Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2004 > Birthday 2004 Edition

Birthday 2004 Edition

This is very long page, so I have added bookmarks.

town board meeting • clinic closing
job search
netware • windows 98
space exploration

my birthday

I hit the double four Friday. In honor of the occasion I wore black pants and sweater all weekend. I got gifts from the folks and from my sister Vickie (in a hand-printed card with alligators on it).

For lunch Sunday I had pork roast baked with fennel, mashed potatoes, green beans and salad. The cake was German chocolate with coconut icing.

With my folks' gift I bought the book Learning Java (2d. ed.) by Niemeyer & Knudsen from O'Reilly. It saves me the trouble of borrowing the 1997 version of the book (called Exploring Java) from the Bracken. That book was so old that I didn't even know about the relatively new visual interface Swing until I read the new book.

in case you forget…

I will repeat in concise form what I have outlined in my previous page: The State of Indiana is broke. It can't pay for new projects. Therefore, there must be no new projects like all-state full-day kindergarten, no matter how hard the governor works for them. We can't pay for them. Let us instead work on fixing existing problems like the splashback from property tax reassessment.

town board meeting

The first town board meeting of the year was held last Monday evening. All the town councilors were there, as well as the town attorney, the town clerk and most of the town employees. I wrote notes during the meeting. That didn't go unnoticed, and the town clerk asked me later when I paid my water bill if I was a reporter for the Anderson paper.

Most of the meeting was year-end reports from the police, fire, EMS (paramedic) and finance. The highlights were:

the closing of the clinic

That last item is bad news.

Dr. Rood, my physician, is retiring due to back problems that were made worse by surgery. The nurse-practicianer who runs the place in lieu of the doctor is moving on to other things. And the hospital evidently can't find anyone else to run the clinic. The town board will try to get the hospital to change its mind, and it has the backing of the county's economic development board. But it doesn't look good.

The loss of a physician adds to the loss of my health insurance. My prescription for metfo will run out in a month or so. My lack of employment (two months and counting) means I can't afford to visit another physician or take the blood test that's needed to get the prescription refilled. In the end I will have to restrict my diet even further and hope my diabetes doesn't get any worse.

Lately, though, I have decided to go ahead and apply to have my records transferred to the St. Vincent's clinic in Alexandria. I will still try to see if the nurse can get the prescription extended without a blood test.

job search

I have had one interview (Wiley Publishing in Fishers) and many job leads this week. One would think the job search is going well, but I've had to suppress the feeling that it's going nowhere. That happens from time to time. Then I remember that a couple of things that help to suppress that depressing feeling:

The Bracken dinged me a little while ago on that programming job. I have heard nothing from the Eye Center, so I may assume that I'm out of the running there, too.

And I'm not sanguine about the recent interview at Wiley, where the position involves helping users install Wiley software on CDs. I don't expect a call for a second interview Monday, to speak truthfully. It was an interesting talk, though. I learned that a few years ago Wiley swallowed IDG, the publisher of the For Dummies™ series, whose editorial staff ran Vickie through the wringer on the only job she worked for them (the very first Internet for Dummies book).

Wiley also just dropped another IDG imprint, Novell Press, because NetWare is now so little used that the books are not cost-effective. I wondered why the CNA study guide for NetWare 6.x was being delayed. Now I know.

Anyway, there is a job opening in the Ball State Teachers College for a "technology coordinator" to handle the web page and help with video production on one of its projects. It's part time and pays worse than I'm getting in unemployment comp; but it's well within my skills and it could earn me good references for a job search later.

netware and its installation

The Wiley interviewer and I discussed how Novell could install NetWare anymore. NetWare up to version 5.x requires a MS-DOS partition to install and to reboot. But MS-DOS is no longer available, as Microsoft dropped its support ages ago. I thought about this after the interview, and I realized that Novell may well fix this the same way it installs ZENWorks images: by replacing the DOS partition with a Linux one. With this fix at stake, Novell is hunting for SCO's head for the latter's Linux extortions.

windows 98

Microsoft was supposed to end support for Windows 98 by January 15. But on finding that a large number of businesses worldwide and a quarter of all surfers on the Web still use Windows 98, Microsoft decided to extend support until the end of June 2006. Microsoft evidently could not afford to leave those users out in the cold just because they can't afford (or are afraid) to switch to Windows XP.

space exploration

On Wednesday El Dubya proposes a return to the Moon, a permanent Moon base, and a manned voyage to Mars.

NASA is in desperate need of administrative reform after an investigation of the Columbia breakup found that its management has learned nothing from the earlier Challenger explosion. It has a remaining fleet of aged space shuttles that it can't replace and for now can't even use. And it has a largely neglected International Space Station that sprouting cracks in our part of its infrastructure. Now El Dubya wants to go bam! boom! straight to the moon!

What is this?

The original space race was a game of oneupmanship between the USA and the Soviet Union. It left U.S. flags and scattered equipment on various spots on the moon. It gave us a miniaturization in electronics that helped the birth of the microcomputer. But that's it. The only science both sides did was with the unmanned probes to Venus (USSR's Veneras), Mars (Mariners) and the outer planets (Pioneers and Voyagers).

Today we have nobody to play that oneupmanship game except maybe China. We have nobody to help build the means to get to the moon. The original engineers of the Saturn 5 rockets are dead or retired. And it would take a very long time to duplicate efforts that should have been preserved after the Apollo program was laid to rest.

And, worst of all, Congress and the American people have little interest in sending people into space. Otherwise, the ISS would not be so neglected. And they have no interest at all in shelling out the money to send people to the moon or Mars. Why should they? Unmanned probes like the MERs prove that space exploration can be done relatively cheaply and without danger. And we have more pressing needs for reform in health care and education for the middle classes (let alone the poor). I won't even go into that Lewis-and-Clark trailblazing nonsense. Our ancestors are not us!

If El Dubya is that desperate for us to go back into space, let him clean out the NASA management first. And then let him ask the question that the Houston Chronicle laid out in a six-part series of articles last year: When unmanned probes are more efficient and cost-effective, isn't it folly the attitude expressed by the phrase 'no Buck Rogers, no bucks'?

Copyright © 2004 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 18 January 2004.