Crystal Geyser – Green River, UT

Crystal Geyser – Green River, UT

Crystal Geyser is a man-made geyser, created when drilling for oil when a pocket of carbon dioxide was hit. It resulted in a cold-water geyser, which used to shoot water up to 100 feet in the air a couple times of day. Unfortunately, now it just bubbles and sputters a bit.  But it left behind an landscape of mineralized rock where the water flows down to the river, which still makes it an interesting place to visit. It is also…

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Why I took a break from Web Design posts…

Why I took a break from Web Design posts…

A couple weeks back, I started posting content in 2 new areas — Things to Do In Utah, and Web Design. I quickly stopped doing the web design posts because I noticed myself starting to want to twist what I had to say into something competitive. I found myself thinking about what other folks were doing wrong, and what I could do better. And I realized that is not who I am, so it was not a good trend for…

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Buckhorn Draw – Petroglyphs, Caves, and Canyons in the San Rafael Swell

Buckhorn Draw – Petroglyphs, Caves, and Canyons in the San Rafael Swell

Buckhorn Draw Road cuts through the northern part of the San Rafael Swell. Driving through it, you can connect between I-70 west of Green River, up to Cleveland and Price on Highyway 6.  It is a far more interesting way to pass through that part of Utah, instead of just following 60 miles of 2 lane highway from Price to Green River.  We did the drive yesterday, dodging between thunderstorms on the way. I’ll describe the route coming from the…

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Cascade Springs – Short Hike near Midway, UT

Cascade Springs – Short Hike near Midway, UT

Cascade Springs sits between Deer Creek Reservoir and Mount Timpanogas. It is a series of ponds, springs, and small waterfalls, with a decent amount of shaded trails. The trail is made of 3 loops through the springs, all of which are short and easy. All of the trail is paved or made of boardwalks over the water. There are some steep stops, and one of the loops has some stairs, but most of the area is accessible to just about…

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Geodes in San Rafael Swell, near Green River, UT

Geodes in San Rafael Swell, near Green River, UT

Geodes are hollow rocks, embedded with crystals on their insides. They can be found in a variety of places in Utah, but one that I’ve enjoyed exploring is in the San Rafeal Swell, just north of I-70, west of Green River. You can find geodes near the base of the hills all along the swell as it travels north from I-70. If you are not familiar with geodes, there is more information here –> Geology.com: Geodes It does take hiking…

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Trampolines at Hang Time in Orem

Trampolines at Hang Time in Orem

Trampolines are a popular backyard activity, but we like going to Hang Time in Orem for our jumping.  Check our their site for all the info –> Hang Time This is actually an indoor activity, so not my typical recommendation. But that is exactly why you might want to try it in late July, when it has been 100 degrees for 4 straight days. When you get there, they have a few different areas. My kids favorite is the individual trampolines…

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Wonderstone in Vernon Hills

Wonderstone in Vernon Hills

Wonderstone is a type of rock that has swirls of thin red/pink stripes, and is interesting to look at. It is not very valuable, but does make nice additions to a rock collections, or for decorations, or possibly landscaping highlights. There is an inactive quarry outside Vernon, UT where you can easily collect some Wonderstone for yourself. It is such an easy place to collect rocks that I recommend it in particular for younger children, or for people who are…

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Gold Panning in American Fork Canyon

Gold Panning in American Fork Canyon

Gold Panning works in just about any creek or river, but many people in Utah don’t do it because we have a reputation as a state where Gold doesn’t exist. That is only half true. Gold exists in Utah. But it is not as common as other Western states. Even so, pan for gold in American Fork canyon, and you’ll probably have some luck. We haven’t tested it out everywhere, but we have done it up at Mary Ellen Gulch,…

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Trendy Web Design – Why I Don’t Do It

Trendy Web Design – Why I Don’t Do It

Trendy Web Design — I’m not a fan. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has looked at this site. Plain text designs. Usually blue. Few images. Pretty basic stuff. Sometimes I’ll change the font. But I’m a professional web guy, can’t I do better? So why don’t I do a better job with my site? If I am capable of knowing what is trendy, and making a trendy web design, why do I not do it? Because trendiness is fleeting. And…

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BYU Museum of Paleontology

BYU Museum of Paleontology

The BYU Museum of Paleontology is one of the smaller museums around here, but that is exactly why I want to call attention to it. It isn’t crowded. It is free, but there is a donation jar where you can give your support. It on the BYU campus, open during the week from 9-5. Admittedly, this make it a bit harder to visit than other museums because you have to go when many kids are in school and parents are…

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KISS Web Design

KISS Web Design

KISS Web Design KISS is an acronym that means “Keep it simple, stupid.” Simplicity works, in technology.  KISS Web Design is applying that principle to the practice of building your web site. While I’m the first person to pontificate about web design being more about communication than technology, it still comes down to technology when you really do the work. So keeping it simple still matters. If you go out and search for “KISS Web Design”, you find people talking…

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You Own Your Website

You Own Your Website

You own your web site. That doesn’t seem like it should need to be explained, but there are ways in which a business owner gives up control of their own web site, until they don’t control it at all. These are some things NOT to do, as they give up control: Taking advice from a consultant like me just because it makes technical sense, UNLESS is also makes business sense. My advice usually is solid from the technical perspective. But…

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Build Forts in the Woods under Spanish Fork Peak

Build Forts in the Woods under Spanish Fork Peak

Build forts in the woods? Yes, this is much more of a day that falls under the category of “Just get out of the house, go outside and be kids, OK?” Just east of Mapleton is the trailhead to hike up Spanish Fork Peak. I don’t even know how that trail is. I hear it is great, but long. We’ve never made it up, because the kids found that not too far up the trail is a spot in the…

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How To Fix a WordPress Plugin that Produces Invalid HTML

How To Fix a WordPress Plugin that Produces Invalid HTML

If you have a WordPress plugin that produces invalid HTML, it can harm your web site. Your site will end up lower in search results. It may fail to display on mobile devices. It could read improperly on screen readers In short, it just might not work correctly. Many WordPress plugins are not written with standards-compliant HTML as their top priority. This is a bigger problem than many people realize. So How Do I Fix this? I first recommend the…

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Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is a short excursion just outside Provo. You can park right by the falls, but we like to park south of the falls a bit, and walk half a mile to the falls to make it a bit more of an activity than just looking at the falls. The falls lie a few minutes up Provo Canyon, before Sundance and Deer Creek reservoir. They are accessible year-round, by all ages, and ability levels. Bridal Veil Falls also…

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Fixing a Web Site Doesn’t Mean a Complete Rewrite

Fixing a Web Site Doesn’t Mean a Complete Rewrite

Fixing a web site sounds like a big project. But it doesn’t have to be. At some point, every business owner may realize that their web site needs help. Maybe their business has evolved. Or perhaps  their marketing. Could be, some web consultant like me has shown you all the things you could be doing better. Or you have simply grown your business, and need your web site to catch up. Whatever the reason, the time has come to revamp…

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Collect Obsidian at Black Spring

Collect Obsidian at Black Spring

You can collect obsidian at Black Rock, south of Delta, UT, and west of Kanosh, UT. The obsidian lies in pits of varying sizes, and is the mahogany variety — mostly black with brown streaks throughout the rock. The pieces are fairly small, with the largest pieces you’ll find being a few inches long. If you really like obsidian, this is an interesting place to explore. Otherwise, this is good for a one-time experience to see exactly how much obsidian…

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Grotto Falls – Short Hike to Waterfall

Grotto Falls – Short Hike to Waterfall

Grotto Falls Hike Grotto Falls is a short, easy hike, just outside Payson, off the Nebo loop. It is easy enough to be done with small children. But there are a few places where you walk across log bridges, so if you take toddlers, be sure to hold their hands. It is about half a mile long, and a gradual uphill, so it can be done by just about anyone who is mobile. I did it when I was recovering…

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Site Designs – What has NOT changed since the 90s, and so what?

Site Designs – What has NOT changed since the 90s, and so what?

The web, and how we create site designs, has gone through a vast evolution in the past 25 years, but at its core, many things are still the same, so lets take a minute to think about what has not changed on the web since the 1990s. Web site visitors still do not read full web pages. They skim. They read bulleted lists, not full paragraphs. Busy, cluttered web site designs still do not work. Visitor do not accept slow…

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Explore the Lava Tubes

Explore the Lava Tubes

Exploring the Lava Tubes Near Fillmore, UT, you can explore some lava tubes, climbing underground into caves formed by magma flows. We head down there about once a year, spending the afternoon hiking through the caves, scrambling over rocks, wandering the surface. And we sometimes then stay to watch the sunset, and see the stars come out. If you time it right, and go when there is a new moon, the nearby hills block the lights from Fillmore, and you…

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Test Your Web Site for Valid HTML – How and Why

Test Your Web Site for Valid HTML – How and Why

To test your web site for valid HTML, you simply need to run it through the W3C’s validation tool, which can be found at: https://validator.w3.org/ Enter your site URL. It will give you a list of errors on your site, which you can then correct. What is Valid HTML? HTML is the a structured language used to create web pages. All web pages are made of it. All brosers read it. But mostly only web developers and designers worry about it. And…

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Your Web Site Audience

Your Web Site Audience

Defining your web site audience helps you craft the content of your site to match the audience, to make sure sure that your site is a fully functional business tool, not just an ineffective brochure. What is a Web Site Audience A Web Site Audience is the collection of people who visit your site. They can be broken down into groups. Not everyone visits your site for the same reason. For a business site, there are often two main group…

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Swimming at Spanish Fork Reservoir

Swimming at Spanish Fork Reservoir

Looking for a place to swim in Utah County? Just outside the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, there is a 4 acre reservoir that makes a decent swimming hole for the afternoon. We have been going there a few times a week all summer. It has a small beach, but it is large enough that there can be 100 or so people there before it feels crowded. And the rest of its perimeter is concrete, which isn’t the most comfortable…

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One Month Of “Unemployment…”

One Month Of “Unemployment…”

I sure have been busy for a month “without work…” Continuing my reports to myself, as posting these does keep me focused on driving progress forward each week:   Jewelry and Rock Work My parts came in this week. They work amazingly well. I want to order about 100 more. Unfortunately, I think I want to have them made 1mm smaller than I did. And my rock slabs are cracking more than I expected, so as I finalize my jewelry…

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Summer Progress Week #3

Summer Progress Week #3

3rd Week! Mobile Apps  So my mobile app work this week hit a crossroads — the framework I am using came out with an update, which totally broke the way I write web apps. Because I don’t like to use heavy frameworks, I use mostly vanilla JS, and very simple frameworks to send data in and our of the apps… I often like to have each element in the DOM be self-contained, and hold its own data in data attributes….

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Summer Progress Week #2

Summer Progress Week #2

2 Weeks of Summer Down… I’m not even sure how many are left, but it is Sunday evening, which means time to remind myself that I need to check my progress on my projects. Mobile Apps  As expected, the majority of mobile app this week was spent on getting the database components working as desired. That is done, and I am now working through the smaller details of having data flow in and out of the apps. It is like…

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Summer Project Progress

Summer Project Progress

I have 4 projects I’m working on this summer, and now that I am wrapping up the first full week of summer, I’ve decided to write up a weekly report on how things are coming along… Mobile Apps  I am working on mobile versions of the popular pages from my web site. Progress this week was not bad – I’ve chosen a mobile framework that lets me re-use most of my skillset without having a huge learning curve. So most…

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Jewelry Progress

Jewelry Progress

One of the projects I’m working on this summer is stepping up my jewelry hobby from just making gifts into an actual business. This is going to be an opportunity to test a theory of mine that I’ve always had, that if you take the customer service and business knowledge learned in one industry, it can be applied to another and greatly speed up and improve your success. It is too early to say whether or not I will succeed,…

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Local Adventures

Local Adventures

As part of my newfound unemployment, we’re scaling back a bit on our expenses, including gas money, so we’re moving our adventures more local, and probably going to be doing less big weekend outings. On the other hand, we’re doing many more small local outings. All the kids now have bikes. Erreth wanted to be a bit older before learning to ride a bike, but this summer we are working with him on it, so we can start doing family…

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Livelihood Update

Livelihood Update

I’ve noted a couple times this year that one of my goals for 2017 was a new role in my career. I have news on that front. I’m no longer working for my former employer. The reasons are varied, and many people have asked me why. And I even had a couple paragraphs here saying a bit about that, but now that I’ve been gone a couple weeks, I don’t even feel the need to say what little there was….

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Obsidian Weekend

Obsidian Weekend

On my quest to start trying to figure out how to make good chess sets from rock, I want to try to make a black set from obsidian. I know of a few places to get obsidian, so T and I went out Friday evening to see if we could find pieces large enough to carve chess pieces. When we left, it was cold and windy. We drove through rain, hail, and snow. We got off the highway, and the…

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Legal Tips from a Software Professional

Legal Tips from a Software Professional

I am not a lawyer. This is just my personal approach to the legal quagmires of working in the software world. But it does work for me. YMMV and make your own decisions. Also, the legal field is inherently adversarial. So this post approaches it that way, too — that you are in conflict with the people who are giving you contracts. But I also have good friends who are attorneys, and they have an uncanny ability to turn that…

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Geode Collecting

Geode Collecting

A warm Saturday in March without major plans. That is unusual on many levels, but we embraced it, and went down to the San Rafael Swell to see if we could find any Geodes. We hiked around just off I-70, about a half mile north of the Interstate, at this one spot.. fairly well known, where there is a gate directly off I-70 you can pull straight off the interstate, through the gate, and onto dirt roads. It took us…

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First Outing of the Season

First Outing of the Season

Tuesday afternoons, my boys both have music lessons, which leaves my daughter and I home alone for the afternoon. We took advantage of it to go down and try to pick up some rocks to work on the chess set that I’ve been wanting to carve all winter. So we drove down to Nephi and heading up the Nebo loop. The gate was still closed for winter, but it closes about a quarter mile shy of where I wanted to…

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Homeschooling and Parenting Goals

Homeschooling and Parenting Goals

I noticed that Loretta and I often make different choices in our parenting and in our schooling for our children vs. other parents we talk to. And it frequently comes down to our focus on our long-term goals. I’m not sure that those goals are any different than other parents… but we do think about them when making decisions, and try to avoid getting caught up in the day-to-day routine of school, work, and activities. Our long-term goals for our…

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Seeking My Last Job…

Seeking My Last Job…

  I’m intending to have a new role at some point in the relatively near future. I do not think of this as my “Next” role, but as my “Last” role. I have been thinking about my career recently, and have divided it into three phases. Or, really, 2 phases, and I am planning out the transition into Phase 3. Phase 1 – Building the Career: These were the early years. Jumping from place to place for more money, more…

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Open Letter/Rant to Anyone Developing Online Curriculum for Kids

Open Letter/Rant to Anyone Developing Online Curriculum for Kids

I have one child who homeschools, and 2 children who would like to. I also work indirectly with educators who are trying to improve the curriculum through the US educational systems. So I have a decent exposure to the details of the curriculum being offered to our children via online tools. And I’m not impressed. I don’t want to be dismissive of the hard work people have put forth… on the contrary, I really do appreciate it, and have great…

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It is that time of year again….

It is that time of year again….

The end of the year rapidly approaches, which means an arbitrary milestone to take an introspective look at your life, and see if your trajectory matches your desires. Or, in other words — how was 2016? Let’s see what I said a year ago, and see if I succeeded: 1) Work – Either succeed or fail, decisively. I failed, decisively. But that is not about work performance. It is about my health.  More details below, but I will be switching…

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Lava Tubes

Lava Tubes

We are still here but I have been trying to avoid typing for the last few months so I have not been posting anything. Today I am experimenting with a new WordPress plugin that lets me speak a blog post so I can still put things here without having to actually type. Two weekends ago we went down to the lava tubes near Fillmore and ran around there for an afternoon. The kids were enjoying the time that we had…

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Spring Adventures

Spring Adventures

The lack of posting here should not imply a lack of adventures this spring… I have been out exploring the areas around Milford, UT, bringing home some obsidian, and a few other shiny things. The entire family spent a day collecting crystals out near Marysvale… the kids mostly found chunks of Selenite, but they were big and shiny so it made everyone happy. I found some rocks that had obsidian mixed up with sandstone, something blue/grey, and flecks of gold….

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