Windows 10–Don’t Make the Switch Yet

In a follow-up to last month’s news, my brother Chris found free cemetery space for both of our parents.  It turns out there is a fairly new (opened 2009) veteran’s cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville National Cemetery.  Because Dad was in the Navy during the Korean War years, it costs nothing to put Mom and Dad’s urns there.  Therefore last Friday, Chris took the urns to the cemetery, bringing the family closure on that issue.

The other reason why we settled on Jacksonville is location – both Chris and my daughter Lindy can get there in about three hours of driving.  In Kentucky there is a military cemetery about 25 miles south of us, called Camp Nelson, but most of the other burials there go back to the Civil War era, and it won’t be a convenient visit for anyone in my family, if Leive and I move out of Kentucky.

I have been looking forward to having a computer that runs Windows 10 because the PC I have now is five years old, and after all the updates it has taken for Windows 7, it is quite slow and cumbersome.  Therefore, I accepted the offer Microsoft announced a couple months ago for a free upgrade.  Last Sunday I received a message saying it was my turn to download Windows 10.  After letting my computer download and install updates for all of Sunday, it turned out the updates I got were for Windows 7, probably irrelevant.  Then the Windows 10 material came in on Monday.  So what did my computer get?

Well, so far the upgrade experience has turned out to be a waste of time. None of the new software can access the Internet, making the Store and the Edge browser useless. In addition it is incompatible with the old browser that still works (Opera), the new music player is ugly and buggy compared with Windows Media Player, the weather app insists that I am in Washington, DC, and so far I have found out that three of my programs no longer work.  One of them is the webpage editor that I have used since 1999, so to continue writing material for my websites, I’ll have to install and learn to use a new HTML editor.

The only advantage I have seen is that aside from a few required restarts, my computer no longer locks up or crashes.  Still, it may not be worth all the other trouble.  Last night I was up past 1 AM with technical support, trying to get the Internet connection problem fixed.  If I can’t solve this soon, I’m going back to Windows 7.  And if I need to buy a new computer this year, I’ll look for one that still has Windows 7 on it.

In Memory of Charles Burton Kimball

Chuck Kimball

June 3, 1933 – July 11, 2015

My father passed away around 6:20 AM Saturday.  The whole family knew it would happen soon, and we are relieved that his long time of suffering is finally ended.  Of course it still hurts, though.  May we meet again on the other side.

Mr. Kimball’s departure marks the end of an era for my family.  Except for a few uncles and aunts, the generations preceding Leive and I are now gone.  I will always be thankful for all that he did to help the rest of us (I don’t think I can list all the ways), for teaching his kids the difference between right and wrong, and directing us down the straight & narrow path.  We’ll also cherish the memories of fond times.  One comes to mind now:  when I was ten years old, he took me to Cape Canaveral so I could see the Apollo 11 rocket on the launching pad, one month before it went to the moon.

Currently we are planning to hold a memorial service here in Kentucky next Thursday, and since most of the people he knew are in central Florida, we’ll hold another service there at a later date (not yet specified).  My brother wrote the obituary that will be appearing this week in The Lexington Herald-Leader and The Orlando Sentinel.  I’ll share a draft of it here because it gives his life story in better words than I could write:

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Mr. Charles “Chuck” Kimball passed away on July 11, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky, at the age of 82 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was a resident of Winter Park, Florida, for 46 years.

Mr. Kimball was born in Fair Lawn New Jersey, in 1933. Working at both a veterinarian and gas station in his youth, he developed both a love and care for animals, and a skill at auto repair; both of which he would practice his entire life. Upon graduating high school, he joined the Navy and served during the Korean War. Afterwards, he attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, where he met his wife Linda. He graduated with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and was also the founding President of the Central California Chapter of the American Rocket Society, and made the front page of the Los Angeles Times by launching his own rocket before Sputnik was launched. He was a pioneer in US rockets and flight simulators, and an aerospace engineer for 43 years. He worked various jobs in rocket testing and design; aircraft and helicopter maintenance and training. He worked for Igor Sikorski and was responsible for the repair and maintenance of President Johnson’s fleet of ten helicopters. He also studied law at the University of Washington in Seattle.

In 1966 he moved Winter Park, Florida, and would work the next 30 years for the Naval Training and Equipment Center, retiring in 1997. He was in charge of procurement and design for aircraft training devices and flight simulators to train Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Army pilots. He built flight training devices for the US Navy all over the world, including the “Top Gun” Naval flight school in Miramar, California. He had a number of patents including the “Air Cushion Proprioceptive Motion System” of a flight simulator on an air motion system.

Chuck earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Rollins College, which led him to be a founding partner in Micrad Electronics in Orlando in 1970, where he sold and repaired microwave ovens; one of the first to do so in the country at the time.

During many years, Chuck and his wife Linda volunteered at church and for numerous charitable organizations, and were loved and admired by many. Chuck was an officer for Wycliffe Associates’ Orlando Chapter, and a volunteer for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Chuck and Linda were last active at Community United Methodist Church in Casselberry through many of the community projects that the church did. Chuck’s declining health required much attention, so in 2012, he moved to Lexington, Kentucky, to be under the care of his son and daughter-in-law. He is survived by two sons, a daughter, a grand-daughter, and great-grand-daughter.

Chuck was fair and honest to all, and always kind. He would like to be remembered as a born-again spirit-filled Christian, who loved the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a fine husband, father, & grandfather.

 

It Was a Short Summer

July is ending as I write this, and for the past week it has looked like summer has passed its peak already.  We had a few days in July where the temperature got to 90 degrees or more (it was 93 degrees on the hottest day, 7/13), or as one local weatherman calls those days, “the muggies.”  But most of the time it was in the 80s or even 70s, and for much of this week it was in the 50s at night (it got down to a record 51 on Tuesday morning!).

Overall the average temperature for central Kentucky in July was a degree and a half below what we got in June.  It has been eight years since Leive and I moved to Kentucky, and in none of the other years was June hotter than July.  August was hotter than June, too, but so far there are no heat waves in sight; the forecast over the first week of August is for highs in the 80s.  Of course the weatherman could be wrong and it can get hot again in August; again, I haven’t figured out how Kentucky weather works, and old-timers tell me it can’t be done.  In Florida we at least had rules, like a thunderstorm just about every afternoon from June to September.

Movin’ On

June has been a time of transition for us, in at least two ways.  First, our church has moved to a new building.  The congregation Leive and I have attended since 2006 has never owned its own building.  Instead, they have shared space with another congregation, and held their services on Saturday night, instead of Sunday morning, so they won’t get in the way.  Myself, I liked going on Saturday night, because it is always easier to get Leive out of the house in the evening than it is in the morning!

Now the building has been sold, so both we and the other congregation had to get out.  The church had been meeting there since July 2000, almost fourteen years.  We had our last service in there on June 7.  This group picture was taken on that night; it’s probably the last picture anyone in the congregation took in that building.  I’m on the left in the pinkish white shirt, while Leive is wearing red and purple.

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Fortunately our pastor had known since January that we would be leaving.  Around May he found out that the Assembly of God church on the north side of Lexington would be willing to share space with us.  Thus, we had our first service in the new place the next Saturday, June 14.  So far we have gotten along great with the other church; their pastor spoke at our June 21 service, and we are planning to meet together on July 6 to hear our local congressman.  My pastor is even starting to talk about their congregation merging with ours, after he retires.

For Leive and I it is a longer drive -– six miles instead of two and a half miles.  Still, because the new location is just off New Circle Rd., we can usually get there in fifteen minutes.

The other move is work-related.  Yes, I have been at my new job for just over two months, so it looks like I’m going to succeed there.  Two weeks ago, my supervisor decided he wanted all technical writers in the same office where he resides, an unmarked building at the Richmond Mall.  So last Wednesday, the 25th, I moved from the office outside the entrance to the Blue Grass Army Depot, into the Mall.

They have a funny tax structure in Madison County.  I have learned that the county income tax is 2 percent in the city of Richmond, and 1 percent in rural areas; I don’t know what they charge in Berea, the county’s other significant community.  That means they will be taking a bit more out of my paycheck every time.  I hope I have enough in tax breaks elsewhere to get it back as a refund next spring.  By contrast, when I worked in Florida, there were no state, county or local income taxes – but the sales tax was higher, and it varied from county to county.

So far I have found two advantages to the new location.  First, it is two miles closer to my house; with all the driving I have to do every day, that matters.  Second, there is a Wal-Mart Supercenter on one end of the Mall, and a Kroger on the other end.  At least once each week, Leive sends me on an errand to get something at one or the other of those stores.  Now if I run over there after work, I won’t be going out of my way!

A Wet Derby Week (So Far)

Yes, next Saturday is the 140th annual Kentucky Derby, and as they do every year, the state’s radio and TV stations are building the hype for it.  So are the stores that sell Derby-related items, like flowery hats and Derby pies.

Well, I hope the track can dry out during the next three days.  We’ve been getting rain here almost constantly since Monday; more than three inches so far.  Previously this month was running an inch on the dry side, as Aprils go; now we’ve got at least a two-inch surplus on the rainfall.  Fortunately it wasn’t worse, and it easily could have been; this is part of the same storm system that dropped tornadoes on Arkansas and Mississippi, and twenty inches of rain on Pensacola, FL.

Besides storms, for the past few months our house has been under attack from telemarketers.  We have gotten as many as fourteen calls per day from those annoying scammers.  I know they’re not honest because they don’t comply with the law; they keep calling though we are on the Do Not Call list, use illegal recorded messages and mask which numbers they are really calling from.  And the calls also make my parrot scream – we want to preserve what little sanity Brin-Brin has left!

In March I tried to bring my phone service provider into the game, by blocking numbers I know are telemarketers and those that don’t show up on the caller ID.  No such luck.  They only allowed me to block twelve numbers (I have counted more than a hundred that they are calling from), and the unknown call blocker service didn’t work.  A stronger pesticide was in order, so last Sunday I ordered a call blocker device from Amazon called Sentry.  It arrived on Tuesday, so I set it up that evening; today was the first full day it was operational.  Only two calls came in to our land line today; one was me calling Leive from work, the other was an obvious telemarketer (518-417-1194), but the point is that because the latter wasn’t approved to call us, Leive didn’t hear the phone ring.

The next time you call our house, you will hear a voice with an English accent (our phone butler!) telling you to push “0” if you are a legitimate caller.  If you do, your number shows up on my caller ID, and I can add it to a whitelist or blacklist.  If I accept it, you can call me normally after that; those numbers I blacklist won’t show up anymore.  So far I think it works, but if it doesn’t you can still reach us on our cell phones.

 

Click on the picture to check it out if you’re having the same problem with unwanted calls.

Full-Blooming Transition

Yes, I’ve been too busy in the real world to write anything here since Monday.  And the city I’m in hasn’t been too happy since the UConn Huskies beat our UK Wildcats in the NCAA championship game.  While there’s still a chance UK will win a 9th championship someday, it won’t be this year.  And then the ladies’ basketball team for UConn won their championship, so this week Connecticut has two things to crow about.

I did see one funny bit about this today.  A FOX News anchor (I don’t know what city she was in), mistakenly called UConn “the NAACP champions.”  Please go easy on the comments about her, though.  I think I was thirty years old before I knew what NCAA stood for, and I didn’t know how the college basketball playoffs worked until five years ago, after I had moved to Kentucky.  College basketball isn’t a big deal in Florida, where it has to compete with professional sports leagues and college football for fans.

The “full-blooming” part of the title refers to the flowering trees in the neighborhood, especially the ornamental pears.  Because it was so cold last winter, the trees are finally getting their act together, two weeks later than they normally do.  If you come down my street this week, the trees will be white all over, and this time it’s not because of snow.

Of course with April 15 just around the corner, one of my activities is getting my taxes done.  My goal is to put it all in the mail tomorrow, since I won’t be getting refund this year.  Besides that and my history projects (I started composing Chapter 6 of my Latin American history last week), I am also getting ready for my new job.  The background check is apparently done, but there’s additional paperwork that needs to be filled out before my first day.  Yesterday I got the e-mail with my official start date:  I start on Monday, April 21.  That marks two years and one day since my last job ended, so the whole family is definitely seeing this month as a new beginning.

Happy First Contact Day, and the Final Four Games

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Yes, it’s time for another nerd holiday, to go with Pi Day (3/14) and Mole Day (10/22).  Forty-nine years left to go, before we find out if there is anybody like the Vulcans in space.

Back in December 2012, people were going to Berea, KY, to escape whatever happened when the Mayan calendar ended (all that happened was that it stopped snowing on that exact minute). Perhaps we should make plans to camp out in Bozeman, MT, if we expect to be around in 2063?

Today is also the day of the Final Four basketball games.  The University of Kentucky plays the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Florida plays the University of Connecticut.  All four teams come from states my family has ties to:  I live in Kentucky, my sister lives in Wisconsin, my brother lives in Florida, and we used to live in Connecticut!  I guess all I can say is, may the best team win!

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What’s Good About Florida

I have shared with you the weird things about Florida, my former home state, on pages like this one.  And the funny stuff never seems to stop coming.  The latest I’ve seen are the signs on a veterinarian’s office in Eau Gallie, a suburb of Melbourne on the Space Coast:

EauGallie_vet

Still, there are reasons why Florida is about to overtake New York as the state with the third highest population.  While I’ve never been a fan of The Huffington Post, I enjoyed this article that lists 23 of Florida’s good points:

23 Reasons Florida Is Quite Possibly the Best State in America.

Would you believe it, the author even listed the offbeat news stories as an asset, for their entertainment value.  I can think of a few other reasons that weren’t in the article, but I guess it is too much to expect a liberal publication to praise low taxes.

March, the Roller Coaster Weather Month

Okay, I’ve kept my readers waiting long enough.  I haven’t posted anything for the past five days because I either was busy (in a good way), or had writer’s block.

First of all there was the conference I announced last week, with Joel Richardson at my church.  I attended all four sessions, while Leive attended the two evening sessions (That’s Leive with Joel in the photo below).  Also, I helped out by handling the book table in the back; I understand he was quite pleased with the sales.  Although I took copious notes, I won’t bore the readers by reposting them here.  Instead, I understand the lectures were recorded, and they will be posted online as podcasts, possibly as early as tomorrow, so I’ll provide a link when I see them.

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For me, the most provocative session was probably the first one, where Joel talked about the prophecy in Daniel 2.  He links the prophecy to different empires from the ones usually associated with it; I associated the statue’s legs of iron with the Roman Empire, and he proposed the Islamic caliphates instead.  During the question and answer session, I asked how the Parthians and Sassanian Persians fit in, because if you take the Romans out of the prophecy there is a gap from 150 B.C. to 637 A.D. that those empires could fill.  I found his answer workable, but accepting it means I will have to throw out or at least rewrite three chapters from my history textbook.  I’m going to have to think this over.

Meanwhile, the weather warmed up nicely.  I started to sense that winter might not last forever, even though it seems that some Washington politicians worried about global warming would like it that way (Congress had a special meeting on the matter last Monday).  Anyway, the high temperatures got up to at least 60 degrees on Friday and Saturday, and I saw one report of 78 (!) yesterday.  I was also encouraged by this picture I saw from a greenhouse in Casselberry, FL.  Of course, having lived down there for forty years, I know that for central Florida, spring begins in the second half of February.

Casselberry_nursery

However, we had a setback today.  It was one of those odd days where the high temperature (58) came in the early morning, and it fell after that, with morning rain becoming afternoon snow.  Now it’s below freezing again, but I don’t expect a repeat of what we had in January and February.

On Monday I got a call regarding one of the jobs I am applying for almost daily, and was invited in for an interview.  It took place at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, less than 24 hours later, so I am guessing I was the first person they interviewed.  Also, it is the first interview I have had since early November, so that has put Leive and I in an upbeat mood; also, I liked the people I met and the place I saw.  I’d better not say more, because it will probably be a week or two before they decide who to hire.  Keep praying and wish me luck, though; this could mean the end of my long spell out of work.