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: November 5-11, 2012

Summary of this week:

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

Monday November 5, 2012

We return to "Standard" Time in America. Only in America can Congress define "standard" as something that occurs less than half the time, but I just don't understand Congress, so pay no attention to me.

Russia has developed an underground market for cybercrime. Buy what you want.

A look at eVoting around the world. We don't use much of it in the U.S., and at this time I am happy about that.

Apple is losing part of its market share in the tablet market. Consumers are winning with more legitimate choices.

Apple is paying a low corporate tax rate outside the U.S. - 2% last year. The corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 35%. Hmmm, let's see. If you put high taxes on corporations they take the jobs and money to other places. I wonder if there is anything we could do in the U.S. to keep jobs and money in the U.S.? Then again, I don't understand these things as they are way beyond me.

NASA releases a mobile app to tell you when the ISS is passing over head.

HP becomes a platinum member of the Linux Foundation at a cost of $500,000.

The Onion is doing paradies of TED talks. The parodies are wonderful. Caution - if you are going to do good things, and I believe the TED talks do good things, don't take yourself too seriously.

Hackers broke into NBC websites and replaced the content with their own. I am looking for something like this on election night with hackers telling everyone that Truman was elected or something. And yes, I must ask - is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Hackers expose 28,000 PayPal passwords. Same question as above.

With power outages still fresh in our minds, here are some good thoughts about the use of a generator and battery-powered UPSs.

And a few more lessons from the hurricane and its aftermath.

This is an excellent post on eating and how, when, and what we eat affects our mental capacity.

Apple's OS X 10.6 may be their Windows XP - the operating system version that hangs on forever.

A deeper look at the technology of MOOCs.

A counter-question: have we yet learned how to teach one on one?

Yes, this is a stunt, but it does demonstrate the advances in prosthetic technology and robotics. A man with a mind-controlled artificial leg climbs 103 stories of stairs.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner finally enters service in the U.S.

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Tuesday November 6, 2012

Today is election day in the U.S. That means, among other things, the phone will stop ringing. It also means that people who make those phone calls will be laid off and media advertising dollars will drop significantly.

Once again a storm causes a major power outage. Once again people call for changing the power distribution system. Once again everyone will forget about this by Thanksgiving.

Apple may go away from Intel processors and use its own. What a mess that would cause, but Apple has caused big messes before.

This is NOT a breakthrough in technology. STEM has a battery system that brings cheaper energy to a building, but it does so by monitor energy prices and adjusting when it stores and when it burns energy. Clever, but not anything that will help anyone.

Here is one for the little guy and the court system. A court has ordered the FBI to reveal more about its digital surveillance program. Now we wait to see if the FBI complies with the law. And I thought all this stuff went away when that Bush guy was no longer President.

When you consider the price of the parts, the Microsoft Surface is more profitable than the iPad. That is, of course, if you can sell them.

For example, Apple sold three million new iPads in three days. That is a lot of profit regardless of margin.

In New Jersey, storm damage has displaced voters so they are trying email and fax voting. I think that is terrible. If you are displaced because of something, then you are displaced and cannot vote. All this early voting and displaced voting will one day be declared null and void. That day cannot come soon enough. The idea of the election system is for citizens to gather and vote, not scatter and vote. There is something about the gathering part that is a strong component of citizenship.

Speaking of voting, a Microsoft Surface is being "tested" in Virginia on election day. Take a bleeding edge device and put it in a polling place. Are you kidding? What could possible go wrong?

Staples will put Amazon lockers in its stores. I learn what an Amazon locker is. I like the idea because I am never home when the UPS guy comes.

oooops, some of these new smart meters are broadcasting information openly for anyone to read. Yes, other people can tell when you are home or if just one person is home alone. This was predictable and predicted.

Flexible and resilient cloud computing is the answer to much of what Hurricane Sandy did to companies. It is there, use it. Maybe more will.

Code for America is trying to reform government work through technology. Technology is not the problem; the problem is people.

The number of newspapers with paywalls has doubled in the last year. I think they are speeding their own doom.

An odd story about how Victoria's Secret (yes, the lingerie folks) brought generators to a NY Army National Guard post right after Hurricane Sandy.

"You have to go above and beyond when it's a client rather than users," think about that one.

Here is an idea, which won't go anywhere. Once elected President, the person should withdraw from political parties and govern as an independent. A good idea which won't go anywhere.

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Wednesday November 7, 2012

Barack Hussein Obama is re-elected President of the United States.

Some web sites track the operating systems of people who visit. Such are reporting an Apple OS X 10.9 out there. That version of OS X has not been released yet.

The voting by email in New Jersey didn’t work out well. Please excuse the state government as email is such a complex thing these days.

Yes, there is a spy in your email and everywhere else on your system. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

Nate Silver, using big data, correctly predicted every state in the presidential election.

Microsoft is spending $100M on a tech center in Brazil. Jobs? In America? Are you kidding. See the corporate tax policies of the governments of the countries.

The Open University will soon be delivering courses to mobile (smartphones and tablets).

Texas Instruments has a new wireless charging chip.

70% of all devices to be sold in 2013 will be smartphones.

Pinterest continues to surge in web traffic.

An explanation of why voting online is still not practical.

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Thursday November 8, 2012

Pizza Hut of Australia was hacked, and lots of customer information taken. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records?

RIM has won government security certification for its Blackberry operating system. This will allow them to sell a few smartphones to a few government agencies. This is nice for those agencies, but won't do much to keep RIM in business.

The Tumbuk2 Power Commute messenger bag: it comes with a portable power source to recharge your mobile devices.

Lenovo had a good financial quarter. They now have over 15% of the PC market - a record high for them.

And Lenovo is predicting (hoping) that convertable PC-laptop-tablet devices will rise in the market.

Qualcomm also had a record financial quarter.

LG brings out the first ultrawidescreen 29" monitor.

This story is all over the Internet, so it must be important. DC Comics has brought much of its content to eReaders.

After the election, gridlock remains in our Federal government, and some (me included) think that is a good thing. It slows people in Washington D.C., and a lot of those folks need slowing. They mean well, but don't think things through past the end of their noses. The result is often bad.

If you count tablets as computers, they occupy almost one third of the computer market. Of course they are computers. What else would you call them?

One person's experience at upgrading a home computer to Windows 8. The advice is short and simple: don't.

If there is physical movement, you can generate electrical power from it. This device generates power from the movements inside the ear.

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Friday November 9, 2012

Video game sales continue to decline.

This post is supposed to be optimistic about electric vehicles. Instead, well, these vehicles will improve, but it may be more than a decade before they approach being practical.

Now if you want to make some real money with some real technology (sort of) go for Angry Birds Star Wars. They hit the top spot on the app store’s most popular in only 2 hours.

Most tech people should write blogs; few tech people write blogs.

A small team at Microsoft continues to work on Midori - an operating system not based on Windows.

Google boosts its Cloud SQL offerings.

Here is the link to Google’s Cloud SQL.

A great tablet is better than a cheap PC(?). Perhaps, I agree with the statement when it comes to social status.

FOXCONN may open manufacturing plants in the U.S. They will only build their simple products here after extensive training of Americans.

Cray introduces its new XC30 supercomputer.

Apache is working on a cloud version of OpenOffice.

Sales at McDonald’s fell for the first time since 2003.

A new term for me - ransomware. Malware takes over your computer, encrypts all your files, and sends you a ransom note. Pay up if you want your files back.

The media is touting that Obama’s victorious ground game came from a technical advantage. I had breakfast this morning with a gentlemen who knows that story to be false. Obama won because there were millions of right-leaning people who voted “none of the above” instead of Romney.

Intel shows its new eight-core processors. You won’t find one of these in your iPad or even your laptop anytime soon at $1,300 for the least expensive model.

Health insurance is a bad bet for many freelancers. With the new health care law (Obamacare) coming next year, however, you will have to buy health insurance or pay a Federal fine. Hence, the new health care law is a huge boost to those who sell health insurance. More people trying to buy the same product will cause the price to go up, and so on.

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Saturday November 10, 2012

David Petraeus, Director of CIA, resigned yesterday late. A part of the story has to do with gmail.

A look at the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 (not much of a name). This is a Windows 8 laptop that folds over backwards and such.

One person's first week with an iPad mini. The small size is just right for many people.

A teenage hacker is banned from the Internet for six years. I don't know how anyone can enforce this or even learn if the hacker violates these conditions. Wierd.

Amazon has built a data center in Sidney, Australia.

Foxconn denies opening a new factory in the U.S. They state that they already have some factories in the U.S.

Disk drive prices have not returned to levels that they were before the Thai floods. Production, however, has returned.

China's government has just blocked all Google services.

And Google is about to face a big antitrust suit from the American government. I guess our governments have a lot in common. That is too bad.

Online courses don't have the respect that old time courses do in the job market. That is because those doing the hiring went to the old time courses. Time, patience.

The Goldman Sachs headquarters in NYC was dry and had power. They deployed sandbags and generators before the storm hit. Everyone knows how to do these things, but almost no one does. We are an odd lot, aren't we?

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Sunday November 11, 2012

Apple's competitors in mobile software have caught up. It is now time for Apple to do something different again.

Apple paid Swiss Rail $21M to use its clock icon.

More thoughts on massive open online courses. This brings a good point - universities also do research, and that is as important as teaching. For many professors, teaching is a sidelight to research. I took many classes from such researchers. The classes weren't any good.

A look at orchestions. We saw an exhibit of these in June in Spyer, Germany while visiting our son.

The TI-84 calculator finally has a color screen.

We learn more about the Petraeus affair and email monitoring. From now on it is "follow the email."

Waiting for the right moment to become a freelancer.

Out of ideas on what to write? Capture your dreams and write about them.

Writing a book is usually not a straight line from start to finish. This post is a good example of the twists taken for one writer and one novel.

Thoughts on using Google+ as a writer’s platform.

Write about your obsessions.

Productivity and efficiency are not important to your employer, but they are important to you. The boss cares if the report is done by Monday. Only you care if you have to work all weekend to finish it.

I highly recommend this blog post. It is in part about writing about dark, ugly things while maintaining a good sense of yourself. Often, writers and other artists that delve into dark, ugly things themselves become dark and ugly. It is not necessary to do so.

Success in the freelance world requires hard work (among other things). And some people call this “hustle.”

Notice the people around you and write. Seriously, notice those people. Never dismiss them as just something or other.

As a freelance writer and worker, keep your files secure. Make and secure backup copies.

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