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: October 21-27, 2013

Summary of this week:

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

Monday October 21, 2013

Today we have several tech items from the front page of the Washington Post.

Google takes a walk through Arlington National Cemetery to map all the graves. In recent years, the government has discovered that they don't know where people are buried there. To the rescue comes an extrememly successful private company that donates its resources to help the government. This is a good thing that Google is doing. Now let's here some dead head in Washington blast Google for legally paying less taxes or something.

The Administration admits to software problems in HealthCare.gov and calls in experts to fix the problems. Too little too late. One thing we know, and have known for decades, adding people to a late project only makes it later. I guess that gem is too obscure for these fellas. Watch the bills rise.

The government doesn't even know how many people have completely registered via HealthCare.gov. Your tax dollars at waste.

Stronger rumors - Apple is to show a new iPad and iPad mini tomorrow.

The world has turned upside down: by year's end Netflix may have more subscribers than HBO.

After all these years and dollars, Microsoft Office continues to dominate the enterprise. OpenOffice and LibreOffice and other no-cost office suites are dropping in use.

Are we ready for wearable computers? Will people run away from you once they realize that you are wearing a camera and microphone that are turned on?

Gartner expects tablets to grow over 40% this year as sale of other computers declines. One factor here is that the other computers last much longer. People are not replacing their "home computer" every 12 months.

Microsoft's second generation tablets are much better than their first.

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Tuesday October 22, 2013

Apple's big event is today.

You may not want to read what is really in chicken nuggets.

Nokia shows two new phablets - smartphones with 6" displays.

There is an online petition asking that the source code to HealthCare.gov be made open source.

The TSA admits that airline hijackings are unlikely, almost zero chance.

Sales of the iPad are dropping. History is coming around again as Apple charges premium prices for its tablet and there are now a lot of other tablets available that cost much less.

The struggles of Wikipedia. The site must update itself as it still operates the way it did ten years ago.

15% of America doesn't use the Internet - at all. Many are in rural areas. What happened to all those billions of dollars of our money that was spent on rural broadband?

About half the public libraries in America are in rural areas.

Robots are shrinking in cost - still too high for practical uses, but going in that direction.

David Pogue leaves the New York Times for Yahoo.

Most IT workers don't have technical degrees. I could go on and on about this, but not today.

Some history of Facebook and employee lockins. Zuckerburg basically decided to hire young naive people who would do anything he told them to do.

Silicon Valley once again pushes for immigration reform, i.e., changes in law that benefits themselves.

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Wednesday October 23, 2013

Apple held their big event yesterday. We now have the iPad Air - a thinner iPad - along with an updated iPad mini, updates to the MacBook Pro laptop computers, and the release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks. What I find significant is that the update to OS X is free of charge!

There are many stories on the Internet about this. Here is one on the iPad Air. The iPad mini with improved display. Here is the MacBook Pro updates - better display, better processor, longer battery life. A look at OS X 10.9 Mavericks (I hate the nicknames they give to the versions).

Take great care: if you call yourself a hacker, you may lose your Fourth Amdendment rights. This is crazy.

“Don’t underestimate the power of telling someone on your team, ‘I believe in you.’” -Phil Bowdle

Apple will build the Mac Pro in the U.S. This is relatively low volume, but it is something.

Belkin already has new keyboards and cases for the iPad Air.

Things that Apple didn't show yesterday - wish list, but oh finances and all that stuff gets in the way.

Two of the contractors building HealthCare.gov have had websites that were hacked and that meant loss of private information.

Best Western may partner with Google to have a Street View walking 3D kind of thing of the interiors of its motels.

Microsoft is working on a product like Google Glass. I am sure everyone else is as well.

It is a visual world: this year's fasting growing apps are Vine and Flickr.

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Thursday October 24, 2013

Everyone wants to be in the music business. Why? YouTube is about to launch its own music service.

Employers are using GPS and other tech to track employees at work. This is not just monitoring your web surfing, it is monitoring your location. People are paid to work. For years, electric company trucks parked under the shade tree across the road from my  mother's house for two hours every day in the middle of the day. Public money wasted.

HP, the printer company, will sell its own 3D printers in 2014.

Microsoft is cutting the price of its tablets. They are still too expensive. Apple has the luxury tablet; everyone else has a budget tablet and it should have a budget price.

Microsoft claims that its tablets let you do work, not just kick back and read. There is some validity to the claim, but the market for those who produce is much smaller than the market for those who consume.

View a person's LinkedIn profile from iOS mail. That will be nice for infrequent emailers, but how many times do you need to see your boss' profile?

Amazon is spending vast sums of money on buldings and such in Seattle. The giant corporate palace usually marks the beginning of the end of a successful company.

Rising food prices is killing the McDonald's Dollar Menu. Let's burn more food as fuel, that was a smart idea.

Samsung sold over 40million units of the Galaxy S4 smartphone in six month. We are talking about computer-radio-camera gadgets that fit in your pocket and bring all the world's knowledge to the palm of your hand. We aren't talking candy bars or pencils. The world has changed.

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Friday October 25, 2013

I had breakfast with some fine gentlemen and then reviewed papers the rest of the day. No Internet viewing

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Saturday October 26, 2013

Thoughts on a wandering generation. In some ways I envy them, and then I pity them.

Apple users are moving to OS X 10.9 much faster than they moved to 10.8. I haven't moved yet, but will wait until next week to avoid the rush.

The upgraded MacBook Pros perform 50% faster in graphics. I guess this is not a surprise. When do you buy?

The PHP website php.net was hacked. Is everyone ready for national electronic health records? Oh, wait, we are, I think.

This is a self-balancing electric motor driven unicycle. At $1,800 it is not yet practical for transportation, but the technology could do wonders for the disabled. Its small footprint, literally the size of a foot, makes it a wonderful transporting machine for indoors.

It appears that Google is secretly building a large, floating data center in SF Bay.

The Internet Archive Historical Software Collection lets us run old software that no longer exists.

Tech experts scoff at the idea of fixing HealthCare dot Gov now that it is up and "running." But the politicians, as they often do, believe that yelling loudly and repeatedly will make the electrons flow in the desired direction. Those of us who attempt to manage projects and teach others to do so are so grateful for this fiasco. It gives us relevant examples for our discussions.

This is an article about computers that mimic the human brain. I first read such an article in 1983. Are these guys a bit behind the curve?

The next generation of USB plugs will handle more DC power and that may boost the practical use of DC power networks in the home.

Google driverless cars have fewer accidents than people-driven cars. That makes sense.

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Sunday October 27, 2013

There are big plans for GCC 4.9 in 2014 in response to the success of CLANG LLVM.

A 12-year-old boy helps hack Canadian government web sites. Of course HealthCare dot Gov is secure (not). We don't have any 12-year-old boys in America (not).

Being more neat and organized helps some writers be more productive. As usual, try this. If it works, use it. If it doesn't work for you, forget it.

Writing is one of those (a)vocations that has no age limit. Start at any time, continue the rest of your life.

In some cases, with some people, losing sleep boosts creativity. This doesn't work well with me, most of the time.

When you work, work. When you rest, rest. Easy idea, not so easy to implement.

The agony of writing the story buried inside myself.

Freelance writing for businesses: approach them as they are too busy to write help wanted ads.

Why use plain language? So people can understand you. Make it hard for people to misunderstand you.

Being a full-time freelance worker is not what you see in the movies. Some people go nuts.

The value of writer's workshops - you meet other writers.

Notegraphy - an app that turns a written statement into a poster for posting to social networks. Your text looks better.

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