An Amazing EMS Opportunity

Attention all Sunstar Paramedics, Paramedics Plus is looking for any available personel to participate in the event of a lifetime!

On Wednesday September 29, 2004 at 07:00 we will be taking the entire fleet to Sand Key for a photo. We need quite a few people for an event of this magnatude, so sign up. If you are available either post here, contact me or sign up in the hallway by the time-clock.

The entire fleet will not ever be in the same location again. Be a part of history in the largest change of contractors of a PUM.

Colors of this Site

Ok, back by popular demand, here is the blue look! Rather than jsut plug the old stylesheets back in I decided to excercise what I have learned about CSS to enhance this site. I took the very heavy 700+ lines of CSS that made up this site’s files before and now have 160 very solid lines. granted I could even trim the fat off of that quite a bit, but for now this will do. Oh, and it took me a total of 45 minutes!

Oh, and you poor people that insist on remaining on some out-dated M$ browser you are once again not getting the full effect of this site’s design. There are several uses of opacity, text-shadows and properties that only the latest (Firefox, Mozilla & Safari) browsers handle.

So go download one of these (Firefox) and enjoy this site as well as the rest of the web as it is intended.

Yes, I Was Fired Today

Information and communication are powerful tools. Therefore I give you both.

Today I was called back into headquarters by Scott Springstead at approximately 15:45, I met with Dan & Scott and my employment with AMR was terminated at approximately 16:45 this Monday September 20, 2004.

I will not go into detail about these events here.

The fact remains that I have been terminated from my employment for reasons that I (and others) feel are irrelevant and do not warrant discipline, corrective action or discharge.

Note: There were 2 supervisor terminations today and one (supervisor) “released from his employment”.

I would like to request that anyone that reads and feels any level of irritation about this not to retaliate or do anything that could jeopardize your employment or lively hood in any way. And that everyone that works at Sunstar EMS continue to do what they excel at, which is providing an unrivaled level of compassionate attentive care to the citizens of Pinellas County. I look forward to being out there with you again in a few short days.

Yes! A few short days! Before I could even put my bags into my car, my problems were solved…..
I will see everyone again the night of October 1st!

FYI: The AMR (LaidLaw) ethics compliance hotline: 1 (888) 524-3529 that is 1 (888) LAID-LAW

Disclaimer: My intent with this posting is not to discredit, slander or manipulate the truth or perspective in any way. I only wish to stop any false rumors before they start, and provide accurate details of the events that took place this evening in Dan Stumpfhauser’s office.

National Talk Like a Pirate Day 2004


Avast ye lubbers, today, thees finest of all days has been deemed National Talk Like a Pirate Day. So shove off and get talkin before I keelhaul ya and smear yer blood on me mizen mast as a warning for all ye who dare cross this way again.

Or for the 2004 version of a Pirate:
Heads up, today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. So go talk like a pirate or I’ll spoof your mac address and hijack your wifi signal so I can browse the gnutella network from your windows machine.

Advice On Cleaning-up a Computer

Routinely I get asked what needs to be done to “clean up” a computer. My first reaction is “buy a Mac“. But when that doesn’t go over too well I usually have to go into a long explanation of use this app and run that, and so on, and so on. This is a rough list of ideas that I discuss with people to so that they can better prepare themselves for the ordeal of arming themselves against spy-ware, spam, viruses and the reality of coping with a M$ operating system.

Let me preface this advice with the fact that I am a proud Mac user (read: zealot) and the only experience that I have with this is when doing maintenance on my wife’s laptop where she uses Word & Mozilla almost exclusively. This does not make me an expert, only experienced (and a geek to boot).

My Recommendations:

First things first, don’t use IE (Internet Explorer). My personal favorite replacement is Firefox. In my opinion it provides almost no learning curve for those of you that use IE. It has all of the features that the average user wants, and has an incredible number of extensions that are available for those of us that want a lot more out of their internet browser. Firefox has one of the most useful features that everyone is interested in: Popup Blocking! And an incredibly useful feature that many uninitiated IE users wouldn’t be familiar with; tabbed browsing! Rather then going into some long and drawn-out explanation download Firefox, install it, run it and either press “control + t” or select File >> New >> Tab. Once you use it you will never be able to get away from it.. .ever. Additionally, Firefox has more extensive support for CSS & HTML, the languages that web pages are (primarily) written in, and because of this it displays web pages more correctly.

Here is an excellent article about switching from IE to Firefox. Download Firefox (Windows)

For those of you that are a bit more technically inclined: it is based on Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine that also powers Netscape, Camino and Mozilla. Plus
you can run firefox from a USB thumb-drive!

A List of cool & useful Firefox extensions & themes:

  • Sage– an excellent (basic) RSS / XML news aggregator. Personally for my RSS reading I prefer NetNewsWire (that I have hacked a little).
  • GoogleBar – an open-source duplication of Google’s toolbar
  • Adblock – blocks those annoying banners & other ads everywhere on the net
  • Firesomething – an amusing plugin that re-names the browser (e.g. : WaterArdvark)
  • Noia (Extreme) [Theme] – looks really cool, check it out.
  • WebDeveloper – Because that is what I do when I am not in Paramedic mode. An excellent tool that allows web developers to check their work for errors.

Other Mozilla applications

Spy-ware, Spam & Viruses-

Spy-ware – I recommend running 2 different anti spy-ware applications. BUY THEM, the added features are worth it. The two that I have had the best experience with are Ad-aware & Spybot Search & Destroy. They do different things but achieve the same endpoint. Set these to run automatically. In addition run the complete scan weekly (including archived file searches until you get a clean scan that does not inform you of any problems. Download Spybot , Download Ad-aware

Virus Scan – I have used both McAfee & Norton. Both work well, but I prefer Norton’s SystemWorks suite of applications. Make sure your virus definitions are up to date. Set you applications to check the definitions very frequently. If you don’t want to buy the applications you can download trial versions from both McAfee’s & Norton’s web sites free of charge. I recommend buying one of these.

For the More Technically Proficient

  • Disable autorun : autorun will automatically execute (.exe) files on removable & other drives.
  • Install ZoneAlarm : This is a firewall application.

Support the companies that make the products that you use. And remember that you don’t have to worry about any of this stuff if you switch to Mac!

Update: Brad Choate has posted a Mozilla Resource page on his site

Update: 5-27-2005 – I found this post by Dave Scoble that should help some also.

Good Luck Phil

On September 3rd at 07:30 the illustrious Phil Mahan finished his last shift at Sunstar EMS. For those that have had the privilege of working with or for Phil you will know that his level of dedication is completely unrivaled.

For the past year I have had the privilege of working under Phil’s direction. He helped me to grow both as a supervisor and as a person. Phil helped foster in me a heightened sense of priority and sensitivity to the priorities of those that rely on my performance. I learned b y observing Phil’s work habits what dedication can do to both their own productivity and the productivity and moral of the entire organization.

The last thing I said to Phil as I completed my last shift with him was “Thank you.” I meant that, Thank you Phil Mahan, for everything. Sunstar has lost a valuable asset. Your will be missed for a long time & your legend will continue long beyond that.

Good luck Phil!