A bicycle wheel leaned up against a fire hydrant with a partially used pack of Red Vines on top. Pretty much says it all about San Francisco, doesn’t it?
Posts Tagged ‘sanfrancisco’
When you’ve got a sublet to rent out, where do you go? Craigslist? Whatever, dude. That’s so 2012. What, are you stuck living in the past?
No way. Now it’s all about using your wifi SSID to sell goods and services.
You don’t need to sell out to the man (Craig Newmark.) You can advertise all by yourself without even leaving the comfort of your home WAN.
(Spotted in the Mission.)
On Sunday, the entire city heard the warning system (“air raid” siren”) that’s normally tested on Tuesdays at noon. Apparently this was due to human error.
Which is fine, really. People make mistakes.
What is NOT fine was what they did next: nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Instead of using the AlertSF system to notify people that the alarm was a mistake, they sat on their asses and fielded calls from (rightfully) confused residents, who were in fact told specifically NOT to call — we’ll get to that in a moment.
It doesn’t help that the voice message played after the alarm is muddled and incomprehensible. If it was audible we would have heard the “This is just a test” message to let us know everything was cool. But we didn’t.
The city’s official page for the outdoor warning system helpfully explains what to do in this situation.
If you hear the siren at a time other than its regular test on Tuesday at noon:
- Stop what you are doing.
- Stay calm.
- Listen for possible voice announcements.
- Turn on the radio or television, (such as KCBS 740AM, KQED 88.5 FM) for important information provided by the City.
- Avoid using the telephone. Do not call 9-1-1, unless you have a life-threatening emergency.
In other words, listen to a voice you can’t hear or turn on a radio or TV in a town where everybody has Hulu Plus and iPods. Hmm, yeah about that. The last bullet point is particularly troubling since apparently the city got quite a few calls, meaning many folks didn’t follow these rules and/or were not aware of them.
Here’s my advice to the city in the future:
- Stop using the alarm to indicate things that aren’t related to emergencies. Haven’t you ever heard of the boy who cried wolf?
- When the alarm is set off by mistake, immediately post a message to AlertSF letting us know it was a mistake.
- Turn the voice message on the alarm off, since an alarm followed by a muffled message is more confusing that just an alarm.
- Come up with a more realistic set of guidelines for what to do when the alarm goes off that don’t involve antiquated technology like radio. Then take the time to publicize this list so people don’t flood the phone lines with questions.
- Train the employees responsible for the alarm so they know how to use it.
Seem reasonable? If the city can’t be trusted to use the alarm in a sensible way, we need to scrap it.
I spent the last week in a small seaside city that seemed eerily reminiscent of home. Everywhere I looked, there were these little moments of deja vu. Here’s a list of some (surprising) similarities between the two cities, with a few differences thrown in for good measure.
Both cities have a red/orange painted suspension bridge.
Restaurants close too early, so you have to go to a bar to hang out late.
San Francisco is known for its hippie beliefs and open spirit — but we have nothing on Portugal. In the 70′s Portugal had a goddamn hippie revolution that toppled a dictator and instated democracy, and it involved flowers.
Lisbon has steep hills, so they gouge tourists to ride streetcars. Sound familiar?
An earthquake and fire leveled Lisbon in 1755. San Francisco’s big quake was 151 years later. Pretty much everything you see now in both cities was built post-quake.
Instead of being normal and installing an air conditioner, the folks in Lisbon and San Francisco prefer to pretend that we’re not affected by heat. The only option for cooling down is to visit a chain store or mall that doesn’t adhere to the local HVAC customs.
Small alleys throughout the cities contain a treasure trove of various types of street art.
I didn’t see much biking and skateboarding in or around Lisbon, for an obvious reason: cobblestone.
In spite of what Fox News would have you believe, there are no more communists in San Francisco than you’d find in any other American college town. In Lisbon they’re also a fringe element, but have a visible presence.
While cars drive on the right side in both cities, the Metro and commuter trains in Lisbon drive on the left. This really messed with my head, particularly after a few shots of ginjinha.
I haven’t seen any bulls getting tackled head-on in San Francisco.
Portugal’s long, fascinating history is still visible, particularly in the form of castles. In fact, it’s the most castley place I’ve ever been.
After completing the puzzle (above) I noticed the artist had taken some creative liberties with the city. No, I’m not referring to the lack of Muni busses with women urinating out the window, but rather the city layout.
- Isn’t Golden Gate Park facing the wrong way?
- Where is the BofA building?
- Why are the cable cars so large?
- Would you really be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge from this angle?
How many more can you spot?
How was your Christmas this year, if you could only use one word to describe it? Try and think of a word.
Was the word “merry”?
If not, perhaps it’s because you don’t have a Christmas tree technologically sophisticated enough to project the words “Merry Christmas” on the ceiling above. Yes, a merriment projector may be the missing touch in your arsenal of Christmas decorations.
Why does the SF.gov iPhone app suck? We live in a city filled with iOS software developers. Any of them could do a better job than this.
Look, I’m not that picky when it comes to software. But I’m not going to put up with your app if it’s slower than anything I’ve ever seen, buggy as hell, and haphazardly organized.
Let me explain.
Let’s start with those tab buttons at the bottom of the screen. Check the screenshot above.
When you press one of those, you probably think it will switch to the corresponding screen. That’s because you’re not the alcoholic middle school drop out who wrote this app.
No, instead one of the following happens when you press a tab button:
- It will switch to the screen you pressed.
- It will switch to the screen you pressed, but there will be a “loading” screen that has a few extra buttons at the top of the screen for a fraction of a second (I couldn’t read fast enough to see what they said.)
- It won’t switch and will stay at the same screen.
- Several screens will flash by rapidly, and eventually the screen will turn white and lock up. You’ll have to force quit the app.
You have to hand it to this application, it’s original — no other app has those bugs.
The most useless tab is “services.” There’s only two options: calling 311, or a search box. The first option is self-explanatory. Strangely they don’t let you fill out a 311 report in the app; that requires a separate app that has completely different bugs.
The little search box gives no indication as to what it does. As you start typing into the box, titles appear below in a list. But you can only see two of them when the keyboard is open. You have to click the Done button to make the keyboard go away. If you skip that step and try to scroll the page, it will take you to the first page in the list. It’s not like you’re kind of busy when you’re using your phone to look up information. No, you have all the time in the world to tinker with UI glitches.
Whatever you click, it takes you to a mobile version of the SF.gov website. The browser is Safari, but for some reason it’s agonizingly slow. Fortunately there’s an unlabelled button which — as I discovered through trial and error — sends the page to Safari.
On the connect tab you can find Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links for SF.gov and other city services. Each of these opens in the agonizingly slow version of Safari included in this app. None of this will help you get your car back after it got towed for too many street sweeping tickets, so don’t bother with this section. It’s largely links to irrelevant city press releases.
What’s more interesting is the photo at the top of this section. It seems to depict the last thing someone saw as their eyes closed and they died while waiting in line at City Hall. (Click the image above to see for yourself.)
In case you were wondering, the Updates, Media, and More sections are also just lists of links to websites. Why most/all of these links didn’t belong in “Services” or “Connect” is anyone’s guess. Like all the lists of things in this app, they don’t scroll smoothly but instead jerk around slowly.
Everything in this app suffers from the same basic problem: you shouldn’t get pregnant with your pet ape, give birth to the ape-man-baby out of your ass, buy it a Mac and then teach it programming so it can make an SF.gov app. That’s just not humane.
On a small side street near the touristy hellhole of Alexanderplatz is a San Francisco themed burrito place. If you’re a burrito lover in or around San Francisco, you may have heard of this by now: they have a San Francisco Muni map covering on the wall and Anchor Steam (imported via Amsterdam) by the bottle.
The burritos are made traditionally, but they didn’t use an “assembly line” format like you find in so many SF taquerias. Rather, you order at the counter and they call your number.
To me, the burrito I had tasted more like something from Rubio’s than a traditional SF burrito. It was more sweet than spicy, very light on the rice, and wasn’t tightly rolled. Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t good! It’s just different. Unsurprisingly, the place seems to attract American expats in Berlin longing for home. And I can’t say I blame them — after a few days of heavy carb-and-fat laden German food, a burrito really hit the spot for me.
Recently, an anti Sit/Lie activist created and placed public benches around the city. These guerrilla benches are made out of recycled wood pallets, and come with a manifesto wheat-pasted onto a nearby utility pole.
Interestingly, San Francisco’s sidewalks once had public benches. But they were removed a decade ago. Why? Well the reasons sound very familiar if you paid attention to the Sit/Lie arguments: homeless people and drug addicts used the benches. (I guess the next step will be to remove the sidewalks, since homeless people have been known to use those.)
Anyhow, if you’d like to use a guerrilla bench, there is one by the abandoned building at 15th and Mission.