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 April 2-8, 2012

Summary of this week:

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

Monday April 2, 2012

Given the proximity to April 1st, it is a little difficult to discern if some of these things are real or just April Fool's jokes. I think this one is real: a classy holder for the tiny iPod Nano.

Has the Internet killed the April Fool's joke?

Here is a collection of this year's April Fool's jokes from the Internet.

SoFi is creating funds where college grads can contribute money that will be loaned to students. The grads receive a good return on their investments. This takes government loans out of the picture, and anything that removes government is probably good.
Americans over 60 still owe $26Billion in college loans. Some of these are loans they signed for their kids and grandkids, but many are loans the took 40 years ago.

Nuance Communications continues to evolve its computer understanding of speech technology.

Some school districts need to get a life. One in Michigan fired a teacher's aid last year because she wouldn't give them her Facebook password. Of course this is in court now, and the school district is burning taxpayers' dollars defending the indefensible.

Ashton Kutcher is to play Steve Jobs in an upcoming film. I am guessing that in the next ten years we shall see several movies based on Jobs.

Computer Science for Fun - a British magazine about the fun side of computer science. Neat.

Fascinating, how copyright protection makes books vanish.

A look at the Atari Pong from 1976. I graduated high school in 1976. America turned 200 in 1976. I doubt there is any significant correlation among those events.

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Tuesday April 3, 2012

Kentucky wins the national championship in college basketball.

According to this report, Internet Explorer is still the most popular browser in the world. Note that this report lumps all the versions of IE into one product.

Apple is using its North Carolina facility to host the nation's largest fuel cell facility.

A New York City Kindergarten teacher is using Twitter with her class. The kids can type Twitter messages. Great stuff. Let's hope that someone from the union won't come in and strangle this.

The DropCam security camera is now available. The hardware is $149 and the the monitoring service is $10 a month. This is a plug and play home monitoring system.

The average hearing aid today costs $3,000. These guys at embrase hearing hope to release $500 models that are just as good. I hope they succeed. My mother couldn't hear without her hearing aids. Her cousin the doctor gave her the ones she uses. Most people, 6 of 7, who need hearing aids don't have them because of the price. Oh, and by the way, let's see how competition in the medical field affects price.

This "flying car" from the Netherlands is interesting. It is more of a stunt, but actually is road legal in most countries.

The morphing hexapod robot thing. I don't know what it could do, but it shows creativity in having an object move about.

In the UK (not University of Kentucky), the central government is granting itself more power to surveil the citizenry.

Intel continues to increase the performance and lower the price of its solid state disks.

IBM's OS/2 is 25 years old. Although not on any desktop near you, it is still used in millions of ATMs and cash registers. It had some good features for the desktop, but it lost in the marketplace.

Mad Magazine is now available on the iPad. Western civilization is now safe ;)

I take back the part about civilization being safe - see GirlFriendHire.com .

Why does IBM need a super duper computer? Because they are building a telescope that will generate more data in one day than exists on the Internet today.

Last week Best Buy announced closing 50 stores. They will next open 500 "mobile only" stores.

What happens when companies become successful and older? They often hire more employees than they need. See, for example, Yahoo.

One of the big problems with U.S. copyrights is the government's copyright office is sadly outdated in its technology.

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Wednesday April 4, 2012

Baylor wins the women's NCAA basketball championship. The coach is Kim Mulkey of Tickfaw in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Perhaps now Kim will be the most famous woman from Tangipahoa Parish replacing Brittney Spears. I knew Kim when she was in junior high school.

Microsoft is one of the top 20 contributors to Linux.

Google makes money on Apple mobile devices because it is the default search engine. The market is such that Google makes more money per iOS device than it does per Android device.

Sales of the Chevy Volt are surging. They sold almost 2,300 vehicles in March. That is big news for the Volt. Such a small number would be doom for any other car model.

The definition of success changes. Instagram for Android had one million downloads in 24 hours.

Over a million cable TV customers turned off their cable last year in the U.S.

Both Stanford and Open University have had 50 million downloads of their course materials from iTunes U since January. Great news.

American Law Enforcement agencies are paying cell phone companies hundreds of dollars a month for every cell phone "wire tap."

Tablet computers could help young children learn. Maybe they could bring on ADHD, i.e., excite them so much that they are bored to death when they enter school.

What would the week be without a good TSA story? Students mistakenly left their science project on a plane. The project, it had "wires protruding" Oh my gosh, wires!, scared the TSA. They closed the airport and handcuffed 11 students.

Yahoo is expected to lay off 2,000 people this week.

Perhaps potential employers don't want to see a person's Facebook information. Knowing that information could lead to possible lawsuits if the person is not hired or not paid well enough.

Improve your touch typing speed and accuracy. This may sound silly, but it is something that any professional who writes should improve.

The Department of Defense has awarded HP a $249Million contract for cloud services.

Mobile apps for the blind. The camera on the cell phone has evolved into a wonderful but unexpected device - an aid for the blind. The camera (digital sensor) gathers the data, the computer understands what is there, the computer speaks to the person. I didn't foresee this back when I was working in image understanding in the 1980s. I am glad it has happened.

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Thursday April 5, 2012

Apple continues its slow growth in the business place. Now, 46% of companies issues some Apple computers to some employees. Dell still reigns there.

This "wristwatch" detects epiletpic siezures and notifies concerned persons. I like this use of technology.

The Google cameras went behind the scenes at the White House and give us a look at our home.

Wooden floppy disk coasters.

The Google glasses project is receiving a lot of press today on the Radio, TV, and such. Google shares some information about their augmented reality glasses project. This could work. It would be great. Another look at the project from the New York Times.

It appears that Bravo will have a new reality series about Silicon Valley, except that it won't be shot in Silicon Valley and won't be about anything technical or any people who work in technical fields or ... oh well.

Facebook won the blogging wars. Some of us, like me, see this as a shame, but if everyone in the world were like me it would be a boring place.

The office building is wasteful. Will businesses adapt? Of course they will. The smarter ones will just do it faster.

This study shows that a third of telecomm workers are MORE productive when working from home.

How Google's stock price (gone up) has changed in the year that Larry Page has run the company.

This MIT team strives to make robot making much cheaper. Why? Just like the personal computer: put the power in a million times more person's hands and you never know what wonderful things they will do.

Who bumps into copyright law the most? College professors and librarians.

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Friday April 6, 2012

Samsung had record profits of $5.1Billion for its first quarter of 2012.

Wikipedia joins the parade in switching from Google Maps to Open Street Maps. http://www.openstreetmap.org/

In countries with better economies, more people search Google about the future. In poorer countries, more people search Google about the past. I am not sure that this means anything.

I love this "muscle car" baby stroller.

The new possibilities of connecting everything to the Internet via Bluetooth 4.0. Take care when connecting your toaster to the Internet. Someone out there may want to learn things about you that you don't want them to know.

Jim Marshall, founder of Marshall amps, dies at 88. He helped form something called rock and roll music. Raw, fuzzy power.

DropBox enables drag-and-drop folders on web browsers.

The U.S. Government, never a forward thinker, is sticking with RIM Blackberry phones. Someone should not that they probably went to the Blackberry just last weekend. (A small exageration).

What big, busy cities look like if there were no people.

This Nokia prototype device from 2009 is remarkably similar to the Google Glasses shown this week.

And here is what Google Glasses look like when worn in public by people who aren't models. Alas, the technologists are being jeered by the fashion types. Here is a better photo of Sergey Brin wearing the glasses. The fashion people will still hate it.

Persons who hire other persons are often fooled by extraversion. How excited are you during the interview? Many of us want to puke.

Hidden Valley is trying to make Ranch Dressing into "The New Ketchup." I prefer Thousand Island dressing. It is great on sandwiches and such.

Nuclear-powered flying drones. They could stay aloft for months.

Pinterest is now the number three social network behind Facebook and Twittera.

How the Wall Street Journal is using Pinterest.

A look at the Pogoplug series 4 device. You have your own cloud and don't have to worry about DropBox or Apple reading your data.

Love this computer simulation of the sinking of the Titanic.

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Saturday April 7, 2012

The fashion critics have had their day laughing at Google glasses, now we have some real tech comment.

Apple is considering opening a facility near Austin, Texas. Local politicians are considering huge tax incentives. This is bad for both parties. No one has more money than Apple. Governments shouldn't extend tax breaks like this to a rich corporation. Both will be criticized severely. If government wants to cut taxes, great, cut them across the board for everyone.

Yuck, news on the coming Silicon Valley "reality" show. Oh well, that's show biz. Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Mark of Facebook fame, is the producer.

Some notes on how Encyclopedia Britannica adapted to a changing world and has survived.

A good chart and explanation of economic disruption: industries go away, industries are born.

Office space for the "average" office worker is shrinking. This makes some sense as office equipments, e.g., computers, is smaller.

Raspberry Pi passes through another hickup. I would love to buy one or six of these little computers. Maybe one day.

The state of the computer book market.

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Sunday February April 8, 2012

Evidently, it is a boss' greatest fear to be caught on video by employees. It seems to me that divding a workplace into "boss" and "employee" would be the greatest fear. Once the dvide is made, all else is lost.

Getting by on a writer's income from Lawrence Block from 1981. This contains a large amount of useful information. I receommend it highly.

Be patient; keep writing.

"On my lap rests a printing press, a film studio, a record company, an ad agency, a broadcast station, an instant telegram, the world's largest and most comprehensive encyclopedia, and so much more. How incredible." Go forth.

Some thoughts on writing from the middle of no where. It isn't the data connects, it is the people connections that are missing.

Until computer speech to text translation is perfected, writers will continue to write with their hands. Do you take care of yours?

Writers, do you have trouble finishing things? Look at these ideas. Henry Miller was keen on the idea of doing one thing at a time. That is painful for some writers.

Thoughts on keeping a journal. I concur.

College student? Here are some tips for you on writing.

Yet another collection of tips on writing. I like the ones about keeping files of ideas and closing the door.

Plagiarism or inspiration? Good question. Immitation is the greatest form of flattery or something like that.

Here is a goal: write 12 novels in 12 months.

In the opposite direction, here are some thoughts on writing slowly.

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