Daily Archives: July 13, 2012

As of today, we have three veterans of the 290th Combat Engineers here with us in Albany. These old soldiers are outnumbered by widows, children, grand children, etc. & their respective spouses. Back in the “good old days”, this was a hard-drinking, hard-partying bunch of fellows. The centre of action was always – and still is – the Hospitality Room a.k.a. “The Hospital Room”.  Way back when, things might have slowed down a bit around 4:00 or 5:00 AM but in the 60’s, you could usually find at least two guys with a drink in their hand at most any hour of the day or night.

Nowadays, the Hospitality Room shuts down around 10:30 PM or so and the Veterans retire much earlier than that. It’s the children of the 290th who keep things going that late and even we retire on the early side. My cohort started attending in 1964 or so and we are older now than our parents were at time. Talk about a sobering thought!

Being a 290th kid was pretty neat as for one weekend every year, we had scads of “Uncles” and “Aunts” who would give us a quarter for the candy machine, keep an eye on us when we made our mass migration to the swimming pool or  were simply willing to hear what we had done since the last reunion. These wonderful ladies and gentlemen would kindly look the other way when we got up to our annual mischief. Mind you, our “trouble” was either relatively mild or could not be proven by the hotel management/police..

We kids would spend that terrific weekend listening to stories from the war – or at least those stories which could be told in mixed company. As time went on and we became older, some of these stories sprouted  additional details that were not fit for younger ears. The kids in my cohort attended almost every year until life began pulling us in different directions after high school and college. Since then, we’ve attended when time, distance and circumstance allowed.

It was a running joke that the “Children of the 290th” would carry on after our fathers and grandfathers were gone. Since this appears to be the last time that our heroes  will gather in any organised fashion, perhaps now is our time to carry on their legacy.


Last month, I reviewed some free add-ons that will correct some of the design blunders Microsoft insists on making with Windows 8. One of my biggest complaints was that you have to go to the Windows Start Page – the one that uses the Metro interface – before you can go to the more familiar Windows desktop even if you have a desk/lap-top and have no need or desire to use Metro.

The engineers at Stardock have added functionality to their free Windows 8  start-menu utility that will take you, upon boot-up, directly to the Windows Desktop bypassing the start page completely. Thus you have Metro-no-mo!

Some users may or may not like the format of the Start Menu provided by Start8 but one thing is perfectly clear; If Stardock can figure out how to bypass the Metro interface, then other developers will quickly follow suit. Hopefully, we will see such enhancements from other developers before Windows 8 is released in October. The preview version of Windows 8 will cease to function at that time thus preventing any further testing.

The availability of suitable workarounds will impact the decision of many users as whether to migrate to 8 or stay with 7. Of course, Microsoft could avoid this situation in the first place by building flexibility in to Windows 8 to begin with. If we, the users, wanted a rigid, only-one-way-to-do-it operating system, we’d all be using OS X.

Testing of the enhanced version of Start8 will begin on Monday. If you want to try it for yourself, visit the Start8 Download page. Remember, Start8 is completely free.

One of the nice things about being here at the reunion of the 290th is that I get to talk face to face with a number of people who follow this blog. One complaint that I’ve heard both here & elsewhere is that the Twitter Bird can be quite annoying in that it will perch over whatever you’re trying to read.

I added it to this site so that folks could read my last tweet. Well, since 99% of my tweets come from blog posts, the bird is rather redundant. So, Cynthia Teles, the Twitter bird has flown the coop just for you.

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July 2012
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