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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Tag: California

Edited by Gerald Boerner


Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbToday in History features one major international and three major domestic events. The international event was the discovery, in 1972, an Imperial Japanese soldier, Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, in a jungle cave on the island of Guam. Our U.S. Marines took the island of Guam during the summer of 1944 after a hard fought battle during the Pacific island-hopping campaign on our way to the home islands of Japan during World War II. These Japanese soldiers were known for their tenacity, hard fighting, and resistance to surrendering to the American troops. Sgt. Yokoi was found living in a cave using weapons and tools that he had crafted himself during this period of time.


On the domestic front, the major event associated with this day in history took place in a small town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Coloma, California, in 1848. While building a sawmill for John A. Sutter, the contractor, James W. Marshall, discovered flakes of gold in the American River. Why is this event so important? It triggered one of the biggest migrations to the west coast of our country into the former Mexican territory of (Alta) California. This event, the California Gold Rush of 1848; these “Forty-Niners,” flocked to the gold fields seeking their fortunes. They came via almost every possible mode of transportation — by steamship, wagon train, horseback, and even by foot. They traveled through Indian territory or around the treacherous cape of South America. But most failed to make their fortunes and many died as a result of the elements or lawlessness of the boom towns built at the gold fields and then abandoned to the elements when the gold ran out to become another ghost town. Who were the winners? The merchants who sold supplies to these hopeful miners and to the new cities of Sacramento and San Francisco. The population of the territory swelled, the former Mexican inhabitants were replaced by the new settlers, and the territory finally became the 31st state in 1850.


On a sadder note, this day in 1956 witnessed the acquittal of the two men accused of kidnapping and murdering of an African American teenager visiting Mississippi from the Chicago area in 1955. This teen, Emmett Till, was accused of flirting with a white woman working in her husband’s store. They took him from the home of the relatives that he was visiting, transported him into the woods, and murdered him after torturing him as punishment for “not knowing his place.” Till was the victim of the cultural differences between the North (Chicago area) and the South (rural Mississippi) during the waning days of the reign of Jim Crow. The men, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant were accused of the crime and brought to trial. He was tried in Mississippi by an all-white jury who readily acquitted them of the crime. Only through extensive activity by civil rights activists did the facts arise; these men confessed to the crimes in a Look Magazine interview, but due to double jeopardy limitations they could not be retried using the confession. But this incident was an early skirmish in the Civil Rights Movement that reached its fruition in the 1960s under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday, we shared the famous Apple Computer commercial at the Super Bowl in 1984 that introduced the Macintosh Computer. Today saw the first opportunity of the people of America to purchase this cute little computer with its 128K of memory, 9” black and white high-resolution screen, a mouse (pointing device) and preinstalled software for word processing (MacWrite) and graphics (MacPaint). This computer was the first wide-distribution computer to use a Graphic User Interface (GUI) and was relatively expensive, especially compared to the IBM-PC. It was the darling of the creative and artistic types then and has continued to be to this day. It sold like hotcakes and started the phenomenon that is Apple. These computers blossomed and remains innovative as do its “little brothers,” the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. They all reflected the free-thinking of their developer, Steve Jobs.


On the lighter side, several important events that were not as earthshaking but probably impacted more people than the above events occurred on this day. A school teacher, Christian K. Nelson, received a patent on this day in 1922 for combining a block of ice cream and chocolate coating into the iconic snack food, the Eskimo Pie ice cream bar. In 1935, a small brewing company in Virginia was the first to package their beer and ale in the first beer cans. And, an inventor, Percy Spencer, who lacked even a grammar school education, received a patent for the microwave oven in 1950. These small items have been helpful to more people than any of the other events discussed above.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1416 Words ]


Quotations Related to Macintosh:

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“I think the Macintosh proves that everyone can have a bitmapped display.”
— Bill Joy

“My first Macintosh was a 128k machine which I upgraded to 512k the minute it became possible.”
— Buffy Sainte-Marie

“Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Inc, which set the computing world on its ear with the Macintosh in 1984.”
— Kevin Mitnick

“The Macintosh having shipped, his next agenda was to turn the rest of Apple into the Mac group. He had perceived the rest of Apple wasn’t as creative or motivated as the Mac team, and what you need to take over the company are managers, not innovators or technical people.”
— Andy Hertzfeld

“Most people have no concept of how an automatic transmission works, yet they know how to drive a car. You don’t have to study physics to understand the laws of motion to drive a car. You don’t have to understand any of this stuff to use Macintosh.”
— Steve Jobs

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoOn the west coast of this great country, if someone says that they are going to “the City”, the name that comes to mind is San Francisco. It is like traveling to Paris, France, without leaving this country. But a Paris with many extras — cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight-Ashbury, Fisherman’s Wharf, and numerous other sights unique to this city. Paris may have its Eiffel Tower, but “Frisco” has the Transamerica Pyramid. And while Paris is known for its unique neighborhoods (“arrondissements”), San Francisco has many neighborhoods that are just as unique. It is a visit to the world that is one hour away from me by plane!

But its origins is much more humble. Before the Spaniards, the local native American groups could be found here during certain seasons; when Sir Francis Drake first dropped anchor here, no local inhabitants were in evidence; it was not their season for this place. When The Spanish built their Presidio and Mission, the community was called Yerba Buena. In 1847, shortly before California became a U.S. territory at the close of the Mexican-American War, the name was changed to San Francisco.


And then the action really hit! The following year GOLD was discovered in Sacramento and the California Gold Rush was on. SF became the port of entry to the gold fields from the sea. Then, the big four (Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington, and Leland Stanford) set about building the western half of the transcontinental railroad; the Chinese laborers entered through San Francisco and created Chinatown. Then, when San Francisco had grown into one the most sophisticated cities in America, the 1906 earthquake and fire wiped it out. It was rebuilt bigger and better. During the Great Depression, the most sophisticated bridge was built across the entrance of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge. When World War II began, San Francisco became the west coast port from where troops left and returned from fighting in the Pacific Theater. Once returned, many settled in the San Francisco area. And finally, it became the center of the counterculture activities during the 1960s: the Summer of Love, the Gay Rights Movement, and other liberal causes.

Not a bad history for a seasonal home for some of our local Native Americans! But let’s get started with our exploration of the great city on the bay…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4302 Words ]


Quotations Related to SAN FRANCISCO:


“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
— Mark Twain

“San Francisco is perhaps the most European of all American cities.”
— Cecil Beaton

“There may not be a Heaven, but there is a San Francisco.”
— Ashleigh Brilliant

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoOn this last day of the year we want to offer some suggestions for taking digital (or film) pictures of significant events on New Year’s morning, such as taking in a parade, like the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. Since these are a one time opportunity for photographing the parade, you need to be prepared, both mentally and equipment-wise. We present both general tips and some specific tips for your convenience. Have a great day watching history go by with each float, band, equestrian group, or other participant.

Even though you may not be a professional photographer, you, too, can obtain memorable images at any parades that will be viewed tomorrow. Some of the key things to remember include: You will get one (and only one) chance to get shots of any float, equestrian unit, or band unless there is a halt to the parade’s progress and you will be surrounded by a crowd. So you need to be ready to shot for each unit and you need to select a location that will not be blocked.

This necessitates planning to pick a good position, selecting the correct lenses, and know the order that the floats, bands and equestrian groups ahead of time. Street corners are usually good, especially if the parade must turn around that corner. Get there early; this may mean the afternoon before to get in front. If you are using a camera with an interchangeable lens, don’t plan on changing lenses! Use multiple camera bodies if you want more than one lens will be needed (one for a telephoto lens & another for a wide angle lens). Extra batteries and empty storage cards (digital cameras) or extra film.

Finally, shot a lot! Remember, only a few images out of every 100. By being well-prepared and shooting a lot should will yield rich results. Good luck!

So, let’s look at some of these techniques…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2111 Words ]


Quotations Related to PARADE

“Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.”
— John Naisbitt

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
— G. K. Chesterton

“Campaign behavior for wives: Always be on time. Do as little talking as humanly possible. Lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

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