Howard Thomas Greene (August 9, 1950 – January 25, 2004)

To add to the seeming chaos that is my life right now, my dad died Sunday night. My dad had a car wreck in 1970 and it damaged his spinal cord. Unfortunately medicine in 1970 was not as good at treating spinal cord injuries as it is now, and dad had dealt with chronic medical problems for the the past 30 plus years.

On Dec 31, 2003 he went to the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center with an infection. It started as a bladder and kidney infection but soon moved to his heart causing cardiac arrest. After one cardiac event it took 20 minutes to revive him, which left dad brain dead and a vegetable. He was given little to no chance of recovery and died January 25 after life support was removed.

He will be buried Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 2:00 pm at Mountain Home National Cemetery near the VA Medical Center.

Spam and instant messenging

I recently decided I’d had enough spam when the spam outnumbered the real email by 10 to 1. I guess that proves that I’ve had my email addresses too long and they’ve ended up on everybody’s lists. Even with it’s flaws I still use Outlook Express. I’ve used OE since 2000, before that on the Windows side I used Eudora, Pegasus Mail and Netmanage Chameleon. (anybody remember that one?) I considered using Mozilla Thunderbird because of its spam filtering, but it’s still at version 0.4 and doesn’t look quite ready yet.

And then I found Spam Bully, a spam filter add-in for Outlook and Outlook Express. It took about a day to train but after that all my spam is out of my inbox and safely diverted to a spam folder. So far I’m pleased and will probably buy the program after the evaluation period is up.

One piece of software that I did buy is Trillian Pro. I’ve used the free Trillian off and on for instant messenging , as well as GAIM and the standard clients. (AOL, ICQ, MSN, etc.) The free version of Trillian crashed on me some, as did GAIM, and I went back to using the standard clients. But after hearing good things about Trillian Pro I took the plunge and paid $25. The result? I got a rock solid multi-service IM client that does everything I need.

Computer interface for the brain

I have always been a slow typer, due mainly to the fact the I have cerebral palsy, albeit a mild case. Unfortunately as a result of my car accident, I’m now a quadriplegic. I have some use of my legs, good arm movement and some hand movement, but I can only use my thumbs and left index finger for typing.

So I was very interested when I saw the Wired article “Transforming Thoughts Into Deeds.” The story is mainly about a company called Cyberkinetics and their brain-computer interface called Braingate, which has already allowed monkeys to move a cursor with their thoughts. Clinical trials should begin sometime this year and a product might be on the market by 2007.

Other companies and researchers are working in the same field, but only Cyberkinetics appears to be close to a commercial product. While it seems likely that I will walk again to a degree and that more hand function will return with time, it’s nice to know people are working on these things.

Once again cooking with gas!

I am once again in the land of high speed Internet access! My DSL line from Sprint is finally active and working so getting online is no longer an ordeal. But I’m still one finger typing. Can’t have it all I guess.

I’m back

On October 26, 2003 I was in a serious car wreck. I suffered a broken neck which has left me partially paralyzed. I am currently only typing with one finger, which makes blogging a challenge, but I am back.