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: February 27-March 4, 2012

Summary of this week:

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

Monday February 27, 2012

The Mobile World Conference is this week, so lots of mobile-device news.

I agree with this one: science needs open-source software.
If your research work includes running a computer program (that you wrote), everyone else should have a copy of that source code. I did university research back in the 1980s. People back then railed about not being able to recreate anyone else's results. They read the algorithms, wrote their own code, and had different results.

Must see video - the oldest existing film of an American football game from 1903.

Best Buy has cut the price of the iPad 2 by $50. Everyone believes this is to clear the shelves for the iPad 3 that will be here real soon now.

A look at the ASUS PadPhone - phone plugs into a tablet which plugs into a keyboard dock.

Apple continues to roll as it opens more retail stores in Europe and America.

One California street has 1 GigaBitPerSecond Internet access for only $70 a month. The houses are pretty expensive on that street as are the taxes.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement must have a court order before attaching a GPS tracker to your car. The FBI has turned off 3,000 of these. That is how much they were invading people's lives without a warrant. I thought all that right-wing lunacy left town with that Bush fellow. Wait, that was three years ago!

This is a cool watch. The time is displayed by moving belts. Yes, belts.

Photoshop finally has an iPad app.

We are seeing 850,000 Android activations a day. The definition of success has changed.

And there are 450,000 apps available for Android.

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Tuesday February 28, 2012

This story is everywhere: IBM has made a jump in quantum computing research. We are still far away from practical implementations.

A first ever for the Daytona 500 (in addition to racing at night and not finishing until after midnight) as a driver Twitters during the race and also sends little photos.

Nokia takes the cell phone camera to a new level. The sensor is much bigger and the lens is much better. Basically, this is a camera that has a phone in it. I like it.

I like this - using the Microsoft Kinect and other tech to improve the grocery shopping experience. You don't push the grocery cart. Instead, it follows you, scans the items you collect, and checks you out.

Mercedes is integrating Apple's Siri into thier cars.

The "Holoflector." An augmented-reality mirror from Microsoft Research.

Rich people and people who drive a Prius tend to be less moral than the rest of us or the rest of them or something like that.

Thoughts on the demise of Kodak. It wasn't just a paradigm shift.

More evidence that few people are actually using Google+. I don't use it, never did really.

Back to the things at Google that are working: they are hiring engineers to work on the self-driving cars.

Mergers and buyouts have reduced the number of education textbook publishers. The result is predictable - lousy textbooks. Perhaps the tablers and efforts like Apple's will introduce thousands of small book publishers to the market. Then again, all these new authors have to fight the entrenched publishers in the education "system."

Neat - the baby clothes have health sensors in them. Wireless transmissions to parents. This may seem silly to many, but if you have a child with health issues, this is a blessing. And the same tech can be used in clothing for the elderly. It would be possible for me to monitor my mother's health from a thousand miles away.

Sierra Wireless introduces a new line of mobile hotspots. They work with just about any cell phone system anywhere in the world. You will, of course, have to pay for the air time.

Reducing the iPad 2 price wasn't enough. Now Best Buy is pulling them off the shelves to make room for, well, you know.

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Wednesday February 29, 2012

It is official: Apple will have a big event on March 7th. It is almost official that it will be the debut of the iPad 3. Here is a discussion of the iPad 3 rumors. It seems to have a much better display and faster processor. I also look for more capability in the Apple software to take advantage of the better hardware.

Apple mania? That is nothing compared to the Raspberry Pi. The $35 Linux computer can't sell any models because buyers have swamped the sellers' web sites. This link has a video about the product.

But a $199 computer the size of a thumbdrive is up for pre-order.

Broadcom shows its newest communications chips.

The ATF becomes the second Federal agency to switch from the Blackberry to the iPhone. Federal IT is always a long way behind the rest of the world.

Interpol arrests 25 Anonymous Hackers worldwide. Then the Interpol web site went down. This could get interesting.

Now for something completely different. People in this Chinese village gather natural gas in large plastic bags or balloons and carry the explosive thing to their home for heating and cooking.

What will we be like in 2020 when (if) half of the workers are freelancers?

The keywords that the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring on social media.

Steven Sinofsky: probably the next CEO of Microsoft.

IBM lays off 1,000 people.

Government to the rescue again. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking for mandatory rearview cameras on U.S. vehicles by 2014. How much will that raise the price of a car? Your tax dollars at waste.

Some perspective on Google+ usage. More people use MySpace than Google+. Yikes!

Will your tablet computer be your television? Will your grandkids even remember television?

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Thursday March 1, 2012

Freelancing is growing in Britain.

A look at some of the benefits that co-working sites bring to communities.

Yet another solar company that is living on your tax dollars is laying off workers. Your tax dollars at waste.

Strong rumors that Apple will have an 8" iPad later this year.

How over a hundred companies are tracking us all on the web.

Google now has 750 employees in New York City.

Samsung has a sensor that captures both light (images) and depth on one chip. This could be big or other people could just put two little chips next to one another.

A company will be offering commercial balloon flights to near space.

Apple is now worth more than $500 billion. I remember seeing an Apple II in a crummy little store in the crummy, dirty shopping district near LSU in Baton Rouge in early 1980. That was a long time ago in a place far, far away.

Where to download a copy of Windows 8. More information on what you need and how to do it.

Now if only I could get an 82" touch screen like Microsoft has.

When medical doctors die, they use far less treatments than everyone else. They better understand that all those things are just vain attempts to prolong the inevitable, i.e., they know that other doctors are just experimenting.

Here is a $300 baby monitor that works with your iPhone. Yes, it does provide much more information than that $20 monitor you can buy at WalMart.

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Friday March 2, 2012

Some tips for keeping your home office free of clutter. One big item: don't eat in your home office.

Sales of the Government Motors Chevy Volt are still pathetic. Your tax dollars at waste.

Raspberry Pi is trying new manufacturers. Their web site is still "static" as of this morning meaning that they are still unable to cope with the demand for their $25 or $25 computer.

This may be the ultimate in a dull life, but having a systematic way of doing things makes life much simpler.

Depending on what day of the week it is, it is legal to photograph Police doing their jobs. Some police, however, grab cameras and delete photos. Well, the photos aren't actually deleted as they can be undeleted. Don't tell your local police about this little technical thingy.

NASA seems unable to keep its computers secure. They even lost a laptop computer that contained the control code for the space station. This item falls under both "your tax dollars at waste" and "is everyone ready for national electronic health records." That is not a first, but leave it to NASA to pull it off.

This could change everything - a new way of transmitting message via RF that greatly increases channel capacity.

Remember how the FBI turned off all those illegally installed GPS trackers? Well, the FBI now wants to retrieve the devices, but needs to turn them back on to find them. My guess is that people or their car mechanics will eventually find them all and toss them in the trash. Your tax dollars at waste.

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Saturday March 3, 2012

More on the sales of the Government Motors Chevy Volt - the sales are so bad that GM will stop production for five weeks. They have cars sitting around that no one will buy, so why make more? Whose idea was it to bet tens of billions of taxpayers' money on this? That person should be...

Other failed American enterprise - Kodak stops making slide film. Now why did we give tens of billions to GM and nothing to Kodak? Hmmm, do the unions have anything to do with that?

Apple is trying to defend its practice of having all its manufacturing jobs outside the U.S. They tout 500,000 U.S. jobs. Apple has manufactured outside the U.S. for a long time. It was only when they became successful that anyone cared.

Apple is one of the companies that has changed the definition of success. 25Billion apps downloaded from the app store. That is 48 Million a day. Those numbers are staggering. (Hey, GM sold 600 Chevy Volts in Janurary ;-)

Google plans to unveil its "Assistant" to complete with Apple's Siri. Advances in computer understanding of voice will change everything.

An Illinois state law banning the recording of police officers has been ruled unconstitutional. How did anyone ever get the idea that it was wrong to record public officials payed by the public performing public duties?

I hope the government doesn't follow this recommendation and step in to help us on this one. A researcher recommends that law should ban thin models.

The ten most sleep-deprived professions.

In a test of a computer voting system, people break the system in a few hours and alter the election results. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Yet some people keep pushing the idea of voting over the Internet.

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Sunday February March 4, 2012

Now that the $35 Raspberry Pi computer is here, people are using them for all sorts of interesting things. One is building little servers that protect privacy. I tried again to buy one of these. The store web site is still blocked. Maybe next week.

Want to hack into a network? Buy a Pwn Plug for $500. Physical access is required, but this story shows how easy it is to do that. Network security? Yeah, right. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

The dual-screen Sony tablet arrives. It looks great, but I don't think it will sell.

Some thoughts on why we will probably never see Google's G-Drive.

Circuit design and simulation in a browser - CircuitLab. I love it.

The Ford Focus electric vehicle is almost here. It will probably outsell GM's Chevy Volt, but what won't outsell that clunker? By the way, Ford didn't receive tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in a handout, er, bailout.

The "secret" to writing one blog post everyday - I decided that I needed one good idea everyday and my mind rose to the task.

How one writer hates revisions. Sigh, we have to live with this. Sometimes the result is much better.

I don't know how anyone can argue with this one graph showing the collapse of print advertising. Draw a graph of your situation. This is an oft-neglected practice.

People will take over your life if you let them. Beware. Practice saying "No."

Myths about working from home.

Typing speed is an underrated part of being a writer. Check this post.

How long does it take from first submission to a book being published? About a year. Now if you go with new publishing methods (eBook, Publish on Demand), the time is much shorter.

If you are an unemployed hi-tech person, you might try writing science fiction. You know something about science, and since you are unemployed, you know something about odd people.

To write better, read more. I am currently reading some Earnest Hemingway short stories, but I don't read enough.

Constant writing: make writing a natural part of your life.

Basics: Five keys to online writing.

Tips for writers as they build and maintain their websites.

Here is a good test: write with one syllable words. I need a synonym for "syllable."

I love to use Post-It notes. This post mentions several Post-It products.

One writer's advice on How to Write a Book.

Are you disciplined enough to do nothing? Many of us are not.

A manifesto for writers. I like it.

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I am putting a lot of links here. I think I have not posted them before, but with a cruise ship week I am not sure.

How many scenes does your novel need? Interesting question.

It seems that Charles Dickens liked to walk - sometimes 20 miles a day. I guess that is at least one thing the two of us share. As a reminder, I walked from Washington D.C. to New Orleans (1,100 miles).

Henry Miller on writer. Note his first item, it is just like the below item.

This productivity for writers works for me: focus on one task each day. Some people call this "batching." For example, write half a dozen blog posts one day. Whew. Rest. Now the next day write a short story start to finish. Whew. Rest. Now the next day...

An interview with author Paulo Coelho about writing.

29 little notes on writing and publishing. These are pretty good.

Here are some good writing prompts. I like them.

I like this: don't sell books, spread ideas.

Places where a freelance writer can find accountability, a.k.a., peer pressure.

Some reminders about quotation marks.

A tip to writers: VOLUME. Keep writing, keep sending things to people. Something I leared recently: if I send at least one short story to Smashwords every week, people buy short stories. When I sit and wait for purchases from the 60+ stories I have up, no sales. Keep writing, keep sending things to people.

And then you rest at least one day a week.

David Ogilvy on How to Write. Brevity and clarity.

Twenty common grammar mistakes.

Email me at d.phillips@computer.org
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