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: September 12-18, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 12,  2011

It seems to be a slow morning.

I can't figure out what this thing is. It is a "robot" that drives up a piece of fabric attached to a building, then it falls off safely with the aid of a parachurte.

This small device combines with an iPhone to become a satellite communications terminal. Perhaps it would be of use in post-disaster situations.

Why paint lines on a gym floor? Just have LEDs embedded in the floor. This is a nice idea that might actually work.

Some history from the guy who founded Apple with Jobs and Woz and then left.

Not everyone loves the proposed new Apple building. I think it is the end of Apple. Dave Thomas - the late Wendy's founder - wrote about how a large corporate headquarters almost killed Wendy's.

Broadcom buys a chip maker for $3.7Billion - Netlogic.

This story is all over the web - the two founders of YouTube are now working on revising Delicious. I just hope they don't break it. I have used Delicious to store links of interest for a few years now.

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Tuesday September 13, 2011

A line of new "underwater" cameras from Contour. There is nothing really new here, but the cost of what is needed for just about anyone to make films that only the richest could do a generation ago continues to fall. This is great. See the video at the link.

Koomey's Law - computer efficiency doubles every 18 months.

This might change everything - Bitcasa. $10 a month. Your computer's hard drive is just a cache. Every 1 and 0 you have goes to the cloud. And you don't get 1 or 10 or 100 GigaBytes. There is no limit. We shall see.

The Boston Globe launches their paywall. Perhaps it is a bit more secure than the New York Times' paywall.

Someone needs to make a good $100 tablet. I agree, but who? Who has the money to lose on the hardware and make up somewhere else?

The iPad has been on the market for 500 days. Here is one owner's experience. I use my 500-day-old iPad about an hour a week. The best use I have for it is watching videos with my two-year-old grandson. The trouble is that I have to keep that use to a minimum as he now puts his fingers on the TV screen and asks why nothing happens when he swipes.

LogiTech brings the wireless trackpad to the PC world. I wish I had a nice big trackball. Those were great.

A new transatlantic fibre optic cable is being laid. This is the first new cable in ten years. It will cut 6msec off transmission time. That means about $100Million to hedge fund traders per year.

Book authors gave up suing Google are now suing university libraries that loan books to Google to digitize.

This story has been everywhere the past couple of days. The big cloud companies - Google, Facebook, etc. - are building their own custom servers instead of buying them from Dell.

Intel announces a new Atom processor in its never-ending quest to break into the cell phone market.

Cute, the Sealander - a combination of really small house trailer and really small house boat.

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Wednesday September 14, 2011

The absence of Steve Jobs has yet to hurt the sale of Apple products.

Microsoft is previewing Windows 8 this week. And more at this link.

This story is in several places this morning, so there must be something to it. Apple will probably upgrade the processors in its MacBook Pro portable computers in the next few weeks.

Intel's newest processors are already in Ultrabooks. More photos and examples at this link.

An "Atlas Shrugged" app for the iPad. I think this is the first full "app" for a book?

Intel shows an Android tablet using one of its Atom processors.

A gyroplane instead of a helicopter for police work. It is much less expensive - much less.

Build your own microscope in three minutes. This is great for science classes and for raising scientists.

In the same vein, an open source $80 chemical analyzer.

An interesting look at household income over the last 40 years. When you adjust for inflation, the income of most Americans is about the same. It has fallen a little in the last five years.

There is a radio "quiet zone" in West Virginia (13,000 square miles). People who claim allergies to WiFi are moving there in droves.

Someone may have invented an actual lie detector. This works with simple cameras and not-so-simple processing algorithms. It looks at blood flow in the face and other little indicators. The traditional "lie detector" or polygraph has always been a piece of junk science that is little more than a phoney prop for interogators.

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Thursday September 15, 2011

Photos, drawings, and writings from 19th and early 20th century European and American travellers in Africa are the only historical records we have of that continent's environment.

E-Doctors are coming to rural villages in India. I like this. We can use the same in parts of America.

NASA has a new plan - this time for a space launcher that will cost $18Billion - wait ten years for the actual cost - and will test launch in 2017 - wait ten years for the actual test launch. Sigh. You tax dollars at waste.

Researchers may have found an objective way to measure pain. This would be a good thing to help some people. For others, slackers of the world beware.

The Congressman who wrote the bill that created the TSA now wants to dismantle the TSA. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. Once an government bureacracy is created it is too late. I think the founding fathers sort of knew this. That is way they made it so difficult to pass laws like the one creating the TSA.

Even though it is a year away from release, 500,000 copies of Windows 8 was downloaded in 24 hours.

Qwiki - this posts touts it as something special, but I don't see anything special. I'll have to look at it.

Google Goggles - for the Android phone - is improved. Rats. I have an iPhone.

The use of robots in labor is growing fast. This headline brings all sorts of panic. Instead of calling these things "robots," call them "machines." The electric drill press improved productivity in factories. Many of the "robots" in factories today are about as "smart" as the drill press. Note, the words in qoutes are subjective.

Recoll - an open source tool for Linux that searches everything on your disk drive for text. And I mean everything.

I like this editorial from George Will. It seems that some people are pushing the phrase "Federal Family" as a soft, friendly way to mention government bureacracies. See the TSA monster story above.

This story is all over the Internet today, so it must be important, at least to some patent lawyers. Google buys a thousand IBM patents.

Intel will release new Thunderbolt technology chips in 2012.

This isn't Thunderbolt, but IOMega has a 2TeraByte and 3TeraByte external drive for the Mac. It looks good, but lacks a lot of features I would like to see.

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Friday September 16, 2011

Neat - a wooden case made for a portable computer.

Dublin City University is giving Chromebooks to incoming freshman. I like this one.

MIT researchers have a new MEMS energy harvester that gathers 100 times the energy of the prior version. Now if we can just make this practical.

Research In Motion shipped 200,000 tablets last quarter. Apple does that every two days. I can't wait for the Congressional hearings on Apple and their monopoly on tablets that will require government regulation or the world will end.

Back to school Mac sales were good again this year. And they didn't have the lower-cost white MacBook in the lineup.

A neat iPad app - it displays your sheet music, listens to you play, and flips the pages for you. If you have never played a musical instrument, belive me, flipping the pages at the right time can be incredibly difficult.

NASA has discovered a planet that orbits two stars. This is an excellent example of how to discuss unknown things. A year ago, instead of saying, "It is impossible for a planet to orbit two stars at the same time," we should have said, "we have yet to see a planet orbit two stars at the same time."

The Solyndra bankruptcy and the White House proclamation of all the green jobs was predicted. This is another example of the current administration, despite all its press, not knowing the basics of economics, business, and technology.

The Webb telescope appears to have made it through the Congressional budget process. Now, all we have to do is wait and see if NASA can execute the program anywhere near the estimated time and budget. I have big doubts. In several years, NASA administrators, a.k.a., brain-dead managers, will go to Congressional hearings to explain how mistakes were made, but everything is fine now and they just need another 100% budget increase.

The decline and fall of the American middle class. The figures ignore the vast differences in the cost of living in the different regions of America. Some people earning $30K a year are in the middle class. Some other people earning $100K a year are also in the middle class. I have yet to see income figures adjusted for local cost of living.

And then we have this map of the world showing how Americans are still the richest people on the planet.

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Saturday September 17, 2011

More legal wrangling about whether or not citizens can video record public police officers in public doing public duties on public funds.

Microsoft Office won't run on those non-Intel tablets that were seeing.

Over 400 sites hosted by Go Daddy were compromised this week. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

We have some patent reform in the U.S. We shall see if we moved in the right direction or not.

This is a pretty good little solar-powered light bulb. For poor places, set it out in the day and use it at night.

Google is using the old Seinfeld clips as part of their Wallet ads.

Developers are getting the Windows 8 preview to run on all sorts of hardware. Neat stuff.

Boeing is going with Google's Android for its in-flight entertainment system on the new 787.

Are they giving school kids big opportunities or violating child labor laws? Using teenage bloggers.

In Moscow, six men have been isolated for 520 days as a similation of going to Mars. They are mentally exhausted and have two more months of isolation.

The boys at MIT are working on using the concept of 3D printing to construct buildings. Just imagine a printer shooting out tons of concrete.

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Sunday September 18, 2011

Apple is now shipping its 27" Thunderbolt displays. This is basically a television given all the inputs it has - and a webcam, too.

Congress doesn't have much to do these days. They are debating if putting a fake name on Facebook is a felony. Hence, they have lots of free time.

I haven't thought about this one much, but I have to agree with this post - in the future, we won't have models (those people who wear clothes and hold products for photos and commercials).

Productivity is for machines, if you can measure it. Robots should do it. Kevin Kelly

I would never have thought that Maine would be the first to do this, but a school district has given an iPad to each of the 250 kids in kindergarden.

I smile.

A survey of 1,200 freelancers yeilds this annual report.

Freelance writing part time and how to slowly move into a full-time income from it.

How to become a consultant for hire. The steps make sense, but you will need to market yourself before anyone notices.

Hmmm, contronyms - a word that has contradictory meanings based on context.

I love this post from Dean Wesley Smith. Want to make money writing? Write a lot and keep writing a lot. Put up everything you write on e-publishing sites. A slow steady income flows from lots of things written. I put 50 short stories on Smashwords.com seven months ago. I have made $55. I'm not quiting my day job, but I wrote those short stories in 2008 as an exercise in learning. Hence, I made $55 from doing a fun exercise. That isn't bad.

In writing, once finished (for now) with a piece of writing - MOVE ON. Go to the next piece of writing.

I like this one, five writing tips from William Shakespeare.

I love this qoute about three secrets for writing:
There are three rules for writing well.
Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
––W. Somerset Maugham

A simple desk with some slick computer hardware on it.

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