23October2003 - I've been accused of being
addicted to blogging. While I feel that these daily
entries *do* provide some therapeutic value, similar to keeping
a journal, or relaxing in a hot tub, I honestly don't feel "addicted" to them.
So I've decided to abstain .. for a week: seven grueling days of doing
without my blogging
fix. Long enough to see what will happen. Will I turn into Mr. Obnoxious?
as some predict? Or become irritable, like the smoker deprived of his
smokes? Will I become belligerent, like the alcoholic separated from
his sedative? Or will I simply find a new creative outlet? We'll see.
Before I go, I'd like to say thanks for all the letters of encouragement.
While I don't have time to respond to each and every one, I do read
them all. Many of them make me laugh my @ss off. You folks are funny.
This past weekend brought a particularly bountiful batch of kudos.
Here's one of the kinder examples:
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Addicted
22October2003 - Been considering adding
a new feature to the site. Previously, I told myself
I was going to concentrate on maintaining the guides
I already have. They all require periodic updating. I planned to
focus on *quality*, rather than quantity .. but lately, I've been jonesin'
something new. The features listed in the 'New' category to your left
are no longer new.
One idea for a new feature that I've been kicking around is a detailed
guide to installing Windows.
By that, I mean taking a new
system from blank
hard drive to Ghost image.
This would include the installation all device drivers,
such as chipset
drivers, Windows service
packs and updates,
and basic Windows configuration. The remainder of today's drivel on
this topic is posted here:> Potential
20October2003 - I've been trying to determine
what to do with the blogging
software that I installed back in May.
At first, I installed Movable
Type just to see what all the hubbub was about. People were saying
great things about this software,
which resides on your web
server (not on your PC,
like most software) .. which means entries can be made from any
computer with an Internet connection.
I also heard that MovableType was difficult to install, and
you know how I enjoy
a good technical challenge.
After the installation (no, it wasn't easy, but I had no problems),
I was impressed. Friends
followed suit. I liked it so much that I considered using MT
to generate this main page (that you're reading now), and not simply
use the software as a techno play-toy. I also liked that search engines
(such as Google) seem to give priority
ranking to my blog entries .. increasing site traffic.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Movable
Type, Blogging and Google.
18October2003 - Here's a program some of
you might enjoy. Suppose you're listening to your favorite Shoutcast
stream (such as Groove Salad or SmoothJazz),
and you hear a song
you really like, and you'd like to save that song to your hard drive,
so you can replay it until you buy your own CD.
What you want, my friend, is StreamRipper
32: an Open Source program.
(Open Source is better than free).
I tried it and it really works. Except, by the time I downloaded and
installed the thing, the song was over. =(
Configuration is simple. Click the little button beside the Destination
box in order to tell SR32 where to save your streams.
Click the little down-arrow beside the Genre box and select
your favorite genre. Then click the Refresh List button. Everything
else should be self-explanatory (e.g. Start Rip and Stop
Rip). The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:>
17October2003 - So I'm sitting there last
night, watching the Yankees
the Red Sox. It's the bottom
of the 8th and the Sox are up 5-2.
And I hear somebody say, "Looks like the Sox are headed to
I didn't say anything, but rather, think to myself, "Obviously,
this poor sap doesn't know about the
I thought everyone knew about the
curse. The score could've been 100-2, and it wouldn't
have mattered. The Sox *still* would've lost. It may have taken 2
extra innings, but they finally did. They lost: 6-5.
It was like clockwork. So it must be true: the Sox really are cursed.
It's called the Curse of
the Bambino. But how cool would it have beenS to see them win for
once? .. and break the curse? Maybe next year? (Yeah, right.) Maybe
they should change their uniform, or the name of the team? Confuse the
ghosts. The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:>
Boston Red Sox:
Curse of the Bambino.
16October2003 - Here in sunny
Southern California, all the major grocery store chains are on
strike. This suks cuz you still have to eat. I've never been
a member of a union, but am nonetheless sympathetic to their cause.
If possible, I'd rather not cross the picket line.
So I went to Albertson's late last night, around 10PM, to pick up a
few things, figuring all the picketers would have long gone home. No
way. They were still there. But they were cool. I chatted with them
for a few minutes.
Inside was a mess. Mass confusion. It took the girl *forever* to check
me out. I even told her how much the yellow bell peppers cost, but she
said, "I still have to enter the code," which she
couldn't seem to find. Frustration.
I asked if she was concerned about getting her @ss kicked by the picketers.
She said she was more worried that her dad might find out. He is a teamster
rep, and would kill her if he knew she was crossing a picket line. (They
call them "scabs" here.) The remainder of today's drivel on
this topic is posted here:> California
grocery store chains on strike.
15October2003 - I've always admired sites like Doug
Shaw's (left winger) and Orrin's
(right winger) that publish reviews on the top 100
English-speaking novels of the 20th century .. as listed
by the Modern
Library. These works have stood the test of time. Defied obscurity.
How nice would it be to sit down and read all 100 books?
Boy, would I be able to impress my friends. The NY Times reviewed
some of these books here.
Judd have posted their own concise list with grades A
I find it interesting that Ulysses (by James Joyce)
was ranked #1 by the Modern
Library board, yet given a grade
of 'F' by the Brothers. In their words: "Hard
to give a low enough grade to the single most destructive piece of Literature
"I was not smart enough to understand it. I had a horrible
time reading it, and will never read it again." Orrin
said: "A novel that could only be read, understood or enjoyed
by its author. Spare yourself." The remainder of today's drivel
on this topic is posted here:> Book
Reviews of 20th Century's Top 100 Novels
14October2003 - Saw Under
the Tuscan Sun last night. As Sidney
says, it's definitely a major chick-flick. But I still
enjoyed it. I mean, who wouldn't love to get divorced from a cheating
partner and move to a villa in Tuscany?
Stars Diane Lane, who everybody
seems to like. Based on the
novel by Francis Mayes. I heard the book spent a lot more time describing
food, the meals, and even included recipes. Trailer posted here.
The landscape-shots were postcard gorgeous.
I could've sworn they based several of the shots on scenes from old
Fellini films (English
.. any Amarcord
fans out there?). The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted
the Tuscan Sun.
13October2003 - Been busy building a new
system for a friend. Takes more time than I seem to recall. But I've
done this enough times now to feel comfortable I can do it right, avoiding
the common mistakes.
The system looks something like the black
beast. It was designed and configured using known stability
factors. The hybrid SCSI
/ ATA disk storage system was partitioned in accordance with these
partitioning strategies, using FDISK.
The system is based on a zippy 2.8C-GHz Intel
Pentium 4 CPU. First thing I did after installing the operating
system and some basic programs
and applications was to create a back-up
Ghost image. We tried to use the latest version of Adaptec's ASPI
layer drivers. But they gave us problems, so we had to revert back
to old reliable v4.60 via ForceASPI.
I ran a few cursory PC benchmarks
and everything looks sweet.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> New
Computer Build: The Black Beast.
08October2003 - Arnold!
It wasn't even close.
I was surprised to hear this is big news not only here in California,
but everywhere around the world. The thing people find so interesting
(I think) about this election has nothing to do with politics,
but rather that an immigrant (from Austria) can come to this country
with nothing more than a burning ambition and become a movie star and
the governor of its most populous state. I mean, he can't even annunciate
the language very well. Yet he's living the American dream like nobody
What really pissed off most people about Gray Davis (old governor) was
the car tax. A few days before the election, everyone
started getting bills in the mail, tripling their car tax. The timing
couldn't have been any worse. This meant that a typical 2-car family
would end up paying ~$1,000 in car-tax alone. Arnold said he would repeal
the car tax. Many people went to the polls, not to vote for Arnold,
but rather to vote *against* the car tax.
The remainder of today's drivel on this topic is posted here:> Arnold
wins! Governor of California.
06October2003 - We'll be out of town for
a few days .. for business (and hopefully some pleasure). While we're
away, I'll leave the site up for you to peruse at your leisure. There's
beer in the fridge and food on the stove. Make yourself at home.
Looks like traffic from Friday's Lockergnome link was
too much for the Radified server
to handle. (See previous entry below.) It killed the site for several
hours. But not before visitors downloaded thousands of Ghost
PDFs (95-KB). The printer-friendly
version (153-KB) was especially popular.
03October2003 - Lockergnome
featured the Radified guide to
Norton Ghost in their newsletter
today (listed under heading: GnomeFAVORITE). Back
9th, they featured the ASPI
guide (listed under heading: GnomeSYSTEM).
Chris Pirillo has a popular site. He claims to have over 250,000 subscribers.
Featured articles send the stats
counter spinning. If the site is slow, you'll know why. Update:
what the site usage stats look like so far today. Notice what happened
02October2003 - I noticed the download
pages for both Alex's Motherboard
Monitor and Trojan
Defense Suite contain something called MD5
checksum .. followed by long hashes, such as: 799ac45a1c7e570c53dd27839b8379de.
Did some research
and discovered that that MD5 is an algorithm
(mathematical formula) developed by a Professor
at MIT, that serves as a digital security
mechanism of sorts, which is "a way to verify data integrity."
I also found two free program you can download. One is MD5
hash, the other WinMD5.
I tried both, and they both work fine. With the first, you 'open' the
file you wish to check by navigating to it. With the second, you drag-n-drop
the file into/onto the WinMD5 program. I was actually surprised to see
such a large hash reproduced so accurately.
Anyway, with an MD5 hash
and one of these free programs, you can be certain no one has tampered
with the program file(s) you are downloading, and that you got the whole
enchilada. I dig all that crypto-techno-über-geek stuff. Update:
We've had some clarification on how MD5 ensures secure
files. From Marc Hollins:
The original publisher of the
file calculates the MD5 hash from the file and posts the hash on his
web site. You download the file and calculate another MD5 hash from
the downloaded file. You compare the original hash with the one you
generate. If they match, you know your file has not been tampered
with. Hope that helps.
The fixed-link blog for today's entry is posted here: MD5
01October2003 - I love October,
especially the first two weeks. This is the only time of year I get
homesick and miss New England (grew up in Connecticut) .. where the
leaves change color .. the days are perfect, nights crisp. I like the
smell of falling leaves in the air.
One time, when I was a punk-kid, my friends dared me to jump off a rock
head-first into a big pile of leaves .. not too smart .. damn near broke
my neck. Saw stars for a few minutes. In the Navy, my superiors would
always complain that my hat wasn't on straight. I think it's cuz my
head is crooked now. So, if I seem "not right", that's probably
why. =) Looking back, it's a miracle I made it out alive.
In Southern California,
we don't get the change of seasons. Here, it seems like just another
day, except not quite as warm and the water gets cold. Need to break
out the wetsuit.