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: October 3-9, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 3,  2011

Some thoughts on freelance copywriting.

The chart shows how OS X continues to grow its presence on the web.

Eight steps to getting what you want without formal credentials. I think this is an important topic, especially in today's economy. Things are changing too fast to predict what you will need after four years of college. It is unlikely that a person will have the right credentials at the right time. Hence, making do will be the necessary skill.

The tale of the fall of an American commercial giant - Kodak. Bad management. But, who could have done a better job?

Given all the bad press, this is a surprising story - the Huffington Post is growing.

Some notes from the InsideAR 2011 conference. Augmented Reality has great potential, but it may be too immature at this time.

Google opens a store in London. They sell Chromebooks. What else would they sell as their product is free.

The Daily, that famous iPad-only newspaper, only has 80,000 subscribers. This is an example of how the definition of success has changed. I would be thrilled with 80,000 subscribers. A big company, one that competes with Apple and Google and the like, sees this as a terrible, embarassing failure.

People have been analyzing the parts and such in the Amazon Fire. Here is a guess at $150 worth of parts. That means that Amazon might be making a profit on every $199 Fire. The economic calculations are not quite that simple.

Dell continues to try to compete with the Apple line of portable computers. Dell has the resources to keep trying, and there are examples of companies that tried and tried and eventually succeeded.

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Tuesday October 4, 2011

A look at 20 years of id Software. My association with them was a true 32-bit, open-source, C compiler that they helped distribute in the early 1990s. It worked around the 64KByte segmented architecture of the day.

President Obama does not regret the lost loan guarantees for Solyndra. Gosh. There are parts of the Federal government that are tasked with investing in high-risk technologies. They do it all the time, and they know (at sort of know) what they are doing. The Department of Energy's loan accountants are not expert in high-risk technologies.

Microsoft, finally, officially stops making the Zune music player.

The new Nikon D800 will have a 36MegaPixel sensor. I suppose there are uses for such.

Adapteva is a new company that is building mesh processors. They claim superior processing power per Watt of electric power.

Apple is to have a big event today about iPhones. Perhaps the "world changing" aspect of today will be the use of voice-recognition software. Here are more details. Apple will call the app "Assistant." It will do all that AI agent stuff that people have been discussing for the past 20 years. The key - it always seems to be the key - is that the computer in the new iPhone will be powerful enough to run the software.

The Econolypse and the creative class. We have shipped manufacturing outside the U.S. We would all be creatives - the idea isn't working. This is a basic concept out of General Systems Thinking. If you opimize for one thing, you lose the ability to adapt. We have optimized for non-manufacturing "thought" work. What we forgot is that often the most creative people originate in dull, manufacturing type jobs. I used to shovel rocks. I wanted to leave that behind me, so I dove into engineering with all my might. We don't have enough people shovelling rocks anymore. And another thing about the rock shovellers - they go to the movies and such and pay the salaries of the creative types. What a mess we have made.

NASA is playing with an inflatable space habitat. This is on target - part of their job in space exploration. Hoorah.

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Wednesday October 5, 2011

Excellent advice here - 20 tips on leading millenials.

Apple had its big event, but didn't show the iPhone 5. Instead, the iPhone 4S to the dismay of millions. This story is everywhere on the Internet. Here is one report. And the Facebook app was no where to be found.

If you missed the Apple event, here is the 90-second condensed edition. I like the photo of the squirrel.

And another thought, Apple is battling with itself. Why buy an iPhone 4S when the 3G is now free?

Government services are going to cloud (to save money we are told). There is an intense battle to win the government cloud services contracts.

Something strange is happening in Italy. There is a new law about taking down Internet posts when something objects to the content (someone like a political party). One result is that Wikipedia may soon remove its Italian-language pages.

Over stepping its authority? The FCC has stated that all cell phones (even the not so smart ones) MUST have GPS by 2018. The "reason" is to help with 911 calls. The government is here to help us. Your tax dollars at waste.

Students at Brigham Young University build an electric car that goes 175 mph. This is, of course, all impractical. There are worse things to do with your time in college.

LibreOffice (spin off from OpenOffice) is now one year old.

Tapes containing the health records of 4.9 million people were stolen from a car. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Yet another example of government regulation driving up costs and driving jobs out of the U.S. This time it is software quality of all things.

A practical solar-powered cell phone charger.

Not yet practical, but here is an invisibility cloak that works in a jar of water.

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Thursday October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs died yesterday at 56.  Here is one history of him. Here is another. And some comments from the Woz.

Turning breathing into electrical energy. This is a simple transformation of physical movement to electric power. The sources are all around us.

This team won $1.35Million for their electric-powered airplane. Come on government, stop investing in high-risk solar companies. Run prize competitions.

Google updates its Docs app for Android. How about for the iPad?

One billion downloads for Google Earth. The concept of selling or even giving away one billion of anything is astounding.

The $35 tablet from India has arrived at $60 - the Aakash. That is still a pretty good buy. It doesn't have the hardware power of the iPad or the Fire, but it's only $60.

A few notes on Humanitarian software projects. I would rather this be framed as humans who know and can build software acting like humans should act.

George Will on Elizabeth Warren and her view of the social contract. Excellent research and commentary.

Were you on the Internet in 1995? After a little thought, I reply yes. I was in Lagos, Nigeria (West Africa). I only had crude email access. There was a way to "see" the text from web pages via an email service. It was slow in that I had to send an email, wait an hour, see a link I wanted, send an email, wait an hour. It was better than the telephone service. We would send emails across the city instead of trying the phones. It took an email half an hour to go up to a satellite, down to America, across America, up to a satellite, and down to Lagos. It worked.

According to this survey, 90% of hiring managers look at social networking sites when screening potential employees. Three-quarters of them look at Facebook pages.

UK Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) - 300MegaBitPerSecond download speeds by next spring. Wow.

It appears that high-functioning autistics have the temperament to be good software testers.

3M is showing a film that turns windows into solar panels. The efficiency is low, but the costs are low, anyone can install it, and you don't have all those panels on your roof making an eyesore. Perhaps one of these ideas will work one day.

The U.S. military is moving towards small, lightweight, "throwable" robots for battlefied reconnaisance.

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Friday October 7, 2011

The biggest, and some people hope the best, spy blimp ever made for surveillance. How will they get the thing to Afghanistan? Fly it?

More news on the $35 ($60) tablet from India - called the I-slate here.

This Hong Kong student created an Internet storm with his simple yet powerful tribute to Steve Jobs.

The Iranian government clamps down more on its subjects via the Internet.

Ah, data processing. Scientists discover some new planets in 13-year-old photos from Hubble. Who knows what people can find in old data. Why build new telescopes when we haven't processed the data from the old ones?

Another example on the power of examining the words we use.

More analysis of the growing imbalance between number of men and women living on earth. In many ways, this is the best time in human history to be a woman.

How to hide an iPhone charger inside a classic old book.

It appears that ASUS will introduce its Ultrabook to the world next week.

This story is everywhere on the Internet. Nuance is buying Swype for $100Million. Nuance does speech recognition and Swype has a different way for people to "type" on their touch screens. What will become of this?

Wikipedia has replaced every page of its Italian version with a statement about free speech and an soon to be (maybe) Italian law limiting free speech. Wow. Take that one.

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Saturday October 8, 2011

So much for everyone being disappointed that Apple showed the iPhone 4S and not the 5. They are sold out of the October 14th stock. Now wait in line. AT&T sold 200,000 of them in the first 12 hours.

Oracle introduces the Oracle Public Cloud.

It has finally happened, or finally been admitted. A computer virus hits the place where the U.S. controls its UAV fleet.

People are sticking Post-Its on the windows of Apple stores around the world. Little notes to honor Steve Jobs.

An odd Coca-Cola marketing campaign in Australia. Something tells me that we will see this in America next year.

Some photos from the Occupy Wall Street gathering. I am not sure what the gathering is. I am not sure that the people gathered know what it is. Maybe that is the brilliance behind it; since there is no one big theme, you can probably find someone there who agrees with you.

Computer voting machines are insecure and should not be used in elections. I don't know how to say it any simpler.

The FBI will try a nationwide facial recognition service for local police in January 2012. I hope that they put some human assurance behind the algorithms.

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Sunday October 9, 2011

Television can be beneficial.

HP says it is on track to release its memristor technology in 18 months. That puts it at spring of 2013. We shall see (if HP is still a company at that date).

The U.S. Department of Education says that education software is not helping educate anyone. Given the source, I would now buy into education software.

Gladwell was wrong - smarter people perform better.
A county in Florida is using fingerprint scanners to improve school attendance.

The chief of Intellectual Property at the United Nations thinks that the web should have been patented and everyone should be paying license fees to use HTML. And some people wonder why some Americans wonder about the United Nations.

This silly TSA security theatre stuff is nothing new. See this post that shows that Isaac Asimov wrote the same things in 1956 that people are saying today.

Here are some excellent, and I do mean excellent, tips on doing a demonstration of a product. The number zero rule is, no live demos!

Some thoughts on the digital nomad lifestyle. It pulls at me, but then I see my grandson's excited face and my granddaughter's three-month-old smile.

Some thoughts on writing about yourself.

And some thoughts about being a freelance journalist.

Using git to version control your writing. This is a good tutorial.

The world may come to an end - they are serious about making a movie base on Farmville. Please, don't let the movie come to my community.

I love these, and I have to remember them. Here is another example of needless words commonly used. The culprit here is "in." When you see the word "in," look about it. That is a prepositional phrase that can probably be replace with one meaningful, clear word.

Have the facts before you analyze and write.

Some tips on writing a book proposal.

Six fear-busting writing tips.

For writers, don't beat your self up, leave that to others. True. Just keep writing.

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