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Sunday, March 12, 2006

SWAT Snipers and Computer Geeks

I did make it to my chapter meeting yesterday and our guest speaker was a SWAT sniper. He's in the sheriff's office, and besides spending all those years on SWAT, he's also worked with the feds on a joint task force to roundup the most wanted criminals. He was a very entertaining speaker and negated some of the myths TV has created. For example, in Cops, the officers will bend a suspect over his car, search him and ask him questions. Our speaker said you hook them up first, then you search them. He also talked about two officers who were killed out east because they pulled the visible gun from the front of the suspect's waistband, but didn't check the small of his back. He had another gun there, and even though he was in handcuffs, he was able to kill both officers.

I brought a pad of paper along, but didn't take many notes since a lot of what was said was anecdotal. He said he'd scoped us all out before he ever came into the room. That he'd scoped out the building and the rooms around them, and that even while he was speaking, he had the entire room and the doorway in his peripheral vision.

Another story that was interesting was that he and a team were doing surveillance on a murderer and wanted to nail him and every cop was driving a brand new Lumina! He said they'd wonder if they should switch off and he said something like, what? you want the green Lumina to trade with the blue one?

The other thing that was interesting was that he's a martial arts expert. He said he doesn't know the pretty stuff, but the stuff that will keep him alive. The guys who know what he knows are banned from the martial arts tournaments. He also said that he never fights.

The time went much too quickly! He was an excellent guest and I wish we could have heard even more stories.

The rest of the day was spent on computer stuff. I went with my dad to pick up his new computer and then I started setting it up. Hooking everything up was the easy part, then came loading and updating. I hate this practice computer companies have of making you burn your own backup disks now. What a PITA! I had to have my dad run over to my new house and grab some blank CDs--he came back with mostly filled disks. He had to go back and this time he brought everything. :-) I was able to finish burning the backups.

I was shocked that for the $40 it cost to install the modem, they didn't load the drivers. You'd think they'd make sure it was ready to go immediately for that cost. But nope, I had to load the drivers. Also took care of loading the printer drivers.

So far, so good. A little time consuming, but not horrible. But now it was time to update the virus software. Apparently, this computer had been built a while ago because it had Norton 2005 on it and it showed a date of Oct 2005 on the virus definitions. Live Update kept freaking at the size of the file I want it to update. I finally had to go to the website and download the files from there. It took hours on dialup. Literally hours.

While I was waiting, I loaded Open Office (thankfully, I'd downloaded that a while back and had the install files on my jump drive). This might be a mistake since I'm not familiar with Open Office Writer, not like I am with Word or WordPerfect, and I'll have to figure out things before I can explain them to my dad. I just hated to have him spend the money for Word or Excel when he probably won't use it that often and Open Office is free.

I also loaded a few other programs I had on my jump drive, and then waited. Ditzed around with a few other things. And waited. Set some preferences. And waited. It was after 8pm when I finally got the virus stuff up-to-date.

Then remedial lessons began. I had my parents turn on and turn off the computer over and over and over. Neither one of them can operate a mouse. OMG! It would have been hysterically funny to watch them if I wasn't tired and ready to be done. My mom would turn the mouse all around, so that the cord was facing toward her because she thought the top of the mouse had to point the direction you wanted to go. My dad had to use two hands, one to move the mouse, then hold it in place while he clicked with his other hand.

And they would lie to me! I'd say, don't click yet (as a menu or something popped up) and they'd say, "I didn't click!" The evidence was right on the screen; I don't know how they could deny they clicked. This happened so many times. Sigh.

At least we got them signed up with cheapest ISP I knew about. They only get 100 hours a month, but I doubt they'll ever get close to that number. You wouldn't believe, though, what a hassle it was to come up with user names and passwords.

Me: What do you want as a user name?
Dad: What's a user name?
Me: The name you use to logon to the ISP. It will also be your email address.
Long explanations follow here with many questions and attempted explanations. At last I get an answer:
Dad: Smarty.
Me: What?
Dad: Smarty.
Mom: No, you're not using Smarty.
Dad: But that was going to be my clown name. (He always wanted to be a clown for the Shriners, but it never really worked out. I used his makeup at Halloween when I was a kid.)
Mom: Pick something else.
Dad: Old Fart
Mom: No! You can't use that.
Dad: But this man in Arizona--
Mom: I don't care about a man in Arizona.
Me: Can we just pick a user name? (whimper)
Dad: How about Lilly O? (No one calls my mom Lilly, not even my dad.)
Mom: No, not Lilly.

Anyway, you get an idea of my ordeal, yes? It took like half an hour just to decide on a user name. Then there was the password. =8-O

It was 9:20 when I said, okay, that's it for me. I'm still not quite done. I have a few other things to update on the computer, but after 8 hours, I was ready to call it a night.

Today, I'm taking me time and trying to catch up on a gazillion notes. Then I'll tackle the writing and try to get a lot done. I want a nap already, though.