Author Archives: tomworld23

Pier Cities the Story of the Great Los Angeles Piers

In the Venice and Santa Monica area in Los Angles there have been numerous piers that have been built but only the Santa Monica Pier survived. Why is that? Well a variety of reasons. The piers served a variety purposes such as gambling, fishing, theatres, dancing, and amusement parks etc. Here are some notable ones.

The piers back then were much like the Santa Monica pier today, they were a place for people from all over the world to escape from the hardships of life whether you come for the thrills or just to stay there and hang out. The Santa Pier is not just a symbol of Santa Monica but is a symbol of the world. Piers are also a symbol of how easily nature can destroy man made creation and how easily it can be rebuilt. Many of these piers were built and burned down in with in weeks.

Venice Pleasure Pier

Built by the founder Kinney himself for City of Venice Beach, California like many of the other things he built for the city it is gone now. The pier was built lure visitors to Venice it included things such as arial stunts, a giant dipper wooden roller coaster, and all of your typical early 20th century amusement park rides. The pier only lasted from 1906-1946. In 1925 Los Angeles had annexed the city Venice (with much Resistance from the citizens of Venice) and went about destroying the beach town atmosphere of Venice by filling in Canals and destroying piers, piers such as the Venice pleasure pier. The city of Los Angeles waited for the lease on the Venice pleasure pier to expire and in 1946 refused to renew the lease.

unfortunately this user doesn’t allow embedding of pictures so here is a link to a picture

An Old postcard of the place

Ocean Park Pier

This was formally located on a border area between Venice and Santa Monica in an Area known as Ocean park. In fact the former ocean park pier isn’t too far of a distance from the Santa Monica Pier. here is the location of it on wiki maps

Originally was  Lick pier it was bought by the Venice investment company and West Coast Theaters. The land was redeveloped for 3 million dollars it included attractions mostly from the original lick pier but also had an area that replicated Egypt. In 1956 the pier was redesigned by Hollywood designers to compete with Disneyland. The cost of redesigning was initially 10 million dollars, more than 3 times the cost of original redevelopment. The pier reopened in 1958 as Pacific Ocean Park while initially the park was successful, it wouldn’t last for long. Pacific Ocean park was unique in the fact that you could pay one price to go on the rides versus disneyland where you had to buy tickets for rides. POP stood for both pay one price and Pacific Ocean park, very clever acronym indeed. Clever acronyms wouldn’t save the park from condo redevelopment which made it nearly impossible to access for many people. In 1967 the park owed simply too much money to continue operating, the city took control and assets of the park including rides were sold off. The structure of the ocean park pier suffered from various fires and the Final nail in the coffin was the demolition of the Ocean Park pier in 1974-1975. Before demolition the park ruins were a hangout spot for the Z-boys of dogtown.

here are some photos

The Ruins of Pacific Ocean Park

The skyride a attraction that would be wonderful to have today

Map of Pacific Ocean Park

The only surviving pleasure pier from that era in the Los Angeles area and in fact the only pleasure pier on the pacific coast. Originally the Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909 as a way to satisfy the need for a sewer. The structure however gained the interest of Charles Looff who added the Looff Carousel hippodrome and The blue streak racer. The racer was later replaced with the whirlwind dipper when Looff died and his family took over. The La Monica  ballroom was added in 1924 and for a long time the La Monica Ballroom was America’s largest ballroom. Demand for a break water was satisfied and in 1933 it was added to the pier. In 1943 Newcomb gained control of the pier and in 1950 his sons gained control the pier arcade. The arcade was renamed playland. In 1967 the looff Carousel was replaced by one from philadelphia toboggan company. In 1973 the pier was set to demolished by the City of Santa Monica however several citizens reacted and successfully petitioned to have the Santa Monica Pier saved. Under the original plan the pier was set to be redeveloped into a artificial island hotel. In 1983 a storm destroyed 1/3 of the pier and the city in response made the PRC organization in order to manage the pier. In 1996 pacific park (similarly named and themed to Pacific Ocean Park) opened and brought a new modern amusement park the the pier. Unfortunately the LA Monica ballroom Whirlwind dipper didn’t survive however the looff Hippodrome still stands today as a symbol of a time that once was. The looff Hippodrome is in fact a historic landmark.

Pictures of it

The original pier

a view of the original pier to give some perspective

The beautiful Carousel Horses

The Santa Monica Pier at Night

Pacific Park

Playland Arcade

You come for the place and stay for the attractions.

Why the Omap 4 Processor, Archos G9, and Google Nexus Prime Are Important For The Development of Mobile Computing

For years smartphone and tablet devices have been nothing more than media players with embedded wireless connectivity. Mobile devices have always been primarily targeted at the consumption of information rather than the creation of information. The reason for this is lack of storage for containing raw audio video files, lack of common USB host support, lack of real estate for editing (eg: resolution and screen size), and lack of processing power and ram on mobile devices. With the introduction of ARM Cortex A8 and Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile devices were finally able to do things like effectively multitask, play hd video and even record HD video. While smart devices were beginning to be able to record HD video and even in some cases replace high end camcorders, but were sill unable to effectively edit said video. With the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 iMovie was able to advantage of the extra screen resolution and screen the two devices had and mobile iMovie became effective for basic editing. The raw file problem can be solved with new video formats such as WebM/VP8 which is not only open source, takes less cpu power to decode and encode and is gaining much developer. Texas instruments said themselves that Omap 4 platform will support WebM/VP8. Flash storage is becoming cheaper and the Archos G9 tablets allow up to 250gb of hard disk space while still having a small ssd for the os and potentially even 320gb of storage. Soon 32gb of storage will be the standard and 64gb will be the premium. Android 3.x brings support for most common USB peripherals and this feature will come to smartphones such as the Nexus Prime with the release of Ice Cream Sandwhich 4.0.

What does the Omap 4 platform bring in terms of performance?, it has 4x the performance compared to Omap 3, a much more powerful GPU, and supports clock speeds of up to 1.8ghz. The Omap 4 also brings improved power consumption which can maximize battery life and allow mobile devices to be used non stop and allow them to be truly mobile. The most important capability of the Omap 4 platform is ability to encode and decode 1080p video which will enable some very powerful editing. On the software side much under the hood optimization for Linux has done to by Texas Instruments software development team to allow the ability to run desktop Linux applications and mobile Linux applications at the same time on the Omap 4 platform. Here are some demonstrations of the platform.

The Archos G9 and Nexus prime bring larger higher res display with Nexus Prime packing a whopping 4.65 inch super amoled display with a 1280x720p resolution and the Archos G9 with hard drive capilities. With these new added capabilities mobile apps become much more advanced. Ice cream sandwhich on the Nexus Prime will allow devices to have no navigation buttons and devote more space to screen size. Android navigation buttons have been pretty pointless because most devices have capacitive buttons which don’t give a tactile feel and generally make devices look uglier.

Here is a picture of what the Nexus Prime might look like this minus the nav buttons

What Archos G9 will be like

Nexus Prime and Archos G9 will be launched right around September and October.

Explaining the Precious Metals and Paper Currency Situation

I would like to state that I am not a financial expert and I just stating my opinion on a financial issue Let me start by explaining why metals such as gold, silver, and copper are valuable. These metals are valuable because they are rare, require labor and electricity to obtain; and these metals are also used as a way to store wealth. Also metals such as copper and silver have industrial use in agriculture, electricity and consumer electronics. Paper currency is different because it can be easily created is used primarily in transactions for obtaining goods or services; because paper currency can be generated “out of thin air” so to speak it has no true value compared to precious for the storage of wealth, which is fine because there isn’t enough precious metals to be used as day to day to currency. So what really is the problem with paper vs precious metals?, well the problem is that debt is payed back in paper currency and because of its ability to be created so easily causes wealth to loose much value. You may ask why don’t I just purchase precious metals with US dollars, well because there are taxes and transaction costs which end you up with much less gold than your dollars are worth. Please leave thoughts below.

What I Think Should Be Added in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwhich

As Android devices diversify and we expect more from them and software stack that runs on said devices. Here is a list of things that probably will and things I think should be done. This based upon devices that have become popular and changes overtime that Google has made to Android.

What Probably Will Be Done

Unified User Experience

Making it so that that the user interfaces found on tablet and phone devices  will be mostly consistent rather than having the two different be drastically different but still including modifications for each platform. As you can see with Gingerbread and Honeycomb moving from a Gingerbread based phone to a Honeycomb tablet could be very confusing as shown with the screen-shots. What Google will probably do is make both user interfaces based on Honeycomb.

Improved Performance

Something Google has done very often with Android is make it lighter on system resources and improved under the hood performance with the Dalvik Virtual Machine plus improved execution of native c/c++ code. Also improved power management fits into this category to allow for better battery life.

Virtual Navigation Buttons

Based on where Google is heading with Android they most likely will move away from requiring navigation buttons but make them still an option. There are many Android device with no navigation buttons and have screen scaling issues Google will probably fix the issue with screen scaling and implement a way to auto hide virtual navigation buttons in certain applications such as video and 3d games. Also allowing virtual navigation buttons on devices other than tablets enables a smaller design with more screen real estate.

Unified Release

After 4.0 most releases for both phone and tablet will be the same release, so probably we won’t have something like 2.3 Gingerbread being released after 3.0 Honeycomb.

Things I Would Like To See Added in Android

Native Stylus Support

Both Lenovo and HTC are making devices with N-Trig stylus support. The problem with this is that both companies are adding it on Android which doesn’t have support built in for this so they end up having to make their own API’s and cause application developers to have make their pen specific app more than once. So to avoid this add driver support for N-Trig digitizers and create an API for interacting with pens and for pressure sensitivity.

Native 3D Support

Same idea as the native stylus support remove the need for special manufacturer specific API’s for 3D.

Video Output and Multi-Screen Support

Pretty much any Android device includes some form of video output, so why not leverage it? I would be great to have an API for video output. Say you have a device plugged into a TV on the phone end it shows game controller and on the TV end it shows the actual game that is being played or the same with a video player on the phone it shows video controls on the play, pause, and stop but it only shows the actual video on the TV. Just some ideas for applications. Something related I would like to see added in is support for multiple screen devices like the Kyocera Echo and Sony S2, again the idea is the same avoid need for a manufacturer specific API and allows devs to more easily take advantage of such devices. A interesting application for device like this is having an app display a keyboard on the bottom screen and the text your typing on the top screen.

OK that just some thoughts on what should be added to future Android versions please leave your thoughts and comments below.