What do you do when you have a $1,200 Toshiba laptop that mostly sits idle? Why you acquire an Apple iPad. Yes, I did it a couple weeks ago.

I love the iPad. I am using it regularly in a productive (for me) way. I have had an iPod for about a year and, while it has some nice features, I have not been using it to its fullest. It’s really too small in size for practical use for me. The iPad is different. It has great applications, it is sized for easier use, and just works really well.

I upgraded from the basic model to the 32GB size plus the 3G. It comes with Wi-Fi built in including Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology. To use the 3G you must pay AT&T $14.99 to $25 a month with no contract required. I am not doing this yet, but I can see myself using this in the not too distant future.

The battery life is great. Right now the battery percentage shows as 56% (shown in the upper right of the screen) and I could do 2-4 more hours of work before a recharge is needed. Different from the iPod (or similar models) recharging does not occur when it is attached to your base computer for syncing. It charges like a laptop, directly to an AC source.

I have been searching for appropriate Apps for me. Some of the Apps I have acquired are: The CalenGoo calendar that syncs with my Google calendar on my base computer as well as my iPod; Pages word processor; Atomic Web browser (nearly as good as Foxfire and several steps up from Safari that comes with the unit); Amazon.com Kindle App that works just like the stand alone Kindle; and Wolfram (look it up on-line if you are not familiar with this).

Several of the Apps I have on my iPod transferred (synced) to the iPad and work just fine. Some don’t work so well. The most expensive App I have is iBird PRO and it moved to the iPad nicely, but it would be great if the vendor could come out with one specifically for the iPad.

All my music synced nicely, and the speakers in the iPad are not bad. Of course you can use earphones for listening.

It has been a bit of a challenge to learn to use the iPad efficiently; and will continue to be a learning experience. Soon I will be getting the wireless keyboard so make word processing and editing duties much more efficient.

If you want a hands on experience before going ahead with a purchase, find your nearest Apple Store. They are sure to have some you can test drive.


How does a person fill his (or her) time when retired, or mostly retired? When I mostly retired about 4 years ago, I was looking for something I could do that brought me in contact with people. I’m not a hermit, although I was a long-haul truck driver for several years. I enjoyed some of the solitude of that life, but craved being with people.

I discovered an organization near my home that fit my needs; and I was able to contribute to the benefit of that organization. I started volunteering three hours a week. Now I am up to ten to twenty hours a week.

The organization is Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, a nature preserve and education center located in Hillsboro, Oregon. Some of the jobs I do are a greeter for the education center, giving short talks to visitors about our exhibition center, watering plants, harvesting seeds, planting, cutting weeds, photography, etc. I am also very active in the organization’s annual fundraiser, the Tweet of Dweams.

I also volunteer a couple hours a week at the Hillsboro Police Department creating a report on all the graffiti incidents within the city. I have started attending the Public Policy Forum of Washington County, the weekly lunches with talks be various interesting people. And. . . I have signed up to work on a political campaign. More on that latter.

I also volunteer within my family. My daughter-in-law is going to college full time, so about three days a week I get to ramrod two young grandkids. Today I am spending the time at home with a sick one.

There are large numbers of organizations in any community that need volunteers. Go for it!

Are you a nerd?

Here’s my score:

NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

The score is much higher that I thought it would be. But I did touch my first computer in 1970 and have worked with them, mostly as a user, ever since.

Click on the image above to take the test.

As I have said in previous posts, I love old photos.


My father took this picture in 1952. The ship, the Princess Kathleen, a Canadian passenger vessel, ran around at low tide. As the tide came in the ship filled with water and sank. It’s now a great place for scuba divers.

This photo is posted on Flickr Here.

All the thousands of readers of my blog know that I spent the weekend at the Portland Expo Antique and Collectable show. I went on a buying spree and increased my books by about 2 feet of shelf space. Here is a list of most of what I acquired:

The Foundations of Japan, Notes made during journeys of 6,000 miles in the rural districts as a basis for a sounder knowledge of the Japanese people, by J.W. Robertson Scott, and published by D. Appleton and Company, 1922. This looks like a great narrative that also has lots and lots of photo illustrations, many of which are of the type not found in more popular publications.

Birds of Oregon by Gabrielson and Jewett, published by Oregon State Collete, 1940. It included a foldout map kept in a pocket on the inside back cover. Often these maps are missing in older books. It is interest to note that this book is on-line in its complete form, and is searchable. So why did I purchase it? You can guess.

The Russo-Japanese War [of 1904-1905], A photographic and descriptive review of the great conflict in the Far East, Gathered from the reports, records, cable dispatches, photographs, etc. of Collier’s War Correspondents, and published by P.F. Collier and Son,, MCMV (1905). This is the war in Manchuria and Korea where the Japanese beat the sox off of the Russians.

Birds of Canada by P.A. Taverner and published in the USA by David McKay Company in 1940. The book is loaded with great color illustrations and pen and ink renditions of birds and bird parts.

Alaska Bird Trails, Adventures of an expedition by dog sled to the delta of the Yukon River at Hooper Bay by Herbert Brandt, published by The Bird Research foundation, 1943. The book is loaded with wonderful paintings of birds as well as photo illustrations.

Wild Flowers of the Pacific coast by Haskin and published by Binfords & Mort, Portland, 1967. This is a bread and butter book on the subject with lots of treat black and white photo illustrations.

Manual of the Grasses of the United States, by A.S. Hitchcock and published by the US Government Printing office, 19950 edition. Great line drawings of hundreds of grasses found in the USA. Flora of the Pacific Northwest by Hitchcock & Conquist, published by the University of Washington Press, Seattle, copyright 1973 and this book is the 1987 printing. If it is a plant in the Northwest USA it is described in this book with a short description and extensive taxonomy. It is the Bible of the subject.

I also got 3 volumes, Handbooks, published by three Northwest Agricultural Colleges on the subjects of Weed Control, Insect Control, and Plant Disease Control.

I got some miscellaneous journals such as:

A Chemical Study of the Fumaroles of the Katmai Region (a volcano in Alaska), a national Geographic Society publication, 1923.

An issue of The West Coast from Grafton Publishing, July 1910, with a short article on the Japanese.

A half dozed publications from The American Antiquarian and oriental Journal from the late 1800s.

A Catalog of American Indian Crafts from 1953.

A Decal for my brother that shows a submarine and says U.S. Submarine Veterans, World War II. He was not in WW2 but was in the US Navy for 20 years in the submarine service.

Finally, I got a large photo album of black and white photos from the 1930s. Buildings, people cars, boats, a college graduation, Alaskan totems, etc.

I had a great time which included a dinner with a friend who lives in Alaska. We talked about everything but politics. He is not voting for Mr. Obama (as I am) but I don’t think he is voting for Mr. McCain either.

I spent the day at the Portland Expo center. See my previous posting. I sold some stuff and, of course, bought some stuff. What I got were seven books. (I love books.) The picture below is of the cover art of the real treasure I found. The full title is: Alaska Bird Trails, Adventures of an Expedition by Dog Sled to the Delta of the Yukon River at Hooper Bay. The author is Herbert Brandt and the book was published by The Bird Research Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, 1943. There are about 57 illustrations, both hand drawn color pictures and photo illustrations.

Right now at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro, Oregon, there are lots of Canada Geese. One type is what the author, Brandt, calls the “Smallest of the Honkers,” the Cackling Geese. Here is a quote from the description with the great color illustration of the Cacklers:

Wild geese back home are like feathered shadows, being the most timid and unapproachable of birds, yet when the diminutive Cackling Geese reach their Yukon Delta home, they become absurdly inquisitive and unafraid. Groups are continually flying about, cackling as they go, as if a person waves his cap about and honks sonorously, the curious birds will circle closely overhead. Almost invariably these geese prefer insular isolation for their home site, even though the pond is small. As the observer approaches the island home, the brave pair will fly closely around him, crying, “Look! Look!” as if inviting him to inspect their nest full of precious, white eggs.

The Cackling Geese at Jackson Bottom are migrating south now, having come from the area described above. And you think you have a long commute.

I’ll be at the giant antique and collectible sale at the Portland, Oregon, Expo center this weekend. There will be a bizzillion vendors and more items than you can even begin to count. Pottery, glass, silver, paintings, furniture, books, brochures, photos, postcards, or maybe even a Popeye Christmas card.

It’s a long weekend for the vendors, three full days. But there is a great sense of satisfaction when the van is packed on Sunday evening and you’re heading out to dinner.

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