News for January 2006


Radiation tri-blade 31.jan.2006 - Got a message from Scott today about the new SLVR cell phone (by Motorola). I didn't know they were available yet. The Sliver is going to be the next hot new thing (HNT). He says:

Rad, I just bought a new Sliver off eBay for $180. It's skinny, but you have to use a micrometer to tell it's thinner than the Razor. At roughly the same size, it's slightly narrower but longer.

One advantage the Razor has is a much bigger screen. Right now, the SLVR has exclusivity, but that will be short-lived.

The SLVR has two versions: the L6 & L7. The L6 (which I have) doesn't have the metal keypad, is silver, and lacks the SD card expansion capability. Otherwise they're identical. The L7 is running $300+ on eBay.


Scott is from 'bama (Mobile, where he "lives, works & plays") and has provided much good, reliable info in the past. I always appreciate hearing from people with first hand, real-world experience.

[That's what makes online bulletin board forums so valuable, where folks share their real-world experience. Cuz many times what you thought or heard turns out to be very different from what you discover to be true thru personal experience.]

I've started playing with the text-messaging feature yesterday (to the Dog). At first, it takes forever to keypad a message (especially with my fat fingers), but after a while, you start to get the hang of it, and it goes much quicker.

In other news, I got a note from Magoo today, saying: "You might not hear from me for a few days. Converting my computer to Linux this week. Wish me luck." Do I hear a new guide in the making?

Wonder what distro he'll be using. I've always fancied Mandrake myself, for ease of installation, altho their site is down. I found the Linux learning-curve to be rather steep. Every good geek oughta install a distro and become familiar with it, playing with it periodically.

Radiation tri-blade 30.jan.2006 - Purchased the domain name radified.net today. Got it at GoDaddy, for $8.95/year .. for two years. I was impressed by both their prices & service. Usually, you get one or the other.

Thinking I might put the new Rad forums there. (Refer to entry for 25.jan.). GoDaddy also offers hosting plans. Anybody know quality hosting companies?

I would like one that allows me to have at least one more - and preferably *two* more - domain names. This way I could transfer this site (.com) there if I decided. My current web hosting provider (virtual server) only allows one domain name.

I currently pay $16/month for the server, which gives me 350-MB of web space, with unlimited bandwidth. The site uses ~30GB per month.

Radiation tri-blade 29.jan.2006 - One of the things I've been dealing with recently is trying to decide when the time is right to open up myself to a new relationship.

Following a break-up, or divorce, people sometimes seek a new relationship immediately. And certainly that helps assuage the pain of the break-up. We call them rebounders.

And this is understandable. We miss having someone there for us .. caring for us .. concerned for our welfare .. wrapping their arms around us .. holding us .. pressing their warm, soft bodies against ours .. snuggling up to us on cold winter nights .. loving us .. and vice-versa.

But I don't think it's healthy to jump back in right away. We need to spend time alone .. processing the grief and loss of the last relationship .. before moving on to the next. (Some need more time than others.)

Otherwise, we tend to carry into the future all the problems, hurts & resentments of the past. Best to deal with them first .. as painful as that might be.

Fact is, nobody wants to hear us talk about our ex all the time .. how ugly they were to us .. how badly they treated us .. what complete psycho's they were. And that's what tends to happen if we don't first process the loss and grief of the past.

Now I have done this break-up thing enough times to know what to expect. And here's what I've learned:

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Time to Move On

Radiation tri-blade 26.jan.2006 - You might've noticed the site was down for a long-@ss time .. almost an entire day. That was the single longest stretch of down-time *ever*. Probably won't break 3.5 million hits this month now.

I kept calling tech support, until I became a complete nuisance. I probably called a dozen times. Finally (today) a guy named Mike in the Philippines was able to get the site back for me. (Gotta keep calling until you get a hold of somebody who can help.)

I never did find out wtf happened. I backed up everything to my (local) hard drive today. Probably not smart to rely solely on *their* back-up method.

Got a million emails saying, "Rad, what happened to the site?" I'm thinking, "That's what I'm tying to find out." Sux staring at a blank page for hours.

In other news, I was driving home yesterday when I ran over a big piece of truck retread in my lane on the freeway (405 South). Was boxed in. Couldn't avoid it. Blammo. (I was motoring, too.)

Everything seemed okay until I exited. Then I couldn't find the clutch to downshift. Very weird feeling. I mean, the whole dang clutch pedal was gone.

Got off the freeway and came to rest beside a sign that said: No Parking Any Time. =) (Can't drive a car with no clutch.)

Called tripple-A for a tow (with my new cell phone). They sent a flat-bed to get me. The pedal was stuck to the floor. Some German car place thru it up on the lift. Seems a small angle bracket that holds the clutch cable broke off.

Was sweating bullets, cuz clutches for Porsches cost plenty, cuz they have to yank the dang engine, which costs a grand itself. So I could kiss these German guys. Even ordered me a used part ($30), to save money.

So, between losing my clutch and the web site yesterday, and a few other things, I was watching out for lightning bolts apearing out of a clear blue sky. Everybody offered the same consolation: It coulda been worse.

Played Rad dad today. Maria let me use her BMW to get the little man while the Rad-mobile is in the shop, waiting on parts. We had an excellent day. Not sure who's the bigger kid, me or him. He was loud today, talking up a storm about something. Wish I knew what.

Radiation tri-blade 25.jan.2006 - I'm thinking of upgrading the forums .. from the current YaBB software to vBulletin, which is generally considered the standard in bulletin board software.

Back when I originally installed YaBB (years ago), I merely wanted to learn how to install a forum (I learn best by doing) ..

.. but now that the forums have become the de facto Norton Ghost forums on the 'Net (since Symantec shutdown their user forums), and traffic continues to grow, I'm considering installing a forum software package that is a little more robust.

vBulletin is based on MySQL & PHP (database-driven, which is better for bigger sites), whereas YaBB is Perl-based, which is fine for smaller sites.

I have a guy who has experience administering vBulletin, and has imported (converted) other boards. He has (generously) offered to donate his time & services to install vBulletin and convert the current Rad boards.

Of course, conversions always make me nervous. But he's confident it will go smoothly.

I'm currently running YaBB v1.4. There is a major upgrade currently available .. to version 2.0 (then 2.1). But I don't think vBulletin can import from YaBB v2.0 or 2.1.

Of course, we could just install vBulletin fresh, without importing any threads/posts from YaBB, and simply leave YaBB installed for reference sake (disable the ability to make new posts). That might be the way to go.

Radiation tri-blade 24.jan.2006 - A quick check of the site's reporting page reveals a significant increase in traffic this month. January has traditionally been a busy month for the site (tho I'm not sure why). It appears we're on track for ~3.5 million hits this month, a 10% increase over last month.

In related news, I've been receiving requests to generate an RSS feed. The requests started slowly (months ago), but of late have become increasingly frequent.

I'm normally reluctant to discuss things for which I have no first-hand experience, but it seems RSS is a syndication tool, which would allow readers to keep up with things Radified without actually visiting the site.

The letters stand for (either) Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. I obviously need to read up on it. But it's a techie thing, and I enjoy learning about all things technical.

Radiation tri-blade 22.jan.2006 - Saw The New World yesterday, at the Big Newport (Newport Beach). The theater was comfortably full.

A retelling of the fabled love story between Pocahontas & Capt. John Smith .. set in the the new world (Virginia, 1607) when European culture first encountered the native American indians living there. I very much enjoyed it.

Easy for this kind of movie (love story) to get corny, but the director did a good job (excellent job) of keeping it understated and even poetic.

I appreciate the subtleties of understated storytelling. The flip-side is that some might find the story slow. But love stories are all about undercurrents. And either you relate or you don't.

Remainder of today's cinematic entry blogged here:> The New World - A Rad Film / Movie Review

Radiation tri-blade 21.jan.2006 - Google resists big brother's demand to turn over Internet search records. Two behemoths square off. Godzilla vs King Kong. Go Google.

Radiation tri-blade 20.jan.2006 - Moved again yesterday .. away from my pristine beach-front property (see entry 02.jan). Unfortunately, that once-in-a-lifetime deal fell thru.

Every time I move, I throw out more krap. So I finally have it down to the essentials: a tent, a sleeping bag, a laptop, cell phone and an espresso machine. =).

A special thanks to Maria for coming thru in the clutch (as she has done numerous times in the past). While some might be tempted to exploit a misfortune, Maria has a knack for being there for people when they find themselves caught in a lurch.

Okay, I just saw a guy (here are the coffee shop) wearing one of those Bluetooth wireless headsets (refer to previous entry). I have to admit, it looks kinda stupid. I hope I don't look that dorky.

What really looked dumb was that the thing was *flashing* (blue light) .. calling attention to the wearer. "Attention K-Mart shoppers, we have a blue-light special in aisle..."

I think the flashing light indicates an active connection with the phone. At night, he probably looks like a dang Christmas tree. And he was wearing it on his right ear. I think that means that he's gay .. at least, here in Laguna. =)

So I just decided I'm not going to wear mine in public .. only when driving. Anyway, your Rad prayers are appreciated for a little thing I have going on today.

Radiation tri-blade 17.jan.2006 - Bought a Bluetooth wireless earpiece for the new cell phone yesterday. Actually, they call it a headset, cuz you can also talk thru it, but it simply clips on your ear.

What's so surprising is that people claim they can hear me good, even tho the speaker sits nowhere near my mouth. The piece is feather-light and comfortable. I hardly notice it there.

Took me a while to configure the earpiece to communicate with the phone. Almost took it back to the sales-guy: "This piece-of-krap you sold me doesn't work."

Remainder of today's wireless entry is blogged here:> Bluetooth Wireless Headset Earpiece for Motorola RAZR Cell Phone

Radiation tri-blade 16.jan.2006 - First update made from the car (Rad mobile, with my new laptop), sitting at Heisler Park .. where the sun is setting behind Catalina Island.

Earlier today I purchased a Wireless access card from Laguna Broadcasting Network, which gives me 500 minutes of wireless Internet air-time for $20. Not a bad deal.

Many areas of town are equipped with 'repeaters' (signal boosters) for Laguna Broadcasting, such as the one here at Las Brisas (Mexican restaurant, adjacent to Heisler Park), which I suspect I'm connected to now (signal strength: excellent).

Most areas of Laguna see a wireless signal .. some areas see a strong signal, others not so strong. Depends on the hardware used and its positioning (buried under a counter or mounted high on a wall).

Updates are a little tricker from the car, but can be done. If I were more motivated, I'd break out the digital camera and upload a photo of this spectacular sunset for you.

Radiation tri-blade 15.jan.2006 - Like many other broken families, I've been sharing children. While other families have been doing this for many years, I've been doing it for only a few months. After all the legal dust settles, the thing, it seems, that one is left with, is sadness.

I'm not normally a sad person. Quite the opposite. I tend to be enthusiastic about life, and have difficulty understanding the psychology of friends who require anti-depressants.

So sadness is an not a familiar emotion. Perhaps I feel more sad for the little guy than for myself (tho not sure). His life (I feel) could be so much richer if I were more involved (daily walks on the beach at sunset like before, etc.).

Remainder of today's sad entry is blogged here:> Sharing Children

Radiation tri-blade 13.jan.2006 - Friday the 13th. Superstitious?

Radiation tri-blade 12.jan.2006 - Played Rad dad today. Had the little guy. We started the day at Main Beach here in Laguna. I took along some Cheerios.

Sitting on the park bench, I threw them at his feet, one at a time, while he practiced walking on the cobblestones .. which brought pigeons & seagulls from all corners of the globe. Ga-zillions of them.

He thought that was the sh!t .. didn't know which one to chase. Could hardly contain himself. He's only been walking a few weeks. So the pigeons are faster than he is.

Then we headed for the swings, where I do a good job of simulating a rollercoaster, which he digs .. and the day just kept getting better.

Maximum smiles & laughs today. I bet he's sleeping good tonight. Gorgeous day.

Radiation tri-blade 11.jan.2006 - Picked up a USB floppy drive for my new laptop yesterday. It was immediately recognized (New hardware found) and installed by the operating system soon as I plugged it in.

There has been some debate regarding whether a USB floppy drive will boot .. with or without jumping thru configuration hoops.

No laptop I've configured has ever had a problem booting from a USB floppy, and this laptop is no exception. It required no additional configuration manipulations (e.g. no BIOS tweaking).

Pop in any bootable floppy diskette, reboot, and (bingo) the notebook automatically boots from the floppy.

I'm in the process of Radifying the laptop. Yesterday I repartitioned the 60-gig hard drive into equal halves .. the first for Windows & programs. The second for back-up Ghost images.

As a side-note, I'd like to mention that beside creating a back-up image on the newly-created 2nd partition (hard drive), I also created a back-up image on a DVD, and that Ghost (version 2003) *automatically* made the DVD bootable .. without even asking me .. which was cool.

Unfortunately the DVD took much longer to make. The image written to the designated partition (same hard drive) took 10 measly minutes (~500MB/min), while the DVD took nearly an hour (~100MB/min .. 8X DVD+R discs).

With multiple back-up images, I now feel comfortable installing the rest of my programs. I'm also considering a small external hard drive (USB 2.0) .. for one more back-up method. Redundancy is our protection against stupidity.

Radiation tri-blade 10.jan.2006 - The bug's first birthday today. My how time flies. Regulars may recall the drama of the past year.

I don't have the little guy today. For *my* birthday, I normally go to Disneyland (happiest place on earth).

If you stop by city-hall on the way in, and show them your ID, they'll give you a Mickey Mouse name-tag, so everywhere you go, Disneyland employees greet you by name with a hearty, "Happy birthday!" .. all day long. Corny, I know, but still cool .. and lotsa fun.

Since *my* b-day is tomorrow, I could kill two birthday birds with one Disney stone, but I have to have him back so soon .. it would be like: "Okay, there's Mickey, and over there is Goofy. Now we have to go."

Still, I think it would be a cool (family) tradition. Disneyland is nicely uncrowded this time of year, especially mid-week. I never go during the summer, especially not on weekends, cuz you spend all day waiting in endless lines (for which I have precious little patience).

Anyway, if the bug were born a few hours later, he would've been born *on* my birthday. I'd love to be able to post a photo. I have a great shot of him reaching up onto the desk, stretching for the keyboard with an intense, determined look on his face. (Wonder where he got that from?)

Way back in 6th grade, I had this cool, new-age, hippie Science teacher (Mr. D), and I remember him going around the room and asking everyone their b-day. When he got to me, I said, "January 11th." He raised his eyebrow and replied, "Ah, one-one-one - verrrry significant."

Of course, the laid-back Mr. D never mentioned *how* this was significant. And I've always regretted not asking. Anyway, the day here seems a little gray at first light .. or maybe it's just my mood today.

Radiation tri-blade 09.jan.2006 - I'm sitting in a Cybercafe at 6AM. What a bunch of characters have congregated here. An older couple sitting next to me is arguing the merits of abortion as it pertains to the Alito Supreme Court nomination hearings scheduled for today.

The guy here is arguing for abortion (women should have control of their bodies and be able to choose), while his wife/girlfriend is arguing against it. ("Tell me who's going to protect the rights of the unborn baby.") Opposite what you might expect.

It's *way* too early for this type of discussion. They are giving me a headache (talking loudly). Where did I put my dang earplugs?

Anyway, this place uses SonicWall as their method to control online access. I have no first-hand experience setting up SonicWall hardware, but have heard good things about the company and its products, especially if your business needs industrial-strength protection.

The day is just starting to get light. Unfortunately the cappuccino here sukketh.

UPDATE: Received the following mail from LoTGoD, who says:

Hey Rad, Just wanted to add my two cents on Sonicwall. I've had nothing but problems with them. Their config pages are convoluted - too complicated even for a techie to understand.

I use Watchguard products at work everyday. We've had 99% success with them. On the smaller Firebox X Edge, the configs are accomplished via a web-based browser interface. The more powerful Firebox X Core comes with its own easy-to-manage software. VPN configs are a breeze, and tunnel uptime is typically 24/7.

I know you're not looking, but couldn't resist commenting on something I use daily.  At home, I use the older Watchguard Firebox SOHO 6, and like it better than either Linksys or Netgear routers so popular at local stores.

If you have questions, or ever need a quick how-to on any Watchguard products, don't hesitate to ask!

First-hand experience alway trumps hearsay. LoTGoD has provided reliable & valuable info many times in the past. The natural questions I have is: *Why* does he like Watchguard SOHO better than Linksys or Netgear for his home? and How much do they cost?

Radiation tri-blade 08.jan.2006 - Learning a lot about wireless networks around town. There are usually several to choose from, wherever you are, and most are unsecured.

The best signals (strongest) come from commercial providers, such as Laguna Broadcasting Network, which seem to provide city-wide access for a fee ($20/month, or $20 for 500 minutes, which seems like a good deal).

Other places, such as Deidrich's coffee shop, bring you to a log-in page when you try to connect, which says, "Please see cashier for user ID."

She gives you a slip of paper that contains a user name & password, which provides free access, but the connection times out after 1 hour. This prevents people from spending all day on their network. Seems reasonable.

But there are also other networks within range at Deidrich's, so you can log-on to them, and stay long as you want.

The *best* places to connect are those where you can plug into an electrical outlet, such as the library .. otherwise you're on the battery, and that only lasts so long.

Radiation tri-blade 07.jan.2006 - I survived the move, but still dragging @ss. It was a lot more work than expected.

Back when I was a young stud, I could do this sort of thing, no problem. Now it takes me several days to recover. I was up 'til 5AM the final night (uh, morning). The amount of krap to move seemed endless.

After a while I had to stop making decisions: keep it or trash it, cuz I had no more time. Just had to move everything. The constant decision-making is what takes so much time.

Glad that's over. I could sleep for a week. I have black-n-blues everywhere. Not sure how they got there.

Did you see the Rose bowl? Was that not a great game? Talked to some folks here from Texas who actually had tickets. They paid $175 each (legitimately, via Texas schools).

One couple I know paid $1,000 each via scalpers. Another couple paid $1,200 each (.. and were *thrilled* to get them).

Lots of Texans walking around in town, proudly wearing their Longhorn shirts. I know stalwart USC fans who were physically ill after the game.

I've spent many days up at USC, while Wendy went to Film school there (Graduate Film Production). If you search Google for the query: USC Film school, you'll find only the USC site itself ranks higher than my Rad chronicle (5 semester's worth of trials-n-tribulations).

I sat in on many classes there. USC has the first and best Film school in the world, with the best industry contacts. Just look at their board of advisors. It's a who's who of the Entertainment industry.

Know anybody who's thinking of going to Film school? For more on what life is like in Film school at USC, see: Life of a Film School Student at USC.

This is my first Rad update made with my new laptop (see entry 28.dec.2005) .. from a Cyber-cafe .. at an undisclosed location. Decent connection speed (WiFi). They're closing soon, so I need to wrap it up.

At the new digs, I can hear the ocean so well that it often feels like I'm sleeping right on the beach.

Site traffic for January is cranking. Went for a week with no coffee (thot I would die). Today is first day with octane. No noticeable crankage, tho.

Radiation tri-blade 02.jan.2006 - Moving today .. to some beautiful ocean-front property .. mere steps from the beach. I feel fortunate to have found this place. Will be falling asleep to the sound of waves every night, sitting in front of a cozy fire. (I'll try to get some photos for you.)

What a horrible storm to move in .. palm fronds litter streets and yards everywhere .. blown down by strong winds.

You might have noticed the Rose parade was drenched (up the road in Pasadena). Hasn't rained for the Rose parade in 50 years. (It probably rained cuz I'm moving.)

Everybody here is talking about the Rose bowl, where undefeated USC takes on Texas. Some have called USC's offense the greatest in the history of NCAA competition.

I like USC cuz they never get rattled, even when they're behind at the end of the game. They have composure and confidence. No team has ever won three straight national titles. It will be unprecedented. Can't wait.

Lots of Rad readers live in Texas. We know who they'll be rooting for. (One of them made a generous donation today, with the note: You more than earned those funds. You do not know how much I appreciate your forums, your blog, your guides and all the misc information.)

Anyway, I'll be busy for a few days, setting up things at the new digs, and trying to dry off. So if you need help with anything, head over to the Rad forums, where the gang will be glad to assist.

Radiation tri-blade 01.jan.2006 - Feliz año nuevo. Two years ago, I researched & wrote a little ditty on how to avoid & survive hangovers. You'll find it here:> Avoiding Hangovers .. but hopefully you won't need it. =)

RADIFIED set a new record for site usage last month with roughly 3¼ million hits. Indeed, all metrics appear to have logged new highs. See here:> Site usage statistics.

The site is using/consuming nearly 30 gigs of bandwidth monthly.