Friday, May 30, 2008

Key Station, West Oakland, CA

This station is visible from both I880 and the frontage road in West Oakland. For those of you who are curious as to what it may be, it is one of the last remaining stations from the Key System. I was very curious, and so on a recent visit to Oakland, took a detour to get some photos. Unfortunately the site is surrounded by chain link fence, and so I couldn't get close up for the photos I wanted.

The Key System was a light rail, or tram system that linked Oakland, Berkeley and other East Bay cities to the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco.

The trams used to run across the Bay Bridge, on the lower deck. It was decided that trams were not needed, and got in the way of the cars. The system was retired, and the decks of the Bay Bridge were each made one way.

Many years later, it was decided that there were too many cars. Addition of a mass transit system was called for, and that is where BART comes into the picture.

BART runs about a mile away from this old station, pretty much following Adeline to the Bay Bridge causeway, then plunging under The Bay to San Francisco.

Despite being over grown with weeds, and lacking in irrigation, there was still evidence of the geraniums in the planters at the stations main entrance. I found an old bus stop, for the 62 route, which suggests that the yard of the station served as a bus terminus for some years after the trains were retired.

There is a new housing development one block from the station, across a large vacant lot, and it has embraced the railway theme, these pieces of decorative steelwork reminiscent of the station platform awning.

I was ultimately left with the question, which is the more opulent society, the one that could build such a grand looking station, the one which could abandon it, or the one which can afford the seismic retrofit and refurbishment?

I have shared some more photos on line at Picasa
16th and wood Oakland

Update 2 June 2008:-

I know it's a bit late but...
- West Oakland housing project must get underway
Oakland Tribune, May 7, 2005

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

USB Interface suitable for hospital beds...

From Freescales website, describing the benefits of the S08JM family of processors:-

* USB Applications:
o PC peripherals and I/O modules
o Lighting control systems
o Test and measurement equipment
o Environmental and building automation
o Security and access control panels
o Stationary barcode scanners and barcode printers
o Patient monitoring systems
o Hospital beds and electric wheel chairs
o Automatic drug dispensers
o Laboratory equipment
o Industrial networking products
o Point-of-sale and printers
o Remote controls
o Gamepads
o Uninterrupted power supplies

The question isn't "why do hospital beds need connectivity?" but "Do marketing see USB interfaced hospital beds as a large enough market to call it out in a bullet item here?"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Doing my job as a photographer.

One of the reasons I take the photos I do is to see the world a different way, and to show other people how to look at the world in a different way. I've seen results in photos taken by my family (parents and kids) , and in comments from my friends and co-workers.

Last night I managed to inspire in a more direct and human manner. I was in downtown Palo Alto
, just looking at how the evening light played on the mix of architecture. I noticed a "sky scraper", an 8 story tower. Fairly standard 60's/70's tower, floor to roof glass panels between pillars. But the light was on the facet towards me, and it looked like the glass was either stained glass, or glossy tiles. From about 2 blocks away with a 200mm lens I suddenly realized it was covered in photographs. Anyway, suffice it to say I worked my way closer over the couple of blocks to find out what it was all about.

About 10 minutes later, a passerby stopped me to ask about the building, which was City Hall. She said that at first she couldn't understand why anyone would be photographing the building, then she had looked closer and noticed the photo montage. I guess she was resident, or a frequent visitor, and the local buildings had become so much just background noise that she needed something to catch her eye and get her to refocus.

I guess this is not the first time it's happened to me. I've seen people glance at what photographers are shooting, but seldom do they see. Some times they actually look. Sometimes they even ask. This is an immediate side of photography I sometimes forget exists. It's kinda fun though. The best part is your undeveloped photo is already developed in someones imagination, and the beauty they see is in the minds eye of the beholder.

(The film has not been developed yet, so won't be posted for a few days.)