Monday, December 27, 2010

Interesting Find

Recently I bought some NPS visitor pamphlets with maps of Mt. Rainier NP. I have some other brochures and pamphlets about the NP produced by organizations and writers, most by the Mount Rainier National History Association from the 1940's and 1950's. These new ones originated as annual reports on the NP in agency publications (pre-NPS) and visitor's brochures (post-NPS).

I bought a selection of 1914, 1918, 1925, 1932, 1936 and 1940. I'm working on a Web pages about these so visitors can understand what visitors long ago experienced when visiting the NP in the years about the time of the creation of the NPS (1916) to World War II. In the 1936 pamphlet, just inside the cover, I found this visitor's pass (above) along with a parking ticket for a Seattle parking garage, which I assume is from the same visit, meaning they stayed in Seattle before or after visiting the NP.

I don't know what more I'll do about but it would be interesting to find the owner (Oregon vehicle license 190-110 in 1936), but that's on the later list of things to do. I just thought it was interesting.

Update.--Folks at the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles said that all vehicle records prior to 1960 were destroyed in the 1960's after the state converted to their new vehicle license and records system. In short, they threw away all the records which would have been a great asset for vehicle historians. What a waste when they could have simply archived all of the records in a warehouse.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Computer II

While I've written about my new computer, and it's not related to Mt. Rainier NP, but to the Webisite and the photo guide, I can say it's fully up and running with everything seemingly working. I haven't walked through everything, I know I will encounter small problems over the following weeks and months as I use more of the applications again.

But that said, I'm a happy camper. A little less rich financially, but with years of a great computer, it will easily repay itself. I will be sending my early 2006 G5 back to Apple to be recycled once I clean the hard drives. I have to say it was a good computer, never failed, rarely had problems, and mostly third party software. But the reality that no one, not even Apple supported it anymore, short of occasional security updates, it was overdue for a new one which will go well into the future.

And I can get back to the Mt. Rainer NP photo guide and history projects work starting sometime the last week of this month. I will be working on the paper side of things and doing some minor work preparing for several new Web pages, such as the two undone area guides, glaciers, placenames, and early history (1880-1920), among others.

I've been gather some more historic material, one of which I plan to scan (it's a government, public domain document) into a PDF. It's a description of the NP by the pre-NPS Superintendent of the NP in 1914, complete with map. It's cool to see 96 years of changes from then to now. And there have been many.

That's it for now. I'm back working, if only in between holiday life and some medical tests right now, but then it's winter there and not much changes except more snow.

Snowplay Area Opens

The snowplay area at Paradise will open this Saturday (Dec. 18, 2010), as reported in the Tacoma News Tribune,

"Good news for the fans of the snowplay area at Paradise. Conditions are good enough that the sledding area should open as planned on Saturday. “Yesterday we measured about 7 feet of snow at Paradise,” said Mount Rainier National Park district ranger Uwe Nehring. Park officials like to have at least 5 feet of snow on the ground to protect the small trees, brushes and sensitive plants in the area."

The rules for the snowplay area are as follows.

"Snowplay - Sledding and Sliding
The snowplay area at Paradise is generally open late December through mid-March, depending on snow. Sledding and sliding are permitted only in the designated snow play area at Paradise. Trees, tree wells, and cliffs make other areas dangerous. For everyone’s safety, use "soft" sliding devices—flexible sleds, inner tubes, and saucers. No hard toboggans or runner sleds."

While this isn't photography related, it's still fun if that's your pleasure. And it is snow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Computer

Well, the new Apple Mac Pro is up and running with all of the applications folders and files transferred. Well, almost all, I haven't wandered through every directory to compare contents (the old G5 currently sits along side the new Pro). It's clearly overkill for my uses but it will last at least 5 years and will be able to do anything I want with memory and disks to spare. I can ugrade the memory (currently just 8 of 32 MB's) but have all four hard drives used.

While it wasn't a hard thing, since I bought it from Apple's on-line store and they configured it minus the applications which I transferred, upgraded and added. There were some frustrating times which required some work to find a solution, but some friends with Mac Pro's helped a lot.

I discovered Migration Assistant (MA) program only transfers stuff from the primary hard drive, all the other ones are ignored. And the Time Machine backups for the old Mac aren't recognized by the MA program or the Pro either. So, you're left with putting in the old hard drives and copying folders and files to the new hard drives. This was, in the end, the easiest method except the finder settings didn't copy to arrange the files correctly.

Oh well, there's always something, like a set of Murphy's Law for computers. I also found some applications had to be reactivated, some with the serial number. Only one won't run until I find the original serial number (in a box in storage, I think). Some didn't work at all and had to be downloaded. And some I haven't tested yet as I have to connect all the hardware and test the applications for them.

So why do this when the old computer was working fine, although it is now frozen with no Apple support and no new Apple, Adobe or third party applications available for it? Well, it's the nature of the world and the Internet. You can't keep the old computers unless you don't have the need to keep current, but then you're risking your computer when you use the Internet.

For one you can't keep up with the changes in Web standards and design features. And you will, if you haven't already, found some Websites don't work on your older computer because the browser and plug-ins won't work and new ones aren't available, like Flash on the iPad and iPhone. Good luck navigating the world now.

And so I gave myself a very big and expensive Christmas present, but one which I'll enjoy for a long time now with just updates and upgrades, like the old one which lasted almost 5 years (4 years of good support and service). That's not a bad return these days for technology. The trade-off we face and buy now.

There still is some more work, testing the remaining applications, connecting and testing the hardware (will work, just not done yet), and walking through some of the new applications. What surprised me a little was that all the previous Adobe applications (CS2, CS3 and CS4 Suites) still work, at least the ones I routinely use.

I expect to get the remaining work done this week and return to my normal life again. With the medical issues and tests, I won't be back on the Website right away (ok, minus my blog to rant at politics in Washington D.C.), but will return the last week of December to get ready for the new year.

That's it from here. I hope you're finding this blog and the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide useful and helpful, and you can always send me your comments, questions or suggestions.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Website and Computer

I wrote that I ordered a new computer (Mac Pro) and will be replacing the old one (Mac PPC G5) the week of the 13th. That's been moved up to this weekend after the telephone company resolves the problems with the DSL I have to the (home) office. That means while the Website is up and was updated from earlier this week, it won't be updated again while I get the new Mac updated with software and the files transferred.

Also, I'll be out for medical tests the week of Christmas so updates will be minimal for the latest information if anything is important or interesting to note. I wrote about the heart problems they discovered. And I'll be on drugs for 4 months and longer if nothing improves.

Well the next test are for the bacterial infection I have going back decades and more recently the last three years which became worse this year and more so this fall. These tests should find the culprit, and the only question is if a treatment is available, and if so, what it is and what side effects there (always) are with me.

Such is life sometimes. Start something and everything else happens around it to distract your attention. I'm not good at balancing more than 2 things, 3 tops, at a time, and adding this with other issues, it's sometimes a little overwhelming. For me at least. But there isn't much choice with these.

And so, as I noted before, it's time to get it done. So, expect only a few updates until after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Governance of the NP

I updated the Web pages on the laws, regulations, polices, etc. governing Mt. Rainier NP, see introduction with links to the rest of the suite of Web pages. With the exception of two, the Forest Reserve Act of 1897 and NP designation of 1899, the laws, etc. are summarized with links to the full text. The purpose was to provide you with an overview of the complexity of some of the legal stuff the government and the NP staff have to deal with in and with the NP.

It's a bunch as you can see looking at them, but that's only those pertaining to the NP itself, and not employees and other elements of the federal government involving Mt. Rainier NP and the staff. Having worked in the federal government (28 years with the USGS) it's volumes upon volumes of regulations complying with laws. It's policies pertaining to everything. It's Executive Orders. And it's making it all work together and still be within the law.

It's your government at work as defined by Congress into laws and signed by the President. It's not the fault of the NPS, they didn't create anything that wasn't already defined into law. They're simply complying with it. So don't take your anger out on them when you should be angry with Congress, your elected representatives, and your President. Like that's going to do anything, but hey, you can try and speak up.

Anyway, that's it for now. Don't expect much for awhile. I'll be off on medical tests and getting my new computer up and running. And then it will be the holidays. I'll post something through this period but probably not new stuff until the January reports.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weather Page Updated

I've updated the Mt. Rainier NP weather overview Web page adding more information about data collection sites and data. I'll work on it some more to provide more explanation and detail, but that will take a little time to sort out what to add that's important and useful without being too technical. After all I spent almost all my career with the USGS in basic data operations.

Anyway, I'll update the blog when the new Web page is on-line.

2011 Plans

I got to reading the 2010 plans I had for the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide and sat there kinda' amazed how little I have accomplished while adding and doing a lot of work on the guide. I wandered from the goals and plans. And so what can I say about my 2011 plans for the guide?

Well, for one, some of the same things I said then. "Deja vu all over again" as Yogi Berra said. And yes, I'll put these on the list, as you can read in the to do list. But that's just a list without much direction, except of course, "Yeah, right, work on that." I don't need to organize some of it into a vaguely defined plan which fits the rest of my life and work.

The first is the obvious, finish the area guides for the northeast (White River entrance) and southeast (Ohanapecosh entrance). As I said then, these take 3-4 weeks of committed time to research, write and produce. I still need to find a better map for this suite of Web pages (overview and 5 areas). I've looked and still haven't found a good one yet, but I need to do more research.

The second is finish the 1896 expedition Web pages and finish the early history (1880-1920) Web pages. I have most of the information for the pages but need to research some more, some of which aren't in the immediate area, like the National Park Service offices or universities. These goes along with the early photography and photographers (1890-1900) Web pages.

The third is to look at other map servers for the interactive maps. I like Google's pseudo-java programing and system for their maps, I just don't like their maps. I don't think I use different maps with Google's scripting but it's worth some research and testing or just keep what I have and look at adding features to the maps.

The fourth is work on a draft book. This is clearly after the area guides but I can start working on the framework and content for the book. The plan is still PDF format but that requires different maps in the PDF's. This is a lot more work (been there, done that with the USGS Annual Data Reports for Washington), and will need some help (no offers or volunteers yet).

The fifth is a followup with the book to see if I can get a real publisher. I'd love to have it in print with the Web pages providing the additional or supplemental information in the book. Right now that's a big wish and hope.

The last is look at an iPhone and iPad version. Not sure if that's a both since they are different formats despite shared operating systems. I may simply contract this out if I can't spend time learning what it takes, but I'll do the later first. I'd hate to sell all this out to someone making money on my work.

That's it for now. I'll review and update this during the year as events and work changes, and you're always welcome to send e-mail with your comments or suggestions.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Unrelated December News

I'm still working on some Web pages for the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide and hope to have them ready by next week. After that don't expect much between then and the end of the month unless it's news or something I think is important. This is because of two unrelated events this month.

First, I'm replacing my computer system. I have an Apple Mac G5 Power PC (PPC), circa March 2006 and yes just 3 months before the introduction of the Intel-chip Macs. Bad timing but then it's become the reason I'm replacing it with a new Mac Pro which is coming next week and I plan to spend the week of the 13th to set it up, transfer all the software applications and files, and install new software.

All my applications are 1-plus to 2 years old, since many companies stopped supporting PPC versions in 2008-2009 as did Apple and Adobe in late 2009. In short, it's aged itself out of business. While it's still useful and useable, it's won't be current with updates and upgrades. Such is the life of computer, and after 4 1/2 years I been a very satisfied user and customer. It's never failed, hiccuped or whatever and only rarely failed to install software which was always fixable.

The new Mac will easily last me 5 years and maybe longer if Apple contintues with the Intel chip and software companies support it. All of the peripheral equipment, two scanners and two printers will work nicely with the new Mac. I look forward to it, albeit my checkbook doesn't, but hey Merry Christmas to me.

The other issue is health. I've had on-going health issues for almost three years now, and more so since this last February and some issues going back to 2006 and some of the last few decades. It's been a slowly developing problem with worse periods as of late. So, the physician is working with the specialists to finally determine what it is which my physician and I think we know.

The specialist don't want to hedge their bets without going through the tests looking for the obvious to the less obvious. It's a matter of reduction, reducing the causes to the ones left in the face of the tests. And on down the line until the obvious is staring the specialist in the face, or in the test results, and they have that conversation, "Ok, we know what's causing the problem and we have a course of treatement."

Well, I'm hoping it's not too long, intenstive or diasterous to my health, the old adage about the cure being worse than the disease. But I won't know until later in the month and probably into January. Until then it's off to the clinics. And as I find time around these two events I'll update the photo guide.