News for April 2004


Radiation tri-blade symbol 24April2004 - A racoon wandered into my room last night. Scared the bejesus out of me. I was updating the site, minding my own business, when I heard a noise. There was this racoon, looking like a masked bandit, digging thru my trash. He must've walked right by without noticing me.

When I saw him, I shouted, "Hey!" I was probably more startled than he was. Rocky tore out, but returned a minute later, sticking his cute little face inside, as if to ask, "Hey, bro. Got any food?" Good thing it wasn't a skunk. I put out some cat food for him. I'm sure Buddy won't mind.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 23April2004 - Those of you who live here in sunny SoCal might find today's post interesting. With summer right around the corner, there's no better place to see a concert than at Humphrey's by the Bay, located on Shelter Island, in San Diego.

Check out this outdoor venue: not a bad seat anywhere. You're a stone's-throw from the marina. Tall palms, like giant bookends, border both sides of the stage and sway when the wind blows.

Not long after the show begins, the sun sets behind the band, causing the sky to turn all kinds of colors: orange, purple, turquoise, before eventually fading into darkness. If you like jazz or the blues, this is the place for you.

The Beach Boys kick off the 2004 season on June 6th (only 6 weeks away). Shows run nearly every night thru the end of September. I try to go 2 or 3 times each season (once each month is ideal). Been a regular visitor since I first discovered Humphrey's, some 10 years ago. It's a magical place. The nicest people go there. Everybody is in a good mood.

See here for a complete list of concerts this season, or click the button here labeled "2004 Schedule of Events". There you'll see the names of groups like The Temptations and legendary entertainers such as BB King. I like to take friends who are visiting from out-of-state. They always walk away impressed.

The remainder of today's entry on this topic is posted here:> Humphrey's by the Bay: Concerts on Shelter Island

Radiation tri-blade symbol 22April2004 - Sending a special Radified SHOUT OUT to Mr. Blink's students. He says,

Rad, My sixth graders are coming to me with recommended software picks, demo'ing utilities that keep their machines running in top shape. I ask, "Where did you find that proggy?" They respond, "Rad's site, a freeware pick." You dah man.

I couldn't be more honored. Mr. Blink teaches computer skills to 6th, 7th & 8th graders at a private school in Wisconsin, where he has them doing all sorts of technically sophisticated projects. His students are truly fortunate to have him. He loves technology as much as I do. He even has his own Ghost guide.

Maybe someday, one of his students will start their own software company, become rich & famous, and give me a cushy desk job. =) My motto is: Be good to kids. Ya never know; ya might be working for 'em one day.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 20April2004 - Bought the new Woodward book everyone is talking about: Plan of Attack, a 450-page excavation of the decision-making process that led to the war with Iraq. Wanna see for myself what's causing such a stir. I heard the White House is recommending the book on its web site, suggesting people read it. So it can't be *that* scandalous. Or maybe they view it as less damaging than John Dean's Worse Than Watergate, or Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies.

I'm already several chapters into it. Digging it, so far. What I like best is how it makes the different personalities come alive. (You know, at heart, these guys are a bunch of ego-maniacs.) General Tommy Franks, in particular, seems to be a colorful character. The book is an easy, engaging read.

Looks like Cheney was the driving force behind the war. I think Secretaries-of-Defense should be barred from running for higher office .. since the waging of war is an exceedingly expen$ive proposition, one from which their old cronies in the Defen$e industry benefit greatly. This conflict-of-interest is simply too great. (Can you say "Halliburton"?)

The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Plan of Attack: Bob Woodward

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19April2004 - I noticed that the Rad forums now have over 500 registered users, which is surprising, since I removed the requirement to register prior to posting.

I use the Open Source script named YaBB (Yet another Bulletin Board). Its default setting is to allow visitors to read, but requires registration prior to posting. The software can also be configured to require registration prior to viewing, but that seems rather extreme.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 18April2004 - We won! Referring to yesterday's post, we got the judgment back from the court (wow, that was fast), and the judge awarded us the *whole* amount we sued for, every penny, plus court costs.

The best thing about small claims court is the Plaintiff forfeits the right to appeal. And since they counter-sued us (for the maximum amount of $5,000 dollars .. as if out of spite, or trying to get us to back down), they cannot appeal the judge's decision. The remainder of today's news is posted here:> Rad Wins in Court

Radiation tri-blade symbol 17April2004 - Went to court yesterday. Nothing major. Just small claims, where cases are limited to US$5-K. I like going to court. At least, when I'm standing on the side of the table labeled Plaintiff. I get a little adrenaline rush from the experience.

People sometimes accuse me of being argumentative. I disagree. Well, except when I'm hyped on a triple-espresso. Then I can get pretty combative. But I enjoy debating, especially when it's a subject I know something about.

And I learn a lot from debating with people who know more than me. There's nothing wrong with being proved wrong. Some people only care about winning an argument, not increasing their understanding of subject. That's small-mindedness.

Anyway, back to court. We won't know until next week how this case turned out. But I have a good feeling about it. The judge tries to appear impartial, but you can usually tell which way he is leaning by the questions he asks. I have a perfect record in the courtroom, where I am undefeated, un-tied, and un-scored-upon .. because I come prepared.

The remainder of today's news is posted here:> Rad Plays Lawyer

Radiation tri-blade symbol 16April2004 - The site broke the 1-million-hits-per-month mark yesterday: If traffic continues at this pace, we will break the 2-million hits-per-month mark for April, which would be another new RAD record.

Should be close. Traffic continues to grow. Previous site usage stats posted here. I remember the days when the site didn't get a million hits all year.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 15April2004 - Got a nasty head-cold. Feel like crapola. Bad enough to take drugs. Noticed my bottle of Advil had an expiration date of August, 2000. Which tells you how often I take drugs. So I went out and bought a new bottle (10 bucks for 100 pills). It has an expiration date of January, 2007. So I'm good for a while.

Here's one of the nicer notes from the Rad in-box (I added the links):

While searching for info on Norton Ghost following a hard-drive crash, I was Googled to your guide. I now have a Western Digital 2500 as my second hard drive and, also at you suggestion, another in my desk drawer as a spare. Ghost and all my MP3s reside on the second hard drive.

Which leads me to the purpose for this email - THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP. I am a 57-year-old semi-computer-literate man who is closer to belonging to the 21st century because of your well-written guides. Because of you I am also listening to streaming-MP3s as I type this, and have two MP3 players (Rio Cali for exercise and Rio Karma for work).

I really do thank you. Your guides are very well written and informative. You actually do make one believe in cloning.

David L.

I especially like to hear from older folks, because I know how tough it can be for them to master computer technology. Younger kids, who grow up with computers, seem to pick it up very easily. Doncha just hate how easy they make it look?

Radiation tri-blade symbol 14April2004 - If you're a Rad reader from way back, you probably recall the days when we did weekly updates on Wendy's adventures at the world's finest Film school (USC). Yesterday her thesis film, titled Breakwater, screened at the Director's Guild on Sunset blvd in Hollywood, at what is known as the First Look Festival (PDF schedule).

This is big deal for prospective filmmakers: the opportunity for industry professionals to view your work. USC, the world's first Film school, is known for having close ties to the filmmaking industry, with its impressive Board of Directors, including the likes of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas (Star Wars).

Dean Daley (Elizabeth) was there. Mom & Sid were also there, along with Jan & Frank. After her 12-minute film screened, one of 6 films, Wendy introduced her cast. I couldn't make it cuz I have a nasty head-cold, and feel like hammered dog poo. But Wendy said that an agent contacted her afterwards, who was impressed with her work, and is interested in representing her.

The remainder of today's news is posted here:> Breakwater Screens at Director's Guild (First Look Festival)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13April2004 - Been getting lots of mail in response to the post made on 08APR when Condi Rice testified, some of it informing me these readers won't be visiting the site any more, due to (as they put it) my "Bush bashing".

I will post some of these notes later, if I get the chance. They are very well written. I guess, if I were making money off the site, by sponsoring ads, this loss of readers/visitors would be sad, but ironically, traffic this month is exceeding all other months by a wide margin. We might even break the 2-million-hits-per-month mark this month.

I honestly don't see my comments as Bush bashing. And I don't think I'm biased, either, altho I admit it might appear that way. My criticisms are limited to one, focused area. I actually like GWB and agree with many of his policies. Unlike some people I know, I don't dislike the man himself. But 9/11 happened on his watch. And this fact can't be overlooked or excused away.

Sure the eff-bee-eye and the see-eye-aye both botched the intelligence, but my sources tell me this was the fault of their *leadership*, and not the agent actually collecting the intelligence. Both agencies were under-funded and under-equipped, and too little emphasis was given to counter-terrorism, as it is now clear. Who's fault is that? I'll tell you who: the people who make funding and emphasis decisions.

I'm not saying he is *more* culpable than anyone else. I'm just saying he is the commander-in-chief, whose #1 priority is (as he agreed himself) the safety & security of the people. And it makes him look "less-than-presidential" (kind words) when he refuses to admit there was *anything* he could've done prior to 9/11.

The remainder of today's entry on this topic is posted here:> Rad Readers Say Adios

Radiation tri-blade symbol 12April2004 - The first Linux distro I ever installed was OpenLinux by Caldera. Caldera has since changed its name to SCO and the wonderful OpenLinux has died. Caldera was the *first* distro to offer a graphical installer, which made it easier to use than the others.

Yesterday, while watching a special on volcanos, I learned that a "caldera" is a crater formed by the collaspe of a volcano onto itself following an eruption. In fact, Yellowstone National Park in one, big caldera (well, actually 3). It appears that Yellowstone "blows" on a timetable of once every 600,000 years.

Anyway, I found this word interesting, and wondered how the company came to select it for its original name. Maybe they envisioned themselves establishing a giant "footprint" in the Operating System world after the "collapse" of Microsoft. For me, the term caldera will always be synomynous with Linux.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 10April2004 - Two good boxing matches on HBO tonight. Things get underway at 6:45 Pacfic time (9:45 Eastern). The undercard, with Spinks & Judah, should be better. More action.

I was disappointed to hear HBO canned George Foreman, replacing him with Roy Jones. Roy is a great *boxer*, but he doesn't have near the personality of Big George. They should've canned Larry Merchant instead. He's so annoying.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 09April2004 - Received a bunch of mail in response to the entry made two days ago (7th), regarding espresso machines. Most readers claim that the next step up from what I have now, would be the Expobar Office Pulser (US$675).

This Spanish-made "professional-style" machine allows you to steam and brew simultaneously. They claim it is the only such machine available for less than US$1,000. Review posted here (Coffee Geek). Sounds interesting at that price.

Several others sang the praises of the ECM Giotto Premium (US$1,695), which one reader touted as "simply the best home machine you can get". ECM stands for Espresso Coffee Machines. They *do* look gorgeous, but that's a lot of broccoli to pay for an espresso machine. I didn't know they could cost so much. I still think the Pasquini Livia looks better.

(Speaking of espresso, can you tell I had one too many cappuccino's yesterday?)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08April2004 - Condi Rice testifies today. If I were GWB's advisor, I'd recommend he stand up before the American people and take full responsibility for what happened on 9/11. That would take the wind out of all his critics' sails. People would respect him a lot more. The administration's hard-line that they did everything they could is a bunch of hooey.

Takes a big man to stand up and admit he made a mistake. The issue that is rubbing everyone wrong centers upon RESPONSIBILITY. Any 4-year-old can make excuses. Nobody ever wants to hear excuses. We just want someone to take *responsibility* for crying out loud. Is that too much to ask? All this excuse-making from the administration is just pissing people off.

Remember when Arnold (in his bid for the governor's office) was accused of sexually-harassing women. What did Arnold do? Did he make excuses? No. His stood up on national television and ADMITTED HE WAS WRONG. What happened next? He was elected governor of California. By a wide margin.

Have you heard any more about Arnold sexually-harassing women? No. Why not? Because people don't expect perfection. We just want someone who is big enough to take responsibility when they make a mistake. And making excuses is just another way of REFUSING to accept responsibility.

The remainder of today's frustration is posted here: Condi Rice 9/11 Testimony

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07April2004 - Espresso is part of any good geek's arsenal. While traipsing around the Net, I ran across two machines I found myself lusting after. They both cost more than I'm willing to pay, but I've added them to my list of "things-to-get-when-I-become-rich-and-famous".

The first is the Elektra Nivola (US$829, review here, home site). The other is the Pasquini Livia 90 (US$1,225, review here and here, home site). Supposedly, La Marzocco makes the world's finest machine.

All these machines are Italian, and their prices have climbed since the US dollar fell versus international currencies. I have the Solis 70, which (at $350) is considered a "budget" espresso machine.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 06April2004 - In these daily updates, I usually try to post *original* content (no matter how lame) and not simply link to other sites .. but HERE is a very unusual site. Titled GHOST TOWN. It's about the area surrounding Chernobyl: site of the world's worst nuclear-plant disaster (25April1986) in the Ukraine, part of the then-Soviet Union.

I got the link from Nancy (seated on right). The site is created by a woman named Elena, who lives 130-KM (80-miles) from the Chernobyl "dead zone," as it's called. She hops on her motorcycle, and armed with only a dosimeter (radiation monitoring device), rides into places where she encounters no other living creatures. Eerie.

The site consists of ~27 pages. It contains plenty of generously-sized photos. You'll need 15 minutes to go through it. What I like most is the site's raw, unprofessional look. It's an example of the Internet and the personal web site at its best. Here at RADIFIED, we've made the yellow radiation tri-blade symbol our site logo. I hope you enjoy the trip. It starts here.

Tonight the UConn girls play for the national championship against Tennessee. If they win, UConn will be the first school in history to sweep both college basketball titles. The UConn girls have won the national title the last 2 years. Today would make it a record-tying 3rd straight.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 04April2004 - I've been receiving more virus-infected e-mails the last few days than ever before. They're all coming from the same IP address, which I traced to Ankara. Heck, I didn't even know where Ankara was. Turns out it's the capital of Turkey. (Shame on me for not knowing.)

I simply deleted the address that was receiving all the bad e-mail. And I have multiple layers of virus protection, so it's no problem. People send me infected e-mail all the time. I'm just surprised about receiving so many from the same source IP.

The addy was freely available off the web, so maybe it was harvested by a bot (machine). Conversely, the addy contained in the Contact page is hidden within an image/graphic, which bots can't read. For more about Internet Security, check out Ice Czar's link farm.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 03April2004 - I'm looking forward to today's Final Four playoff game between the UConn Huskies (31-6) and Duke Blue Devils (31-5). UConn has won its last 3 meetings with Duke. Both teams have highly-respected coaches: Jim Calhoun and Coach K (who has his own web site). UConn won the national title is '99, when it beat then #1-ranked (and heavily-favored) Duke in the championship game. Expect to see college basketball at its finest.

The game is scheduled to start at 6:18 PST in San Antonio, Texas. The winner will meet the winner of Oklahoma State vs Georgia Tech on Monday night for the national title.

The UConn *women's* team is also playing in the Final Four. UConn is only the 5th school in history to have both its men's & women's teams in the Final Four in the same year. Go Huskies!

Radiation tri-blade symbol 01April2004 - April Fool's day. Don't get fooled.

In reference to the previous post (30March), I received the following note today from Chris Myden (from Calgary, Canada), who is the author of one of the web's best guides on creating high-quality MP3s. He says:

"Hi Rad. I used to an editor of that category, so I added my site and a few others I considered the best guides out there."

So that explains it.