Thursday, October 19, 2017

Moto e4 Plus Wrapup - Sprint Product Ambassadors

I've been using the Moto e4 Plus for several weeks now, coming directly from the Moto Force z2 and I find that I don't miss many of the high end features of the Force.  The screen is the same size as the top-end phones (Force z2, Galaxy S8 etc) and the battery is far far better.  As a matter of fact, the battery is one of the best features of the phone.  I've easily went an entire campout shooting photos and keeping up with work via email and not had to dig out a battery pack to recharge the phone.  The Mediatek processor is optimized for low power consumption, combined with 5,000 mAh of power gives you staying power for this phone.

The e4 Plus offers the same accurate fingerprint sensor as the Force Z2 at the bottom of the screen and the same Moto Gestures for opening the camera (twist twice) and turning on the flashlight (chop down twice) among others.  It's very similar to the flagship phones at a much more reasonable price. Improving on the flagship phones is the hand feel - with a metal back and solid build it just feels better to hold than the Force Z2.  The large battery may be part of that, adding some heft and solidity to the phone.  I didn't get a case for this phone and never felt like I needed one.   The phone feels like a premium device at a budget price.

I mentioned I shot some photos on the phone - that's one of my primary uses for a cell phone these days is media capture - photos and videos.  While the 13megapixel sensor sounds good, it struggles in low light and indoors, with a bit more added grain.  Compared to an older premium phone (Galaxy S4) it is far better with excellent quality.  Only when compared to current phones 4 times the price do you notice any dropoff in photo or video quality.  Shutter lock time is a bit slower - most likely a factor of the power efficient processor.  Plan your shots and don't expect to stop a sporting play in mid-tackle and you'll be fine.  Looking at photos or watching videos on the 720p HD screen is fine - bright enough to use in direct sunlight and a fine enough DPI that you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and a super-premium phone.

Audio on the phone is excellent - great call quality, a solid speaker for music or online radio listening and a 3.5mm headset jack to attach any headset or plug into your auxiliary port on your car stereo.  Bluetooth audio is supported as well with quick pairing but no audio routing.  Once a Bluetooth device is connected, all audio will route to the Bluetooth device until you turn off Bluetooth or the headset.

For a quarter of the price of the current super-premium phones, you're getting longer battery life, a solid hand feel, quality metal build, effective camera, good sound and call quality and enough speed to handle all the daily communication tasks you count on your phone for.  Two thumbs up - not just a great kids phone, but a great value in cell phones overall.

- Will England, Sprint Product Ambassador


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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

2017 Shawnee Mission West Marching Band at Homecoming Parade

The 2017 Homecoming Parade start with the ROTC, Dance Team and Shawnee Mission West Pride Marching Band!



Monday, October 09, 2017

Moto z2 Force Speed - Sprint Product Ambassadors

I've been looking and looking for a tower or demo site with the 256 QAM modulation configured to get the gigabit speeds that the Moto Z2 Force is capable of, but none are online yet and my time with the phone has come to an end.  However, at 95th and Quivira in Overland Park, KS there is a great antenna with massive MIMO that gave this speed result:


Nearly 200 Mbps download in the middle of the afternoon near a busy mall.  Outstanding speed from the Moto Z2 Force.  One of the fastest phones on the network and only going to get faster as 256QAM is turned on.

 - Will England



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

Moto Z2 Force Clock Widget Demo - Sprint Product Ambassadors

While the Moto Z2 Force has dozens of advanced features, one I found the most fascinating is the default built in clock widget.  Check out all it can do in the following video!







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

Managing Storage Space on the Moto Z2 Force - Sprint Product Ambassadors

The Moto Z2 Force comes with 64GB of built in memory, so it's less likely you'll run out of space.  If you do want to clear up space, the system storage space manager is quite easy to use and simple.  Watch the following video for a quick walkthrough!







 - Will England



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

Friday, October 06, 2017

Moto e4 Plus Back Cover Removal - Sprint Product Ambassadors

Last time we left off in the unboxing I hadn't found out how to remove the back cover on the Moto e4 Plus - turns out it is removable and offers both SIM card and SD card access!  Watch below for the how-to and what's under the cover.









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

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Unboxing the Moto e4 Plus from Sprint

The new e4 Plus from Sprint just arrived - a new midrange phone with a large 5.5" screen, 5,000 mAh battery and all the features you expect in a smartphone.  Let's check out what's in the box!



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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Moto Z2 Force - Keeping the screen scratch free - Sprint Product Ambassadors




A lot has been written about how durable the Moto Z2 Force screen is - and I've really enjoyed the durability of the phone.  It's the first phone I haven't felt I needed a case for, and it's been dropped the usual amount of times on concrete, hardwood and more with no damage.  However, the screen isn't scratch proof due to the shatter-resistant build.  How do I keep it from getting scuffed and scratched?

Simple!  I put a tempered glass screen protector on it from Illumishield.  They offer a hard glass screen cover that directly fits the Moto Z2 Force, providing scratch protection and a fingerprint resistant cover for the screen.  Now, this isn't a recommendation for any specific brand; they were just the first ones I found on Amazon that claimed to support the brand new Z2 Force. 

The screen on the Z2 force is made from a layered glass and polycarbonate composition, the exact nature of which is secret to only Motorola.  It's definitely shatterproof as I have dropped it from 4+ feet directly onto the screen on concrete.  But it's not as hard as the Gorilla Glass screens on other phones and keys or other things can leave scratches in the screen.  I've been quite careful to keep the phone in a pocket with nothing else hard - usually behind my leather wallet - but even so a few small marks were becoming visible.  So I ordered the tempered glass screen protector.


I've had less than stellar experiences with screen protectors, but the 0.3mm thick Illumishield has been an exception to the rule.  Installation is simple - just clean the screen well with the included alcohol wipe, peel off the sticky back, align the protector to the screen, making sure the small 'U' (shown) lines up with the home button, and drop it in place.

Once you drop it in place, start pressing firmly with the microfiber cloth from the center out to remove any air bubbles and adhere the protector to the screen.  You won't get all the bubbles out at first, but after a day in your pocket the heat and pressure will force the air out leaving a perfectly clear and smooth surface.  A word of warning - do not use anything hard to try to push the bubbles out.  As you get close to the edge you can (and will) crack the glass protector.  Trust me.  I'm glad there were three screen protectors in the package; the first one didn't survive my ham-handed installation where I tried to use the back end of a permanent marker to push out the bubbles.

Screen responsiveness and touch have not been impacted with the screen protector on, and after several weeks there's no sign that the tempered glass will peel up or come loose.  I'm quite satisfied with the Illumishield protector and recommend it highly.

- Will England

Disclaimer:
       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

Moto E4 Plus - Introduction from Sprint Product Ambassadors

These days 'entry level' or 'midrange' smartphones are better than the top of the line phones from just 2 years ago.  The Moto e4 Plus is a great example of that! Fast charging, quad core processor, 2GB ram, well, lets look and find out more!

The 5.5" large screen Moto e4 Plus offers a large screen at 1200x720px resolution, a 5,000 mAh battery, good for up to 2 days use, quick charge, and all the latest improvements in smartphones.  With a 12 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera this 'midrange' phone outstrips many premium phones of just a few years ago.  It supports all the latest radio bands too for fast data speeds, and offers the newest Bluetooth standards for pairing with your car or headset.  Still have a wired headset?  No worries - the e4Plus still comes with a headphone jack!  

The body is made of metal with a slightly curved glass front for appealing aesthetics.  The phone, while not waterproof, has a nano coating to allow for splash resistance.  Don't submerge it, but if you get caught in the rain you're not going to fry your new phone.  Offering a single loudspeaker and dual microphones, it should provide good sound clarity and quality - up to 84dB according to Motorolas specifications.   The phone comes in a gold tone or flat grey color to match your personality.

At this price point a few things have been left out - a QHD display is missing as is NFC, so no Android Pay is available on this phone.  But with the great specifications, quad core Qualcomm chip and multi-day battery, I think it's going to be a winner for anyone going for a solid Android phone without breaking the bank.

Will England 

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

Courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" -Mary Anne Radmacher

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Eclipse Camping

For a year we've been planning on going somewhere in the line of totality for the August 2017 total solar eclipse.  Most of the parks and open spaces were charging an arm and a leg for a parking spot - but we, being a Scouting family, were able to get a reservation at Camp Gieger Scout reservation, for free.  Only about 300 people were scheduled to be at the 1,000 acre reservation - no overcrowding here!

The original plan was to go up Saturday with the whole family - but one son had a scout campout with the troop; the other kids were scheduled out with their respective fathers for their weekends.  They wouldn't be home till 7PM Sunday.  With the eclipse traffic hitting on Monday, we went ahead and set up camp Saturday and planned to come home and fetch kids on Sunday, returning Sunday night.
Panorama of the campsite

Sunday comes and goes and we head back up I29 to Saint Joseph, MO for a night of camping.   The site had some heavy rain and straight line winds and one ancient tent failed to stay waterproof.  Fortunately, I had a spare REI Quarter Dome 1, so it was quickly set up for the middle son.

Monday arrives and boredom sets in with the kids - they aren't used to no-program camping and weren't sure what to make of themselves.  They ended up exploring and found toads:


They also left the place better than we found it - using a 'fishing magnet' he built at his dad's they trolled a trail near the campsite and found about a box of decking screws left behind from summer camp:


But the morning passed quickly and the eclipse started!  We were starting to get socked in by clouds but still able to see the moon eclipsing the sun.  Unfortunately, right at 1PM the rain rolled in and heavy clouds blocked the totality from viewing.  Even without being able to see the totality, we could easily observe the effects as the bugs started chirping, the light dropped and it appeared to be midnight in the middle of the day:

Campsite at totality - 1:10 PM 

With the continuing rain and disappointment of missing the totality, we voted and decided to spend the next 4 hours on the road in traffic instead of hanging out in the rain.  Wet tents were stuffed and the van loaded back up.  May not have been the best choice as traffic was as heavy as I've seen in the country.  After a few hours on the road, tempers were short and the typical family roadtrip fussing and fighting broke out.  We survived, if not thrived, and returned home by 6PM to watch the eclipse show we recorded on TV at home. 

Not an optimal weekend - bad schedules, bad weather, etc - but still memorable.  And possibly our last family vacation before the oldest daughter goes off to college next year!

Your humble correspondent,

- Will England

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Creating Spot Color Photos on the Moto Z2 Force - Sprint Product Ambassador

You've all see the artistic photos where the foreground subject is in color, while the background is black and white - now see how to create them easily on the Moto Z2 Force!  Just watch this short video explaining how to use the Depth Enabled camera to create spot color photos right on your phone.



 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

Moto Z2 Force Camera Walkthrough

The Moto Z2 Force has a great interface to the camera, giving you intuitive controls and many options for taking photos.  Take a closer look in the video walkthrough:



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

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Unboxing the new Moto Z2 Force

As a Sprint Product Ambassador I get to demo phones from time to time - this month it's the flagship Moto Z2 Force!  Today we're unboxing the phone.  #sprintemployee


Test screenshot from Moto Z2 Force

Test screenshot from 'share to...'

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Alec elevated to Firebuilder

Tonight, Saturday July 22nd at 9pm in Lone Bear Council Ring at H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation, Alec was elevated from Warrior in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say to the responsibility of Firebuilder in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.

Congratulations, Firebuilder Night Smoke. Your father is proud of you and how far you have come. May the Great Spirit watch over you and guide you through the future.

-Will England

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Samsung Tab3 and Keyboard typing backward-ish

As the proud owner of a new Samsung Tab3 with the optional keyboard cover, I've been trying to use it as much as possible to see how well it works.

At most everything it excels, but for one thing.  In Gmail replies, the cursor position will often jump backward a word and start typing behind the last word I typed - or backward typing.  I can't find a setting in the Tablet or in Gmail that would indicate that I wanted to have right to left typing, and I'm not touching the screen in any way to indicate that I want to move the cursor position.

At this point it may be that the keyboard is slightly undocked, or it's an odd conflict between the device and the WYSIWYG editor pane in Gmail.  I've seen similar behavior on the Mac with Outlook on Chrome, which leads me to think the jumping cursor and reverse typing may be a software conflict.  As I find more about it I'll update . . .

- Will England

Friday, July 07, 2017

Evolution of antennas

http://blog.3g4g.co.uk/2016/08/antenna-evolution-from-4g-to-5g.html?m=1

Looks quite interesting - once I've read it I'll update...

- Will England

Friday, June 23, 2017

Alcatel Go Flip Menus - Sprint Product Ambassador

The Alcatel Go Flip offers a clear bright color screen with simple menus to access the features and functions of the phone. Check out the video for a walkthrough of the menus!


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

Using a MicroSD Card in the Alcatel Go Flip - Sprint Product Ambassador

The Alcatel Go Flip supports MicroSD Cards up to 32GB in size for your music, videos and more. There isn't currently a way to move or shoot photos onto the card, but for adding your own music it's a great option. Getting to the card is a bit tricky - watch the following video for more:

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

Copying Files from the Alcatel Go Flip - Sprint Product Ambassador

To copy photos and files off of the Alcatel Go Flip, you can use the Android File Transfer app on your computer:



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

Alcatel Go Flip Sample Video - Sprint Product Ambassador

The classic test video around since the Palm Pre - my back yard in varied light.  The Alcatel Go Flip captures video vertically; it has no sensor to rotate the video so you are limited to vertical video or post production editing if you want horizontal video.  It does fairly well in good light, 20 frames per second at 240x320px.





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

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!
FMRadio.jpg

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!

Disclaimer:
       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 https://contacts.google.com/ 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.

export.PNG

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 MSOutlook.info:

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




Disclaimer:
       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.

#badhaiku

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.