Friday, September 30, 2016

Garryowen, MT... Some nifty things

I stayed five days here enroute to another destination.  Only stopped here to so have a place to work and not needing to drive the whole 1,500 miles to my final destination.  Plus they offered Escapees members a 15% discount, off their inflated prices.  Really nice campground though, but expensive for the area.

Now, on my way to next place, will be stopping at a farmers market in South Dakota to get some real milk (i.e. unpasteurized).  Am going to assume that some people, most people in fact, might have misgivings about this due to the propaganda we are fed from the dairy industry, and government.  I enjoy "raw" cow and goat milk, and if have to have pasteurized milk, such as to finish off cereal, will get some pasteurized goats milk, as pasteurized cow milk doesn't appeal to my taste buds.

Just remember, Once you go real, you don't go back.

Have had some icky raw milk, in that it tasted like water.  In cases like that it is because they skim all the wonderful milk fat off and am assuming they sell it as cream.  When pick up a bottle, in states where it's legal, I always look for that layer of heavy cream on the top...  Gives me a stiffy just thinking of it.

Bring this up now while I'm in Montana as it's illegal to get in Montana, at least from stores.  Last year, 2015, a bill was introduced in the Montana Senate to legalize it for certain purposes, but the vote failed by one person...  Milk lobbies and propaganda..  GRRR

In the states where it's not suitable to drink for human consumption, I have to watch my pets drink it...  Makes me sad they can legally partake, but I can't..

Hardin, MT

This town was quite nice, but very small, which also made it nice.

Found a nice restaurant in town, and made the trek there twice (it's about 30 minutes one way).  Restaurant is called the Ranch House Grill.  I must say, the food here was quite good, even though I did have a Spam Burger, it had amazing flavors.  Didn't expect to have such a good tasting burger, with three slim slices of spam nestled on top of the burger, and hidden underneath some super thick cheddar cheese, with a layer of BBQ sauce, if memory serves me.  It was special of the day and it just blew me away, so much so that I came back again.  While they didn't have the Spam Burger again, there was something else that was also quite pleasing, a beef brisket burger.  Also had a slice of pie, with a graham cracker crust, a thin layer of some lemony goodness, and a thick blueberry-esque creamy layer on top.  The whipped cream they topped it with was sickly looking but the whole enchilada was very tasty.

Highly recommend visiting the Ranch House Grill to anyone who passes through town!

Due to where I'm going, I also got a haircut too.  As it so happens there was also a nice little mom and pop hair cutting place right across the street.  Ladies name was Barb and she gave my hair a nice little trim around the edges.  I had cut it myself a few days earlier, but being single, it's somewhat hard to make the back look nice and neat and non-hairy, so normally don't bother.  But in this case did bother and it feels pretty darn good!

Custer's Last Stand

This isn't truly why I chose this place, but as it miraculously turns out, the campground is less than ten miles from Custer's Last Stand.  I drove to the battlefield, paid my $15.00 entrance fee, rode around and stopped at all the little plaques indicating certain events of this battle, then headed into the little museum.  The highlight of this, for me, was they had a display recreating the final moments of the battle, or what they perceived the final moments were.  It was fascinating, heart wrenching, and euphoric.  Was happy to learn that the native americans won this battle!!!!!

Native American Goodness

For a long time, too long, have always wanted a Dreamcatcher.  Today I finally got one!!!  Hooray!

There's a little casino just down the road from the national park, right off the highway.  I went there for lunch, for unknown reasons, as their food isn't all that great.  There was a native american gentlemen that was there and we struck up a conversation.  Turns out he wanted some money to gamble with, which I gave him $5.00, but he wound up helping me fulfill one of my dreams!  We talked for quite awhile and turns out he's a member of the Crow tribe.  It turns out that there were four scouts that were part of Custer's part from the Crows (not Black Crows (the birds)).  That aside, this person pointed me to a native american shop that was right around the corner that had some dreamcatchers!

Went over to the gas station, rode around the corner, and walked into shop.  Turns out the owners were native american, which is a great sign, but not unsurprising due to area am in.  From what I gathered upon talking with them is that most of the stuff is made locally, or in close proximity.  It was full of good stuff, but was specifically looking for the dreamcatcher.  He pointed me to a couple different styles that they have.  They had quite a few that looked really pretty with lots of beads, I mean lots of beads.  Didn't choose that one because, well, you know, cats...  If cats get a hold of that, beads everyplace!!!!!  Bad juju.

So, chose one with leather straps and such, hand painted, and made by someone in Wyoming, which isn't all that far away.  Would've preferred a feather or two, but this should work just fine.

Dreamcatcher hanging in RV

Generally they're supposed to be hung in a window, but I chose to hang it in the doorway by my bedroom.  Realistically this was the only place could hang it without some drilling or other changes.  A fancy dancy zip tie holds it up there, can still see the plastic "tail".

Another thing I got, which didn't expect to, was predicated by the guy at the casino telling me about it.  It's called Bear Root.

Back of Bear Root
It looks weird, smells weird, and burns similar to incense.  Both the free loader guy, and the one running the shop, said they use it to ward off not so good things.  Both said they burn it daily, and the one at the shop actually showed me how to burn it.  That is to break off, or cut, small chunks from the main piece, light with lighter, and let it burn out.  Then, to reburn that piece, "peel" off the burnt bits with needle nose pliers, and relight.  Can do this a few times before the small chunk is all gone.

Front of Bear Root
I'm a firm believer in abnormal things, in that there are things in this world in which people believe that are rooted in fact, but yet there is no "scientific" way to measure if what they say is true, which leads people to poo poo it.  It is along these lines that I am giving this a go.  The two people I spoke to (yes, a "huge" sample size) firmly believe in this.  I didn't get the feeling they were trying to bait a white guy, but one never knows.

The guy at the shop said that the Bear Root, and Dreamcatcher, will work in tandem to keep not so nice things away from me.  The Dreamcatcher, according to him, will intercept not so good things coming in while my spirit is relaxed and unaware during sleep.  The Bear Root will ward off those not so nice things during the day.  This is according to their beliefs, and who am I to doubt what's been handed down to them by their ancestors.  It's all worth a try.

A Quote I found

About closed mindedness

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.” 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Computer cleanliness

Have two parts to this, the first is actual cleanliness of the hardware, and other regards data safety.

Now, it's possible to use the canned compressed air, and I have in years past (with the same PC), but now I use my air compressor mounted on the RV.  The basic steps (sorry, no pictures) are:

  1. Unplug all wires connected to PC
    1. Monitor(s)
    2. Anything USB
    3. Speakers
    4. Microphone
    5. Keyboard / mouse
    6. Power cord (of course)
  2. Remove access panels, carefully, with proper tools
    1. Be vewy vewy careful about touching any of the innards
    2. Examine for any loose connections
    3. I generally only remove one
    4. Am sure there are youtube videos for visuals
  3. Take main case outside (IMPORTANT), and close door behind you
  4. Blow all dust and stuff out of case
    1. If using canned "air", make sure no liquid comes out
      1. Hold can upright at all times
      2. Liquid coming out could be very very bad, in this case
    2. If using air compressor, no special instructions
    3. Careful around fans, nice to see spin but don't spin too much, just enough for dust removal
    4. To prevent spinning, put "nozzle" between fan blades then squirt, air of course
    5. Get into all nooks and crannies
    6. Keep at it till dust free, might be awhile
    7. Don't shake case all that much, move around gently to get best angles
  5. Take main case back inside
  6. Put case back together
    1. Pay attention for loose wires, push in/tighten as needed
    2. Put side panel back on, using proper tools
    3. Don't over tighten screws (could strip and this strip is bad)
    4. Be careful to not touch anything inappropriate
  7. Plug in all wires removed in step #1


While I await the new processor from AMD (Zen), am becoming more aware of how much wasted space I have on my storage media (hard drives mostly).  This is, in no small part, to having had to replace a couple of hard drives recently, and my days of acquiring software.

Before talking about how I backup, please note there's not one "correct" way.  Of course, am sure could always send a request to the NSA for a copy of your data, but unlikely you'll get it back due to government being government.

I typically use the free stuff and devise my own way to do it, but there are software suites which accomplish the same thing, in varying ways.  Some create an image of the drives (similar to DVD, but bigger).  Others copy files like I do.  Some have the capability to do full backups, then incremental ones over time.  Long story short, there's probably a backup package to do it in most any way.

I generally don't create an image of the whole drive, though at times it's saved my bacon and saved me days of reinstalling software.

These are some things I do, when think of it, to help make my life a little easier in times of need.

  • Save all things important that I want to a specific folder, generally C:\data or D:\data
  • Always have recovery utilities somewhat handy
    • Currently use copy of HIREN's Boot CD
    • Some contents could be from dubious origins, not overly sure
  • Run backup scripts and copy / compress to external media
    • USB Hard drive is current favorite though takes long time (USB2)
    • Using compressed files to password protect work data, and keeping same format for my PC

These steps are done on both my work computer and personal desktop computer.  All work compressed files are password protected, though the challenge is remembering said password.  Ideally should also password protect, or better, my own files, but currently don't.  I also like the thought of always taking "new" files for the backup instead of having static files on the backup that get updated/replaced/added to.  This can go either way as the backup could go bad, or the "live files" that you use every day could go bad, which results in a bad backup.  Here I feel it's a 50/50 chance.

This helps protect me from surprises and loss of data.

Up until recently I only kept one single backup, sometimes outdated by quite a few months, on one external 4 TB hard drive.  However, due to the kindness and compassion of a friend on Vashon, and his moving to using Solid State Enterprise level hard drives, I was able to obtain a bit of his older equipment for a reasonable price.  Not that the SSD's he got weren't reasonable, I mean more affordable for the average schmoe.

Now, this is my current setup, and way of doing backups, with all scripts stored in C:\batch:

  1. One Aukey metal enclosure containing two 1 TB hard drives
  2. One USB cable connects to desktop (or laptop) computer
    1. Currently only USB 2, but enclosure is USB 3
  3. Run scripts to consistently backup everything
    1. Scripts are below

The scripts I use are manually launched, using one main file that will launch subsequent processes.  What immediately follows is a description of all the files.  Of particular note, and reason for the naming, is the enclosure reports two hard drives to Windows, The first one (for me) is G, and second is H.  The scripts are named appropriately

g_FreqBackup - This does most of the grunt work and is only backup script I physically launch for the frequently updated files.  This does one backup and launches the second one through a separate process.

  1. Copy some files to a temporary location.  This is because Winblows (Windows) locks some files.  These are files that are inconvenient to always save in my Data folder.  At least on my personal computer I use the data folder more as a long term storage which won't get backup with this job.  This job is for a smaller set of files that could change frequently.
  2. Launches a secondary compression process (to the H drive).
  3. Rename existing archive file(s) so that have a history in case "accidentally" removed something.   I currently keep one extra backup file.
  4. Call a compression sub script that uses variables set in a previous section
  5. Cleanup (delete) the temporary file(s)

h_FreqBackup - The script essentially does same compression that g_FreqBackup does.  The file compression generally stays on the same filename (due to file caching) so not overly concerned about temporary files being removed early

  1. Rename existingr archive files so that have a history in case "accidentally" removed something.   I currently keep one extra backup file.
  2. Call a compression sub script that uses variables set in a previous section

rename_backup - A sub script using variables set in other scripts that will delete the existing backup backup file, if it exists, and then renames the prior backup file to save the more recent one.

compress - A sub script that simply contains the command use to compress the file (using 7Zip currently).  This gives the benefit that if want to change anything regarding the compression stuff, it's only in one spot, though have to change a few things here, for "later"...

freqfiles.txt - A simple text file containing a list of locations (directories/folders) that 7Zip will add to my archive.  This is for the ones that can frequently change.

g_backup - Main script (similar to g_FreqBackup) that will archive the less commonly used files.  It's not as fully fleshed out though will get to same level.

h_backup - Very similar to h_backup currently though will change to be more similar to h_FreqBackup as time allows

listfiles.txt - A list of directors (folders) to include in the archive

Below are the nitty gritty details of exactly what's being done.  Have included everything, except Winblows, so that there are good examples to expand  upon.

::Script backs up frequently updated files.
::Do not really need to do the different paragraphs though it does help with readability, or if need to bypass certain things.
date /t
time /t
md c:\tempcopy
md c:\tempcopy\Desktop
xcopy C:\Users\Kutch1\Desktop c:\tempcopy\Desktop /S /V /H /J
md c:\tempcopy\Documents
xcopy C:\Users\Kutch1\Documents c:\tempcopy\Documents /S /V /H /J
md c:\tempcopy\Music
xcopy C:\Users\Kutch1\Music c:\tempcopy\Music /S /V /H /J
goto call_child

start c:\batch\h_freqbackup.cmd
goto rename_backup

set DRIVE=g:\pc\
set BKUPFILE=%DRIVE%FreqArchive_bkup.7z
set BKUPFILENAME=FreqArchive_bkup.7z
call rename_backup.cmd
goto compress

call compress.cmd
goto cleanup

rd /S /Q c:\tempcopy
goto exitscript

date /t
time /t

::Script relies on "g_" version to create temporary files
date /t
time /t
set DRIVE=h:\pc\
set BKUPFILE=%DRIVE%FreqArchive_bkup.7z
set BKUPFILENAME=FreqArchive_bkup.7z
call rename_backup.cmd
goto compress

call compress.cmd
goto exitscript

date /t
time /t

if exist %BKUPFILE% del /Q %BKUPFILE%

"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -t7z -mx=2 -mmt "%BKUPFILE%" @"c:\batch\freqfiles.txt"

C:\Program Files\7-Zip\
C:\Program Files\openscad-2015.03-2\

::These paragraphs aren't fully needed now though plan to expand in the future
if exist g:\pc\DataArchive.7z_bkup del /Q g:\pc\DataArchive_bkup.7z
if exist g:\pc\DataArchive.7z ren g:\pc\DataArchive.7z DataArchive_bkup.7z
goto compress

"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -t7z -mx=2 -mmt "g:\pc\DataArchive.7z" @"c:\batch\freqfiles.txt"
goto exitscript

date /t
time /t

::These paragraphs aren't fully needed now though plan to expand in the future
if exist h:\pc\DataArchive.7z_bkup del /Q h:\pc\DataArchive_bkup.7z
if exist h:\pc\DataArchive.7z ren h:\pc\DataArchive.7z DataArchive_bkup.7z
goto compress

"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -t7z -mx=2 -mmt "h:\pc\DataArchive.7z" @"c:\batch\freqfiles.txt"
goto exitscript

date /t
time /t

C:\Program Files\7-Zip\

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Spreading the good!

This past weekend I made my way from Seattle area to edge of Montana and Wyoming, with a goal to go to South Dakota for a few days..

A little preface though to build up to the climax.

As was heading back to Vashon from a night out (think it was a woo-woo night), spotted a shop.  On a whim, and at the last minute, did a U-turn, then a couple other weird traffic maneuvers, to park in their parking lot and entered the shop.  Was looking around in amazement until one of the workers helped me pick out something to try and experiment with.  With this trusty package in my possession hopped back on the scooter and took off for the ferry.

Long story short, never got to try it out and it sat at my desk unused, but smelling wonderful, in it's sealed package.  The elapsed time was two to three weeks.

Then my journey out of Washington state began and the concern of having this package of stuff was starting to worry me..  If I was going to Oregon wouldn't be concerned, but since was passing through Montana I needed to find someplace to get rid of it.

About halfway to Spokane pulled over to get some Taco Bell, thinking that was the best place to get rid of it.  Upon walking into what I thought was Taco Bell, realized it was Burger King....  Quickly hightailed it out of there and walked across the parking lot to the real Taco Bell.  Figured could easily spot someone that could use this, but no such luck.

The search continues....  And off I went, heading towards Spokane, WA, again.

Spotted a rest stop to go into and have a look around, which I did, didn't see anything interesting so kept on heading on...

At this point was starting to worry and thinking would have to just throw it in the trash.  I paid decent money for this little package of goods and really wanted someone to benefit, so the search continued.  Figured would have till at least Spokane Valley to find a good use for it before needing to ditch it someplace.

So, kept trucking on down the highway and pulled into the next rest stop, where I found an older red pick up that has seen better days, with it's hood open...  Hmmmm.....

Did a quick walk by of the truck as went to use the restroom and saw there was only one person in there, resting or taking it easy....  The hood was up and medium wisps of steam was rising from the radiator.

As did my business in the restroom figured would take a closer look at truck and the occupant.

Approached the truck, a little apprehensive, and glanced at the engine.  Yup, they're definitely taking a rest and letting the engine cool down.  At this point am assuming they overheated.  The driver's door is open and they're letting the fresh air wash over them, enjoying the nice sunny day as much as possible..

So then I blurt out something akin to: "Excuse me, I'm leaving the state and wondering if you could use this?  It's yours if you want it, if not no big deal.".

Their initial reaction was curiosity, then they inspected package from afar, then reached out out to grab it and inspect it, suddenly uttering: "This is exactly what I needed!", as their eyes and voice trailed off in wonder and amazement.

This is where I slightly overstayed my welcome I think, though they didn't seem to care.  My last words were something like, "It's yours if you want it as I have to leave the state".  Their next statement was  "It's been soo long".  Their eyes were still focused on who knows what, looked like lala land, as they were fondling and smelling the gift I gave them.

I immediately shirked away to leave them in Nirvana, elated in the fact that I did some wonderful favor to someone who was in need.

Am grateful that I was able to help someone in their time of need, and they helped me in my time of need before I crossed state lines.

To whoever you are, I sincerely hope it made your day that much better!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Summary of my "recent" travels

As haven't updated my travels lately, this is a summary of where have been, and maybe a sneak peek at where will be going.

Las Vegas, NV - Spent about two months here and nary did I gamble, well, except during a class where we played craps.  As a single guy, really wanted to spend Christmas and New Years here, so I did just that, then a couple extra months.  While here replaced a couple items on the RV, most notably the tie rod ends.  Have attached a short video (didn't watch and didn't use video) of the process.  I didn't do the work as met someone there that did it for me..  YAY.  I also attended a course presented by Dr. Joe Gallenberger about manifesting.  It was amazing and met quite a few quality people.  There were a few negative nellies and think that brought the whole group down a notch.  I would highly recommend this course nonetheless.

Yuma, AZ - Spent over a month here, both before and after Vegas and stayed at the Escapee Coop that is there.  I know quite a few people here and it's always a great time, so long as things don't dissolve into partisan politics.  Have mentioned it before, in RV parks it's not Democrats vs Republicans, it's Park Models vs non Park Models.  It's not overly apparent at this park, but in other parks it is.  While here also traveled to Mexico to get some dental work done.  It's about 25% of the cost of going to an American dentist.  I like buying american, and do when possible, but the last couple dentists have been to it seems like they're fleecing me, but that could be just me.  Am sure the cost is cheaper if go deeper into Mexico.  The border towns are notoriously overpriced because of us gringos.

Bridgeport, TX - Don't recall when was here specifically, but do remember coming here and spent a couple of weeks.  It is just North west of Dallas / Ft Worth area.  Did find it strange, that no matter size of town, it seems like all the small towns I went through getting here had at least one donut shop.  Not sure how that speaks to overall health of Texas denizens, just thought was an interesting observation.  In this town, I went to two donut shops, plus a good restaurant or two.  The donut shops always gave you an extra "something", be it a donut, small bag of donut holes, etc., when purchasing some products.  I always purchased apple fritters (yes yes, I know), but they were pretty darn good!

Orlando, FL - Nothing overly special about this visit, though did visit a dinner tournament thing.  Had a nice tomato bisque soup, some chicken, and don't recall what else, all without silverware.  Plus, there was awesome horsemanship.  The horses seemed well cared for also.  The dinner was a little pricey but think it is worth it once in awhile, just due to the show.  I also went to a local Waffle House, and yum yum.  Brought my real butter and real maple syrup every time I went.  Really enjoy the waffles but hate the fact they use margarine and fake syrup.  Also went to Bok Tower, which was a refreshing experience.

Wauchula, FL - Came back here, didn't do much.  Did get some work done on the RV again at the local mechanic (Big Daddy).  Also played cards at night with everyone.  Came at end of season so started to quiet down really fast, and heat up, but was good to come here.  Also put my name on the waiting list for a lot there.  There is no age limit and it'll take about five years to get to the #1 spot, though have already dropped quite a bit last I looked at the waiting list, and it won't be updated until November.  There are also quite a few interesting activities in the area, such as the great ape sanctuary, Solomon's Castle, and lots of undiscovered things.

Asheville, NC - Can I just say one word, AMAZING!!!  Campground I stayed at was really packed like sardines, but still had a good time.  There was a babbling stream behind the RV and would go out back some nights and just stare, listen, and be mesmerized.  Went to the Biltmore and was truly taken aback by the whole estate.  Spent one whole day just roaming the main mansion, the winery, etc.  There was even horses to rent but it seemed as if these ones are just trained to follow a path and just plod along.  Also went to the winery on the grounds.  Didn't see a vineyard though did go on a tour of how they make the wine.

Cedar Rapids, IA - Stayed at a local county park here, and most every day went to the local Capriotti's and had a Capastrami.. My oh my do I miss going to this chain.  They still use quality pastrami (looking at you Subway) that is very lean.  I generally get the Capastrami with an extra package of meat..  Now, I don't want to know what type of "gunk" is added to the Pastrami, but my oh my, is it ever delicious!

Sioux Falls, SD - Came here and explored a little.  Couple reasons stopped here, first was that it was about halfway to my next destination of Montana, from Cedar Rapids.  Second is a combination.  Wanted to see the badlands, and also Mt. Rushmore.  Able to get both done in one stop.  Was a little saddened about Mt. Rushmore.  It was great but not quite what had expected.  However, while on the way there saw a steam train, so when I left, went and found the steam train and took a ride!!!!  The train ride was amazing, with exception of how many times they blew the whistle..  Four times for every time we crossed the road, and there were about 15 or more road crossings.  It was still amazing and I sat as far away from the whistle as possible.  The steam train heated steam by burning used engine oil somehow.  There is also a great mom and pop restaurant not far from the campground with an older biker guy as one of the owners (him and his wife).  Really pleasant to talk to.  Here also picked up a washer/dryer combo unit, like the ones that are in use all throughout Europe.  The Splendida 7100XC is the one found on Craigslist, and on way back from looking at it, the thermostat on my scooter decided to lockup.  Took a while to get used to the drying cycle, and had to replace / fix a couple things (the pump was one), and now it's running like a champ!

Missoula, MT'ish - Stayed with a friend who lives not far from Missoula, MT.  Was there for 3-4 weeks overall, though spent some time at a campground when the temperature approached 90 degrees, just so could run the air conditioners..  Have to keep cats and all happy!  It was great here other than not having a scooter.  Couldn't explore all that much though did have fun hanging out with all sorts of Permaculture people, from great to small and all in between.

Hot Springs, MT - Well, really enjoyed this place but had to leave unexpectedly as couldn't get good, or any, WiFi at the RV campground.  Had perfect WiFi if up around Main Street, or at the Symes Hotel, which were both equidistant from me.  Had enough of a WiFi signal at campground to sign up, and of course pay, but nothing substantial after that so had to leave.  While here had the pleasure of seeing Michael Pilarski (Skeeter) again and attended a tour at one of his Permaculture properties.

Couer d'Alene, ID - This was an interesting place.  Stayed at a really nice campground, well, decent at least, and the best part is was right next to a Costco, almost next door.  And, by the way, I really LOVE Costco, almost as much as my cats, more so at certain times.  Came here after Hot Springs as was less than a days drive.

Renton, WA - Stayed with a friend here for couple of weeks total.  While the location wasn't the best (parked on side of road), the company was amazing!

Chimicum, WA - Went to the Escapee's Coop here, and while it was OK, it was also far from what expected.  Have a funny story of a lady and maple syrup.  There was a Saturday breakfast that I went to, a precursor to their annual meeting and "in park rally".  I brought my own maple syrup, and sat at a table with couple older ladies.  Hopped in line to get my pancake and whatever else.  As was leaving the kitchen serving area, saw one of the older ladies pick up my maple syrup and carry it to her plate, where she dumped a quarter of the bottle on her pancake.  Needless to say I was flabbergasted.  She handed the remainder back to me like nothing wrong just went down.  Am still too stunned to speak.  After a few minutes of her eating, I then asked...  "Would you like some more syrup?".....  Still in awe and shock.

Vashon Island - Just wonderful, simply wonderful.  Leaving very shortly, unfortunately, but very very happy with the island!  Best of everything though didn't do much at all.

Am sure have left a few places out here and there, and people I talked to

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Google, google, google, you let me down with Maps.....

I recently hosted a Scooter ride on Vashon Island with the Firkin Scooter Club.  As part of group rides it's customary to map out a route, plan ahead, and take a test ride.

As the island is only so big, and difficult to get lost on, decided to forgo the pre-ride and instead mapped out course the night before, using google maps.  Attempted to transfer these routes to my smart phone to use for directions.  Hence why am a little dismayed about a lack of this type of support in Google Maps.

The problem is, that when transfer a pre-planned route to your phone, or tablet, is that any customizations are lost.  What is seemingly sent to the phone is just the start and end point, then the phone calculates the most direct route, bypassing all the overrides.

Here is the route I had planned..

This is what is actually sent to the phone or if share the map.

Upon doing some "googling", it turns out that this is a common point of angst among many people.  It seems that the devs at Google are somewhat mum about fixing this as many people have mentioned things.

Now, to silence any doubt, some of the things that I've tried, in no particular order:

  • Email an exact link (reproduceable between browsers on PC) to phone,
  • Email a shortened link (using Google) to phone
  • Use "Send to Phone", through Google Maps
  • Use Email to Phone, through Google Maps
  • Opened links on phone directly into Google Maps
  • Open links into browser on phone
  • Insert actual waypoints, or stops, instead of dragging/dropping mouse
    • This is physical addresses for each custom "dot" in top map
    • Only did first few, sent to phone, no success
    • Didn't do whole map, results were less than spectacular
  • Had two additional maps, unsuccessful on any of them
    • Map displayed is most complicated
    • Had two smaller ones, one with only three waypoints
  • Able to print off turn by turn directions using modified route
  • Installed Waze, a Google product, and didn't have success
  • Am sure other things attempted, none successful

In my very humble opinion this should be a basic feature, especially as it's allowed through a web browser.  If companies, not just Google, want to keep a unified front, their apps and websites should work pretty much the same, regardless of the platform in which we access it on or the technology used.

Now, I am looking at you Google.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Craigslisters, a special breed....

In my prior post have detailed identified that am looking for a specific adventure bike.  My goal is to get a decent bike, at a decent price, with a minimum of hassle.  I made that post to hopefully prove to the seller I was very serious, at the time.

There are those among us, even me sometimes, that make life soo much more difficult, without any reason, than it should be.  Here is the general conversation I had with the current owner of said bike.

Me:  Send inquiry to seller asking for details, explaining on island by Seattle, etc.

Seller:  Respond with details

Me: Ask seller other questions, explain am 300 miles away, plus ferry ride

Seller:  Respond with additional details

Me:  Explain to seller am long distance, would rather not spend all day driving until am ready to leave, if they would hold the bike till I got there, with a non-refundable deposit.

Seller: I found out who you are (by e-mail address), answers my additional questions

Me:  Am wigged out, don't respond for a few days

Me:  Respond, apologizing, and explain why was silent.  Asked if they'll hold bike till can get there if put down a deposit of their liking, and seeing what they want to feel comfortable I'm real.

Them: photo copy of license would help gain trust.

Me: Send license and also offering to pay in full, sight unseen (I would've), over couple e-mails

Them:  Sorry, someone is coming here to buy bike tomorrow.

Me:  Thanks them, send best wishes

Me:  Watches craigslist, a few days later, it's still there, sends follow-up inquiry

Them: No response

Me:  A few days later, still on Craigslist, sends follow up response, asking if can have local motorcycle shop look at bike, and send a non-refundable deposit for their time and effort

Them: Sorry, don't want to deal with you, it's complicated long distance

Me:  Thanks them for truthful answer.  Sends best wishes

Them: Please don't contact me again, will never sell bike to you.  I've only been truthful

Someplace early on in this e-mail exchange the seller tries to call me (provided phone number), I'm not available, so try to call back, they don't answer, and we keep up the cat and mouse e-mail game.


While this isn't the exact sequence of events, it's pretty close and valid for an example.

Now, this is where it's ended as I will respect their wishes.  Am sure this "conversation" is typical of a Craigslist deal gone sour.  I still do want the bike, and would jump through hoops to get it, but apparently won't get this one, even though it's seemingly ideal.  It looks like that no matter what I offered to help make the seller comfortable, it just wasn't going to happen.

Their final response is what gets me..  "Always been truthful"..  While, on the surface, I can't prove any wrong doing on their part, nor would it matter at this stage, but there are a few things that strike me as untruthful on their end.

First is that I've always explained that it'd cost me extra to go there right now, but am willing to do so.  The seller never said NO at any point up until the end.  However, the final answer illustrates, to me, that they already had a preconceived notion that they would only deal with locals, hence a little untruthfullness, in my view.

Second is, after they said there's a lot of local interest, I mentioned that would monitor Craigslist and see if bike is available, and if so, contact them when am in the area.  This didn't earn any brownie points and they are still uninterested.

Third is where they said someone is coming to buy the bike tomorrow, but listing is never removed, signifying bike is still for sale.  While that phrase was probably true at that point in time, I have a feeling that they were just trying to brush me off quickly as they thought my intentions weren't valid.

Anyone who knows me can vouch that I live up to my word, unless outside circumstances prevent me fulfilling of my word.  It is so in this case, or would've been, had the seller been willing to put forth a little good faith in a way that they would never lose (i.e. non refundable deposit).

In my limited experience Craigslist sellers want to put forth as little effort, per person, as required, to make the sale, instead of putting forth a fair amount of effort for some seemingly interested people.  I think that this in turn leads to them, generally, spending more time than they should trying to sell their item(s), as well as being on an emotional roller coaster till it's sold.

What I've written can be taken in differing ways.  Some will agree with the seller, some will agree with me, and that's all good and fair.  It's just my take on the events that unfolded.

So, it is with this, that the ideal bike vanishes in a puff of smoke, but there is sure to be another fish in the wide open ocean, someplace....