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.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – The Computer Game.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a very old computer game for MS-DOS that was released back in 1990. Here you control a loony on a quest for cans of Spam hidden throughout the game. Along the way you’ll be attacked by dead parrots, flying pillows, suicidal bees and other strange enemies straight from the TV show. The game play is often interrupted by amusing cartoons to add some absurdity not seen in your average arcade game. This is one of the strangest and funniest games I remember playing on my old MS-DOS computer and it’s still just as fun to play today.

Strange lizard sighting in parking lot.

When I got home from work a few days ago, I spotted a strange-looking lizard in the parking lot. It wasn’t moving but just standing there and casually observing its surroundings. It didn’t even mind that a neighbor was unloading her car just a few feet away. I went inside to get my camera for these pictures. Again, the lizard didn’t mind me standing just inches away.

After taking some pictures I went inside to put the camera away. But when I came back outside a few minutes later to check on the lizard, it was still there. I began to worry about the lizard’s safety since it was far enough out in the parking lot for it to be run over. So I picked up a stick and rubbed its chest, ever so gently. Its eyes moved downward to examine the stick but didn’t move, but eventually it got the message and finally got up to scurry across the parking lot and up a nearby tree. I took this one last picture before it disappeared in the tree, finally safe and sound.

I haven’t seen a lizard like this before. I wonder what kind it is.

Surf the web in 3-D.

uBrowser is a Mozilla-based web browser that literally puts a new spin on web browsing. It renders web pages in scalable, rotatable 3-D in a variety of styles, including a waving flag and a round sphere. The cube feature is pretty cool. You can put a web site on each side of the cube and easily change sites just by rotating the cube. It’s a fun toy to play and an interesting combination of Mozilla and OpenGL.

Bowling evolution.

Bowling Evolution is a free and very fun game that uses realistic physics to re-create the thrill of bowling right at your computer. It has very nice 3-D graphics and multiple camera views that give you instant replays of the action. At the end of the game, you can upload your score to the Bowling Evolution web site to see how well you rank against other players. This is good clean fun for kids of all ages.

LifeLock in hot water.

If you live in the US and still listen to the radio, there’s no doubt you’ve heard those commercials for LifeLock in which the CEO actually gives out his social security number on the air. If you go to their web site, you’ll find that number on display on the front page. Apparently he’s very confident his service will keep his identity safe. It looks like the ads are having a boomerang effect with lawsuits and complaints from unhappy customers. The funny part was reading how one guy was still able to steal the CEO’s identity, even under the watchful eyes of LifeLock.
It really doesn’t sound like it’s worth enrolling with them.