Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Forthcoming review of Stickies 7.0b software

A while back, I talked with Tom Revell of Zhorn Software regarding a comparative review of his Stickies program.  The object was to compare Stickies against the Sticky Notes program that comes with Windows 7, and the Quick Notes capabilities of OneNote 2007.

(Yes, I hyperlinked the heck out of the above paragraph.  Call me crazy, but I thought it was a good idea to provide the links for your convenience…!  Hey, nobody’s holding a gun to your head to make you click on any of them, right?)

Unfortunately, that was back in October, and a few things have happened between then and now.  But it’s really going to get written and as soon as I get it done it’ll be right here.  Honest!



“CD Required” – how to get around it on a netbook….

OK, just suppose: you have this great game you’ve been using for years on your desktop or laptop system, but it requires that the CD be in the drive in order for the game to work.  Up to now, that’s not been a problem, but you just got this cool new netbook and you want to play the game on the road.  Only problem is, netbooks don’t have an optical drive.  (Real-world solution for me was a Scrabble program from Hasbro for my wife to use on her netbook on the long commute to and from work.) So what to do…?

Depending on the CD, there’s a possible solution to be had in a product called PowerISO


One of the components in this tool is the Virtual Drive Manager.  If you create an ISO image of the CD and keep that on your hard drive (I put mine in the “C:\users\steve\ISO Images” folder), you can use the Virtual Drive Manager to “mount” the ISO file as a drive letter.  To the computer, it looks just like a physical CD drive.

(Further instructions on how to use PowerISO and the Virtual Drive Manager can be found in the tutorials section of the PowerISO web site.)

Recommended: first create the .ISO file, mount it as a drive letter, then do the installation from that drive letter.  Some programs will look for the CD on the same drive letter as that from which they were installed.

Also note: some DVDs will let you do this as well, so you can play the movie from the .ISO image without having an optical drive on your system.  So you can watch some movies “on the go” on your netbook.


PS: In no way should the above instructions be construed as advocating any form of illegal copying of software, movies or other intellectual property.  I am a firm believer, however, that making a copy of your legitimately-owned or –licensed media for the purposes of backing up or other reasonable use is, or should be, part of the terms of your license to use said media.  Basically, this means you can do pretty much what you want with it for your own use, or to facilitate your using it, but not for distribution to others.

PowerISO: http://www.poweriso.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Swag from CRI

The postman showed up this week with an envelope from China Radio International (as in mainland China).  They included their usual shortwave broadcast info and programming schedule, but also a couple of special items:

  1. A postcard commemorating “The Award Ceremony of ‘The 60th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China’ Global Knowledge Contest”

    Radio China postcard
  2. A ‘Happy New Year” greeting card:

    Radio China 2010 'Happy New Year' card, front

Not the most spectacular stuff in the world, but certainly a very pleasant surprise to find the mailman delivering to me!

Thanks, CRI!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Prayer may be needed….


I’m about to take a major plunge. 

Presently I’m running 32-bit Windows 7 on my somewhat older but still adequate Dell XPS M1210 laptop, with 4Gb of memory and a decent CPU and graphics processor.  So far it seems to work nicely, but I’m wondering if the 64-bit version might work a little better. 

Tomorrow’s big experiment: swap hard drives for a little 180-Gb drive (to keep my original data safe on the big 500Gb drive presently installed!) and see how well everything loads up and boots. 

Last time I tried this, it slowed everything to a crawl immediately after installing Office 2007, but that may have just an an oversight somewhere that’s been fixed by now. 

Will let everyone know what happens when I do it.  I’d also like to hear of any problem reports, comments or other matters regarding using this utility in Outlook, as transferring the image contents from other sources. 

Good or bad, I’d love to hear from you!



Evernote vs. OneNote

Well, I’ve been looking at these two programs side by side for a while.  OneNote is the best program, but right now I have no way of directly sending web pages directly from Groove (my current preferred browser for now) into OneNote.  I can, however, send clippings from Groove over to Evernote now, which is a help, but I’d still like to see a Groove-to-OneNote extension.  It’d help quite a bit. 

If anyone knows of one, either a native OneNote clipping app for Chrome or a tool to transfer Chrome data directly over to OneNote, please leave a comment here or drop me a note at steve.silverwood@gmail.com and I’ll go check it out ASAP.



Not too much sympathy….

…for some frends of ours down in Daytona Beach, Florida.  They’re complaining about 23 degrees above zero temperatures tonight, comparing it to an “arctic winter” (their words).

Listen, I grew up in Alaska.  I worked on the flight line in the Air Force at Elmendorf AFB for three years, on the night shift, during the winter where it got to 30 degrees below zero, plus the wind chill.  And even that wasn’t a real “Arctic Winter!”

In college, I was at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.  We had – I kid you not – seventy degrees below zero, and not taking any wind chill into account.  (If you factored the wind chill in, a gentle breeze would have factored in at under 114 below zero!)  Now THAT is an “arctic winter.”

I feel for the orange growers and other farmers down there that are having their livelihoods threatened by crop freezes and such, but hay, these friends of ours are all a-flutter because they have a light dusting of snow on their roofs!  Give me a break.  :)


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Now Actively Twittering...!

I guess it just makes sense for a geek like me to finally be getting onto the Twitter bandwagon. I don't know why it's taken me so long to do so, but there it is. It probably was due to some influence on the part of my grandkids who were here visiting for the holidays, making me feel old and nudging me towards newer and cooler things. Teenagers can have that effect on old fogies like me, I guess.

Anyway, I'm known as @kb6ojs (my ham radio callsign) on Twitter, and I've added their cool little Widget here on the blog home page. I've had the account set up for some time, but never got 'round to doing much with it. That'll change. :)


Friday, January 1, 2010

Hoping and praying for an employment turnaround in 2010

         2009 didn’t turn out to be the best in my employment history.  After being laid off at Wycliffe Associates, my only option within a reasonable distance from home was to sign on with Wal-Mart in Murrieta Hot Springs as an overnight restock associate (part-time).

         Working at Wal-Mart was fun, especially with the team we had there.  As with any organization – my time in the Military, any civilian jobs or volunteer groups with whom I’ve ever been involved – EVER --  there are always some screwoffs and some genuinely devoted hard-chargers, managers of varying degrees of competence and experience.  I can work with just about anybody, and I can handle just about any conflicts or personal foibles among my co-workers (usually by just distilling it all down to a chuckle or two, or a disappointing shake of the head, and moving on to the next bump along the road.

    But when that last option came up to go to work with Alutiiq to support the Navy down at Point Loma in San Diego, I jumped at it.  For one thing, it meant working DAY shift, not all through the darkness of the night stocking shelves for the next day’s onslaught of bargain hunters at Wal-Mart. 

    Unknown to me, the security clearances and accesses that I had enjoyed throughout the late 70s through the mid-1980s don’t mean anything now, as they had to start all over.  Yes, we had some financial setbacks this year, which caused us untold difficulties at home, but I hadn’t thought that my pre-existing Secret clearance from my Air Force days would be copromised by the fact that the current economical downturn has caused us to be in a precarious fiscal situation.

    Apparently that, combined with some medical issues I’ve been dealing with over the years, make me some kind of security risk, maybe to the point where I can be “bought” in order to compromise security.

    I can say without the very slightest doubt in my mind, at the top of my l lungs if anyone’s willing to listen:

  1. I love this country.  I’d rather die tha do harm to my country, or to anyone in it – military or civilian.  I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else in the world.  This is my HOME!

  2. Even recently, I was asked online by a fellow aviation enthusiast about a component radio direction-finding system from the old HC-130 aircraft I worked on back in Alaska in the late 1970s.  I’d been out of the service for over 20 years at that point, but I still take my security clearances and obligations seriously, so I contacted HQ USAF to find out what, if anything, I could respond to the inquiries from the public.

  3. They were amazed, and grateful that I take my security clearance seriously even after all these years.  They told me I could discuss anything I wanted about it, with the exception of the security frequencies and ranges which the tracker system could cover.

  4. I followed those instructions to the exact letter, and thanked them for the time they took to look back in the archives and let me know what could be discussed.

  5. That story right there should illustrate quite clearly the fact that I take my security clearances seriously.  There are a lot of highly “tall tales” I could tell to regale my former military buddies, but I can’t.

  6. So I sound like a pretty good candidate for having my secret clearance reactivated, wouldn’t you think?  But unfortunately, since my family and I are in financial straits right now, with a bankruptcy pending and a possible loss of our home, it appears to the government that I am now in a position to be “bought” (or “financially compromised” in current lexicon), so that agents of foreign powers could conceivably buy my cooperation and sell out my country.

  7. I can assure you – and anyone who could possibly be reading this obscure post, that it will be a cold day in Hell before anything like that would happen. I would gladly die rather than compromise my honor or my oath of allegiance to my country.

  8. But Point Loma Naval Station didn’t see it that way.  They declined my preliminary clearance – which would allow me to do some work on the project while the full clearance was issued.  They also couldn’t take into account my prior service records, which would more than corroborate my statements above, but due to the time between my prior service and present day, those records are now boxed and stored somewhere in the bowels of the DoD personnel records center in St. Louis and thus are not readily accessible.

So unfortunately, because of a complete comedy of paperwork, what could have been the best job for me in the 21st century was compromised by paperwork, find by an honest citizen and submitted into a system that couldn’t care less.

I hold no ill will against my Alutiiq coworkers, who were always supportive through the entire process, and especially to George and Amanda – not only our next-door neighbors but George was by boss at Alutiiq and a good and true friend – one who literally agonized over the fact that they would have to let me go because without that interim clearance, there’d effectively be no work for me to do!


Now i’ve been pounding the virtual bricks looking for work ever since, so if anyone knows of a place that need a computer technician with over 30 years of experience fixing everything from four-engine heavy jet transports and combat fighter aircraft, down to programming, maintaining and designing computer systems, applications and networks; setting up wired and wireless network systems in houses or small businesses; and just about anything else you can think of in terms of office equipment and technology…. Well, if you think of something like that, please let me know. 


For the record, I’ve had extensive experience doing technical support for the following companies around the world:

  • Micro-D
  • Ashton-Tate
  • Nantucket Corporation
  • Computer Associates
  • Toshiba America Information Systems
  • Motorcycle Safety Foundation
  • dBASE Inc.
  • Wycliffe Associates


For a full resume, drop me a note at steve.silverwood@gmail.com and i will be happy to send you one.





Top Civilian Award to equal Medal of Honor is needed…

Hearing about “Captain Sulley” and his miraculous effort to save his passengers and crew when landing on the Hudson River early in 1999, I think that heroism outside the military is phenomally underrecognized.  If there were a civilian equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor for non-combat act of heroism – just like Sulley’s water landing in the Hudson – then he should receive it.  Have a military Congressional Medal of Honor, and a Civilian Congressional Medal of Heroism.

Sully should receive Medal #1.