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: January 2-8, 2012

Summary of this week:

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

Monday January 2, 2012

Today is the defacto first day of the year. Everyone is off work and either shopping or watching college football bowl games. I think both are worthwhile pursuits.

ESPN's SkyCam fell out of said sky at this bowl game. It is fortunate that no one was injured. Those cameras are big and heavy.

This little girl is the next big star. She has been in commercials for both Apple and Samsung.

There is hope for mankind: text messaging is declining in some countries.

Techmeme's biggest stories of 2011. Apple is at the top.

Learn to program a computer in 2012.

Or maybe start your own company. Note, this is different from quiting your job on Tuesday and starting an all-or-nothing business.

Can you treat your boss as your client?

IBM sold its PC division (to become Lenovo) to China to gain political favor. IBM has always been smart in the political realm. This move worked as have many other IBM moves.

Non-handicapped people park in those handicapped spaces. Here is a technical solution. Cameras, image processing, communications, and a little integration automates the watching.

A long article about education in Finland. They seem to have a good system; I am highly suspicious of these international studies that always rate American schools as lousy. We must be doing something right here and there. A couple of points: they have no private schools at any level in Finland, and school principals are responsible for removing bad teachers.

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Tuesday January 3, 2012

I like this post; I like it a lot. Ten things that this freelancer no longer needs.

Bob Anderson dies at 89. Who was he? He did the sword fights in many famous movies. He was the guy under the costume who did the Darth Vader sword fights in Star Wars.

I like this: how to ask a smart question.

The numbers for Apple iOS and the Android are staggering. Between Christmas and the New Year there were 20 million device activations and 1.2 billion apps downloaded. The definition of success has changed.

Beautiful handmade computer cases. This shows what is possible for the hobbyist and craftsman. There may be a good market for this type of product.

The Commodore is 64 is 30 years old.

Here is a signal booster for LTE. Somone expects a lot from LTE.

The government of Kuala Lampur is requiring all restaurants to provide WiFi to customers. I am not for governments requiring such, but I do think that smart restaurants will do this type of thing.  Once you walk inside the building, WiFi is freely available. There should be some sort of geo-location software that knows if you are inside, a paying customer, or outside, a lurker.

A man claims that he found a dead mouse in his soft drink can. The maker claims that you would never know the difference in the taste (odd claim). Why is this noteworthy? I once drank from a soda can and then saw a mouse crawl out of it. Odd? Yes. I even tilted the story, but just a tiny bit, and wrote a fictional account of it. See here for the short story.

Ten things we don't pay for anymore. Number one is long distance phone calls.

The exodus from Windows XP is turning into a stampede. This is because people are replacing their PCs, and the new machines come with Windows 7.

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Wednesday January 4, 2012

No one goes to Facebook anymore, it's too crowded. The same is almost true for LinkedIn, but not just yet.

HP has a new 27" all-in-one desktop PC.

Codeacademy attracts 100,000 people in 48 hours in their year to learn to code campaign. Good for them.

Best Buy is gradually going out of business (says this post from Forbes). Maybe that is true. One reason? Try going into a store without getting mad. Good point, not just for Best Buy but for Sears, Penneys, K-Mart, and so on.

Intel vs Qualcomm,  processors vs radios. We shall see this for years to come.

A Federal judge in Missouri rules that the FBI doesn't need a warrant to attach a GPS monitoring device to your car. I trust the Supreme Court will rule differently. This is dangerous. The government can sneak into my driveway and stick things on my car? What? And, yes again, I thought all this stuff left town with Bush and the new guy would change everything.

Towards a "sensor commons." Of course the thought makes sense. The sensors don't have to be exactly the same, but they do need to be measuring in the same order of magnitude.

It is the business of the future to be dangerous - Alfred North Whitehead. And it seems to be the business of Congress to keep the future at bay.

Nokia has worked on solar chargers for cell phones for several years. Conclusion: can't be done. At least at this time we don't know how to do it.

This is an exellent question: why do all movie tickets cost the same? Per the market, tickets for not-so-popular movies should be cheaper than those for the really popular movies. Who is involved in the price fixing and why are they not in trouble with the Justice Department?

Some thoughts on the future of the college (and all other forms of the) lecture. If a lecture is all you need, do it once, make a video, and play it forever.

Here is hoping that by 2020 the wheelchair will be in museums and exoskeletons will be the norm.

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Thursday January 5, 2012

The Consumer Electronics Show is next week, and we are seeing many "sneak peaks" this week.

For everyone who wants to Skype or Google video chat in HD. Is this silly?

And Logitech has a new mouse: the Cube. It isn't a cube, but it is like a little shoe box. It has touch surface features. Interesting.

It appears that Google will release a 7" tablet priced about $200 to compete with Amazon's Fire. Release expected in the Spring.

Kodak takes another step towards bankruptcy.

Retrode - this gadget allows you to plug in your old video games from the 1990s. You then connect this via USB to your computer and there you have it. Everyone quickly go to the pawn shops and buy up the old cartridges for a dollar each.

The President orchestrates a coup against Congress. My English history is failing me at this moment, but I think there was once an English King who declared war on England. This all happends during the Christmas-New Year period and few people seem to have noticed this maneuver.

I like this (the tech, not the name): The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Hybrid. It has both an Intel processor and a Qualcomm processor, and both processors have multiple cores.

Apple has about a third of the all-in-one desktop computer market.

A measure of the wealth of America: we have half of the world's richest 1%. $34,000 a year puts a person in the world's richest 1%. Think about it.

Linus 3.2 has been released.

Once again we learn the purpose of teacher's unions, and it is not education. Teachers in Idaho resist the introduction of new technology.

FreeDOS 1.1 is released.

cvdazzle helps you camoflage your face from facial recognition. This is very important to some people.

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Friday January 6, 2012

A look at 802.11ac. This is the fifth generation of WiFi.

And here are Broadcoms chips for 802.11ac.

Several cell phone carriers are opening new LTE markets.

Sales of the Barnes and Noble nook are up 70% over last year.

BenchPrep: interactive education for a very wide range of subjects.

Cornell researchers cloak an object for a very small amount of time. Well, it does work in restricted conditions. There is nothing practical here at this time.

New, inexpensive radio-controlled helicopters carry video cameras. Observing someone has become much easier. These are commercial "toys." What do you think law enforcement has?

Coming next week, Toshiba is to show the world's thinnest tablet and laptop computers at CES.

Private services and public spaces are not the same thing. Let's avoid the confusion.

45,000 Facebook passwords and logins were stolen. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Working under the ever changing sky improves performance. Hence, these ceiling lights constantly change like the sky.

Consumers replace their TVs every seven or eight years. TV makers have new, smarter sets much more often than that. The real-life result is interesting to observe.

Apple will open stores within some Target locations this year.

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Saturday January 7, 2012

One Laptop Per Child is to show a $100 tablet at CES.

The Motorola Xyboard tablet. I am afraid that this one will be another bust. $400? For what?

And that from a company that was able to sell 10.5 million mobile devices during the last quarter of 2011.

It appears that quad-core processors will come to Apple mobile devices in 2012.

This may be news to some people, but you don't need a college degree to be a great programmer. You need a basic understanding of the problem at hand and an ability to translate solutions into code. I find that little formal education is needed for either of these.

A Saudi steals a million Israeli credit cards. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Deskography - a web site that allows you to post a photo of your workspace. I am fascinated by these.

The TSA is looking for radiation detection devives for its employees to wear at airports. Of course, claims the TSA, this is not an indication that the TSA's airport equipment radiates a bit too much. You tax dollars at waste.

The Navy's CICADA drones. Yet another way to quietly watch someone else.

The FCC is finally opening the "white spaces" of the spectrum for "super WiFi" devices.

Electric vehicles and such are still a stunt, a novelty for the rich.

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Sunday January 8, 2012

Some thoughts on employment. There are 6 million fewer jobs in America today than in 2007, yet we produce more goods and services. This would be hailed as a tremendous gain in efficiency, but 6 million people are being paid. Employment in New York's high-tech sector is up 30% from 2005 to 2010. Some people in some places have highly productive jobs. Then there are lots of other people sitting on the sidelines.

A cover for the Kindle that has a solar panel. This promises to keep your Kindle charged. Note, you start with a fully charged Kindle and this will keep you going for a while. If you start with a drained battery, this won't help you. The technology is not there yet.

Google beat the AP with the Iowa caucus results. Google provides data in a format that analysts and programmers can use. The old media take the time to massage the data. Google wins because there are many people out here who have the skills to automate the analysis, mapping, compilation, etc. for themselves and the desire to do so quickly. They aren't being paid a cent for any of the work. They love it. Hence, they win everytime.

Some of the technical aspects of creating an eBook.

Trying to have a paperless year.

Some fears associated with writing. As much as I tell people that am I not afraid I still have my bad days.

Ten words not to use in 2012.

Thoughts on putting more conviction into your writing.

"Like most things on the planet, thinking about doing it is a lot worse than simply sitting down and doing it. The writing wasn't hard to do, you just need to plant ass in seat and go from there." John Scalzi.

"Writing is a skill, not a talent, and this difference is important because a skill can be improved by practice." Robert Stacy McCain.

A writer should read, but there is a point to stop reading and write instead.

Talent is over rated, dedication isn't.

I like this, one writer's resolution for every month of the year.

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