News for November 2005


Radiation tri-blade symbol 29.nov.2005 - Sidney called today. He's looking to build himself a new computer. So I sent him a link to the 2006 Beast, which I recently finished researching.

Sidney's last computer was based on the CUSL2 motherboard, with a P3-700, overclocked to 933-MHz, which earned him a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the World's Oldest Over-clocker.

Long-time Rad readers might recall those early days. Ah, the good ol' days (momentary pine of nostalgia).

Remainder of today's entry blogged here:> Sidney looking to build himself a new PC computer

Radiation tri-blade symbol 28.nov.2005 - Saw RENT last night. The film. Wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Based on one of Broadway's longest-running musicals. Actually, it's called a rock opera (based on Puccini's La Boheme). The Broadway play has won just about every imaginable award, including a Pulitzer.

The story's byline is: No day but today. Seems the Romans said the same thing two thousand years ago: carpe diem, or seize the day. Isn't there a verse of scripture that says Tomorrow is promised to no man? Today is all we have. Life is short. So live it up, baby.

RENT is a musical, so most of the story is sung .. which won't appeal to everyone, cuz people don't normally sing their way thru life.

Set in the Big Apple's gritty East Village. The film's title comes from the thing our bohemians have trouble paying. Any of you ever had trouble paying the rent? It does lend a certain lively immediacy to life.

Remainder of today's critical entry is blogged here: RENT: No Day But Today - A Rad Film / Movie Review

Radiation tri-blade symbol 25.nov.2005 - I try to never make an entry unless I have something to say. I avoid making entries just to make an entry. Fortunately, I almost always have something to say. =) It's like therapy. (Mas.) Writer's block? What's that?

For those days however, when inspiration wanes (like when the espresso can is empty), there's always mail from the inbox to throw up (which my ego enjoys) .. like this one, which just arrived:

Rad, Thanks for a wonderful website. Your guides are very useful. Even when I don't agree with all the information, it still gets me thinking about why not. I especially like the way you explain the reasons behind your recommendations without getting wordy.

If the guides are the heart of RADIFIED, then the daily-blog is its soul. Your blog reads like it's written to a close friend - definitely adds a personal touch.

BTW, GoDaddy rocks! Back when I owned a video store, we used GoDaddy for hosting. Cheap and unexpectedly great service. Highly recommended.

I'm originally from Kentucky, spent 8 years in Manhattan, and currently reside in Rio de Janeiro with my wife.

Once again, thanks for the great website.

Daniel R.

"The blog is the soul of the site." I thought that was neat. I enjoy hearing from folks who don't agree with everything I say. I mean, no two people on the planet are going to agree on everything. Nothing wrong with a little disagreement. It's natural and healthy.

In other news, Rad Jr's new favorite-thing is to grab both my index fingers, one in each hand, as a means of steadying himself .. while he tears off with his little legs, power-walking everywhere, something that makes him so happy he can hardly stand himself. Squeals of delight emanate from his chipmunk voicebox (10 months old). Smiles on high-beam.

He will take the same path around the house 10 times - and not get bored. Living room > Kitchen > Patio > Bedroom > Back to the Living room .. and .. one more time.

Today he wanted to motor in the wet sand at low tide for more than an hour, gleefully chasing seagulls & sandpipers up and down the beach. I think he thought they were cats, cuz he kept making the "K" sound, and has two kats ("kitties") at home. I had to bend over slightly, so my dang lower back is aching. (Where'd I put the Advil?)

Tried to coax him to walk on his own: "Come to daddy. Come on, bug. You can do it!" He just ain't that sure of himself yet.

Standing is no problem, and he can walk by himself for several steps .. long as he doesn't *realize* it (that he's walking by himself). His favorite food: bananas. If he doesn't like something, out it comes.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 23.nov.2005 - Here's wishing everyone a happy & safe holiday. Millions will take to the road, so drive extra carefully, especially those of you back East, where the weather can get ugly.

Sending a special Rad shout-out to our troops serving in the Middle East. Heard a rumor they might be heading home soon. Let's hope.

I have Rad Jr. tomorrow and will be playing Rad dad. Should be the best Thanksgiving ever, his first. Maybe he'll have his first turkey tomorrow. If he were a little older, I'd take him to Disneyland (happiest place on earth) to see the parade.

Stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home. Picked up some sliced turkey breast .. for turkey sandwiches .. next best thing to a bird in the oven. Gobble, gobble. Lots of people tell me they're doing deep-fried turkeys this year.

One of the cooler thanksgiving traditions I've encountered is where everyone had to write a poem (about anything), which they read after dinner while dessert was being served. Thought that was a neat idea. Creative.

In other news, my buddy Battman called this eve to say he's back from his year-long world tour. So I guess we might say call today's entry 'Battman Returns'. =)

Regulars will recall his periodic reports from various destinations around the globe (Africa, India, Middle East) .. and all those great photos, such as this one (my favorite), and this one, at 17,500-foot elevation in the Himalayas.

His last stop was Cambodia, but I never got a chance to post those photos. Was busy with other things, as you might recall. Can't wait to get together and hear his war stories .. while we toss a frisbee on the beach. More updates here and here.

Wonder if he'll seem "changed" by his travels. He certainly sounds more worldly (on the phone).

This is a tough time of year for many. Nobody should be lonely tomorrow. Try to make a difference where you can. Invite someone to dinner.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 22.nov.2005 - My domain name registrar (DNR) sent a note saying it would soon be time to renew the RADIFIED.COM domain name. This spring will complete 6 years online, and start year 7.

I normally renew 2 years at a time. They wanted $25 for 1 year & $40 for two. But I noticed GoDaddy offers transfers for just $6.95 per year .. with a free 1-year extension.

So I get on the horn and call my DNR, asking them what gives. "How come you guys are so dang expensive?" They offered to drop my rate to $15/year. (Whoopie.)

I say, "Dude, that's still *double* GoDaddy's rate. I can't be a good capitalist and do that." Guy says he's authorized to go no lower. Lump it or leave it.

Remainder of today's entry is blogged here: Dealing with Doman Name Registrars & "Bush Lied" Dollar Bills

Radiation tri-blade symbol 21.nov.2005 - Saw Walk the Line last night. Excellent. Easy to recommend. Theater was packed. Only the very front row remained open.

Most surprising was little Reese Witherspoon, who kicked much butt as June Carter. Nearly stole the show. And of course, Joaquin Phoenix played well the tortured soul of Johnny Cash.

Remainder of today's entry blogged here: Walk the Line: A Rad Film / Movie Review

Radiation tri-blade symbol 20.nov.2005 - Attended my first support group yesterday. I'm not supposed to divulge which, but they never said I couldn't reveal which one it is not.

Not AA. Never had a problem with drinking. Heck, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire still sits in the freezer. Been there 4 or 5 years now. Never opened. I prefer non-alc beers. Brain stays sharp. I dislike the fog of alcohol.

Never understood the disease. After a certain point, the stuff starts tasting nasty. If you're hungry, for example, *any* food will taste dee-lish. But once full, even your favorite dish becomes unappealing. "Please, no more lobster."

Same concept applies to alcohol -- or so it would seem. Friends in "recovery" have tried to explain it to me, how a person can continue to drink, even after the stuff starts tasting nasty. They say, "You just power right past that. It's not about taste."

If I do have an addiction, it's cappuccino. Love the amperage. Vrrrooomm. No support group for that, tho.

For me, the notion of attending a support group is uncomfortable. I've always placed high value on self-reliance. Cuz people, as I'm sure you know, will let you down .. thru apathy, ignorance, selfishness or whatnot .. even those with the best of intentions .. causing me to set my expectations for others low .. to minimize disappointment.

My folks told me, "We raised you to be independent" (whatever that means). So going to the meeting wasn't easy. Damn near hyper-ventilated on the drive over. Two things got me there. First, I am pretty desperate. And desperate people will do things they won't normally do.

Secondly, I received what I would call "a sign". (Queue up theme music to the Twilight Zone.)

Remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> First Support Group Meeting

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19.nov.2005 - Went to the Big Newport last night, to see Walk the Line, a film about life of Johnny Cash, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who I both really like .. but it was SOLD OUT. Argh! So disappointing when you have your heart set on something. Strong reviews.

I was begging the guy to let us in, "Come on, man. We'll sit on the floor." He says, "Uh, I don't think the fire department would appreciate that."

Maria had swung by and picked me up. She brought along little Nik. Harry Potter was also SOLD OUT. Heck there was even a line that had formed for the 10PM Harry Potter show (at 7:30).

And we got there plenty early, too. Lots of people approached the ticket booth, asking for tiks to Walk the Line while we were still trying to figure out what to do next .. where we overheard similar espressions of disappointment. My how misery loves company.

So we decided to walk the line ourselves (the sidewalk) over to Muldoon's Irish pub next door, where we ordered half-pound burgers and sang old Johnny Cash songs (much to the dismay of the primarily Gaelic clientele).

In other entertainment news, Christmas songs were heard playing at the local grocery store yesterday: Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. Can you believe that? I complained to the manager, saying, "Dude, you can't play Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. It's unethical, and probably even violates a few municipal statutes."

Radiation tri-blade symbol 18.nov.2005 - A friend heads the Laguna Beach Film Society. She's the same person who arranged the outdoor screening of the Surf classic last month at Heisler Park. (Her day-job is organizing film festivals.) So every month I get a call inviting me to a screening of some surprise flick.

Last night it was Mrs Henderson Presents, based on true story about Laura Henderson (played by Judy Dench), who opened a theater in pre-World War II London, and kept it running thru the war, even whilst bombs were dropping.

I go mainly for the social scene. The society hosts a pre-film gala at one of the local art galleries in town, with wine, cheese and tasty hors d'oeuvres (at the "X" art gallery).

Interesting people. Most are older. Interesting conversation. Always somebody new to meet. Then everybody heads over to the theater, a block away.

Last week, as the Film Society was leaving, the Kabbalah society was arriving. Kabbalah is Jewish mysticism, dating back thousands of years, made popular by practitioners Madonna & Demi Moore. I hear it's popular here, too.

But it was "so Laguna" to have the Film society leaving as the Kabbalah group was arriving. I hung around a bit to see what kinds of people were attracted to Kabbalah.

Afterwards, the Film society hosts a post-screening get-together with coffee & cookies at the same art gallery .. to discuss the film. Always an enjoyable time.

Last night, some ladies sitting beside me were chatting during the flick, not very loudly, tho enough to upset the older gentleman sitting directly in front of them, who stood up abruptly, turned and scolded them, saying, "YOU ARE ALL ILL-BRED WOMEN!" before storming out.

Some people are sensitive to talking during a movie. I always whisper if I have a comment to make, and try to be considerate of those around me. It was quite the scene, as everyone in the theater heard it. These were older ladies, who seemed well-bred to me.

I whispered, "He said 'women,' so he couldn't've been talking 'bout me."

Radiation tri-blade symbol 16.nov.2005 - Expanding a bit more on entries of the past days, regarding HDTV .. seems we were supposed to get the DVR version (Digital Video Recorder, like TiVo), but did not. So they are sending a new unit via UPS, which should arrive tomorow.

Apparently, the DVR is included in the SAME BOX, so it's difficult to tell (by looking) whether your unit has the DVR option or not. Did a little research and discovered the data is written to a hard drive inside the box.

Wonder if it makes noise. Wonder what type & brand of hard drive they use. Wonder how big it is. Wonder if they'd mind me taking a peek.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 15.nov.2005 - Expanding on yesterday's entry about HDTV .. the cable company gives you get a special HDTV digital convertor. (We have a Motorola unit, silver-gray.) And they take away your standard digital convertor (black box).

The cable from the wall plugs into the back of the HDTV convertor. From there, 5 separate cables run to the back of the TV: 3 video (red, green, blue) and 2 audio (which I'm guessing are left & right channels). Looks impressive.

They wouldn't let me hook it up myself, *insisting* on coming out to the ranch, while claiming they needed to install filters, boosters and what-not, depending on signal stength.

On a different note, I also wanna say that the problems I had with the Seagate hard drive last month seem to have mysteriously disappeared soon as I replaced the bad graphics card. Uh, go figure.

Can't be sure, but I think the graphics card somehow affected the IDE/ATA controller, cuz I noticed *conflicts* with the IDE controllers (yellow exclamation points in the device manager) when booting into other operating systems (multi-boot) while trying to troubleshoot the problem.

[NOTE: if the problem is *hardware* related, ALL operating systems will be affected, cuz the same hardware exists in all operating systems. But if f the problem is software-related, it will be limited to that one operating system.

Ghost fixes software-related problems. And for hardware-related problems, there's Newegg. ALL operating systems were affected, which told me the problem was hardware-related.]

The reason I prefer Seagate drives is cuz I feel they are the most reliable. And now I think I (inaccurately) reported a defective drive when indeed the drive itself seems to be operating just fine. Just want to set the record straight.

So I will be returning the advanced-shipped drive with a humble note of apology. Seagate technical support and RMA department certainly exceeded all my expectations .. which makes it easy to recommend their drives. Hoo-rah!

Radiation tri-blade symbol 14.nov.2005 - Got HDTV today. Holy moly. Image quality is incredible, downright mesmerizing . Most impressive are the nature & sports channels. Dramatic difference. It's no gimmick.

I'm no expert, but I think regular TV has 480 lines of resolution, whereas High Definition has 1080. I read that all US broadcast stations will convert to HD by 2008.

Also popular, I hear, is the DVR (Digital Video Recorder, like TiVo), so you can record one program while watching another, and then playback without commercials. Don't have that, tho.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13.nov.2005 - Saw Good Night & Good Luck last night. Historical drama, circa 1950's, about the Communist-paranoia hearings sponsored by Senator Joseph McCarthy (from Wisconsin) and the CBS newsmen, led by Edward R. Murrow, who had the courage to follow their convictions and publicly criticize the Senator, despite considerable personal risk. Inspiring in that respect.

I enjoy historical dramas. Fun to go back in time. Hard to believe anything like this could happen today, tho.

Directed by George Clooney (the actor), who also starred in the film. Highly rated. Seems like everybody smoked cigarettes back then. Nasty. Some of the audience applauded at the end.

Entire film shot in black-n-white. Not sure I liked that. Plenty of historical footage .. made for realistic viewing. Maybe that's why they went B+W .. made the film appear seamless.

Remainder of today's critical entry is blogged here: Good Night, And Good Luck: A Rad Film / Movie Review

Radiation tri-blade symbol 12.nov.2005 - Hopefully, everybody who frequents RADIFIED is already familiar with the virtues of backing-up their hard drives with a hard drive "imaging" program, such as Norton Ghost .. to which end there exists the (world-famous) Radified guide.

For those who may still be in the dark however, here is simplified description that may shed some light.

Note that the word "imaging" used here has nothing to do with digital photos or the like. It works something like this: You would ..

.. get yourself a copy of an imaging program (such as Norton Ghost) and two extra hard drives, of the same type that is currently installed in your system (IDE, ATA, SATA, etc). One may be an external drive, if you like.

Hard drives are pretty cheap these days. You are buying peace-of-mind. We'll call these new hard drives DRIVE_02 and DRIVE_03.

If you have a regular PC, chances are your system now contains a single hard drive (usually labeled C drive, which we'll call DRIVE_01). If you don't know how many hard drives your PC contains, it has one.

Remainder of today's preventative entry is blogged here:> Backup Hard Drive Imaging in a Nutshell

Radiation tri-blade symbol 11.nov.2005 - Happy Veteran's day to all you vets. I served my country for 6 years, (queue up Battle Hymn of the Republic) stationed aboard a nuke sub, home-ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Of all my old Navy buddies, the Dog is the only one I stay in contact with.

Remainder of today's patriotic entry is blogged here:> Veteran's Day 2005

Radiation tri-blade symbol 10.nov.2005 - Played Rad dad today. Not possible he could be any cuter. Some of his expressions crack me up.

The little guy slept on my chest for 90 minutes this afternoon. Deep sleep. Now I know what it means when Deuteronomy talks about the days of heaven on earth.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 09.nov.2005 - Digital maintenance today. Boring but necessary. An ounce of prevention... Best done monthly. A special note of thanks to everybody who contributed their own little tricks .. to help keep our PCs humming & protected.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08.nov.2005 - If you're like me, you probably find it limiting to operate Windows without full administrator privileges .. even tho security experts warn you should conduct normal PC operations from a user-account with limited privileges .. so hackers can't hack you as easily.

In the past, I have configured a non-admin account, but found I kept needing to switch to the admin account (a pain) to do many of the things I wanted .. then have to switch back again (another pain).

So, I eventually said, "Screw it," and began using the full admin account for normal use.

Well there's a nifty gizmo (made by Microsoft) which allows you to operate with full admin privileges, yet will dumb-down admin privileges on specific programs of your choosing.

Remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> DropMyRights Drop My Rights

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07.nov.2005 - Done building the perfect beast. Still need to finish documenting component-selection considerations, but components themselves have all been selected. Read many reviews prior to making those selections. (Eyes are burning.)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 05.nov.2005 - Regarding yesterday's entry about Jarhead, seeing that movie made me flash-back to my own days in the military. Many of the things he said in the flick (via voiceover), I could relate to (.. e.g. "uh, maybe enlisting wasn't such a great idea").

Like the story's main character, I also was not very "military" either. I just wanted to play with reactors. And the Navy had a mess of 'em, more than anybody, with an excellent safety record (which meant they knew what they were doing) cuz they had the best training program on the planet.

The first thing I recognized, in a scene near the beginning, is a group of veteran-marines playing a practical joke on the new recruit.

In the flick, just as the new guy walks in, a bunch of marines stage a fake branding, complete with blow-torch and a branding iron. The letters USMC glow red-hot.

Ten marines hold down one guy and act like they're branding him. The guy screams and a whiff of smoke rises from the pile of bodies. Looked real. Then they turned their attention to the new guy. A struggle ensues. The new guy is over-powered.

I was never very good at playing these practical jokes on new guys. But some people have a real gift for it.

The most memorable hazing occurred to a midshipman who had just reported aboard. Midshipmen are officers in training. Some day they will be your boss.

All new guys had to report to us and get a signature about how they should respond in the event of a radiological incident. We basically told them not to cross radiation ropes, report any leaks immediately .. common sense stuff like that.

So one afternoon, after reporting aboard, this midshipman comes by the lab (where everything is made of shiny stainless steel, for easy decontamination) looking for his RadCon sig.

I was analyzing a daily sample of reactor coolant, but one of my buddies had devised a haze. He never told me about it, so it was all new as I watched. Not sure if you had to be there, but it is still one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Remainder of today's radiological entry blogged here:> Nuclear-grade hazing

Radiation tri-blade symbol 04.nov.2005 - Saw Jarhead this eve. Opening nite. Hoorah! Trailers. Recommended.

Disappointed it wasn't shown on the big screen at the Big Newport. (Some Chicken Little flick was being screened.) Theater packed.

What interested me most, beyond the storyline, was that the crew consisted of many people who can work on any project they desire ..

.. such as (the stylistic) director Sam Mendes, who won the Oscar for American Beauty .. and editor Walter Murch, who edited Apocalypse Now (my favorite film). Indeed, scenes from Apocalypse Now are found in Jarhead. And of course, Jamie Foxx, who won the Oscar for Best Actor last year (in Ray).

Remainder of today's cinematic entry blogged here:> Jarhead: Rad Film / Movie Review

Radiation tri-blade symbol 03.nov.2005 - First day with the little guy in 4 months. Red-letter day. I'm making it an official Rad holiday. How shall we celebrate?

He seemed to remember the Rad ranch .. lookin' all around with those big déjà blu eyes. Neighbors asked, "Where you been, little guy?" Hottie girls said (in their hottie-girl voices), "He's sooo cute."

He fell asleep on my chest for 90 minutes, after refusing the crib .. would have none of that. I tried several times, asking, "You know how much I paid for this crib?..." That was the best part.

After waking, he got clingy. Wouldn't let me put him down. We saw dolphins at Crystal! .. real close .. big school .. sign of a magical day.

Got his little feet wet in the ocean. Started talking up a storm later in the day. Wish I knew what he was saying. Just like old times.

Hard to fall sleep last night. Anticipation. Thanks for all the letters of support. The day went by so fast.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 02.nov.2005 - Getting ready for first day tomorrow with son in 4 months. Excited. Kinda like getting ready for a big date. Planning my day: pick-up > home > park > beach > feed > nap > etc. I still have lots of kid left in me, so it shouldn't be too hard to relate.

Remainder of today's entry blogged here:> Big Day Tomorrow

Radiation tri-blade symbol 01.nov.2005 - Goodbye October. Hello November. The site broke 3-million hits-per-month last month. See here. Three million. Not bad. Indeed, all site metrics scored new highs.