News for July 2005


Radiation tri-blade symbol 31.july.2005 - For years, I've been receiving mail saying, You might have unclaimed money waiting. "Yeah, right" I thought, tossing each envelope into the trash.

But last week, I decided to call the number and sure 'nuf, I *do* have unclaimed money.

Seems an insurance policy I purchased long ago (when a friend needed me to sign up, so he could keep his job as an insurance salesman) had lost track of me (cuz I moved so many times since).

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Unclaimed money

Treasures of King Tut (Tutankhamen) come to Los AngelesRadiation tri-blade symbol 27.july.2005 - The legendary treasures of King Tut (Tutankhamen) have arrived in Los Angeles. They'll be on display at the LACMA until November.

The tomb of Egypt's most famous pharaoh was discovered back in 1922 by Brit Howard Carter.

Tut ascended the throne at the tender age of 9. The boy-king ruled for only a decade before dying (murdered?) in 1323 BC (before either the computer or Internet were invented).

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Treasures of King Tut (Tutankhamen) arrive at the LACMA

Shoutcast listening statistics for 25.July.2005Radiation tri-blade symbol 25.july.2005 - I noticed Shoutcast is hosting nearly a quarter of a million listeners. I've been watching the numbers grow for several years now, and can remember when <1,000 listeners tuned into their streaming MP3s (back when everybody was worried about Y2K).

By January 2001, Shoutcast was averaging 10,000 listeners daily. They broke 20,000 six months later in July 2001.

In October 2002, they broke 50,000 (see entry for 23.October). Then, in January 2004, they cracked the 100-K mark. Now they're closing in on a quarter-mil. I'd call that exponential growth.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Shoucast Nearing a Quarter of a Million Listeners

Radiation tri-blade symbol 24.july.2005 - Finally hooked up my computer's sound system yesterday, which includes the sound card, the mixer (which Buddy likes) and speakers.

Last year, I lent the system to a friend who was mixing a score for a movie/video. But after getting everything back and hooking it all up, I noticed a terrible hiss.

At first, I thought they broke something, or maybe something got damaged in the move.

But after further investigation, I discovered the hiss disappeared while listening to music streamed off the 'Net, which meant the hardware wasn't damaged (my biggest concern).

Further detective work revealed the nasty hiss could only be heard while playing songs with Winamp.

The remainder of today's entry on this topic is blogged here:> DirectSound output plug-in generates nasty hiss with songs played with Winamp, while waveOut does not

Radiation tri-blade symbol 23.july.2005 - Spent the evening last night at Big Al's ranch. He has a monster video-editing system (which I built for him, back in May, 2004).

It's configured to dual-boot (Windows XP Pro), with one boot dedicated to running nothing but Avid Xpress Pro (Avid is the most respected name in the world of video-editing software).

This particular copy of Windows is isolated from the Internet. Its network adapter is disabled. Avid recommends disabling automatic updates to the operating system, which can sometimes conflict with its editing software.

Last week, we installed his new Avid Mojo, a hardware accelerator for digital video. That was cool.

Last night we upgraded his copy of Avid Xpress Pro to v4.6 (form 4.3, which was over a year old). This giant 250-MB upgrade is similar in size & scope to that of Windows service packs.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Upgrading Big Al's copy of Avid Xpress Pro video editing software

Radiation tri-blade symbol 22.july.2005 - Been working on updating the Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio. Not done yet, but making progress.

This particular guide has been more difficult to keep updated than any other. Link-rot sets in here at an accelerated pace. But things seem to be settling in the world of ripping and (especially) encoding.

In less technical news .. hundreds of jellyfish have washed up on the beach here at Crystal Cove. Most have turned red, apparently from the red tide. Some were the size of a cantaloupe. Monsters. One guy said he thinks it's their mating season.

The lifeguard said several people had been stung. He cautioned against rubbing the affected area, as that only makes it worse.

He said, the accepted treatment was to flush the area with vinegar, .. "or, if that's not available, you can also have someone urinate on it."

Say what? Seriously? Can you imagine? "Uh, excuse me, sir. I don't seem to have any vinegar handy. Would you be so kind as to urinate on my leg? Thank-you so much for rendering first-aid. You're a lifesaver, mate."

Radiation tri-blade symbol 20.july.2005 - Today I have a letter from the Rad in-box to share with you. The subject is titled: Yearly note of gratitude. See here:

I first found your site as a neophyte. But I'm no longer a neophyte, thanks primarily to Radified.

Back around the turn of the millennium, a Google search for Norton Ghost returned your Ghost guide. I remember reading for so long that my eyes felt like sandpaper.

The remainder of today's entry is posted here:> Letter from RAD in-box: Brandon's yearly note of gratitude

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19.july.2005 - A film crew arrived here in Laguna Beach yesterday, creating a stir by filming a movie along the lines of Napoleon Dynamite. Mikaela (top-right) is in the movie, altho she left before I showed up at the site (Thalia street beach) with my camera.

Mikaela auditioned in LA. It's not surprising she got the part, since she's so photogenic (just like her mom).

A few photos from the filming site are posted here: Film crew & extras, Thalia street, Laguna Beach. Shooting resumes today.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 17.july.2005 - Flash-upgraded the firmware for my new wireless router today. Afterwards, the router's configuration pages looked like gobbledygook. So I hit the router's reset button .. which killed my connection.

Only way I could get it back was to pop in the original configuration CD that came with the router. Had to start over from scratch .. which worked.

Running firmware v4.00.7 (the latest, dated 05.may). Router came with v3.03.6 installed. So beware the reset button. I copied the CD to disk, in case it gets lost.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 16.july.2005 - Boxing fans everywhere have long-awaited tonight's fight for the undisputed Middleweight title: Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins vs Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor.

It's a classic match-up of the veteran warrior (40-year old Hopkins, from Philly) vs the young lion (26-year old Taylor, Arkansas). Hopkins (44-2) may be old, but he's in great shape, and has a record 20 title defenses.

His popularity surged when he systematically dismantled previously unbeaten Felix 'Tito' Trinidad, who everyone thought was invincible.

There's much good to say about undefeated Jermain Taylor (23-0, heir apparent to the throne. He's an Olympic bronze medallist in the 2000 games.

But everyone agrees, if he's to beat Bernard tonight, who is called the most experienced and craftiest boxer in the game, he'll need to bring the fight of his life. Things get underway at 6PM PST at the MGM Grand in Vegas.

My favorite part is when Michael Buffer introduces the fighters: "And in this corner, weighing in at ... he is the two-time world champion, the universally-recognized .. undisputed, reigning & defending ... " . What an ego-trip *that* must be. Hopkins is a 2-to-1 favorite.

UPDATE: Taylor won a close split decision.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 15.july.2005 - Installed the Avid Mojo last night (video-editing on steroids). The hardware is bigger than it looks in photos. It's nearly the size of a motherboard.

Things didn't go so well. I told Alan to expect some glitches. It's normal to work thru problems.

The Mojo (doncha love that name?) offers numerous features, but primarily offers real-time viewing of effects with no waiting for rendering. Speeds up the editing process considerably.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Editing digital video with Avid Mojo & Xpress Pro

Radiation tri-blade symbol 14.july.2005 - Heading over to Big Al's tonight .. to help him hook up the Avid Mojo (video-editing on steroids). Woohoo! I've never played with one before (only in my dreams). We're gonna do dinner first, then get down to bizness. (Teri & Al are both great cooks.) Gotta run. Wish me luck.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13.july.2005 - Installed the wireless router today. Piece of cake. Simply popped in the CD and followed on-screen prompts. And thanks to readers who wrote in and helped me configure the security settings.

I never knew Linksys was a division of Cisco. Cisco is a big name in the networking world. (I used to own their stock.) Gave me more confidence in the router. At the end of the installation, I received this message:

Congratulations. The Wireless-G Broadband Router has been successfully configured! So we've gone wireless here at the Rad ranch.

It's a beautiful thing when technology works as it should. Before completing the installation, they try to sell you a subscription to Norton Internet Security, with a tempting 60-day free trial.

As a side-note: I noticed Cisco's motto is Do More With Less. When I was in the Navy, we had a similar saying:

We've done so much with so little for so long that now we can do anything with nothing at all.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 11.july.2005 - NightOwl has been quietly working on his guide to creating a bootable CD/DVD .. which details the mojo on how to do this even if your system doesn't contain a floppy drive.

Today we're officially going public with the guide. He has worked on it long & hard .. into the wee morning hours (hence the name: NightOwl). Even tho he's been getting many compliments on it, he says he'll continue to dial it in.

If you have questions, you can usually contact him at the Rad forums, where he serves as a moderator.

NightOwl lives in the great Northwest, near Olympia, Washington, at the southern tip of Puget Sound, about 60 miles south of Seattle. Folks up there call that part of the planet God's country. (I lived up there myself for a couple of years.)

In other Rad news, Alan called today (the guy I built the monster video-editing system for) .. to say the Avid Mojo arrived. Woohoo!

The mojo is a digital nonlinear accelerator, or DNA (not to be confused with DNA), which supercharges the process. Talk about indulging your technolust. Alan has become very proficient at editing video, which takes a lot of practice.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08.july.2005 - Been receiving inquiries lately from companies interested in buying the site (most recently this one .. you can turn off the music by clicking the speaker, top-left of page).

I'm not interested in selling the site. (It's my therapy.) But I *am* interested in how much they figure it's worth, which I'm sure is directly related to how much they figure it can earn. (I did learn a few things in Economics class.)

And I can be bought .. for the right price. (I'm a capitalist at heart.) But I doubt they can afford me. The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> How much is RADIFIED worth?

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07.july.2005 - Friendly reminder for those of you living here in Laguna Beach (LaBeana Gooch) .. that today is the First Thursday Art Walk. Things get underway 6PM. Art galleries remain open 'til 9 or 10.

Lots of free hors d'oeuvres and vino. Hope to see you out on the town, sucking up a little culture.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 06.july.2005 - The wireless router arrived today. Dang, Newegg is fast. I don't understand how they can take an order one day and get it to you by the next.

Anyway, I opened the box but haven't yet installer the router. Sure is a good-looking piece of hardware. Aesthetics are important.

Received a bunch a mail (from you kind folks) about how to set it up with security (thanks).

Still have a few more fires to put out on the domestic front before I can delve into the wireless router security issue.

In other ground-breaking news, I bought my first pair of reading glasses yesterday. My vision is fine, except it's been getting increasingly difficult to read fine print.

I've never worn prescription glasses before. When I was young, I dreamt I needed glasses. It was more like a nightmare. Not sure why it seemed so distressing. (Vanity, probably.) Anyway, now-a-days wearing glasses makes you look intelligent & distinguished.

So I'm at the store last night, passing by a rack with all kinds of reading glasses, containing every imaginable style. I saw numbers like 1.00, 1.25, 1.50. 1.75, 2.00, 3.00, 3.50. Heck, I thought these were the *prices*.

Turns out, those number were the strength of magnification. Silly me. The glasses cost 10 bucks. I got the 1.25's.

What a difference! I can read fine print again. When I take them off tho, it seems like everything jumps back a step. And I get a little dizzy for a sec, like on a roller coaster.

No one has seen me wearing them yet. I still feel self-conscious. Hopefully, that will pass. Think I'll go find a label with fine print and practice.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 05.july.2005 - Ordered a new router today. A wireless one: the WRT54G from Linksys. Lots of great reviews. Newegg had it for $47 (with a $10 rebate).

The only thing that concerns me is that the router uses a frequency of 2.4GHz, same as my home phone. I hope there's no interference or cross-talk.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 04.july.2005 - Happy 4th of July (my favorite holiday of the year). Been dealing with a week of life-drama here at the Rad ranch. Major sukage on multiple fronts. Had maybe the worst day of my life yesterday. Life should return to normal shortly.

In more techie news, friends who own the monster video-editing system I built last year are upgrading it to include an Avid Mojo video accelerator. It plugs into the firewire port and supercharges the editing process. Simple questions answered here. Full review here.

Normally $1,695 .. $989 with a student discount. Can't wait for it to arrive. That will make their already-sweet system that much sweeter. Woohoo!

Saw War of the Worlds a few days ago .. on the big screen at the Big Newport. (The story of my life this past week.) Based on the book (1898) by H.G. Wells, the original SciFi writer.

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Stars Tom Cruise. Incredible special effects. They had me ducking for cover. The line from this film everyone will remember: "... and I'm dead-set on living."

Film snobs bash Spielberg for being too commercial, but the guy knows how to make a movie. He knows how to bring the story home, make it personal, put the viewer in the story.

Tim Robbins played only a minor part, but kicked major butt. The key to the movie's outcome is alluded to in the first 60 seconds, altho you won't realize it until the last 60. Loved the opening & closing voice-overs by Morgan Freeman. Reviews here. Trailers here.

I didn't enjoy it as much as Batman Begins, which is psychologically more intriguing. But that's probably just personal preference. WOTW: definitely worth seeing. Good show to see with a group of friends.