An evening at the Freefall Lounge.

Ian continued his fall through the Neverending Sky before gently descending on the floor of an open air bar complete with a piano player cracking corny jokes while playing the piano on the highly polished white marble stage elevated above the floor.

“Welcome to the Freefall Lounge!” the piano player greeted Ian. “Nice of you to drop by!”

A few chuckles from the audience ensued.

Then the piano player noticed Ian’s unhappy face.

“What’s the matter? You look unhappy. You’re sad, right? I guess I could say you’re feeling down.”

More laughter.

“But seriously, it’s nice to see some new faces here. Yes, this is the Freefall Lounge, the world’s first, the only and the last freefalling bar. As I speak, we are now hurling towards the ground at breakneck speeds and as a matter of fact, we are going to be slamming into the ground in exactly 20 minutes. At that point, absolutely everything and everyone will be destroyed so might I recommend you take advantage of our Last Drink special, which is Diet Coke mixed with iced tea. Trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds. So hurry up and order those drinks, because in 20 minutes, things are really going to go downhill.”

Even more laughter.

“I’m going to play a song for you now, something I wrote myself. I hope you enjoy it, and it goes like this.”

The piano player began playing a gentle melody on his piano as members of the audience began to focus on conversations with each other. Ian turned to the bartender.

“So what’ll it be?” asked the bartender.

“I’ll have one of those Last Drink specials.” Ian replied. “So what’s going to happen when this place crashes?”

“Everyone’s going to be sent back to the worlds from where they came.”

“So there’s no staying here?” Ian sounded disappointed.

“No, no one ever stays here for long. This world wasn’t meant to be a permanent destination anyway.”

Ian looked sad. “And here I am trying to find a job so I can live on this world and be happier than the world I came from.”

“Why, which world are you from?”

“Earth.”

The bartender made a sour face. “I’ve heard a lot of bad things about Earth.”

“Exactly,” Ian replied. “I just can’t deal with all the problems there.”

The bartender then served Ian his drink and he took a sip. Not bad, he thought.

“Every world has its problems,” the bartender replied. “but it also has the means to overcome them.”

“Okay everybody, 15 minutes until we crash!” the piano player announced before striking up an upbeat melody on his piano.

The bartender continued. “If there was a world out there that didn’t have problems, then we wouldn’t be here right now. That’s how we get strong and move forward. We deal with our problems head on instead of running away from them. You’re not alone in wishing you could run away from your problems, though. Everyone here tonight is guilty as charged, including me.”

“10 minutes, everybody!” the piano player announced before starting a new melody.

“You know,” Ian spoke up. “You’re really giving me some food for thought here. I guess my coming to this world wasn’t such a bright idea after all.”

“On the contrary,” the bartender replied. “Had you not come here, you wouldn’t have realized that your problems can only make you stronger in the long run. It’s human instinct to run away from them, but to deal with those problems instead? That’s evolution.”

“I like the way this conversation is headed,” Ian smiled as he took another sip of his Last Drink. “It’s quite illuminating.”

“That’s why bars exist,” the bartender replied. “Quiet little places for dabbing your worries with a little alcohol.”

“5 minutes!”

“Wow, time is sure slipping by quickly,” Ian observed. “I guess I’d better get ready for the crash.”

“You still have time,” the bartender replied. “Would you like a refill?”

“Please.”

The bartender served another Last Drink and Ian savored every sip. He was deep in thought about his discussion with the bartender as well as how to deal with his problems back home. In fact, he was so deep in thought that he completely lost track of time.

“Okay everybody, we’re down to 10 seconds before we crash!”

10 seconds?

The piano player led the crowd in counting down the final seconds.

“9! 8! 7! 6! 5!”

Ian finished his drink and sat calmly at the bar in anticipation of the crash that was now imminent.

“4! 3! 2! 1!”

Suddenly Ian opened his eyes. He was lying in bed in his room, awake from his dream. Or was it a dream? He started a little debate with himself while trying to decide whether he really traveled to some far off dimension with bars that fall from the sky. It seemed silly now, so maybe it really was a dream. Chuckling softly to himself, Ian sat up and stretched as he prepared to start the day but not without one last thought.

Diet coke mixed with iced tea?

2014 in review.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,800 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

NEW DOWNLOADS

WHATS UP DUDES I ADDED SOME MORE PROGS FOR DOWNLOAD, HOPE YOU FIND THEM USEFULL

CPU ADJUSTER
DID YOU KNOW, ALL PROCESSOR CHIPS ARE MADE THE SAME BUT CONTAIN A CODE TO RESTRICT THEIR SPEEDS, THIS UTILITY REMOVES THE CODE TO BOOST YOUR PROCESSOR SPEED TO ITS FULLEST POTENTIAL, I USED THIS TO RUN MY COMPUTER AT 1 PETAHERTZ, NO KIDDING

NETWORK LINE OPTIMIZER
OVER TIME NETWORK CABLES TEND TO DETERIORATE WITH AGE, WELL MY NETWORK LINE OPTIMIZER TAKES CARE OF THAT BY SENDING INCREASED TRAFFIC OVER THE CABLES TO REFRESH THE WIRES, WARNING, THIS WILL CAUSE YOUR CABLES TO HEAT UP SO IF YOU RUN THIS TOO LONG THEN YOUR WIRES WILL MELT

FAN REVERSER
EVER WONDER WHY ITS SO HOT AT YOUR DESK, THATS BECAUSE THE FAN IS BLOWING HOT AIR OUT OF YOUR COMPUTER, WELL THIS PROGRAM REVERSES THE FAN SO THE AIR IS SUCKED INWARD TO KEEP YOU COOOOOL

MORE TO COME, UNTIL THEN ROCK ON DUDES

The greatest Christmas present of all.

I normally don’t post about what I got for Christmas but I must make an exception and share what I consider the most priceless present I have ever unwrapped.

Some years ago my mother visited my grandmother at the nursing home and persuaded her to write a story about her life and so she did. She dove into her sharp memory and wrote a short autobiography offering details of growing up in Europe during the war and eventually immigrating to the United States.

My mother took her story, printed it and assembled a photo album with pictures of my ancestors and where they lived. From reading this story, I can conclude that my grandparents were survivors and able to handle anything that life threw at them. I like to think I inherited this trait from them, a trait which has served me well during these tough years.

My grandmother passed away earlier this year but her voice lives on through the pages of the photo album I received for Christmas. I know there is more to the story than what was told so far, and I also know that my grandmother will tell me more of her life on her next visit to my dreams.

A tale of altered fonts.

і δΘП’т ĸПΘШ ђΘШ іт ђдρρЄПЄδ ßμт мγ ΘρЄѓдтіПĝ šγšтЄм ђдš ßЄЄП δіšριдγіПĝ д ѓдтђЄѓ šтѓдПĝЄ ƒΘПт ιдтЄιγ. і ċΘμιδ ПΘт ƒіχ тђіš ρѓΘßιЄм мγšЄιƒ дПδ ЄПδЄδ μρ тдĸіПĝ іт тΘ д ċΘмρμтЄѓ ѓЄρдіѓ šђΘρ тΘ ђдνЄ іт ιΘΘĸЄδ дт.

тђЄ šЄѓνіċЄ ċιЄѓĸ ђΘΘĸЄδ μρ мγ ċΘмρμтЄѓ дПδ тμѓПЄδ іт ΘП. ШђЄП ђЄ šдШ тђЄ šтѓдПĝЄ ƒΘПт, ђіš мΘμтђ δѓΘρρЄδ ΘρЄП іП дмдžЄмЄПт. “ШΘШ,” тђЄ ċιЄѓĸ šдіδ. “тђдт ιΘΘĸš ċΘΘι!”

“іт мдγ ιΘΘĸ ċΘΘι ßμт іт’š фμітЄ дППΘγіПĝ,” і šдіδ. “дПδ і νЄѓγ мμċђ ШΘμιδ ιіĸЄ тђіš ρѓΘßιЄм ƒіχЄδ.”

тђЄ ċιЄѓĸ δіδП’т šЄЄм тΘ ιіšтЄП дПδ ċΘПтіПμЄδ тΘ дδміѓЄ тђЄ šтѓдПĝЄ ιЄттЄѓš ΘП тђЄ δіšριдγ. “ђЄγ ßΘß!” ђЄ šμδδЄПιγ šђΘμтЄδ. “ċΘмЄ ċђЄċĸ тђіš Θμт.”

д šЄċΘПδ šЄѓνіċЄ ċιЄѓĸ ЄмЄѓĝЄδ ƒѓΘм тђЄ ßдċĸ. “γЄдђ.” ђЄ šдіδ. тђЄП ђіš ЄγЄš šдШ тђЄ мΘПітΘѓ. “ШΘШ! тђдт ιΘΘĸš ċΘΘι!”

ПΘШ тђЄѓЄ ШЄѓЄ тШΘ šЄѓνіċЄ ċιЄѓĸš šтдѓіПĝ дт мγ ċΘмρμтЄѓ дПδ дδміѓіПĝ тђЄ šтѓдПĝЄ ιΘΘĸіПĝ тЄχт. і Шдš ĝЄттіПĝ дППΘγЄδ дПδ ѓЄміПδЄδ тђЄ ċιЄѓĸš, “і’м ĝιдδ γΘμ’ѓЄ ЄПЈΘγіПĝ мγ мΘšт дППΘγіПĝ ċΘмρμтЄѓ ρѓΘßιЄм.”

“Θђ, ѓіĝђт,” тђЄ šЄѓνіċЄ ċιЄѓĸ šдіδ. “ђΘШ δіδ тђіš ρѓΘßιЄм šтдѓт?”

“і δΘП’т ѓЄмЄмßЄѓ,” і šдіδ, тѓγіПĝ тΘ тђіПĸ, “ßμт і тђіПĸ іт šтдѓтЄδ ШђЄП і дċċіδЄПтдιιγ ĸіċĸЄδ мγ ċΘмρμтЄѓ.”

тђЄ šЄċΘПδ ċιЄѓĸ ιΘΘĸЄδ дт мЄ дš іƒ і ђдδ ĝіνЄП ђім дП іδЄд. “ШΘμιδ γΘμ міПδ ċΘміПĝ тΘ мγ ΘƒƒіċЄ дПδ ĸіċĸіПĝ мγ ċΘмρμтЄѓ?”

“міПЄ тΘΘ,” тђЄ ƒіѓšт ċιЄѓĸ šдіδ. “дПδ мγ ιдρтΘρ.”

Regarding hearing aids.

I suffer from hearing loss and depend on hearing aids to hear properly. All my life I’ve been wearing them and have benefited from their technology as they evolved over the years.
My very first pair of hearing aids were extremely bulky and took AA sized batteries. They were held in place under my shirt by a brassiere-like harness with the wires coming out from under my collar to the earpieces in my ears. The earpieces were very hard and uncomfortable and often required an application of Vaseline to make them more tolerable to wear.
My next pair of hearing aids were over-the-ear type hearing aids, allowing them to rest directly behind my ear without unsightly wires. That was a true milestone.
I’ve since worn over-the-ear hearing aids through various models and variations that offered varying levels of noise filtration, such as ones that were remote controlled. I had access to three different levels of noise filtration that sounded like the equivalent of adjusting the tone on a stereo amplifier but still improved my hearing in noisy environments, such as restaurants. I carried a small remote control in my pocket for changing programs and switching to telecoil mode for talking on the phone.
And then came programmable hearing aids. By connecting my hearing aids to a computer, the audiologist was able to fine-tine the amplification of the hearing aids according to my specific needs. They were better equipped to filter out unneeded background noise for easier hearing anywhere.
And now we come to the hearing aids I’m wearing now, by far one of the most advanced hearing aids on the market. These hearing aids are from a company called Phonak and are also programmable, but they are much more efficient at filtering out background noise without affecting the quality of the sounds that they pick up. I rarely have to adjust the volume anymore. In fact, they got a good test when I went to a restaurant on karaoke night. The loud music sounded distorted through my previous hearing aids but with Phonak hearing aids, the music sounded cleaner and more natural.
The coolest feature of my new hearing aids is its Bluetooth capability that works with my cellphone. I wear a special adapter that hangs from my neck that I use to answer phone calls and to hear the caller’s voice directly through my hearing aids. The charger base for the adapter’s rechargeable battery doubles as an audio transmitter that connects to a TV or other sound source. I prefer to have the transmitter connected to my radio so I can listen to my favorite station through my hearing aids from anywhere in the house and still hear normally. I am seriously impressed with how far hearing aid technology has evolved over the years. Even more exciting is imagining how good the next pair of hearing aids I get will be.
I got the Phonak hearing aids at no cost to me through the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation as part of their plan to help me find employment. They also set me up to work with a nonprofit organization to help me with my resume and my job search. My new hearing aids are giving me confidence that I can hear just as good as anyone else and never again miss a word of what’s going on. To me, that’s truly priceless.

DOS in your system tray.

One of the features of Windows I access the most is the command prompt. I use it to do pings, double-check my network connections and verify my IP address. Getting to it takes a little time as you have to click the start button and go to your Accessories menu. I got to wondering about a program that places a shortcut to the command prompt in your system tray so you can easily access it from there. There is such a program, and it’s called TinyDOS. Problem is, the publisher’s web site is no longer online and nearly all the web sites that mention TinyDOS still have a link to download it from a nonexistent site. Fortunately, the guy running this site has a copy of TinyDOS here for everyone to download and enjoy.

Tangled up in Adobe’s Acrobats.

One of my tasks today was to install the full version of Adobe Acrobat 9 on several computers at my office. After completing this task, I was then informed that I was supposed to have installed the standard version of Acrobat as opposed to the professional version which was installed. That meant I had to go back to the computers I worked on, uninstall the professional version and install the standard version to avoid a potentially violent licensing confrontation with Adobe.
The software removal-and-replace task went as well as could be expected until I reached the last computer. I had used Revo Uninstaller to make sure every last trace of Acrobat was removed before installing the proper version, so I felt confident there was nothing left behind. However, when I put in the serial key number needed to install Acrobat, the setup program told me that the number was invalid, even though I had put in this exact same number on the first two computers I had worked on.
I began to think that there was still something left behind from the professional version to throw the setup program off, so I decided to try cleaning the registry. I used Eusing’s Free Registry Cleaner, which found plenty of invalid registry entries, one of them relating to Acrobat. After these entries were removed, the setup program finally accepted the serial key number and proceeded to install Acrobat as usual.