News for December 2003


Radiation tri-blade symbol 31December2003 - Last day of the year. As promised, here are my time-tested suggestions for: Avoiding & Surviving Hangovers. Happy New Year, everybody. If you're going out, drive safely tonight.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 30December2003 - Looks like Google found its way to the Windows XP Install guide. If you search for the terms: windows xp installation guide [like this], it finally show up. And rather prominently. Which is surprising, cuz the guide was only posted for the first time earlier this month.

Google (world's most popular search engine) usually penalizes new pages by ranking them lower. For example, the ASPI guide and the FDISK guide both started way back on page #8 (position #75) when they first debuted. Both took ~18 months to work their way up to the first page.

Today if you search for the terms ASPI or FDISK or Norton Ghost or drive partitioning or rip CD or CUSL2 or USC Film school or Intel Northwood, you'll find Radified guides ranking prominently for each query. Maybe Google figures the Windows Install guide was headed to the top anyway, and decided to let it skip to the front of the line. Anyway, it always surprises me how much traffic a prominent Google ranking can generate.

Tomorrow is the last day of the year. And what a year 2003 has been. Tomorrow I will post my world-famous guide on How to Avoid a Hangover, and also the guide for which I have much more personal experience: How to Survive a Hangover.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 29December2003 - Took the kids to see The Last Samurai last night. I liked it. A lot. Enough to add it to my official Recommended list. The theater was packed. In fact, we had to wait and see a later show, cuz the one we planned to see was sold out.

Stars Tom Cruise. I thought he was washed-up after his last few performances, most notably the one he gave in the horrible Vanilla Sky. But he makes a strong come-back as The Last Samurai. It's certainly possible that *anyone* would have succeeded in this film, since the story is so strong. But Cruise fits the part nicely.

Gorgeous scenery. Caught myself muttering, "Wow," a few times. Several parts threatened to wax corny, but segued away nicely, with each of these scenes ending cleanly. Only the ending wallowed in sentimentalism. But that is probably where that kind of thing needs to happen.

Rich characters. Many thought-provoking lines. My favorite was: "A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed." Another was: "Too many minds," referring to the need for single-minded concentration.

Interesting how the story compares the Samurai of Japan with the Native American Indian. Both embraced values of courage, loyalty & honor. And both were mercilessly slaughtered by superior technology and political greed. The remainder of today's topic is posted here:> The LAST Samurai & Native American Indians.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 28December2003 - We're back. If you've ever seen the movie Meet the Parents [starring Ben Stiller & Robert De Niro], you have some idea how I spent the holiday. A last-minute decision. Woke to a white Christmas. Been a long time since I saw one of those. Not far from the frozen tundra of the Canadian-Michigan border.

On the way from the airport, we passed under 8-MILE, the road made famous by the Eminem movie. As we approached the infamous boulevard, something came over me and I felt like busting out some rhymes: "Yo, yo, yo. My name is Joe. Mess with me, I'll bust your toe." [Needs work, I know.]

Good to be back home in sunny SoCal, land of palm trees and surf boards, where it's warm. First thing we did upon landing, after the long flight, was to find some Mexican food. Craving those sinus-clearing spices. I trust you all had an equally wonderful holiday. A few readers wrote to say they woke to find the parts for a Rad Rig waiting for them under their tree Christmas morning. Must be nice. Now all they have to do it put it together.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 21December2003 - Today is the winter solstice. Here at Radified International corporate headquarters, we have down-shifted into full-blown holiday mode. The staff has already left for their various holiday destinations: Italy, Fiji, Maui, Tahiti, the Bahamas.

We are, as we speak, throwing darts at a map of the world to see where we'll be headed. Who knows what exotic destination awaits? Katmandu? Athens? .. What? Newark, New Jersey! Dang, give me back that dart.

Before we throw again, I want to wish you & yours a merry and a happy. Drive safely this holiday season and we'll see you in 2004. While we're away, I'll leave the site up for you to peruse at your leisure. Make yourselves at home.

For the holidays, I picked up a book on Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, recommended as "the climber's bible," and the best-selling mountaineering book of all time, originally published in 1961 [reviews], updated in September [7th edition].

The first thing I learned from the book is that Mtn climbing is a *technical* sport, employing sophisticated techniques, which is maybe why I feel so drawn to it.

I'd like to try my hand at this sport in the future. You know what Hemingway said about mountain climbing. There's something about scaling the sheer face of a mountain that fosters a feeling of invincibility. Friends however, suggest I first have my head examined. Adios, for now.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 16December2003 - Went to my first Christmas party of the season this past weekend. Lots of fun, big house, many rooms with different groups of people, not one but *two* raging fireplaces, steaming hot tub outside in the cold night air, karaoke (bad singers, but), lots of nice people.

Last night we went to Nikolai's 14th birthday party at Benihana's (the one near the John Wayne airport). A photo of the motley crew is posted here (56-KB, thanks to Evan for scanning the Polaroid shot).

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13December2003 - This week is the Christmas Boat Parade (95th annual, since 1907) in Newport harbor. Festivities begin Wednesday the 17th, and conclude Sunday the 21st. I go every year. It has become a tradition. Things get "underway" about 6:30, and wrap up about 8:30. On Friday and Saturday nights, they keep going a little later.

I like to ride the (3-minute) Balboa Island Ferry over. If you've read the novel The Golden Orange by Joseph Wambaugh [ex-Los Angeles police officer, most famous for The Onion Field, a true story], you know that he begins his story with the captain of the Balboa Island Ferry crashing his vessel into extravagantly lighted yachts during the Christmas Boat Parade.

The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 12December2003 - I broke up the guide to PC Stability Factors in to 3 pages (cut & paste). It used to be a single, unwieldy document of over 50-KB. Now it is more manageable: 20 + 20 + 12. I also broke up the FDISK guide. It used to be 2 pages. Now it's 4. My goal is to keep the pages less than 20-KB, so folks on dial-up don't choke on them. And I noticed that the Google translator stops translating after 20 or 25-KB.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 11December2003 - Finally saw the Matrix Revolutions last night. At the Spectrum. On the giant IMAX screen. A few stories tall. Costs $2.00 more per ticket to enjoy the "IMAX Experience". The detail and clarity were remarkable. Special effects were over the top. Out of this world. A little heavy handed on the philosophy. Almost got corny in a few parts. Final fight sequence most impressive. Unexpected ending.

Overall I enjoyed it. But found myself longing for the simplicity of: "What will it be, Neo? The red pill, or the green one?" The critics killed it. But what do critics know? The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Matrix Revolutions & 21 Grams.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 09December2003 - Posted a new page on PC Stability Testing. Cut a chunk of text from the end of the Windows XP Install guide, which was growing rather plump, and pasted it into a page/guide/feature of its own.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08December2003 - Updated the Windows XP Installation guide to include two PDFs: one downloadable zipped version (55-KB), which contains the entire guide (all 4 pages) .. and another printer-friendly version (93-KB), which has the gray backgrounds removed to conserve toner/ink (8 pages).

People have been telling me for years that I should do a Windows-install guide .. that it would be a popular feature. Not sure why I didn't believe them. Maybe because there were already such guides out there.

So I guess it shouldn't surprise me to see how popular the guide has become .. in the few, short days since it was posted. It has been downloaded several thousand times already. But I can't find any single source for this traffic. The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Windows Install guide PDFs.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 04December2003 - Here in Laguna Beach, every first Thursday of the month (today) is the Art Walk. This is where all the art galleries stay open late. Laguna has dozens of them. It's an artist's community. Participating galleries hang balloons or banners outside to signify their participation and offer visitors wine & h'ordeurves inside. You can get pretty trashed if you're not careful.

It has become quite an event. People come from all around. The town swells with visitors. Of course, traffic sucks and parking becomes a nightmare. But that's normal. The art contained in these galleries is surprisingly good. Local galleries do well on these nights. You can see a video of this on Laguna TV. Maybe we'll see you out on the town. Don't dress too warmly because those galleries get toasty with all those people inside.

The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> First Thursday Art Walk Laguna Beach.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 03December2003 - Six weeks ago, I mentioned two potential new features I had in mind. Everyone liked the idea of a Windows XP Installation Guide. (Nobody liked the other.) So that's what I did. I've been working on it little by little. It still rough, and needs polishing, but it works. At least on my system. See what you think. I even gave the new guide its own subdomain: http://windows.radified.com/.

It's 4 pages right now. All the guides started small, before blossoming into full-featured documents. Readers continue to write in and say, "Hey Rad, You forgot something... " After we get it all hunky-dory, I'll crank out a couple of PDF files: one zipped version for download and another that is printer-friendly. My goal is to have it dialed in before Google and the other search engines discover it.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 01December2003 - Last month of the year before we head into 2004. RADIFIED set a new site record last month with nearly 1.3 million hits. See here. Actually, hits is a rather meaningless metric. For example, when you load this page, you generate 9 hits. The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> New site record.