website Archives

April 23, 2007

Using Google's AJAX Search API

Test of Google's AJAX Search API, which lets you insert Google elements into your web pages (using JavaScript code). Pretty cool.


You first have to sign up for a license key. (Google gives you a big, long key, ~100 characters.)

And the key is only valid for one domain. I initially signed up for a key to use with the new blog (subdomain > .. but it wouldn't work when I tried to use it on the site's home page.

It gave me an error when I loaded this page, saying I needed to apply for a new key. (No problemo.) So I now have two AJAX Search API keys. (When I convert today's entry into a blog entry later, I'll need to generate new AJAX code.)

With this AJAX search API (Application Programming Interface), you can add web searches, video searches, blog searches (also see AJAX Search API playground), News (News bar), or (like I did) map searches. Heck, there's even a book bar.

Continue reading "Using Google's AJAX Search API" »

April 29, 2007

Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I/II

Joomla! Open Source Content Management System (CMS)Thinking of splitting-out site content pertaining to my experiences as a dad .. to a NEW site, such as (oops, that domain name already taken) .. or (uh, that one is also taken). One reader suggested dadified.

Anyway, I'll find some new domain that will work. (Costs a measly $10/yr, and I already have tons of content I could transfer.)

What do you think of or Those two are still available. Ideas? (Shorter the better.)

Now that I have lastest version of MovableType installed (v3.35), and knowing that Movable Type allows you to publish multiple (unlimited) blogs, including to domains outside the one in which MT resides, I could use MT 3.35 to publish to a new rad-dad site.

In the grand scheme of things, despite how much I love cool technology, there aren't many things more important than being a good dad.

Update 03.May.2007 - I got new domain name today ( as detailed in this post > New Domain Name: (Adventures in Fatherhood)

Continue reading "Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I/II" »

April 30, 2007

Lightbox2 Image Overlay (JavaScript)

Morning at the Newport Back Bay: Newport Beach, California (Test of Lightbox2)Test of Lightbox2 image overlay JavaScript (by Lokesh Dhakar, from Boston).

Click the thumbnail image (of the Newport Back Bay) to your right, and a larger version *should* pop-up .. in a cool-looking overlay, with the rest of the page assuming a smoked-glass appearance.

Web site designers like Lightbox because it allows the reader (you) to view an image (or images) without taking you away from the page you're reading. Simply click the Close button, and you return here (never really left).

I like it cuz it allows me to display a photo on a separate "page" (so to speak), with a black background, without having to create a separate web page (*.htm), such as I did > here. Plus it opens with a cool animated ("fancy pants") launcher, perfectly centered.

Continue reading "Lightbox2 Image Overlay (JavaScript)" »

May 1, 2007

Lunarpages Web Hosting Increases Storage to 350-GB

Lunarpages web hosting provider: Now offers (a remarkable) 350-GB storage spaceBack when I first launched Radified (summer of 2000), I purchased a web-hosting account that provided 350-MB storage space .. for $32/month (less discount, if you paid a year in advance).

Last year I moved the site to a new host > Lunarpages. The new Radified server is physically located downtown Los Angeles (where you'll find the nation's most polluted air).

Today, I received a note from the girls at Lunarpages, saying they raised the amount of disk storage for clients enrolled in their Basic hosting plan .. to (an incredible) 350-GB (still $6.95/month).

As you can see, the number 350 remains the same, yet now it's followed by GB, instead of MB (1,000 X more space for ¼ the co$t). The times, they are a-changin'.

Continue reading "Lunarpages Web Hosting Increases Storage to 350-GB" »

May 3, 2007

New Domain Name: (Adventures in Fatherhood)

FATHERHOOD: It's Hard Enough

Recall a few days ago? When I mentioned the idea of getting another domain name, so I could split-out site content related to my adventures as Rad-Dad?

Actually, that post was sort of hijacked by the subsequent comparison of Drupal vs Joomla (two of the best open source Content Management Systems).

I've since been pondering various domain names, such as (which is already taken, tho I could buy it for a price) and (which is available). But none felt right.

Until today, at Newport Dunes beach park, where I was playing Rad-dad with the bug. (Gorgeous day, btw.)

Found myself visualizing what the new site might look like .. beginning with a simple title & logline, such as > FATHERHOOD: Harder Than it Looks .. or .. FATHERHOOD: It's Hard Enough .. in place of where I currently have RADIFIED: Indulge Your Technolust.

Then I thought, "That's it! > HardNuf." In other words, it's hard enough to raise children, without parents bickering. And it's hard enough for kids to grow up in two different homes, without undue tension between parents.

Continue reading "New Domain Name: (Adventures in Fatherhood)" »

May 6, 2007

Comparing Drupal vs Joomla Content Management Systems - Part II

Drupal Open Source Content Management System (CMS)This entry is continued from Part I > Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I

You can actually TEST various CMS'es at > OpenSourceCMS, log in (as administrator) and take them for a test drive. Every two hours, the site wipes your changes and starts everything over from scratch. Pretty cool. You can also demo Joomla! here.


Joomla! books here and here. Drupal books here. Most popular (best?) Drupal book is this one, which seems marketed specifically to developers. Not sure how applicable it is for ordinary users (if there is such a thing). Best to buy from here, helps support Drupal.

If you need to get a good-looking site up in a hurry, so you can focus on generating *content*, then it seems Joomla is the best choice. There are more than 100 different CMS programs available, tho not are all open source or free. See CMS Matrix for more.

Style & Marketing

Joomla is the phonetic spelling of the Swahili word jumla, meaning "all together." I must admit, they win in the COOL category, over drab (but powerful, flexible) Drupal. And you know how I dig cool. I know it shouldn't matter, but their colorful black logo is almost enough to win me over.

Continue reading "Comparing Drupal vs Joomla Content Management Systems - Part II" »

May 7, 2007

Further Research of CMS Programs Suggests Drupal Better Option

WAMP5 Web server for Windows, including Apache, MySQL & PHPBeen learning more about Drupal, Joomla and Content Management Systems in general (CMS).

Also been updating the comparison I documented last week (as I continue to learn more) > Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems (CMS).

In fact, that entry has become big enough (more than 4K words) that I've considered busting it into two sections (e.g. Part I, Part II). Uh, update > done.

I seem to be coming full circle. Began research with notion Drupal represented best option. During initial research, I came to feel Joomla 1.5 would be a better choice (for me).

Now, after considerable research, and feeling comfortable that I understand the relative strengths & weaknesses of each platform, I'm again leaning toward Drupal. (Dizzy yet?)

The main thing that changed my mind was a subtle theme I kept noticing, which goes something like this:

Continue reading "Further Research of CMS Programs Suggests Drupal Better Option" »

May 8, 2007

Installing Drupal 5.1 Content Management System (CMS)

Drupal Open Source Content Management System v5.1Stayed up late ('til 1AM) and installed Drupal last night. (Eyes are burning.) The word installation is deceptive, cuz Drupal really installs itself.

Simply upload the files to your server, point your browser to the directory where you uploaded Drupal (in this case, to newly created subdomain >, and a screen pops up, asking for 3 bits of information:

  1. Name of your MySQL database
  2. User name for your MySQL database
  3. Password for the MySQL user

Enter the data Drupal wants, click the Install button and Drupal installs itself. Too cool. Downright elegant.

Gives you a screen that says > Drupal installation complete. I'm thinking, "You gotta be kidding. Can't be *that* easy."

Next screen looks like this > Welcome to your new Drupal website!

Continue reading "Installing Drupal 5.1 Content Management System (CMS)" »

May 9, 2007

Moving Site to New Upgraded Web Server

The site move to a new, updated server (mentioned yesterday) involves a new name server (they say), which means the site might (not sure yet, I asked) be unavailable for a period of time following the move.

Okay, they said the new name server *will* need to propagate, which means the site will be unavailable for 24-72 hours, depending on > this stuff. (The Rad server is physically located downtown Los Angeles.)

I'm making a *second* full-site back-up right now. =) The back-up (compressed *.tar.gz) is exactly 999 MB. (You can see why I'm researching content management systems.) It's downloading at ~300KBps. Takes ~ an hour.

They also said my dedicated IP address will change. Not sure why it can't stay the same (since my hosting provider isn't changing).

Received note from Lunarpages (my host) support, which I'd file under: Example of Good Support. See here>

Continue reading "Moving Site to New Upgraded Web Server" »

May 13, 2007

Site Move to New Upgraded Web Server Complete

The new Rad server is a Dell PowerEdge 2650Test of the new Rad server. If you can read this, you're getting the *new* server. Could be my imagination, but this one feels a little zippier. No?

I made some dumb mistakes, such as misreading the new name server, which is now .. as

The old name server was I saw the ns1 and (foolishly) ignored the rest (, assuming the number 6 merely needed to be changed to a 1.

Didn't figure that out until 8PM last night. The site was moved 24 hours earlier (8PM Friday). There's something to be said for the (foolproof) copy-n-paste method.

Then I couldn't connect to the (new, beautiful, fast, upgraded) server via FTP. I've use a dedicated IP address since I've had the site (last 7 years).

But the new IP addy won't be available for 5 days (they tell me). Until then, I use the domain name to connect (like most people connect to their servers).

I'm embarrassed to say I entered into my FTP client, when only should've been entered (hangs head in shame).

Continue reading "Site Move to New Upgraded Web Server Complete" »

May 14, 2007

Proficiency with Software & Setting Root Password for MySQL Database in phpMyAdmin under WAMP5

The coolest programs seem to have the steepest learning curves .. like Half Dome & El Capitan, which are both pretty steep

A big part of Indulging Your Technolust involves learning how to use cool software. Once your hardware is dialed in, and your system backed up (crucial step), it's time to become proficient with your favorite programs.

You've probably discovered (as I have) the coolest programs are often (not always) the most powerful. And the most powerful programs often involve the steepest learning curves.

Take Photoshop for example. Way cool. Way powerful. Lots to learn. Seems like I'm always calling Julie to ask how to do something in Photoshop.

This is cuz more power involves more features. More features come with more options, and more options lead to complexity. (You know the drill.)

Regulars will recall my recent forays into the (very cool) world of Content Management Systems, and how I've been playing with Drupal (one of the coolest). [My installation of Drupal 5.1 is > HERE.]

In fact, I moved the site recently (never much fun) to a new server in order to get MySQL 5.x, which is required for Drupal 6 (still in development). So I'm still on the steeper slopes of the content management curve, but starting to find traction.

Continue reading "Proficiency with Software & Setting Root Password for MySQL Database in phpMyAdmin under WAMP5" »

May 18, 2007

Learning Dad Tricks & all about Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

Been playing Rad dad last few days. The bug is getting to that age where he knows what he wants (and what he doesn't want). No longer can I just grab him and do what I want. Now he must be dealt with.

He slept over last night. In the evening, while we watched Ice Age (1st one) out in the rec room, he insisted on removing his shirt.

It wasn't cold, but not warm enough to play Tarzan. Yet he was adamant about not wanting to wear one.

So I'm trying to figure out how to get him dressed. And I remembered a trick I saw his mom do .. the ol' trade > "If you want this, you gotta do that."

Ice Age ended and he wanted me to put in Polar Express (excellent flick, btw). So I said, "Okay, if you want me to put on polar express, you first have to put on your shirt."

Dude, it totally worked! Real slickly, too. Not one bit of grumbling. I was so pleased with myself .. outwitting a 2-year-old . =)

Continue reading "Learning Dad Tricks & all about Virtual Private Servers (VPS)" »

May 31, 2007

Problems with New Server or Associated Network

Picture of Rad freaking out when he sees his site down

As you might've noticed, we've been having problems with the new server, or its associated network.

The site was moved to a new server on May 11th. On May 22nd, we started experiencing problems with laggy page-loading times and (more recently) complete site outages, as described in this thread > New server response time pauses.

The problem seems to keep getting worse. At first it was confined only to laggy responses for relatively short periods, of a few minutes, increasing up to an hour at times.

Then complete site outages began, at first for short periods, now (including this morning) they last up to an hour.

I just got off the horn with a supervisor at Lunarpages (my web host), and he suggested I request LP move the site (again) to a new server, saying, "That's what I would do."

Continue reading "Problems with New Server or Associated Network" »

June 3, 2007

Radified's 7-year anniversary | A brief history

Celebrate Radified's birthday with a fine Cohiba cigarTomorrow (Monday) is the site's 7-year anniversary. If you enjoy the study of math & numbers like I do, you probably know the number 7 is often associated with notions of completion & perfection.

Seven years ago tomorrow, I acquired the domain name Following day (June 5th), site went live (online).

You can read the very first Rad entry at the bottom of this page (archives for June/July, 2000). Fortunately I learned a thing or two since then (tho much of it the hard way > trial-n-error).

I tell people who praise my computer skills (especially my troubleshooting skills) > "it's cuz I've made every mistake possible with a PC."

We are now at the site's 4th server, beginning, originally, with a server in Kansas City (at web-host named Communitech), which started suk'ing soon as it was bought by Interland, who then loaded my server (along with many others) on a flatbed and (in the dead of night) moved them to Atlanta.

After a year in Atlanta, we began having problems (increasingly) with Apache (open source web server). Until stability problems got so bad I had to move the site ...

Continue reading "Radified's 7-year anniversary | A brief history" »

June 19, 2007

YaBB Forum Security Vulnerability Patched

A security vulnerability was reported for the forum software (YaBB v2.1), as posted at iDefense Labs...

... which allows attackers to register with Administrator privileges by "setting the values of certain variables to contain certain characters." (Nice of them not to spell-out how to implement the hack.)

Attackers can then wreck all manner of ugliness.

I discovered the vulnerability last night, but couldn't implement the fix, cuz other mods I've installed had modified the original source code of the files I needed to patch ( +

The patch searched for (some of) the flawed code, but couldn't find it, cuz it had been modified by another mod. Actually, the first 8 steps proceeded fine. Only the 9th and final step errored. But unless the entire fix can be implemented, the patch refuses to install.

At 11PM last night, I was tired and not thinking clearly, so I disabled the registration feature (to help mitagate the vulnerability) and went to bed.

Continue reading "YaBB Forum Security Vulnerability Patched" »

June 26, 2007

Upgrading Web Master Skills | New Technologies Presenting Challenges

Been upgrading my web master skills recently, to include proficiency with HTML, XHTML, CSS & Dreamweaver. I'd also like to become familiar with JavaScript, PHP & SQL-based databases, such as MySQL.

Much of my web skills to date have been acquired on an ad hoc basis, learning only what I've needed to know .. to accomplish a particular result/effect. I've simply not been very interested in learning the details of web mastery.

Yet the Internet (or the Web, I should say) remains one of mankind's coolest inventions. And the web - as you know - is comprised, primarily, of web pages. So skills in this area might allow me to take better advantage of (indulge myself in) this evolving technology.

None of these skills, mind you, are particularly difficult to learn. It's not rocket science, but there *is* much material involved.

Like most people, I learn best by doing .. by having a project to which I can apply my new skills.

You might recall I've begun working on a new Guide to Norton Ghost, based on Ghost 12 (Rad NG12). This new guide will be layed out with a CSS-based (table-less) 3-column liquid/fluid design (with header & footer), which I've selected from a variety of pre-coded templates available in Dreamweaver.

Continue reading "Upgrading Web Master Skills | New Technologies Presenting Challenges" »

July 1, 2007

Best Books for Learning the Basics of Web Site Design (XHTML + CSS)

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTMLAs mentioned earlier, I've been delving more seriously into the subject of web site design (development), starting with » XHTML, CSS & Dreamweaver.

I'm finding the design aspects offered by CSS more interesting than XHTML, which (tho necessary) seems boring by comparison. CSS is cool, cuz it lets you do cool things.

Most agree it's best to learn HTML/XHTML first. W3Schools lists both these topics before their tutorial on CSS. Many books (such as this one) tie the topics together, feeling they go hand-in-hand.

During academic years, my strategy was to master the basics. Advanced topics then come more easily. That's still my strategy.

While researching what books might be helpful, I found *two* stood out:

Continue reading "Best Books for Learning the Basics of Web Site Design (XHTML + CSS)" »

July 11, 2007

Theory of Learning Behind the Head First Series of Books (from O'Reilly)

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML

Been reading a new book on XHTML/CSS. O'Reilly claims its books in the Head First series represent a "learning experience." (not a reference)

Normally I just want the facts .. stripped of extraneous info. (For example, I've never cared for preachers who infuse their sermons with much emotion, which I feel is manipulative.) So it surprises me I'm actually enjoying this book.

The introduction (12-pages) addresses the book's theory on learning. Below I've listed the key points (many of which I've long subscribed to, and tried to implement here).

Their main theory centers upon the notion that » your brain craves novelty .. continuously searching for something unusual (like a hungry tiger, hiding in the bushes, waiting to eat you).

Your brain, consequently, does everything it can to stop ordinary thoughts from interfering with your attention to "things that matter" (hungry tigers, fire, etc.).

So you need to trick your brain into thinking the material you're learning is impotant. "How?" you ask. Good question.

Continue reading "Theory of Learning Behind the Head First Series of Books (from O'Reilly)" »

July 17, 2007

First Impressions of Head First XHTML/CSS Book

Head First HTML with XHTML & CSS

Been studying new "Head First" book on XHTML/CSS .. currently ~200 pages into it (1/3rd way thru), now reading chapter 5.

Haven't seen much new material I don't already know (having learned most of my tricks from viewing the source of other web sites). Tho I have learned bits-n-pieces of cool info from the book, especially regarding the names (terms) of things (.. which I've been using for years).

So in that regard, it has (so far) been only slightly useful. But it's good to know that I know what I know .. ya know?

Especially since HTML is a prerequisite for learning so many other cool web technologies, such as scripting & databases.

NEXT chapter is titled Serious HTML ("Standards, Compliance & all that Jazz"), which sounds more interesting (than basic HTML).

From perusing the table of contents («PDF), it looks like the really cool stuff (stuff I don't yet know) starts in the second half. Looking forward to that.

Funny how they use a fictitious web design company named RadWebDesign (a "seemingly experienced firm") that always does things wrong. =) [Re: pages 148 + 156.]

Continue reading "First Impressions of Head First XHTML/CSS Book" »

July 26, 2007

Mid-way Review of Head First XHTML/CSS Book

Head First HTML with XHTML & CSSHalf-way thru new (650-page) Head First XHTML/CSS book. Completed first 7 chapters, which cover all things pertaining to HTML/XHTML (the *structure* of a web page, such as setting up » headings, paragraphs, images, links).

Chapter 8 (« 3-MB PDF), which I'm starting now, begins discussion of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), which is cooler than (X)HTML, cuz it deals with *presentation* (as separated from structure).

Clearly tho, this book was written for those who know (absolutely) nothing about HTML or web site development (uh, not me).

To this point, I've (already) known most of what the book has been teaching .. tho the last few chapters, increasingly, have shed light on gaps in my knowledge. Examples of things I never knew:

Continue reading "Mid-way Review of Head First XHTML/CSS Book" »

August 1, 2007

Various Topics » Nuclear Nightmare, Learning XHTML/CSS, Trying to Quit Coffee, Dog to Wed in Prague

U.S. Naval NuclearPower School | An Inside Look - Part IIBroke up recent blog entry (about Navy Nuclear Power school) into two parts.

The original grew too long for a single page. Also added heading titles (not needed with shorter entries).

Part II es aqui » U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School | An Inside Look - Part II

I could write a book on this subject. (Looks like somebody already did.) Hard to turn it off. Hard to forget. So many stories. I still dream about being in. Like a recurring nightmare.

In my dream, I realize I should've been discharged long ago. When I tell the Chief however, he blows me off, saying he's too busy to process my paperwork. "Come back tomorrow," he says. It's like I'm stuck in the Navy, & can't get out.

The only other entry (btw) I did that for (» broke into 2 parts & added headings) was the one » Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems. Another case of more-than-expected.

Still reading Head First XHTML/CSS book. Learning about CSS. Already know most of this, too, but definitely best chapter yet (far as learning useful info). Next chapter covers » fonts + color, both of which interest me. Hopefully I'll learn some new tricks.

Continue reading "Various Topics » Nuclear Nightmare, Learning XHTML/CSS, Trying to Quit Coffee, Dog to Wed in Prague" »

August 11, 2007

Exercise, Bizarre Dreams & Advanced Web Construction

ArnoldRemarkable how much better I feel whenever I work-out. I even feel better about myself (psychologically).

Shirts fit more snugly (in chest & shoulders). Arms hang a bit heavier. Each step flows more easily, propelled by stronger legs ("wheels").

Been adding weight, too (muscle-weight, hopefully). Lost ~15 lbs following the back injury. Each time I've visited the gym, my weight has climbed (on their digital scale) » 188 » 189 » 190 » 191 » 192, & today » 193.

I like how, once I get in shape, and develop a routine, I develop a desire to work-out (instead of a dread). Getting to the gym is half the battle. Once you're there .. the hardest part is over.

The routine that works best for me » legs+abs on day-1, shoulders+arms on days 2, rest day-3, back+abs day-4, chest day-5, rest day-6, repeat cycle (2-on, 1-off). Each session begins with 10-min aerobic warm-up. (For which I prefer the recumbent bike.)

Sleeping better, too (zzzz). Still having bizarre dreams, tho .. such as the one where I was » flying around Laguna Beach on New Year's eve with the bug in a slow-moving, over-crowded commuter-jet piloted by Tom Hanks...

Continue reading "Exercise, Bizarre Dreams & Advanced Web Construction" »

August 24, 2007

Download Classic Books (for Free) from PlanetPDF + Military-style Mass-Innoculations

Link worth bookmarking » PlantetPDF. Contains 7 pages worth of links to books (all free) .. with authors such as Dickens, Homer & Dostoevsky, and titles like Dracula & Beyond Good & Evil (Nietzsche).

If your PDF reader is like mine, you have a colorful icon in upper left-hand corner » Send to FedEx Kinko's (convenient feature). Two days later, the printed text arrives on your doorstep.

Impressive titles, worth perusing the list. Interesting also, to hear them bash Google Books. Kinda funny.

Nearing End of Head First Book on XHTML/CSS 

I'm also finishing the final few chapters of a book on XHTML/CSS. Today I finally got to the part where they address the *first* problem I had with trying to layout a standards-based page. (Note: current chapter addresses » Layout + Positioning.)

I thought » "Ah-ha, here's where I finally learn how the pro's solve the infamous multiple-columns problem." Dude, they totally balked. I couldn't believe it. See here (page 512):

Continue reading "Download Classic Books (for Free) from PlanetPDF + Military-style Mass-Innoculations" »

August 29, 2007

Best Book for Learning Cascading Style Sheets » CSS Mastery by Andy Budd

CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions, by Andy BuddWith my current book (on XHTML/CSS) coming to a close, I've been researching books that deal solely with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) ...

.. to determine which one might represent the next step in upgrading my web meister skill set. Here's what I found.

Let's begin with end. The best book (for me) would be » CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions .. by Andy Budd (from Brighton, England. His blog is » here.). Sample chapter posted » here (600-KB, 20-page PDF dealing with Layout).

The book contains ~250 pages (not counting the index). It retails for $35, but can be purchased for ~US$22.

75 customer reviews posted » here, 60 of which (80%) gave CSS Mastery a perfect 5-star rating.

The biggest negative, from what I can see, is that the book was published in February, 2006. Not ancient history, yet more than a year older than Rachel's CSS Anthology, which was released this May (even tho Amazon says August).

For someone like me however, who is no CSS guru, I'd rather get a solid CSS book, than something more cutting edge.

Continue reading "Best Book for Learning Cascading Style Sheets » CSS Mastery by Andy Budd" »

October 26, 2007

Started Reading New Book » Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual

Started reading a new book .. on Dreamweaver (compliments of Poncho) titled » Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual (released June, 2007).

Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing ManualWeighing in at 1,000 pages, this is the fattest book I've ever sat down with. So far, I'm very impressed. Even the first (introductory) chapters contain many insightful tips about real world usage (my favorite kind).

This might be the best tech-book I've ever read (uh, still reading) .. far as usable insights per page. Can't wait to get to the later chapters (26 total), which deal with the more-advanced stuff. (Wish I could read/comprehend faster.)

One reason why this book might be so polished is cuz this particular version is the author's 5th incarnation .. having begun with Dreamweaver 4 (back in 2001), then » Dreamweaver MX (in 2002), then » Dreamweaver MX 2004 (in 2003), then » Dreamweaver 8 (in 2005).

It's readily evident McFarland knows the program inside-out, and is therefore able to reveal its secrets with ease.

Continue reading "Started Reading New Book » Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual" »

November 14, 2007

Continuing to Enhance Web Master Skill Set (XHTML, CSS, Dreamweaver)

Learning lots about (X)HTML, CSS. & Dreamweaver. For example, I finished reading the Head First book (cover-to-cover, all 650 pages). Currently half-way thru the Essential training video for Dreamweaver CS3 (Creative Suite 3). Also reading the Missing Manual on Dreamweaver (~1,000 pages), which goes into more detail than the video. All great stuff.

Was surprised to read over at Coding Horror that the average programmer reads less than 1 (technical) book per year.

Given that tech books often contain ~1,000 pages, that doesn't mean Programmers aren't adding to their knowledge base. Yet I thought the number would be higher.

Note that it *is* possible to learn Dreamweaver (to create web pages) withOUT ever becoming familiar with the underlying technologies it uses (e.g. XHTML, CSS, etc.), but I feel better having spent the time to get a handle on those technologies before learning how to wield the tool (Dreamweaver).

My web skills are vasty improved over what they were a few months ago. I would feel comfortable designing and developing most any type of site .. except one that is primarily database-driven. (But that, too, is coming.)

I also now feel comfortable delving into more advanced treatments of CSS and Dreamweaver, such as (the book titled ») CSS Mastery, and (the training video titled ») Beyond the Basics for Dreamweaver. Plus I'd like to learn some scripting, such as PHP, JavaScript and AJAX .. along with XML. Cool stuff, especialy for the age in which we live.

Continue reading "Continuing to Enhance Web Master Skill Set (XHTML, CSS, Dreamweaver)" »

November 19, 2007

The Neck, Web Master Skills & Holy Frijoles

Epazote: secret ingredientMy neck is finally (after 6 weeks!) starting to loosen. I can turn my head side-to-side without pain, tho full range-of-motion remains elusive.

The Neck (6 weeks later)

Tilting » right-ear toward right-shoulder .. is the movement I now find most difficult. Feels like a steel cable (tendon?) connects my left shoulder to the base of my skull (on left side), restricting this (right-ward ») motion.

Forcing this movement causes swelling (the next day) where my neck (left-side) connects to my torso. The swelling (raised ~2 inches) looks scarier than it feels. Nevertheless, I'm hesitant to stretch very far in that direction (.. like they want me to).

The Doc says swelling is a sign muscles are still healing. So does that mean I am re-injuring them?

I'd say my neck has improved from severely jacked-up to (plain ol') "jacked-up." Severely jacked-up is defined as » difficult to deal with. Slightly jacked-up would be » easy-to-deal-with .. (tho, I'm not there yet).

The Doc suggested I wear a scarf around my neck (to keep the muscles warm). Altho this sounds stupid (and looks gay), I've found it helps better than anything else I've tried.

Web Master Skills

In more-technical news, I couldn't resist playing with my new XHTML/CSS skills .. and re-created the site's splash page (a 7-second timer will automatically kick you back here). This is my first-ever web page using XHTML 1.0 Strict standards. I created it from scratch with Dreamweaver CS3.

Continue reading "The Neck, Web Master Skills & Holy Frijoles" »

November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

President Bush pardons the Thanksgiving turkeyI trust you and yours had yourselves a pleasant Thanksgiving, with lots of bird to eat, and other yummy treats. I spent the day with the Bug (just the two of us), so it was most enjoyable.

Thanksgiving 2007

After tearing up the local playground, the day's highlight came when we took his "froggie boots" to the Newport Back Bay. There we found a feeder-stream he could tromp thru (something new).

The froggie boots kept his feet warm-n-dry. He seemed to enjoy dropping sticks in the water and watching them float downstream, and chasing after ducks.

After his mom picked him up (later in the day), I headed over to Tom's place, where his wife made turkey-stuffed acorn squash .. stuffed with nuts, peppers, cheese, and other nutritious treats. (Yummy.)

Tom & his wife are healthy eaters, so I knew it was gonna be good. They recently joined an organic co-op. Every other week, they get a bushel-basket full of organic veggies (such as the acorn squash we ate).

I think he said it costs $35 for ~35 pounds (of assorted veggies). The only bad part is you have to pay for 6 months up front. (And no, they don't deliver.)

Tom had spent the day tearing out his old carpet and sanding the underlying (concrete) floor. So his place had a distinct post-nuclear feel to it, with a slight echo. (Okay, it was more than slight.)

Continue reading "Thanksgiving 2007" »

November 29, 2007

Warning: Excessive Server Usage

Rad Pirate FlagReceived a notice yesterday .. from my web host (Lunarpages), which begins »

Your account is using excessive resources, causing a significant degradation of services on the server.

This is a shared environment and we can not allow one user to utilize the majority of resources, as it affects all users adversely. Because of this, your site has been temporarily moved ...

Warning: Excessive Server Usage

So it appears we've been banished .. to an exile server .. reserved for bad-web-boys, and other rouge scoundrels who have trouble playing by the rules.

I'm actually flattered .. that the site is generating enough traffic to warrant such a warning. Could be worse. I mean, if the site were using NO server resources .. that certainly wouldn't be good.

Their notice continues by suggesting I upgrade to a VPS account (Virtual Private Server) or dedicated server. See here:

Your account is more suited for a VPS or dedicated server, not a shared situation.

I would *love* to host a VPS account (.. for the experience of administering our own server). Magoo says he has the savvy to administer a Linux account. See here:

"Funny how little they consider your fair share of that server. If it turns out your site is operating correctly and just outgrown a shared environment, I can definitely help with the VPS account. I am very comfortable with CentOS, Apache, and Perl. That's easy stuff."

Continue reading "Warning: Excessive Server Usage" »

December 5, 2007

Andy Budd's CSS Mastery Book Really That Good? Initial Impressions + Web 2.0

Back in August, when I was researching the best book to learn CSS, I was suspicious of all the glowing comments at for CSS Mastery.

CSS Mastery | Best book to learn CSSI mean, they sounded too good to be true. I'm especially suspicious of reviewers who post one (and only one) comment, along with those exhorting the reader to either "Buy this book!" or "Don't buy this book!"

Reviews should present the review's opinion, not try to influence purchasing decisions, cuz everyone's criteria is different (.. which is how I came to trust Nate's reviews).

Anyway, curiosity got the best of me, and I started reading CSS Mastery this week. And while some of those comments may indeed be phoney-baloney (who knows for sure?), I can now see what everybody is talking about.

Hard to describe, but it's like a light comes on in your head while reading that book. There's a *clarity* to the way concepts are presented. [Sample chapter posted here.]

I'm not very far into it, but since my initial research, I kept wondering if all the hoopla was justified. Well, it is. I especially like the way the author (from Brighton, England) gets right to the point. [I try to do that myself.]

Continue reading "Andy Budd's CSS Mastery Book Really That Good? Initial Impressions + Web 2.0" »

December 11, 2007

Andy Budd's Book: CSS Mastery

CSS Mastery | Best book to learn CSSStill reading CSS Mastery. Very rich. It's much smaller (thinner) than the Head First book on XHTML+CSS I read earlier this year (only 250 pages vs 650), yet reads more slowly, because it contains much food-for-thought (regarding styling techniques).

On nearly every page, I find myself pausing to reflect .. often muttering, "I didn't know you could do that." It's a book that lends itself to study more than mere reading.

It's obvious the author (Andy Budd, from Brighton, England) is in a league of his own, having "become one with" the language (CSS).

This book begins where the Head First book left off. The first (introductory) chapter presents many of the same concepts and techniques introduced near the end of the Head First book.

The reason I originally considered skipping this book—despite its many glowing reviews—is cuz CSS Mastery is known for its expertise in dealing with (proprietary) browser quirks/bugs found in IE6.

IE7—which fixes many of these bugs/quirks—was released a year ago, so I figured everybody (like me) had since upgraded to IE7, rendering this book (more-or-less) obsolete.

Au contraire. I learned yesterday that IE6 is still the predominant version, comprising half of all browsers currently in use .. including IE7. (Found that difficult to believe, but every survey I reviewed indicated the same.)

So it looks like I need to familiarize myself with the idiosyncrasies of IE6, and therefore CSS Mastery remains relevant.

Continue reading "Andy Budd's Book: CSS Mastery" »

December 23, 2007

Learning About Web Hex HTML Color Schemes on the Winter Solstice

Color scheme | atadecer mondroviaWinter solstice yesterday. Shortest day of the year (for those of us living in the northern hemisphere). The word solstice comes from a latin term » solstitium, meaning sun stoppage. Extra cool with a full moon tonight.

The exact time (when the sun reached its southern-most point and began heading back north was 1:08AM EST, which means winter actually began Friday night (10:08 PM) for those of us here on the Left coast.

To celebrate the event I rode my bike around the Back Bay, with Tom, his wife & daughter. My first bike-ride since getting thrown off & landing on my cranium. Nice day. Lots of sunshine.

No mountains, tho. I rode mostly with Tom's (7-yr-old) daughter, who's pace I found comfortable.

Good news » the library (Newport Beach) is gonna buy the books I recommended (both of them) » Bulletproof Web Design (2nd ed.), as recommended by Nate here » Best Book for Learning Cascading Style Sheets » CSS Mastery by Andy Budd, ..

.. and also Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual. (I only have the electronic version of this one, which is harder on the eyes than paper.)

I do my homework when researching which book is best for a particular topic (since a good book can make a big difference), so I shouldn't be surprised. (Tho I am.)

Continue reading "Learning About Web Hex HTML Color Schemes on the Winter Solstice" »

January 5, 2008

Still Reading Andy Budd's CSS Mastery Book

I'm still reading CSS Mastery. (Finished another chapter today.) Easy to see why everybody raves about it, and why it still sells so well, despite being 2 years old (an eternity in the tech world).

Andy Budd takes you straight to the cool stuff. The concepts he presents are straightforward. Yet the execution is far from intuitive. But Budd excels at presenting examples, which teach as much as (if not more than) the narrative.

So you have this synergistic thing going on between the narrative and example-code he provides .. techniques you'd never think of on your own. And he provides multiple solutions to accomplish each effect (such as rounded corners). So I'm learning lotsa cool stuff.

It's going slower however, than I expected. Cuz I keep breaking to research the graphics techniques he references (but doesn't explain), which involve learning how to use Photoshop. So I'm learning image editing at the same time. But CSS is even cooler than Photoshop. (So I'm always eager to return.)

And as you might've noticed, I've been lagging on site updates .. while focusing on learning CSS. Along these lines (of learning more about technology), I leave you today with a link to an article I found particularly interesting, which discusses The Paradox of Expertise vs Creativity.

Continue reading "Still Reading Andy Budd's CSS Mastery Book" »

January 14, 2008

Preparing to Upgrade the Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.2

I'm preparing to upgrade the Rad Community Forums to YaBB 2.2, which was released November 8th (allowing time for them to correct any glitches discovered since the new release).

We currently use YaBB 2.1, which was released more than 2 years ago. So this should be a major upgrade.

I'm using the "safe" method of installing a new/clean copy of YaBB 2.2, leaving the current 2.1 forum up & running while I set-up the new 2.2 version (which takes a while).

After everything is hunky-dory (re-configured), I'll rename the currently-used directories to some other name, and rename the new 2.2 directories to those currently used by v2.1.

After editing one file ( to reflect these changes, we should be golden with a brand-spanking-new (upgraded) forum.

The forums contain more than 30,000 posts. People smarter than me frequent there. They deserve the new stuff.

I've already downloaded the new files and uploaded them to my server (physically located downtown Los Angeles), and chmod'ed everything (very tedious). Ready to "install" the new forum (by running "setup").

I also deleted many member-accounts (stayed up late last night). Anybody with 2 posts or less, and who hadn't visited the forums for 60 days was ax'ed. (They can always re-register.) You can glean more of the gory details » here. Upgrades suk. So many things can go wrong. Wish me luck.

Update - the new forum installed without a hitch. (Woohoo!) See » HERE. It still needs major tweaking, but we're over the biggest hurdle. Time to check out what cool mods are available.

Continue reading "Preparing to Upgrade the Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.2" »

January 22, 2008

Upgraded Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.2 (Sorta)

Finished upgrading the forums last night. Did not go as smoothly as I'd hoped. Seems we lost about half our members (1100 to start) and ~25K posts (33K to start).

This sux. Now you know why I dread upgrades. Yeah, I have a back-up. Made just before the "upgrade". Tired right now (midnight). Should probably get some rest. (A tired geek is a dangerous geek.) But too upset to sleep.

I may have to re-up files for posts & members from the back-up. The file transfer *did* complete pretty fast for 35K posts. So I think the server may've choked. I probably should've done the transfer in baby step .. instead of que'ing up all 35K at once. (Live-n-learn.)

Other than that (losing many posts and members), the new forum seems to be working okay.

Update1 » I was able to restore several thousand posts via the back-up, but it is incredibly tedious. You can't imagine how bad this suks. So long to restore only a small percentage. Too many files que'ed up choke the server.

So, there's good news. We didn't lose posts, as it appears we should be able to recover them all .. tho it will take a while.

Continue reading "Upgraded Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.2 (Sorta)" »

January 25, 2008

Six Apart Releases Movable Type Open Source! (v4.1) Woohoo!

Movable Type 4.1Now that the forum-update (to YaBB 2.2) is complete (first things first), my attention turns to Ye Olde Rad Blog .. for which I've used Movable Type (since 2003), and been waiting patiently for the release of v4.1. (Cuz it has the cool features I want.)

As fate would have it, MT 4.1 was released yesterday. (Woohoo!) Actually, I really want to use the new Open Source version (MTOS), which was supposed to provide the first stable release (of MTOS) concurrent with the release of MT 4.1.

Oh, wait. Here it is! (Downloading now.) Have to admit, I've been looking forward to this release. (Download complete.)

Been watching the progress of MT4 since it was released last summer. And *this* version (4.1) is the one to get. (I officially recommend it.) It's where I've decided to jump in (at the first stable release of MTOS).

Note that this will be a new/clean install .. NOT an upgrade. Only bad thing is that the documentation for MT 4.1 isn't yet complete, especially for the things I wanna do/use, such as the FCKeditor.

I was looking hard at ExpressionEngine, but they're in the process trying to release EE 2.0, which breaks backward-compatibility (for the first time in their history), which makes the current EE 1.x a dead end. And all X.0 releases always need bug fixes. So that would involve a long wait (for EE 2.0x), while MTOS 4.x is here now. Plus it's FREE!, unlike EE.

I've also been learning lots about XHTML/CSS, so I'm very much looking forward to redesigning the site. Now that I have the skillz to do whatever I want (regarding site design), I'm looking forward to translating my ideas into design. This is what I'm *most* excited about, and where I've been focusing most of my geek-energy (learning).

I also been getting letters from folks, asking about a re-design of the Black Beast, updated for 2008. I love doing that, but it takes more time than you might imagine, so I'm still on the fence there.

Continue reading "Six Apart Releases Movable Type Open Source! (v4.1) Woohoo!" »

January 28, 2008

Radified Moving to a Virtual Private Server (VPS)?

You might recall when we were booted off our server .. for using excessive resources (CPU/memory). Banished .. to the bad-boy "stabilization" server. Unfortunately, we're still there. (Lunarpages is my web host.)

Since then, I've been working to lower our resource usage. Upgrading the forum to YaBB v2.2 was part of that effort.

Every once in a while, the support crew at Lunarpages will notify me that our usage has dipped below the allowable levels (each account is allocated a max of 1% CPU/memory), but they always wait to "monitor" the account to see if it stays that way.

So far, it never has. And I'm almost out of tricks.

They keep telling me I need to move to a VPS account, which costs a lot more (~$500/yr vs ~$100/yr for a Shared account), and which allocates more server resources to each account (2.5% vs 1%).

But unlike Shared hosting, you have to administrate your own VPS account .. which involves the Linux operating system, Apache web server, MySQL database, PHP & Perl scripting languages, etc .. which can be daunting for the uninitiated (like me).

So I've been talking to Magoo (whose guides are hosted here, such as his Intro to Linux) .. to see if .. we have to go that route .. he was still available to administer a VPS account for me. (That's what he does as part of his day job. He said, "I ain't scared of no VPS.")

Even tho having your own VPS is very cool, I'd rather stay Shared, primarily for the co$t. But if we have to go that route, I want to understand what's involved. You can eavesdrop on the dialogue here » Magoo: VPS Admin.

Continue reading "Radified Moving to a Virtual Private Server (VPS)?" »

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