News for March 2004


Radiation tri-blade symbol 30March2004 - The Open Directory Project (DMOZ ODP) added two more Radified guides to its human-edited directory (the largest and most comprehensive list of its kind). You 'ill now find the Windows XP Install guide listed under:> Computers > Software > Operating Systems > Windows > Windows XP. See here (listed alphabetically under 'R' for Radified).

You'll also find the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD Audio listed under:> Computers > Multimedia > Music and Audio > MP3 Format > Tutorials and Information. See here. This is surprising because I thought someone had to manually submit a site to be considered for inclusion to their hand-picked list.

I like what they say about the Ripping & Encoding guide: "An excellent guide for using EAC and LAME together to create high quality MP3s". Google mirrors the ODP (see here and here) and gives preferential treatment to sites it selects for searches containing key words. Which means more traffic is heading to these two guides.

The Ghost guide (see here) and Doc's FDISK guide (see here) and the SCSI guide (see here) have been part of the ODP for years. Doc's FDISK guide receives the most traffic from DMOZ because it's listed near the top, whereas the Ghost guide is listed near the bottom of a long list. ODP sites are listed alphabetically. The guides would see more traffic from ODP if the site was named ACME.

I almost forgot about the 546 semester. See here (listed right at the top). Try searching for usc film school and see what you get.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 28March2004 - Today is the Carlsbad 5K, the world's first & premiere 5K foot race (3.1 miles). 13 world records have been set on this blazingly-fast coastal course, overlooking the Pacific. World-class runners from all over the planet will be there, vying in ocean breezes for the US$70,000 in prize money.

Several different races will be run in several different divisions. I'll be running in the "aged & decrepit" class. They'll have live music afterwards. Should be lots of fun. Maybe we'll see you there.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 27March2004 - We saw Dawn of the Dead last night, at the Spectrum in Irvine. [Trailers posted here.] This is a remake of the classic cult horror film from 1978. It's fun to see scary movies with a big group - at night .. when it's dark. Critical reviews were good. See here. The movie definitely kept my attention, theater was comfortably-full (7PM screening).

It was hard to get everybody to go, tho. When I told Nick we were going to the movies, he said, "Great! What're we gonna see?" I said "Dawn of the Dead." He said, "Oh.Uh, I can't go. I have to do homework." [How many kids you know who say they can't go to the movies cuz they have to do homework?]

I said, "Come on, Nick. Everybody's going." He asked who. I told him, "Me, Evan, Nikolai, Mikaela, your mom, Sharon." He interrupted, "Sharon's going?" I said, "Yeah. Sharon's going." He said, "Okay, I'll go if Sharon goes."

The only problem was that Sharon didn't want to go 'cause she's afraid of scary movies. So I told Sharon, "Come on, Shar. Everybody's going." She asked who. When I got to Nick, she said, "Nick's going?" I said, "Yeah, Nick's going." She said, "Okay, I'll go if Nick goes." So I got everyone to go by telling them everyone else was going. Maria helped, saying, "Come on. We'll all die together."

But they only lasted 5 minutes. That how long it took for the first splattering of blood to show up on screen. It was as if their seats were spring-loaded to release at the first sign of gore. Sharon & Mikaela were *launched* from their seats. Catapulted.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Dawn of the Dead - 2004 Remake

Radiation tri-blade symbol 26March2004 - I noticed that the guide to Partitioning Strategies has overtaken the Ghost guide as the site's most popular feature this month. That's never happened before. After doing a little detective work, I discovered that Fred mentioned the Strategies in his latest newsletter [listed under the heading: 5) Good Site for Partitioning Info].

I'm impressed. That's serious traffic. The server is groaning under the weight of all the visitors. RADIFIED has been mentioned in other newsletters before (such as Lockergnome and InfoPackets), but never seen traffic like this. As a result, the site broke the ten-thousand-visits-per-day mark for the first time ever (see> here and here). You can subscribe to Fred's obviously-popular newsletter here.

The remainder of today's entry is posted here:> Langa Posse Helps Break RAD Record

Radiation tri-blade symbol 25March2004 - Every morning, I wake to an in-box full of comments about the site and things posted here. This morning saw a particularly robust crop. People get fired up over politics. What are the 2 things you should never discuss? (Politics & Religion) Now I remember why I stick to subjects I know about. Anyway, here is one of the (few) nice notes that came in today:

Your site is sweet! Compared to other tech sites, your Guide to Ripping & Encoding felt like reading a good book. Nice layout. Just the right amount of graphics. Well written, and thanks for not dumbing it down too much.

I like how your guides include lots of little bits of additional info, as well as links to other guides. Nice touch. Shows you've done your homework. I also noticed something different about your site. Couldn't quite put my finger on it at the time, but then it hit me: there are NO ADS! Don't you want money?

Here's some constructive criticism: On page 2 you wrote: "Plextor [an international company based in Belgium]..." Plextor is a Japanese company (based in Japan). Only their European marketing arm is based in Belgium.

I found you in Google. Thanks for the great info and keep up the good work.

I will admit that I learned a lot from today's nastier notes. And I freely admit that I'm *not* well informed, politically speaking. But who is? Everyone knows the media is biased. If you're not there in the room when key decisions are being made, can you really know what's going on?

Are special-interest groups exerting their influence over these decisions? Most people who already have a position on the issues get their info from sources they agree with. Which yields an increasingly unbalanced perspective. I like to be able to see both sides of an issue.

This is what I *do* know: there was a major (worst in the nation's history) intelligence failure on 9-11, and GWB was at the helm when that occurred. But, to ne honest, I don't feel like he's devious enough to participate in a conspiracy like that. (Maybe that's part of the problem.)

Nobody at the cee-eye-aye or eff-bee-eye lost their job as a result, which seems to send the message, "You boys are doing a good job." Heck, I've fired people for way-less screws-ups than that. But all the same teams that dropped the ball are still there. Why wasn't anybody fired? I don't get it. You'd think someone would've at least resigned after a screw-up of this magnatude. Have they no shame?

The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is blogged here:> 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Fall-out

Radiation tri-blade symbol 24March2004 - I usually refrain from addressing political issues, preferring rather to stick to subjects for which I have first-hand knowledge. But after seeing some of the 9-11 testimonies on TV, and the fallout from the book, I have some observations I'd like to share.

These represent nothing more than musings & speculation of someone who avoids getting caught up in political gymnastics. I think I have an unbiased, unemotional perspective, at least compared to people I know.

First, it's 2004. Why did we wait so long to rehash something that happened back in 2001? Wouldn't folks have a better recollection 2 years ago? Better late than never, I guess.

When a new regime takes power, the first thing it does (or should do) is *reward* those that helped put it there, especially if that regime holds *loyalty* in high esteem. What groups did Bush+Cheney come out of? Ansr: Oil+Military+Defense.

Ques: What would be the best way to reward (benefit) the people (old cronies) in those industries? Ansr: You'd want something that sells a lot of bombs & makes oil prices go up at the same time. Can you think of anything that would do that? It might be a fun exercise to check the prices of stocks in those industries and compare them to prices prior to the election, vis-a-vis the market in general.

The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> 9-11 Conspiracy Theory

Radiation tri-blade symbol 23March2004 - Renewed the domain name registration for Radified.com today. Cost me US$50 for two more years (until May, 2006). I use Domain Discover. They're located right down the road in San Diego. Everything is done online. You never talk to another human. I tried to call & ask some questions, but no one was home.

I used to also own the domain names: Radified.net and NuclearGrade.com, but did not renew them. A guide to selecting your own domain name is posted here. Everybody should have their own web site.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 22March2004 - Been thinking of moving the site to a different web hosting provider. I've been with Communitech since day 1 (June, 2000). About a year ago, they were bought by Interland, and the server was physically moved from Kansas City to Atlanta.

I like the Interland support group; they're very professional. But it seems like I've been having a lot of problems. I mean, I *never* had to submit a support ticket with Communitech. Not one in 3 years. With Interland tho, I've submitted 30 or 40 in the last year alone. Usually this is because Apache goes down, and needs to be reset. But I shouldn't have to call and tell them Apache is down. They should know before me.

The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> New Web-Hosting Provider

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13March2004 - Saw Secret Window last night, at the Big Newport (on the "largest screen in the West"). I was disappointed. It wasn't that scary. The first third was downright yawning. I did however, get the willies really good once. But only once. There were some good parts, but I think my expectations were too high going in.

Nick gave it a 9 (out of 10). But I don't know how he came up with that rating because he had his eyes closed for most of the movie. I kept having to peel his sweatshirt hood down. He would hide his eyes in his hood. And every time the scary parts came, he would go to the bathroom. He must've went 5 times. (We did drink a lot of Coke.)

One time I said, "Come on, you can open your eyes. There's no scary part now." He said, "No way! They always put a funny part right before the scary part." The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Secret Window

Radiation tri-blade symbol 10March2004 - Looking forward to seeing Secret Window, a suspense thriller starring Johnny Depp, which opens Friday. Depp has consistently resisted the lure of mainstream pop culture, opting instead to work on more unconventional films, where he specializes in playing quirky characters. In this one, he plays a writer, coming off a troubling divorce. (I can relate.) The story takes place in the remote woods of upstate New York.

I used to date a girl who lived in Round Lake, near Clifton Park, upstate NY, when I worked in New York, before coming here to sunny California. So I know the area. Come to think of it, she was a big fan of Stephen King and had read all his books. It's surprising how many people I know who have gone through a "horror" phase in their lives, where they read nothing but King & Koontz novels. What's up with that?

The story is an adaptation of a Stephen King novella of the same title. I'm in the mood for a scary movie, and want to take the kids. Review posted here. The last scary movie I took them to (Jeepers Creepers2), they were so scared that they closed their eyes and stuck their fingers in their ears. I had to pry their arms down. =) Of course, now they swear they weren't scared.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 09March2004 - Saturday night, we went to the theater at Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) to watch Mikaela (top-right) sing. She's a freshman there.

Every year, one of the math teachers (Shap, originally from Massachusetts), who happens to be handy with a guitar, lets students choose a song they want to sing and he accompanies them. It's a big event (called "No Suits Allowed"). 16th annual. Sold out every year. In fact, we had to procure our tickets from a 9-year-old scalper, who drove a hard bargain.

Proceeds benefits the Senior class graduation trip. Immediately after graduation ceremonies, the school busses seniors to an undisclosed location (so undesirables won't drop in). This lets graduates celebrate and have fun while preventing them from drinking & driving. They don't know where they're going until they arrive.

30 or 40 students sang different songs. Mikaela sang In the Arms of the Angels, by Sarah McLauchlin. Of course, she was the best one. Her mom was so proud. Mikaela said she was nervous, but didn't look it. It's not easy to stand up in front of an auditorium full of people and sing solo in the spotlight. People were standing in the aisles.

The remainder of today's entry on this topic can be found here:> Shap's Annual "No Suits Allowed" at LBHS.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 04March2004 - A reminder for those of you who live here in Laguna Beach that today is the first Thursday of the month, which means tonight is the Art Walk. If you start early enough, you can make a meal out of it, as many of the galleries offer visitors tasty gourmet treats.

Last month, in one of the galleries on Coast Hwy, just north of Dietrich's coffee shop, someone farted and cleared the whole dang gallery. Never seen anything like it. One elderly lady, decked out in a regal outfit with fur trim, looked as if someone had slapped her. She covered her nose and walked out with a horrified look on her face. The stench was indeed horrifying. We're talking potential biological weaponry.

Hope to see ya out on the town, where I'll be sipping Chardonnay while taking in the art. I usually start on the north side of town and work my way south. (Anybody see that huge orange moon setting over the Pacific at ~5AM this morning? Wow.)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 03March2004 - Watched a PBS special last night: hi-tech war. Many new hi-tech gadgets & weapons were used for the first time in the war with Iraq, in what the government calls network-centric warfare. I tuned in midway through, and, at first, thought I was watching a documentary about video games.

Everybody had a laptop. A map of the battlefield was displayed on screen, complete with grid coordinates. Different battalions were identified with/by different colors. GPS data updated everyone's position real-time (!). So everybody knew where everybody else was located .. so we wouldn't shoot our own guys .. like we did in the first Gulf war.

I was drooling, in geek heaven, watching this technology work. Almost made me want to re-enlist. (Almost.) They went into some detail about the new software used to create a "digital battle command system" called FBCB2 [Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below 2 (thx John)]. Sounds like something created for a Digital Warrior.

The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Hi-Tech War PBS