Thursday, September 26, 2013

Florida’s Work Compensation System Unconstitutional???

Court Shifts its Course in Workers' Comp Case

Appeals court still supports firefighter in battle for benefits

Sep. 24, 2013

TALLAHASSEE — A divided appeals court Monday backed away from a ruling that found part of Florida’s workers compensation insurance system unconstitutional, but continued to support an injured St. Petersburg firefighter in his legal fight about disability benefits.

The full 1st District Court of Appeal scuttled a three-judge panel’s earlier ruling about the constitutionality of a law dealing with temporary disability benefits. But a majority of the full court also asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case, which centers on Bradley Westphal, a firefighter who injured his back and leg while on duty in 2009.

The three-judge panel in March struck down a law that placed a two-year limit on temporary disability benefits. That limit cut off disability payments in 2011 to Westphal, who was unable to work because of injuries, but also couldn’t meet a standard to qualify for permanent disability benefits. That standard is known as being at “maximum medical improvement.”

But, in Monday’s opinion, a majority of the full appeals court said it didn’t need to rule on the constitutionality of the law because it could find for West­phal on other grounds.

“We hold that a worker who is totally disabled as a result of a workplace accident and remains totally disabled by the end of his or her eligibility for temporary total disability benefits is deemed to be at maximum medical improvement by operation of law and is therefore eligible to assert a claim for permanent and total disability benefits,” said the majority opinion, written by Judge Philip Padovano and seven other judges.

But three judges dissented fully and two others dissented in part.

Judge Brad Thomas concurred that Westphal was entitled to the benefits but wrote that he “vigorously” dissented from part of the ruling that he said violated the constitutional separation of powers between the courts, the Legislature and the executive branch.

“The majority opinion enacts new substantive law that creates a legal entitlement to permanent total disability benefits at the expiration of temporary total disability benefits, regardless of whether the claimant will remain totally disabled when reaching maximum medical improvement,” Thomas wrote.

The workers compensation system is designed to serve as a way to provide medical care and other benefits to injured people without going through lawsuits. But Florida has highly complex workers compensation laws that include different types of benefits and limits — and in the past have touched off fierce legislative battles that included business groups, insurers, trial lawyers, medical providers and labor unions.

As a sign of the interest in Westphal’s case, the state House and Senate signed onto briefs in support of the city of St. Petersburg, as did groups and businesses such as Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and Publix. Among those supporting Westphal: the Florida Justice Association, Florida Workers Advocates and the Police Benevolent Association.

Westphal’s disability payments ran out in December 2011. One of his attorneys said earlier this year that the city of St. Petersburg agreed in November 2012 that Westphal would get permanent disability benefits — and made them retroactive to September 2012 — but that left about a nine-month income gap.

The majority opinion Monday said nothing in state law suggests the Legislature intended to create a “gap.”

“It is unreasonable to assume that the Legislature meant to create a gap in benefits, during which a disabled worker is not compensated for a disability, even though there is no dispute that the worker is totally disabled,” the opinion said.

But Judge T. Kent Wetherell, who fully dissented, wrote that the Legislature should have the responsibility for addressing the “gap” issue.

“The solution to this problem — assuming one is needed — is for the Legislature to revise the statute,” wrote Wetherell, who was joined in the full dissent by judges L. Clayton Roberts and Lori Rowe.


I really don't know what to say other than this illustrates the complexities of the work comp system. Now multiply this by 51 (50 states +DC).

Thank you for reading.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Work Comp Lawyers

We’ve all had to deal with the absurdity of government bureaucracy at one time or another. It can be frustrating. When the bureaucracy affects one of your loved ones, it can be worse. Particularly for a Mother who just wants to see her son get the benefits he earned. What makes matters worse in this case is it appears a law firm, hired by the state, did all they could do to see the case dragged on because by doing so, their fees piled up.

Cathy Hockman, who lives in northeastern North Carolina, just across the border from Chesapeake VA. That’s where her son was working, in a Best Buy store, when he was injured in 2007.

A mom’s letter to the Va. Workers Compensation Commission:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
To The Honorable Commissioner Williams:
The title Virginia Workers’ Compensation is an oxymoron. There is no real compensation in this curse of a system, put in place to protect the employers from law suits and to line the pockets of the greedy law firms who represent them, the insurance carriers, and their adjusters.

This system does not protect the injured worker; on the contrary it leaves him vulnerable, and allows him to be manipulated, humiliated, neglected, and rendered financially ruined.
The fifth anniversary of my son’s catastrophic workplace accident was December 11, 2012. Tragically his young life has been forever altered by his injuries. My son fell head first to the concrete floor in the warehouse of a Best Buy store in Chesapeake, VA. He suffered skull fractures, an epidural hematoma, which required a craniotomy, a ruptured ear drum, a sprained neck, a broken shoulder, a broken arm, a broken elbow, a broken wrist, and a dislocated knee.

The arm and knee injuries required closed reductions. He suffers from vision, cognitive, memory, and speech issues. He tests positive for seizure disorder. He suffers from severe debilitating headaches; he has been awarded all of his injuries and Lifetime Medical.  He was just a part-time worker and full-time college student when he was thrust into this system. What has been more devastating than his horrific accident has been his treatment allowed by a system that has turned their back on him, and is a lie with its very name . . . The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.

The entities who have greatly benefited from my son’s Lifetime Medical award have been the adjuster and the law firm of Midkiff, Muncie & Ross.

The law firm’s delays, subpoenas, depositions, and outrageously frivolous requests over the years have cost the ignorant and unenlightened insurance carrier and employer a huge amount of money in unnecessary and vexatious legal practices; The third-party adjuster has certainly enjoyed the added billing opportunities as well.

My son’s civil rights were violated by a doctor who performed an Independent Medical Evaluation. Investigators with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found this doctor guilty of failing to provide my son with his medical records and forced the medical entities to comply with the law. The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission was also notified to comply with HIPPA.

My son was denied cognitive therapy for over 9 months. He will never be able to get that time back. The law firm subpoenaed my son’s school records back to kindergarten in an attempt to find some form of learning disabilities to discredit his brain damage. Mostly, however, this was once again a delay tactic that means money . . . to some. This is incomprehensible! I feel sickened by the evilness of his efforts . . . in the name money.
Last year, the law firm spent multiple, multiple, multiple thousands of dollars to defend $163 for Temporary Total Disability for my son who missed a mere 3 days of work for his severe and debilitating headaches.  The neurologist alone was deposed at a cost of $500 an hour. There were numerous travel expenses for the law firm, numerous calls, interrogatories, numerous paper work expenses, etc, all of which were totally unnecessary.

My family was even deposed, causing all of us to miss work and lose wages. How can this go on and go unnoticed? Why isn’t there a place in the Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program to include and investigate this obvious type of abuse and misuse by law firms such as this one? This has been typical and repeated for the last 5 years!
“Insurance fraud is a crime that occurs when someone tries to make money from insurance transactions through deception” –This definition was copied from the State Police website.
My son can never be adequately, medically or financially compensated for his near death, permanent brain injury and multiple permanent orthopedic injuries. Despicably, the law firm has made a fortune off of my son’s tragic event, much, much more money than my son will ever see to care for his medical needs now; and especially as his health deteriorates as he ages.

Repeatedly, the law firm has dragged things out past deadlines imposed by the Code of Virginia, and supposedly, should be enforced by the Commission; repeatedly the law firm has not  been held accountable or penalized in any way by this impotent  system that has allowed the law firm and the adjuster to obscenely dehumanize my son. If this flagrant disregard for the Code of Virginia were demonstrated by the claimant . . . out of the system he would go, he would be investigated and face possible charges of insurance fraud! This is insurance fraud!

Repeatedly, the law firm waits to the 11th hour to pretend to agree to or cancel up-coming events. Then they never come forth with their promises and agreements. The percentages of these occurrences assure me that these are deliberate tactics used to squeeze the most money out of every event for their benefit.

My privacy was violated when a staff member of the Virginia Attorney General’s (AG) Office contacted someone within Midkiff, Muncie, & Ross.  I had made an inquiry regarding Special Counsel for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As I am sure you are quite aware, Midkiff, Muncie, & Ross are considered Special Counsel in the area of Workers’ Comp for the Commonwealth. I contacted the Virginia AG’s office for information and reassurance that this could not lead to familiarity and conflict of interest. Instead of a reply from the AG to my inquiry, I received a phone call from my son’s attorney. A member of [Midkiff, Muncie, & Ross] angrily contacted my son’s attorney and accused me of contacting his client, the “Commonwealth of Virginia.”  Well I guess that answered my question of conflict of interest . . . there most certainly is!

We were invited to Richmond, to the Office of the Attorney General. Apologies were made and we were told to “be assured that the individuals involved had been dealt with,” with the regard to the dissemination of my personal information and violation of privacy. I do not feel nor ever will feel “assured.”

We still believe that incident has led to direct repercussions towards my son by this law firm.
The familiarity within this system by the law firm is disrespectful to the Commonwealth, to the Commission, and to my son. At my son’s last hearing in Virginia Beach, a member of the law firm exited the courtroom directly behind and through the same hallway as the Deputy Commissioner. Nowhere, in a real court of law, would you ever see this occur. (The lawyer for the firm was going to the back to get an ice pack out of the freezer for his sore back). At the very least, could we all just pretend that this is an actual judicial proceeding?  This has no reflection on the Deputy Commissioner; instead this was a flagrant lack of respect and good-old-boy arrogance demonstrated by the lawyer for the firm.

During one of the most recent depositions with my son, lawyer for the firm repeatedly referred to the third-party claims adjuster, his client, as a b***h. This is unacceptable, unprofessional, and should not have to be tolerated.

Back in the spring of 2012 the lawyer for the firm requested mediation for a possible settlement. My son agreed. Months had passed and then the week before this was to take place the lawyer said something else had come up and couldn’t make it, against the so-called rules for this event. Convenient for him, because there were other things pending against the defendant that could not be brought up until the mediation; a hearing couldn’t be scheduled because of the mediation. So once again, delays and games were played by this law firm.
A hearing has been requested, again. Generally, we have become accustomed for the reimbursements to arrive 6 months to a year after submitted. This is shameful . . . and financially devastating! And again, the law firm/adjuster has violated the Code!

§ 65.2-524. Failure to pay compensation within two weeks after it becomes due.

At this point there needs to be a penalty for the penalty! And, as of the 17th of February 2013, they are in violation of yet another order set by the Commission on January 14 to pay my son for TTD from October 2012! This game has got to end. Why does my son have to fight like a dog for basic care and timely reimbursements?

If the Commission won’t stand their ground for the Commonwealth, what chance does my son have?

§ 65.2-710. Enforcement, etc., of orders and awards.

Orders or awards of the Commission may be recorded, enforced, and satisfied as orders or decrees of a circuit court upon certification of such order or award by the Commission. The Commission shall certify such order or award upon satisfactory evidence of noncompliance with the same.

When will the law firm be stopped from bleeding the insurance carrier dry and continue to use my son’s critical injuries for his personal and financial gain?

When will the Commission step up to the plate and require certain defense attorneys to play by the rules, The CODE OF VIRGINIA?

When will the insurance carrier/adjuster be sanctioned for their much tardiness in payments? (Hopefully exposing to them, to the law firm’s abuse).

When will my son receive reimbursements in a timely and legal manner?
When will my son have some form of his life back?

None of us realized when my son was awarded “Lifetime Medical” that it would really translate to  “Life Sentence.”

“The mission of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission is to strive for excellence by being an effective leader in providing public services by ethically administering our statutory duties and being responsive to the diverse needs of our customers.”

Somewhere along the way . . . the mission has been lost.

Cathy Hockman


Every employer and insurance company should be screaming "bloody murder" over this. Guess who pays for this waste? First the insurance companies. They try to pass along as much as the cost as they can to the policy holders via increased premiums, higher experience mod rates, and non-renewals forcing them into the state fund. Then the employers pass (as much of) the cost along to employees with reduced raises and on to customers in the form of higher prices. 

Cathy Hockman is absolutely correct in her assessment. Regardless of who wins, who loses, IF anything is awarded, the lawyers always get paid: (Technically the judge IS a lawyer, so I can safely say that "the lawyers always get paid.")

 The incestuous relationship between lawyers and legislators (government agencies) plagues all levels of government. It is more prevalent in State and Federal Government. The driving factor for this is that most congressmen ARE lawyers themselves. Think of it as a vested interest.

And where do congressmen voted out of office go to work? Big law firms or lobby groups (which are made up of lawyers too). Consider the following graphic from

 The single largest group in both The House and Senate are lawyers.

I am NOT saying that all lawyers are bad and I am NOT saying that all lawyer relationships with government are bad. What I am saying, is that there are conditions that make abuse of the system easier without a system of checks and balances, accountability, and sunshine laws.

There are even some good examples. Consider Pennsylvania's Workers' Compensation Bureau Director: Stephen Fireoved. He was an attorney at the Chartwell Law Offices, LLP, in Philadelphia. The Chartwell Law Offices ar know as one of the best defense firms for employers. Stephen Fireoved knows first hand the challenges that employers face. He has also started making changes to the Workers' Compensation reporting system, leveraging technology and the Internet to make access easier and more effecient.

Disclaimer: I have personally worked with Stephen Fireoved on cases prior to his appointment as the BWC Director.

 The Irony:

Any lawyer worth his (or her) salt will tell you, even though you are right in your case, it will cost MORE (in the shoet run, but I will get to that in a minute) to prove that you are right than to settle and make it go away. In many situations, the employer doesn't even decide whether to settle or not, it is the insurance carrier that makes this decision.

So why is it about money? It seems that our legal system has become a "Mexican Standoff" where the person with the most money wins. Is that really justice or is the economic theory of profit maximization (decrease costs)? This then essentially prostitutes justice.

Do I have the answer, probably not, but at least I can help start the conversation. If I am going to criticize, I can at least offer a fix. Outlaw stupidity. If somebody has a back injury and claims total disability, a picture of them moving a refrigerator negates that (although it may still be partial disability).

Another fix is a fee schedule for contingency lawyers. It reminds me of the demotivator "If you're not part of the solution, there is good money in prolonging the problem."

...Enough of my complaining...

What to take away from this? Get involved in your work comp claims! Workers’ compensation claims affect your rates. You can take steps to control claim costs and affect your future premiums.

As always, I advocate "fair is fair." Injured employees should be taken care of, but injured employees should not milk the system.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Open-Source Software

At the end of this post, I am going to show you where to get free software, so read on... 

Technology is reshaping safety and has allowed staffing companies to give small businesses the big business advantage. But there is a cost, a big cost. Software makers  keeps coming with newer versions of their software (it seems) every year. Upgrades cost $300-$1500 per program/suite per user. Many companies have taken the approach to upgrade their systems every 2nd or 3rd release due to the cost.

There are many developing countries that cannot afford to purchase and upgrade software. The answer is  open-source software. We will explore open-source software in this post.

Real Life Scenario:

You safety manager at the New Jersey (headquarters) plant, you are told that the company is making cutbacks. They are closing the California plant, letting go the safety managers at the Ohio plant, the other New Jersey plant, and the Pennsylvania distribution center. You will now oversee safety at all the facilities. The facility managers will handle the day-to-day safety, you will visit each facility once a year or as needed.

The company has given you space on their web site for you to post (distribute) all safety information (which saves on printing costs). The web master/IT person/whoever will upload the content that you provide.

Over the years, you have advanced with your photography hobby. Having learned darkroom chemical film processing, you took classes to keep up with technology as photography went digital. You know more than most, you can use photoshop. You even took a class in HTML (web sites) because that is how many photographers display their work.

A company that just let go 4 safety managers and closed a plant down is not going to spend $1200 on software that you need but they do not understand.

What to do???
The Answer:
It just may be open-source software. But what is open-source software, and is it the same as free software?
Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available and licensed with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.Open-source software is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner.

What is the difference between open source and free software? Open source software is provided at no cost by the copyright holder under an open-source licence which permits the user to use, modify and distribute the software. Free software is provided at no cost by a commercial software or hardware producer--these are often a driver for hardware or a reduced function version of commercial software.

How did open-source software get started?

From the early 1960s to the early 1980s, revenues in computer business were generated through selling and supporting hardware. For every hardware device, a special operating system was developed and deployed. The users of these systems were highly Specialized IT experts. They were the ones primarily responsible for the development of additional software.

Many efforts were dedicated to build an operating system that could be deployed on multiple hardware platforms. The most prominent example was Unix, which was developed at the AT&T laboratories and was published in1969. Commercial users had to pay high license fees for using Unix, whereas academic institutions could use the software for a nominal charge. Consequently, Unix was the basis for the development of the Internet technologies.

Many of these technologies were developed at universities and computer companies research laboratories, where Unix was deployed. Sharing thesource code among software developers was commonplace. This tendency was reinforced by the emergence of computer networks like the Usenet that was started in 1979 to link the Unix community.

A critical event in the early1980s for cooperative software development was the turn-around in AT&T’slicensing policy. Unix became restricted to those who paid for the license to use it. Following this first step into the direction of closed source, the hardware companies IBM, HP and DEC started to develop proprietary Unix operating systems. They imposed “non-disclosure agreements” on the programmers dealing with the software and recruited many developers for commercial software development who had formerly contributed to cooperative and shared software development.

At that time, the programmer Richard Stallman worked in software development at MIT. In 1984, he started a project to develop a free alternative of the Unix operating system. In addition, he established a special license, the GNU (named for Gnu’s Not Unix) license, which was supposed to ensure that the software is indeed free and open for everyone. In order to support the GNU project, Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in 1985.

World governments have found a new rallying cry-- "Software libre!"

Proponents of tfree and open-source software use the term "software libre" to describe software that is not only free of licensing fees but whose development is not controlled by a single company.

 Governments around the world are pushing agencies, and in some cases government-owned companies, to use open-source or free software unless proprietary software is the only feasible option. The cradle of the new wave of laws mandating free software appears to be Brazil, where four cities--Amparo, Solonopole, Ribeirao Pires and Recife--have passed laws giving preference to, or requiring the use of "software libre." This movement has caught on elsewhere in Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Estonia has one of the most advanced online public service offerings in the world. One of the biggest differences with Estonia’s thriving open source culture is that licensed software is an almost alien concept. Just 1% of its GDP goes on technology and services, with 0.1% of that going on software licences – a negligible amount.

Those who oppose open source:

Microsoft has matched or exceeded this level of rhetoric with its comments on open-source software, characterizing it variously as "a cancer," "an intellectual property destroyer" and--appropriately enough in the context of the global wave of open-source-only law--"un-American."

Many organizations are dead-set against using anything other than proprietary software. Not long ago, the cost of developing and maintaining any software might have been too high for small to mid-sized companies. Even today, the giants of industry and corporate innovation tend to spend huge amounts of money for proprietary systems which they perceive offer some added value over less expensive open source options.

Why is there still a bias toward proprietary software and tools in corporations?  There is the perception that "Free is bad".  The "if it is expensive, it must be good" philosophy is something most of you probably have seen in the corporate culture.

For example, companies believe that if Microsoft is charging such high fees for use of Microsoft Sharepoint, then Drupal can't possibly do the job just as well. Of course, the fact that employees who sell these expensive products, are able to woo customers with magic shows in their seminars to convince corporate bosses and even government officials, have been a major problem for Open Source as well.

Since enterprise software solutions are backed by large companies, they have the funds to aggressively market their solutions. Corporate executives drive BMW, Audi, or Mercedes to work; do you really think they will settle for free software? They should, free software can be powerful.

The biggest reason: Fear of Change. For companies, the enterprise solutions are convenient because they've been purchased and they're already here. Why bother with the effort of switching? However, most companies know that learning is a significant component of their software infrastructure, and employees will have to (eventually) learn new software and adapt to changes and updates anyway.

So let us consider why open sourse is good:


The recent discovery Android kernel. It was possible is that the kernel code is open to public view. Android may not be fully open source, but this example is still a perfect illustration of what's known as "Linus' Law," named for Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux.

According to that maxim, "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." What that means is that the more people who can see and test a set of code, the more likely any flaws will be caught and fixed quickly. (It's essentially the polar opposite of the "security through obscurity" argument used so often to justify the use of expensive proprietary products.)

Does the absence of such flaw reports about the code of the iPhone or Windows mean that such products are more secure? Far from it--quite the opposite, you might even say. All it means is that those products are closed from public view, so no one outside the companies that own them has the faintest clue how many bugs they contain. There's no way the limited set of developers and testers within those companies can test their products as well as the worldwide community can.


Which is more likely to be better: a software package created by a handful of developers, or a software package created by thousands of developers? Just as there are countless developers and users working to improve the security of open source software, so are there just as many innovating new features and enhancements to those products.
In general, open source software gets closest to what users want because those users can have a hand in making it so. It's not a matter of the vendor giving users what it thinks they want--users and developers make what they want, and they make it well.


 Along similar lines, business users can take a piece of open source software and tweak it to suit their needs. Since the code is open, it's simply a matter of modifying it to add the functionality they want. Don't try that with proprietary software!


When your business uses proprietary software such MS Windows and MS Office, you are on a treadmill that requires you to keep upgrading both software and hardware ad infinitum. Open source software, on the other hand, is typically much less resource-intensive, meaning that you can run it well even on older hardware. It's up to you--not some vendor--to decide when it's time to upgrade.

Open source software is much better at adhering to open standards than proprietary software is. If you value interoperability with other businesses, computers and users, and don't want to be limited by proprietary data formats, open source software is definitely the way to go.

 The British Government pushing Open Source Forward:

The British Government has, for the first time, mandated a preference for using open source software for future developments.

The new Government Service Design Manual, released as a beta version on 14 March and effective from April, lays out the standards that must be used for all new digital public services developed across the UK.

In a section titled “When to use open source”, the manual says: “Use open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages.”

Now the free stuff:


The British Government has Open Source Procurement Toolkit.

In this toolkit, is the Open Source Software Options for Government document (which can be downloaded here:). This document is a (pretty) comprehensive list that presents suggestions for open source software to be considered for new IT solutions to meet business requirements, or as replacements for existing closed proprietary software.

The Open Source Software Options for Government document breaks software down by category. It list the paid for (not free) program, it's open source alternative(s), and the web site to download the open source alternative.

Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2) for Free (...well, sort of...)


Adobe has published a public CS2 download page with links to a host of older applications -- the full Creative Suite 2.0 (download here:), Acrobat Pro 8.0, Audition 3.0, GoLive CS2, Illustrator CS2, InCopy CS2, Photoshop CS2, Photoshop Elements 4.0/5.0, Premiere Pro 2.0 -- as well as the serial numbers required to activate them.

Note:  You need to have a free Adobe account and be logged in. The account is free to create.

As soon as the page was noticed, multiple stories appeared recommending what looked like a great freebie. But what’s really going on here? It’s hard to say.

Adobe’s Dov Isaacs posted a forum message saying that the company was "absolutely not providing free copies of CS2!" Apparently the CS2 activation servers are being terminated, and these builds and serial numbers are intended for existing licence holders to use as an alternative.

The company didn’t take the CS2 page down, though, or add a warning or explanatory message, or do anything else to keep people away.

In fact, Adobe has done the opposite. Initially you needed to log in via your Adobe account to view the download page; now it's freely accessible to everyone. It looks like the company have accepted that there’s no putting the cat back in the bag, and whatever the original intention, CS2 is now available for free.

You can direct download without the Akamai Download Manager.

Note: Very Important Instructions:
  1. Adobe recommends temporarily turning off any surfing restrictions you might have running, like site or cookie blocking, filtering, firewalls or antivirus software.
  2. Click here: to visit this page:
  3. Not needed yet, see below:
  4. OK, you have the trials cookie set, so you can instantly download any of the software below. Just make sure you have enough disk space.
  5. Download the files either by clicking directly on the links below, or by right-clicking and choosing “Save Link As…” on the popup menu – and save all files to the same place.
  6. Then follow the product installation instructions here: 
  7. If you fail to download directly, repeat the above steps and do the following for step 3: Select the “Download Now” button at the bottom of web page (opened in step 2). If asked, then sign in with your Adobe ID or take a minute to create one for yourself (it is free and necessary to download). Now close or cancel any windows that may pop up. 
  8. Note: The links below are the direct download links on Adobe's website.
Direct Download Links CS2 Master Suite Windows (see instructions above first):

Direct Download CS2 Master Suite Links Mac (see instructions above first):

Disclaimer: Although anyone can download, install, and use Adobe CS2 from Adobe's website, Adobe states they are not providing free software, these builds and serial numbers are intended for existing licence holders to use as an alternative.

Some open source/free software that I feel are worth mentioning and I (have) use:

For Multiple OSs (operating systems):

Samba: SMB (pronounced Samba), which stands for Server Message Block, is a protocol for sharing files, printers, serial ports, and communications abstractions (such as named pipes and mail slot) between all client computers running on all versions of DOS and Windows, OS/2, Linux, Mac OSX, and many others.

Samba is the best way to share files, printers, etc between different OSs.

 VLC: VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.

GIMPshop: GIMPshop was a modification of the free and open source graphics program GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), with the intent to replicate the feel of Adobe Photoshop. Its primary purpose was to make users of Photoshop feel comfortable using GIMP.

For Windows:

Irfanview: IrfanView is a fast, simple freeware image viewer and editor that supports all major graphic formats, including BMP, DIB, JPEG, GIF, animated GIF, PNG, PCX, multipage TIFF, TGA, and more. In addition, it features drag-and-drop support, directory viewing, TWAIN support, slide shows, batch conversion, and modifications such as color depth, crop, blur, and sharpen. IrfanView runs on Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 , 2008, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.

One of the biggest complaints of people switching from Windows to Mac is that Irfanview or an equivalent is not available for Mac.

Combofix: I usually get these questions everyday: You either have been infected by a virus, worm, trojan or something similar. The cause of this is that you probably installed a virus thru a new program which you installed that had a virus within it, or accidentally infected your computer thru either a usb flash drive or most likely through the internet.

Most of the time these problems could easily be fixed. All you need is powerful cleaning tool named “combofix”. This is actually the first thing i do whenever when i repair any computer. I did not include Combofix in the anti-virus section because it is more than just AV, it is a tool that I run everytime whenever I fix a Windows computer. (Just remember to disable any virus or malware protection before running Combofix.)

A special thanks to Brian R. for showing me Combofix.

Free virus/malware/spyware protection for Windows:

The following software runs continuously in the background, helping to protect your computer from infection (as recommended by Clark Howard):

Microsoft Security Essentials
: Provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.  

Avast! Antivirus Home Edition
A free antivirus software with anti-spyware, anti-rootkit and strong self-protection included,. Free for home users. 

Anti-Virus software from Grisoft that automatically protects computers from viruses by providing timely virus database updates and protection. 

Sandboxie: Create a secure partition on your computer for safer web browsing with this  free program. This is a great tool for more advanced users. 

The following software scans your system for malware, destroying any infections it may find. Install and run these routinely (At least once a week.) 

: A highly regarded and effective program that identifies and removes malware and scareware from your computer.

A free malware remover that also works on rootkits, spyware, adware, worms and parasites. 

SpyBot - Search & Destroy: 
Detects and removes spyware of different kinds from your computer. 

Scans your RAM, Registry, hard drives and external storage devices for known data mining, advertising and tracking components.

Ad-Aware: can easily rid your system of these tracking components, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the web.

For Mac:

TNEF: TNEF provides a way to unpack those pesky Microsoft MS-TNEF MIME attachments. It operates like tar in order to upack any files which may have been put into the MS-TNEF attachment instead of being attached separately.

TNEF opens .dat files (which contain email attachments) generated by Windows servers.

Skitch: Skitch is a screenshot editing and sharing utility for Mac OS X which was originally developed by plasq, but is currently run by the company Skitch, Inc. Skitch permits the user to add shapes and text to an image, and then share it online. Images can also be exported to various image formats. Skitch was acquired by Evernote on August 18, 2011.

Skitch is very popular among ebay sellers for labeling images.

Chicken of the VNC: Chicken of the VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is a VNC client for Mac OS X. A VNC client allows one to display and interact with a remote computer screen. In other words, you can use Chicken of the VNC to interact with a remote computer as though it's right next to you.

Sophos: Sophos is a free anti-virus program for Mac.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Drug Dealing Considered a Legitimate Job by the State of NY


TOWN OF KENT - A 53-year-old Kent man has been charged with felony insurance fraud for collecting $6,000 in worker's compensation funds after he reported he was unable to work due to a work-related injury in 1998.

It turns out Juan Guzman of Miller Hill Road in Kent was arrested in February of this year and charged with felony drug sales. He was convicted after he admitted receiving money for selling narcotics and authorities said that invalidated his claim that he was totally incapacitated and could not work.

He was charged with insurance fraud, offering a false instrument and fraudulently filing an insurance application.

Guzman was released from the Putnam County Jail on $500 cash bail.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hello and Thank You to all my followers!!!!

I just want to take a minute to say "Hello" and "Thank You" to all the people who follow my blog.

I appreciate any and all feedback that you send me. If you have a topic in mind you would like to see me post on, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have a critique, suggestion, criticism, question, or just like what you read, please let me know.

I read your comments (so please feel free to leave comments) and try to remove any spam or inappropriate, unrelated content from them. I do NOT remove any criticisms or corrections.

You can not offend me, but are welcome to try.

I know from emails that I have received that I have people from the PEO/staffing industry, safety people, and (safety) students following me. I also have former clients who visit my site for topic ideas for their safety meetings.

I would just like to say 4 things about this blog: First is that I have a good sense of humor, and it comes through in my blog. Even though I take a less-than-serious point of view, these are VERY serious topics. I am also seriously committed to safety. I moe my grass with PPE every time. I use safety glasses, sun screen and a hat, gloves, ear muffs, and closed toe shoes.

The topics can get very boring with numbers, standards, legal citations, etc. I try to make it fun and easily understandable for the average person. I take the following approach to safety:

“Never memorize something that you can look up.” ― Albert Einstein. ["Recording the Experience" (10 June 2004) at The Library of Congress]
I don't want workers to memorize the height of a safety rail, mid rail, or toeboard, I want them to look and say "There should be a safety rail here," OR "That safety rail is too low." Then they can look up the correct measurements.

The second thing about my blog is I will speak the TRUTH. "Brutal Honesty" (as my one friend calls it) is a better description. I don't always agree with OSHA, I have strong (personal) views on Constitutional Rights, I believe in God, etc. I will state what is my beliefs when that is what they are.

I am committed to safety, but sometimes good intentions get in the way ("The OSHA Cowboy"). You will always know where I stand, and when I am wrong, I will take full responsibility.

Third, this blog is about more than just safety and the staffing industry, it is about external factors that affect both. Things such as technology (see my post: Safety and Technology). What I like about the Staffing Industry is the scope and variety. One day I can be dealing with manufacturing issues, the next transportation. Perhaps it is the ADHD, but I like the fact that it never gets boring. That is also reflected in my blog.

Finally, the goal of this blog is to get you to THINK!

Thank you for reading this post and this blog. Please feel free to tell others about it as well.