News for August 2007


Radiation tri-blade 29.august.2007 » With my current book (on XHTML/CSS) coming to a close, I've been researching books that deal solely with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) ...

CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions, by Andy Budd.. to determine which one might represent the next step in upgrading my web meister skill set. Here's what I found.

Let's begin with end. The best book (for me) would be » CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions .. by Andy Budd (from Brighton, England. His blog is » here.). Sample chapter posted » here (600-KB, 20-page PDF dealing with Layout).

The book contains ~250 pages (not counting the index). It retails for $35, but can be purchased for ~US$22.

75 customer reviews posted » here, 60 of which (80%) gave CSS Mastery a perfect 5-star rating.

The biggest negative, from what I can see, is that the book was published in February, 2006. Not ancient history, yet more than a year older than Rachel's CSS Anthology, which was released this May (even tho Amazon says August).

For someone like me however, who is no CSS guru, I'd rather get a solid CSS book, than something more cutting edge.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Best Book for Learning Cascading Style Sheets » CSS Mastery by Andy Budd

Water fountain, Laguna BeachRadiation tri-blade 27.august.2007 » Played Rad-dad this weekend. This was the first time the Bug didn't want to go back to his mom. He actually cried (tears). That's never happened before.

Can't think of a reason for the change. My rock-climbing buddy (Tom) said a similar thing happened right after his ex weaned his daughter.

"Come to think of it," I said, "the Bug hasn't mentioned the m-word since he returned from his trip back East (earlier this month)." So maybe that's what happened.

"If he's been weaned," he said, "that would explain things .. cuz it would put you on equal footing with his mom."

I know it's not a problem, and he'll be fine soon as I leave, but it really bothers me to see the Bug in distress. The sight of him holding out his arms, crying, "Dada," as I drove away .. ugh » it's haunting.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Goodbye Tears + The Bug Drinks from a Water Fountain.

Radiation tri-blade 24.august.2007 » Link worth bookmarking » PlanetPDF. Contains 7 pages worth of links to books (all free) .. with authors such as Dickens, Homer & Dostoevsky, and titles like Dracula & Beyond Good & Evil (Nietzsche).

If your PDF reader is like mine, you have a colorful icon in upper left-hand corner » Send to FedEx Kinko's (convenient feature). Two days later, the printed text arrives on your doorstep.

Impressive titles, worth perusing the list. Interesting also, to hear them bash Google Books. Kinda funny.

I'm also finishing the final few chapters of a book on XHTML/CSS. Today I finally got to the part where they address the *first* problem I had with trying to layout a standards-based page. (Note: current chapter addresses » Layout + Positioning.)

I thought » "Ah-ha, here's where I finally learn how the pro's solve the infamous multiple-columns problem." Dude, they totally balked. I couldn't believe it. See here (page 512):

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Download Classic Books (for Free) from PlanetPDF + Military-style Mass-Innoculations

Norton Ghost 12Radiation tri-blade 22.august.2007 » Updated the new Guide to Norton Ghost 12 to include procedures for:

Thanks to Mr. Brian (who lives down under) for throwing these together.

Speaking of Norton Ghost, and creating/restoring back-up images (now called Recovery Points) .. Maria left a message on my cell yesterday, saying the hard drive in her (Dell) laptop died (after an ugly week of blue-screen hell), and...

.. she took it to a PC service center, where they were able to retrieve (precious) data from a Ghost image I had created for her. Needless to say, she sounded very grateful. She paid $250, which included the cost of a new hard drive. (My guide to Radifying your Laptop is » here.)

Maria (btw) is in the process of becoming a Feng Shui master (mistress?), flying here & there, taking classes.

If you have not yet navigated the world of backing up your hard drive with an imaging/cloning program (such as Norton Ghost) .. uh, now would be the perfect time.

Ghost represents the ultimate digital insurance policy. (Like Maria, you'll also wanna *kiss* me later.) Regulars know I've been beating the back-up drum for years. And if you need help, the Rad Community forums are » AQUI. (Just noticed we have almost 30K posts there.)

Also finished another chapter in my new book on XHTML/CSS. Nearing the end. Next chapter (12) addresses » Layout + Positioning, which begins with the statement: This is where everything you've learned comes together. We're talking full-blown professional designs. (It's the book's single biggest chapter.)

Radiation tri-blade 21.august.2007 » Radiation: can't see it. Can't feel, hear, smell or taste it. Yet even a tiny amount of radioactive material can be lethal.

Virgil at Kutna HoraBeing trained to deal with the hazards of ionizing radiation (an unseen danger) has conditioned me (for better or worse) to view life a little .. differently.

My habit (of being consciousness of the unseen) is not something I try to do, mind you. Rather, after of years of working in the industry, it has become part of who I am (for better or worse).

On the positive side, it's easier for me to view life more spiritually. On the negative, it tends to make me suspicious .. in a curiously observant way.

If you apply this habit (being conscious of the unseen) to normal, everyday life (where we encounter countless stimuli), you might see why I'm quick to question statistical anomalies.

Say for example, you're sitting in a movie theater, watching a great flick, and you have to be somewhere right afterwards. You see the movie starting to wind down, so you move to the rear of the auditorium (where several hundred movie-goers are seated), prepared to make your escape (to beat the rush).

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Synchronicity, Coincidence & the Sedlec Ossuary

Movable Type 4.0Radiation tri-blade 18.august.2007 » The folks at Six Apart have officially released version 4.0 of Movable Type (blogging software). If you've ever considered starting your own blog, now would be an ideal time.

I've been using Movable Type since May 2003, beginning with v2.63. Then, a few months ago (April) I upgraded to v3.35 (the final pre-MT4 version), which you can find here » Ye Olde Rad Blog II.

I'll wait 30-60 days before migrating to MT4 .. to see if any critical patches are released. And to allow time for the community to tweak their plug-ins to work with MT4 (since I use quite a few).

Also wanna see what happens with the new Open Source version (not yet released). See »here« for a brief side-by-side comparison between the commercial and open source versions (MT4 vs MTOS).

I discuss MT4 in more detail in the entry » Six Apart Releases Version 4.0 (beta) of its Movable Type Blogging Software

Movable Type is easy to recommend. You won't be disappointed. If there's a negative to be found, it could be that MT might be too powerful (depending on what you wanna do).

As a side-note, I really like the design of the » Movable Type web site, especially since I've been reading about web site design. You might also wanna check out the » MT4 web site. Lotsa little details there that work nicely. Kudos to whoever (whomever?) is responsible.

Radiation tri-blade 15.august.2007 » The bug is back! (Nappin' now.) This was the longest stretch I hadn't seen him since .. well, since those dark days of '05 (.. which I'd rather not remember). It had been more than 2 weeks.

Baba YagaHis mom took him to Michigan, to visit family there. He has made the trip several times now. Getting to be a little frequent-flyer.

In the car, as we drove away this morning, I asked, "So, did you like flying on the big airplane?"

"Yeah," he said enthusiastically, "It was too much fun." =)

Speaking of the car .. as I arrived this morning, the bug was out front, where he spotted me waiting at the light across the street. "There's dada," I heard him shout.

As I pulled up to the curb, he ran over to the car. I reached across and opened the passenger door. Into the car-seat he scrambled .. all by himself. His mom shut the door behind him and we drove away. (Pick-ups don't get any smoother than that.)

He talked the whole way home. Never seen him so vocal. Seemed to have a lot on his mind. At the coffee shop this morning, the girls there made a fuss over him. Everybody seems happy to have him back.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » The Bug is Back | The Dog is Married

Radiation tri-blade 11.august.2007 » Remarkable how much better I feel whenever I work-out. I even feel better about myself (psychologically).

ArnoldShirts fit more snugly (in chest & shoulders). Arms hang a bit heavier. Each step flows more easily, propelled by stronger legs ("wheels").

Been adding weight, too (muscle-weight, hopefully). Lost ~15 lbs following the back injury.

Each time I've visited the gym, my weight has climbed (on their digital scale) » 188 » 189 » 190 » 191 » 192, & today » 193.

I like how, once I get in shape, and develop a routine, I develop a desire to work-out (instead of a dread). Getting to the gym is half the battle. Once you're there .. the hardest part is over.

The routine that works best for me » legs+abs on day-1, shoulders+arms on days 2, rest day-3, back+abs day-4, chest day-5, rest day-6, repeat cycle (2-on, 1-off). Each session begins with 10-min aerobic warm-up. (For which I prefer the recumbent bike.)

Sleeping better, too (zzzz). Still having bizarre dreams, tho .. such as the one where I was » flying around Laguna Beach on New Year's eve with the bug in a slow-moving, over-crowded commuter-jet piloted by Tom Hanks...

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Exercise, Bizarre Dreams & Advanced Web Construction

Radiation tri-blade 09.august.2007 » While sitting at the coffee shop this morning, where I was chatting with my rock-climbing buddy (Tom), who had just suggested we take the kids to Joshua Tree next weekend, for some camping (under the stars)...

Tank Man - Protesting in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China (where civil disobedience is lethal) 1989.. when in walks Jarrod (a regular there, who teaches Criminal Justice at one of the local universities).

On our table he tossed a copy of today's Los Angeles Times, and points to an article titled (big letters) » War protest in O.C. ends in 6 arrests. (Front page of the California section - Part B. Yeah, he was one of the 6.)

They entered the offices of Representative Loretta Sanchez (in nearby Garden Grove), and said they weren't leaving until she promised not to fund the war.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Jarrod Arrested for Protesting the Iraq War

Radiation tri-blade 07.august.2007 » Returned to the gym yesterday .. first time in 6 months. You might recall, 6 months ago, when I tweaked my back, how bad that suk'ed. (See entry titled » Falling Apart at the Seams.)

ArnoldFelt good to throw around some iron. I went straight to the BACK exercises, beginning with deadlifts.

Felt surprisingly strong, considering. Used moderate weights (not light, not heavy). Resisted the urge to push it. I did tucker out pretty quickly, tho. I'll see how I feel in the morning. (Hope I can climb out of bed.)

Until recently I had no desire to workout (only bike-rides). But this week, it felt like my body was asking to get back in the gym.

Another factor » my eyes been bothering me lately. Been reading the Head First book on XHTML/CSS, which I've been enjoying .. more so as I get into the more advanced chapters.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Returning to the Gym After 6-Month Layoff

Radiation tri-blade 06.august.2007 » Saw Bourne Ultimatum Friday (opening day) at the Big Newport .. on the "largest screen in the West". Figured I'd beat the crowds by catching the matinee (4PM screening). Unfortunately, half of Newport Beach was thinking the same.

Matt Damon play Jason Bourne in The Bourne UltimatumTheater was packed (seats 1100). Had to sit way up front (kinda loud).

Went with e-dawg, who just graduated from UCSB (degree in Physics). He's heading to Taiwan next month .. to study Chinese (read "to meet cute Asian chicks").

Rare for a sequel to match the original, but this Bourne was the best. It exceeded all my expectations. I found it intelligent, well-crafted, and the story skillfully presented. Easy to recommend.

When we came out, the line for the 7PM screening wrapped around the block.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Bourne Ultimatum | Rad Film Review

Radiation tri-blade 01.august.2007 » August must be the most kick-back month .. coming only after we've had plenty of time to get into the summer grove.

U.S. Naval NuclearPower School | An Inside Look - Part IIBroke up recent blog entry (about Navy Nuclear Power school) into two parts. The original grew too long for a single page. Also added heading titles (not needed with shorter entries).

Part II es aqui » U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School | An Inside Look - Part II

I could write a book on this subject. (Looks like somebody already did.) Hard to turn it off. Hard to forget. So many stories. I still dream about being in. Like a recurring nightmare.

In my dream, I realize I should've been discharged long ago. When I tell the Chief however, he blows me off, saying he's too busy to process my paperwork. "Come back tomorrow," he says. It's like I'm stuck in the Navy, & can't get out.

The only other entry (btw) I did that for (» broke into 2 parts & added headings) was the one » Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems. Another case of more-than-expected.

Still reading Head First XHTML/CSS book. Learning about CSS. Already know most of this, too, but definitely best chapter yet (far as learning useful info). Next chapter covers » fonts + color, both of which interest me. Hopefully I'll learn some new tricks.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Various Topics » Nuclear Nightmare, Learning XHTML/CSS, Trying to Quit Coffee, Dog to Wed in Prague