Saturday, January 17, 2009

US Airways Flight 1549 - Ordinary People, Extraordinary Heroes

I'm compelled to express my admiration and appreciation for the genuine heroism demonstrated by the captain, crew, passengers, and both the professional and volunteer first responders who averted a huge potential tragedy when US Airways Flight 1549 ditched in the icy Hudson River this week. Our society tends to idolize celebrities who attain their fame for dubious reasons. This event has captured the nation's attention because a group of ordinary people created a true life miracle by averting panic and cooperating under leadership of a few extraordinary individuals preserving the lives of all on board through this harrowing ordeal.

The pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, is receiving well deserved recognition for his skill in landing the plane safely on the Hudson after loosing power. US Airways identified the the first officer as Jeffrey Skiles, and the three flight attendants; Donna Dent, Doreen Welsh and Sheila Dail, who quickly evacuated passengers, and preserved calm through their rescue.
A bulletin to members of the US Airline Pilots Association, said said Capt. Sullenberger personally accounted for all the passengers and remained on the sinking aircraft until he was sure the plane was empty.

"The fact that 155 people walked away from a very dangerous situation is a testament to the skill and professionalism of the entire flight crew."

The Association of Flight Attendants union, which represents the cabin crew members at US Airways, commended the three attendants for safely and quickly evacuating the passengers in the emergency landing. "Their years of experience and training made all the difference once the aircraft was in the water."

Ferry operators arrived on the scene within minutes and started the rescue. They were joined moments later by NYC emergency personnel.

The heroic efforts of this rescue undoubtedly benefited from good fortune, or as people of faith (including myself) say, "miraculous Divine intervention". I was touched by the "cartoon" published on the editorial page of the Providence Journal today reproducing the now famous AP photograph by Steven Day, showing the plane floating on the Hudson while passengers lined up, waiting for rescue on the wings and evacuation rafts. The illustrator added God's hands providing support from below the waters. I don't know the artist's name, but the drawing conveys a very powerful message.

Keep Warm,

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Adobe Reader 9: how to turn off updates

As part of my annual home PC clean-up, I upgraded to a 320 Gb drive and started from a fresh OS install to clear up all of the junk that slows things down. I was really tickled that the old machine was practically jumping off the desk after I installed Windows XP, MS Office, and my video editing software, but when I re-installed Adobe Reader 7.0, the performance fell off a cliff. I hadn't realized that Adobe Reader 7.0 was checking the web for updates every time it started causing my machine to become unresponsive whenever it opened.

I did a little reading on the web and didn't find an easy way to turn off the updates. After seeing a few helpful notes on various forums, (this tweak in particular stands out) I saw some favorable feedback on 9.0, although there are still complaints about bloat. Adobe added the ability to update preferences in Reader 9.0, which didn't exist in Reader 7, so I decided to give 9 a try. To disable updates, click edit, preferences, general, then remove the check mark from "Check for Updates" under Application start up. With automatic updates disabled, you can still Check for Updates manually by clicking on the Help menu. Here is a composite screenshot showing the setting to disable updates for anyone who needs a clear picture.

I'm very pleased with the result (I also disabled Adobe Java Script as recommended in the above tweak link above. (click: edit, preferences, javascript, remove check mark, click OK.)

PS. After the original post, I learned the same preference is also in Adobe Reader 8.

Happy New Year,