News for December 2002


Radiation tri-blade symbol 28dec2002 - Gonna take off for a few days to tend to some unfinished business. Afterwards I'll have some Rad news to share. But in the meantime, I'll leave the site up for you to peruse at your leisure. If I don't check in before the New Year, have a safe and happy one. Most importantly, don't drink & drive.

Call a taxi. Sleep on the couch. Find a hotel. I've even had people sleep on the kitchen floor. Judging from the way this guy [Brendan] was snoring, it's probably not as uncomfortable as you might expect. Do anything but get behind the wheel. And don't let your drunk friends drive. This way we'll all be able to indulge our technolust in 2003.

If you *do* drink to excess [shame], I've heard from reliable sources that two Alka-Seltzers before bed with lots of water will help stave off a hangover. In the morning, tomato juice contains lots of acid [low pH, <7] to neutralize the basic [high pH, >7] blood pH levels responsible for that crappy feeling. Better living thru chemistry. Drink lots of water. It takes 6 parts water to process 1 part alcohol thru your system.

James writes to say that he heard from numerous people, including a friend who is a social worker at an Detox center, that Gatorade helps get over the dehydration that comes with hangovers.

Traffic to the article on how to make the perfect latte has skyrocketed. Google [world's best search engine] has ranked it #1 for a query for the terms perfect latte. It never ceases to amaze me how how traffic a prominent Google ranking can channel to the site.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 25dec2002 - Merry Christmas all. Here's a little Christmas inspiration, written about 500 years ago. [Thanks to alilip for the link.]

Saw Gangs of New York yesterday. Excellent .. might be an understatement. Strong story throughout. Well told, with flashes of brilliance [the praying scene, for example]. Putting it on my official Recommended list. Long movie. Be ready to sit. Pee before you go in. Kant say enough good about it.

Not sure the average viewer will glean all that this richly layered movie has to offer. For example, there are a few cryptic themes, such as: Never look away (from what?) .. ]and[ .. The blood stays on the blade (why?) .. ]and[ ... Fight with honor (even if you die?) .. that you'll have to dig a little deeper to discern.

Much as I like Leonardo and enjoyed both his performance and voiceover, I have to tip my hat to Daniel Day Lewis [who played Bill the Butcher]. I honestly didn't think anyone could out-shine Leonardo. Truly impressive performance. Interesting how their monster acting talents didn't clash, but rather complimented one another.

This movie had no weak performances. Good use of contrast with both colors (white snow vs red blood, for example) and sound, light and dark. Interesting historical insights. I even loved the soundtrack. Anyone associated with this production should be proud. I know I would. For such a long movie, there were no slow spots. I didn't want to miss anything, so I had to pee for much of the movie.

This film represents a directing Michael-Jordon flying slam-dunk for Scorsese. He actually appeared in the film for a few seconds, like Hitchcock used to do. Scorsese is one of the few directors who I have so much respect for that I see everything they do, regardless of what the critics say. [Actually a panning by the critics is usually a good sign that the film is worth seeing, cuz they're so out-of-touch with regular folk like you & me.]

A little bloody, as might be expected with a film about street gangs and the struggle for power. [Sharon closed her eyes during those scenes. Girls: they miss the best parts. =) ] But I feel the writers deserve the ultimate kudos. This is a man's movie, written by men.

If you catch this flick, it might be worth considering how one of the film's main themes of Fighting with honor plays against the recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, where many innocent women and children were killed, along with non-military men, which is viewed by most of the world community as dishonorable.

The story delves into this point on several occasion and with much detail. When you see the film's final image, it's easy to see how the writers may've been sending a message that the attacks of 9-11 are viewed as both dishonorable and a disgrace to those who committed them.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 24dec2002 - I want to wish a happy holiday season to all Radified readers, wherever on this wacky planet of ours you might find yourself. The Internet has become a great global tool that connects us all.

This is a tough time of year for many people, who have no one special in their life. I was almost in this boat myself. [If you read the post for 23november, you'll see why.] We've invited over a few friends who might otherwise spend the holiday alone. You should've seen their faces light up. Tis the season to be jolly [and indulge your technolust].

Radiation tri-blade symbol 23dec2002 - Went to the [94th annual] Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach last night [the final night]. Lots of fun. Saw a slew of beautifully lit boats parading thru the harbor. We even rode the ferris wheel. The book The Golden Orange by Joseph Wambaugh, a retired Newport Beach police officer, begins with the Boat Parade.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 22dec2002 - I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Merriam-Webster [the folks who make the dictionary] offers a free subscription to receive daily emails of their Word of the Day. I usually loathe any kind of subscription mailing, but this one is worthwhile. It's my only such subscription.

What's so nice about these daily tidbits is that they provide not only the word's definition and an example sentence, but also a brief historical background behind the word's origins, which helps me better remember its meaning. They also frequently compare the nuances of the definition with other words that have similar meanings.

Today's word is: pseudonym. Yesterdays's was: williwaw. The Dog originally turned me onto this service. Words are power. Rad recommended.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 21dec2002 - Today is the winter solstice [here in the Northern Hemisphere]: the shortest day of the year, with the least daylight sun and most nighttime darkness. After today, the days start getting longer.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 20dec2002 - For those who live here in Southern California, this Sunday is the last night of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Very cool, fun, romantic, free. Last year they had a ferris wheel there. It's right on the water. Dress warm.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19dec2002 - This should be of interest to some of you. More of the same posted here. Thx to alilip for the heads up. I view this decision as a plus for the consumer.

I get lots of mail on the topic of digital copyright protection [both love & hate] cuz my Guide to Ripping & Encoding is a popular how-to for digital audio. Try searching Google for 'ripping cd audio' or 'guide to mp3 encoding' and you'll see what I mean.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 18dec2002 - I noticed that a Google search for the term 'aspi' has raised the ranking of the Radified Guide to ASPI Drivers yet another notch to the number 5 position [even above the Adaptec site, which writes these drivers]. When the guide first debuted some 18 months ago, it began way back on page #8 [position #80] of a Google search.

At that time, most of the traffic to that page came via references from other sites, such as this one and this one. [There are literally hundreds of such references across the Net.] Since then it has slowly climbed up the rankings. Each month it moved up a few notches. For the first time in history, the ASPI guide now ranks in the top half of the first Google page.

Maybe that's why it's slipped passed the Guide to Norton Ghost as the site's single most requested feature, which has traditionally held the top spot since the site opened [back when dinosaurs ruled the earth]. So far this month the ASPI page has been requested 58,963 times, while the Ghost guide has garnered 58,704 requests. So they are neck-and-neck. Of course, it will have to rank #1 for more that just a month before I change the official rankings.

Note that the ASPI guide is also available with a black background, for readers with sensitive eyes. Altho web usage studies find that people prefer reading black text on a white background [similar to text printed on paper], some people feel that this is like staring at a 100-watt light bulb. There's even a printer-friendly PDF version, for those who like to kick back and read while reclining in their easy chair.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 17dec2002 - Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers opens tonight at midnight. I drove by the Big Newport theaters, and the lines have already wrapped around the block. A bunch of good movies are scheduled for release during this Christmas season. At the top of my list is Scorsese's Gangs of New York. [The poster]

Scorsese was born & raised in New York [warning: dual pop-ups]. Anytime a filmmaker (or artist) is personally involved with his art/project, I feel the result will be richer than if it's approached as merely a job. No doubt Scorsese feels personally connected to this film, just as Coppola felt personally connected to Apocalypse Now (one of my all-time favorites), so I expect it to rock. I grew up near New Haven, about an hour north of the city.

Not feeling very good. Got some type of crud in my chest. Feel like hammered dog crap. Nick came over today and played some games. Made me smile. He just turned 11. His mom is taking him and a bunch of friends to play paint-ball for his birthday.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 14dec2002 - Everyone's favorite search engine [Google] has released a beta version of it's newest search engine called Froogle, which caters to online shoppers. If you've ever used Pricewatch or Shopper.com, you know how valuable these price comparison search engines can be at saving you money.

Another creation from the minds at Google is Google Glossary, similar to Dictionary.com or Merriam-Webster, both of which I use a lot [along with Wordweb and Atomica].

You can learn about other new twists on search engines such as Google Viewer and Google WebQuotes at Google Labs. Most people prefer Google because it's fast and returns relevant results. For example, a search for the terms 'Norton Ghost' will lead to the Radified Guide, which most people call the best on the Net [more praise here].

Certainly everyone could benefit from the Google Toolbar. I use it regularly. Google's translation tools are also excellent. I prefer them over the others. All their services and tools are listed here. I heard that Google uses thousands of low-cost PCs networked together running the Linux operating system in what is called a cluster. You can read more about their technology here.

Today there is virtually no subject [either good or bad] for which you cannot find tons of detailed information in seconds. Welcome to our brave new world. Thx to alilip for the heads up on the new Google toys.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 12dec2002 - I wake every morning to a mailbox full of flattering kudos. Today the inbox was particularly packed. Here's an example of one such message:

Dear Radified,
Thanks for the great site. The format is good, but the content is priceless. It is now my weekly obsession to check for updates.
H. Duran
Rad note: a Neotrace scan of the originating IP address indicates that this reader lives somewhere near Baltimore, Maryland]

Here's another:

I'm writing to thank you. I recently installed Linux. Looong story short: it went bad. Tried to Fdisk it, but Linux named the volume with letters that a standard keyboard cant type. I couldn't delete that volume because I couldn't type in the volume name. I found your site via a search engine. I downloaded Wipe and Zap. Wipe worked perfectly!

I checked out your whole site. Very impressive. I am in the Navy. Will be shipping out 03-03-03. Good luck on your future endeavors. Thanks again.
Chris M Smith

Here's one that Wendy forwarded:

Hello Wendy,
I'm sure you get a lot of email from strangers. Here's one more. I want to thank you for revealing your life at USC for all the world to see. That takes a lot of courage. Believe me, it is affecting people's lives.

I was rejected from AFI last year and was all prepared to attend Law school this fall when I stumbled onto your site. It motivated me to apply to USC.

So I got in to USC and start the MFA Production program in January. I've been struggling with idea of Film school for 10 years. Your chronicles convinced me to go for it. I appreciate the frank discussion of both your successes and hardships, and the honest portrayal of the program. I read the whole 5 semesters in one sitting. It was a good read. Then I downloaded and enjoyed your films very much.

I am trying to get some information about the parameters of the 507 films. I realize you started a few years ago and these parameters may have changed. I basically am trying to find out how long each film has to be and whether dialogue is allowed. I'm a pretty slow writer so I wanted to start to think about them. The CNTV office won't help me for some reason that I don't understand. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks again for documenting your experiences. I hope our paths cross next year.
Much luck.

One more:

Just wanted to say thanks for linking to our site from your post on the 8th about the Favicon. You've got a nice site there and I look forward to returning often. I'd be interested to know how you found us. [a Google search for the term 'Nutscrape']
Thanks again,
/alex (Taranis)
Alex Ezell
http://www.spittingllamas.com: A frank discussion of life's bizarre melange of beauty, squalor, and absolute absurdity.

Okay. One more. But that's it. I really mean it this time!

I found your very pleasant site and have reported some of your pages on my favorite French site. My brother lived in Palo Alto for 3 years and climbed El Capitan several times. I went 3 times myself. Your photos make me dream. Thanks for posting them.
Emmanuel Snyers
(Ing. civ. elec. UCL 1980)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 09dec2002 - Saw Solaris last night (fan site). [No, not the operating system from Sun Microsystems.] Surprisingly ambitious film. Directed by Soderbergh: one of Hollywood's best. Produced by Mr. Titanic himself: James Cameron (the tyrant). The story touches upon such challenging topics as: the afterlife, the power of love, perception-of-reality, ethics, and loss.

I wasn't planning to see it, but we wound up at the theaters early, and the show we wanted to see (Analyze That) didn't start for another hour. Instead of waiting around with our thumbs up our caboodles, we opted to see Solaris. Glad we did. Different kind of film. Thought-provoking. But the theater was kind of empty. Weren't more than 25 people there.

The British lead actress (Natascha) is talented and versatile. George Clooney did a nice job too - like nothing else he's ever done. The story is based on the (1961) novel by Polish writer Stanislaw Lem .. which is based around the first part of the poem: Death Shall Have No Dominion [from the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who named his poem after a verse of scripture: Romans 6:9].

It reminded me a little of Kubrick's (1968) 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you liked your Philosophy class, you should enjoy this film. Have a latte before you go, to bring your brain up to speed. The story provides much to ponder. This critic had this to say about it:

Solaris is a difficult movie. It does not easily surrender its messages. Some critics have called it pretentious, even boring. It is devoid of action, in the usual cinema sense. And if you have a yen for galactic mayhem, Solaris will disappoint you.

But I loved it. It’s a smart movie, probably too smart for its own good, commercially. The dialogue is intelligent and the acting is superb. Clooney is brilliant. Listen carefully to his reading of the Dylan Thomas poem. Clooney’s interpretation is soul stirringly good.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08dec2002 - Here's a neat trick a reader (Dennis) wrote to share. If you click once on the URL address bar at the top of this screen (http://radified.com/index2.html) to hi-light it, and drag the little icon on the left of the address into any part of the web page itself (and drop it there), you should see a little radiation tri-blade symbol appear. Kinda cool.

Might have to do it a few times. Worked the first time for me. I use IE6. Not sure if this works with other browsers such as Nutscrape. The image comes from file named favicon.ico that a friend (Krish) made for me.

I missed Pearl Harbor day yesterday. Shame on me. I was stationed at Pearl Harbor for two years (while in the Navy). We worked on Ford Island, which is the island in the middle of Pearl Harbor. More about my Hawaiian exploits is posted here (I lived in on Ala Wai blvd in Waikiki with the Dog). Those were some of the best days of my life .. despite the Dog always trying to get us in trouble.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07dec2002 - Planned on seeing Santa Claus ride into town last night on a shiny, red, fire engine, but traffic was a horrible mess: backed up for miles. Bumper to bumper. Creeping along. The town was a zoo. Couldn't get anywhere near the place. Decided to head the other way and check out the new 007 flick: Die Another Day.

I liked it. (I like all James Bond flicks.) This was one of the better ones. Saw it on a giant screen out at the Spectrum. They seemed to break a lot of old 007 traditions. Halle Berry certainly spiced things up (as Jinx, born on Friday the 13th). The locations were interesting: North Korea, Cuba & Iceland.

I even knew who the traitor was (the last person you'd expect, or course). Lots of the cool toys that a technophile like myself drools over. (Sorry Ted.) I noticed that several points were technically accurate (not necessary for an entertainment film, but still a nice surprise). Reminded me of the way Clancy researches his stories. Worth seeing.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 06dec2002 - StorageReview sent word of a new URL for their forums. See here. This is one of the best computer-related forums on the Net. A great group of guys hang out there. Smarter than your average bear. I learned much of what I know about computers & SCSI hard drives by reading posts there into the wee morning hours until my eyes started burning.

Here in Laguna (Southern California), Santa Claus comes to town tonight, riding on the back of a big, red fire engine. The city does this every year. It's quite the festive event. Kids love it. Shops stay open late to accommodate shoppers with dollars. Streets are decorated with lots of pretty lights. Worth seeing if you live in the area. Might see you there tonight if Shar blows off yoga. Some of my favorite local eaties are posted here.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 05dec2002 - Check out this new search engine: Kartoo. Try searching for: encode cd audio. Kinda cool the way it uses of a graphical interface. Thanks to alilip for the link. I also want to wish my brother John a happy birthday today. He's a surgeon (orthopaedic) who lives in Tennesee and likes to watch cartoons. He specializes in feet. So if you need an operation, I might be able to get you a deal. Smile

Radiation tri-blade symbol 04dec2002 - Received a love letter from my Internet service provider (Cox Cable) today saying they're raising monthly rates from US$35 to $40 beginning January 1st.