Friday, June 23, 2017

Who needs a Flip Phone these days? - Sprint Product Ambassadors

Who'd really ever use this thing?  My kids, for one!  They all geeked out on the retro cool of a flip phone - they've seen them in the movies, but never in person.  To them, a phone has a 5 or 6 " glass screen and does everything Dad's laptop does, but in a pocketable format.  The tactile experience of flippping open a phone was new and interesting to both the 10 and 12 year old. 

Younger kids are a great match for the Alcatel Go Flip - they 're too young to have social media accounts or calendars that need constant syncing, but they can figure out T9 texting and making calls to mom to pick them up from practice or the pool.  I've had all of my kids start on a flip phone when they start getting active - usually the aging Sanyo Taho, but now the youngest gets to use the Alcatel GO Flip.

I'm not sure if the hinge and construction will stand up as well as the construction-grade Sanyo Taho, now going on 9 years and 3 kids use, but for less than a hundred dollars, it's easily replacable. It offers LTE data and an effective web browser, along with basic GMail integration.  To save data, it has a built in FM Radio that works quite well with headphones connected - it uses the headphone wire as the antenna!

Other prime audiences include those on a budget (note the low price tag) and folks just needing basic talk and text with large, easy to use buttons.  But the real appeal of the Alcatel Go Flip is the Retro Cool of a flip phone with basic data!

       The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

Importing Contacts into the Alcatel Go Flip - Sprint Product Ambassadors

The Alcatel Go Flip is a very advanced flip phone, claiming to support import of contacts from Exchange or Gmail.  However, with two factor authentication and the way I had my Gmail account set up, I could not get it to connect to my account to download my contacts.  What good is a phone without contacts?  I wasn't about to manually key in 500 people to test this phone, so I set about finding a workaround.

I remember back in the day we would use Group VCF files - an older format for exchanging contacts in a specially formatted text file.  And the Go Flip is easy to put files into - no proprietary software or cables; just insert a MicroSD card with your files on it!  So, off to Google to see how to get my contacts out of there as a VCF.

For Google, it's easy - just visit and you'll see a list of all your contacts.  Select all your contacts and choose More - Export.  If you've migrated to the new version of Google Contacts, you'll find 'More' below your contact groups on the left side. The new version will prompt you to switch to the legacy version to get to the export screen.  Choose "VCF" and which contact groups to export, and save the file to your hard drive.


For Outlook it's a bit trickier - you'll have to export them as a CSV, then import them to a GMail account, then export them as above as a VCF file.  From

In Outlook, export your contacts to a csv-file.
  • Outlook 2007 and previous
    File-> Import and Export-> Export to a file-> Comma Separated Values (Windows)
  • Outlook 2010
    File-> Open-> Import-> Export to a file-> Comma Separated Values (Windows)
  • Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
    File-> Open & Export-> Import/Export-> Export to a file-> Comma Separated Values
Now that you have a VCF file on your hard drive, insert a MicroSD card in your computer and copy the VCF file to that card.  Eject the MicroSD card from the computer and insert it into your Alcatel Go Flip phone.  Go to Contacts and choose Import.  Find the VCF file on the MicroSD card and in a few moments all your contacts will be loaded into the memory of the phone!Importing Contacts from Memory Card
Importing Contacts from Memory Card

       The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

Sunday, June 18, 2017

2016 Philmont Notes

Raw notes from Philmont trek 608-BB1.

6-8-2016. Day One. In base camp.  Whole crew went around with the ranger to get checked in,  gear checked out,  basic training on Philmont skills and procedures. Opening night campfire.

Robert C. medical out - Mono.  Philmont staff took care of everything, got him on the 4:05 train back home to KC.

6-9,  First night on the   trail. (day 2) Arrived at Sioux campground at 6. Dinner at 8. 9pm, learning how we clean and brush our teeth.  One scout refused to bring a Toothbrush - not from our troop. I'll get him one at the next trading post. Sigh.

I'm on Bear watch duty - make sure the remaining oops bags and stuff don't get raided. 

6-10. Day 3. 5:30 AM get up. Cold breakfast. On trail at 7:40 AM. Next stop Dan Beard staff camp

Maggie Neel, Ranger departs tomorrow morning. Fantastic attitude and great skills.

Day 4, evening. 6/11,  5:00 PM. First night without the ranger.  Scouts definitely still 'storming'. Skipped program. Very good hike in through Beatty Lakes, over a ridge and down Sealy Canyon. Took a great side hike up to a knob on the ridge with Nick,  Nate, and Darren. Took a photo of Baldy with them.

Day 5, Sunday 6*12. 4am getup. Beautiful stars,  good coffee.  7am, finally getting the scouts out.  Sealy Canyon to Whiteman Vega.


Round cactus blooming
Daily Philmont rain showers
Sunbeam from the ground

Arrived Whiteman Vega staff camp, 11am. Mountain bikes,  trail building (make trail 4 inches wider).  Broken windmill. Big thunderstorms around the valley,  finally hit at 7pm. Early to bed.

Day 6, Monday, 6/13. Iris Park Camp. Missed the turn and had to backtrack. No sign at the trail.

Water is 1 Km from head of camp. Many cattle,  big skies,  no rain to speak of all day.  Spent the late afternoon doing laundry and washing hair with Kristy using the solar power well water.

Iris Park used to be the mountain bike staff camp back in the 1990s -  see photos of staff cabin and graphiti.

Day 7. 6-14. Tuesday. 7:15 AM departure. Down the valley to the well for final fill-up.  Over a ridge 'schwacking to get to the road.  Nearly perfect bearing,  came out within 50 feet of the windmill on the map that we were aiming for. Also broken.

4wd road hasn't seen traffic in 40 years.  Several difficult water crossings.  Fouled one up,  Nick improved one by building a rock bridge.

27800 steps,  about 9 to 14 miles. Overnight in Upper Greenwood Canyon.

Less than optimal camp ground.  Narrow,  steep slopes,  Bear bags way up the hill,  tents in a line in the only flat ground around. Earlier in the day had seen many bear marks and furry scat.  Not so much the past hour. Should be safer up here. 4pm arrival. Hour break then dinner and bear bags.

Nate P. injured out in the late evening with a slip on a small slope.  Knee sprained,  unable to put pressure on the leg.  Nick A. decided to send 4 to get the ranger in the morning - Nick,  Alec, Cas and Justin. They'll have to go to French Henry to find a radio to the medical ranger. They took food,  water, and detailed notes on the incident, all without adult prompting.

Unsure of next steps or timing this morning,  (9am, 6/15 Wednesday) but Kristy, John and I are hanging out doing laundry while Chris and Eric are playing around. Assuming it will be late when the 4 get back,  possibly with Rangers and a stretcher for Nate. That'd mean an AM departure tomorrow to Baldy Town for the remaining 6 scouts. We'll have to wait and see.

Up later this morning than usual - 6am instead of 4:40. Still frost on the tents and backpack covers. First frost we've seen this trek.

Reserving lunch for the scouts. Not sure if the group of 4 will be back this evening and if they will bring dinner. Still in a wait and see mode (12:20pm).

12:25pm - group of 4 has returned. They Got cell service at the switchbacks and called it in. Rangers should be here in a few hours.

4pm. Medics arrived.  Examined Nate and took him out via Greenwood Canyon and all the water crossing. Early bedtime tonight in hopes of an early departure for Baldy Town in the morning.

8ish pm - Rangers dropped off food for tomorrow.

Day 8, 6/16. Longest day so far.  Around 39,000 steps. Departed at 6am. Arrived Baldy Town 5:15pm.

(notes end here. Long couple of days - Baldy Town up Baldy Mountain, back down and across to Baldy Skyline. Skipped Miranda and the Mules. From Baldy Skyline to Ponil, mostly 4wd road. Scouts enjoyed the dinner and the show at Ponil saloon. Bus back to base camp, and a shower!)

Will England, 2017

Sunday, June 04, 2017

2017 Spotlight Spectacular Choir Concert Featuring Robyn

Robyn's final concert - she's a Junior and won't be in Choir next year.  Happy she got to perform, sad that this is her last show.

May 8, 2017 Alec Spring Band Concert

Alec's final concert of his Sophomore year.

Fox at Dawn, June 3 2017

Woken up at 4AM by SamTheDog.  He was in turn woken up by these foxes in the neighbors garden.  Couldn't get enough light to actually see the foxes but I punched up the audio so you can clearly hear the foxes barking.

- Will England

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Off Grid Power

You know, the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 battery pack with 60w solar panel isn't a bad idea, but it takes over 2 days to recharge from zero in direct sunlight.  But if you combined that with a Morphon 400w wind turbine (which can dump 1.4 kw of power over a windy day) you'd be right set for running your portable electronics all day, every day assuming you had some combination of sun and wind . . .

Yeah, it's a couple thousand dollar investment and not single-man portable but for a long term base camp (Boy Scout Summer camp?)  you'd have a single simple solution to keep the power going!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book by Jane Friedman

More interested in the paper published book?  Jane Freidman has a great article listing out tips and resources for self publishing your print-on-demand book or traditional book for sales.  Click through for more!

Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book | Jane Friedman

How To Self-Publish An Ebook from The Creative Penn

Do you have a manuscript that you've always wanted to publish?  Or just a long story that you think could be a commercial success?  eBook publishing isn't particularly difficult, gives you a huge potential audience and can make some money.  For a great guide, check out this site - they are basically ad free and aren't selling anything, just providing good information on how to publish an e-book on all the major platforms, from Amazon to iBooks to Nook and Smashwords.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2016 Philmont Montage - Trek 608BB2

Google Photos made this silly little video montage from some of my Philmont 2016 photos from Trek 608-BB2.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Alec 2016 Winter Band Concert

Alec's first symphonic band concert of his Sophomore year. Three tracks, holiday spirit. Pardon the audio; the mic picks up the HVAC almost better than the band. One of these days I'll just run a line into the mixer.