Silicon Valley

The Takeaway

E.U. Regulators File Charges Against Google

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is Google really good at maps, search, video and aggregation? Or are they a monopoly destroying competitors? The E.U. says the tech giant is monopolistic. 

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The Takeaway

Pay Attention To Ellen Pao

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In her gender discrimination lawsuit against Silicon Valley's top venture capital firm, plaintiff Ellen Pao takes the stand.

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Studio 360

Ten TV Episodes to Watch Before the Golden Globes

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Our guide to the 10 best episodes of Golden Globe-nominated shows you can watch online before Sunday's awards.
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What Listeners Loved This Week

Friday, November 14, 2014

Older women are flocking to video games. A public radio host ran for Congress. We learned what an oculus is. These are a few of this week's top stories, all in one playlist.


The Takeaway

Silicon Valley's Tech Elite Embrace the GOP

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Silicon Valley is generally considered a lock for Democrats. But that might be changing now that Republicans appear to be getting a foothold with the tech industry's elite.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

What It's Like for Women In Tech

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

There's lots of talk about getting more young girls to code, but what's life like in Silicon Valley for women right now? And what do consumers miss out on because of tech's diversity problem?

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The Takeaway

Inside The Frat Past of Snapchat's CEO

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?

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The Takeaway

Today's Takeaways: The Misogyny and Sexism of Nerd Culture and Silicon Valley

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

The Takeaway

Are We Just Waiting for Another Tech Bubble?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Some in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street are scratching their heads, worrying that the tech economy has re-entered the boom-and-bust era of the late 1990s.

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The Takeaway

Problems With Healthcare Exchanges Highlight Government's I.T. Obstacles

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Obama administration says it is bringing in the big guns to resolve the issues with 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.

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Money Talking

A Deal to Fund the Government, What Happens Now? And Apple's New Retail Boss

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.


The Takeaway

Is Silicon Valley Good for the World?

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.

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The Takeaway

Supreme Court to Decide Five Landmark Cases, Bono and Celebrity Activism, Protests in Turkey

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'

Money Talking

Saturday Coffee Table: Money Talking Weekend Reading

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. 


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The Takeaway

The Solutionism Trap

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Technology can turn dry reporting into poetry and can revolutionize newsrooms, but it can drive us crazy — and make us less unproductive too. Evgeny Morozov says the trouble might not be in the technology itself,  but how we think about it.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The History of Silicon Valley

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.

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Transportation Nation

Uncovered: The Secret Routes of Silicon Valley Company Shuttles

Thursday, December 27, 2012

@jimgreer posted this photo of a Google bus on Twitter: "@google bus stuck at 23rd and Chattanooga."

(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.

(image courtesy of Stamen Design)

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.

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Transportation Nation

NY MTA Enters 21st Century--You Can Now Claim a Lost or Stolen Metrocard Online

Monday, December 10, 2012

At long last, the R train runs through Silicon Valley.

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:

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.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: No Surprise Best and Brightest Don't Wind Up in DC

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

If Washington could attract the same talent as Silicon Valley, maybe Congress wouldn't have the lowest approval ratings in history.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: BART Extension To Silicon Valley Clears Hurdle, Edmonton Transit Riders to be Scanned for Explosives

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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)

BART train (photo by Keoki Seu via Flickr)

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)

Tweet of the day, by @lhrtobos: I like this kid's technique: "I WANT A SEAT!!!!!" Seat granted. I'm trying that tomorrow. #mbta

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