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New Bicycle Law Guidebook released

Ray Thomas of the Portland law firm Swanson, Thomas, Coon and Newton has published an updated handbook of Oregon bicycling law.

Go to:

A great resource.

Posted in Community Musings, Main, Personal.

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The ‘problem’ of social networking

It seems we have a host of “solutions” to electronic networking–from Facebook to LinkedIn to Google+ to GovLoop (not to mention Pinterest, Yammer, Scibd, the still active Google and Yahoo groups and MySpace, group “texting” and others).  What is common to all?

People try to connect with each other. But no one set up fits everyone. We’re all busy, so what do we do? No one social network is designed to meet everyone’s needs.  I decided, for example, to pay for a photo sharing site rather than use “free” sites because I can control how it is used better, and because I have lots of photos to share with “family” but also have some groups of professionals and other extended family members who don’t need to have access to all my photos, but like to see some of them.

Similarly, I have postings for Facebook (including family/friend/professional group members for those whose only social network is FB), Google+ and its many circles, LinkedIn (mostly my professional contacts with a few family members who joined it for professional reasons only, such as both of my sons who are private sector professionals in property appraisal and accounting), GovLoop (another professional social network for government professionals and those who deal with governmental performance issues, including many in the private sector). And I use group settings for each of these.  I use Scribd to share documents just as I use Phanfare to share photos.  And WordPress blogs such as this and for family and professional associations.

I wish there was an umbrella software solution to cross-post to each of my social network applications (including those I haven’t imagined yet).  I haven’t found one that is so all-encompassing that I can use it for all these apps I mentioned above, though I have used. So I’ve given up…I just try to connect in as many ways as possible, using any device such as my work (though government generally hasn’t got it that people communicate how they want to and will find ways to do it despite, so they block employees from using Facebook on a work PC, even for professional purposes), my home PC, my Android telephone, and iPad and a Color Nook tricked as an Android tablet (I know, why do I continue this since I can do as much with my iPad?)

Anybody out there with a solution? If so, I’d love to hear about it.  Comment, share or e-mail me at

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Weaverville Joss House Remains Open – An Update

In an earlier post [], I suggested folks visit the oldest Chinese temple in the country while it was still open. At that time, the California State Park’s system had published a list of 70 sites that would be closed due to funding cutbacks.

Due to extraordinary efforts to raise funds for California parks, the right to visit Weaverville’s Joss House appears to have been saved–at least for another year. The Weaverville Joss House Association reports it has signed a three-year agreement with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to keep the site open to visitors, with the funds raised for year 1 of the three-year agreement.


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Enjoying a High Quality Digital Music Library

I have owned many music players over the 50 or so years that I have been buying records, tapes and then CDs. I no longer have any records, my few remaining cassette tapes have been consigned to a box in storage in the garage, and I have replaced almost everything track or album ever owned with a CD or a directly purchased download from Apple or other sources. When music players would only hold so much music, I converted tracks to MP3 format and sent them to various music players over USB cables, sometimes directly and sometimes using iTunes. I have owned more than 10 portable devices over the years, including a player once holding a whopping 20 MB of  MP3 files and an iPod classic holding 160 GB of files (a 30 GB version sits in my office at work hooked to a Radio Shack amplifier/speakers).

As hard drive capacities went up and prices down, I couldn’t resist exploring alternatives. Simply put, although many believe most humans can’t hear the difference between a 3MB track saved as an MP3 file and one ripped to a different—and lossless—format with vastly larger file size, my experience says otherwise. There’s something about the ambient quality of the music when played back using a computer with a decent sound card and sent through a mostly priced stereo speakers (not ones designed for computers though the quality of some brands has dramatically improved).

So last year, I spent many evenings re-ripping my CD collection and saving the files in FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format; Apple has its own lossless format, so I could have used that, but chose not to. Having read many reviews about error recovery from often-played CDs (even though my collection is relatively pristine), I decided to use the dBpoweramp software suite to recreate digital tracks in my music library, and I use MediaMonkey as my music manager of choice (though I still use iTunes to store/sync tracks on my iPods and iPad).  Because I use network storage at home, I can also play the music from my desktop PC, another one my grandkids use, or my laptop (equipped with an add-on headphone amplifier that connects via USB).

Using an application called Audiogalaxy, as long as I am in range of a wi-fi network (you can do it over a 3G cellular connection but the speed is generally too slow) I can also play music from my library on my Android phone, on a Color Nook converted to an Android tablet, and on my iPad.  My music, my way, as they say.

Having accomplished the goal to play high quality tracks on my portable devices, I decided one more change was in order. I bought a new sound card for my desktop PC (bypassing the motherboard’s built-in sound card that uses Realtek drivers that many music enthusiasts and most audiophiles find simply unsatisfactory).  The modestly priced Juli@ card’s installation took less than 5 minutes, and another 3 to install the software drivers. Initially, I sent the output through two RCA jacks (via an adapter) to a Logitech 5.1 computer speaker system that has relatively good sound reproduction capabilities. But a better solution was to connect the card to an older (and faithfully used) Pioneer receiver driving two Polk Audio bookshelf speakers. I am very satisfied with the sound, which rivals a higher end stereo sound system.

Here are links to the resources used in this project if you want to explore as I did:

iTunes –


dBpoweramp -

MediaMonkey –

Audiogalaxy –

Juli@ –


Posted in Computer Interests, Main, Music.

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Technology Advice

Many of my online relatives and friends have occasionally sent me e-mails asking questions about technology, which I use to accomplish things related to my personal interests, including photography, music, and family history. “Please share what you know so the rest of us can benefit from your knowledge and experience,” wrote one recently.

There are many who know way more than I do about these programs or devices (you know the old saying about the difference between men and boys being the price of their toys), but I’m willing to post occasionally about my experiences for those interested. If this helps even one person, it will be worth doing.

My next post will describe the conversion of a CD music collection to digital storage with output to rival a serious stereo system.

Posted in Computer Interests, Main, Music.

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Comments on Blog Posts

I welcome comments from “real people” on any of my blog posts, but you have to be registered to comment.  And I take security seriously so fake names, phony e-mails and obviously malicious web bots attempting to register don’t make it, and spammers are not welcome here.

Posted in Community Musings, Computer Interests, Main, Web Site News.

Oakland Style BBQ Sauce

Some time back, I pledged to post my recipe for Oakland-style BBQ sauce.  With commentary, here is my recipe in a downloadable PDF file

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Table Rocks north of Medford

This post is  a re-creation of a page on an older web site.

Two rock formations a few miles north of Medford comprise some of the most interesting geological and scenic views in Bear Creek Valley. The rocks are named for their relationship to the Rogue River just to the south of the formations, Upper Table Rock being upstream (to the east) of Lower Table Rock.  Although there is some uncertainty about the exact date, a basalt lava flow about 9.6 million years ago flowed along an ancient meandering river canyon, depositing a 100-foot layer of basalt over the sandstone and gravel of the Bear Creek valley. This formation is officially known as the Payne Cliff formation.  Erosion around the two table rocks left them standing approximately 800 feet above the valley floor, with Upper Rock officially at elevation 2,091′ and Lower Rock at 2,049′. Viewed from the air, the U-shape of Upper Rock shows the ancient meandering river canyon.

Upper Table Rock

Upper Table Rock

The Upper Table Rock trail is approximately 1.25 miles in length, beginning about 150′ higher on the rock formation than the 1.75-mile trail on Lower Table Rock.  There is evidence of further geologic uplifting movement between the two rocks. Upper Rock is tilted approximately 1 degree to the southeast, and Lower Rock is tilted 1 degree to the southwest.

Lower Table Rock

Native Takelma Indians who lived nearby called the environs “Titankah”–“Little Indian plums” and referred to the rock areas as “Di’tani”–“rock above.” Lower Rock had a airplane landing strip, which was closed in 1990 for liability reasons, and Upper Table Rock has a Very High Frequency Omni-Directional radio compass operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (not open to the public).

Dwarf wooly meadow foam

Dwarf wooly meadow-foam

Wildflowers bloom in abundance during the spring on the Table Rocks. Among the rarest is Limnanthes floccosa ssp.pumila, commonly known as Dwarf Wooly Meadow-foam.  This five-petal white annual blooms for a 10-day period in March/April. The picture above was taken on Lower Table Rock on April 21, 2002. This flower is listed on the State of Oregon’s list of threatened plants because it grows only in vernal pool areas on the tops of the two Table Rocks and nowhere else in the world. It is considered to be very endangered.

In February 2009, I took a panoramic Gigapan picture of Lower Rock, which may be viewed at the following location:

Posted in Digital Photography, Interesting Places, Main.

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California Discovered

In the process of re-creating another post from my old web site–this one on an interesting point of view on the discovery of California by European explorers as opposed to the native population who were then present–I concluded the material was too long for a regular blog posting.

So, I turned the material into a downloadable document [filename: California Discovered.PDF]. The document is also available here. Feel free to share it with others, and you may re-post it as long as you credit me as the compiler.


Posted in Booknotes, Interesting Places, Main, Mapping.

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Imperial County’s gold

As longtime friends  know, I spent almost nine years working in the Imperial Valley of California, having spent more than 15 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and before moving to Oregon in 2000. I am in the process of converting some documents from my old web site (which, though it is no longer used still appears in Google indices). The following represents my first re-creation.

Agriculture has always been the driving force behind Imperial County’s development (indeed, irrigation of the arid Colorado desert by diversions from the Colorado River made possible its agricultural development). Yet the search for gold has also played an important part in its history.

Virtually everyone who has spent more than a few months in California knows about John Marshall’s discovery of gold near Coloma, and the great California gold rush of 1849 and thereafter. It was not the Marshall’s finding of gold, but the publicity given to it, that led to the belief that Marshall had “discovered” gold in California.

In fact, Erwin Gudde’s California Gold Camps documents the discovery of gold in California in the San Fernando Valley in 1842, six years before Marshall’s discovery. Francisco Lopez was credited with the discovery of gold at March 9, 1842 in Placerita Canyon east of Newhall, Los Angeles Co., California. The first recorded evidence that gold was mined in this area was the sale of 20 ounces of gold recorded at the Philadelphia mint by Abel Stearns on November 22, 1842, according to Gudde (see p. 306). According to his research in the gold camps and other sites of California, Gudde found that earlier reports of gold mining in the San Fernando placers could not be verified.

In Gudde’s discussion of mining activity in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains in southeastern Imperial County, he cites a Report of the State Mineralogist, Vol. IV, that gold was allegedly found in Imperial County in 1775. Gudde commented (p. 412), however, that these early publications of the California Division of Mines are “not entirely dependable on historical facts.” So unless additional historical materials are discovered that would verify accounts of pre-1840 gold mining, any claim that Imperial County was the site of the first discovery of gold remains unverifiable. Nevertheless, we can quickly see that gold was found all over the county.

Cargo Muchacho Mountains

This district is located approximately 12 miles west of the Colorado River near the Ogilby Station of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Rich in gold, it could not be exploited by placer mining because of the lack of water. According to the California Division of Mines, this area was the site of the first gold discovery in California in 1775, but this cannot yet be verified.

Lode mining developed in the district in the 1870s, and in 1882 the Yuma Mining Co. crushed $167,000 work of gold from 14,000 tons of quartz at its stamp mill. At Hedges, a large mill of 140 stamps. When the Post Office was established in 1910, the town was renamed to Tumco from the United States Mining Co. In 1938, a rich pocket of gold at the American Girl Mine to the north and the Golden Cross Mine produced $4 million in gold. The best account of mining in the area up to 1942 is contained in the Report of the State Mineralogist, Vol. XXXVIII, p. 112, according to Gudde. The Tumco/Hedges web site by Desert USA shows photographs and a map to the area.

Mesquite Placers

Large scale mining operations have been carried out in the since 1878 in the Chocolate Mountains. Along the southern spur, there is an area called Mesquite placers. Located in this area is the Mesquite Gold Mine, just off Highway 78 northeast of Glamis. Before 1900, water was brought to the area from Glamis to wash the gravels, and in the 1930s, there were unsuccessful attempts at dry placering in the area. The area will soon seen a change in use from gold mining operations, which ceased recently, as the site is being converted to a regional landfill.

Ogilby Station

Ogilby Station was located on the Southern Pacific Railroad. From 1890 to 1942, it served as the post office for the American Girl and other profitable mines in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains.

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Picacho is located near the bend of the Colorado River north of Yuma, and named after the nearby Picacho Peak, a obelisk-shaped mountain rising 1,947 feet above the desert floor. Gold deposits were discovered in this area in 1857, and Mexican miners using dry placering attempted to extract the precious metal. The most productive period was at the Picacho Basin Quartz Mine about five miles south of the village, where from 1904-1910 approximately 30 claims produced about $2 million on gold. The area may be reached by Picacho Road north of Winterhaven, or on Hyduke Mine Road east from Ogilby Road.

Pothole Placers

There have been persistent stories of mining in this area northeast of Yuma in the 18th Century, but these are not supported by convincing evidence, according to Gudde (see p. 274). Gold production in this area totaled $2 million between 1850 and 1934, when dry washing was still going on.

Even today, modern-day miners and others seek to explore Imperial County’s bountiful lands.


California Division of Mines, Report of the State Mineralogist (Sacramento), Vol. IV, p. 217.

California Division of Mines, Report of the State Mineralogist (Sacramento), Vol. XIII, p. 339.

California Division of Mines, Report of the State Minerologist (Sacramento), Vol. XXXVIII, p. 112.

California Division of Mines, Bulletin 193, Gold Districts in California, prepared by William B. Clark (Sacramento: 1970).

Gudde, Erwin G., ed. by Elisabeth K. Gudde. California Gold Camps (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975).


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