Archive for the 'Books' Category

Mt. San Jacinto State Park

Here a few pictures that I recently dug up from trip I made to Mt San Jacinto State Park, CA back in 2006, which predates the start of this blog, which I started in 2009. Mt San Jacinto is located immediately west of Palm Springs. At a height of 10,834 it is the second hight peak in Southern California.

From the Palm Springs side of the mountain the only way up is via Palm Springs Aerial Tram. The ride up is really breathtaking.



Views of San Diego’s New Central Library

San Diego’s magnificent new Central Library opened a few weeks ago and I’ve spent quite a few hours at the new building since it opened. I’ve been closely following the progress of this building since construction started back in August of 2010 and I was genuinely excited to finally see it open. Now that I have throughly explored the building from top to bottom I can honestly say that it has exceeded my high expectations. I think the design of the building is striking, but it is also highly functional. Every floor has plenty of work space and seating, as well as numerous power outlets for laptops, tablets, phones, etc. It is a library built for the 21st century.

The San Diego Central Library

The San Diego Central Library

Library facts:
9 floors
497,652 square feet
350 seat Auditorum
The 6th and 7th floors are occupied by the e3 Civic High Charter school
2,000 square foot main reading room at the top of the building
250 space underground parking garage
The Library cost $185,000,000.00 (35% Private donations)
Architects: Rob Wellington Quigley, FAIA and Tucker Sadler & Associates

The Main Lobby

The Main Lobby of the San Diego Central Library

Why did San Diego build a new library? Well, here is picture of the former Central Library, which was built in 1954, back when San Diego had a population of less than 400,000.

San Diego's Central Library 1954-2013

San Diego’s Central Library 1954-2013

The old library was a perfectly fine building, but it was simply too small to serve as a library for the major city that San Diego has become and it was hopelessly out of date technologically. I visited the old library many times and it seemed like a building that had hardly changed from the 1950’s era. It did have a few computers and free wifi, but still seemed to be very antiquated. The furniture, for the most part, looked like original equipment, straight from 1954. It even had a 1950’s/1960’s era phone booth off the main lobby.

I think the new library is a building that the people of San Diego can be very proud of. It is arguably the most important new building to be built in downtown San Diego since neighboring Petco Park was completed in 2004 because it is an iconic structure that has immediately become one of the most distinctive buildings in the entire city and it will play an invaluable role as a major academic and cultural asset for the city. Both of the structures have helped transform the East Village section of downtown San Diego, from an ugly unattractive part of the city which was dominated by warehouses, parking lots and run down buildings to a very modern and attractive residential area. The East Village is still a work in progress, large parts of that section of town still need to be improved, but the Library was a major step forward for the neighborhood. It has added character to the East Village in a way no other building could.


The East Village in Downtown San Diego

The East Village in Downtown San Diego

If you would like to see more pictures of the Central Library, both inside and out, please click the link below. That will take you to a slideshow that I recently put together which is comprised of pictures I took during my visits to the library over the course of the past few weeks.

New Gadget – Kindle (3rd generation)

Back in August I posted a link on this blog to  David Pogue’s review of the 3rd generation Kindle in The New York Times. Pogue’s review was so positive that I made up my mind back then that I was going to purchase the new Kindle. By dropping the price to $139 for the wifi only model and $179 for the 3G model Amazon made the device very attractive. A couple of weeks ago I bought a 3G model. I was able to use American Express points to pay for most of it so mine ended up costing only 20 bucks. At that price I really could not pass it up. My early impressions of the e-reader are very good. It is of course a specialized device, but what it does it does very well. It is extremely light and easy to hold. The monochrome screen is indeed very sharp and quite easy to read in sunlight, which is a real advantage it has over conventional computer displays.

I recommend the new Kindle. At it’s current price it is a good value. Moreover, Amazon offers the Kindle version of many books, including some real classics,  at a a cost of just a few dollars or even free. Can’t beat free. I downloaded copies of Ethics by Aristole, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, Utopia by Sir Saint Thomas More, Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill and The Prince by Machiavelli all for free.

Kindle 3 review in the NY Times

Times technology writer David Pogue evaluates Amazon’s 3rd generation Kindle here….

New Kindle Leaves Rivals Farther Back

Pogue gave the new e-reader a fairly glowing review and I can see why. The new Kindle is lighter, faster and less expensive than previous models. It starts at $140.00 now. At that price it should do quite well imo. This thing weighs only a 8.5 ounces and can store 3500 books!!

I’ll be buying one for sure.

George M. Fattell.

The gmf journal is a general subject blog that reflects my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics that are of interest to me. Current home base is Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. Retweets do not equal an endorsement.

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