Friday, May 22, 2009

My Tool Mess

I'm not a tool guy. I understand mechanical things very well. I can tell you how they work, how to maintain them and how to repair them. But, to actually work on things myself is usually out of the question. Thankfully I have a wife who is very handy and skilled with her hands.

Here's an example of my tool bad luck:

In one of my previous lives, in the Army, I was on a helicopter crew. As a crew member, I was expected to assist in maintenance of the aircraft. I certainly didn't mind helping out, so long as it involved cleaning, greasing and the occasional safety wire application. I tried to draw the line on tools, though, knowing my weakness in that area.

One day we were out on the flight line getting ready to do a regular maintenance inspection on our Blackhawk helicopter. The crew chief hands me a screwdriver and instructs me to take the sound-proofing panels down from inside of the aircraft. I told him quite plainly, "You don't want me touching this aircraft with tools. Something bad will happen." He "poo-pooed" me and told me to do it anyway.

It's not that I was totally incapable of doing the job. The panels weren't even held up with regular screws, rather they were those lock things with screw heads. I objected again, but was told I was being silly and to get to it. So I did.

I removed the panels, the crew chief inspected the things he needed to inspect, and I put the panels back up. No problem, or ...

After a maintenance inspection, a test pilot is required to take the aircraft on the first flight to make sure everything is in order. So, we all got out of the way as the crew chief set up outside the bird to assist with the run up for the test flight. The pilot fired up the engines and got ready to go. Just as he got both engines running, the wing on the back of the aircraft, called the stabilator, fell off.

In the inspection we performed, nothing was done to the stabilator other than to look at it. There was no reason for it to fall off - except that I touched the aircraft with a tool. Bad, bad, bad.

Needless to say, I was never allow near any tool box for the rest of the time I was in that unit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Check Out Just Keeping Busy

My wife started her own web site. I'm very proud of her efforts. She's a very creative person in many ways and is sharing her ideas on cooking, flower arranging and other "crafty" things I claim no understanding of. Please stop by .

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheating With Other Blogs

My blogging time has been rather preoccupied by my blog-novel "The Adventure of Pacir Staquetrane" and also my more serious "The Crossing of Marketing and IT." I invite you check them out when you have a chance.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Bloom County

I have very much been enjoying reading Berkeley Breathed's "Bloom County" comics again. They were one of my favorites as a young adult and I still find them funny and insightful. Yes, some of the references are dated, but they are still very funny.

You can check them out daily at Go Comics:

I've also been reliving the adventures of "Calvin and Hobbes" - another of my favorites:

I have both of these on my iGoogle home page where I can enjoy them when I do my morning news peruse.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Help Me Support American Cancer Society

Next month I will participate in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I'm very excited to be a part of this great event again this year.

To make my participation a great success, I need your help. Please sponsor me in this year's event. Any donation is good, large or small. Unfortunately, the ACS doesn't have an online form, so donations will have to be done the old fashioned way - by check or money order through the mail.

Please send your check or money order made out to American Cancer Society to:

Elmer Boutin
PO Box 1674
Temple, TX 76503-1674

Thank you very much.

Where Did Pacir Go?

I decided to move my story about Pacir Staqetrane to a new blog. You can follow his adventures here: Check it out, he met with his manager yesterday.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Disappointment With Norton Internet Security 2009

I needed to update my antivirus software. Since I prefer Symantec products, I checked online and found Norton Internet Security 2009 for what I considered a good price.

The operating system on my computer is Windows XP 64-bit.

When I tried to install the Norton software on my computer, I got an error message indicating the software didn't support my operating system. I've had XP 64-bit long enough to know what was going on. I figured a quick visit to Symantec's web site would get me an update or a compatible install package. I found nothing.

I clicked over to the contact page and tried the online chat. Here is disappointment number 1 - the chat required an Active-X control; which, of course, required Internet Explorer (not Chrome or Firefox) and Windows (Mac and Linux folks are not covered here).

I take the few minutes and install the Active-X control and start my chat session. Here is disappointment number 2 - the operator I chatted with told me no Symantec product supports Windows XP 64-bit. Although this is disappointing enough, the thing which really got me was there is absolutely no indication of this on the box. Here is what is printed on the box for system requirements verbatim:

Windows® Vista Home Basic/Home Premium/Business/Ultimate***
Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 Home/XP Pro/Media Center Edition
  • 300 MHz or higher processor
  • 256 MB of RAM
  • 200 MB of available hard disk space
*** Must meet minimum Windows Vista operating system requirements

As you can see, there's no mention of supporting only 32-bit Windows XP. The operator rightly pointed out that Symantec's web site points out in many places that Windows XP 64-bit is not supported. But, that doesn't do anyone who's buying elsewhere any good. That fact needs to be prominently mentioned on the box.

Come on, Symantec, you have been in the business long enough that this kind of oversight is unacceptable.