Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Tom Watch: Fun with a Treo—the “Frisco Wave”

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 26, 2004

or how to flag down a taxi cab from three blocks away on a busy Friday evening.

I was running late and needed a taxi, but there were few to be seen along Geary Street, and with six lanes of traffic, it was difficult to be seen. Then, I spotted a taxi three, maybe four blocks away, but it was in a far lane, and likely unable to see me until closer, and by then it would be difficult for it to pull across two lanes of traffic to pick me up. But, pulling out my trusty Treo 600, I...

I switched on the screen, which is quite bright and large on a Treo 600, and waved it high above my head. Within seconds the taxi flashed back a response, and it had time to move across two traffic lanes, and I was in the cab and on my way.

“That was the first time I’d seen anybody do that,” Chuck Walker, the cab driver said. “That was very effective, I could see you from a long ways away. Otherwise, it’s difficult to spot people unless they step out onto the road. I told him that it was a spur of the moment thing, but that maybe we were both present at the creation of a new thing, and maybe we could launch it as a meme.

But what to call it? The taxi beacon? The taxi flash, or flash a taxi? Or, the “San Francisco wave,” which would likely be shortened to the “Frisco wave” by outsiders, much to the annoyance of San Franciscans, who generally hate the term “Frisco.”

What do you think that method of hailing a taxi cab could be called?

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