29February2004 - Leap
year. Or leap
day, if you like. This is supposedly the one
day when women can propose
to men. Watch out guys. Note that this is *not* Sadie
Hawkins day (which is November 15th). Leap year
has been around since 45-BC.
Academy Awards air tonight
(76th annual, at 5:30 here on the West coast). The
Oscars are a big deal here in SoCal,
where we live in the shadow of the Hollywood
sign. Hosted by Billy
Crystal. And the nominees
I'm not even going to venture a guess at predicting
the winners this year, cuz they don't always select the best performances.
I think the selection process is too political, and the Academy has
been criticized for such. It takes into account what happened last year,
and what other Awards one might be nominated for this year.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Oscars
28February2004 - Wiki
(pronounced weekee) is a word every good geek should know. It refers
to a collaborative style of web site, such as Wikipedia,
where anyone, such as you or me, can edit content using an ordinary
web browser. The word can also refer to the software used to
create such web sites.
The phrase "wiki wiki" means "fast" in Hawaiian.
And that's how web sites evolve that use wiki software: fast. When you
open up the editing of content to the whole world, sites evolve quickly.
You can write anything you want, but others are free to move, edit or
even delete it. And you can delete anything you want, but others may
restore it just as quickly. The end result is surprisingly good. The
remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Wiki
27February2004 - Wendy
called last night to say she ran into someone in the halls of the Zemeckis
Center for Digital Arts (at USC),
where she's helping the BIG
Woo (Eric) work on his BIG student
film production. Anyway, she was approached by someone asking, "Are
you the one with the Film school
chronicles posted on the web?"
Long story short, he (I forget his name) had printed out
all the updates and assembled them in a binder, replete
with titles and organized into semesters.
He had moved down to Los Angeles from Northern California with the hope
of getting accepted into Film
school at USC (no easy chore).
He asked Wendy to autograph his binder and said his mother would be
excited to hear that they had actually met. She said the binder and
its pages were worn from being read & re-read. They sat together
and read a few of the updates. Wendy said, "It was like a mind-warp
that instantly took me back to those days."
He said he had scoured the Net, searching for information about USC
Film school that didn't come from the university itself, and that
my updates were the only source
he was able to find. Maybe this is why they remain one of the sites
features. If you search Google for the query-string: usc
film school, they show up near the top.
Naturally, the university is going to tell you what they want you to
hear/know. My updates represent an insider's perspective, more objective
than what the university would offer. I told the bad
along with the good. [Actually, I told more bad, cuz that's what was
most interesting.] Film school is fraught with many trials
and much tribulation.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> USC
Film School Chronicles Published. (By the way, this is blog-entry
26February2004 - Been neglecting the site,
spending all my free time reading The
Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest. Whereas Krakauer's
account is more polished & entertaining, The Climb is more
gritty & enlightening, tho I would argue with those who claim it's
not written as well.
I recently purchased a new pair of US$100 hiking boots, which I wear
while reading this book .. for that "life-like" effect. I
even kill myself on the stairmaster at the local gym to try to simulate
the leg fatigue and body aches associated with mountain climbing.
I'm currently ~halfway thru the story. The group just reached the summit
and are heading back down. But that's when most tragedies strike. The
problem is that they're well behind schedule and darkness is only a
few hours away. Their oxygen is running dangerously low, and they're
unaware that a nasty storm is brewing. Worst of all (according to the
superstitious locals) is that a bad omen has appeared in the sky: a
day-star. Here's an excerpt from the page I'm on:
Lene Gammelgaard, however, saw something that disturbed her. "Before
I decided to go up over the Hilary Step, I noticed a whiteout coming
from the valleys, and I saw the wind pick up over the summit."
Gammelgaard had witnessed the formative stages of a storm system that
within a few hours would catch her and her climbing partners vulnerable
and exposed, at the most dangerous part of an Everest assault: the
I know from reading Into
Thin Air that they're headed for a world of hurt. But it's interesting
to hear the same story from another perspective (like Rashomon).
What's so cool right now is that it's stormy here in SoCal.
Rains have arrived and the weather
is wonderfully miserable. The wind is howling. Makes reading seem more
realistic. Well, I just wanted to check in & say 'hey'. The fixed-link
blog-entry for today's drivel is posted here:> Checking
Everyone here is talking about Mel Gibson's new movie: The
Passion of the Christ, which opened yesterday. Saw a snippet of
a talk-show discussing
it and panel members actually seemed *angry* at Mel, suggesting a boycott.
This struck me as odd because it's not like people don't already know
the story. What's more unusual is that none of the panel members were
film critics. Guess I'll have to go see what all the ruckus is about.
22February2004 - A friend got a new laptop:
the Dell 600m.
Nice balance between the power of a desktop replacement & the lightweight
portability of a road warrior. I have since retired from installing
& configuring computers for friends, but this impressive piece of
technology was too sweet to pass up.
Spent the last day & a half configuring it. Re-partitioned
the 40-gig hard drive into: 16+12+12. The last partition
(FAT32) is dedicated solely for Ghost
images. Installed Windows
XP Pro & all the programs
to the first
partition. The middle partition is dedicated for downloads,
drivers, audio, video,
graphics and non-program-related
Seems like I'm coming out of a digital fog now. Only had one problem,
where Windows wouldn't see/recognize a newly
inserted CD. Racked my brain on that one. Finally found a fix here
(after finding a clue
here), which led me to edit a registry value (change
from 0 to 1) for the Autorun key.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Newly-inserted
CD not recognized by Windows. On a less geeky note, everyone here
is excited about tonight's final episode of Sex
and the City. We're going to a party where you
dress as your favorite character.
(I'm going as Aidan.)
Sex and the City is *not* about sex. Rather it's about the idea
that it's okay to be a single, professional woman,
and the (comic) trials involved in trying to find love. Maybe not in
or NYC, but in many parts of
the country, single women, who don't breed, are viewed as a waste of
good oxygen and other environmental resources. This validation is why
Sex and the
City is such a hit with single, professional women.
19February2004 - Been off the
bean for a few days, so motivation is scarce. And I keep killing
keyboards. Hard to believe I used the same KB for nearly 10
years and I've killed 3 in the last month. I keep spilling
things .. last night a beer (non-alc,
no less, while watching the penultimate
episode of Sex and the City).
Seems like the littlest spill renders them unusable.
A couple of weeks ago I ordered a new
keyboard. Today I checked the UPS
to find where the heck it is, and it says *delivered*. Upon further
inspection, I noticed that it was delivered to the wrong address,
in the wrong town (Laguna Hills, while I live in Laguna
So I call the manufacturer and say, "Hey! What gives?" First
they say I must have filled in the order form incorrectly, because shipping
is done automatically, without human intervention. But I'm looking right
at the invoice (luckily I had a copy), so I know they're full of it.
When their blame-the-customer-first strategy didn't work, they
said, "Oops, sorry. Our bad. You have two options
(my interpretation): 1. Drive around Southern California,
going door-to-door, trying to find your lost keyboard that we mis-shipped.
Or 2. We'll tell UPS to retrieve the KB and send it
back to us. Then, when we get around to it (maybe a week later), we'll
re-ship it to you, and try to get it right this time.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> One
of those Days
17February2004 - Saw Touching
the Void last night, which finally opened in theaters here in SoCal
over the weekend. As is the case with many of these mountaineering
sagas, one person gets left for dead .. and in this case, that happened
in 1985, in the remote Peruvian Andes, on a never-before-climbed mountain,
where others have tried but always failed.
What makes this story so compelling is that this guy (Brit Joe Simpson)
gets left for dead inside a deep crevasse, with a broken leg, which
means he's unable to climb out under his own power. As he so eloquently
puts it: "You don't die of a broken leg." ..
.. which leaves him two (equally unpleasant) options: 1.
lay there and die, or 2. descend *deeper* into the
crevasse, and hope to find a way out below. It's the
only hope he has. The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted
the Void (2).
In other news, movie industry group DVD Copy Control
Association is suing DVD-Copying Software company 321 Studios.
"In taking this legal action, DVD CCA is turning its focus
toward those who produce and broadly distribute products in the marketplace
that facilitate the widespread infringement of the copyrights on motion
pictures that CSS was designed to protect," said Steven Reiss,
an attorney for the association. Full story posted here.
My recommendation to DVD CCA is to replace the statement-making
lawyer with a non-legal spokesperson, cuz nobody
likes lawyers, and everyone is skeptical of everything they claim. I
got this Q&A from the
Dog: Q: What do lawyers have in common with sperm?
A: They both have a one-in-a-million chance of becoming
15February2004 - I've been having trouble,
lately, with site
statistics disappearing. It you read the entry for the
first of this month, you'll see that RADIFIED set a new
site record last month with over 1.7 million
hits. Someone, it appears, has been sabotaging these statistics.
If true, I would be greatly honored .. that someone (anyone) would care
enough about the site to consider it worth sabotaging. More likely though,
it's probably just a misunderstanding. But there are not many people
who have access to these stats, or the utility program that generates
them. The number is limited.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Site
14February2004 - Saw The
Dreamers last night: a film by Bernardo
Bertolucci, an Italian director who is no stranger to controversy.
[He directed The Last
Tango in Paris, starring Marlon
Brando. I also enjoyed his 1998 film: Besieged.]
The Dreamers is rated NC-17
(no one under 17 allowed in), and indeed, they checked
everyone's ID at the ticket counter. We caught it at the Sunflower
in Costa Mesa. Yesterday was opening night, with the theater comfortably
Artistic film, set in Paris, 1968. The theme: Fantasy vs Reality.
I think we all create our own, little fantasy worlds. Sometimes that's
healthy & sometimes it's not. And that's all I'll say about the
I think it's a film that's best seen when you know nothing about the
storyline (as are most films), so you have no preconceived notions or
expectations to color your perception. Reviews posted here.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> The
Dreamers - Bertolucci
12February2004 - Been reading: The
Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest. Actually, I stopped
in the book store to look
the Void, but they were all out-of-stock (like everywhere else I
I'm enjoying this book. It offers an alternate perspective to the same
story told by Jon
Krakauer in his account of the mountaineering tragedy that killed
8 people in 1996 en route to the world's highest peak
(Everest). I read
his book: Into
Thin Air back in January
The Climb is told by Russian high-altitude super-stud
Anatoli Nikoliavich Boukreev (subsequently killed
in an avalanche on Annapurna). His account, for me, is similar to viewing
the same mountain from a different side/perspective. Even more interesting
is that their accounts do
not agree. Boukreev is the more accomplished & experienced climber,
with a fat high-altitude
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> The
Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest
10February2004 - The boyz at Intel
have released their next-generation CPU for desktop
computers, code-named Prescott. If you want to read
all the geek-speek, a Google search pre-configured for the terms Intel
Prescott is posted here.
But most folks simply want to to know the answer to two questions:
Do I want one? and How much will they cost? The answer
to the first is: not yet. Right now, Prescotts run
a little slower than a similarly clocked Northwood (due to a longer,
31-stage pipeline). Prescotts will sell for the same
price as their Northwood cousins at identical speed-points.
You will recognize PrEscotts by the addition of the letter 'E'
to the CPU name, such as P4-3.2E. I looked at Newegg
and you can find them there already, but only at the lowest, 2.8-GHz
speed. The rest of the speeds are scheduled to ship next quarter. Note
that this is NOT the same as the 'EE' outrageously
Edition CPU, based on the Northwood. You might also try Atacom.
This is Intel's first major CPU re-design since the release of the Northwood
CPU some two years ago on January 7th, 2002. Note that the current
Northwood P4 max'es out at 3.4-GHz.
The Prescott will initially release at the following (GHz) speed-points:
3.0, 3.2, & 3.4.
Note that these new Prescotts are rated no higher than current
Northwood CPUs. In the third quarter we will see speeds of 3.8
& 4.0-GHz. This would be the time to get a Prescott,
since they need the higher clock-rates to make the longer pipeline
worthwhile. All Prescotts run at 800-MHz FSB (only).
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Intel
Prescott CPU in a Nutshell.
07February2004 - Speaking of yesterday's
dysfunctional keyboard, I usually keep a supply of spare parts on hand.
For example, somewhere here I have a spare mouse, a
few floppy drives, and a power supply
or two. I usually have a spare keyboard, too, but I keep spilling things
All these components are fairly inexpensive, and don't change very much
over time, unlike CPUs and hard drives, which continually get bigger
& faster & cheaper. I've never had to replace a dead CPU (knocks
on wood), but just about everything else has needed replacing at one
time or another. Sometimes you don't have time to run down to the local
CompUSA for some small part.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Spare
06February2004 - Spilled coffee on my keyboard
today (for the second time). Now only about half the dang keys work,
and every time I hit the space bar, the cursor jumps back to the beginning
of the line. This would be a good torture for people in hell.
Anyway, I ordered a new keyboard today: the *backlit* Sapphire
model by Eluminx. This way
I'll be able to work at night without having to keep a light on. When
it arrives, I'll let you know if it's as cool as it looks/sounds. Newegg
has it here,
but they are out-of-stock. The local CompUSA
is also out-of-stock on this model. Blogged hard-link posted here:>
05February2004 - Updated the Guide
to Norton Ghost: the site's single most
popular feature. Been meaning to do that for some time. It hasn't
been updated since last September. Mostly added reader comments &
clarifications. Nothing major. Also updated the accompanying PDF files:
both the downloadable
(93-KB zip) & printer-friendly
(152-KB, not zipped) versions.
For those of you who live here in Laguna,
don't forget that today/tonight is the First
Thursday Art Walk.
04February2004 - I'm researching notebook
computers, and the new technologies they offer, such as Intel's Centrino,
which debuted last March. This mobile technology claims to use less
power, while integrating wireless networking.
Official Intel press release is posted
Things get confusing when you consider that the highly-coveted Pentium
M processor (note the *absence* of the number 4), which sits as
the centerpiece of the Centrino technology, max'es
out at 1.7-GHz, and contains a 1-MB
L2 cache, is NOT THE SAME as the (older, less-coveted)
4-M chip (note the *presence* of the number '4'
there), which max'es out at 2.6-GHz & contains
only 512-KB cache ..
.. which is still different from the regular Pentium
4 chip, which is designed for desktop computers (max'es out at 3.2-GHz).
Easy to confuse them (thanks to Intel's naming scheme), but they are
all very different animals.
I was surprised to learn that the performance of these
different chips do NOT compare on a 1:1 basis. For example, the 1.7-Ghz
chip is slightly *faster* than the 2.6-GHz 4-M
chip .. or so says benchmarks offered by Intel.
If you are not confused yet, consider that Intel will release its next-generation
'M' chip, called Dothan, in May. It
will come with *twice* the L2 cache, and be based on
a smaller manufacturing process (90-namometer).
Current chips use a 130-nm manufacturing process. Smaller is better.
More Dothan info posted here.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Centrino-based
notebook / laptop computers.
03February2004 - Intel
cut prices of their CPUs. Newegg
has the Pentium4
US$229, which is a pretty good deal. I updated the Black
Beast to include this chip. The 2.8-GHz CPU goes
for a measly $189.
The flagship 3.2-GHz chip is still pricey at $289.
Newegg's impressive reseller-rating is posted
If you decide you want one, make sure you select a chip that corresponds
to the bus speed your system runs at. CPUs ending with the letter "C"
are designed to run on an 800-MHz system bus. The letter
"B" indicated 533-MHz, and
the letter "A" means the chip is designed
to run at 400-MHz. These bus speeds are determined
by your particular motherboard. My links above all correspond to chips
designed for a system bus running at 800-MHz.
I've always heard that February was the best month
to buy electronics. If you like deals that save you money, my buddy
Apex & his posse
spend hours each day scouring the Net to find the best ones. If you
want to learn more about CPUs, check out the RADIFIED
guide to the Intel
Northwood Pentium4 CPU. [Blogged hard-link here]
On another note, check out Julia
fractals and the power of Google to overwhelm (kill) a server. Here
is search pre-configured for the terms Julia
fractals, and another for Quarternion
fractal. I currently use "Fractal
Explosion" for my desktop (1152x864, 474-KB,
center it, don't stretch, use black background, I use 1280x1024 screen
resolution). More info posted here.
If you've never heard of fractals before, see "fractals
01February2004 - RADIFIED set a new site
record last month with over 1.7 million hits. See here.
Seems pretty close to 2 million hits per month. The
site continues to grow in popularity.