The Gouge

Useful or interesting information passed along to us by our alumni and friends


02-06-2013 The United States Navy Memorial & The Navy Log:

Click here to go to the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation site. The Navy Memorial itself is on the mall in Washington, D.C. They have a database, called the Navy Log, of all sea service veterans (Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine) from the Revolutionary War to the present. The records come from the vets themselves or friends and relatives. You can download a history kit from their site to get started. They are trying to capture as many vets as they can. Your Alumni Foundation just recently learned more about one of our KIAs from WWII (John N. Cowan) by using this site. You don't need to sign up for anything if you just want to search. Plug in a last and first name and it will bring up all the records they have that match those parameters. You can then choose which record you want to view. We have a long list of alumni whom we know have passed away without any obituary or photo (see Flanders Fields). If you have some extra time, use that list and go searching for us. Pass the info along to our webmaster so we can create a webpage for that alumni with a decent obituary and photo. Passed along by Ed Mergele '75 with the help of Margie Cowan who alerted us to this service.


11-19-2012 How to View and Edit the Metadata of a Photograph File:

Be advised that most all photo files have descriptions, location data, dates, and other useful information stored in each photograph's file in the form of metadata. Microsoft makes a free program called "Microsoft Pro Photo Tools" that you can use to view and edit the metadata contained in a photo file. This is one site from which you can download the program but there are many others. Another fairly low-tech method for viewing the files' metadata is by doing the following. Open a window that shows a listing of the photographs. Typically the following data is listed: filename, date modified, type and size. You will see these names as column headings in the window listing. If not, you need to set the view of the window to "details". Now place you pointer anywhere in that header of column headings and right click your mouse. There will be a whole list of data fields that you can check. Just click each one you want to the left of the data field name. When you're through you'll see in the window listing additional column headings for those new fields by scrolling the window right with the slider at the bottom of the window. Some of the fields are captured by the camera, others must be entered by other means (i.e. you). Some of the fields used by the webmaster are: Date taken, Subject (this is the description of the photo you are probably looking for), and Title. Not all metadata can be viewed this way. The location fields (address, city, state and country) cannot, even though they are there. GPS and time taken data aren't available using this method either but they are also added to most of the photos posted on this site. Enjoy! Passed along by Ed Mergele '75.


08-21-2012 Read Old and Newer Microsoft Office files with your current version of Office:

I'm sure many of you have experienced trying to open a new Word file with a ".docx" on the end of the filename and found your version of Office doesn't recognize it. Since Office 2007 Microsoft has changed to a new file structure for its components (Word, Excel, Access, Publisher, PowerPoint, etc.). It's all explained at this website along with free downloads for reading and converting the newer files to work with your version of Office. Also since Office 2003, Microsoft has chosen to make backward compatibility with older Office file formats no longer (easily) available. The reasoning is explained on this website, along with fairly easy methods for reading the older versions. Microsoft says they did it for security reasons (i.e. the older files were more susceptible to hacking and other forms of exploitation) so these methods are only recommended to be used temporarily (i.e. turn them on to read an old file, turn the capability off, then save the old file in a newer format). Passed along by Ed Mergele '75.


07-18-2012 FREE Shutterfly Membership:

Click here to read more about and how to sign up for a free membership. We're using Shutterfly to make Photo Albums on our website from 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 available. So you may want to check out those albums first to see what Shutterfly is capable of. It may not be our long-term solution, but it was a very fast way of getting a lot of photos on our site without much fuss. Can't beat the price. Some have already remarked that the filenames are not descriptive enough. Read the 11-19-2012 entry above on Metadata. Passed along by Ed Mergele '75.


07-04-2012 FREE Replacement for Microsoft Office:

Click here to read more about and download Open Office. Open and edit all Microsoft Office file formats. Can't beat the price. Passed along by Ed Mergele '75.


05-24-2012 New LinkedIn Information Page:

Click here to read about how we're using LinkedIn to keep better connected with everyone.


12-25-2011 Texas Fight - The History of Army ROTC at The University of Texas at Austin:

John D. Boswell, history professor, 1969 UT Army ROTC graduate and guest speaker at the decommissioning ceremony for Russell A. Steindam Hall, has just self-published a book about the history of Army ROTC at UT, in which the Navy and its ROTC Unit play a prominent role. Many of you who attended the decommissioning of RAS will remember his most interesting speech about the ROTC Units at UT and RAS Hall. From the excerpts I've seen, it's very well researched and footnoted. Maybe it'll inspire one of us to write the NROTC History at UT. The book sells for $25 and John is donating all profits to the Army ROTC. For a copy of the cover, table of contents and order form click here.  Passed along by Ed Mergele '75 on 12-25-2011.


12-14-2011 Navy:Together We Served

There is a terrific website for you to document your career, duty stations, awards, badges, certificates, etc. As you feed information in it builds a shadowbox for you also. It's free to join but if you want to start contacting other shipmates (based on duty stations and units that you plug in or just names to search on) you have to pay a small fee. The website is A 1974 alumni, Dave Barron, put me on to this. And yes, there are sites for the other services as well. If you join one you get guest privileges on the others. I think the USMC site would be Check it out. Passed along by Ed Mergele '75 on 12-14-2011


12-12-2011 Crow's Nest Scholarship:

There are probably lots of "nesters" who would be interested in endowing a scholarship named for their old coop dorm. Ray Adams '80 brought it up at our 2011 Reunion and wants to know who's interested. Send your thoughts to Ray (click on his link) or the Webmaster. To see some of the discussion going on about the nest, click here. Also there is a new Crow's Nest subgroup on LinkedIn. Check it out.


11-08-2011 Free Texas college tuition for children of Texas veterans:

The Hazlewood Act exempts eligible Texas veterans from payment of tuition and fees at any Texas public college for up to 150 semester hours; unused exemption hours can be transferred to veterans' children. For more details, see and the UT Austin veterans' benefits Web page at Passed along by D. C. Toedt '74 on 11-8-2011.


11-08-2011 Surface Warfare Officer lapel pin:  

Our aviator colleagues have long worn miniature Wings of Gold lapel pins. Now SWOs can do the same with their "water wings." (Or, as one of us remarked years ago, we should call them Kiwis, because Kiwi is what you put on a black shoe) The pins are available for $4.99 each (plus shipping) from OpsGear, item X-OG-US-NAVY-WARFARE-OFFICER-PIN ( Passed along by D. C. Toedt '74 on 11-8-2011.







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Last Updated: February 27, 2014