Recent comments

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 12 hours ago

    [and, proving I'm not the most technically competent, deleting a duplicate entry]

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 12 hours ago

    And I find myself pursuing a middle ground between Al and Gary's responses here. Is this a great and wide country or not, for a wide diversity of opinions each to be "right" in our own worlds.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 13 hours ago

    The cliff notes response: If you actually paid attention to the facebook feeds, you would see many are paying attention to the sunsets/sunrises in our NPs. Its' a big phenomenon. And yes, I read "1984", "Brave New World", and many other distopian fantasies. Yes, we are merged with the machines in order to better facilitate our survival on this rock. If you want to lecture, put it on youtube, and hope someone watches it. Maybe you'll gather a following, if you are convincing enough, because no one has time for the old fashioned way, especially if it is a waste of time. Let us scrub and scroll past the mundane. : )

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 14 hours ago

    Well, the Indians sure as hell saw what was coming, which is more than I can say for us. Sure, I use search engines and do research on the web. And of course I use and write for The Traveler. But I also take note of the end of civility that all of this "technology" has lately wrought. Look at many folks here, for example--how often Kurt has to cut us off. Consider how many people now hide behind the anonymity of the web, most recently, those attacking my friend who wrote an article why parents should vaccinate their children. The hate mail he got on that was sobering, and of course, totally anonymous, at least the worst of it . And let us not forget everyone "tracking" us to see what we buy and do. In the old days, they had to take a survey at the supermarket. Now they just feed us "cookies," which yes, I erase every day.

    I remember when houses came with porches; I remember when World War II veterans were raising their kids. I remember when we had clubs and talked to one another. I remember the FAMILY vacation, and talking around the dinner table every night. How was your day, Alfred? Now, just visit that campground in Yosemite. Who is looking at the sunset anymore? Well, a couple folks, while the rest are all "linked in." Sure, things change, but don't call change progress until you know the progress that came before. This country progressed right past the civility and patriotism that made it great. I saw it and felt it every day. Now, we are making lots of "deals," but dealing from the bottom of the deck.

    Facebook? I barely use it. Twitter? A waste of time. Texting? I prefer the phone. I thought we left the telegraph key back in the 19th century, although I still recall the Morse code for SOS. If something is worth knowing--and certainly critical to know--I will know it by the end of the day. Meanwhile, I don't need to know that you just got out of the shower, which was the conversation I heard at my coffee house last night. Who's picking up the kids? I don't care to know. The world should not be a phone booth. What happened to silence? What happened to community? What happened to looking up when people approached you instead of gluing yourself to the screen?

    Now, every professor I know says that giving a lecture is a waste. Everyone is on their smart phone. I'm glad I missed it. I really am.

    If the world is so great, why are so many people unhappy--and working twice as hard as they did 30 years ago? Could it be because they never read 1984? Or even saw the movie? Here's another movie you should see: The Best Years of Our Lives. It won the Academy Award for best picture in 1946. There is the country I grew up in, not perfect, but sincere. It stuck together through thick and thin. It knew honor, sacrifice, and courage. All we know is the phone.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 15 hours ago

    Judging from what I see in your links, the old website is still live, but they didn't go through and remap all the links to direct and forward the URL to the new site where similar pages already exist. That's always a tough game, because there can be so many pages on a website, and when you do a complete rebuild, somethings old pages get lost in translation. I've been through many website rebulids in my lifetime, and that's never easy. I did find a link to the director on the new site, but didn't find any writeup like the previous page you pulled up. That one string is also very convulted. "history/history/hisnps/npshistory"... wow, who thunked that one up? Talk about redundancy overkill.http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/director.htm

  • Possible Fireworks Over Interior Funding As Sen. Murkowski Threatens To "Squeeze" Budget   5 days 15 hours ago

    Agreed, Jim. Predictable rhetoric from Murkowski. The land isn't being threatened by development; the local commuity is being threatened by the federal government. One wonders if the history of American political rhetoric might be mapped according to pivots for reversing commonplace narratives.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 16 hours ago

    I am glad to see that the NPS has realized how dated and broken the NPS web is at the present time. Creating a useable web site is real work and worth the money and time that has to be devoted to it.

    I must say however that I am not optomistic about the success of this effort. There have been many efforts to "improve" the web and in my opinion all have failed. This is a result of poor management, lack of trained people, resources and too much of a top down approach. Any success of the NPS web effort is the result of talented and hard working lower level employees who have gone over and above the resources and time given to them to do this work.

    If the NPS is serious it will hire managers who know and support this technology and place the maintance of the many park and program web sites as a critical element in their performance standards. The problem is not so much a money issue as it is a management issue.

    If you need an example, then visit the National Park Service History web site (http://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisnps_NEW.htm) which has been under construction and not updated or corrected for three years. Take a look.

    If you still need convincing then look at "Classic" National Park Service Publications (http://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisnps/classics.htm). Every link is broken.

    Finally, I sure hope Director Jarvis does not find out that the Directors of the National Park Service web page (http://www.nps.gov/history/history/hisnps/NPSHistory/directors.htm) no longer exists.

    Perhaps this information is not important.

  • Possible Fireworks Over Interior Funding As Sen. Murkowski Threatens To "Squeeze" Budget   5 days 16 hours ago

    I'll let others who are smarter than I am explain how that meshes with "protecting the land."

    Some see the value in "land" as more than just dirt.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 17 hours ago

    The old guard would have probably attempted to scalp the young guys for using the smoke signals.

  • Possible Fireworks Over Interior Funding As Sen. Murkowski Threatens To "Squeeze" Budget   5 days 17 hours ago

    Sen. Murkowski: "But the land is the land, and that’s what I am here to protect, and the people of the state of Alaska and their right to access the lands."

    Sure a lot of conflicting ideas--and interpretations of terms--in just one sentence!

    According to the story, a key part of her definition of "right to access the lands" means oil and gas development on federal lands in Alaska. I'll let others who are smarter than I am explain how that meshes with "protecting the land." A more honest statement would be to say her goal is to protect the economic interests of Alaska. That's what some expect their senator to do, of course, but such clear admissions of goals are rarely the stuff of sound bites for politicians.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 17 hours ago

    Alfred has some good points, and I think we all agree that one must be careful and use technology with caution. But I've discovered that when it comes to planning a park visit, using the website may actually increase my chances for experiencing some serendipity. Many times have I learned something from a website that I had not known. What I learned has sometimes allowed me to go seeking the chance for one of those moments. Sometimes it has worked.

    I wonder if Americans in the 1800's had the same concerns with telegraph and telephones. Or Native Americans of long ago when someone invented smoke signals? ;-]

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   5 days 17 hours ago

    Alred thinks he might be insulting me, but I don't really take much of what he says with a grain of salt. I've done my share of trekking all over the west in remote places without a gps. Was it on the same level as Lewis and Clark? No. Has Alfred ever done an expedition like Lewis and Clark? Doubt it. Since i'm a gen xer, I haven't had the luxury, like most boomers of being able to work in the same company all my life and having the perks that go with it. But at least I know how to use a smartphone, and use search engines. And, yes I can use my own brain to determine if the information I get is worthwhile or useless.

    The reality is that we are all heading towards responsive design sites. Kurt even said the Traveller is heading there. It's a natural evolution of website architecture, and you can either advance or devolve. Some of us enjoy the freedom and challenges of new things, while others seem to just want to give up and go with what is comfortable.

    Maybe if Alfred attempted to reroute his friends route on his phone, they could have took the same route Alred knows. Usually most map based GPS apps allow you to do that. There is little difference between the paper map he uses, and the digital map on his friends phone. They contain the same information. But, hey...

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 5 hours ago

    Damn, Al, if I didn't know that you and I were virtually the same age I'd think you were starting to sound like an old fuddy duddy. That note is so absolutely filled with generalities and assumptions - to say nothing of pure resentment that time is moving on - that it really doesn't stand up to your usual standard of scholarly commentary.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 5 hours ago

    Yes, you can plan your lives to the minute. No more surprises; no more serendipity. No more knowing how to roll with the punches, as my mother used to say. How did Lewis and Clark ever make it without being "liberated" by GPS? You've lost the thrill of discovery and found the thrill of what? Homogenization. Self-serve gasoline. The same cup of coffee from coast to coast.

    And the sad fact is you find it "progress" to be just another cog in the wheel. A lifetime career with one company? Loyalty for what you do? Perhaps, but I see more and more of you putting in 70-hour weeks. What did the president of Microsoft just say when his women asked for a raise? Trust in karma. Trust in the system. Surely we have an ap for that!

    Now the "system" has you hooked. You say these are only tools, but you appear to be lost without them. You don't realize that GPS is meant to steer you past the shopping mall. How do I know? My friend used it to get to Mount Rainier. It only took two hours longer than the route I use. How did I find my way? By golly, I used a map, and steered clear of all the yellow splotches indicating the nearest Wal-Mart.

    Sure, I use the Internet, but I don't "trust" it, as it were. I most certainly don't trust those daily emails reporting on the latest gossip. I use my head. I think for myself. Call me outdated, but there it is. Most of the Internet is little better than the celebrity rags at the checkout counter.

    I don't spoon feed my view of the world, but yes, I have a view. The thought police are the ones insisting that technology is always good. Well, good for them if they can sell it. Now, where is the closest gas station? I remember when "they" pumped the gas. Now that they have convinced us that it is cheaper for us to pump it (hah!) the fumes are going to everyone's head.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 5 hours ago

    I use park websites all the time. Even parks I've visited many times just so I can check to see if there are any park advisories I need to know about. I'm able to print brochures that help make my visits much more interesting and informative.

    But some websites are hard to navigate although in other ways they may be outstanding. Hope this will help in that department.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 6 hours ago

    Thanks, Dahkota, for an on-topic and appropriate post.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 6 hours ago

    They are part of the future. Smartphones are technology, and like everything else, it's a tool. Enabling the exchange of information that can be accessed by a device which does not exactly require one to be at a park visitor center or library is a benefit, and is liberating to the person accessing it. It allows for an expansion of knowledge and ideas. To those that choose to do research on their own, a search engine can be a greater ally and liberator of information, than a professor just trying to spoon feed you their view of the world. I prefer the multiple views that can be found by accessing information on servers to being spoon fed info from the thought police. I can see why you see it as a threat. And, I can read books on my devices, and buy movies through netflix or apple tv, and purchase them accordingly. My wife knows that I exist too, and we use smartphones, so your logic doesn't exactly fly with the zing of a straight arrow. And a program is only as "smart" as the coder that created it.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 8 hours ago

    I am in Casa Grande, AZ right now, trying to figure out where next to go. So I go to the NPS website, and find Organ Pipe National Monument. I browse their website, make sure they have a campground, check out what they recommend for hikes and drives in the area. I downloaded the Park Newsletter, checked out if there is gas or food available (there isn't so I need to hit the grocery store), and looked at the weather for the next few days.

    It is great when all that information is available to me before I drive 120 miles to get there. The internet, and the websites, aren't just useful when in the park - they are great to make plans to get to the park.

    Because of the websites, I was able to make reservations for Yosemite in April from Washington, DC in November. I know what to expect when I get there, including a camping space in which I will fit.

    Everything on the web I access is through a smart phone. Any improvement in that access is wonderful.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 10 hours ago

    Gary, I'll take being stuck in the past. If so-called smart phones are America's future, then why are the people using them doing such dumb things? You walk into a restaurant and everyone is texting. You drive down the street. Everyone is texting, too. Bam! Didn't see that pedestrian. Bam! No one saw me in the crosswalk, either. You want that in your national parks? Sorry, but I don't.

    In every park, there is a wonderful thing called the visitor center. Stop and talk to the good folks behind the desk. Then buy yourself a book or two and read them after dinner. At dinner, talk to your wife. If she wants to text, find another wife. My cell phone is so old my wife is laughing at me. But at least she knows I exist.

    These days, dinner out might cost $100, and still no one can remember the food. The "lovers" were both on their "smart" phones making love to someone else. Same with the national parks. Did anyone really "see" the place, or were they too busy texting it home?

    You think we old folks are way out of date, but we, as Edward Abbey emphasized, can still remember the country when it was young. We had none of this crap and didn't miss it, either. I typed both of my first books on a Royal manual typewriter, and guess what, both came out just fine. Machines don't think. Just because some marketing Wizard calls them "smart" doesn't mean the user is any smarter.

    We're only faster. We're not any smarter. And if speed kills on the highway, imagine what it is doing to our national parks.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 12 hours ago

    I read the part that said "Responsive design for mobile devices". Which will enable visitors to access up-to-date information on the park, in the case they are on vacation don't have a computer, but have their smart phones with them. It's another layer of media consumption for the visitor, beyond just FB, and twitter.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 12 hours ago

    Gary, maybe I missed the part about social media in the article but I read it as a website redesign and nothing about social media(Twitter,Facebook,etc.).

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 12 hours ago

    I manage digital media, and some of our posts and information can be seen by millions of people within a few days time. You can either evolve, or devolve. Obviously, some of the archie bunker cronies that constantly harp on here seem to want to take us back to the 50s before the age of the internet.. but that's no longer reality. Isn't it ironic, that some that lament about this are the same people using the "internets" to post their 'anti-park' screeds. And yes, posting up-to-date information can have an effect on visitation for those connected.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 12 hours ago

    Quit being such a backwards crony, Beach. Your screams tell me that you're stuck far in the past. Social media can make money and can bring people into the parks. Sorry that your stuck so far in the past, you can't see the value in it.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 12 hours ago

    Agree Owen, and thinking of the J Thomas post, one of the duties when I was a buck ranger and assigned to the late night shifts, usually went to the single persons, I remember stuffing some of those envelopes. The park had a very strict rule, all correspondence answered in 10 days. But ranger and naturalist duties were much less crowed in the 60s.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   6 days 12 hours ago

    I guess it doesn't matter if you think it's not your money and there is a never ending supply of it. Based on the above comments, seems that people are using the NPS websites just fine. I never had any issues, think current design is modern and attractive.