Author's details

Name: Sam Drake
Date registered: September 27, 2010


I am a hiker, geocacher, and volunteer with several park organizations, and the Founder and President of the Umunhum Conservancy. For a living I work on database software.

Latest posts

  1. Hi — November 26, 2017
  2. Garmin VIRB Action Camera – DO NOT BUY — June 19, 2014
  3. Muriel Wright Lights — January 7, 2013
  4. Is a smartphone GPS Good Enough? — December 10, 2012
  5. Umunhum Beginning — October 17, 2012

Author's posts listings

Nov 26


Hi, welcome to my website. I don’t really use this blog anymore, but it’s still here in case any of it turns out to be interesting. Users of Garmin GPSes might like the collection of calibrated maps for local parks in the menu above!

Jun 19

Garmin VIRB Action Camera – DO NOT BUY

A few months ago I bought a Garmin VIRB Elite “action camera”, their alternative to a GoPro. The camera itself is nice, but the editing software that comes with it is totally, completely unusable. Any attempt to play videos captured with the VIRB gives the error message, “An error occurred playing this video”. Other applications …

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Jan 07

Muriel Wright Lights

The lights of the Muriel Wright Center made sense when it was a juvenile jail.  As an office building they no longer do.

The Muriel Wright Residential Center, located in Santa Teresa County Park, operated continuously from the 1960s until 2012. It housed and provided rehabilitation services for youth offenders who didn’t need to be held in the traditional “Juvenile Hall”. The closure of the Center in 2012 was not widely publicized. In fact, the County website still …

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Dec 10

Is a smartphone GPS Good Enough?

Samsung Galaxy S3 (blue) vs. Garmin 62st (red)

Submitted for your approval. No. The Garmin’s recorded track (red) precisely follows the actual trail as shown by Google Earth. The Samsung phone (blue) … is usually in the right zip code. Details: Garmin 62st, latest firmware. GPS was clipped to a belt loop of my pants during the hike. Samsung Galaxy S3, running “GPSLogger” …

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Oct 17

Umunhum Beginning

The Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) Board met tonight to determine the fate of the Cube on Mt. Umunhum. Here’s the Mercury News article describing the results. The bottom line is that the Board chose Option A … to preserve the Cube for 5 years, and to use that time to seek partnerships in …

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Oct 14

Umumhum Speech

The pivotal meeting on the fate of the Cube on Mt. Umunhum is this Wednesday night. I hope you can attend! During the Public Comment period before the Board votes, anyone wishing to address the Board may do so, probably for 2 minutes. I plan to make a short speech…as I’m sure many others will …

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Oct 12

Umunhum Endgame

On Wednesday night the Board of the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District will decide the fate of the Cube on Mt. Umunhum. In previous discussions about the Cube on Mt. Umunhum, three options have been discussed: Remove the Cube entirely Remove all but the base of the Cube, or Keep the Cube intact and seal …

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Sep 23

Save The Cube!

A new site dedicated to saving “The Cube” on Mt. Umunhum has been started…check it out.

Sep 20

The Fate of Mount Umunhum

After decades of waiting and years of planning, the future of Mt. Umunhum and its iconic Cube is about to be determined. The Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD), the mountaintop’s current owner, has completed the planning process. They have solicited public feedback, analyzed various options, and determined their costs. At their October meeting the …

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Sep 10

Energy Not-So-Smart

A few months ago I had a conversation with someone online about light bulbs. (Yeah, my life is pretty empty.) We were discussing the phaseout of 100W light bulbs and whether the next generation of bulbs was “ready” to replace them. My house had an assortment of oldy-tyme incandescent light bulbs and florescent ones. The …

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