Friday, June 1, 2007

Oakland - The most famous cat on the web right now

First, try to spot the cat... (Click on the image to load it in Google Maps.)

Last Tuesday, May 29, Google launched Street View to the world. The next day, a concerned reader of the immensely popular blog BoingBoing wrote in about her cat:

The new Google Maps zoom feature zooms all the way into my living room window. See cat on cat perch.
I'm all for mapping, but this feature literally gives me the shakes. I feel like I need to close all my curtains now. I'm going to look into whether it's possible for a person to have pictures of their home removed from Google Maps. Meanwhile, I'm happy to show bb readers the photo in the interest of illustrating creepy privacy violations. Heck, the whole world can see him anyway. (source)

Fast forward to today: The New York Times picked up the scoop in an article titled Google Zooms In Too Close for Some:

"The issue that I have ultimately is about where you draw the line between taking public photos and zooming in on people’s lives," Ms. Kalin-Casey said in an interview Thursday on the front steps of the building. "The next step might be seeing books on my shelf. If the government was doing this, people would be outraged."
..."People’s jobs are pretty public," she said. "But that doesn’t mean they want a shot of their sofa on Google."

From the picture of her and the kitty in the NYT article...


San Francisco Landmarks #4 - City Hall

A tremendously beautiful building. This view is from across Civic Center Plaza. Click on the image to zoom in:

The Hall opened in 1915,

a Beaux-Arts monument to the brief "City Beautiful" movement that epitomized the high-minded American Renaissance of the period 1880-1917. The present building is actually a replacement for an earlier City Hall that was completely destroyed during the 1906 Earthquake.


San Francisco People - Faceless bag lady

Outside The Fillmore. Click on the image to zoom in:

San Francisco Landmarks #3 - The Fillmore

The Fillmore is a famous concert venue in San Francisco. This picture doesn't do it justice. It opened in 1912, and

by the 1950s, the literary North Beach scene had given way to the emerging Haight-Ashbury, and radical politics had a niche across the Bay at the University of California at Berkeley. The line between culture and politics is easily blurred by young people in search of adventure. (source)

Click on the image to zoom in:

More, from Wikipedia:

In the mid-1960s, The Fillmore became the focal point for psychedelic music and counterculture in general, with acts such as The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and Janis Joplin getting their start.

Groovy. Check out this awesome old (partially burnt) photo from outside The Fillmore East:

Treasure Island - Surreal palms on Avenue Palms

Some of the coolest pictures on Google Maps™ Street View are created because of the limitations of technology. Now we can bask in their surreal glory.

Check out these palm trees on Treasure Island, a man-made island in the San Francisco Bay.

Click on the images to zoom in:

San Francisco Landmarks #2 - Alcatraz

Click on the image to zoom in:

An amazing view of (in)famous Alcatraz, from near the marina.

From Wikipedia:

It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963, when it became a national recreation area...
When Al Capone arrived on Alcatraz in 1934 prison officials made it clear that he would not be receiving any preferential treatment. While serving his time in Atlanta, Capone, a master manipulator, had continued running his rackets from behind bars by buying off guards.

I've got to go watch the Sean Connery - Nicolas Cage classic The Rock again.

San Francisco Landmarks #1 - The Golden Gate Bridge

Click on the image to zoom in:

Ah, the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. This is an amazing view from Marina Drive on Fort Point.

From Wikipedia:

The Golden Gate Bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1937... It is currently the second longest suspension bridge in the United States after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City.

Walk around a bit, and you can see views almost as stunning as in this photo taken at nearly the same spot.

It seems the bridge was having some cabling problems when this picture was snapped. :)

Check out the live camera of the bridge here.