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News for April 2005


Radiation tri-blade symbol 30.apr.2005 - Allergy season is here. Everywhere I go, I hear people sneezing. If you have a big ol' schnoz like me, which sucks up all manner of debris, I might be able to help.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here: Net Pot flushes sinuses with saline solution

Radiation tri-blade symbol 28.apr.2005 - Updated the Guide to Norton Ghost. It is the original Radified guide, and still the site's most popular feature .. after 5 years on the 'Net. It presents what many consider to be the ultimate hard drive back-up strategy.

Speaking of the Ghost guide, do you prefer the ads on this page, or those found here? Or a sprinkling of both light & dark? And speaking of ads, do you prefer this style, or this (banner)? I designed the former myself. Seems less commercial.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 27.apr.2005 - Have a special treat for you today, by popular request: another picture of Rad Jr. v1.0 (aka "The Bug").

His first words were "Half Life 2" (his favorite first person shooter). Rumor has it he's planning to start his own web site: LAN_Parties_For_Toddlers.com. </jest>

Mom took him to the East coast to visit grandma & grandpa. His first flight. Seems to have gone well. Slept most of the way. Doc said to make sure he's sucking on something during take-off & landing .. to equalize pressure in ears.

They return tonight. In fact, they're probably taking off right now. Just me & the cats here, holding down the fort. Looks like I'll have to clean up this mess of pizza boxes, and take off my favorite t-shirt (Property of Geek Dept).

Went to Crystal Cove yesterday, all by my lonesome, for a run at sunset. Saw a baby seal on the beach there. Friendly little fellow. Playful. Not much bigger than the Bug.

Very cool. Never had an encounter like that before. No sign of momma seal. Eventually he flopped his way back into the surf, never looked back. The ranger drove up right afterwards & wanted to know if he looked hurt. "Nope."

Radiation tri-blade symbol 26.apr.2005 - Been researching ads, especially the best way to display them. There exists a whole *world* out there on the topic. I've read *dozens* of articles.

This type of research is not my favorite. It involves the business end of things, which kicks my brain into a different mode, which I find less rewarding. Less creative. More like drudgery. I prefer to learn about technology, and how to use it. But if I can increase the site's "click-thru rate" (CTR), hey, I'm all for that.

First thing I learned is that much of the info out there is contradictory. Some sites insist the best approach is to stick a banner (horizontal) at the top of the page. Others claim surfers have become "blind" to banners, so it's best to use towers. I agree that my brain filters banners, which seem blatantly commercial. So I prefer towers.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here: Borderless Google AdSense ads: towers a slightly different shade

Radiation tri-blade symbol 25.apr.2005 - Here in Laguna (land of Lagunatics) I know this person (no names) who claims to have psychic abilities. I mean, that is her day-job. And I keep hearing from people how "good" she is.

So whenever I run into her, I always ask, "What number am I thinking of?" At first, I did this in jest .. you know: tongue-in-cheek, playfully, to make conversation .. cuz I don't really believe in that hocus-pocus stuff. (I've *never* been to a psychic, not even for fun.) But the last *four* times I've run into her, SHE GUESSED MY NUMBER.

I mean, I didn't tell the number to anyone else. I only made it up seconds before asking her. The first time, I thought to myself, "Lucky guess." The next time I ran into her (week later), I thought, "*Real* lucky." The third time she guessed correctly, I thought, "That's a good trick."

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Encounter with a Psychic

Radiation tri-blade symbol 24.apr.2005 - Posted 3 more photos from Battman's world tour. (Refer to entry for the 22nd.) These are from Kenya, which has the equator running thru the middle of it. From his note:

  • Changing another tire on our overlander in Northern Kenya. "Bandit Road" area near Lake Turkana. Notoriety due to robbings along the road. We did not get robbed, but the road ate our tires eight times.

  • Locals gather 'round campfire: heart of "Bandit Country", Northern Kenya. I ran into these locals around midnight while using my headlamp to spot wild animals. They were on their way to wash in the river. No running water, electricity, or other conveniences where they live. Only mud huts with grass thatched roofs. The boy wearing western style t-shirt is too young for traditional dress. Hey wait, where's my wallet?

  • Upcountry warrior with rifle: heart of "Bandit Country", Northern Kenya. Most males over 15 carry three weapons: club, knife (big) & spear. The older, more respected, warriors carry rifles. This guy was the youngest I saw with a rifle. Weapons are used to guard cattle from poachers from other tribes.

    Over the years, violence had escalated to all-out war, but cooled recently. This warrior pictured here would not "pose" in the street. Too much pride. My interpreter said the warrior insisted on going into the bush, out of sight. These guys really dress like this!

    Most natives expect a fee for a photo. It's negotiable. They try to get about 100 Kenyan Shillings (~ $1.40) per picture. Outrageous normally. Okay once in a while.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 23.apr.2005 - Congrats to Evan (<far right), who graduated from Brooks yesterday with a degree in Photography. He said:

Graduation was awesome! Family came from far and wide to celebrate. Everything went smoothly. I am the first Wolleneberg to graduate college! Everybody was emotional. Even pops was cry'n.

Evan's slick flash-based site is here:> Wollenberg Photography. He wants to get into automobile advertising, cuz that's where his passion lies. But his talent is not limited to horsepower.

If you know anyone residing in SoCal who's looking for a talented photographer, give him a buzz. I can vouch for him. More about Evan is posted on > March 31st. Regulars might recall his high-flying: Big Air at Pismo [aka: Yes, it broke]. =)

He currently shoots with a Canon 10-D digital SLR (6.3-MP), and has a 1Ds Mark II (16.7-MP) at the top of his wish-list. Topping his FILM-based wish-list is the sexy FUJI 6800III, which makes him salivate. Talk about indulging your technolust...

He currently resides in Santa Barbara with his kitty (& student loans).

Radiation tri-blade symbol 22.apr.2005 - Happy Earth Day. Speaking of the earth .. I received another update (#7) from my buddy Battman. If you're a regular, you know he set out last October on his life-long dream to travel the globe. Today's email comes from Uganda & includes 5 great photos.

The first is of a family of elephants (108-KB). The next is of a toothy crocodile (140-KB). Then we have a lion on the prowl (108-KB). Check out the colors of this cave where bats are hanging around (83-KB). The last is of Murchison Falls (88-KB). His note:

Photos are from UGANDA, around the Nile river, which begins in Uganda before moving some 6,000 miles north through several countries on its way to Egypt. I spent 5 days camping on the river's edge ~50 meters upstream from this photo.

Africa has been an experience. The people are destitute, without hope for improvement. There's political corruption, lack of education & infrastructure, and AIDS, to name a few.

Insect bites here are more painful. Thorns are longer; they puncture deeper. People are nice, but most want to sell you something. These challenges are countered by Africa's bigness, its beauty, potential, rawness, uniqueness, and diversity. It grows on you.

Next stop: INDIA
Nomad Mike

See entry for the 14th for update #6.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 21.apr.2005 - Delivered the Radified Dell last night. Sad to see 'er go. I poured lots of RAD love into that puppy. But it's satisfying to know it found a good home, where it'll get plenty of attention from its new owner.

Last thing I did before running it over there was to create 3 separate back-up Ghost images (in case they accidentally destroy something). One image went to a dedicated partition on the hard disk. The second was saved to CD-R (took nine 80-minute discs). The last image I backed-up to DVD.

This computer has one of those new-fangled double-density DVD burners. So I used a double-density DVD disc, which supports a capacity of 8.5 gigs. (Lot of space.) I tell ya, the hardest part of this whole computer job was unwrapping that dang DVD disc. I couldn't get the stupid wrapper off the jewel case.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Norton Ghost 2003 supports dual-layer DVD discs (8.5 GB)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 20.apr.2005 - Done configuring the new PC. (Refer to entry for the 11th.) Loaded it with all the best freeware. Running a stability test right now. Had to run both Folding@Home and Prime95 Torture Test to get the CPU to run at 100%. And I had to select the Torture Test option: In-place large FFTs (maximum heat, power consumption).

The system is running max'ed out & passing every test with flying colors. I'm impressed. Never once did I have to hit the reset button, or even give the familiar three-finger salute (ctrl-alt-del). If the system is still running when I wake in the morning (no lock-up or crash), it will be good to go: RAD-certified.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Final Thoughts: Dell 8400 Desktop PC

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19.apr.2005 - My favorite show airs tonight (Tuesdays): Frontline. They shine their investigative spotlight in some of the most interesting places. Last week, for example, it was on Karl Rove, the political strategist George Bush calls The Architect.

He's the guy that got George elected & re-elected. From last week, I recall that Rove is not beyond using "dirty tricks" and that he plays to the religious right, tho is not particularly religious himself. He attacks his opponents strengths, rather than their weaknesses, and has no life outside of politics. George rewarded him by giving him Hilary Clinton's old office. (He declined to be interviewed for the broadcast.)

It was one of the best Frontline specials ever. You can watch the whole thing online. Even people who don't like Karl Rove call him a genius.

Tonight they air a follow-up to controversial story, called Death of a Princess. The original is called "perhaps the most controversial program in the history of public television," recounting the public execution of a young Saudi Arabian princess and her lover for adultery.

Everything Frontline does is first class. I especially like their narrator: Will Lyman. Something about his voice makes it easy to digest the story. Gonna fire up some Pop Secret and settle in.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 18.apr.2005 - Had a chat with Adam Smith last night. He assured me it would be okay to code ads into the forum pages. He said, "Come down off your high horse, Rad. Join the party. Heck, everybody's doing it."

So I sought technical advice from the gods who rule the world of YaBB (Yet another Bulletin Board), the Perl-based CGI script I use. The oracle there instructed me modify one little (seemingly harmless) 20-KB file (display.pl).

After I uploaded the modified file, .. *boom* .. ads show up on a thousand pages. Pretty amazing. I would hate to have to code & upload all 1200 pages individually. Oy vey.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Coding Google Ads into RAD Forums

Radiation tri-blade symbol 16.apr.2005 - Still working on Radifying the new (Desktop) PC I got yesterday (a friend's). Posted some CPU-Z screenshots for you to peruse. So far, so good. No stability problems. I'm liking what I see. Also posted a 3DMark05 benchmark .. for you to compare with your system.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 15.apr.2005 - The new computer I ordered earlier this week arrived today. (Refer to entry for the 11th.) First thing I noticed is that Dell no longer includes a Windows CD. I mean, they include all these other CDs, which no one really cares about. They even installed programs I begged them not to install, such as AOL (AO-Hell), MusicMatch Jukebox and a dozen other krapware trials.

But the one CD I'd really like to have (in case I ever need to re-install the OS), they stop including. Instead, they include a chinchy piece of cardboard, shaped like a CD, which says:...

Remainder of today's entry is blogged here: Dell no longer includes Windows CD with their PCs.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 14.apr.2005 - Received another email from my buddy, Battman, who sold all his worldly possessions to travel the globe. He's been gone since October. See here:

I am in Africa. Central Africa. Uganda to be precise. Just returned from a week at Murchison Falls, Uganda's largest & most spectacular National Park. Lots of crocodiles, hippos, carnivores of every kind. Beautiful birds.

Caught a fish with a club. Enjoyed many walks there, and a couple of game drives in which I saw a female lion within 20-feet: 350 pounds of muscle, bone & teeth. Another time, I saw a group of four. Many giraffes, elephants, etc. I have pics, but no computers in Uganda have Windows XP, which works with my camera (compatible drivers). So the pics must wait.

Next, I'm either heading down to Tanzania, or east to Kenya. India will follow, home of Yogananda. You should read his book Autobiography of a Yogi when you get a chance. Great stuff.

Nomad Mike

This is Battman's 6th update. The 5th is blogged here: Nomad Mike's World Tour Update v5. The 4th is here: Battman Continues his World Tour. The 2nd is here: Battman's World Tour update #2.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13.apr.2005 - I was thinking of offering space on my site to those who might have a helpful guide/article to write, allowing them to keep 2/3rds of the revenue their feature might generate. (That's "two for you, one for me".)

If you refer to the entry for 07.March below, you'll see that Google has in place tools that allow the tracking of how much revenue is generated by any page, or group of pages.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here: Write a guide, make a buck.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 12.apr.2005 - Regarding yesterday's post, about ordering a new computer, with the new Intel chipset .. just received an email from Dell Shipment Notification: Congratulations! Your order shipped on 04-11-2005. Woohoo! Man, those sukers are fast.

I get pretty excited about stuff like this. When it arrives, I go into an altered state like that guy in Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Wait! Is that the UPS truck I hear? ...

Radiation tri-blade symbol 11.apr.2005 - Friends called last night to say their computer died .. as in D-E-A-D dead. Nada, nothing, kaput. Being 5 years old, it's time for a new one. I don't have time to build one right now, so I offered to order one for them from the folks at Dell.

After reviewing Dell's options with longevity in mind, I opted for the 8400, which they call their Cutting Edge Technology model. This PC will not be used for gaming, and good thing, cuz those are most expensive of all. Of course, the introductory teaser price climbs rapidly as you add the goodies.

The chipset was what drew me to this model. I always start with the chipset and build my systems around them. This will be my first encounter with Intel's new chipset and LGA775-packaging CPU. I also ordered one of the new dual-layer DVD burners, so it won't become obsolete anytime soon.

Other items include a 17-inch flat panel LCD monitor, 3.2-GHz CPU, 160-GB SATA hard drive, PCI Express Radeon X300 SE, Windows XP Professional, 1-GB DDR2 memory (533-MHz, the fast stuff), decent speakers, wireless networking, and of course a floppy drive. Could've easily spent much more. Should be a nice non-gaming system.

When it arrives, I'll "Radify" it for them. It'll be fun to take that puppy for a spin around the block. Can hardly wait.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 10.apr.2005 - Folks been asking how I go about posting my photo-series. I use software called BreezeBrowser. You simply upload your photos to your hard drive, using a USB connection/cable. (For this, I use a different program, called Downloader, made by the same guy.)

Then launch BreezeBrowser & select the photos you want to post on your site. Click the "Generate HTML" button and voila!. The software creates all web pages, including thumbnails and reduces your original images to postcard-size .. all with a single click

The remainder of today's post is blogged here: BreezeBrowser: Viewing & Manipulating Digital Images

Radiation tri-blade symbol 09.apr.2005 - Posted that photo-series I mentioned yesterday & Wednesday. 18 photos. See here: Swami's Meditation Gardens: Encinitas, California. I'll wait a few days for the regular RAD readers to see them before coding in the ads.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08.apr.2005 - Working on a photograph tour of the Meditation Gardens we visited Wednesday, down in Encinitas .. similar to the one I did of Crystal Cove. Should be done tomorrow. Lots of great shots. Interesting place. Super peaceful. No over-clocking going on there at all.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07.apr.2005 - Regarding the site's new Google ads, I did some detective work and learned Google offers what they call 'channels", which are detailed monitoring 'buckets', so you can see where the clicks come from. (They only pay for *clicks*, not "page impressions".) So I installed the 'channels' to see what gives.

Unlike ads themselves, which require you to (tediously) insert a piece of JavaScript code into every web page you want to run their ads on, channel monitoring is done entirely on Google's end. You simply enter the URL of the page(s) you want to monitor, click the Create a new channel button, & Google sets up the 'bucket' for you. All downstream pages are included.

They allocate 100 channels. So far, I used ~25, and discovered the Ghost guide is the site's single-biggest money-maker, by a comfortable margin. Even more than the home page. This is due to raw traffic: the Ghost guide simply sees more traffic than any other guide/feature. There's no substitute for heavy traffic.

The home page & the FDISK guide are next. But I also learned that clicks at these pages only pay a nickel or dime, whereas features such as Heisler Park, Crystal Cove, and especially the Film School Chronicles pay *dollars* per click (2 or 3).

Umm, know anybody that wants to go to Film school? =) USC is the oldest (est. 1929) & world's best. I can provide detailed insights into their marquee graduate Production program (3-year), insights I guarantee you'll find no where else on the web, including all the trials and tribulations one might expect in such a highly competitive environment, inhabited by personalities who all want to be the director, and see their vision of the world displayed on the silver screen.

Yes sir, step right up. Right this way. Come one, come all.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 06.apr.2005 - We went to the Yogananda meditation gardens down in Encinitas today. Very cool place (est. 1937). Very peaceful. Some call it "Swami's". Good surfing nearby at Swami's beach. See here > for a photo.

I took enough photos to do a little series, like the ones I did for Crystal Cove and Heisler Park. Maybe I'll throw that together tomorrow. I love that place (and I don't even meditate). Always come away refreshed.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 04.apr.2005 - RADIFIED International offices are closed today to mourn the passing of Pope John Paul.

We've been watching some of the documentaries being broadcast about his life. Fascinating man: poet, playwright, actor, mystic, pope. Feisty, too. I was particularly struck at the size of the crowds he drew. Even today's most popular rock stars don't draw 7 million people into the street, the largest public gathering in history. Wonder why they didn't air these videos until after he died.

I also question the wisdom of leaving him in office for so long after his health was failing. Puts a feeble face on the church. Might've been better to pass the scepter before things deteriorated so far. I guess the job is "for life". Anyway, the flag here flies at half mast.

I remember, growing up in public school, teachers instructed us to "question everything, even your most basic assumptions. Take nothing for granted." This happened most often during Science period.

Then, on Sunday, in church school, they taught us it was a sin to question religious things. They called it "doubt" and talked about Doubting Thomas, the disappointing black-sheep of the apostles, and said we should "only believe". As a youngster, with limited rational factulties, I found it difficult to resolve that contradiction.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 02.apr.2005 - Regarding the site's new Google ads, I've been receiving many letters of encouragement, such as this one, which just arrived a few minutes ago:

Like a lot of folks, I use Google all the time. But I hardly ever click the ads over on the right-hand side. In fact, I have a particular disdain for them. Especially distressing are the flashing Macromedia crapola ads at sites I need to visit often. I'll go as far as doing a "view source", find the IP of the offending ad and block it with my firewall.

With that said, I want to let you know I went through several pages of your site and clicked every ad I found. :) THAT's how much I value your site. May you grow wealthy from ad clicks!

I became aware of your site back when I was Googling a problem with Power DVD. Guess what! It was the ASPI layer that was giving me trouble.

I was the worst kind of computer rookie then. Still am, really. But since having studied what's at RADIFIED, I now have a fdisk partitioned hard drive and backup with Ghost to a second physical drive. I've turned the corner on this computer stuff, baby! The detailed plain talk instructions are what enabled me. Now, I even have plans for a build of my own.

Your site has been a treasure and is a delight to browse. Gratuitous enough?

Best regards,
Biloxi, Mississippi

Letters like these help, cuz I felt like I was caving in to the evils of capitalism. Selling out. The response has been better than I could've imagined. Impressive photos at the 'Biloxi' link. Check out this one. Wow. History of Biloxi here. I appreciate the kind words.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 01.apr.2005 - No foolin' here at Radified. Only good, clean, digital fun.