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 9-15, 2012

Summary of this week:

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

Monday April 9, 2012

Too much time on your hands leads to a 300-step Rube Goldberg machine.

Sony will 10,000 jobs (6% of its workforce) worldwide.

Broadcom has announced a new processor that will provide far more precise location information including vertical as well as horizontal. This may have great implications in safety situations, e.g. World Trade Center, for emergency response people as well as just for everyone in a building. Of course, those with evil intent will find applications as well.

People are critical of the working conditions in factories that produce Apple products. Apple's competitors are not in the chorus. They use the same factories.

The One Laptop Per Child program isn't having much affect on schools. Why not? Because the teachers don't know what to do with them.

Undeterred, Intel is pushing a program for One Tablet Per Child.

Computer geeks are human, too. This is the story of how a Facebook programmer saw a sign on a building in Florida. It hit a nerve with him (some people call those things emotions).

Criticism of the criticism of the coming Bravo "reality" show about Silicon Valley. If you don't like the show's basis, ignore it, don't help it by criticizing it.

America OnLine sells 800 patents to Microsoft for a billion dollars. Where did AOL get 800 patents?

Trends about the future of work (for some) in America. It it mobile, it is freelance, it is connected, and half of America won't be involved. They may be unemployed or stuck at McDonald's.

"Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible."

The Utah Department of Health was hacked. Is everyone ready for this to go nationwide?

The right of free speech is not the right to be heard. People may simply not want to hear what you have to say.

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Tuesday April 10, 2012

The big news from late yesterday is that Facebook bought Instagram for $1Billion. Here is one story of many on the Internet. There is rampant speculation that Instgram users will now flee becuase they don't want to be swallowed up by "those Facebook guys." For example, how to export our Instagram photos before Facebook ruins them. And another example of other sites like Instagram you can switch to instead of Facebook.

And how Instagram went from nothing to a Billion dollars in two years. I don't seem to recall any government bailouts of Instagram, so they must have cheated someone somehow.

A few companies have moved to "unlimited vacations." The practice seems to be working. As I explained to my wife, for such to work you have to have managers that actually manage.

ioSave disk drives. Very tough drives for disaster-proof storage.

I don't understand all the details of making this thing an official Lego kit. I do know that it is awesome. See for yourself.

Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore, dies at 83. Commodore was decades ahead of everyone when it came to having graphics in a computer. Alas, they lost in the marketplace.

Google updates Chrome OS, and it looks more like Windows and OS X and Linux.

Chrysler is putting a wireless device charger in the next Dodge Dart. The automobile has conquered the idea of transportation. Now it must be about the experience you have while getting somewhere.

It seems that the Iranian government plans to cut off the Internet from its subjects and run a nationwide intranet instead.

The pendulum swings - computer science enrollment is up 10% for the second year in a row. But Instagram's founder Kevin Systrom had no formal programming education. He learned on his own and he is now quite wealthy.

The State of Utah's medical records leak was ten times worse than first announced. Is everyone ready for NATIONAL electronic health records?

A farm on a rooftop in New York City. The only question is why we haven't been doing this for decades?

HP is opening its cloud services next month.

Always (not) pushing back ignorance, these textbook publishers are suing those who are writing their own textbooks and distributing them at no cost.

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Wednesday April 11, 2012

Intel continues to push the concept of the Ultrabook with new models and promises of lower prices.

The London summer Olympics are only four months away. Apple is stocking its London retail stores with things that the international jouralists may need at the last moment. Smart.

Iceland has two things to attract the world's computer centers: (1) cheap energy and (2) free cooling. Also smart.

Inside the Foxconn factory. This is from the report who disclosed that the other reporter made up stuff about Foxconn. The world is quickly moving towards a place where no one trusts the word of anyone. That is a great shame.

The U.S. Department of Justice is moving forward with its suit against Apple for fixing eBook prices. I guess someone thinks they are doing something of value here. Be careful if you are successful in America.

Further analysis of census data estimates that deaths in the American Civil War were underestimated by 20%. This raises the death toll estimates from 620,000 to about 750,000.

And now we have CISPA: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. It is a revised SOPA with all its faults. This time with feeling.

The best hackers now come from China. It is a numbers game. China has the world's largest literate labor force.

MIT researchers have developed an airliner conceptPerhaps this will become reality one day. And by the way, NASA is involved in the project. I cannot explain why an agency whose mission is to go to Mars is wasting taxpayers dollars on this. It is a worthwhile project and good science, but outside NASA that could carry passengers using only 30% of the fuel used by today's planes.'s mission.

Adidas is putting an amazing amount of processor and communication technology into its soccer shoes.

I love this one: the Titanic disaster just won't happen in our age. We are so much smarter than our ancestors! (NOT) Where do we find such arrogance?

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Thursday April 12, 2012

Intel introduces a solid state disk for the PCI Express bus.

And Intel updates SSDs to 800GigaBytes.

Apple computers (remember the computer that sits on your desk?) are growing while everyone else is shrinking in sales. This results in Apple now having 10% of the US PC market.

Some history, this Apple Macintosh prototype is on auction on eBay. It will sell for around $100,000.

This happens now and then. The processor in the Apple TV unit has two cores. One is turned off.

The money grab is on. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an anti-trust suit against Apple and six other companies for price fixing in the eBook market. And 16 states have joined in the suit. Everyone wants a little (or a lot of) money.

This analysis says the government will lose against Apple because they have no case. Several of the publishers involved are sunk, which is why several publishers have already settled out of court. This is just odd as Apple is one of the most popular companies in America and the government is hauling them into court during an election year. The headlines will eventually read, "Government wins Apple case," while the fine print will read, "While charges against Apple itself were dropped, several Apple partners were convicted." Something like that.

A U.S. Appeals Court has ruled that computer software code is not physical property and cannot be stolen. So just make all the copies you want. This is wierd. What happened to intellectual property? We shall see how this plays out.

Intel announces its new processors for microservers. This processors contain "3D" transistors. I for one really want to see the old transistors that only occupied two dimensions.

Edutopia provides A Parent's Guide to 21st-Century Learning. I like the emphasis on "learning" instead of "education." I can see already that my three-year-old grandson is going to struggle at school. It is not the learning that will bother him, but the education system as it currently exists. He, like most kids, is too bright for the system.

The top 25 cities in the world to start a tech company. America occupies a few prominent spots on the list, but not the majority. One day we may realize that we have regulated against the creation of businesses (businesses are evil, or so the thought goes). The thing about "businesses" is that is where people go everyday to earn a paycheck and support their families and the rest of the economy as well.

A show showroom that looks like a bar. This is a little silly, but only a little. It reinforces the concept of "everything becoming a coffee shop."

It seems there is a new look to the Google+ page.

Facebook returns to its origins with Groups for Schools.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 - priced to compete with the Kindle Fire.

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Friday April 13, 2012

Great graphic about the TSA. Sigh. Your tax dollars at waste.

Sales continue to be good at Apple for the first three months of 2012: 33 million iPhones and 12 million iPads. These numbers are remarkable in that they are for hardware. We see similar numbers for software downloads and social media site participation, but not for hardware.

That wonderful display on the new iPad is causing web sites to adjust. This is similar to how makeup artists in the TV and movie industry have had to adjust to HD televisors.

Microsoft has created an Open Technologies subsidiary to engage with free and open source software groups.

Forget those big Google Glasses, DARPA is working on contact lenses with augmented reality built in.

Google's first quarter revenue ($10.6 Billion) is up 24% from last year.

The North Korean "satelitte" launch failed, again. Of course maybe it was a failed satellite launch or maybe it was a successful demonstration of a short range missile capability.

Gas stations don't make any money selling gas. It is the coffee and the twinkies.

Software engineering tools from Microsoft Research.

I like this housing idea - portable motels made from shipping containers. Great for disaster relief.

In a similar vein, the summer Olympics are approaching and sleeping pods have been installed in the main data center.

I love this computer arrangement. The computer, an all-in-one Mac, is attached to the wall. The desk, the keyboard, the mouse - they are wireless and can move around the room. For example, the desk can become the dining room table or a card table while you are not using the computer. Good versatility and sharing of things in a small space.

Former NASA employees, including astronauts, claim that the agency has taken as extremist position (man has caused climated change) on climate change.

The United Arab Emirates is about to put their national ID "card" in phones via Near-Field Communication technology.

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Saturday April 14, 2012

Better rural broadband will increase the health of rural residents. I agree with that. If my mother had good, less expensive broadband in her home, we would be able to monitor her activity and health much better. Whatever happened to all those tens of billions of dollars spent on rural broadband?

This is just plain weird: the U.S. Department of Justice is trying to prevent Megaupload from hiring their own lawyers in their defense. Since when is the government allowed to choose a defendent's lawyer? Again, just plain weird.

More silliness with the U.S. government and copyrights and intellectual property. Your tax dollars at waste.

I like this: a manifesto for creativity in the modern era.

The former head of the TSA agrees with what everyone else has been saying about the TSA for years.

Raspberry Pi computers show up in a classroom in the UK. Yea! Now, when can I buy some?

Must see video: Make it Count.

This analysis claims that the best job in America is software engineer. Maybe not the "best," but I would say it is one of the better. ones.

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Sunday February April 15, 2012

A new term for me: "brogrammers: programmers who think and behave like fraternity pledges." In other words, young males when put in large groups of young males without supervision tend to act like a bunch of jerks. They push out anyone who is different - especially females. There is much we can write about this topic.

In case you haven't heard, this week marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's wreck and sinking. I like this post as it links to a number of other posts about the Titanic and other ship wrecks.

When writing short stories and other fiction, write about your own life. Some view this as cheating, but I see it as much easier than writing about someone else's life.

How being child-like can aid as a writer. I like the tip about the afternoon nap.

Will the resume go away because employers can learn about you from the Internet?

Here is a list of the 50 stores that Best Buy is closing. The three in Virginia are within two hours of my house.

Wow, The University of Oxford and the Vatican are collaborating to digitize 1.5 million pages of text from the 16th century and earlier. History.

Don't write one book and stop writing until the first book sells. Write, write, and write.

A history of the pen or "ink pen" as some people call them.

And since we all have pens and paper, why not write by hand instead of keyboard and computer? It is a different rhythm. For me, my arm muscles ache after half an hour with pen while I can type for hours without such physical fatigue.

Summarizing a novel in two sentences. This is originally from Dwight Swain and is excellent.

Your freelance backup team.

I like this post for writers. The title is about writer's block, and I generally don't read anything with a title about writer's block, but I find the tips applicable to just plain writing. I like the thoughts.

Here is a nice graphic explaining (one view of) the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

"(Freelancing) Success...is far more about a lot of things you have to do, rather than some way you have to be." Success is hard work. There are a lucky few (less than a tenth of one percent by my estimate). The rest work really hard over a long period of time with a self-imposed low cost of living. I have a full time job instead of living as a freelancer. Some of the main reasons are the pay is higher and the work is much easier.

And a tale of success that broke the writer's heart. Pamela Travers wrote about Mary Poppins in the 1930s. Walt Disney made an Academy Award-winning movie that Travers hated. The royalties, however, made her rich.

Some thoughts on self publising and happiness. One neat thing about self publishing is that you can tell your friends that your wrote four books or fifty short stories this year, and they were all published! Then you can explain the real economics of writing.

And the role of persistence in all this. Please note the point about "a year from now..."

Some habits for simplifying your life. Most of these work for me.

Some ePublishing services. I use Smashwords. It is pretty simple and seems to work.

The "coffice" - a combination of  coffee shop and office. Some writers make their living sitting in coffices. Others, like me, work there an hour or so a day, and there are others who do everything in between. Some thoughts on where writers write. Like always, try different places, use what works, and forget the rest.

Thoughts on making a living with eBooks and independent publishing. For me, I am earning about $10 a month with short stories via Smashwords.com. I don't try hard, and the money is not the goal for me. Still, by this post, there are those who are making a living, while not becoming wealthy, doing nothing else. Good for them.

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