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: November 21-27, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 21,  2011

A review of digital cameras. The iPhone 4s has a pretty darn good camera.

I like this trend - someone has moved the Siri software to a separate server. He controls his home thermostat via voice commands. That is a cute trick, but it opens the doors for some real semi-intelligent, voice-controlled applications. I see especially good applications for people whose bodies not longer function well.

More on the SCADA hacking in Springfield, Illinois. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

And hacking a SCADA system in Texas because the government employees used a three-digit password. I guess this goes under both the " Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?" and "Your tax dollars at waste" categories. That may be a first.

Some thoughts on the new tablet market opened by Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Don't let early sales and shipments in the millions fool you; this market is not settled.

The Nook tablet, just like the Amazon Fire tablet, has been hacked. Let the fun begin.

The Ford Motor Company is becoming a software company. Next year, Ford will send 250,000 car owners a memory stick and instructions on how to upgrade the software that runs the in-dash touch-screen computer. It seems that Ford could do the upgrade via RF, but ...

The Long Island Solar Farm is up and operating. Best wishes. I hope things like this actually work and are not just taxpayer funded stunts.

Must see video - an unmanned helicopter lands itself on a moving vehicle. This is early research into UAVs that can take off and land from aircraft carriers. Great stuff.

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Tuesday November 22, 2011

Someone has disassembled the nook tablet.

Aha, now we reveal one of Apple's real secrets to their success. All the Ultrabook makers are in trouble because Apple has bought the vast majority of unibody making plants. The other guys are now considering plastic cases for their MacBook Air clones. Apple's secret is to use their vast quantities of cash to consume the key manufacturing capabilities and keep others from making similar products.

The Chinese Internet Water Army. These are people (Chinese mostly, low wages) who are paid to flood the Internet (hence the term "water") with comments and such. All this seemingly innocent grass roots stuff can make a big difference with products, reviews, and such.

Experiments with a wireless heart pacemaker. Good stuff.

Maybe, just maybe, Google installed part of its Chrome OS on your iPad, hidden within an innocent  search app.

Al Gore, now that he is out of politics, continues to march into the 1% of the wealthiest people. Why aren't people satisfied with being Vice President? The post-job perks are amazing.

Exposing the truth of consumption. Tracking technology has now made it possible to have people pay for what they use and people who don't use something won't have to pay anymore. The change to this system will be painful. Sometimes, as the saying goes, the truth hurts.

License plate reading camera systems are multiply around the U.S. Many jurisdictions, however, have not even asked if these things and their use is legal. The potential for privacy invasion is tremendous. Remember, however, that these are government agencies. Their inherent incompetence will protect the citizens.

Some research into how much technology is too much technology for small children. I show technology to my 3-year-old grandson. I also take him to the pond to play in the dirt and skip rocks and run around outside in the dark.

Research in Motion has cut the price of their tablet to $200 in response to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Wednesday November 23, 2011

Forward to the past - there are more Ham radio operators in the U.S. today than ever before.

Google doesn't do everything right. They are closing a number of failed services. Google's genius is that they attempt so many things. They have the cash and the efficiency to not kill themselves with lots of R&D.

Think about this a while - the demand for food on this planet will double in the next 40 years.

Acer and Samsung are reducing the prices on their Chromebooks for the holiday shopping season.

Most Apple stores will open early the day after Thanksgiving.

And Apple will discount its products a little on that day.

HP is the biggest non-Apple tablet seller in the U.S. Most of that was due to selling discontinued machines for $99.

The consensus is that people don't understand what the consensus is on climate change. This may be humorous, but it highlights how poorly the issue is being communicated and covered by the media. Al Gore's movie didn't help any with its computer generated scenes of falling ice.

The Department of Homeland Security denies that a SCADA cyber attack occurred in Illinois.

And continuing with wasting taxpayers' money at the Department of Homeland Security...they made a video about safety precautions when deep frying a turkey. All silliness aside, someone should lose their job over this nonsense. Everyone from Mythbusters to the local 6 o'clock news has already made these videos. Just go to YouTube.

Philips has an iPad (2) app that uses the camera to measure your pulse, breathing, and so on. The are smart in that they tell you this is not a medical device. That allows them to bypass all the medical device regulations that cause America's health care costs to be higher than everyone else's.

A new company is trying to show you the costs of different medical care options in advance. For some reason, people don't talk about the rates of their doctors. That is somehow dirty.

China is now the world's largest smartphone market.

This is a little different - using inflatable volumes in robotics.

This "boat" goes 60mph using only a sail.

Larry Lessig is back blogging again.

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Thursday November 24, 2011

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.

Susan Kare is one of those people who designed the graphical user interface. Here is a post about her showing sketches she made.

A WiFi connected baby monitor. You can watch it on iPad, iPhone, and Android as well as any computer. By the way, you can also use this as a security camera or to monitor elderly who are living alone.

How the U.S. health care and health insurance "system" kills innovation and kills jobs.

Ubuntu has fallen from #1 to #4 in popularity of Linux distributions.

It seems that HP is suing former employees who hire on with Cisco. There are non-compete clauses in contracts and such. No doubt, some people on all sides are abusing the situation.

This is a little wierd, but... It is a robot that is used to help train dentists. Watch the video.

Oooops, these smart meters are interfering with household appliances. It seems that no one did the FCC-mandated EMI EMC testing. Yes, combine government and utilities and you have the expected results.

Stanford University is offereing more free computer science classes.

OSHA spent $200K to build a phone app. Your tax dollars at waste.

Nokia Siemens Networks cuts 17,000 jobs.

I remember WordPerfect. I used it a lot. Well, someone is suing Microsoft for a billion dollars about Windows 95 and WordPerfect and so on.

Windows 8 is supposed to bring more cloud services to users.

World wide mobile marketplace: #1 Asia #2 Africa. It's all about population.

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Friday November 25, 2011

This is the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. The media call it "black Friday." It is the day that retail stores go from the red to the black for the year. I find that hard to believe, but the media often plays loose with facts, especially those that have actual numbers behind them.

Black Friday doesn't seem to exist in the UK. I find it fun to watch. I rarely shop on that day.

Some people are a bit exuberant when shopping on this day; websites crash and people riot.

Education awards to Open Source Physics.

The quad-core processor is now mobile. Whatever did I do with only one CPU in a portable computer? Maybe the software was more efficient.

Speaking of efficiency; if your smartphone hardware turns off non-operating piece, the batteries will last longer. Of course we knew that, we just weren't trying hard enough.

South Korea is experimenting with robot guards in prisons. This would be pretty low-tech.

Recession? This year's H1-B Visa allotment was reached two months sooner than last year. The controversy continues. If we have such unemployment, why is it we have so many jobs that cannot be filled by U.S. citizens?

Want to apply a bad label to an organization. Call it pre digital.

Worldwide support for nuclear power has dropped in the last six years. The nuclear power industry seems to know little about communicating the costs and benefits of its product to the populace.

It seems that there are security holes in iTunes that let you read a person's computer files. This is not a surprise as there are security holes in almost all software products. Some have been found and publicized. The rest, well, figure it out. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

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Saturday November 26, 2011

Funny, the worst war movies ever made. There are so many choices.

Tales of freelance workers who earn BIG $$$$.

A long-term study shows the adverse health effects of commuting. Hence, telecommuting is good for your health.

But the growth of telecommuting is slowing. It is still growing, but slower.

And look at this, telecommuters or teleworkers are 40% more productive than in-the-office workers. I don't know how many studies have to be done before people accept numbers like this. I recall an Andy Rooney documentary years ago about how America goes to work. One of his main conclusions is there was (and still is) a lot of goofing off at work. Face it, when you have a group of people, someone will want to drop by and chat about nice things that have nothing to do with work.

More on this - the end of the office. Starbucks makes a mint because they provide a place for people to be with people. The future? Work at home four hours (plenty of time to do all the work), go to Starbucks to chat with folks you like.

Maps, navigation, and augemented reality comes to the Android. This is from a company called "Route 66."

The holiday gift guide for Apple computers. The ulitmate? A Mac Pro with 27" monitor.

Online retail sales up 24% for the day after Thanksgiving year over year.

Twine - a clever, simple little piece of hardware that allows you to connect physical devices to the Internet and hence your cell phone, email, web site, etc.

Samsung may drop the little portable computers next year.

The Phillipines now has more people employed in call centers than India.

Hard drive prices actually went up - floods in Thailand.

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Sunday November 27, 2011

Want to accomplish more in the morning - seven things you can do.

How many words can you write in a day? How about 10,000?

And here is a person's account of moving from 1,000 words a day upwards.

And another person's account of going from zero to a thousand words a day and more. Write more, write better.

Places to find writing ideas.

Writing tools for the iPad. It has become a much better writing tool than it was orginally.

Time management tips for freelancers.

I like this one - my best writing advice is to write like you write. In my words, find what works for you and use it. Discard the rest.

Sometimes you tell the reader something; sometimes you show the reader something. Here are a few tips of when to do which and how to mix them.

The story of John Grisham and his writing life.

Some history of some of those punctuation marks. At one time there were only three.

One writer's self-publishing lessons.

Blogging is like losing weight - it is simple, but not always easy.

NASA's latest mission to Mars launched okay. Now if they can just land it right in August of 2012.

Nothing to do this week? Connect an NES controller to an Ecth-A-Sketch.

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