Monthly Archives: June 2002

Life at 90Caleb Elroy Shikles, at the age of 90, m…

Life at 90

Caleb Elroy Shikles, at the age of 90, maintains this blog, Caleb’s Corner.

What a wonderful outlook it reveals. I can only hope that if I live so long I’ll have the same optimism and enthusiasm for life. He provides a wonderful “parody” as he calls it, though I think paraphrase is a better word, of Corintihians 13. Highly recommended. He says:

�Excellence In Retirement Living� was the theme for the 40th Anniversary of Wesley-Palms where I am joyfully living in the �Afternoon� of life.

For this Anniversary I wrote a parody on Corinthians l3th chapter.


Vernine and Associates Reunion

I joined Vernine and Associates in 1979 and for the next twenty years enjoyed an association that profoundly affected my life. By 1999 the company had run its life-cycle, but during those years I had the priviledge of working in hundreds of companies and visiting all but three states in this country. (The three I missed were North Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii.) Aside from the tour of the U.S. that my work provided I was also blessed by exposure to a remarkable assortment of people, both in the companies that I visited and particularly in the company I worked for.

An email exchange in February with a few of the former employees of Vernine and Associates prompted me to suggest that we should have a 30th reunion, since in my recollection (not what it used to be) the company began in 1972. Actually the beginning year was 1973, but despite that my suggestion was met with enthusiasm by my former collegues. So we are now planning that reunion to take place on August 24th here in Knoxville. For the first time ever, we’ll reassemble the group of remarkable people who have distinguished themselves, not just by their accomplishments while they were a part of Vernine and Associates but also in their subsequent careers.

While it may be like many reunions and turn out to be a disappointment characterized by the fact that people have changed enough to make the “connection” we had earlier only a faded memory, I am hopeful that we’ll be able to enjoy ourselves and being together again as much as we did when we were together as a working group. I suppose only the experience itself will determine that. We’ll find out when the time comes. I am eagerly looking forward to assembling our “team” again, however.

Trading Freedom for SecurityFrom the caption to th…

Trading Freedom for Security

From the caption to this entry, you’d probably guess that I’m going to join the fray about our “war on terrorism” and the price we pay to wage it. But you would be only partially right.

The caption was inspired by a quote from Molly Ivins who said, “We can’t make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free.” As I think about her quote, I think it is inaccurate. You can trade freedom for security but the price is unacceptable. However, it isn’t the debate over the war on terrorism I want to join. Instead I want to alert you to how Mother Microsoft now wants to solve the problem of computer security by further killing the freedom computer users have.

Richard Forno, in an article titled MS to micro-manage your computer in the UK’s The Register, sounds the following alarm.

“According to Levy, Palladium is a hardware and software combination that will supposedly seal information from attackers, block viruses and worms, eliminate spam, and allow users to control their personal information even after it leaves their computer. It will also implement Digital Rights Management (DRM) for movies and music to allow users to exercise ‘fair use’ rights of such products. Palladium will essentially create a proprietary computing environment where Microsoft is the trusted gatekeeper, guard, watchstander, and ruler of all it surveys, thus turning the majority of computing users into unwilling corporate serfs and subjects of the Redmond Regime.”

The company who gave you the most insecure operating system available with a productivity package that invites virus and trojan writers and hackers to invade your computer is now going to “solve” the problem you have, all for the incredibly low price of your freedom.

Be afraid; be very afraid.

News GroupsToday I had the occasion to introduce m…

News Groups

Today I had the occasion to introduce my friend, Paul, to Usenet News Groups. He has gotten Windows XP installed on his computer and uses Outlook 2002 as his email program. During the introductory period of adjusting to this new environment, he has had a number of relatively simple questions about using the program that he has relied on his friends to answer. I suggested that he might start reading the microsoft.public.outlook group to see what questions are asked and how they are answered. I also helped him set up his copy of Outlook Express to point to the news server and to subscribe to the group mentioned above.

I myself have learned a lot by reading mailing lists about a particular software product, TBUDL for one (TheBat! User Discussion List), and by reading various news groups. In general, one doesn’t even have to post to a news group or a mailing list to benefit from reading them. In fact, sometimes I have discovered answers to questions I hadn’t even thought to ask yet just by lurking in these spaces. It’s one of the best ways, in my opinion, to get to know a program that you are just learning.

Back to WorkAfter a very brief break (one day off …

Back to Work

After a very brief break (one day off over the weekend), I head back to work today. As I do, I find myself concerned about two things I usually avoid sharing with others — Budgets and Politics. Here in Tennessee we’ve seen state legislators spend months deliberating about what to do about the state’s shortfall in revenues. They’ve talked about instituting a state income tax and about cutting services. By the lack of any affirmative plan to increase revenues, they’ve by default accepted the option of cutting services. Already sitting at 48th in the nation in spending on education, there are bound to be large cuts there, and the quality of my granddaughter’s education lies in the balance.

Also the legislators’ political choices (or rather lack of action disguised as choices) would affect me here by affecting other things I’m interested in. For instance the local station that carries National Public Radio, WUOT, may have to drop carrying its programs here in Knoxville. That, to me, amounts to de-civilization of my chosen home town. Like it or not politics, state-wide and national, affects each of us. And it’s probably too late to act when the truth of that axiom finally dawns on you.

Bloggers who don’t post regularly suck!If you star…

Bloggers who don’t post regularly suck!

If you start reading blogs regularly, you quickly realize how disappointing it is to visit a site several times in a row only to find that the site author hasn’t posted anything new.

So it is with a bit of shame-facedness that I once again get back in the saddle. My apologies for my absence. During the past week, I’ve surely had the time, but for some reason I’ve blocked on seeing anything I thought worth mentioning. Of course, that is the fallacy that prevents posting — that everything you post must be profound. There would be far fewer blogs if we all only posted profound thoughts.

So in the spirit of getting back in gear

Here’s a list of some things that have caught my attention lately.

Lockergnome Tips

Lockergnome is the best and most popular PC-related newsletter on the Internet. Each day, the newsletter is written and distributed by our good friend Chris Pirillo. This download places a wealth of PC tips into one handy package. It covers almost everything you need to know and then some, from ISPs to Spam to security. All of the archived information is accessible from a user-friendly Windows help file, which can be searched and printed. Plus, the tips are sorted into the year and month they were written.


Using special HTML filters, the Proxomitron can transform web pages on the fly – changing most anything you wish. Speed your browsing by saying goodbye to slow loading cyber spam and other web-gimmickry. Customize pages to suit your tastes. Take control of your web viewing, and don’t be slave to some web-master’s whims.

It works with most any browser (not just the big two) and, for starters, can do the following keen things…

  • Stop or limit Pop-up windows
  • Control MIDI music and other sounds
  • Freeze animated .GIFs – load only the first frame
  • Kill most all advertising banners
  • Stop Web-Branding and other scripts added by web space providers
  • Stop Pop-up alert/confirm boxes
  • Remove slow web counters
  • Stop web pages and ads from “auto-refreshing”
  • Remove Dynamic HTML
  • Prevent getting stuck in someone’s frames
  • Remove frames or tables altogether for that matter
  • Kill or change selected Java scripts and applets
  • Add your own scripts to pages!
  • Remove or replace web page and/or table background images
  • Stop Status bar scrollers
  • Unhide URLs obscured by status line text
  • Convert blinking text to bold
  • Remove Layers and Style sheets
  • Automatically re-write or redirect URLs
  • Create lists of sites to block or allow
  • Create similar lists for just about anything else
  • And as they say, much, much more…

All features can be individually toggled on and off, or limited to specific sites. Better yet, it’s just a taste of what the many included filtering rules can do. You have the freedom to modify the rules or create new, equally powerful, rules of your own! You can add filters or complete configurations created by other Proxomitron users for an ever expaning array of tasks.


This site is devoted to wallowing in and/or despising those inspirational messages that people, for reasons that are incomprehensible to me, feel compelled to forward unceasingly around the Internet.

If you have the urge to glurge, or are sick and tired of these emails-no matter how inspirational-clogging up your inbox, post them here on has been designed to act as a bulletin board for glurge believers to share their stories. Post your own, or simply surf the site for some moral lessons that hit a nerve or provide a sense of hope or purpose. Alternatively, all you non-believers will get a kick out of some of the more outrageous and sickly sweet tales.


This link takes you to the site author’s answer to the question, “What is Lindows?”

What follows below is the content of their “About” link. is a consumer company that brings choice to computer users., Inc. uses the latest technology to create affordable, intuitive, user-friendly products., Inc. was started by Michael Robertson, founder and former CEO of At the core of is a new operating system called LindowsOSTM, a modern, affordable, easy-to-use operating system with the ability to run both Windows� and Linux� software.