's "secret" to better products: Apple has cash, so it builds the first new tech factories and has exclusive access to the output of the factories.

HP is catching on to how to sell tablet computers - good, funny, clever commercials. See the videos.

SAIC is building a new computer system for New York City - estimated cost $63Million, final cost are about $600Million. I know some good, smart people who work for SAIC in the Washington, D.C. area. There is lots of finger pointing in New York. I have a simple opinion of such things: who selected SAIC to build the system? The government of New York City. Who supervised SAIC? The government of New York City. Who did not stop SAIC when cost over runs were evident? The government of New York City. Should I ask more questions?

Jerry Weinberg contributes more wisdom and practice about change. Here is an excellent question to ask at your next meeting: Is there anything about this meeting that anyone would like changed?

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Tuesday July 5, 2011

South Korea promises to have paperless schools by 2015. It is a relatively small country with a relatively homogenous population. Thos factors combine to make national efforts a bit easier.

The HP ProBook - looks a lot like a MacBook Pro.

Via Stowe Boyd, a screen shot of Microsoft Outlook. Sigh. What a mess. This is a user interface?

Here is a small way to simplify family life - create a communication station. In our house, it is the spot above the stove. Sticky notes and magnets work well. If you want to knew something, look at that spot.

Traffic circles or "roundabouts" a spreading in the U.S. This post claims that the first one arrived in the U.S. in 1990 and that claim is completely false as Washington D.C. has had them for over a hundred years and there are circles in Virginia that are older.

California decided to tax Amazon associates in that state. Amazon turned off the program. It isn't hard to drive away business and kill jobs. See, for example, the United States in general and California in particular.

How people dressed in Sweeden in the 1630s, or at least how someone paid a book publisher to record the fashion of the day. The point is that someone is digitizing what was once knowledge recorded only on paper books. Now everyone can see it.

Sony is producing great video ads for its tablets, now if they can just produce the tablets.

The Terrafugia Transition - a flying car - has received Department of Transportaion approval to be a car. That is no small feat.

Will be ever have enough of the Titantic? A recent expidition has taken more 3D photos of the entire sea bed.

Is the Internet America's greatest "weapon?" That is debatable. Free communication is an enabler of liberty. See, for example, how the fax machine helped push the Soviet Union out of the way.

I love graphics and videos like this one from MIT - the connected states of America. There are some pretty big holes in the United States.

An interesting design of a desk that grows with a person - age 6 to adult.

American companies are helping the Chinese government build a network of 500,000 surveillance cameras.

Apple has ordered 15 million iPhone5 units. The definition of success keeps changing.

All the "industrial" countries are investing in drones or UAVs for surveillance. I trust that our braintrust is investing in air-to-air UAV warfare. Surely I am not the only person to think of this one.

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Wednesday July 6, 2011

Was it worth it to have a space shuttle? Probably not. There were other alternatives.

More government systems are hacked. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

And so the commercial firms join in - Morgan Stanley warns 34,000 customers that, well you know.

Advances in laser weapons.

Is this news? Apple continues to again and RIM continues to lose market share in cell phones.

Finally, a "practical" application for 3D printers - let them make chocolate whatevers.

Fascinating, simply using a different font enables dyslexic readers to read much better. I had not noticed the issues in our alphabet before.

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Thursday July 7, 2011

I'm in a motel this morning, and the WiFi link is so slow that viewing the Internet is almost impossible.

The average iPhone owner spends half an hour a day playing games. Well, it is the computer you have with you.

1.27 million people looking for jobs on the Washington Post job seeker site, well, all that information has been hacked. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

The old Commordore 64 against the new one.

I love these anamorphosis illusions.

Budget cuts - out goes the James Webb Space Telescope. I like the project, but there is so much waste and nonsense in the budget that good things have to go instead.

Microsoft offers the University of Nebraska $250K to adopt Office 365.

Dell is offering a competitor to the iCloud. Free.

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Friday July 8, 2011

Toshiba squeezes 8 megapixels into the smallest package yet. Coming to a cell phone near you real soon now.

Ultrawideband communications and monitoring the human body - a natural combination for raising the cost of health care even higher.

The Planar Fourier Capture Array - a tiny (and I mean tiny) camera without a lens. It is made for taking photos inside the human body.

Ottawa now has a fast fast LTE network.

American car buyers must not have received the memo from the White House. They are buying the Nissan Leaf instead of the Chevy Volt. The sales numbers for both cars are tiny. The Leaf has an excuse - manufacturing disruption caused by that tsunami and earthquake. The Volt is just, well a government-made car.

I thought they had killed this years ago, but now Sony will stop making the MiniDisk Walkman.

I want one of these - a Steampunk USB thumbdrive. It has a lock combination on it. Wow.

Many people predicted the passing of the wristwatch. We would all just look at our cell phone to know the time. Well, once again, the wristwatch lives. It is a fashion piece folks, not a functional item. Fashion is kind of funny, so don't listen to us tech types when it comes to predicting fashion.

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Saturday July 9, 2011

There is something wrong here - Quicken for Mac won't run on the next release of OS X. Why not? What is so different? There are alternatives, but really, 20 years of using Quicken down the drain?

Sales of computers to new college students are running 4 to 1 Mac over Windows machines. That is unreal. Has the world turned upside down?

NASA doesn't have firm plans for space travel after the Shuttle. The incompetence of management is astounding. Your tax dollars at waste.

Guess what? Some imported hardware and software is loaded with malware. The DHS is right on top of things - NOT.

The TSA is building new technology to detect bombs implanted inside human bodies. Of course no one has ever done this, but since it is possible the TSA will have Treasury print money to pay for the development. You tax dollars at waste, oops, already wrote that one today.

A TSA employee was caught stealing electronics at airports - $30,000 worth.

Continuing with that theme, how can you spend $2.4Billion on a software project? The U.S. Army knows how, and its project is falling behind schedule.

This must be some sort of big day for government, the Secret Service raids an artist's home and seizes all his computers. The crime? I am not sure, but it has something to do with a public web camera.

Speakers the size of a credit card.

All that stimulus money and unemployment is rising. As the President jested, I guess some of those shovel-ready projects weren't so shovel ready. Not funny for millions of Americans.

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Sunday July 10, 2011

Some thoughts on Hewlett-Packard and innovation with Apple thrown in as an example.

It seems that biodiesel production consumes more of everything than it produces. Experiment performed, results reported, move on to the next experiment.

Albertson's drops the self checkout line. I don't like those things. Pay enough people to be present to take my money when I want to buy something. I already have a job and don't need to work for the grocery store, too.

The Navy moves closer to having its pilot-less X47B land on aircraft carriers. That is a pretty good tehnical feat.

Space Invaders the movie based on the old game. I don't know if the world is ready for this.

I don't like marketing, so this is for me - how to stop hating marketing.

Improve your performance. Bring in a specialist to watch you work for a while and suggest changes. Simple.

Here is an area of writing that I have never considered - writing textbook supplements. It seems you would need connections with the textbook publishers to have early releases of the most recent version of a textbook. I suppose that once you do one, you have the connections needed and can continue in the area.

Tips on travel writing.

I like this post on reducing friction in the writing life. Much of the post is about reducing living expenses. Excellent advice.

The writer's declaration of independence.

Okay writers, you send a piece of writing to someone for reading and feedback - now grow the skin of a rhino. Shed that thick skin when you put your hands on the keyboard.

This is a nice post - 51 things to make you smile.

What shall we do with the newspaper? The trend is not good for the model used in the last 100 years. One of the major problems is that the quality of the product is not high enough. People won't pay for the weather report in the newspaper when there are hundreds of online and mobile sources of that information. If a newspaper was good at actually reporting news, people would buy it. Government supported newspapers? Are you kidding me?

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