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 17-23, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 17,  2011

Oustanding use of technology - a wheelchair that can be controlled by moving small muscles in your face. This provides mobility to people paralyzed below the neck.

That Minnesota company that claimed it made the Steve Jobs turtleneck was lying. We shall see if the marketplace punishes them for their transgression.

The iPhone 5 is coming next year. Already people are calling it "Steve Jobs' last design project." I hope this isn't like the turtleneck story.

A closer look at the Siri application for the iPhone.

Only in America or only on the Internet - James Erwin starts writing a time travel, alternate history story on reddit.com and before you know it Warner Brothers buys the movie rights. Good for him. Now if I could just steer Warner Brothers over to read some of my short stories...

Motorola is cutting the price of the Xoom to $400. They are still selling it? Really folks, $400? Didn't they learn anything from the $99 HP tablet?

Facebook is being sued in several states for "following" people without their permission. Interesting. The lawsuits are occurring in local and state courts. That will be even more interesting for Facebook owners.

In the connected world, their will be a subculture of "ghosts." My mother qualifies for this given the definition of this post.

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Tuesday October 18, 2011

Cloud computing - your data is everywhere in the world you are - regardless of national borders. But, ooops, many of those nations have their own pesky little laws.

250 million tweets per day can't all be wrong. Twitter explodes.

Kodak is doomed, or so it seems. Why is it that GM received tens of billions of handouts from Washington, but Kodak doesn't? Perhaps it is those labor unions, but what do I know?

email turns 40 years old.

Microsoft's researchers have developed a way to control your cell phone through the fabric of your pocket.

They still have a little work to do on this one, but Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon have developed a device that projects a "computer screen" anywhere and a Kinect-like sensor makes the surface a multi-touch interface. Tremendous development. In the future, I could sit at this table while holding my web-interface computer in my shirt pocket. A button-size lens would project the web onto the table where I would zoom and click and browse and type.

The human body contains the stuff from which electric generators can operate. These internal genertors can then power small, implanted medical devices like pacemakers and other health monitors.

Predictions of extending the average person's life to 150 years. We shall see.

The Jazz Montreaux Festival will put 40 years of music on a 1.2PetaByte array. This will hold over 10,000 hours of music. This is what the web can provide. Fantastic.

They now call it the hybrid hard drive - combining a spinning disk with some solid state disk. I had one of these 20 years ago. It was called a RAM disk back then and it made some of my dissertation programs viable, i.e., they wouldn't take eight hours to run.

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Wednesday October 19, 2011

Apple admits that iPad sales are taking away from the sale of the plain old Mac computer.  Who cares? Fourth quarter profits rise 54% on the sale of  11 million iPads and 5 million Macs. Funny, I don't see the 1% burning Steve Jobs in effigy or stomping apples into the pavement as a symbol of exorbitant corporate profits and all that.

And Intel had a big quarter with its revenue up 29%. Recession?

Yahoo is still profitable, better than expected.

It is here, the Google Ice Cream Sandwich - a cute name for Android version 4.0. One big feature is using facial recognition to unlock your phone. That is neat, and yes you can think of a dozen ways to break in.

There are many recent studies with all the same conclusion - anything on any screen for a child under 24 months is bad.
This is a cool little gadget - a knife folds into a credit card size card.

There are about a gazillion photos posted on the Internet. Where do you find the good ones? Here is a guide.

The world economy has its down sides - flooding near Bangkok has taken 25% of the worlds disk drive manufacturing capacity offline. Expect higher prices for a while.

Amazon's new Silk broswer will know everything about your web usage. That is in the name of speed. Amazon now says that you can turn off that feature and browse slower without them knowing your every click.

In a few weeks, Google will allow private searching if you are signed in to a Google account.

Iran tried and failed to launch a monkey into space.

How Google's self-driving cars work. They have logged 190,000 accident-free miles on real roads. This is one of the biggest technological feats in the last half century (imho).

MIT has developed a radar that sees through walls.  If it is practical, this would be a great thing for  military and security people and maybe a nightmare for those of us who want privacy.

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Thursday October 20, 2011

Aha, this actually works. The iZON webcam activates itself via a motion sensors and sends video to your iPhone in real time. A burglar was caught in the act with one.

Apple's stock went down a little because another record quarter wasn't as big a record as some people expected. It seems to me that the "expectors" made a mistake, and there is nothing wrong with the company.

And the expectors were wrong again, this time with Nokia. They lost money this quarter, but not as much as expected. I guess that means Nokia is moving in the right direction.

In the last 100 days, over 3.4Billion photos have been uploaded to Google+. I have read much recently about how people are abandoning Google+ and it is a failure. 3.4Billion is a large number (it used to be the population of the earth). We keep redefining what success is.

Is LinkedIn for old people? Like the kind of old people who will give you a job?

Fun in European government - some want to put a "black box" on every computer to monitor everything. The ultimate goal is, of course, to protect children.

Fun for those who like to dream - the 100-year starship conference.

I like Godin's comments on "stupid and lazy." We prefer to label ourselves as stupid or not talented enough in an area instead of saying that we are too lazy to try harder. For example, I don't have the talent to learn to play the guitar or I don't have the talent to learn calculus. That seems much nicer than I am too lazy to put in the requried work.

A wonderful example of the angst of the passive voice.

More fallout from the flooding in Thailand - Sony has to delay the introduction of its next camera due to parts shortages.

Google Street Views is riding a train in Switzerland. Cool. I want them to take a trip down the Colorado river through the canyons.

I have read several things by people who poo poo the idea of talking to your phone, e.g., Siri and the iPhone. If you are blind or your fingers don't work, this Siri stuff is wonderful.

There are 6Million Android tablets out in the world. Somehow, this is a failure. I would happily take a royalty from that failure.

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Friday October 21, 2011

Microsoft has a record financial quarter. And I thought everything was falling apart there.

Facebook is to work with the U.S. Department of Labor to help Americans find jobs. This sounds like a stunt. People already advertise jobs and look for jobs on social networks. The Department of Labor? It has long out lived any usefulness and should be closed.

Google is to release a new user interface for gmail. They have recently changed the GUI for Docs.

Wall Street is pouring money into the President's campaign fund. Money talks, bull walks.

BTS and Radisys has built an LTE network in a relatively small box. Take one to a war zone or a disaster area and you have a 4G network providing connectivity to relief workers or soldiers.

Here is another advance in printable CMOS circuits. We are close to the point of having working circuits on paper price tags or receipts.

The Ubuntu release of Linux is seven years old.

Another wild idea DARPA project - launch a satellite that moves about in orbit cutting pieces out of old satellites and assembling new satellites from the parts. Sounds like a job for a manned mission.

This Iowa couple was married 72 years. They died within an hour of each other while holding hands.

A Web Applications course from Stanford's openclassroom.

The video phone is here for real, and it won't go away.

Some thoughts on planning for disasters in the IT world. Here is a concept - offsite backups, and I mean way off site. If you are in California (earthquake), have off site backup in Iowa. If you are in Oklahoma (tornado), have off site backup in Oregon. If you are in ...

Microsoft is holding more than $51Billion in cash outside the U.S. to avoid taxes. That is smart for them. Let's see if I understand this complex economic situation. A corporation will work where the corporate taxes are lower. Jobs will appear in those places. Hence, lower corporate taxes mean more jobs for you locale. Hmmm, what could we possibly do in the U.S. to get more jobs?

Along this line, a year ago Steve Jobs told President Obama that Apple built factories in China because it was almost impossible to build factories in the U.S. He also told the President that teacher's unions (a close friend of the Democractic party) are crippling education in America.

U.S. student loans exceed $1Trillion. That is a lot of bad economic decisions. The borrowers are the ultimate blame. I do, however, put a good share of the blame on the lenders. They are the "adults" advising the "brand-new adults" on what is a (not so) wise thing to do. Financing education is a basic return-on-investment decision. You don't borrow $50,000 so that you can earn a degree in Art History. Your income will cause you to pay off your debt over 50 years.

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Saturday October 22, 2011

The Federal government has tried to run a web site that advertises vacant government jobs. It has been one disaster after another. And I thought the current administration would bring in an era of competence in all things digital.

And when you think you've heard all you can hear about government incompetence...The Department of Energy loaned a company half a billion dollars to build electric cars. The company goes to Finland to hire people to build the cars, and the cars cost $96,000 each. So let's summarize this one: taxpayers' money goes to a foreign country to build luxury cars that the vast majority of taxpayers can't afford to buy. Hmmm, that sounds about right for government.

Google buys yet another $100Million office building in Silicon Valley. Please note, this is in Silicon Valley where real estate prices are...let's say "high."

Hackers aligned with the Occupy Wall Street crowd have broken into police department records and released all sorts of personal information and business memos
. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

How do you build a digital library where you "loan" digital copies? The technology is here. The problem is, as usual, people agreeing on how they want to do it and who gets the money.

Siri has pushed the envelope of artificial intelligence applied to just us everyday folks. There are more such applications coming.

From a Wall Street veteran - people deserve to be a little angry. I would say a lot angry. We elect representatives to govern and we get, well it is pretty easy to see what we get. What kills us is that once in office, the vast majority of incumbants pass laws that make it almost impossible to vote them out of office. It is the same old story, once in, prevent other from coming in.

A clevel twist on Post-It notes that go around your wrist like a watch (remember the wrist watch?).

Remote controlled drones will continue the war in Iraq. Yes, the troops will be out by 1 January, but understand how Washington counts people and resources. They count very carefully to rules they establish. This post is interesting, but completely wrong about people on the ground. You cannot fight an air war without ground bases and you cannot have ground bases without ground troops.

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Sunday October 23, 2011

Starbucks is trying to help people by acting as a middleman in small loans. Here is a New York Times story on the topic. And here is the mother web site of Create Jobs for USA.

Some thoughts on education reform.   "You don't get change by plugging in computers to schools designed for the industrial age. You get it by deploying technology that rewrites the rules of the game." Yes, our schools were designed for the industrial age. We are no longer in that age, but we still use the same design.  I wrote a short story that exagerates the industrial-age design of our government-run schools.

A must-see video - a little humanoid robot rides a bicycle. There is nothing practical here, yet, but maybe one day.

Solar-powered, lighter-than-air ships that actually work.

Anonymous hacker is taking down child pornography sites. Notice, "to hack" does not mean to do something bad. It means to do something that you shouldn't be able to do. I am not sure what "shouldn't be able to do" means. It is only software.

A computer advertisement from 1956. It was only 55 years ago.

Earn fast money from writing? Well, "But most people who are actually earning some cash from writing online (or doing anything else online come to that) will know that it isn’t easy and it isn’t fast. "

Changing your life in four steps: (1) start very small, (2) do only one change at a time, (3) be present and enjoy the activity (don't focus on results), and (4) be grateful for every step you take.

9 out of 10 workers prefer to interact in any other way than meetings. Hmm, do you suppose that is a big enough majority to warrant some changes?

I just learned about this guy, Nate Damm, who walked coast-to-coast, 3,400 miles. Great stuff.

This writer does not like the idea of writing a book a year. I have met other writers who work on a four-books-a-year pace. My experiments show that writing 1,000 to 1,500 words a day is realistic, and that leads to four books a year.

Ah, redundant phrases. They are everywhere. Call out the Redundant Department of Redundancy.

Are you really communicating? Observe the other person. Have the received a message?

Watch the world go by and write some stories.

Some thoughts on establishing relationships with editors.

Tips for those who work from home and can't seem to win the battle against distractions.

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