Termination at the Halt (2)

I forgot to mention…in conjunction with the fund-raising via Yvonne Marrs’ new book ‘Termination at the Halt’, as Syemak I created a track to go with it. It’s called ‘Ghost Train at the Halt’.

You can listen to it here:

Ghost Train at the Halt by Syemak

As a “subtle” hint, the fund-raising is for Breast Cancer UK and the link is here:


At some point, there is going to be the signing of real books of ‘Termination at the Halt’. Don’t have the information on that so far.

Termination at the Halt

It has been my privilege to help with the editing on Yvonne Marrs’ new murder mystery, ‘Termination at the Halt’.  For those of us not into railroads, a ‘Halt’ is a stop on a train line that is just a platform.  Trains only stop on demand as Halts are not part of the regular schedule.

The ‘Halt’ that is the location of the story is in Nast Hyde, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK. 

Nast Hyde Halt was one of those abandoned stations as the branch line between Hartfield and St. Albans was decommissioned in the 1950’s.  Mike Izzard restored the Halt to its former glory and is the main character in the novel.  Wrapped up in the murder mystery is the actual chronicle of Mike’s restoration of the Halt.

‘Termination at the Halt’ is due to be released on Amazon on March 1st and 50% of each sale will be going toward a charity, Breast Cancer UK.  Mike had so much funding help in his restoration of the Halt that he wanted to do something for charity.


Being some 5000 miles away from the Halt, I won’t be there.

‘Termination at the Halt’ will also be available for Kindle and as a paperback from Amazon. 

Adobe Bridge 2022

I’m not a big or prolific photographer. Roughly 75% of my pictures/images are taken for stuff I’m listing on eBay. Incidentally, most of my pictures are taken on a standalone camera. My current one is ancient, a Kodak EasyShare Z950. It’s probably close to 20 years old and, I know, Kodak has been out of the camera business for years.

Incidentally, that thing on your phone that takes pictures is not a real camera. If you have to push on the screen of a thing that you can barely keep steady, it’s not a camera. In fact, if you’ve unfortunately had to watch Apple’s commericals, you’ll see that even they show their phone being held by a handle attachment to hold it steady.

What I wanted to talk about was the recent upgrades to Adobe applications and, unfortunately, their terrible ‘customer support’.

At one time, I was a subscriber to Adobe’s monthly plan, and, for the money per month, it’s not a bad value if you happen to use the extent of their applications. As you can tell, I don’t. It was grating that I was paying $10/month to do contrast/brightenes/cropping on a dozen images per month. So I bought Affinity Photo and canceled the subscription. I did still use Adobe Bridge because it was easy. It download images from the camera, erased them from the camera and presented me with view where I could double-click on any image and have Affinity Photo start.

That is, until Adobe updated their ‘Creative Cloud’ and updated to Bridge 2022. I was totally unsuspecting of what was going to happen. Originally, Creative Cloud would allow you to install older versions of any application. That changed with the recent update, that ability was removed. Second, unknowing to me, when Creative Cloud updated, the default was changed to remove older applications when the update was installed. In short, I was handed an Adobe Bridge update that did not work, with no option to go back.

Bridge 2022 would still download images from my camera, but, when it came to the automatic deletion, it would delete one image, then complain ‘Device is not connector or Busy’. About that time I moved to a new computer and, the same problem still happened. Nor did the USB port matter, tried a few. Finally, I tried to find Adobe Support. I first went to the Adobe Community (where you can find answers!) and got no answers. I received one reply by a technically-weak user with strong, misguided opinions who lambasted me for deleting pictures from my camera because an ‘electronic bust’ could come by and destroy all my pictures. I didn’t answer him since people like that would not understand UPSes and things like backups. Subsequently I found that he was an Apple user, so I can understand he’s probably used to failures like video chips desoldering themselves.

By chance, I found ‘Contact Us’ in Creative Cloud and it led to a chat where I could discuss my problem. They were there for me (right). Now I note that they offer the opportunity to ‘get technical assistance’ but nowhere did they mention that the person I would talk to would be technical at all. I would find that out immediately.

To make a long story short, it took 2 1/2 hours to find out that my camera had been dropped from the list of compatible cameras. Mind you, they still supported some 20 Kodak (obsolete) cameras, but mine was not on the list. I chatted with three of these customer support personages and within the first five minutes with each, I realized that they did not know a thing about what they were supporting. The first two did not even ask to view the problem (yes, they did ask to have access to my computer). The last guy did and he was as lost as the other two. He had to have the problem repeated to him a couple of times. After nearly an hour, when he found the camera compatibility list, he kept trying to get rid of me. I asked about getting an older version and he said ‘You can find it after you reboot’. Sure that would let him off the hook. I told him to show me. For the next 20 minutes he tried to find somewhere in Adobe Creative Cloud where older versions could be installed. He didn’t find it. Finally, I said something nasty enough (You mean you are no help and won’t give me any help to install an older version?) that he got help and got me the installer for Bridge 2021.

What’s the point of all this? If you are in the same situation I was, I have the installer for Bridge 2021 and I will send it to you to save you hours online with Adobe’s Technical Incompetence. Email me at didymus7@hotmail.com and I’ll get it to you.

Incidentally, Bridge 2021 is call version 11. Bridge 2022 is version 12.

Last Man Standing

The title has become trite since it’s been used so many times and so many ways. However, when it happens to you, it’s different.

For example, Ben Nicks is now 103 years old. He was an aircraft commander (on the B-29’s, they didn’t call them pilots) during World War II. About a year ago, his last friend from that time passed away. He is fortunate, however, as he had 8 kids, 7 of which are still living.

You can feel sympathy for someone like Ben. Then again, I had a similar situation happen to me and I only recognized it recently.

In 1975, fresh out of college, I started my first job, as an engineer, at Picker Nuclear and Ultrasond in Northford, CT. Picker no longer has a division in CT. The location has been taken over by another company, but that’s another story.

During that time, I was very interested in chess and eventually started a chess club at Picker. We managed to have some kind of event every lunch time and a number of people were engaged. When it came to finding a name for out club, we decided that we weren’t that sophisticated. We called it the Picker Chess Horde and registered it with the US Chess Federation.

It was there that I met Ken Plesset, a chess master, who took an interest in my development. Years later, Ken was to witness me winning the club championship at the Madison Chess Club, where, rather ironically, he was the only opponent I lost to.

Eventually, there were four of us who were really into chess and it went so far as we would hold chess tournments among the four of us at each other’s homes. Along with Ken and me, were Paul Hornreich, another engineer and a technical artist by the name of Wayne Howard. Yes, the comic illustrator, the Wayne Howard that you could look up on Wikipedia.

Wayne was unique. He loved playing and analyzing chess games. As any chess player, he didn’t like losing, but he didn’t like beating anyone either.

After 5 years, I left Picker and eventually lost track of the other three. Ken was the one I kept in contact with the longest, that is, until he left the state.

Fast forward to 2008. I received an email from Howard Hornreich, the son of Paul. I did the normal mistake of asking how his father was. He’d passed away on Nov 15, 2006, at the age of 62 and his son was just gathering up stories about his father from his friends. He significantly asked about finding Ken Plesset and Wayne Howard. I helped him as far as I could but I’d lost contact with them. Wayne was still either in the state or in his cabin up in Maine. The last thing I’d known about Ken was that he was in Washington state running a chess store/club that a rich woman was funding.

Then I went back to normal life. It was earlier this year, when I was thinking of updating my first book, Raven: The Call from Central, I was considering a new cover. For some reason I remembered Wayne and searched to find him. I didn’t think I’d have any problem convincing him to do a new cover for me.

It was then that I found his Wikipedia page. It surprised me but not as much as finding out that I was much too late. Wayne had passed away on Dec 9, 2007 at the age of 58. Wayne was a heavy smoker. One of those that usually got ashes everywhere.

That was when I went to find out about Ken Plesset. Ken’s given name was Kiven, so he was easy to find. Ken was also the oldest of the four of us, so I had already figured that I’d find his obituary. Ken passed away on Jan 9, 2012 at the age of 85.

So, of the four people who drove the chess club known as the Picker Chess Horde, I’m the only one remaining. The last man standing.