News for September 2002


Radiation tri-blade symbol 30sep2002 - Site usage statistics for the month are posted here. Radified continues to grow in popularity as most metrics reached new highs. The next goal is to break 1 million hits per month. Sounds kinda cool.

Had to delete old statistic files earlier this month. They were consuming too much space. The site itself uses only 80 MB. My web-hosting plan provides 350. But the statistics portion had grown to over 200. I don't need more than a month's worth of data.

Couldn't figure out how the site was using so much space. Thought someone hacked me, and was storing files there. But I could never find anything. Anyway, after deleting old files, I now have plenty of space. Currently using only 15 MB for statistics.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 28sep2002 - Looks like Google re-sorted their search results yesterday. I'm no expert on how search engines operate, but I think they re-sort monthly. I learned much of what I know about search engine operation by reading posts here.

Looks like most Radified Guides have once again moved up in Google's rankings. In particular, seaches for the terms aspi and fdisk have both moved up the charts. Both have climbed to position #6 on page #1 of their respective queries.

That's remarkable, considering they both debuted at poll position #80 (way back on page #8). They've been moving steadily up the ranks for the past year. Last month was the first time either made it to the first page (the vaunted top 10). Both terms are simple, and popular with searchers.

The terms aspi and fdisk are two of the most popular queries bringing readers to the site. Google is the world's most popular search engine. People prefer its uncluttered interface and (most importantly) pertinent results. The details of how Google formulates its search results (the algorithm) are kept secret, but people have a general idea. Google's unique Page Ranking system is discussed here.

In general, links on site A to site B are considered a vote for site B by site A. For example, when FDISK.com includes a link to the Radified FDISK guide, Google counts that as a vote and will raise its ranking.

Many sites include links to Radified guides, which is why they rank so highly. Radified has also been around for a few years. It takes many months for a page to move up the rankings, especially for general search queries such as FDISK or ASPI. Try searching for the term ripping cd and see what happens.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 27sep2002 - Symantec released its newest version of Norton Ghost: 2003. This version offer three major advantages over previous releases:

1. A Windows-based interface. This will make Ghost much more user-friendly.
2. The ability to write image files (*.gho) to NTFS partitions. See here.
3. Support for external drives/devices. See here (thanx Ender).

You can purchase SystemWorks 2003 Pro, which contains Ghost 2003 here and here. Anyone using Ghost 2003 yet? I don't have it. Not sure if I'll be able to bring myself to use Ghost from Windows. Seems like this would compromise reliability.

The official Symantec press release is posted here. PC World discusses the new features here (beware of pop-up). The world-famous Radified Guide to Norton Ghost is posted here. It's the site's single most popular feature, requested between 500 and 1,000 times daily. Update: Ender wrote to say:

Saw your post today about Ghost 2003. I am using it. I must say it is the best Ghost ever. Being able to write to NTFS partitions has made my life sooo much easier (no need to keep a FAT32 drive on my PC). Even though they claim a Windows-based interface, ghosting is still done via a DOS floppy. The DOS interface is the same. Only difference I noticed is the ability to write to NTFS partitions.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 26sep2002 - Ran into 3 guys from Great Britain yesterday, while at Crystal Cove State Park. They were biking from Vancouver, British Columbia all the down way to San Diego, a 5-week trip. What a great idea! Beautiful scenery along the West Coast. Made me want to join them.

They all had little British flags flying on the backs of their bikes and had stopped to clean up at one of the showers before heading to a nearby campground. That's a long trip. None of them were fat.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 25sep2002 - Saw The Four Feathers last night. Good movie. Easy to recommend. I was concerned it might contain too much romantic crap, but this wasn't the case.

Especially enjoyed scenes shot in the desert. Impressive cinematography throughout. Lots of eye-candy. Great close-ups, too. This is one movie you should see on a big screen. I caught it up at the Big Newport. They boast the largest screen in SoCal.

Heath Ledger played the lead role. He's impressive. Seen him in a few other flicks, such as Monsters Ball. He always delivers a strong performance. Of the new breed, only Leonardo impresses me more. Seems like they can both go deep, but Leonardo can go darker.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 24sep2002 - You may have noticed the site has been doggy the last week. Pings have been good (not the posted one, tho), but bandwidth has been sucking. Radified usually sees 100 to 300 KB/s. Lately it has been 1 to 8, dropping as low as 0.1 KB/s .. taking forever for pages to load.

Communitech network engineers have been working diligently to identify the source and resolve the problem. Seems to have just been fixed this morning, or at least temporarily patched. This is what they said:

We believe the problem has been the connection between Cogent and mfnx.net. Mfnx.net is Metromedia Fiber Network which is also Abovenet. Cogent said they just rerouted traffic around the bad connection untill they can get it upgraded. We have also rerouted some of the traffic to go through another provider - Sprint.

Never seen the site faster. Hope it lasts. Tho I live in Southern California, the actual, physical server resides in Kansas City. It currently takes about 60 milli-seconds (less than a tenth of a second) for a bit of data to go from Southern Californa to the Radified server in Kansas City and return here. That's fast. Virtually instantaneous.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 23sep2002 - Updated the User's Guide to Norton Ghost to include a reader's method to create a batch file. See here.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 21sep2002 - First day of fall tomorrow, for those of you living in the northern hemisphere. Poof! There went the summer. Hope you had a good one.

Autumn is a great time to indulge your technolust. Computers run better at cooler temperatures. I love fall in New England, where the leaves change color. Here in Southern California, the only difference is the absence of tourists.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19sep2002 - The site is painfully slow today. Yesterday too. I have been complaining. Posted a trace here. Supposedly the problem is with one of Communitect's providers: UUNet.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 18sep2002 - Happy birthday to the Dog. He's a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Currently the boy is studying for the Safety inspector's exam to build hi-rises in New York City. As you probably know, they're planning to rebuild the World Trade Center site. The test will be held this Saturday. He won't know for another month whether he passed. Says it's a toughie.

How old is the Dog? Not as old as dirt, but old enough to remember when dinosaurs walked the earth. He's one of those people that everybody likes. (Doncha just hate people like that?)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 16sep2002 - Gorgeous day today here in Southern California. Even tho we're used to beautiful weather, today is a jewel of a day. If everyday was like today, no one would complain. Speaking of the weather, maybe you'd like to try the (free) Weatherbug. I use it & like it.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 15sep2002 - The Golden Boy, De La Hoya won a TKO when the ref stopped the fight in the 11th round - the same round that Oscar knocked him down so hard that Fernando's left foot was twitching on the way down. Sent him flying into the air.

Good fight, but not great. Vargas looked tough until the 7th round. It was downhill for him after that. Surprising how the girls like to watch Oscar fight. Even girls who don't like boxing. All the neighborhood girls got together to watch the fight & root for the Golden Boy.

Gamers should know that the demo for Unreal Tournament 2003 has been released. It's 98MB. I downloaded it from this server at 3dgamers. It came in at a healthy 250KBps. My modem lit up like a Christmas tree. Haven't installed it yet, but UT has always been one of the best online games out there. Screenshots posted here.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 14sep2002 - A good boxing match is scheduled for today: the Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya vs Ferocious Fernando Vargas. Tito Trinidad, who fought both junior middleweight fighters, predicts a De La Hoya win. Seems to be the general consensus. Oscar is a 2-1 favorite.

I saw Trinidad fight both Oscar & Fernando. Oscar gave him a much tougher time. Many feel that Oscar actually won that fight. The fight will air on HBO tonight. Vargas will probably get his butt kicked, but he has a big heart. So I expect a good fight. Heard it's nearly impossible to get tiks for this fight.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 12sep2002 - Been having problems with my cable-internet connection the last week or so. Began by dropping out for an hour a day, then two. Until yesterday, when I didn't have a connection for most of the day.

This morning (early!) they sent out a tech to troubleshoot. He said that people who live close to the beach sometimes develop problems with signal strength cuz the salt air corrodes the connections. He took one apart and showed me how part of the cable had turned black. Yuk.

I explained that when we first signed up for cable a few years ago, it was cuz the kids wanted a faster connection to play games online, and now I'm spoiled. He said, "Yeah, they call them gamers. We learn most of our stuff from them." That's exactly my experience, too. I learned much of what I know about computers from gamers. They are wizards.

Anyway, he called and had the big bucket-truck come out and even replaced all the connections up on the poles out in the street. The connection rocks now. You can check yours here (at DSL Reports).

Radiation tri-blade symbol 11sep2002 - Today is dedicated to the memory of all those who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks one year ago today. God bless America.

God Bless America

Radiation tri-blade symbol 10sep2002 - I'm sure everyone's aware that tomorrow is the 1-year anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. These 13 photos from last September 11th have seen a dramatic increase in traffic the last few weeks. Some more photos are posted at this site here. Can you recall where you were when you heard the news?

Sidney called and woke us up early. He told Wendy to turn on the TV, claiming the WTC was being attacked. Still half asleep, I told Wendy, "That happened years ago. He's probably watching a rerun and doesn't realize it." Wendy got up anyway & turned on the tube. As you know, it was no rerun.

If you haven't seen the pictures of world reaction at Ars, they're definitely worth a look. Nine pages. Pretty sad. The Dog, who lives in the city, says many people have left town for the week. Others are talking about turning off their TV sets. Many peace vigils planned. He's heading down to the site today. President Bush will be there tomorrow.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 09sep2002 - Saw City by the Sea last night, starring Robert DiNero. Pretty dang depressing. Based on a true story. DiNero plays a cop whose father was executed for kidnapping & murder. Now he's investigating a case in which his son is the suspect. The question in everyone's mind is: Has the criminal behavior simply skipped a generation?

I usually like DiNero, but thought his performance in this flick was weak and uninspiring. And I've never cared much for Frances McDormond, but thought her performance far exceeded anyone else's.

The kid who played DiNero's junkie son was no great actor either. While he's begging (asking) for money to buy some smack so he could 'get right,' I'm thinking: I've wanted a Butterfinger worse than that. But at least he looked like a real junkie, which made his scenes more believable.

If you're in the mood for something depressing, this should do the trick. I wasn't crazy about it. Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for this kind of flick.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08sep2002 - Roy Jones must sense that his latest boxing matches haven't been very entertaining, cuz he came out with a retinue of scantily-clad dancing girls, singing a rap tune with a microphone poised over his mouth, like Madonna does. Almost thought we had tuned to the wrong channel. But no, folks, this wasn't MTV.

Neither his singing nor the fight itself proved very entertaining. I'm surprised Roy didn't pick up a cel phone and call home between rounds. I would like to see him fight Bernard Hopkins, or anyone who poses a real threat, or represents a real challenge.

This fight was like shooting fish in a barrel: no different than any of his other fights in the past few years. One headline read: Roy Jones smashes another tomato. His opponent's corner wisely thru in the towel (to the frustration of blood-lusters). Next week's match between Oscar & Vargas should be better. Vargas is a true warrior. He will either win or die trying. The money is on Oscar, tho.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07sep2002 - All you digital filmmakers should know about the Rad Film Festival .. to be held in Los Angles this December. Looking at the name, you might think this site is sponsoring it, but we're not. Deadline for submissions is November 10th. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Speaking of digital video, there's a good review on Avid's latest version of its Xpress DV (v3.5). See here. They'll ask you to register before letting you read the review, but they don't actually verify your email addy. From the conclusion:

Xpress DV 3.5 is the best software-only NLE I have ever used. For facilities that do a significant amount of DV editing, it's worth the $500 difference in street price over Apple's Final Cut Pro. This is getting to be fun. I can hardly wait to see how Apple counters.


Radiation tri-blade symbol 06sep2002 - Roy Jones fights the #1 European contender on HBO tomorrow tonight. With 13-1 odds, he's expected to walk all over England's Clinton Woods (Clinton who?). Some say the odds are more like 100-1.

Jones is one the best fighters I've ever seen. Most experts claim he's the best pound-for-pound boxer in the last decade. I'm no expert but I'd have to agree. He is blazingly fast and rarely breaks a sweat.

Yet he hasn't had a serious challenge in years. What a waste of talent & entertainment value. Maybe this bout will be different and actually provide a little excitement. But I doubt it.

A much better fight is scheduled for next weekend on the 14th, when the Golden Boy, Oscar de la Hoya fights Fernando Vargas. That one should be interesting .. again on HBO.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 04sep2002 - Went body surfing today up at Crystal Cove State Park. Lots of old cottages there. Like you stepped back in time 50 years. Several movies have been filmed there, such as Beaches with Bette Midler. Learned later that there's a storm off the coast of Mexico sending giant waves this way.

Should've known something was up after seeing I was the only fool in the water. Got my ass pummeled but good. Couldn't get back in. The riptide kept sucking my butt back out and the monster waves kept working me over and over. Felt like I was trapped in a washing machine. Finally managed to drag my ass to shore. Walking crooked now.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 03sep2002 - Saw Blue Crush last night. Pleasantly surprised. Girls surf monster waves at the Pipeline in Hawaii. Wendy is making a movie about a surfer chick, titled Breakwater. She says, "They're stole my idea."

I lived on Oahu for two years. The movie made me homesick. We lived on the north shore for three months (Waialua). Saw some big-ass waves there. While a storm raged at sea, the roar at Waimea (our favorite beach) was so loud that I had to shout in the Dog's ear for him to hear me. Just stood there in awe as giant waves continued to roll in.

The waves in Hawaii are big on the north shore in the winter, and on the south side in the summer. But the biggest waves come in the winter, on the north shore. That's where the Pipeline is .. also called the Bonzai Pipeline. Home of world-class surfing.

The movie did a good job of portraying Hawaiian surf culture. Locals don't like white people from 'the mainland'. A friend of mine got his ass stomped by a group of surfers, right in front of his wife & young kids, just for being at the wrong beach .. on the West coast of Oahu, near Makaha (nice guy, too).

If you know anything about Hawaiian history, you know how the original Hawaiians (Polynesians) walked around naked, making love on the beaches all day long .. until the white man came with their diseases .. against which the Hawaiians had no natural immunity. Disease wiped out almost the entire population. Today, if you find someone with even half Polynesian blood, it's rare.

The beaches here in Southern California are filling with young girls learning to surf. Surfing is a LOT harder than it looks. Blue Crush isn't the best film ever, but definitely worth seeing.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 02sep2002 - Thanks for all the mail. Good to be back. Spent time today correcting link rot in the Guide to Ripping and Encoding CD Audio and the Guide to the Best Software Programs. Things change fast in those two areas, and those guides contain more links than the others.

Hasn't been easy keeping up with the changes. I don't know why some web masters insist on changing their links. Pisses me off. If I have to change a link more than twice, I simply delete it.

Many people have mentioned how much they enjoy not only the guides, but also the links they contain. Hypertext (linkage) is the secret behind the power of the Internet. Over the years, I've learned to think in terms of links. No need to waste my time and yours elaborating on something, when I can simply drop a link that will explain things for those who want more info.

A page containing lots of dead (rotten) links appears neglected (even tho it's not my fault). It also appears outdated and therefore unreliable. And we can't have that. This is the reason Radified Guides include both the date of initial posting and when last updated .. so people know how current a particular guide is. The best reference on web usability is Jakob's book.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 01sep2002 - I'm back. That went fast. It'll take a few days before things here return to normal. Seems like the site stayed busy while I was away. Usage stats for last month are posted here. Still haven't broke the magical a million-hits-a-month mark.

Note that Radified broke 5000 total daily visits on the 29th. That's a first.

The FDISK guide is seeing increased activity since it began showing up on the first page of a Google search for 'FDISK'. It has worked its way up over the past year from way back at page 8, where it debuted. It even surpassed the Guide to CD Ripping & MP3 Encoding as the site's third most requested feature.

With the anniversary looming, the photos from 9-11 are also seeing heavy traffic, triple their norm. This one is the most requested of the bunch. Easy to see why.