Month: March 2016

A Little Bit of Japan in Silicon Valley

A Little Bit of Japan in Silicon Valley

If you know the way from San Francisco to San Jose, you will also know that that route runs through “Silicon Valley,” an area best known by marquee names in the high-tech industry such as Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard (aka “HP”) and Intel.

(Roman Boed Flickr Photo)
(Roman Boed Flickr Photo)

Those American companies now overshadow their once-dominant counterparts in Japan.

But a little bit of Japan that has nothing at all to do with computers, TVs, smartphones or tablets, is tucked away in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains that separate the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area from the Pacific Ocean.

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Use an iPhone to Scan Music CDs into Spotify

Use an iPhone to Scan Music CDs into Spotify

Don’t hum a few bars of a song and ask me its name and that of the artist that recorded it.

I like listening to music, now and again, but I’m not really “into it” as many of my friends have been over the years.

But like many Baby Boomers, I do have a pile of music CDs, a form of digital media that is finally going by the technology wayside after replacing the LPs and reel-to-real music tapes that I collected from the 1960s through the 1970s.

(Grace Kat Flickr Photo)
(Grace Kat Flickr Photo)

My aging automobiles both have CD players, so if I’m on a “road trip” I can put a few CDs in the glove compartment and sing along while I get my kicks on Route 66.

But these days I’m unlikely to find a CD player in a hotel or motel room, so I need another way to “tune into” my tunes when I’m not tooling down the highway.

I sometimes use the free version of the Pandora music service, but I’d rather listen to “my own” music wherever I am in the world.

I have an iMac desktop computer, an iPad and an iPhone, and have “ripped” some of my music CDs into a library of tracks and albums that I can share between those devices.

But that transfer process is a bit slow, and I haven’t even tried it with my new iMac desktop which lacks a built-in CD player.

So when I recently read about an iPhone app that lets you quickly “load” an album into the Spotify online music service by scanning the CD’s barcode, I decided to sign up for a free Spotify account.

Here’s how that scanning process works.

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Escaping Crowds at U.S. National Parks

Escaping Crowds at U.S. National Parks

Last week I covered two new books that are sure to spur interest in visiting U.S. national parks.

Yosemite-Valley_thumb.jpg

But there’s a problem with that increased interest which comes as the National Park Service celebrates its centennial: The most popular parks are already very crowded, especially in whatever is there high season.

If you are thinking about a national park vacation, how can you avoid the crowds?

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