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: September 24-30, 2012

Summary of this week:

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

Monday September 24, 2012

2,000 people participated in a riot at the Foxconn factory in China. Apple products, as well as products from several companies whose names are famous, are built at the factory.

The Human Support Robot from Toyota is supposed to help elderly and disabled people. We shall see if any practical models come from this effort.

There is more controversy about Kickstarter and its publicly funded projects.  I  struggle to see how adults are flailing away at this. Products that don't exist are risky. If you invest in a product that doesn't exist, you take a risk. Many Kickstarter projects are for books. "Send me money, and I will write a book and send you a first edition." A lot of writers start with good intentions, but never finish their book. That is life, folks. Then you have a guy who says, "Send me money, and I will invent a new computer and send you one of the first off the production line." There are countless technical, financial, and managerial hurdles in the way of the project completing as promised. How is it that adults don't see this?

And another story that shouldn't be a story to adults. Big computer server farms consume vast quantities of power. That is why these things should be built near the poles where abundant cooling is availabe at no cost.

Apple is trying to hire former Google Maps employees. They need help with their iOS maps application.

But in enterprise IT, the skill set in demand is cloud computing.

There are few known sources of helium. There are important uses for helium. And then, helium is used for balloons at kids' parties. Some scientist feel that the less-scientific uses of helium should be banned.

And the controversy continues about Apple copying the clock design used by the Swiss Federal Railway service. It's a clock face; it has 12 big marks and 60 little marks in a circle.

Time Magazine announces the 50 best web sites. Who cares? Time is an old magazine that is fading (quickly). What gives them expertise in naming web sites?

It appears that the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand unlawfully spied on persons in the Megaupload case. The whole thing may be dismissed. Now, the U.S. has to decide if we abide by rule of law or we just smack people around when we feel like it.

Security researchers have hacked into the transit systems of San Francisco and New Jersey. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

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Tuesday September 25, 2012

Those who are on the bleeding edge of the iPhone 5 are having some problems. This always happens, but now that we are up to number 5, people aren't so forgiving of them.

Intel wants to remind everyone that Ultrabooks aren't (as) expensive (as those Apple computers). Here is a short list of Ultrabooks under $700.

Wear this little camera around your neck, and it takes thousands of photos a day automatically. Your life recorded for you.

Sony introduces a new line of external batteries to keep your cell phone etc. working. Clever packaging.

Less well known but just as useful, Mophie updates their line of external batteries.

Liquid Nitrogen plus 1,500 ping pong balls - video.

There are a lot of groups in the U.S. who want to fly UAVs in the U.S. The FAA is not keeping to its schedule (what a surprise) and may delay everything. Your tax dollars at waste.

The Internet and all the technologies that enable it are changing the world. In change there is chaos and some large groups of people "lose." The concept of the middle class may disappear in the next few decades. We shall see.

The theft of Apple gadgets is up 40% in New York City. Overall crime is up 4%. I guess Apple is really popular right now.

The concept of the first and second sleep during the night. It seems we used to do this.

I like this. In San Francisco, they will start building much smaller apartments. The rent on these will be much lower.

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Wednesday September 26, 2012

Steve Balmer shows his personal Microsoft Surface tablet at a small developer's event.

Barnes and Noble updates its nook eReaders and tablets. It seems everyone has this year, and that is good for the rest of us. We finally have real competitiors to the iPad on the market.

It seems that the Judicial branch of government is not doing its job with regards to the Administrative branch of government as a Federal court continues to allow the TSA to delay public hearings required by law. Perhaps the Legislative branch of government might say something.

LinkedIn surveyed 7,000 professionals from its members. The question: what items will disappear from the office by 2017? Here is their top ten list.

Marissa Mayer has her highly anticipated speech to Yahoo on new directions. Listeners were disappointed as specifics were lacking.

Muslim "cyber fighters" have taken down the Wells Fargo web site. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

And the passwords of a hundred thousand IEEE members were mistakenly made public. Same questionas above.

It seems than many Americans like their smartphones more than they like other things in their lifestyle. They are cutting expenses elsewhere so they can afford their phones. This is an example of free choice in a free market.

American broadband is relatively slow and expensive. Why? Government regulations, what else?

But take heart as America has the least expensive beer on earth. Priorities.

The simplest customer service frustration question of all: "Why isn't this as important to you as it is to me?" - Seth Godin.

"Young Creatives don’t want ‘jobs,’ they want an environment in which to grow their skills." This is almost a copy of what consultant Jerry Weinberg has been saying for decades about managing.

MIT has built a prototype using LIDAR that maps an indoor space as you walk through it.

Google Play has hit the 25 billion downloads mark. That is a lot of anything.

Sharp shows its new semi-transparent solar panels. Perhaps one day some of these things will make a practical difference.

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Thursday September 27, 2012

A close look at Lenovo's all-in-one desktop, the IdeaCentre A7.

The President of Google in Brazil was detained by Police. The government wanted him to pull a political statement from YouTube. Free speech? That is Brazil, no the U.S.

And while we are on the subject of free speech in the U.S., don't assume too much. A North Carolina man is in trouble for offering diet and nutrition advice on his blog. It seems that he is "counseling" people on those subjects without a counseling license. Governement to our rescue again when we didn't need saving.

Beware of rent-to-own computers. It seems that some of these outfits are monitoring your keystrokes and watching everything you do with webcams. Yes, people having sex in their bedrooms and the like.

FORM1: a $2,300 3-D printer. High resolution with nice features from MIT students.

The European Commission is about to fine Microsoft for not allowing users to choose their default browser. I guess this has something to do with Windows 7 and maybe Windows 8. I thought "default" was something that you had when you didn't choose. My grasp of the English language, however, fails me at times.

Google will use a lot of wind-generated power for its Oklahoma data center.

Let's all say this together: we hate passwords.

There are millions of tablets floating around out there. Few, however, use Intel processors. Intel hopes to change all that with the Windows 8 tablets from several major companies.

Lady Gaga starts a body revolution, and women have responded with plenty of pictures of their less than "ideal" real bodies. Good for her.

Google Docs will stop exporting to the older MS Office formats (doc xls...), but will continue to support the newer ones (docx xlsx...).

The U.S. military now labels Julian Assange as an "enemy of the state."

Facebook is holding to its promise to delete pages from fake users.

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Friday September 28, 2012

No viewing this morning as I had breakfast with some fine gentlemen.

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Saturday September 29, 2012

Kids who need wheelchairs aren't given them until they are five or so. That is for the kids' safety. This wheelchair is safe for kids at any age. This is what we should be doing with technology.

Interesting profile of "bosses," what their colleagues think of them, and what various studies have reported about them.

A look at the Intel Atom processors that will go into the Windows 8 tablets. This post is looking at a $400 price. If the Windows 8 tablets are not priced at $200, I doubt they will sell. We have the high-end tablet, the $600 iPad, and the other tablets at $200. The Windows 8 tablets won’t be worth the $400.

The Alienware M18x R2 - it has two GPUs. And yes, flames come out the back. I don’t play computer games; I know people who do play them all the time. This machine is for the gamers. It is also for those who hand code applications to use the n-cores inside the GPUs.

The U.S. Federal government has obtained more private phone data in the last two years that in the previous ten. I thought all that big brother stuff would end when that Bush fellow left the White House. Perhaps the media misinformed us about who was inclined to do what.

A U.S. Court prevents Motorola from doing something in Germany. How does a U.S. Court have jurisdiction over actions in Germany?

Now that we have several major companies providing maps, we look at who is showing detailed photos of sensitive government facilities.

News flash (not) from the Washington Post - in China, the Communist Party is above the law. How long did it take them to figure out that one?

ooops, not a good story about the TSA (are there any other kinds?). An ABC Nightline sting operation catches a TSA employee taking a "lost" iPad home for keeps.

A look at online college courses with a look back at the mania that was postal mail correspondence courses in the 1920s. This is a good article, well worth reading. New acronym - MOOC - Massive Open Online Course.

It seems that bots, impersonating persons, comprise 10% of Internet traffic.

Version 3.3 of the Python programming language is launched.

HP releases OpenWebOS version 1.0.

Version 14.0 of the Slackware Linux distribution is released.

Some not-quite-blank books for writing.

Has the clock outlived its usefulness?

Kodak continues to fade; they will drop out of inkjet printers in 2013.

I like this design concept (note, it is only a design concept, not a product, yet): tear-off cardboard USB memory sticks.

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Sunday September 30, 2012

Freelancers, need another income stream? Try teaching. Note, teaching ties you to a location, so unless you teach an online course, you have to stay put.

I like this take on the situation - how a writer killed his blog but learned how to write much better in the process.

How one writer uses several types of notebooks for journals.

Some not-quite-blank books for writing.

A writer's experience with self publishing and marketing.

Some tips on making editors happy. I think a writer should work with an editor and make good efforts in that work. Making someone else happy? Perhaps not.

Want to write about your life so that others will read it? Do something interesting.

Lessons learned by one person after a year as a freelance author. Excellent points here. My favorites: (1) It is much easier to have a day job, (2) before starting out, save at least six months income, better to save a year’s income.

Tips on surviving as a freelance writer in a (great, long lasting) recession.

Another life experience from a writer that shows me write, write, write everyday.

I like the two installments in this series titled “But how do I start writing?” The first part with its lesson, “Put the seat of your pants in the seat of the chair.”
The second has a couple of exercises that help the writer-to-be to see that they already have a “voice.”

Here is one writer’s method for designing a novel. He calls it the Snowflake Method.

The same writer discusses “composting” a novel before writing.

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