Friday, May 30, 2014
Leaked emails from Evan Spiegel's undergraduate days show a culture of drinking, sex, and drugs. His comments about female co-eds are unflattering at best, misogynistic at worst. Is Silicon Valley sexism — "brogrammer culture"—all too prevalent?
Friday, May 30, 2014
The Misogyny & Entitlement of Nerd Culture | Inside The Frat Past of Snapchat's CEO | The New Movie Releases of The Week | Jesse Eisenberg's New Role: An Angry Environmental Terrorist | An Uncertain Future For Al Jazeera Journalists | Global Community Anxiously Awaits Obama's Climate Address
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The Obama administration says it is bringing in the big guns to resolve the issues with HealthCare.gov: Silicon Valley. Clay Johnson, a Presidential Innovation Fellow who now heads a tech start-up called the Department of Better Technology, explains why the site's malfunction is a sign of larger problems the federal government faces when it comes to I.T.
Friday, October 18, 2013
The federal government is up and running again after a last minute deal that ended the shutdown AND raised the debt ceiling so the government can pay its bills. For now.
Monday, June 03, 2013
In his most recent New Yorker article, George Packer describes Silicon Valley's biggest blind spot: namely, that its wealth and its youthful demographics has given way to a distinct political and social worldview that mimics libertarianism. But however insulated the culture of Silicon Valley, the fast-paced greed of twenty-something, rich, white males, is not necessarily its only legacy. Hamish McKenzie says Silicon Valley can and does change the world for the better by inventing products that have the power to enrich our lives.
Monday, June 03, 2013
Is Silicon Valley Good for the World? | Supreme Court to Decide Five Landmark Cases | Bono and the Polarizing Face of Celebrity Activism | Joss Whedon on His New Film 'Much Ado About Nothing'
Friday, May 31, 2013
Money Talking host Charlie Herman and regular contributors Joe Nocera of the New York Times and Rana Foroohar of Time magazine tell us what they're reading this weekend.
Monday, February 04, 2013
Randall MacLowry, director of “Silicon Valley,” looks at the early high tech pioneers that transformed a fertile valley in California into a hub of technological ingenuity. In 1957 a group of eight brilliant young men defected from the Shockley Semiconductor Company in order to start their own transistor company. Their radical innovations helped make the United States a leader in both space exploration and the personal computer revolution. “Silicon Valley” premieres on American Experience February 5, 9- 10:30 p.m. on PBS.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
(Queena Kim - Marketplace) By now you’ve heard about the perks that come with working in Silicon Valley. Free lunch, 20 percent time -- that’s the work time you can use to pursue independent projects.
Well, another perk? A private bus that picks you up in your neighborhood in San Francisco and shuttles you down to your corporate campus about an hour south in the suburbs of Silicon Valley.
During rush hour in San Francisco, you see them everywhere, said Eric Rodenbeck, the creative director of Stamen Design in the Mission District of San Francisco.
“They’re just so big," Rodenbeck says. "These buses are two stories high and they’re barrelling down residential streets, and no one knows where they’re going except the people who are on them.”
Rodenbeck is talking about the private shuttle buses that run up and down the Peninsula. They look like fancy tour buses. Google’s buses are white. Facebook’s are a sleek blue. But beyond that, they’re sort of a mystery to most San Franciscans.
“You know it’s almost like this masonic ritual,” Rodenbeck says. "If you've got the key, this whole other city layer unlocks itself to you. And that’s the kind of urban puzzle we like to solve."
So, Stamen decided to map the private shuttle buses connecting San Francisco to Silicon Valley.
But getting the data wasn’t easy. The tech companies don’t comment on the buses. They don’t tell you where they stop or how many people ride on them. But in the era of big data, the information was easy enough to find.
“Even though the companies might not have wanted their locations public, we started looking around and we realized on Foursquare -- if you typed in “shuttle” and “google” or “shuttle” and “apple” all these locations came up because their employees were checking in at those bus stops,” Rodenbeck says.
Stamen also hired bike messengers to follow the buses. And then they had people just sit at a cafe on the corner of 18th and Dolores and count the people getting on and off the buses.
I checked out the Google bus stop a little after 7 a.m. one rainy morning and the “G-bus,” as the display on its windshield reads, was already picking up Googlers. For the next few hours, the buses would arrive in 15-20 minute intervals and a steady stream of 20-30 somethings, holding coffee cups and wearing sneakers and backpacks, would get on board.
It might have been the early morning hour or the rain but few people were willing to talk. When I approached a group of 20-somethings and asked them about the bus, they said they couldn’t talk because Google was in "a quiet period." A quiet period is when a company can’t say anything that might affect its stock price, and that was the nicest response I got until I met 35-year-old Tanya Birch, who works on the Google Earth outreach team. I asked her what it’s like on the bus.
“It’s pretty sweet,” Birch said. “They let us choose the type of seats and decor inside. And it’s got dim lighting with the Google colors.”
There’s also free Wi-Fi on the shuttles, and Birch said it's basically another hour of work.
The tech world is driven by young, educated largely urban workers. But companies like Facebook, Google and Apple are located in the suburbs of Silicon Valley, which is about an hour south of the San Francisco.
“I think a lot of young people who work at the tech companies they want the city life they want something that’s fun and entertaining, and you don’t get that in the suburbs,” Birch said.
So, to compete for that talent pool, big tech companies have to provide transportation. Rodenbeck says he expected to find the shuttles in the city’s hip, young neighborhoods.
“What we were surprised to learn is that the network is much more extensive than that,” says Rodenbeck.
When the map was finished, Stamen counted buses from Apple, eBay, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Google and Yahoo, and they found the buses ran through almost every neighborhood in San Francisco. Stamen estimates that about 14,000 people ride the private shuttle buses every day.
Rodenbeck says he thinks the locations are secret because the companies are “sensitive to this idea that they are funding a change in the infrastructure in San Francisco without it being regulated.”
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is in the midst of studying what’s essentially emerging as a private mass-transportation system, says Jerry Robbins, a transportation planner for the agency.
“The increase in employer buses has sparked some reaction from residents,” Robbins says.
He says that since tech companies contract out the work to private bus companies, which are regulated by the state, the city has little say in what they do.
But Robbins says the agency has fielded complaints that the the private shuttle buses, which often stop at public bus stops, are causing delays and traffic.
Another impact is rising real estate prices, says Amanda Jones, a realtor in San Francisco for nearly a decade. Today, about half her clients work in the tech industry.
“Unquestionably the shuttle stops are transforming real estate values,” Jones says. “When I interview new clients, we get out the real estate map and they want to show me where their corporate shuttles are. I recently sold a house. He does trading for Google and gets in early in the morning. Literally, if it wasn’t five blocks from a shuttle stop, we didn’t look at it.”
Jones says even fixers-uppers and homes with shaky foundations are selling for a premium if they’re located near a private shuttle bus stop.
“They have so little time to have with family and their friends they want to go home and be able to walk to the restaurant and not be stuck in their car for two hours,” says Jones.
Jones says she gets it because until someone comes up with an app that can beam you to work, the private shuttle bus is as close as you get.
Monday, December 10, 2012
You can finally file a claim for a lost or stolen card on the world wide web.
Until today, if your Metrocard was lost or stolen, you had to call the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Once you got through to a person, that person would take your information, including when and where you bought the card, your credit card number and address, and they'd send you a new one. If you called after hours, you would have to leave your number and wait for someone call back.
Since pretty much no one calls anymore, that was kind of, um, crazy.
Okay, there's another way to replace a Metrocard. Go to a subway station and locate the token booth clerk--not always easy, especially at a large station--and ask for a card replacement form. You then have to fill out the form, find a stamp and remember to put it in a mailbox.
Now, you can do all it online: efixmetrocard.mtanyct.info
Oh, by the way, the actual train that runs through Silicon Valley, aka the CalTrain? You can't pay on board. So, you see. Even the Silicon Valley train could use a bit of updating.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
By Solomon Kleinsmith : IAFC Blogger
If Washington could attract the same talent as Silicon Valley, maybe Congress wouldn't have the lowest approval ratings in history.
TN MOVING STORIES: BART Extension To Silicon Valley Clears Hurdle, Edmonton Transit Riders to be Scanned for Explosives
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
A Whole New York City Borough Gets Real-time Bus Information (Link)
Lhota: Don’t Hate on the MTA (Link)
NY Gov Cuomo to NY Pols: I Don’t Have To Ask Your Permission To Build the Convention Center, But Let’s Work Together (Link)
Senator Dianne Feinstein Wants To Save CA High Speed Rail — As Republican Assemblywoman Tries to Kill It (Link)
The deal to extend BART to Silicon Valley is finally clearing its last major hurdle after a six-decade struggle -- and is likely to win $900 million in federal support. (San Francisco Examiner, Mercury News)
Status update: I'm driving right now! Mercedes-Benz USA is bringing Facebook to its cars. (Reuters)
Because it's become so popular, organizers have made some changes to New York's 5 Boro Bike Tour. (New York Times)
Transit riders in Edmonton will have their train tickets scanned for explosives. (Vancouver Sun)
Metro's proposed fare increase is infuriating riders. (Washington Post)
What happens when the NYC subway closes for repairs: workers work, and riders swear. (New York Times)
The new head of NY's MTA hates peeling paint. (NY Daily News)