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.

Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page
Email me at d.phillips@computer.org

This week: January 16-22, 2012

Summary of this week:

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

Monday January 16, 2012

Tablet computers may provide a means of communication for the autistic. This is why we work on technology.

It appears that Apple sold 13.5 million iPads in the quarter ending in December. That is a large number of devices. Amazon what?

Trends from last week's CES. Windows phones look good, but then last year all those non-iPad tablets looked good. 3D TV isn't hot any more (I like that). The Thunderbolt interface is making inroads (I also like that).

Have we become a nation of people staring at their mobile devices? In some ways, yes.

Zappos.com is hacked with lots of email addresses and such stolen. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

And personal data was stolen from the City College of San Francisco for years. Again, is everyone ready?

Will technology transform education? It has a chance, but it must push through a lot of union political machinery.

This helmet camera is basically a server and WiFi hotspot. Nearby devices can download the camera's video.

A look at Enhanced Geothermal Systems: pumping cold water into underground hot spots to generate steam. I hope they know what they are doing. It seems that there is a risk of cracking rock that holds the old vocanoes in check.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Tuesday January 17, 2012

The world changes as Samsung will be importing 46" transparent displays. See the refrigerator door and other applications.

Microsoft discuss its new Resilient File System (ReFS) for Windows 8.

Wikipedia will turn itself off one day this week to protest SOPA. Some people think that is a bad idea, regardless of how bad SOPA is. Here is just one of the many Wikipedia blackout announcements. Today's main page on Wikipedia shows a big black banner announcement.

I am a bit confused by this post as it claims that the House of Representatives has killed SOPA.

A look at what Apple will do this week with its Education event. It seems that much of the technology promised for years for digital textbooks may appear. Some are calling this the GarageBand for eBooks. As a writer, we shall see what it is.

A look at why the government doesn't understand technology. Yes, there are many people who work for various levels of government who understand technology. Then there is everyone else. Most of the everyone else crowd are good, caring people who want to do well. They are, however, stuck in a system where the main job is to maintain the system. Serving the public is secondary.

European governments are subsidizing their domestic companies in cloud technology. I don't like this. In order to compete, American companies will merge with one another and become "too big to fail." This is what happened in the aircraft-building industry.

The government of California is going to save the world (again). Next year, companies will have to ship more efficient gadget chargers. This, of course, will raise costs and reduce employment, but they are saving the world so all that is okay (as long as you are not one of the newly unemployed, and if you are in the California government, you have a job for life.)

Amazing, this is made from six million matchsticks.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Wednesday January 18, 2012

Wikipedia is blacked out today. No use in giving the URL as it won't look the same tomorrow. This is all in protest of SOPA. Good for Wikipedia. But wait, if you want to use Wikipedia anyways, here are the ways to do so.

Several major sites are joining the SOPA protest in one way or another.

SOPA isn't dead yet. Hearings are on hold and will start again in February.

A report on the progress of wearable computers.

Alienware introduces a new gaming machine. It is the X51 (at least Alienware is good at naming things). It is a "slim tower," which means it isn't a fat tower. All kidding aside, these "game" computers are teh most powerful on the market. Hook a few of these together and model the climate.

Combine a GPS, lasers, robotics, and such and you have the Way-Go. This is a flashlight of sorts. I would call it a personal navigation system or a pedestrian navigation system. Tell it where you want to walk and it guides you. Watch the video. This is a little silly so far, but there are good applications with the augmented reality features it has.

Be careful as you walk with your headphones on. The number of headphone-wearing pedestrians injured has tripled recently. Please be careful. I have some experience with walking on the side of the road (1,100 miles of it). It is quite helpful to be able to hear.

Samsung hasn't created its own operating system. Will this doom them?

Photographs of happy people who are 100 years old. Smile.

Many people were disappointed with the iPhone 4S. They wanted the iPhone 5. For such a disappointing product, it has taken Apple months but they have finally caught up with the demand.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Thursday January 19, 2012

Kodak files for chapter 11 bankruptcy. That is a great shame for a great American technology company. I recently wrote a blog post thanking Kodak for allowing the working class American family to record the latter half of the 20th century.

I like George Will's editorial about counter terrorism silliness and people who like to take photographs. Does the phrase "bullies with badges" sound familiar?

New Delhi courtrooms don't have electricity. Hence, the mechanical typewriter is still used. Using and maintaining these is a vanishing skill for the vast majority of the rest of the world. The real problem is finding ribbons for the typewriters.

Apple is the world's largest buyer of microphones. Last year they bought about 350 million of them.

Yet again, the price of Apple's stock reached an all-time high.

Pictures of the blacked out websites from yesterday's SOPA protest. It seems that the protest had its intended affect as many Congressmen have said they don't like the proposed legislation. Time will tell if they actually vote against it.

The government of China doesn't need a SOPA. They are making its subjects register to be microbloggers. You can speak all you want as long as the government knows who you are and where you live and other insundry information.

By the way, Google collected 4.5 million anti-SOPA signatures in one day. How in the world could anyone do that without the Internet?

The Department of Energy is cooling one of its supercomputers with groundwater. What is newsworthy is that people are talking about this. Earth-coupled cooling is decades and even centuries old, e.g., the root cellar. I don't understand why it has taken so long for people to do these things.

HP has developed at set top box that will allow people in India to access the Internet from their televisions.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Friday January 20, 2012

Apple had their education event yesterday. They announced iBooks 2, more content on iTunes U, and the iBooks Author App. This will affect education as making eBook textbooks will be easier. I see greater affect on companies and non-profit organizations who will use the better tools to create their in-house e-documents. The U.S. education system is dominated by labor unions, so a technical innovation making a big change is unlikely. There are many stories about this on the net today, here is one.

A brief look at textbooks, how the Internet is changing learning, and how Apple is trying to fit into the change with their new apps.

Some thoughts on iPads in the classroom. Someone has to buy these things and then someone has to administer them. The latter costs a lot of money in the school system.

There are restrictions on how an author distributes works created with iBooks Author. Giving away the works is okay, but selling them for other platforms is not. Here is another look at the restrictions. Let the arguing begin. I hope that Apple will issue some clarification on these things.

Here is a look at the iBooks Author app. And another look at it from Engadget.

Microsoft, remember them (?), had a record financial quarter on the good side.

I appears that the Windows 8 tablet computers are coming.

How is Android doing? Over the years, 250 million devices activated and one billion apps downloaded.

This is an odd case and ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress can move something old from the public domain back into copyright protection. Look for the price to go up on those Mark Twain books, and for those same books to disappear from Project Gutenburg. Silliness.

The Eye of America camera. It is 35 feet long. It uses film with a negative that is 6 x 4 1/2 FEET. Amazing clarity when making prints that are 20 feet tall.

It appears that Apple has tapped into the gold mine that is the Chinese marketplace.

People go to the dentist for regular checkups. That is a sign of the marketing that the dental profession has used. Far fewer people see a medical doctor on a regular basis. Perhaps dentists could perform regular medical checkups. Perhaps the other doctors could hire a better advertising company.

People who read are buying eBook readers. People who read go to the library. The two activities are coliding.

News on making the Fast Fourier Transform even faster. This is important in the age where we first convert anything analog to digital and then process the digits.

The American government shutdown Megaupload.com. Hackers promptly smashed a number of government sites. The power and wealth of the government cannot beat the number, brains, and motivation of the hackers. How many times do these things have to happen before those in government see the folly of their wishes? Is everyone ready for national electronic health records? The day they go online, they will be hacked.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks

Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Saturday January 21, 2012

This one is a little hard to believe - students' math scores jump 20% in one year using iPads. I can believe that scores would rise that much that fast. I won't attribute it all to the iPad. I believe there is at least a 20% potential jump in many American students based simply on desire to score higher.

Given 24 hours to consider, there is a lot of backlash against the Apple iBookstore Author licensing agreement. Apple has a chance to fix this.

The FBI took down MegaUpload (a Hong Kong site) without SOPA. So...

The Star Wars Uncut project is finished. This is a crowdsourced movie. Have to watch it.

A new term for a new time "Social Lobbying." That is what happened when many of the social web sites blacked out to protest SOPA.

The Department of Defense and the New York Police Department have developed a scanning device that can detect firearms on persons from 15 feet. This removes the need for the "dangerous" pat down search. I am wary when governments point things at citizens and scann them. Radiation? See, for example, the TSA.

A company called Adafruit has created a line of open-source, wearable computers called "flora."

TeachersPayTeachers - a site where teachers can buy lesson plans developed by other teachers. Question: do those lesson-plan-writing and selling teachers actually own the rights to those lesson plans? If they created them while employed by a school district, that school district owns the rights. Let's see what happens.

And more on intellectual property. A Twitter trend spotting tool developed by the government is now a free app. Of course it is. It was developed using public money and is therefore in the public domain.

The Simple Desks blog has returned, and I am enjoying it daily.

The State of Washington does not sanction same-gender marriage. Microsoft has a lot of employees and potential employees who want to be part of same-gender marriages. Hence, Microsoft is campaigning for such. If not, jobs leave the state.

The NHTSA investigated the Chevy Volt and found no problems. Let's see, a part of the government investigated a car built with government money bankrolled by the government. Conflict of interest? Your tax dollars at waste.

Towns in the midwest are offering free land if you move there. Finding a job is your own task. Telecommuting freelancers and writers take note!

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page

Sunday January 22, 2012

Here is a way to multiply numbers using lines. I had not seen this technique before.

A look at how the U.S. government is gathering information from Internet service providers to prosecute citizens.

Some thoughts on Apple, not using American factories, and the implications. Foreign factories with dorms can wake everyone at 2AM, push them to their work stations, and work 12 or 18 hours straight. Such flexibility and dedication are illegal in the U.S.  The consumers are not complaining about the results.

Charge three times ($$$) what you think you're worth. No one else will do it for you.

This post has two little sayings that I like: (1) I hate writing. I love having written. (2) the work part is what brings the money part.

Some realistic ideas on making more money as a writer. Two concepts to note: (1) willing to write without your name on the paper (writing for a company) (2) negotiate.

Some ideas for finding the time to write.

Writing lessons from Da Vinci. Practice and edit.

A "formula" for writing a book: pain + time.

How one writer learned to write. There is a lot of reading in this process, and then a lot of writing. I know many people who want to write who never move past the "a lot of reading."

I highly recommend this: write a one-minute outline. I don't call these outlines, i.e., I don't tell people that I outline before writing. I do, however, scribble a while.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
Go to Day Book Home and pointer to previous weeks
Go to Dwayne's Home Page