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 19-25, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 19,  2011

The text emoticon was invented on this date in 1982.

One study shows that Apple-enabled students perform better at all levels. All other things being equal, all other things are not equal in this study - not by a long shot.

There are advantages to medical researchers for digital health records. The security issues are, however, insurmountable (at least they are today).

HP's employees are able to buy the $99 tablet.

Netflix has split into two companies: one for DVDs and one for movie downloads. This could be complicated.

Despite what the news media proclaims, fighting continues in Lybia. This is the great advantage of the Internet and communications technologies - we don't have to be suckered by what media wonks want everyone to believe.

This is a clever use of an array of WiFi transceivers - turn the network into a radar system to detect, of all things, the breathing of a patient. This has applications in monitoring the breathing of sleeping babies, you know, those cute little people who really don't understand a bunch of wires attached to them.

I read that the Federal government wants to spends hundreds of billions of dollars to create a few jobs. Guess what? Facebook created 200,000 jobs and pumped $Billions into the economy without any tax payers' dollars. Actually, all those job holders paid taxes. Amazing how that works, huh. This must (not) be a new thing where entrepeneurs create jobs when given the liberty to do so. Maybe...

This rumor is everywhere on the Internet, so it must be true: Google Wallet to launch today.

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Tuesday September 20, 2011

The Google Wallet is out in Sprint Android phones. Here is another of the many posts of this today. And another one - this time with a video.

Apple is the world's most valuable company depending of course on how you measure those things.

And Apple is tops in constomer satisfaction eight years in a row now.

Some ideas on completely redesigning the printer. I like this.

Michigan State University is doing research with "bomb sniffing" lasers. This post has few technical details. Anyways, it seems that such can be used to detect IEDs. Again, we spend $Billions on technology. The solution to IEDs is when the locals like us more than they like the IED planters. When that occurs, the locals tell us where the IEDs are and also where the IED planters live.

I want one of these. A "robotic" lawn mower (track driven like a tank) that cuts just about anything. Two bad points: (1) radio controlled so it doesn't drive itself like a Roomba, (2) $60,000 price tag.

It appears that computer equipment is much tougher than thought. This experiment has been running servers in an outdoor shed since January. When I worked in Lagos, Nigeria I experienced much the same. I never believed that computers could run hour after hour in a 100-degree room in high humidity.

Some Senators think that reading and saving what is on the Internet is against the law. We elected these people?

Atlanta hasn't learned anything from London. Atlanta is mimicking London's giant video surveillance network. Time has shown that this experiment failed. The cost per crime solved is astronomical. Your tax dollars at waste.

Misubishi, Japan's largest defense contractor, has been hacked. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Rich Americans are going to other countries for newer health treatments. These treatments take years to pass through the American regulatory bureaucracy. Such regulations don't exist in other countries. Once again, we are making industries and jobs illegal in America, and some people see the solution in higher taxes and more regulations.

Nuance keeps working so that the computer adapts to the medical doctors instead of ask the doctors to adapt to the computer. Smart.

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Wednesday September 21, 2011

"The Hobbit" is published on this day in 1937. It seems that fantasy fiction was not a big selling item until this book from Tolkien.

The next big Apple event appears to be on October 4th. That is when the new CEO will show the new iPhone. Sounds like a good story; we shall see.

Apple gathered a bunch of consumer dontated iPad 1 units and gave them to Teach for America volunteers.

A new (and profitable) use for 3D printers - making ATM skimming devices. These guys stole $400,000 before being caught. Makes me wonder about the guys who aren't being caught.

And we are seeing other things made with 3D printers. Here is a magazine for an AR-15. Here is a lower receiver for an AR-15. Hmmm.

Hey, do you want a smart grid power meter in your house? Some guys have found a way to learn what TV programs you are wathcing and even what DVDs you are watching by peering through your smart meter. Problem? What problem?

Amazon is running 30,000 cores across three data centers. Big computer power.

Patents and all the law suits are costing hundreds of billions of dollars a year. I guess all those law school graduates, inside and outside the government, have to do something. I don't suppose it would help to suggest that they switch to doing something productive instead.

The value of Netflix is plunging since they decided to fix themselves.

WikiMiner - for tapping the semantics in Wikipedia. This could be interesting.

Five wireless keyboards for the iPad. I have a keyboard case from Zagg. It works pretty well for me, but not as good as the usual portable computer full-size keyboard. Perhaps I am too old to adapt to these things.

Cheap broadband options for poor families. Productivity multipliers, but can a nation afford it? We are spending tax payers' money in far less productive ways. If we cut more than we add, but that is pure folly.

Lacie introduces their first Thunderbolt external disk drive.

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Thursday September 22, 2011

Now Congress doesn't like Google. When I use Google to search for something, I choose to use Google. No one forces me to do so. And, by the way, Google doesn't charge me a penny for using their service. How can that be a monopoly warranting anti-trust investigations? Some people in Congress don't have enough to do.

83% of WiFi traffic is from iPhones and iPads.

Which way is HP going? HP doesn't seem to know.

OnStar has changed its terms of service. It will now track your car's location without your permission. I doubt that the practice is new.

Pulling hydrogen from waste water. Maybe one day some of these energy research projects will be practical.

Windows 8 will not use the old BIOS boot process.

30,000 processor cores can be yours to use for only $1,200 an hour.

A 16" "portable" display screen. It gets video input and power through the USB port. I love this idea. No more 110V power chords.

The relational database model is being eclipsed by big data, unstructured data, and noSQL.

It seems that Apple made a mistake by putting Al Gore on its board. He can't keep his mouth shut leaking news about several new iPhones. That is the way it goes with egomaniacal politicians. If they know something that you don't (yet), they have to tell you. They just can't help themselves.

Electrical stimulation to the brain increases brain power - at least in a few mice. Anyone ready to line up and try this?

WalMart will install solar panels on 75% of its California stores. I wonder how much of this is being funded by California taxpayers.

Ooooops, some EU calculations on the benefits of bio-fuel appear to be seriously in error. Sigh. And I thought these government guys were saving the world for us (not).

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Friday September 23, 2011

Elizabeth Warren talks of an "underlying social contract" whereby financially successful people "owe" others something. Jerry Pournelle has an outstanding discussion of Ms. Warren's statements. Outstanding. By the way, I had to look this up, but Ms. Warren was in the Obama Administration and is now running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. She will probably be elected there.

Flexible work hours? Family-friendly work hours? Managers still disdain these.

HP fires its CEO and hires Meg Whitman of eBay fame.

At Harvey Mudd College in California the percentage of women majoring in Computer Science has tripled. Outstanding!

Neil Armstrong calls NASA "embarrassing." I agree. For those young people reading this, Armstrong walked on the moon in the 42 years ago, back when NASA functioned.

Speaking of NASA, a blurring glowing spot in a black screen - a video of NASA's falling satellite.

In Canberra, surveillance of the subjects is increasing. The technology is available for all sorts of increased surveillance. All you need is the money extracted from the subjects and a little competence in government. The first is much easier than the second.

We now have a system that, after some training, creates blurry images of what we saw by examining our brains. Interesting, but far from practical at this time.

Western Digital has new, physically smaller, external disk drives for the Mac. No Thunderbolt interface though.

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Saturday September 24, 2011

Apple is cancelling everyone's vacation plans for the second week of October. Sounds like something big is coming the first week of October.

Barnes and Noble may turn their Nook color eBook reader into a full-function tablet. The cheaper way to more customers is just to tell them how to do it themselves.

Maybe HP won't get rid of its PC business.

An "aircraft" made of trash bags. We did this when I was in 7th grade.

NASA's satellite fell without harm somewhere in Canada. But this report says it went down in the Pacific.

Without any good reasoning or financial calculations, the Federal government pays IT contractors twice what it pays its own IT workers. Your tax dollars at waste.

MIT has improved its algorithms for guiding robot arms through free space.

Is this news? State universities want more out-of-state and foreign students because they pay more for the same services.

It seems that the TSA scanners can't see through "shiny clothes." Therefore, if you don't wan't a pat down, be sure to wear "unshiny clothes."

A Czech electric scooter covers 700 miles in 24 hours - some sort of new world record.

Intel is helping educate healthcare workers in developing countries.

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Sunday September 25, 2011

Here is a photo of an IBM 360 computer. This model ran the world for a decade and more.

A 3D printer "printed" this bicycle.

More evidence that Google will have a G-Drive in the cloud. It seems that it will be pretty much what Google Docs is now. Who remembers Writely? I do.

1967-2000 - Fred Rogers singing his introductory song. He always seemed strange to me, but he knew what he was doing. He knew much about childhood development and learning. Too bad he didn't run the Department of Education, but than again, it was probably a good thing that he did what he did.

Twenty places to publish personal essays. Of course, the editor of these publications has to choose your essay over the ten thousand others they receive. A blog works as well.

From Psychology Today, nine things that happen when you read. Perhaps these things happen for some people. I doubt that most happen for most readers.

This is different - real-time facial substitution.

Do you want to be a writer? If so, write. Do you want to earn a full-time income from writing? That is a bit more difficult. Look in the bookstore at the published books. Less than 10% of the authors earn a full-time income from writing. And my guess is that less than 10% of the books written are published and less than 10% of the books that are published are in the bookstores.

I've never thought of it this way, so thanks to Seth Godin. No one ever gets "talker's block." We talk and talk and talk and sometimes say something worth hearing. Writer's block? Write and write and write and, just like with talking, you will probably write something worth reading.

A post about doing nothing as a writer. It can be an effective method of finding new ideas. They call it moodling - a new term to me. This reminds me of Jerry Weinberg's advice of doing nothing at least one fourth of the time.

Writing with a non-outline - something may resemble an outline, but doesn't have the indents and letters and numbers and all the stuff that your elementary school teacher pounded into you.

Facebook is today's America On Line.

And five reasons why a writer should not use an outline. Again, try different techniques. Use what works for you and ignore the rest.

I like this one - 20 qoutes about writing. It is better than the title led me to believe. One of the ones I really liked:
"I don't do housework...life is too short." If you want to write, W R I T E ! ! ! Let other stuff go and spend your time writing.

Travelling with the Tep Wireless WiFi hotspot in Europe. It connects to 3G and then becomes your own little hotspot. The service is supposed to come to America real soon now. Here is the Tep web site.

A training plan for writers. Have a source of writing prompts, set a daily time, write, and finally publish somehow somewhere (blogger.com if nothing else).

There are words, e.g., "imperative, that cannot take the modifier "very." Another example is the word "dead." Come to think of it, I find few words that are better served with "very" in front of them.

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