News for July 2006


Radiation tri-blade 31.july.2006 - Momentarily coming up for air to update the home page. Been busy re-coding the site's AdSense ads.

Surprising to see to numbers keep climbing (both click-thru-rates & revenue) as I continue tweaking the ads, blending them into the site's pages (as recommended by the experts).

No doubt about it: the numbers are definitely climbing.

I've never been very concerned about site revenue, cuz this aspect offers very little creativity, .. but you know what they say about necessity being the mother of .. something. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the HTML mines, I go.

I've also been working on updating the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio. Just put my head down and started plowing thru that one. (Had an excellent cup of coffee this morning.) But it's a bear .. yet one I'm determined to tame. [So far I'm getting mauled.]

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Updating Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio with LAME MP3 encoder & EAC

Radiation tri-blade 29.july.2006 - Regarding the use of new, blended Google AdSense ads,.. I'm still working on modifying the code (which sux, cuz I have so many web pages .. tedious work, involves no creativity) .. but...

...AdSense revenue jumped by ~50% on Wednesday & Thursday.

Friday's take was only slightly better than average, even tho the click-thru-rate (CTR) was significantly higher than normal. Today also looks to be a very good day, compared to the rest of the Saturdays this month. Maybe the best yet.

I realize a few days does not a representative sample make, but I'm pretty surprised that such a minor tweak could yield this kind of results so fast.

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Blended AdSense ads yield increased revenue via higher click-thru-rates (part II)

Radiation tri-blade 26.july.2006 - Regarding yesterday's entry (scroll down to see below), about tweaking Google's AdSense ads to maximize revenue .. yesterday was the highest grossing day all month, with a corresponding higher click-thru-rate (CTR).

And today (so far) looks to do even better. So it appears the experts really know what they're talking about.

Regarding the use "blended" ads, where you "remove" the border (by making the border the same color as your web page), and change the ad's background color to the same as your web page...

... I've always felt this was a little dishonest .. which is why I always made the background color of my ads a slightly different shade than that of my web pages (see here for example)...

... so folks would be able to differentiate between my content and ads. I never wanted to trick anyone into clicking ads.

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Blended Borderless Google AdSense ads yield higher click-thru-rate (CTR)

Radiation tri-blade 25.july.2006 - Received an offer yesterday from a professional organization who specializes in optimizing revenue generated by Google's AdSense program.

Surprisingly, part of the deal is they request I do not make known the details of their offer, which is limited to "high-potential site owners" (by invitation only).

So I can't elaborate .. other than saying I am going to implement their suggestions, which include adding a horizontal link-unit to the top of the page, and blending ads colors into my web pages.

I had previously made the ads a slightly different shade. But they are the experts in this area and should know what works best.

The site has many pages, so it will take some time to fully implement their suggestions.

I have tweaked ads before. It is tedious work. No fun. But hey, if the site can earn more ca$h .. might keep me out of the homeless shelter. =)

Radiation tri-blade 24.july.2006 - Ever been away from your computer, and wished you had access to a search engine? Well, now you do .. that is, if you (or a friend) have a cell phone handy.

Google offers a free service called SMS (Short Message Service). See here:> Google SMS (still in beta).

Simply send your query as a text message to "46645" (GOOGL), and Google will respond by returning between one and three text messages containing the results of your search. (Normal cell charges & rates apply.)

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Google's New Short Message Service (SMS) for your cell phone

Radiation tri-blade 23.july.2006 - Been too dang hot to update the web site. It has been this hot here in SoCal before - plenty of times - but I can't remember it ever being this hot for this looong.

I mean, the heat is relentless, stifling, brutal .. even at night, even at the beach. And it's been humid, muggy, sticky, tropical. With no relief in sight. I think the word they use is oppressive.

Heard this is the warmest summer on record - since record keeping began. Maybe Al Gore is right. And from maps seen on TV of temperatures across the nation, it looks like you might be roasting even worse.

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Recording-breaking heat-wave, and Rad-dad rides again (Surrey)

Radiation tri-blade 18.july.2006 - Received a call today from a girl named Danni, who represents the Yahoo! Publisher Network (YPN), saying I was approved for their new beta program.

I applied for their program back on May 27th. YPN is similar to Google's AdSense program, which I've been using since March of last year.

They told me they haven't been accepting many people into the new program yet (still in beta), and that I'm one of the first.

The remainder of today's entry continues in the blog. See here: RADIFIED approved for Yahoo! Publisher Network (beta)

Radiation tri-blade 17.july.2006 - Some friends bought a used PC that did not have a genuine copy of Windows installed. They subsequently purchased a valid copy (WXP Pro), but could not figure out how to "validate" their copy of Windows.

After a little research, I found a special utility that does this, which you can find here, in case you know someone in the same boat. Microsoft calls it The Genuine Advantage Product Key Update Tool.

The remainder of today's entry continues in the blog here:> Upgrading your bootleg copy of Windows XP to a legit "Genuine Advantage" version

Radiation tri-blade 16.july.2006 - In contrast to the Dog's note (see entry below for the 14th of July), I received a note today from a buddy I used to work with back in New York.

We worked 12-hour days (7-to-7) for several months, and would go for a burger after work (at Jeremiah's or Blueberry Hill) or for pizza .. always stimulating conversations. See his note here:

We're legally separated, in the process of divorce. Takes a year to process in NC, so we have a way to go. She just decided she didn't want to live with me anymore (after 13 years). It's tough, but I make it one day at a time.

We've been apart for 7 months. As you know, the feelings of abandonment and loss are the worst things to try to deal with. I miss the boys terribly.

Going from reading to them every night and tucking them in to seeing them every other weekend has been hard.

I was really drifting for a while, but met a girl who is helping right the ship. She's the greatest. So good to hear from you. Miss our conversations.

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Sadness of relationship decay, more vivid dreams & kudos

Radiation tri-blade 15.july.2006 - Nightmare last night. Dreamt I gave the little guy to some lady to watch while I did something .. and she disappeared. What a horrible, helpless feeling.

Woke in a panic, freaked out. Feel exhausted now, like I didn't sleep a wink. Glad to wake and realize it was only a dream.

Seemed real, vivid. Remember praying, "God, if you bring him back, I'll never let him out of my sight again." That's when I woke, sweating, 5AM.

Ate pizza last night, with pepperoni, sausage, etc. Heard spicy foods can influence dreams. The remainder of today's troubling entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Nightmare on Rad street

Radiation tri-blade 14.july.2006 - My buddy the Dog (aka Dogbrother) is vacationing in the Czech Republic, where his girlfriend of 2 years was born and raised.

Received an email from him this morning that says: Just got engaged in Prague. Cows are flying and hell's frozen over.

She (29) is much younger than the Dog, but more mature, emotionally, and very cool, easy-going.

They live in Jersey just across the river from New York city. He can see Manhattan from his bed. The dog grew up in Jersey.

They'll get married in Prague sometime next year. Must be a new world today. Anything can happen. Congrats to the dog. The devil must be out shopping for a pair of ice skates. Beware of cow-pies falling from then sky. =)

Radiation tri-blade 13.july.2006 - For the first time ever, I opened up the daily Rad blog and invited others to contribute.

Magoo (from Arizona) is the first to offer a contribution. You recall: he's the gent who wrote the Wireless Networking guide, and the Spyware guide, and is also the author of the BitTorrent guide. See here:

Microsoft is now offering their virtualization software for free. Virtual PC 2004 allows you to create virtual computers on your desktop.

Virtual computers are useful to try out new operating systems, provide a safe environment for trying beta software, or set up virtual networks of virtual computers to test a network.

Until now, VMWare has been the leader in the virutalization industry, but they have always charged for their releases. Looks like Microsoft is taking aim at their market.

Virtual PC 2004 is only for Win2000, WinXP, and WinXP Tablet PC Edition. I've heard rumors that Microsoft will eventually make a version for Linux and Mac in order to compete directly with VMWare, who already has a popular Linux version.

VMWare recently released a free version of their Virtual Server in response. Related linkage: Apple Insider. BetaNews1. BetaNews2. MSDN blog. </end Magoo entry>

I try to keep the site balanced between technical and personal info. And lately, I've been too busy with the later (personal) to focus on the fomer (technical). Hence the help.

Speaking of personal stuff, the little guy (Rad Jr.) put two words together for the first time (far as I recall), saying, "Dada car," (pointing) when he saw the Rad-mobile yesterday.

Of course, people claim I'll soon be longing for the simpler days before he could talk. =) [He's 18 months.]

Just got his immunizatin shots earlier this week. Nasty knots, the size of golf balls, in his legs (thighs), especially the right one. Worst shots yet. Amazing he can still walk (limping). Seems impervious, tho.

Heading out to get him now. F-U-N is what we will have. Thanks again to Mr. Magoo for today's technical contribution.

Radiation tri-blade 10.july.2006 - Saw Pirates of the Caribbean yesterday. It started good, but became a mishmash midway thru, like several different movies were patched into one. The end seemed to drag on forever. Great special effects, tho.

Heard Pirates broke all known ticket-sales records, for both opening day and opening weekend .. held by Spiderman (since 2002). So chances are, you've already seen it. If not, reviews here. Trailers here.

People here actually cheered when the movie *began* .. uh, but not at the end. (I caught the 3:45 matinee. Theater was packed, sardine style.)

Auditorium was warm, uncomfortably so. I normally bring a sweatshirt, in case it's chilly inside. Didn't need that, tho. Not hardly.

Afterwards, I found the manager (not easy) and complained. She told me the a/c was broke, and said the repair people couldn't come 'til tomorrow.

Apologetically she offered a comp ticket for another show. But I was the only one who waited to grumble for a refund.

In the show, I could hear people around me complaining how warm is was. The heat made me sleepy. It became hard to stay awake, to pay attention to plot intricacies .. and harder still to enjoy the film.

You cram a thousand people into an auditorium and turn off ventilation .. it's gonna get ugly pretty quick.

In other news .. the little guy has his 18-month birthday today. To celebrate .. he goes to the doctor .. for his 18-month shots .. 3 of them .. like getting punched in the leg, thrice. But he's happy & healthy.

"Those are the bluest eyes I've ever seen," said a girl at the store last week. "Mine or his?" I asked. "Yours are green," she said. =)

Radiation tri-blade 09.july.2006 - Enjoying my first coffee in a week. What a great feeling! The hair on the back of my neck is standing. I can think again. The world makes sense again.

Had a touch of an intestinal bug yesterday, which sapped my energy. One of the worst feelings I know is that of having no energy. Really suks. I hate it.

I've always had an abundance of energy .. often too much so, especially when I was young(er) .. needing to find constructive outlets to channel it (which didn't always happen).

Lately I've come to associate lack-of-energy (after seeing what happened to my folks) with disease and death .. and associate things like climbing Half Dome with fullness of life. No sickly person is going to climb Half Dome (8 miles up, 8 miles down).

I remember the feeling of accomplishment I felt after arriving at the top. It seem to confirm the fact that I was still very much alive, and dispel any doubt. To this day, it's still one of the coolest things I've done (twice).

The remainder of today's elevating entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Reminiscing about climbing Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Radiation tri-blade 08.july.2006 - Bill Moyers has a new show called Faith & Reason .. two things difficult to reconcile, like Jews & Palestinians, good & evil .. which, I guess, is why he chose them.

I remember, while growing up, teachers telling us that we needed to use our brains to question things people told us, and not accept something as fact merely because somebody claimed it was true .. no matter *who* was doing the proclaiming.

"Anyone who accepts things blindly," we were told, "is wasting their mind." [Powers of reason]

Then, in Sunday school class, we were told that we needed to have faith, and that, "without faith, it is impossible to please God," and not to question things we were told.

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Faith & Reason, with Bill Moyers

Radiation tri-blade 07.july.2006 (07-07-06) - Opening today: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Thought I would be smart and arrive an hour early for the 7:15 screening, get my tickets (ahead of the rush) and grab a bite to eat at Muldoons (next door) while I waited for showtime.

Not smart enough, tho. It was already sold out. Bummer. Hundreds were waiting in line, which wrapped around the corner .. more than an hour early, standing in the hot sun.

The guy at the door told me they had a midnight screening last night, which *also* SOLD OUT, by noon that day. Surprising, cuz I heard the film wasn't really that good. Wow .. a midnight screening that sold out, mid-week no less. (The Big Newport holds 1100 people.)

Yet the show I'm *really* interested in seeing is .. A Scanner Darkly, based on the book of the same title.

The remainder of today's cinematic entry is continued in the blog. See here:> A Scanner Darkly, based on the novel by Phillip K Dick

Radiation tri-blade 06.july.2006 - I noticed in the grocery store that cherries are in season. Every summer, I buy a bunch and fill a mason jar with them, then add vod-ka and seal the lid tightly .. before stashing the jar away in a cool, dark place.

On Christmas (or sometimes New Years), I retrieve the jar, invite over some friends and pop the lid.

What you'll find is an *exchange* takes place: the potency of the alcohol somehow migrates into the cherries, and the sweetness of the cherries mellows the vod-ka. (It'll become dark red.)

Use a good quality (unflavored) vodka, and ensure the cherries still have their *stems* .. which is important, or they'll become mushy.

The remainder of today's entry is continued in the blog. See here:> Julio's Christmas cherries

Radiation tri-blade 05.july.2006 - Ken Lay died last night. You remember: he's the maggot who made off with million$ while the company was headed down the tubes .. and all the while he was assuring employees and investors "There's nothing to worry about. Every thing looks beautiful. I promise. Buy more stock. Hurry ..." .. so he could sell off his worthless stock at an attractive price.

I don't think he's really dead. I think it's just another ENRON-esque hoax .. just like his entire company turned out to be (largest bankruptcy in corporate history). I mean, it would be par for the ENRON course.

He was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy, and supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison (where he belongs). So he had nothing to lose.

I saw the movie: ENRON: Smartest Guys in the Room last year. What an eye opener. Made me sick. Unbelievable greed. I mean, how many yachts can you water ski behind?

And come to think of it, what's a convicted felon doing in Aspen anyway? Shouldn't he be behind bars, where convicts belong?

The remainder of today's skeptical entry is continued in the blog. See here: Conspiracy theory: ENRON's Ken Lay death faked

Radiation tri-blade 04.july.2006 - Happy 4th. Today is my favorite holiday of the year .. ever since I was big enough to light a firecracker, growing up in southern Connecticut, where the summers are warm (but short).

Been on the coffee wagon these past few days. Feels like somebody mixed a batch of concrete and poured it in my skull .. then nailed my feet to the floor (lack of motivation).

Gotta take a break from the bean every now & then, or it stops working its magic.

I leave you today with a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

Radiation tri-blade 03.july.2006 - A professor of Economics at USC (named Richard Easterlin, somebody who obviously knows about money) conducted a study which claims increasing the frequency of sex in your marriage from once a month to once a week brings the same happiness as making $50,000 more a year.

If you divide the $50K into 50 weeks a year (excluding 2 weeks for vacation), you come up with $1,000 a week. Uh, must be good sex, huh?

If I were married, I'd come home and tell my wife, "Honey, good news! I just got a raise! .. a *million* dollars a year! .. well, sorta .. Let me explain .. see, there's this professor at USC ..." =)

The story is here:> Happy? Let's sum it up.

I totally understand however, what they mean when they say, "The secret to happiness is low expectations." (see end of article)

When I go to a movie with low or no expectations, I'm usually pleasantly surprised. But when I walk in with high expectations, I rarely walk out happy. Usually disappointed.

On a more believable note, I found a free eBook download (PDF) for the classic As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. Talk about rich stuff. See HERE.

Radiation tri-blade 02.july.2006 - Good day for computer maintenance. Been meaning to do that for some time. Feels good .. like washing-n-waxing the car (which I need to do next).

The Rad guide was crafted with the help of many readers (from all over the planet) who contributed their insights on the subject of regular PC maintenance.

Speaking of PC maintenance .. I'd also like to extol the virtues of regular hard drive back-ups .. to which end there exists the (world-famous) Radified Guide to Norton Ghost ..

.. along with the Rad community forums, frequented by folks with tons of experience & expertise in this area.

If you are not familiar with the wonders of hard drive imaging software, such as Norton Ghost, I've written a little primer here: Hard drive imaging in a nutshell.

A back-up "image" of your hard drive can save you untold headaches associated with the tragedies of data-loss and system perturbations, an even the worst virus infection.

Without a back-up image, you're just wishing & hoping nothing goes wrong. With a back-up image, you're prepared for whatever digital misfortune might come. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Radiation tri-blade 01.july.2006 - Goodbye June. Hello July. I'd like to start this month with a thought (often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson):

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a redeemed social condition, or a job well done;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived --
This is to have succeeded.

If this wasn't penned by Ralph, there are many cool sayings which he did.

I normally avoid duplicating ideas others have already presented, preferring rather to generate original content .. no matter how lame or insignificant .. since so many sites already duplicate news found on other sites.

Not sure why I felt compelled today to break with tradition. Just felt right.