On Monday I saw a first. I assumed that I was going to a friend's house to clean up his virus-laden computer. He has helped me in the past with several mechanical type issues. His computer was ill, and I may not be a very good mechanic (I DID manage to fix my motor scooter last week without anybody else touching it), but I can mess with computers pretty well. What I found, however, was a computer very mildly affected by viruses, but infested to the core with malware (some call it spyware, or adware). When he spoke to my about poor performance, I suspected viruses. He told me that he started his trek through the DSL-connected Internet world without good antivirus software (something I would never consider doing). He had downloaded some free antivirus software, and it had worked well during the trial period. The software was called Windows Antivirus Pro 2007. I recommend and use an excellent free antivirus program (I have been a paying customer of both of the big ones in the past), but I had not heard of the program he was using. His program was the problem! Rather than being an antivirus program, it is malware! He had properly decided to uninstall it (through the Control Panel), but it refuses to go away. I joked that "this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." It had taken over his computer, giving a pop-up window of detection of a virus about every 10 seconds, making it near impossible to do anything. The pop-up window gave him an opportunity to "register" the antivirus program (remember that trial period was over) for payment (I never did find out how much the registration was. At any rate, the files allegedly infected with viruses were false positives, just to get the unsuspecting sort to pay them money. What crooks! Along the way, I found an excellent tool for debugging problems on Windows-based computers. It is called the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows. It is based on the Bart PE platform, but has additional tools built in. If you are technologically savvy, you may want to add it to your arsenal.
The Cubbies are in first place. I heard last night that the last time they were in first place on August 1 was back in 2001. I'm leaving the U.S. tonight, and hope that they are still in first place by the time I leave (they could fall out of first, since they are playing an afternoon game today). I sure hope they will still be in first place when I return to the U.S. on August 14.
I went to Chile in March, and flew straight from Joplin. I did it again today. I'm writing these lines from the Kansas City Airport, waiting my connecting Delta flight to Atlanta, and then on to Chile. The Joplin-Kansas City flight is $98 round trip, which makes it much cheaper than driving to another major airport. The fare from Kansas City to Santiago was cheaper than other airports near Joplin, making the Fly Joplin trip cheaper. When I was on a shuttle bus between terminals at Kansas City, I saw that airport garage parking is $18/day. The long-term parking at Kansas City is $5.50. Parking for this trip would be over $70, without taking the cost of driving to Kansas City into the equation. According to Mapquest, it is 190 miles from my house to the Kansas City Airport. At the IRS-approved rate for mileage reimbursement, the "cost" of driving round trip is $184.30. I'm happy to fly from Joplin! Rose even got up this morning to drop me off at the airport. The day I arrive back, she will leave me car for me at the Joplin airport (free parking). Thanks, honey! I love you!
I will arrive in Santiago Friday morning (about 6:30 in the U.S. Central Time Zone). If you want to call me, dial 011-569-8-975-7136. In March, the family I stayed with had a cell phone that they were no longer using. I bought a SIM card for a Chilean cellular phone company (actually, it's a multinational company based in Europe). Since I bought the SIM card, I returned the loaned phone, and kept the card for use on future trips. I unblocked my U.S. cell phone (I have service with Cingular, or what they now call the New AT&T). Once I get in the air over Atlanta (when you have to turn cell phones off), I will put the Chilean SIM card in my phone. The next morning when I land in Santiago, I will turn on my phone, and it will connect to a Chilean cell phone service. I won't be able to make any calls (on Friday morning I will need purchase pre-paid minutes before I can make any phone calls), but I will be able to receive calls (as incoming calls on free on any Chilean cell phone).
I will speak at a Pastors' Retreat this weekend in Villa Alemana, Chile (located just up the valley from Viña del Mar (see map). I'll return to Santiago Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening, there will be a large group (I suppose) of people from the old San Joaquin church. I'll be staying with long-time pastor friend Alejandro Castro from Sunday night through Tuesday night. On Wednesday, I'll fly to Temuco (see highlighted map), to start a 5-day intensive course in nearby Lautaro. The course will end on Sunday evening. I'll return to Santiago on Monday, leaving Monday night to come home.
Blessings to you all!