Wagner Street Talent – roof and porch repairs almost done

Tomorrow we’ll finish roofing the section that needed repairs. The strand board had some warping but it flattened out nicely with screws.

The website HammerZone.com is a great resource for this type of old house remodelling. Lots of 1-2-3 step by steps with pictures.

Today was nice weather-wise but on the roof I was baking my butt so we quit early and will start tomorrow morning earlier than usual to get this done in the cool of the morning.

An Ashland friend has convinced me I should add a staircase up to the very large attic space so this becomes a more valuable feature of the house and I think he’s right, but finding the right place for the stairs is a challenge. The risers can only be about 9″ maximum height and the height to the next floor is about 9 feet 6″, so I need about 13 feet along a wall for the stairs. Also, attic is only high enough to stand near the middle so there are only a few appropriate places for the stairs unless I put in a roof dormer and I’d like to avoid that for now.

Update:  Roofing done.  I am SO sore.  How do people do this stuff all year long?

Wagner Street, Talent Oregon

Wow, I always forget how hard it is to do a good few days of physical labor. I’m sore all over the place. The panel passed the inspection and Pacific Power hooked me up so now there is power at the house and we are fixing the area in the back – porch and roof. I’d originally tried to save an old porch that had been added on – perhaps in the 1930s – but decided it would be better to take it down due to bad condition and the fact it’ll open up the kitchen window to the sun.

The process is going somewhat slower than I’d hoped, but progress is progress, and we should be able to get the wood and felt up today on the section of new roof over the porch – about 125 square feet I think. I matched up the asphalt 30 year architectural style shingles at a great price at Home Depot of about $60 per 100′ square of roofing.

Wagner Street Project – electrical panel Inspection is today

OK, today is my electrical panel inspection. Although I’d had it tagged before but it needed a new one because it had been disconnected so long.  This meant I had to make changes for what I think is a change in the code.  The main wires were looped down via a J shape onto the main bus but now need to be going straight on from the top.  I also had to bond to the water pipe via a special clamp that takes a bare #4 copper wire going up to a neutral in the panel (this was not a change in rules).

Hopefully I’ll get the tag today and Pacific Power will hook me up tomorrow as scheduled, and put in the new meter (the Power Company does the connect from street to the wires as they come out of the mast on top of roof).


Wagner Street, Talent Oregon

What better way to process a big project than … blogging! ?

Today I had the Pacific Power guy come over tell me what tree trimming was needed to reconnect the service Panel that I’d installed some time ago but had been disconnected. The Electrical inspector was by the other day and told me I would need to add a ground to the water pipe (this is in addition to the ground running to two 8′ iron grounding rods!) I think this is standard Electrial Code stuff. I’ve certainly got nothing against the inspectors personally – most are courteous and professional around here.

However what seems to me to be a lot of unneeded change and overkill in the regulations is very interesting and I think can only be explained if you assume that there is a sort of “priesthood” of contractor/inspector folks who make these rules and want to both cover themselves against the slightest chance of problems arising combined with the fact they make more money and have more power if the rules are more complex.

The difference in mishaps in houses that have ONE 8′ grounding rod (old code) vs TWO 8′ grounding rods has GOT to be unmeasurably insignificant, yet those extra rods represent a huge amount of time/expense. Believe me, pounding an 8′ rod into the soil here is not fun and not educational!

Hmmm – let’s assume it takes a contractor a total of 30 minutes extra to install that extra rod, plus materials at $15, and the contracted labor is $60 per hour. This is $45 per install extra. So, one way to determine if this extra cost makes sense we could use the value of an American life according to the Dept of Transportation, about 2.7 million, and try to answer this question:

Since it costs folks about 2.7 million to install a second ground rod in about 60,000 houses, we’d expect to see at least one life saved by the second rod.    This seems EXTREMELY unlikely given that electricity is not a major cause of death at all (There are typically under 500 electrical fire deaths per year from ALL causes.  I’d bet there is not a single death attributed to the lack of a second ground rod).

Governor’s Tourism Conference

Oregon’s premier travel event is the Governor’s Tourism Conference. This year it was held in Sunriver, Oregon (about 15 miles south of Bend, Oregon) where the resort did a simply super job with food, accommodations, and hospitality.

My first Oregon Tourism conference was at Sunriver ten years ago and I think I’ve only missed one since then. It was great to catch up with folks I don’t see much since I stopped my internet marketing work with for the Southern Oregon Visitors Association a few years ago.

Although it’s been ten years since the internet became a key travel marketing tool, it’s still remarkable how print advertising remains the key marketing vehicle despite ROI measures that would make any truthful marketeer blush. Print enthusiasts, and even some silly “online marketing experts” have kept alive the myth that print ads lead to more than a trivial amount of web activity. I now attribute this to the fact people simply do not understand how cheap Pay Per Click advertising is as a destination marketing tool. It’s not uncommon for places to spend *several dollars* for a single print ad lead where a similar lead could be obtained online for as little as a nickel. I’d assumed years ago this gap would push people to PPC but as with most human behavior there is a huge level of psychological momentum that prevents them from changing behaviors. This is even true for huge companies like Ford that is *finally* moving to a much bigger online spend after a study showed how cost effective the online advertising has been for Ford.

One of the best presentations was from Golf Digest where even their head of research misconstrued results from a study of print vs online activity in planning golf related travel. He noted comparable numbers for the categories of “used print info” and “used online info” and suggested this meant that print advertising was therefore comparable to online in terms of effectiveness. This is technically true but it seems to me *extremely* misleading in terms of return on investment for advertising which won’t be comparable at all (they did not study this). Online you can target an ad and get *global reach*, all for pennies per click. With magazines you’d have to spend tens of millions *per ad* to get comparable reach on your message. Thus, as a marketer if you are deciding whether to run an ad in Golf Digest or run a comparably prices online campaign it is very likely that in almost all cases the PPC campaign will outperform the print one.

Holiday Travel Tips from Oregon State Police

James Kim Search Discussion – Click here | Mount Hood Climber Search

After reading so much about dangerous road conditions I thought it would be a great time to post these road travel tips from Oregon State Police and Oregon DOT. Weather is very cold and some roads will be icy for the Christmas Holiday. Please travel safely:

Oregon State Police and Oregon Dept of Transportation recommend the following travel safety tips to help get you safely to your destination:

* Expect the unexpected. Be informed and prepared when traveling on any of our highways.
* When traveling anywhere, plan ahead and taken known routes if possible. Our weather has been changing quickly and sometimes without warning. For road conditions in Oregon, call 5-1-1 or (800) 977-ODOT (6368). Outside Oregon, dial (503) 588-2941. Visiting TripCheck.com on the Internet provides information on road and weather conditions, incidents and traffic delays, and links to numerous cameras on many mountain passes and major routes.
* Take the time to keep up current and future weather conditions in the area you are traveling. Especially if going to or through higher elevations and mountain passes, areas where your vehicle needs to have appropriate traction tires or devices.
* If considering a remote route that you have never traveled on, don’t hesitate to contact available road and weather condition phone number or Internet resources, or contact police or highway department officials.
* Prepare an emergency kit to place in your car for longer trips and keep track of how much fuel is in your tank, especially if traveling unfamiliar routes or into remote locations.
* Let friends and family know what routes you plan to take when on a trip, keeping them updated and let them know if these plans change.
* Drive to the conditions. If it’s icy or wet, increase your following distance and reduce your speed. Use your headlights to improve not only your visibility, but also so others can see your vehicle.
* In bad weather, don’t use cruise control.

For those who may mix holiday celebrations with alcohol, OSP and ODOT recommend the following tips to help make your journey safer:

* Don’t drink and drive, and don’t ride with anyone who has had too much to drink.
* Volunteer to be a designated driver.
* If you see someone you know who has had too much to drink to drive, take his or her keys.
* If hosting a gathering, provide non-alcoholic beverages.
* Use public transit or local drive-home services provided by taxis and other companies.
* Always use safety restraints.
* Report any suspected impaired driving by calling 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865) or 9-1-1.

Media ridealong requests should be directed to your local OSP office.
For more information about the national effort to battle impaired driving, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org

Billion dollar Video Conferencing Market? Maybe, but you’d have to charge a jaw dropping $299,000 per fancy station. Wait, Cisco IS charging $299,000 per station!

This NYT Article (requires login) has Cisco seriously suggesting that companies are going to buy $299,000 video conferencing stations.   Wait…here’s the cheap version:  The basic TelePresence 1000 model, designed for one-on-one meetings, is priced at $79,000 per station.

Oh, OK then I’ll take TWO of those please.

Talk about out of touch and over technologized?  I suppose it’s possible that a brilliant sales effort will convince upper management of the big companies that this is worth it and that Cisco’s fancy pants model is the only way to go.  It’s certainly also true that even this exhorbitant cost for the units pales in comparison to sending people around in airplanes and putting them up in hotels (well, actually you can buy a lot of plane tix for $299,000 but true that if everybody actually used this approach, which has been around for many years now, it would save money over travel).

My point?  This totally misses the boat on how to get work done.   Efficient people use email and, if really needed and they like it they call on phones.  If they like to see people they can use existing, virtually free computer cam conferencing.

Efficient people also meet each other in real time and real space to have a beer or dinner and connect.  That’s a primate thing and it’s condusive to good biz, but can’t be replicated via even a high definition TV environment.   Nope, not even a $299,000 one.

Yahoo – maybe they should change the exclamation point from ! to ?

It’s getting harder to be bullish on Yahoo even though I personally remain bullish on their long term prospects. Yahoo remains the number one website in the world, the number one video streaming site, and has the best and coolest picture posting community (Flickr). Yahoo has the best understanding and support for the new web aka “Web 2.0” and a robust developer network.


Unfortunately for Yahoo and for shareholder me, Google and not Yahoo has been the overwhelming beneficiary of the swelling pots of online advertising money. Google’s contextual matching of websites and searches to advertisements has yielded better returns for publishers and advertisers, creating a very profitable win-win scenario that has made Google the hottest advertising agency…whoops I mean technology company, in history.

Yahoo’s Panama was released yesterday and may help reduce the contextual matching advantage Google has enjoyed for years.

Wall Street doesn’t seem impressed so far, but what do they know anyway?

… Do I have a valuable PO Box or what?

Funny – just after writing about Talent real estate in my post this morning I got a spam email from So. California lending place today that said:

There is a new lending program for homes such as yours on Po Box 141 that have become available based on the dramatic value increase in the Talent area …

Sure, I’ll borrow based on the new, huge value of my PO Box in Talent Oregon. Let’s be conservative and say $250,000. I need the money to remodel my PO Box so my kids don’t have to share a room.

Joe Bio

No time to blog today so I think I’ll just post the bio I just sent to the excellent folks handling the Nanjing Search Conference where I’m hoping to speak in March. This way I’ll NEVER lose it!

It’s always funny how you focus in on some things more than others depending on your audience, mood, and other factors. It’s hard to be modest and sound expert and experienced at the same time.

Hmm – maybe I should have added how I fixed my parents sump pump and garage door today just by jiggling them. That’s pretty talented, no?

Joseph R. Hunkins
Age: 46
Residence: Talent, Oregon, USA
541-535-7640 (home/office)
541-324-4800 (cell)


Masters in Social Sciences. 1990, Coursework in Multimedia, GIS, and Geography.
Southern Oregon State College (Now S.O.University), Ashland, Oregon 97520.

Bachelor of Science. 1981. Majored in Botany and Psychology.
University of Wisconsin at Madison, WI.

Professional Experience 1990-2005.

Coordinated Internet marketing and multiple website development for the Southern Oregon Visitors Association, a large regional tourism promotion group covering seven counties of Oregon and over 14,000 square miles. Developed organic and pay per click search strategies for several websites.

Managed grant and deployment of statewide touch kiosk Internet system for the state of Oregon, a partnership with the Federal Scenic Byways Program, Oregon Department of Transportation, State Tourism, and the Southern Oregon Visitors Association. Developed organic and pay per click search strategies for several websites. Developed the first commercial websites for Crater Lake National Park and Oregon Caves National Monument.

Presented findings of one of the first online Internet conversion studies at the Travel Industry Association of America’s (TIA) national education conference in Vail, Colorado. Has also spoken extensively in Oregon about Internet marketing strategy for the travel sector.

Board member: California Oregon Intelligent Transportation Systems project. Helped review policies and deployments of travel technology (such as road web cams) for the Northern California and Southern Oregon regions.

Winner of Oregon’s Governor’s Award for Innovative Tourism Development for creating the partnership and grant that led to Oregon’s first state travel website “TravelOregon.com”.

Owner: USA3.com. Joe publishes travel information at several regional and national websites he owns using promotion tools including pay per click campaigns and organic search optimization. His largest site is the QuickAid.com Airport Directory which is currently undergoing extensive changes.

Partner in Online Highways LLC. This Florence, Oregon internet publishing company works in conjunction with two of the Pacific Northwest’s leading travel magazines “Northwest Travel” and “Oregon Coast Magazine” to produce one of the most comprehensive online travel resources in the world: “Online Highways” website: http://www.OHWY.com. In addition to approximately ten staff in Florence the project established an Indian owned and managed support office in the state of Kerala India in 2003.

Joe’s work with Online Highways has been primarily in search and company strategy and online advertising development.