Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cell Phone Photos

There is a reason for carrying that thing with me.  All these are off of my cell phone, no touch up.

Bay Farm Island
I like the stormy sky and the bright sun.

San Leandro Channel
Taken on my early morning bike ride.

Cisco Way
The parking lot at work

In response to Rays wonderous cloudscapes, a typical Bay Area sky.

San Francisco
An evening quick stop at the end of my commute, nearly home.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

My new movie blog

Yet another movie blog?

Yes, another movie blog. See my boss was lampooning me at work the other day, claiming I had a questionable taste in films, because I'd just been watching "Whisper of the Heart", which in a disposable description could be termed an anime chick flick. Then I mentioned seeing the bonus disk for "M" by Fritz Lang, which he labeled as morbid, then on learning of the kinder-murder aspect of that film others added in "morbid, need psychological evaluation" etc.

So here I am, defending my taste in movies with the intent of blogging every film I watch....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How not to photograph a firestation...

I was walking down the street the other day, and I saw this lovely old fire station.  They even had what looked like a vintage fire truck there.

So I just had to take some photographs. I like shooting the trucks from low down, there are two reasons for this.  The first is that you can really get some fun details, like the eagle or phoenix atop the bell, the chrome around the head lights reflecting a neighbouring truck, of the texture of the radiator, or klaxon.  The second reason for shooting low is to get a kids eye view.  Grownups look at fire trucks where kids look up to them, in every sense of the phrase.  You can add to the size by being low, you can re-kindle memories.

I'm definitely happy when all I'm exploring the details of a fire-engine, every nuance of design, be it a Mack, Pearce, La France, Seagrave or whatever.  Sometimes I get a little too focused.

But usually I notice when the engine starts up, or the firemen shout at me to get out of the way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Our new small library

I found this at Alameda Point. It's a small public library, rather a high tech solution, still we are in The Bay Area. Bookmobiles only come around once a week, this is here always. Don't think I'll get to use it often though.
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Again, San Francisco.

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San Fransico at the far side of the runway.

The domed city of San Francisco

Yes, that is a real photo, all I did was crop and dust removal. Geodesic dome over the city
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Pelican Goes Fishing...

Alameda Naval Airstation is a great place to go pelican spotting.
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Niles Canyon Railroad

They were obviously getting ready for the Labor day weekend, when they use the steam engines to pull the tourist trains through Niles Canyon.  I never thought of that and just ended up in Niles on a whim this morning (Friday 2nd Sept).

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

DS has got the modelling bug

My eldest (12) has restarted painting wargaming 28mm figures.  He's opted for Warhammer Orks, and is doing an excellent job of it all.

He did do Warhammer 40K Kroot a few years ago, no where near as polished as these guys.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Architecture of Emergency (my new blog)

Yes folks, I've decided I need a new blog with a new agenda.  This one will be recording the styling I like in buildings and vehicles associated with the emergency services.

This picture of Chesters old fire station is one example, as is the following image of a Pearce engine below

Friday, July 30, 2010

The long way home

It's been a long week or two or actually a long month at work this month, and since we all did jolly well our boss kicked us out of the office early.  For me that is a blessing and a curse, facing 30 miles of rush hour I-880 can take it out of you.  So I decided to take 130 home instead.
130 will take you past some interesting sights, like this tree that a woodpecker had taken a fancy to.  The holes are not restricted to the upper levels either, this was comfortably taken at my height.

So after looking at this tree and wondering at majesty of nature I also noticed that I was getting close enough to get meaningful snapshots of the observatory on top of Mt Hamilton.  This is one of the places mentioned in H.G. Well's "The War Of The Worlds".  I did also stroll a little distance to see over a ridge, looking to see if I could see The Bay, I couldn't, but I did see a coyote, first one in 12 years, and never one this close before.  Sorry, no photo, he was too quick, I did get pictures of blurry grass though.

And I got a self portrait, maybe replace my Skype avatar with this one.

So the rest of the drive was wonderful, I got a view from near the top - the observatory was closed for a special function.  However I did get to see the Bay.  It looks like a silvery cloud in this picture.

I also got to see parts of the observatory.

The rest of the drive was a pleasant valley, seeing an hawk of some sort, wild quail, which was a first for me, an another coyote, this time from the car.  In the 60 miles only one person overtook me and I only saw about 6 vehicles.  Fantastic, but it took about 3 hours by the time I made it through Livermore, and over the Dublin Grade back home.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Livermore Night Life

So Livermore, California, has all you need for a Friday night out. There were art galleries open, and bars, and restaurants. This city has apparently reinvented itself in the last 10 years.

Some of the reinvention is a tastefully presented sex shop. I don't think they are catering to the same audience as say Berkeley or San Francisco, but not scrag end of Oakland either. A step in the progressive direction.

Also like the rest of the Bay Area there are protests. This was a pretty militant Christian group. Quite a bit of hellfire and brimstone really. I kinda like the composition with the Stop sign in there.

So a little bit of everything, and some night photography from me, something that's easier to do with a DSLR.
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Diverging Diamond Interchanges

So I took one look at the front cover of this months "Roads and Bridges" magazine and thought the proverbial WTF.

It's called a Diverging Diamond Interchange. For the span of the overpass the traffic lanes are reversed, but otherwise looks like a traditional Cloverleaf. They say it's safer, but it makes the freeway on-ramp left exit, and the offramp merges into lane 1. Neither are expected modus operandi of a freeway interchange.

Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a roomy great roundabout that you don't even slow to enter.

To show it's not just a concept, here's real video of one in use.

Next week - Single Point intersections.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I was just tidying up around the office and I found one of our old cell phones.  It's  a Motorola Transportable phone of the late 80's, early 90's.  I put my comparatively large Samsung Alias 2 on top for comparison.
Why is it so large?  Well, all cellphones are composed of radio, battery and hand set.

This is one of two batteries in the Motorola.  Yes, the phone needed two of these!

The sizable battery compartment, with one battery removed. 
Here we have the handset, keypad on the back, and yes a two line display.   
Color display?  Of course blue backlit LCD.
These are some of the vintage radio I was using in Callbox applications in the day.  Left to right, Oki, Motorola 3W OEM ,Motorola OEM.  Also for reference a handset and my Samsung.  We used to be able to achieve 9600bps data over the analogue network with an MNP10 modem.  We also were authorized by Motorola to use their command interface, the 3-wire bus.

Now we have three more modern radios.  These, two Enforas, and one MultiTech are all data capable and digital. It's strange, instead of waiting 2 minutes for the modem to train we can now establish a IP connection in a mere second.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Pi Day

Pi Day Countdown

As you will all undoubtedly know, 14th March is Pi Day, best celebrated with a pie at served 1:59 or there abouts.