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 26-October 2, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 26,  2011

Michael Arrington opens his new blog - Uncruched.

The Iomega eGo Helium portable hard drive for the Mac. The name is too long. It appears to be yet another good product. $150 for a premium 1TeraByte drive.

The Dan Plan blog is about learning to play golf. Dan writes about playing a round of golf with an "ass clown" (I am not sure what that is, but it doesn't sound good). Given all the extraneous things, this is a great example of turning a bad situation into an excellent learning experience.

Twitter is opening an office in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland is building a reputation as the Internet capital of Europe. They have favorable tax policies for companies. Imagine that, cut taxes and regulations and attract jobs. Interesting theory (not).

A bad board of directors can kill a company. See, e.g., HP. This is true of all organizations. Decades or centuries of success can be erased by one set of directors. I have seen it happen in organizations large and small, public and private. It is a great shame.

PayPal is processing over $300 Million in payments every day. Success has been redefined. Huge numbers.

In five months, Samsung has sold ten million Galaxy S IIs phones. Not Apple numbers, but not bad. Again, success has been redefined.

Look at this phone from Toshiba-Fujitsu - Android, 13MPixel camera, waterproof, WiFi, WiMax, and so on.

USA Today's Twitter account was hacked. I everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Trying to hire engineers from a "top-tier school." It is a myth for lazy HR people. The competition among the hiring firms is intense, so the engineering grads have lots of choices. The guy is missing to boat completely. He thinks that just because US News and World Report declares a school better than others that he will find better engineers there. Many "top-tier schools" are hard to enter and harder to flunk out of. The basic state school will still put people on academic probabtion, so the students have to work harder. There are many other aspects of the fallacy of the top colleges producing the best employees. Several decades of experience in the workplace have shown that this all works on a person-by-person basis. That, however, makes it harder to hire the right person. Those hiring people who are lazy love the myth of the top-tier school.

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Tuesday September 27, 2011

The 8.9" Galaxy Tab from Samsung is here. Will anyone buy it?

Google is 13 years old. Does it have a future?

Harvard's web site is hacked. Now Harvard has some pretty smart people hanging around and they certainly have lots of money in the bank to hire security experts. If they can't secure their web sites, who can? Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Here is a post on why doctors don't like electronic health records (even when the Federal government is bribing them to use the records). The reason? The technology and its benefits are hyped.

The Nokia N9 Meego-powered phone is shipping.

Boeing finally delivers the first 787 to an airline (ANA).

Google has put images of the Dead Sea Scrolls online. Now this is what the Internet can do for the world. Put treasures in reach of almost anyone on the planet.

OnStar is tracking people's cars even after the person stops paying for OnStar - Perhaps even before they want it. Several U.S. Senators are screaming about this.  Correct me if I am wrong on this one, but OnStar is in General Motors vehicles. The current White House and Congress occupants gave GM tens of billions of dollars. It seems that we own G(overnment) M(otors). How is it that a company we paid for is doing things we don't want it to do? Someone please enlighten me.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center has the world's largest academic research cloud.

Is this an office or an living room? I like it either way.

This may change the world - Rite Aid is offering virtual consultations with doctors - NOT FREE $45.

Many colleges are not jumping into online education. One day, the online techie folks will learn that much of - most of? - college is about parties and other fun.

Robots - in this case computers running algorithms - are moving into non-manufacturing jobs like medical and legal advice services.

This story is all over the Internet. I guess this shows the strong connection between technologists and junk food. Art West, who created Doritos in the 1960s, died at 97.

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Wednesday September 28, 2011

Some thoughts on the wave of new bicycles that also have electric motors in them.

More jobs for people with degrees in Math - all coming from the expanding use of big data.

It is official, Apple will introduce the iPhone 5 on October 4th.

News on the coming Amazon tablet - don't buy the first one. Wait for the second one. More information on the "Kindle Fire."

Meego is out - Tizen is in. The Linux world continues to generate operating systems for niche markets.

Hackers grabbed the data on the CEO of Goldman Sachs and, of course, leaked it. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

The London cell phone system probably won't have the capacity needed for the crowds at the Summer Olympics next year.

How is the economy? Well, Best Buy will only hire half the temporary employees for the holiday season than it did in 2010.

But according to the IEEE, salaries for engineers are rising.

Google will open a technology office in London. Jobs going outside the U.S.  to places where the tax laws encourage jobs.

And Google is buying land in three different Asian countries to build data centers. More jobs going outside the U.S.  to places where the tax laws encourage jobs.

A look at 20 years of Microsoft Research.

How to hack a voting machine and steal an election with simple technology. This is real stuff. Is everyone ready for national electronic elections?

The past ten days have not been the finest for the New York City Police Department. That is a great shame.

Even more uses for WiFi signals. WiFi operates on radio waves. Physical objects, like humans, alter the path of the radio waves - sometimes just a tiny bit. If a person has enough interest, energy, and resources, they can use WiFi to detect movement of persons.

Wilson Greatbatch - the inventer of the pacemaker - dies at 92. My mother-in-law remains alive today due to the invention.

China is now building its own space station. The next human to walk on the moon will probably be from China. NASA continues to plan its next planning session where it will plan its future for planning its future.

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Thursday September 29, 2011

A look inside Apple's new Thunderbolt display. It charges, it slices, it has a camera, a microphone - where is the CPU and the OS?

Amazon had its big press conference and introduced its tablet computer along with two new Kindle readers. I don't know that Apple had a sleepless night, but perhaps a competitor to the iPad is born.

And Amazon has their own browser built just for their tablet. Silk for the Fire. Maybe the names weren't such good ideas, I mean if you had some silk material you certainly wouldn't put it in fire. But then again, I am not a marketing genius.

In the last quarter, Apple sold 4.6Million Macs and 12Million iPads. Sales are good. What bad economy?

Oh, here is the bad economy - Nokia lays off another 3,500 people.

Showing that some government agencies never learn - our Department of Engergy has pushed through a few more insured loans to solar companies - total price tag: $1,000Million. Can anyone spell S-o-l-y-n-d-r-a? Your tax dollars at waste.

Why put a camera in a cell phone when it's easier to put a cell phone in a camera? These guys have done it. And that leads me bak to a question I have asked for years: why don't they put cell phones in laptop computers? There is plenty of space.

A new waterproof Android phone from Sharp. It also has a 12MegaPixel camera. There is a trend towards certifying cell phones as waterproof. The results so far look good.

And Disney (yes, Walt Disney) introduces two new Android phones, one of which is waterproof.

BetterLesson - a startup trying to help teachers connect with one another and share lessons. And this brings up a nasty question: When the Commonwealth (not state) of Virginia pays a teacher to create a lesson plan, the Commonwealth owns that lesson plan. Does the Virginia teacher have the rights to give that lesson plan to a teacher in Iowa? I wish that these folks have addressed these little legal matters, but I doubt it.

Building an office in a hallway.

And a simple desk.

15% of scientists at research universities see science and religion in conflict. I guess that means that 85% don't. Seems like an overwhelming majority. I have never understood why some people think that science and religion disagree. I guess it is a lot of miscommunication or something.

This story is a great shame. It is about another police officer who abused their position. The officer simply became angry and did something stupid in anger. The incident was caught on video. A nation will crumble when citizens stop trusting public employees.

Does Samsung copy Apple? Some photos.

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Friday September 30, 2011

Some news on New York City's attempt to become the next silicon valley. I think they have an excellent idea. Real estate is very expensive in NYC, but it is also expensive in San Jose.

Google remains the world's most attractive employer to college engineering and business grads.

For the first time since 1996, IBM is more valuable than Microsoft. The world turns upside down again.

A post about co-working spaces in rural areas. I love this idea for economic development of the more rural areas of America: "We realized after chasing a lot of companies that instead of attracting one 200-person business, we should attract 200 one-person businesses. The economic impact is bigger, and some of those businesses will grow"

Not to be outdone by Amazon, Samsung will have a 7" tablet.

Spice up your yard with combat Gnomes. Clever. And this is a great example of someone creating a small business using the Internet to sell physical items.

This looks like a good book - Chicks with Guns. This is not a book of calendar photos of models in tiny bikins holding submachineguns.

The state of Illinois is really pushing the idea that citizens cannot video public employees working on public money in public places.

Boston Dynamics is now building the AlphaDog. This is a robotic "mule" (four legs) that will carry 400 pounds of stuff 20 miles without a refueling stop. The USMC will test these next year. Amazing stuff. There is something about its appearance that frightens me; I don't know what it is, but it frightens me. It appears that it will be a great supplies carrier. I can also see putting four hundred pounds of firearms and ammunition on it. Scary. And Aha! I have found at least one other person that thinks the robot is creepy.

Why did Ashton Kutcher take the job on the show 2 1/2 Men? Perhaps to advertise the tech companies that he backed. CBS noticed this and is killing it. I think that is the definition of a "kill joy."

Intel releases two new Atom processors.

Neat little device from LaCie - you connect your external disk drives to this black box and access the drives in your network. It turns the basic stand-alone external drive into network storage. Only $75. And you can access those files across the Internet (the best feature, now you have your own cloud!).

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Saturday October 1, 2011

Police on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) will soon be wearing video cameras to record their interactions with citizens.

Webcams everywhere - this one is at 18,000 feet pointed at Mt Everest. Wow. It is unfortunate that many of the views will be of the inside of a cloud. Here is the web site for the webcam.

A new video camera from Koday - waterproof and all that fun.

George Will on the Federal takeover of education. If Congress won't pass a law, the Department of Education will just declare one.

Bing now has maps of the major U.S. ariports.

ooooops - This story is making the rounds today. Microsoft virus detection software inadvertantly labels Google Chrome as malware.

I like the sign in this photo. I don't like what it says or means, but it is true. Elections are won the vast majority of the time by the candidate who spends the most money. That is how President Obama was elected - he outspent the other guy.

Reebok messes up - they made a health claim about one of their recent shoe models. Now someone is suing them over that medical claim. Don't claim medical benefits without proof.

A look at 32 non-iPad tablets and their mostly bad fates.

MIT's artificial leaf that, using simple technology, generates energy from sunlight.

Wow! Carnegie Mellon researchers have a facial recognition system that matches just about any face on the street with those found elesewhere on the Internet.

The most visited web sites in the U.S. No surprises - Google and Facebook at the top.

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Sunday October 2, 2011

The Open Document Format 1.2 specification has been approved.

I smiled when I saw this photo - the beginning is near.

Note this one folks: writing for government contracts. It is not just Federal government contracts, but contracts with all levels of government, and there are many levels and many contracts.

The future of the printed paper book. The writer doesn't discuss the public library. The rest of the dates are fairly reasonable.

I really like this post: How to write 300,000 words in a year. The formula is simple (1,000 words per day X six days per week X 50 weeks per year). The execution is tougher. The writer of this post encourages discipline, and that seems to work for him. I know others who write as much out of excitement - they just aren't excited about anything else in life.

If I know what I am to write, I can type a thousand words easily in an hour. Give myself a second hour to proofread earlier drafts. Give myself a third hour to plan future writing. Three hours a day, and you are a full-time writer. The idea is simple.

Someone is being candid about blogging - Five Biggest Lies of Supposedly Successful Bloggers.

It seems that using outlines and not using outlines is a big recent topic in blogs. Here is a post that argues for using an outline to help provide structure for a novel. I wrote a novel last year. I didn't have an outline or anything that someone might mistake for an outline. I did, however, have what I called a sketch of the novel on a single piece of paper. It helped me keep the dates, persons, locations, and such straight. If my memory were better, I wouldn't need such things.

I agree with this advice: finish the manuscript first. The advice, however, seems rare as I constantly read about people writing a sample chapter and shopping that.

25 (pretty darn good) insights into becoming a better writer.

Learning from failure as a writer. There are many aspects about success as a writer, and just about everything else as well, that are outside of our control. We can't choose when we are born and the nature of the economy. We can, however, always choose to learn.

No matter the stated subject of a class, creativity can be spurred with a little short story fiction writing.

On being a freelance writer without a college degree.

Good question - how do you start writing a novel? One of the good answers is that you don't have to start at the beginning.

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