Archive for April, 2014

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class="post-2939 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-local tag-apple tag-fruit tag-siliconvalley tag-steve-jobs">

Silicon Valley takes on Steve Jobs acid trip

April 23rd, 2014

This exchange in Silicon Valley’s 3rd episode may sound familiar:

Erlich: Richard, take Aviato. That’s not a name that I found, it’s a name that found me — on a vision quest. Something that you should do.
Richard: No, no, I’m not going to eat a bunch of drugs and sit out in the desert and hope a name randomly pops into my head.
Erlich: Then I question your leadership.

For those who aren’t familiar with the gossip (or haven’t read Isaacson’s Steve Jobs) the scene contains not-so-subtle fruit clues:

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class="post-2913 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-local tag-bart tag-newfleet tag-transit">

BART to the future fleet

April 17th, 2014

BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype

Today BART launched the first of several workshops with a full-scale prototype of their new train cars. They’re looking for rider feedback before finalizing the design. Most of it seems pretty nifty:

  • Comfortable, easy to clean seats
  • Extra set of doors for faster boarding
  • Bike racks
  • Digital signs and maps

BART says their new trains will be quieter on the inside and have better air conditioning, but these features weren’t part of the demo.

I took the time to voice my concerns about the boarding difficulty that the redesign didn’t address. One BART representative suggested a couple mirrors might solve the problem, which is an interesting alternative I hadn’t considered.

If you’re interested in checking out the prototype and giving feedback, several more workshops are scheduled. If all goes as planned we’ll start seeing these new trains in 2017.

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class="post-2900 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-local tag-architecture tag-mikejudge tag-paloalto tag-siliconvalley tag-television tag-ugly">

Ugly building in “Silicon Valley” show

April 16th, 2014

Mike Judge’s new show “Silicon Valley” satirizes Bay Area tech culture. From Peter Thiel paying kids not to attend college to unconventional social norms to strange business practices, the show has some pretty easy targets to mock.

One of my favorite aspects of the show is the unusual architecture it highlights on the Peninsula. From the Google-inspired “Hooli” campus to the incubator housed in an Eichler, the Bay Area’s architecture has the same experimental quality as everything else here.

Not all experiments are successful. One particularly notable example of bad Peninsula architecture is highlighted in this scene: (click for larger version)

It’s an unusually ugly building on an unusually ugly stretch of El Camino in Palo Alto. Here’s what it looks like on Google Maps:

According to LoopNet this building was constructed in 1961. One can only imagine that drugs were a factor in the decision to attach those garish metal panels to the upper floor of what would otherwise be a tolerably bland building.

But it may not have long for this world — plans are afoot to replace it with a larger office building (PDF warning.)

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class="post-2897 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-music tag-bart tag-lyrics tag-music tag-wtf">

Handwritten song lyrics taped to pole

April 11th, 2014

Hope There's Someone lyrics

I’m not entirely certain what compels someone to write out the lyrics to the 2005 hit Hope There’s Someone by Antony and the Johnsons, then tape the page to a pole in a BART station. Perhaps they were inspired by the recent Avicii version?

In all likelihood we’ll never know. It will remain as one of the unsolved mysteries of our time, just like that wooden box.

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class="post-2894 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-local tag-16thmission tag-art tag-photos tag-san-francisco tag-wtf">

Perplexing wood box installed on utility pole

April 1st, 2014

Wood box thing

Sometimes in life there’s questions that don’t seem to have concrete answers, like who shot JFK or the career of Shia LaBeouf. Today another such question popped into existence in the form of a perplexing wood box installed on a utility pole at 16th and Guerrero. It’s the kind of thing one wouldn’t notice easily, like a slightly misplaced item you only catch out of the corner of your eye.

Some of the questions I’ve been able to come up with:

  • Who made this?
  • Why?
  • Is it art?
  • Why wood?
  • What does the pattern mean?
  • Why on this pole, of all places?
  • WTF?

If any answers are provided I’ll post updates. Until then, I’ll be scratching my head.