News for June 2003


Radiation tri-blade symbol 27June2003 - Saw Finding Nemo last night [trailers]. What a great flick. Disney production. Animated by Pixar with RenderMan. Saw it in a digital projection theater .. at the Spectrum.

What a difference DP makes, especially the opening & closing parts in the reef. Colors were so vibrant. Picture was super sharp. This is the only way to see an animated flick. It didn't look nearly as good on ordinary film [non-DP] projectors.

If you can catch FN on digital projection, you shouldn't miss it. It's really remarkable. I haven't heard a single person say they didn't like it. I heard it's been making a killing at the box office, which means you've probably already seen it. My favorite part was when the pelican says, "If you want to live, jump inside my mouth." Smile

Radiation tri-blade symbol 26June2003 - Saw an animated feature on HBO titled Waking Life .. thought-provoking "film" originally shot on digital video [DV]. It embraced philosophical themes, dropping names such as Sartre, Aristotle, Aquinas, Truffaut, Dostoevsky, Lorca, Plato & Nietzsche. Famous people, such as Ethan Hawke and Steven Soderbergh, "appeared" in it.

Different from anything else I've seen on the tube. You could tell they shot real people, and then animated over them. A refreshing change from the usual mindless pablum aimed at the lowest common denominator. Techie-minded Wired discusses it here. Offoff review here. It's been out since 2001, but I never heard of it. Stumbled across it while changing channels.

Certainly not for everyone, but nice for those times when you feel like wrapping your mind around substantial ideas. Thousand-words addresses WL here. Seemed like a simple project to make [shot on DV]. Reduced the story to pure ideas. If you've ever done any lucid dreaming, you'll love this flick.

The cartoonish visuals contrasted nicely with the heady philosophical content. At the end, my brain felt like it had been to the gym for a workout. Hasn't felt that way in a while. I liked it. Not sure when [or if] it'll be on again. I actually dropped in at the middle and would like to see it from the beginning.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 25June2003 - Still working on a full update to the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio. It's taking longer than I expected. Finished the first half [first 4 pages]. Working on it a little each day. Also updating the PDF as I go.

When it's done, all the site's most popular guides will have received full, complete updates .. except for the SCSI guide. Maybe when it's done, I'll try to get some of the gurus from "the scene" to look it over and provide technical feedback.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 24June2003 - Wendy sent word her thesis film [Breakwater] will screen this Sunday [29th] at USC's Norris Theater [now called Frank Sinatra Hall] at 7:30 PM. She took an actual frame from the movie [12-minutes] to make a flyer and posted it all over campus [cuz that's what Film school students do]:

Breakwater screening

Admission is free. Everyone is welcome. Two other short films will screen, including: Tania's thesis project: Seahorses, and West Hollywood Story, a musical take-off on West Side Story.

A map of the campus is posted here. This is a big deal for Wendy. It represents the culmination of many years of hard work. Maria should be there. Jan & Frank too. I'm sure Mom & Sid wouldn't miss it for the world. Sharon wants to go. Until then Wendy will be soaking her tired bones in the hot springs at Two Bunch.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 23June2003 - Updated the Ghost guide with reader comments / observations / suggestions. All good stuff. Even updated the PDFs. I just noticed that this guide celebrated its 3-year anniversary a few days ago, on the 21st. This is the *original* Radified guide .. the one that got it all started. The overwhelmingly positive feedback I got from it encouraged me to post others.

It is still the site's most requested feature, downloaded ~1K times each day. The reason these guides have become so popular [and helpful] isn't because I'm so smart, but rather because so many smart people, from all over the world, continue to contribute their insights and suggestions. You can add many helpful insights in 3 years, if you have the whole world helping you. [Just ask Linus.]

Radiation tri-blade symbol 22June2003 - The fight was stopped after 6 rounds, due to a gash above Klitschko's left eye. Between rounds, the camera zoomed in. This cut was so bad I had to change the channel between rounds.

Being a heavyweight championship fight, they let it continue as long as possible. But I was surprised it went that far. The cut occurred back in the 2nd round. It was more than just a cut. I mean, a chunk of his skin was missing. Never seen anything like it. Blood was spurting out. Okay, enough.

Klitschko was winning on all scorecards when the ref stopped the fight. Naturally, Vitali was upset. I thought he was actually going to win it there for a while [a 4-to-1 underdog]. Lewis was wobbly.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 21June2003 - Summer solstice today: longest day of the year, here in the Northern hemisphere, anyway. Get out and enjoy some of that maximum sunage.

Tonight Lennox Lewis defends his world boxing heavyweight crown .. here in Los Angeles, at the Staples center. The fight will air on HBO. Lewis hasn't fought since pummeling Mike Tyson. The challenger is Vitali Klitschko. [Who?] .. from Kazakhstan, [detailed map, 300-KB, broadband only] and all over the old Soviet Union. They make it sound like it will be a good fight.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 20June2003 - Installed Alcohol 120%, the new CD/DVD copying software that's becoming all the rage. Most people prefer it to CloneCD, which, for a long time, held the reputation as "world's best copying software". CloneCD is not the easiest program to use, tho.

As copy-protection schemes become increasingly sophisticated, software manufacturers must continue to stay a step ahead. Fortunately for us, software makers are clever characters. Seems there's nothing they can't handle.

I've always preferred BlindWrite as my software-of-choice to back-up those tough-to-copy CDs. It has never let me down yet. On a side note, I find it interesting that BlindWrite uses its own, homemade Patin-Couffin access Layer [<-notice how they refer to their software as "the best CD copy tool"] instead of the more popular ASPI layer.

I'll need a few weeks to put A120 thru its paces, but, so far, I like what I see. It's obvious why everybody is so excited about this software. It copied several of my most challenging discs with no problem. A120 makes it easy to copy even your most stubborn CDs. Download the demo here and see for yourself why it's becoming so popular.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19June2003 - Had my first experience with credit card fraud. Not sure how, but someone got my number. Fortunately, my bank caught it right away [within the hour]. There were multiple messages on the answering machine when I got home.

Apparently, the bank has a "profile" for CC fraud. Someone had purchased *drugs* thru an online drugstore with my card. I have purchased plenty of items online [such as hard drives and CPUs], and never got very concerned about it. But I *never* buy drugs: period. Once a year, I'll buy a bottle of Advil, and that's about it.

Anyway, the bank connected me to this guy who was an expert in CC fraud. I was impressed with how he handled the situation. I mean, you could tell he was an expert. He asked all the right questions. Very professional.

He immediately canceled my old card, and FedEx'ed me a new one overnight. I tried to learn more about the dirty, rotten scoundrel [varmint] who got my card and how they got it. But the guy wouldn't tell me much. He said there are computer programs specifically designed to scan the 'Net for 16-digit numbers. When they find one, they typically purchase stuff they can unload quickly for cash. An enlightening ordeal.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 18June2003 - I've been giving Spamihilator a test-run these past few weeks. Not very happy with it, tho. It filters good mail and lets the bad stuff thru. For example, it filtered mail from a friend containing the word "analyze" .. as if it can't tell the difference between an_al & analyze.

I sometimes forget to check its recycle bin, and miss mail from friends it filters. Plus, sometimes [not always] my CPU usage jumps to 100% whenever it's active, which makes me think the code isn't pretty. Maybe I need to give it more time to 'learn' my preferences, or maybe I need to try a new program.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 17June2003 - Still working on a full update of the Guide to Ripping & encoding CD audio. Thought I'd be done by now, but it's taking longer than expected. Might have bit off more than I can chew with this one. There's just so much information to include .. in order to do it right [the Rad way]. This guide could be the focus of its own web site.

I try to spend at least 30 minutes everyday doing something to improve the site. Eventually, it'll get done, but I'm not sure when. Maybe another week. I'm updating the PDF's as I go [on a daily basis].

Radiation tri-blade symbol 16June2003 - I don't post comments about things such as the war in Iraq, the WorldCom/Enron fiascos, or Martha Stuart because, frankly, I don't know the real story behind those issues. And I realize we'll never get the full story from the [corporate-edited] press. Of course, I have an opinion. But you know what they say about them.

I try to limit my comments to things for which I have first-hand experience. But I receive lots of mail on these passionate subjects, containing links to uh, "alternative" news sources .. such as this one. I don't know if these alternative sources represent a more- or less-accurate side to the story, but they're certainly different.

And that's one of the great things about the 'Net. We're no longer limited to the conglomerate pablum fed to us by the mass-media. Everybody puts their own spin on things. Everyone has an agenda, whether they admit it or not .. whether they even realize it or not.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 14June2003 - Today I have a special treat for Radified readers. Yesterday [Friday the 13th], I took my digital camera to Crystal Cove, and snapped some pictures at sunset as a full moon rose over the horizon.

"Crystal" [as we call it] is one of my favorite places in the whole world. This 3-mile stretch of beachfront state park makes for a great 6-mile run [plenty of room to get good and sweaty]. The State charges a few dollar$ to get in, which keeps out the riffraff. [We purchased an annual pass, which is valid at all California State parks.] Crystal is one of the few places in Southern California where you can get away from the masses .. especially during the weekdays.

This is the perfect time for taking pictures, cuz the flowers are in bloom. I posted two pages of thumbnails. Each page contains 9 thumbnails, for a total of 18 photos. Enjoy them here.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13June2003 - Friday the 13th today. Origins posted here and here. On a more technical note, NOD32 released v2.0 of their vaunted anti-viral software. Most people who research such software consider the Australian NOD32 the world's best. Nothing but good reports for v2.0 so far. I'm still using v1.x, but have downloaded the 30-day trial for v2.0.

The truly paranoid [like me] use two different anti-viral solutions: one as our resident [always-on] scanner, and a 2nd as a back-up, to scan hard disk(s) on a weekly basis. We do this because each anti-viral program has certain strengths [such as heuristics] and weaknesses [such as unpacking].

Usually, the complementing program is a freeware version, and is strong in the area your "resident" scanner is weak. You never want two "resident" [in memory] versions operating at the same time [to avoid generating conflicts]. You can learn more about Internet Security here.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 10June2003 - Still working on updating the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio. The first page is done. It's always been a dilemma for me, to determine what *date* should be listed under "Updated:" On each guide, I include the date of initial posting, and also when it was last 'Updated:'.

If I only make a small change, should I change the 'Updated;' date. I don't think so. How about if I make many small updates? The correct answer becomes less clear. I used to avoid touching the "Updated" date unless I went thru the entire guide and ensured *everything* was current.

But then, you might have a guide that *looks* like it's being neglected [not touched for over a year] .. when in fact, many changes have been made over the months.

What usually happens is that a reader will write in with information that requires me to update one of the guides. This happens regularly [like today]. I don't want to leave the impression that a guide is being neglected if it's not. Yet I don't want to suggest that a guide is current if it isn't. The worst is when a link to software turns into p0rn. I guess it all boils down to credibility, which I strive to maintain.

I noticed that, since updating the FDISK guide on 30May, its popularity has soared. This seems strange, because the Ghost guide and the ASPI guide have also received FULL updates recently.

They remain two of the site's most popular features, but the number of daily requests they receive hasn't soared like the FDISK guide, which has nearly doubled. It remains a mystery to me why some guides are so popular .. and some aren't.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08June2003 - Alex sent word [from the Netherlands] that he just released an updated version of Motherboard Monitor [v5.3.3.0]. I [along with many other sites] mirror this file for him. It's posted on the Downloads page.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07June2003 - I've begun to update the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio. I'll try to do a little everyday. It'll take a while, but eventually get done. This is the most difficult guide to keep updated. The field of audio coding continues to develop at a rapid pace, and the associated links keep changing or dying.

I'd also like to convert the style/format of the last 4 pages, so they looks like the first four. This is the site's 4th most popular guide .. after Ghost, ASPI & FDISK.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 06June2003 - 7th annual Webby Award winners posted here, along with the four other nominees in each category. Noticed that Moveable Type won Best Practices. I just installed that blogging software a few weeks ago. Fact is, there are so many good sites on the Net these days.

Today, there is virtually no bit of information you cannot find within minutes [seconds, if you're already online], if you posses even rudimentary search skills .. no matter how bizarre the topic might be. If you can think it up, more than likely, someone already has a web site specializing in that exact subject.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 05June2003 - Today is the site's 3-year anniversary. You can read the very first Radified post by scrolling to the bottom of this page. Kind of fun to go back and re-read some of those early posts. Brings back memories. I still remember the excitement. It's scary to think how little I knew back then.

I had no idea which direction the site would take. I just wanted to learn about web sites and get involved in the Internet revolution. The site seemed to have a mind of its own. How will Radified develop in the future? Your guess is as good as mine. Stay tuned and we'll both find out.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 03June2003 - Updated the Guide to Partitioning Strategies.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 02June2003 - Saw the Italian Job last night. Was pleasantly surprised. Enough to put it on my Recommended list. Great soundtrack. Especially enjoyed the film's understated tone .. featuring an abundance of subdued scenes .. a welcome respite from the relentless inuring sensory-overload we usually get from Hollywood.

Surprised to see Mos Def, who I first saw hosting Def Poetry on HBO. Nothing else like it on television. Great entertainment. Again, his understated style added to the film's enjoyment. No weak performances. Lots of big names.

Napster creator Shawn Fanning made a cameo appearance. The message "You'll never stop the real Napster" was displayed for all to see. You'll have to see the movie to learn the humorous spin they put on this statement. But anyone with a broadband connection who knows anything about today's new file-sharing methods, understands the subtext of what they really meant. The remainder of today's entry is posted here.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 01June2003 - The month opens with a tragedy: Tania was hit and killed by a bus while walking her bike across the street. We don't know all the details except it happened near the corner of Figueroa and Jefferson [Los Angeles]. Readers of Wendy's Film school chronicles will recall Tania from way back.

She graduated from Film school at USC only last year [grad school]. Tania was one of Wendy's closest friends. Wendy is devastated. Tania was a big part of her support group. She just saw Tania the day before. Tania was planning to help Wendy with her foley session [sound effects] tomorrow .. for her thesis film.

I still remember climbing the stairs to Tania's 2nd-floor apartment [called "the pink palace"]. The walls were lined with black & white photos of her and friends having fun. She was a people-oriented person. Wendy learned to edit with Final Cut Pro on Tania's Mac G4. She would often crash on Tania's couch after a long night of editing cuz her house was only a few blocks [walking distance] from campus. See here for more on this story.