Saturday, November 16, 2019

How to navigate Blogger using the URL bar

Some - many actually - blogs don't have a date picker on their sidebar.  Annoying if you want to jump back to their first post and read in chronological order.  So, how to get around that?  Use the URL bar.  From the first page of the blog, scroll down, click the 'Older Posts'.

Now, you have a URL like 
in the URL bar.

Now, simply edit the 'max' value - it's a year, month, day value.  You can simply change the year:

Eventually you'll hit a year that has no posts - you'll see a message like:
Go back one year.  Then you can go by month:

Change the 09 to 08, the 07 and so on.  Or, if your that close to the beginning you can just click 'older posts' until you reach the beginning.  With enough edits or clicks, you'll find the start:

Hope this helps you in your blog reading!

Will England

Sunday, November 10, 2019

How To Camp - gear and prep information

Someone asked on Quora about camping.  I, as usual, went on a multi-page essay. Follows is my advice on How To Camp.  I could continue for hours more - 12 years as an adult scouter, 2 Philmont crew trainings, 1 Philmont trek, 6 years as a youth in scouting, a couple of family campouts inbetween the scouting Troop campouts.

As others have commented - good tent. I’ll disagree on the Wal-Mart special; their Ozark Trail line, especially the smaller ones, are brilliant tents and will last several seasons with good care. That being said, I run REI Half Dome and REI Quarter Dome tents. Watch for sales, use your REI dividend the help cut costs.

REI Half Dome 2+.  Note full fly to the ground, large vestibule.

Old Coleman tent with full fly, large vestibule, properly tied out. Coleman doesn’t make this style anymore unfortunately.

Otherwise it’s follow the Scouts BSA handbook (Get any used version off of eBay, it’s really the best book on camping written) on how to set up a tent, use a footprint, etc. The Scouts BSA Fieldguide is the next level of superior information, get a copy of that - any version is good. Get a *good* insulated ground pad. Klymit Static V Insulated is most excellent and there are others. Foam pads are jus fine, especially for the younger set. As we age and our bones get to aching, the *insulated* air pads are worth the money.

Get a good sleeping bag. Mountain Hardware Lamina Z 20 or Kelty Cosmic 20 Dri-Down both under $300 or far less on sale, both impressively warm. Know and understand the temperature rating listed on the bag is the ‘survival’ temp - you’ll live, but you won’t be comfortable. a ’20 degree’ bag is generally warm down to about 40 degrees. Some bags have actual tested ratings, called ‘EN Rated’ — read those. They list the comfort and survival limits for men and women. The Cosmic 20 is EN rated to 16 for survival. I’ve found it warm to about 30 degrees, below that I’d be grabbing a ‘0 degree’ bag. Slumberjack is generally going to be the best price / quality compromise, but they are big and heavy. I have a shelf full; Campmor, Cabelas and Bass Pro frequently put them on sale for well under $100.
Get the smallest tent you can stand. Less airspace to warm up. Avoid bigass cabin tents, they don’t ventilate, don’t warm up, and blow down too easily. I prefer self-supporting tents (dome tents) so you can set them up, then easily move them as needed to get the positioning just right.
Set the tent up with your head at the high end of the slope you are camping on. About every campground is going to have some level of slope - figure it out and sleep head up. Sleeping head-down you’ll wake up with a wicked headache.
Get a tent with a fly that comes nearly to the ground. Stake it out everywhere you can stake it out. Use all the guylines you can. An unexpected wind will flatten a poorly guyed out tent and make for a miserable night. Set up the tent at home (or in a local park) at least once before the trip, ideally two or three times so you know how to set it up, and how to pack it down to fit back in the bag.

Overkill big tent. It caught the wind this Spring and snapped the poles. Kids managed to tape and lash it together for one more night, but it was wasted after that.

Bring a small comfy folding chair. REI has 2 pound mini chairs you can find from $50 to $100; Aerostich has a brilliant chair called the ‘Kermit’ that packs small enough to use motorcycle camping.
REI mini-chair in front of the Half Dome 2 Plus tent. Worth every penny and ounce. Very comfortable, very sturdy

A doormat isn’t a bad idea to put in the vestibule to keep the entry / exit of your tent dry. Take care of the tent - no shoes in the tent, clean it out when you’re done, air it out and dry it, store it loosely stuffed in a tote or sack in the off-season, re-seal the seams every year or two, etc.
Pre-cook as much of your food before you go (having a ground beef dinner? Pre cook the beef, drain and freeze before you leave). Use a stove with burners below the surface for wind protection. Cook a meal on the stove before you leave. Pack all your kitchen in one tote - stove, cutting board, pot, pan, 2 dishpans, soap, serving spoons, knives (cased), plates, cups etc. Before you leave, cook a meal using only what’s in the tote - anything you have to get out of a drawer, either add to the tote or buy another one, OR see if you can multipurpose something else to do the job. Unless you *want* to spend most of your evening cooking and cleaning, fix pre-prepared food as much as possible. Canned stew and dinner rolls is a brilliant dinner, quick prep and cleanup. If you’re going to use freeze dried bagged food - try it out at home first. Some are nice, some taste like ass. It’s worth the $20 to get one bag of each meal before you leave to make sure everyone will like the taste.
Cooking - use a compressed gas stove (propane) under 6K feet / above 20 degrees. Use a white gas stove over 6K feet / under freezing conditions. Jetboil personal stoves hate cold weather and altitude. For backpacking - MSR Whisperlite. For basecamp - Coleman or Camp Chef are both good stoves. All available under $100, especially if you catch the many sales every year. If you are doing large group camping, get a 15 pound propane tank, distribution manifold and connectors for the stove and lantern. Beats carrying (and having run out) 3 or 4 one pound propane bottles.

If you’re a coffee addict (hi!) don’t bother with the percolator unless you have a large group going and are base camping in one place for a while. A french press is nice - but you need a very coarse grind to keep from getting a lot of fines in your cup. Don’t just bring canned coffee for a french press - go to the store, get the beans and grind them coarse. A french press also takes 2 to 2.5x the water to make and clean. If water is a limiting factor (backpacking) - hit up Starbucks and get enough Via Packs to make coffee for all. They taste great, easy to fix, low water requirement and exceptionally light.

Take 7 gallons of water plus a flat of bottled water with you assuming you are car-camping. Until you have spoken with the camp ranger, assume any water from a tap is contaminated and boil / treat for bacteria. Definitely treat stream or lake water. In the Midwest just don’t use lakewater. It’s all poison. (oilfield, cattle, crop runoff). In the mountains the creek water, especially that beautiful clear cold running water is pure poison. Cryptosporidium is rife in mountain streams and will push everything you ever ate out your back end, putting a prompt end to your trip - and possibly an end to your younger and older campers lives. Once the runs start, immediately end the trip, return to the car and get to town and a clinic. Not kidding. Grew up in New Mexico - and we’d hear of a couple babies dying from crypto every year. Use the water purification tabs - and let them sit 4 hours, not the 30 minutes on the label. 30 minutes is for warm water. The 38 degree creek water will take much longer to purify. Water is life. Know where your next water is, how much you have now, and how much you need to get to your next water.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

How to select multiple photos and edit / delete in Flickr

As times pass, you will find that some chunks of photos are no longer relevant, or you no longer want to display them on Flickr publicly -- changes in jobs, relationships, organizations, or just a bunch of 'potatoe' photos.

The simplest way to find and edit or delete photos from Flickr is to log in, then go to your Camera Roll. From there you find a nice data selector running down the left side of the screen, so you can quickly scroll to the timeframe you want to modify.

Click each photo you want to change, or click 'Select All' for the date - they'll appear in a bin at the bottom of the screen.  Given it's a web app, I suggest keeping your selections relatively small - less than 50 or 100 images at a time. From there, you can lock (set the privacy to only you for visibility), Edit, Add to Album or Delete. Over the course of a lazy Saturday morning you can easily remove or hide hundreds of photos, keeping your curated photo roll clean and reflecting the best of what you want to showcase.

Sometimes, it's easier to select the entire day, then unselect the few images you wish to keep.  Unfortunately, after each delete Flickr resets the camera roll to the top of the date list, so you have to drill back down to find the next date to update.

I hope this helps others - the answers on the Flickr discussion board were less than clear, so I felt a quick visual blog post on bulk editing, mass deletion, or changing the privacy of many photos in your Flickr account was appropriate.

- Will England