Radified News for December, 2001
- I've received more kudos for the site in the last two weeks than I
have all year long. It must be the Christmas spirit. Words such as priceless
and truly outstanding make it all seem worthwhile. I certainly
appreciate the encouragement.
The site set a new bandwidth record yesterday: 530MB. Over half a gig in one day. Heck, it wasn't that long ago when Radified didn't use that much bandwidth in an entire month. Good thing I have a plan with unlimited bandwidth.
The site also set a new record for Unique sites served (2995) and Total visits (3995). So close to breaking 3000 & 4000. See here.
you're tempted to feel a little sorry for yourself this holiday season, you
might want to mosey on over to the Storagereview,
where they just lost *everything*. If you've ever suffered catastrophic data
loss, you know how they must feel.
While you're there, you might want to register in their forums, to help get them back on their feet as quickly as possible. Some of the most informed techies hang out there.
I want to wish everybody a safe & prosperous New Year. Please don't drink & drive. Call a cab. Thanks for making 2001 so fun, and may all your Radified dreams come true in 2002.
- Wendy took the kids to see
Lord of the
last night. I've yet to hear anyone say that they loved it. Most feel
that it was
merely okay, and liked
I heard that all three LOTR films were shot concurrently, to save money, by shooting all scenes for a give set, for all 3 movies, before tearing it down. I also heard that the book was voted most beloved of the last century.
Wendy got her grades
for last semester. They're posted
(40kb). You shoulda heard her whining about that B+, saying, "I
shoulda got an A- in that class." She carried on about how hard she
worked, and how she completed every assignment.
This is the first graduate semester that she received two full A's, so she shouldn't whine too loudly. The only bad thing is that the B+ for Writing the Feature Script was a 4-unit class, which weighs twice as heavily on her GPA, compared to the other two classes, which carry only 2 units each.
This was the first semester where she took an Advanced-level class (Directing Actors for Film). Four semesters down, two more to go (3-year program). A chronicle of the semester is posted here.
- Updated the
Guide to the
Best Programs & Applications,
and broke it into two, separate pages.
For Christmas, I received Jacob Nielsen's book: Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity. (Amazon.com has used copies for cheap.) You can get a flavor of the book by reading some of the articles posted at his web site .. such as Writing for the Web, and others.
I think most of his ideas hit the proverbial nail on the head. I've instinctively incorporated many of his suggestions, even before I stumbled across his site. I've always strived to maximize readability. Hopefully, after reading the book, I'll have a better web site to offer Radified readers.
I also got a 50-pack of blank 24X TDK CDRs. Heck, I didn't even know they made 24X CDRs yet. Five white Eddie Bauer t-shirts. A 10-pack of Macanudo cigars (smoking one now).
Lani hand-made small tubs of lip stuff for everyone, and dream pillows that are full of aromatic herbs and flowers. She's into natural-healing and always makes the neatest gifts from scratch.
My favorite was a gift-certificate to In-n-Out (local burger joint that makes the best cheeseburgers).
- Relatives are visiting from the East coast. They didn't call before
coming. I was outside, looking for something in the car, when I heard a
lady with a New York accent say, "I'd know that butt anywhere."
I turned around and saw Nana & Tunie, walking down the street. My brain waggled for a sec, trying to figure out how I was seeing people that were 3000 miles away. They said the look on my face was priceless, and wished they had their camera ready. I think I said, "That's a good trick."
Happy holidays, everybody.
- Today is the winter
the shortest day of the year, in the Northern hemisphere, anyway. The exact time
which corresponds to 11:22 AM here on the West coast. The word solstice
means to stand still. It appears as if the sun is standing still
(on the horizon) for a few days around the solstice.
Today marks the start of winter, as the days begin getting longer (more sunlight).
tweaked her knee while skiing. She was testing some new 'powder skis'
on a steep face at
Heavenly Valley, getting into position to shoot video of the kids coming off a
jump. One leg went one way... the other didn't. She said, "I heard something snap."
Next thing ya know, Ski Patrol is toting her away on a stretcher. Doc said she tore a ligament (ACL, left knee), and will need surgery if she ever wants to do active stuff again, like hiking. She's hobbling around on crutches, with a brace on her knee & sad look on her face.
A 'stable' version of the
was released today (v3.90). It's been a long time since LAME released a stable
version. Much testing & development has gone into this version.
You can download it here
(at Dmitry's, 370kb).
If you've been waiting for an opportune time to climb onboard the ever-expanding LAME express, now's the perfect time. See the Radified Guide to Ripping CD Audio & MP3 Encoding for insight into configuring LAME, the world's best MP3 encoder. (Did I mention that LAME is free?)
- Checking in before we head out .. for a few days of skiing, at
I'll leave the site up for you to peruse at your leisure. Several guides have
been updated with reader input.
I've been learning PHP lately. Looking fwd to playing with it when we get back. Happy holidays.
- Researched several server-side scripting languages & applications
today. Primarily PHP.
The clearest explanation of PHP is at gimpster.
Web Monkey compares the different languages here
(PHP, ASP, Perl, JSP, ColdFusion).
Web Monkey also discusses PHP here. Official PHP website: php.net. PHP Bible (annotated manual): here. Beginner's tutorial here. PHP Help -> here.
My server's (which is physically located in Kansas City) web-hosting plan (Std) supports both PHP & Perl. But I'd have to pay more if I wanted to use ColdFusion, or one of the others.
PHP stands for: PHP Hypertext Preprocessor. Hypertext is a fancy name for 'web page'. PHP is open-source (like Linux), which places it high on the 'cool' chart. The phrase server-side means that the (PHP) 'program' (if you will) runs on/from the server, which nullifies browser differences.
PHP is an embedded language, which means that you insert the particular code you want (for the features & results you want) into the web pages themselves.
For example, that little 'Radmark' button, in the upper left-hand corner, is generated by a snippet of Java-script code. But the Java 'program' itself is located on your computer (it's a part of your browser .. not server-side) .. which means that older browsers won't see it.
I plan to migrate the site to PHP-based scripting in a month or two .. prolly using something like PHP Nuke .. for the learning experience. My hosting provider is almost done upgrading their servers to 2GB RAM (from 1GB) in preparation for the upgrade to PHP4.1.0.
13dec2001 - Posted another one of Wendy's USC Film school updates .. the 7th of the semester. See here.
- Updated the
today with my new
toys. I centered everything, and included a
small, tri-blade RADiation symbol in the RADified strip that runs along the left
side of the screen.
Actually, Joel did that for me. He knows how all the Photoshop mojo. I tried for an hour, but couldn't figure it out.
I also learned the code that changes the color of the scroll bar. But you need IE version 5.5 or greater to use/see that feature. I simply made the scroll bar the same color as the background (dark gray).
My next <style> goal is to try to insert a background image, like the one found here. Notice how the turkey remains fixed as you scroll down. I want to use this image for my background, but have been unable to make it work. =(
- I learned a few more web <style> design tricks today, and used them to
Pentium 4 CPU
article. Heck, I'm actually beginning to feel like a real web master.
I'm still experimenting with different designs, trying to find the perfect combination of style attributes that yield a simple, professional, and easy-to-read web page.
It's freezing here in Southern California today. We rarely have to turn on heat, but it was cranking last night. Brrr.
- Converted my first web page to one using a style
The difference in file size (for the same amount of information) was surprising.
The previously existing FDISK Guide used/took 66KB. The new & improved FDISK Guide, formatted with a style sheet took only 30KB .. less than half the original size. The style sheet itself is less than 1KB, so it's insignificant.
Style sheets allow you you change the look of your entire site by changing a single file .. which you can do in minutes. They allow a web master to separate design from content.
Learning how to use style sheets, along with becoming handy with Dreamweaver, makes web-mastering more enjoyable. I found this CSS tutorial (at W3 schools) very helpful, altho the site gets over-loaded a lot. They even have a 20-question quiz.
I've never been very interested in design, preferring rather to focus on content. Now I regret not having taken the time to learn Dreamweaver & style sheets earlier.
This will be a good time to update the various guides .. as I convert them to style-sheet formatting.
- Today is
day ["a date which will live in infamy"]. I was stationed in Pearl Harbor (in the Navy) for two years. Great duty.
Paradise. The Aloha Spirit. Worked on Ford Island, in the middle of Pearl Harbor
Created my first Cascading Style Sheet today .. a digital technology that is definitely 'rad'. Don't know why I haven't used them before. Guess I've been more interested in content than design. (If you don't have any content, it doesn't matter how well it's designed.)
Style sheets allow you to control & change the look & design of a site's web pages *much* easier (than without them). Good CSS info posted here (Web Design Group) and here (Lie & Bos).
W3schools has a great tutorial (the best) posted here (altho the site limits the number of users & can be difficult to access). The ultimate CSS reference is posted here (W3C).
Received my first bribe yesterday. Won't mention who .. but a representative from a software manufacturer said they'd give me 'thing$' if I listed their software on my page containing the Best Software Programs & Applications.
I've received other 'encouragements' before, but this was the first time someone came right out and said: What's in it for you? Let me tell you...
Can't blame them for trying. No, I didn't bite .. maybe if they offered a little more broccoli. =D
- Radified is 18-months old today. Since web-years are like
dog-years, that would make the site ~10
years old. =)
Today is Sidney's birthday. He's the easiest person to buy a gift for, cuz he loves Glen Morangie scotch, and can always use another bottle. He's also the official, reigning World's Oldest Overclocker. He saw the new record-breaking Harry Potter movie for his birthday, and loved it.
Sidney has two pieces of bacon for breakfast everyday and credits the the preservatives it contains for maintaining his youthful appearance. I love hearing his stories of when 'hard drives were big as a Volkswagon'.
05dec2001 - Posted another update of Wendy's adventures at the world's finest Film school .. the sixth of the semester. See -> here.
- It looks like Cox Cable subscribers
will be okay
for the time being. I heard that Cox is paying dearly to have Excite continue
providing uninterrupted broadband service. Cox is in the process of building
their own network, but it won't be ready until June/July.
They probably figure that, if service is interrupted, customers (like me) would jump ship to DSL, and not return when their network comes online later this summer .. cuz it's a hassle to switch Internet providers.
Yesterday was the 10-year anniversary of the world's very 1st web page .. talk about exponential growth. See here.
- I worked thru the tutorial for (Macromedia) Dreamweaver
today. DW makes web pages (like this one). Some people call these types of
I've been using FrontPage up 'til now .. cuz it's so easy to use. But the bigger the site gets (~1,000 pages now), the more it limits me, and makes even minor stylistic changes painstakingly tedious .. not to mention how it butchers the code (that you don't see).
One web-guru friend called FrontPage 'a spawn of Satan' .. which means he doesn't care for it very much.
There's a few more tricks I want to learn, but so far, I've been impressed by what Dreamweaver can do, and I'm excited about using my new software toy to re-design & develop the site a bit more professionally.
- The lights on my Cable modem are still lit (knock on wood). But I've
received notes from friends around the country who have
saying that they had to dust off
and install their old dial-up modems .. and are suffering from bad cases of broadband withdrawals.
Wendy has a bad case of lung crud. She got antibiotics yesterday, and I made her a big pot a grandma's secret recipe chicken soup (Polish penicillin) She scarfed down 4 bowls and is beginning to look better.
Maria came over last night and rubbed her feet while they talked about girl stuff .. which gave me enough time to crank out a new article .. on the factors affecting system stability.
It's only a draft, still work-in-progress .. but you might appreciate some of the early insights .. or have comments.
- Hello December. The good news is the lights are still lit on my Cable modem.
The bad news is that a bankruptcy judge ruled
that Excite can pull the plug on its broadband service .. today.
Cox is recommending that their customers use a free dial-up service if their cable goes away. But I don't even have a modem card installed in my PC. And I'm much too spoiled to be interested in a dial-up connection. How does that saying go? 'Give me broadband or give me death ... ?"
Updated the Guide to Ripping CD Audio & MP3 Encoding today, making primarily cosmetic & organizational improvements.
I'm sure you've heard about George Harrison. Sad. I feel a sense of loss. He passed away in Los Angeles yesterday, right up the road a ways. All things must pass .. how true.
Linkage to -> [News for November, 2001]
Linkage to -> [News for January, 2002]