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 28-December 4, 2011

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 28,  2011

Michael Arrington rants on about life in the fast lane. The stories are true. This is the life for some. And some more on a similar topic; some people at some startups work 18-hour days.

Something to get this Christmas - an automatic side-sliding door for the kitchen.

Once again, we visit the question of why on earth everyone on an airplane must turn off their electronic devices for takeoff and landing. As this writer says, he know everyone complied this weekend because no planes fell out of the sky. IMHO, it is just another situation where the government can try to act like citizens are subjects and not citizens.

The Apple retail stores broke all records for the day after Thanksgiving. Recession? Yes, still here. Please note that Apple has its retail stores in select neighborhoods in America. They sell luxury items in neighborhoods not hit by the economy.

And Amazon also had a big weekend of sales of Kindle and Fire and so on.

It appears that Panasonic is about to market its smartphones in Europe and the U.S. One advantage Panasonic has is its relationship with Leica in digital cameras. The Panasonic smartphones should have much better cameras than everyone else.

I like this one - Muslim students in the UK are boycotting classes that teach evolution.

Oh boy, a trade war with China centering on, of all silly things, solar panels.

Linux Mint version 12 is released.

The Chinese government will cancel college majors that produce unemployable graduates. Why don't we do the same in the U.S.? I guess we don't have to cancel the majors, just stop funding them with taxpayers' dollars.

Hackers in the Philippines stole $2Million from AT&T and sent the money to terrorist groups. Secure? Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Apple's data center in North Carolina only created 50 full-time jobs. Apple is efficient, and that is bad news for the unemployed. Why are there so many government jobs available? Government is inefficient.

The Chevy Volt, built by Government Motors, is being investigated for safety issues by another branch of the government (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Oh what a tangled web we weave when lawyers in the White House and Congress pretend to be automotive engineers.

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Tuesday November 29, 2011

More emails are released that climatologists don't want released. I think this is called Climategate 2.0.

A different look at the Kindle Fire and not comparing it to the iPad. This one makes a lot of sense.

Seagate releases the second generation of its hybrid drive.

Lenovo releases a 5-inch tablet-phone in China.

This six-minute video gives a history of Google search. Note, this is not a history of searching as that topic goes much farther back than 1996.

A Mil-Spec (?) commuter's backpack.

Blackboard is a software product that rules the education market. Now there is something called Coursekit, written by college students that is a more social competitor. The future may be interesting. Here is the Coursekit web site.

Britain will soon teach some computer programming to every child in school. It is basic problem solving, so what's the harm? One outcome - people in elected office will be voted out with regularity when all voters have basic logic skills. More on this story. In Britain, Latin means educated, hence programming is the new Latin.

This is a new one to me - scripted.com - a freelance writer's marketplace.

Blueseed - one of these new companies that will put hi-tech immigrants on a ship in international waters where the State Department's moronic immigration policies can't touch them.

The iPad uses 75% fewer chips than a regular portable computer. There go a lot of chip-making jobs down the drain.

There are security holes in HP laser printers.

A great site for history researchers and fans of history - the British Newspaper Archive. Here is the home site. It is not free.

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Wednesday November 30, 2011

I love this one - The All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club. These folks built a real, high-quality grass tennis court in rural Iowa. It is open for all to come and play.

More on the few jobs created by Apple's data center in North Carolina. I don't know what people expected. Data centers need a few system administrators. Most of those administrators can work from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Hence, all the data center really needs is someone to maintain the air conditioners, ensure the roof doesn't leak, cut the grass, and so on. Now and then, a skilled computer technician will have to yank a dead computer from a rack and replace it.

Here we go again. The President has ordered all Federal agencies to digitize their records. So let it be written, so let it be done. Real life, however, isn't that linear or that easy. Stay tuned because in a few years we will read about agencies cancelling digitization projects that are running a thousand percent over budget.

Nvidia introduces a new, cheaper GPU. And it only has 448 cores. Power.

The prices of the Ultrabooks should continue to fall.

Google is mapping the inside of some buildings (airports, malls, stores). The floorplans are being provided by the owners of the buildings. I can see a good use for emergency responders. I can also see bad uses for nefarious people.

An awesome backpack for American boys of all ages.

More on the offshore hi-tech incubator.

The U.S. military will install solar panels on homes on military bases worldwide. I hope they know what they are doing. People will have to live in those homes for decades to come.

Putting U.S. military spending into some sort of perspective. We spend as much on defense as almost the rest of the world combined. A good question in this post: "Is it that we are enabling other countries to spend so little on defending themselves that they can afford free health care...?"

The military is using Segways, well sort of, to move target dummies about for live fire practice.

A guy builds a replica for the car from the movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." I hated the movie. I admire the diligence required for this project.

Favorite qoutes from C.S. Lewis. Yesterday, November 29th, was his birthday.

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Thursday December 1, 2011

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime (that is the actual name of this tablet) is reviewed. It has a quad-core processor in it. It will be available in December in the U.S. I keep using "it" to describe it because I don't want to type that name more than once. I guess I could just call it the AEPTP, but that seems even worse.

The iStation. It is a clever iPad docking station that looks like an old teletype terminal or something.

The White House brings in McGruff the Crime Dog to sniff out Internet crime. Now this is just silly. Some persons working for the President are either stupid or they want to make him look stupid. Government doesn't do stupid things. Persons on the government payroll do stupid things, and they are not fired for them.

Whoa, Google's Chrome has passed Firefox as the world's second most used browser. Internet Explorer has about 40% market share with Chrome and Firefox both at about 25%. One thing this means is that open-source browsers have half the world's market.

More speculation about the Apple TV in 2012.

Are there too many tech incubators out there? Are there too many people trying to make money and create jobs? I don't understand the question.

Some information on Academia.edu - a social website for academics, sort of. Interesting. The open letter to the world about what someone has learned is changing. I hope it is for the better.

Lipitor is the best-selling drug of all time, and its patent has just expired making it open for anyone to make and sell. Let the games begin.

I have never thought of this one, but it sounds like a great idea. How about distributing DC power in a data center instead of having an AC to DC converter in every server? All the internal parts in a computer use DC power. DC distribution would eliminate a lot of parts and heat and wasted energy.

I like this one - comparing the Internet of 1996 to that of 2011. Things have changed.

2011 is the year when digital movies surpassed 35mm film projections. Yes, things have changed.

Combining two things I love - barns and home offices.

I like George Will's editorial on the unintended consequences of racial preferences. I lived through all sorts of unintended consequences of this preference and that preference in the 1990s in the Federal workplace. It wasn't pretty.

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Friday December 2, 2011

Places where famous movies were filmed.

After further investigation, the entire water pump failure in Illinois was just a stupid mistake. The details are humorous in how badly reporters can stray.

Some thoughts on the rise of Chrome and the fall of Firefox. Is this is beginning of the end of Mozilla?

Do colleges need a consumer warning label? Guess what, lots of people are going to college for the fun of it or to kill four or five years before they start their real life. If you have the money in your family, go to college, get a degree in some liberal art or other, and go into the family business. If your family doesn't have that kind of money, seriously consider where you can find a job. Obtain training for that job. Move quickly, efficiently, inexpensively. Rich people can afford some things that poorer people cannot. That may come as a shock to some people.

It seems than many Android phones come full of security holes.

Amazon has already shipped between three and four million Kindle Fire units (that is a big between). They expect to ship five million by the end of the year.

This sounds silly - five tips to improve high school grades - but I like the tips.

TV ownership has actually fallen in the U.S. I guess people are buying tablets and smartphones instead. For several decades, TV ownership was a way to measure the prosperity of a country or region.

Medical Micropower Networks or MMNs - RF networks for medical devices that you wear on your body.

Napster has been gone for ten years (high school kids thank it means actually sleeping in class), but digital music lives on.

Now 20% of emails are opened on mobile devices.

"dickproofing" - strange name, but not a new idea. Pay someone to try to break your product (in this case your new social networking idea).

YouTube puts up a new interface.

We aren't as busy as we think. I find that true.

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Saturday December 3, 2011

There has been lots of news this week about Carrier IQ.  This is software service that collects information from cell phones. Someone decided that they were collecting every key stroke on the phone. That is possible. Maybe one day someone will wake up to learn about how much information companies are collecting from open Internet usage. This little Carrier IQ thing will pale in comparison. And some more information on the story. As this one say, Carrier IQ didn't put their software on the phone, the carrier company did.

The Thai factories are slowing recovering after the floods. Western Digitial has returned their factory to operation.

The UK court system will move from paper to tablet computers. They expect a net savings in paper. This will be a good experiment to watch.

Another company that had Department of Energy funding goes kaput - Aptera. Your tax dollars at waste.

George Will describes a number of ways that Obamacare is fueling unemployment. I guess Obama and those who like his policies see business people as some sort of evil. Why else would they try to stop them from creating jobs?

Tech employment (whatever that is) is up 2% this year.

Even some Congressmen have decided that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a bad idea. They are proposing alternatives. Here is an alternative they may not have considered: do nothing, take a nap, give the rest of us a break.

Google is in trouble in Europe for "abuse of dominance."

The Patriot Act is hurting the efforts of U.S. companies to do cloud computing overseas.

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Sunday December 4, 2011

Intel will introduce its next generation of processors in the second quarter of 2012, not the first quarter.

Mozilla has been receiving over 80% of its income from Google. That agreement ends this year. The future?

A theory that your half-life working in technical fields is 15 years. Half the people move to some other work after 15 years (about age 35). After another 15 years, the people still working in a technical field is half again. So, half move on to something else at 35. At age 50, only 25% are still doing technical work.

Facebook plans to double its workforce (currently 3,000) in 2012. Such hiring has killed many companies. Let's see how Facebook survives.

Seth Godin ties Christmas lights with online sharing. People do it because they see others doing it and want to join in with the giving.

Wait a while before editing that novel you just wrote.

Something for the grandkids - an off-road tricycle - give knobby tires.

This vibrating gizmo could greatly reduce the time wearing braces to align your teeth.

I like this thought about personal change. Become aware that I can change something in my life. In particular, I like the point in here about "let it pass." Hang on for five minutes until the craving for the old think passes.

The five best toys of all time: stick, box, string, cardboard tubes, dirt. They are all free.

I like this, the Little Printer. Coming in 2012. The main web site is here.

More cures for writer's block. I really like the one about not comparing yourself to other writers. Comparison, in many aspects of life, can be poison.

Some thoughts for writers on percolation time. This is time spent NOT writing, but letting ideas dwell. The writer of the post likes to sit and think. I know writers who do the opposite; they put their hands on the keyboard and type and type and type and then the ideas come. As usual, try these and different approaches. Keep what works for you and forget the rest.

In that theme, here are a bunch of tips to consider.

Take an Ikea bookcase, take it apart, turn some of it sideways, do a few other things, and you have a standing desk.

What rate can you charge for freelance writing? What you can negotiate. I know, many of us hate that answer, but that is it.

When writing, start with a purpose instead of a product.

Some thoughts on warming up as a writer before actually writing.

A lesson in writing from John LeCarre.

Five reasons not to criticize first drafts.

I like this - the age of fanfiction. Younger persons don't see it as copyright infringement, but as tools. They use the tools provided by the filmakers to make more films and entertainment.

I find this fascinating - someone is finally talking about the masks or personas people use in the workplace to "get along" and "be a team player" or whatever it is they think their employer prizes.

Telecommuting may make life worse for working parents. I have lost count of the posts of working from home that I have read that say the same thing - get a babysitter! You cannot work from home and watch the kids at the same time.

Some results of a big study on telecommuting. There are not big surprises here, and that is the big news. People understand telecommuting and its benefits and limitations. Those who have their brains turned on use it wisely. Others just keep saying, "no."

Five sources of no-cost, online writing training.

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