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: March 18-24, 2013

Summary of this week:

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

Monday March 18, 2013

The USA, famous for using UAV to kill people, wants to set the worldwide guidelines for using UAVs. Odd.

Google has already removed the RSS reading Chrome extension.

The STMicroelectronics-Ericsson partnership has failed in Europe - 1,600 jobs lost.

This is a Lenovo ThinkPad Terminator edition. I'm not sure of the purpose here, but they seem to be quite proud of it.

This is an interesting site that collects feeds from webcams. geocam.tv.

Lenovo has updated the design of the ThinkPads making them thinner and lighter.

Thoughts on the American shopping mall. The mall has been replaced in many communities with the Wal Mart Super Center (or whatever they call them). In rural areas, Wal Mart is the place to be and work and shop and live.

Panasonic is moving out of the TV business.

"But the truth is, there’s a reason most well-known writers still teach English. There’s a reason most authors drive dented cars. There’s a reason most writers have bad teeth. It’s not because we’ve chosen a life of poverty. It’s that poverty has chosen our profession.

Even when there’s money in writing, there’s not much money."

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Tuesday March 19, 2013

A new Python CUDA compiler is coming for the Nvidia processors.

Apple is likely to have $170Billion in cash sometime this year.

Congress is considering a law to require all cell phone providers to save all text messages in America. That would allow law enforecement organizations to go back in time and find evidence to support prosecutions. Oh, and by the way, thanks for telling all criminals that law enforcement currently can't see text messages.

And while we are at it, the Administration believes that the government doesn't need a warrant to attach a GPS tracker to a citizen's vehicle and follow the citizen.

Classic photo of all of Microsoft in 1978. Yes, people had hair like that and clothing like that in 1978.

Reddit has made an original mini-series of videos that explain issues like you are talking to a five year old. That is a good technique. Perhaps some of our elected representatives would try this to learn how stupid they appear in public.

80% of H-1B visa holders are men. That makes the whole story far more intriguing.

There are many women and minorities working tech in Silicon Valley. I guess that is not a secret to me, but then I have visited tech companies in Silicon Valley many times. I don't think anyone is slamming the door in the faces of persons. The professions don't attract women. Women are certainly "smart enough" to do the work. There is something happening, and I don't know anyone who understands the situation fully.

NASA's Curiosity rover is stuck again with a software problem.

Lockheed Martin develops a method of making sea water potable using 1/100th the energy.

You can live well on $16K a year income if you move to the right country. Many people are doing these kinds of things.

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Wednesday March 20, 2013

Today is the first day of spring. Why is it still freezing in Virginia?  NOTE: I was misinformed and didn't check on what someone told me. Today was not the first day of spring.

Google is expanding its fibre optic service to city near Kansas City.

Someone hit South Korea with a big malware attack. The likely suspects: China, North Korean (well, maybe not North Korea).

Visiting Montana's vanished towns.

We may be doubling the capacity of hard disk drives in the near future.

Abu Dhabi opens the world's largest solar concentrating power plant.

It appears that the CIA has signed a contract with Amazon Web Services to build a cloud computing system for the agency.

Television is no longer ruled by the Nielson ratings. Many of the cable channels learned this much sooner than CBS, NBC, and the like.

Andy Rubin created Android at Google; now he is leaving.

The Minuum Project - maybe a new keyboard for these little mobile devices.

Cubans are communicating around their government by passing around memory sticks. The memory stick is the 21st century underground newspaper.

West Virginia won't release a report on its rural broadband program because is it too embarrassing. Your tax dollars at waste. This is all part of the Obama rural broadband fiasco.

The Washington Post is going to have a paywall.

The Department of Homeland Security is moving to cloud computing and agile development. More  likely, some managers at DHS learned a few buzzwords and started repeating them.

Nvidia shows their next step in technology called Volta.

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Thursday March 21, 2013

Twitter is now 7 years old and has 200 million users. About 6 1/2 years ago, while a government employee, I recommended in writing that the government use Twitter for a number of different communications methods. Dead silence. It doesn't make me feel any better knowing that history showed I was right.

YouTube has a billion monthly viewers. This is a large number of viewers - far greater than the most-watched program on television or anything else.

No one has ever hiked the length of the 1,800-mile Great Eastern Trail. A couple is attempting it this year. Here is the hikers' website.

The Department of Defense will be 650,000 iOS devices to replace Blackberries.

It seems that about half of laser pointers are out of spec and emit too much energy. Anything you can buy at Wal Mart or Best Buy is made cheaply. It is not tested to ensure it meets specifications. Half lots of time, money, and expertise? Run detailed tests on the batteries, memory sticks, SD cards, etc. that you buy. The variance in performance is wide.

Google introduces Keep - a note keeping service. Here is the official announcement.

Jeff Bezos finds engines from the 1969 Apollo space program on the ocean floor. I guess is you have enough money, you can do this sort of thing. Like many people will ask, "isn't there something more beneficial to mankind that you could do with all that money?"

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Friday March 22, 2013

Students in rural areas continue to fall farther behind. I thought the President fixed all that with his national rural broadband plan thing.

The chairman of the FCC is resigning. He was partly behind the great rural broadband fiasco.

County by county health rankings. Guess what? Rich people are healthier than poor people.

Everyone seems to be building a wristwatch and a pair of augmented reality glasses.

Tips on digitizing all your paper.

The first Raspberry Pi awards have been given.

Good news! The Universe is 100 million years older than previously thought. I am sure this is exciting to some people. I am also sure that taxpayers paid for the study that brings this conclusion.

Apple claims to get 75% of its electrical power from renewable sources. Good publicity move for Apple.

A Harvard study links sugary drinks to 25,000 deaths a year in the U.S. And Congress is attacking the Constitution over far fewer deaths due to the mythical "assault rifle."

The efforts of some groups to hide their communication online. A little study and they could do much better. The science of hidden communication is old and has a lot of techniques.

News on the efforts to expand the number of H-1B visas. The number may double to 130,000, but wishes for 300,000 are dead.

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Saturday March 23, 2013

The art and legality of building a "secret compartment" in your car. Yes, drug runners use them, but so do people who want to hide valuables so they won't be stolen. And so the government enters the picture and, as usual, things go down from there quickly.

People have been buying guns in record numbers the past several months. The biggest beneficiary are wildlife programs.

How Apple retail store employees go underground to tell their tales. Those guys are underpaid and over-performing. I have yet to hear a good explanation.

I still don't understand Google's dismissal of Google Reader. Feedly is now the most-used RSS reader.

GCC 4.8 has been released.

The U.S. government expands its scanning of citizen's email. And, once again, I thought all this big brother stuff left town with that Bush guy.

Thoughts on drones and how we see them. A "drone" today is a remote controlled aircraft. It has no intelligence, no thought, no self control. Someone flies it from a distance. That is all there is folks. Don't be afraid of the machine, fear the person in control.

The Pentium from Intel is 20 years old today. Why didn't they just call it the 80586? Anyways, this post has neat videos. Al Yankovich is the best.

Wintel still lives. The coming Microsoft Blue OS is tied closely to Intel's coming Haswell processors.

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Sunday March 24, 2013

This story is all over the Internet so it must be important. Apple buys WiFiSLAM, an indoor GPS company.

The IRS spent $60,000 making a Star Trek parody training video. Believe it or not, training videos cost a lot of money, and this one is just typical of government. Somehow, it was leaked and became famous. Still, it is the proverbil tip of the iceberg.

The ten companies with the most tech job openings. Oracle is number one.

The West Virginia legislature is already set to ban Google Glass while driving. It is almost as if do-gooders like this world wide can't wait for someone to invent something new so they can regulate it.

Notes on several different forms of a writing retreat.

consistently good is better than occasionally excellent”. Is it? All a matter of opinion and personality. I tend to agree with the statement.

Writing, at its best, is a lonely life - Ernest Hemingway

Social media and church ministry.

Always carry a paper notebook.

A couple of excellent tips for writers:

"Read (other people’s work). The more you read, the more you naturally absorb writing conventions and get a sense of how wordplay and style work.

Read it out loud (your own work). Often, this will help you quickly spot sentences or words that are too long or don’t belong."

"Don't panic, just get to work." Excellent advice.

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