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

WeekendWatcher Archives

Exploratorium Raises $1.5m - Exceeds Goal

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I popped into the Exploratorium's recent fund raising gala and was told the event had raised $1.5 million, $300K more than it expected. Which is fabulous news because there were some job cuts last year.

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1882: When Oscar Wilde Arrived In A Sombrero And A Withered Bouquet And Out-Drank San Francisco

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Oscar Wilde in in America, 1882, 28 years old. 

Gary Kamiya tells stories on, from the history of San Francisco and its newspaper archives. It's a rich history for such a small city,  and it's a strong literary history, too, which is apt with Silicon Valley becoming a Media Valley.

This week Mr. Kamiya tells the story of Oscar Wilde's visit to San Francisco in 1882, as part of strange promotional stunt for a Gilbert & Sullivan opera lampooning the Aesthetes, an English artistic and literary set enamored with  a "Cult of Beauty," a heightened level of sensitivity to the beauty of nature, and in the decor of their surroundings — rooms, furniture, and even wallpaper. 

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CultureWatch: The Genius Of Johnny Marr At The Fillmore

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Some days it seems as if the universe is conspiring to provide me with exactly what I need, in the right amounts,  and at the right time. Johnny Marr, the former guitarist of The Smiths, playing just down the street from me at The Fillmore -- was concrete proof of this conspiracy. 

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CultureWatch: Haight-Street Fair Upcoming, And The Remarkable Pablo Heising 'The Mayor Of Haight Street'

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I was walking along Haight Street and spotted a poster competition for the upcoming Haight Street Fair, June 9, which has always been one of the best San Francisco Street Fairs. For a long time it was organized by the wonderful Pablo Heising, a good friend and one of the neighborhoods best community leaders. 

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CultureWatcher: Great Weather For SF's 'How Weird' Festival

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San Francisco's How Weird street fair is always fun and difficult to categorize.  Here's how it describes itself:

The How Weird Street Faire is a world-class music festival, featuring a wide range of electronic dance music. There will be 10 stages of great music, art, and sound systems from Symbiosis, Muti Music, Groove Garden, Enchanted Forest, Opel, Opulent Temple, World Famous Productions, Basscraft Soundsystem, Urge Productions, Pink Mammoth, SF House Music, Temple Nightclub, SWAG, Pulse SF, Space Shaping, PK Sound, The Boombox Affair, Party Babas, Red Marines, Psycircle, Happy Camp, and more.

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WeekendWatcher: De Young's Friday Nights Season Is A Huge Dud

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I'm a big fan of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and I love everything about it. It's been on a roll with great exhibitions and its free "Friday Nights at the de Young" has always been a great way to kick-off the weekend, 6pm to 8.30pm.

But that was last year.

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A Tour: New Exploratorium Just Like The Old Exploratorium

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A special exhibit for the opening.

The new $300m revamp of the Exploratorium opens today and I'm glad to report that it looks and feels lot like the old Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts but much larger, more exhibits, and more of everything. Here's a little tour:

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The Exploratorium Celebrates It's Re-Opening April 17!

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I love The Exploratorium and have been bringing my kids to it for nearly two decades. I'm sad that it moved out of its beautiful Palace of Fine Arts location, but I'm excited to visit the new $300m site at Pier 15, which has far more space (three times larger at 330,000 square foot), and far more exhibits.

There's a special celebration tonight in advance of the public opening Wednesday April 17. Here's a preview of what's in store:

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WeekendWatcher: Fantasy Island - UK Columnist Julie Burchill Stranded On A Desert Island


Julie Burchill is a unique journalist, she has a finely tuned sensibility in being able to push society's face just far enough into the gutter to draw blood and snot, but not hard enough to cause grievous bodily harm. And she doesn't hide her pleasure when she shreds society's buffoons in a verbal wood chipper.

Julie Burchill stranded on a desert island with no hope of return is a fantasy that many would love to come true.

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Culture Watch: The Extraordinary World of Jean Paul Gaultier - at the de Young

(Photos by Tom Foremski.)

Friday evening I was at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate park to see The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.

The museum is on a roll with its exhibits of leading fashion designers. The Vivienne Westwood show was fantastic, and the Balenciaga exhibit last year was even better. And this one is extraordinary, the best so far.

It's a superb curation and the presentation the work of designer Jean Paul Gaultier, dubbed "fashion's enfant terrible" is fantastically creative. I've never seen anything like it before.

The mounting, the display, the lighting are superbly tuned to the works displayed -- the de Young's staff should be congratulated for their skill in building this exhibit.

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WeekendWatcher: Recreating Outside Lands 2011 - A Curation Of Found Fan Footage

Last weekend I was at the Outside Lands 2011 music festival in Golden Gate Park. It was a great event with three days of music from four stages. And San Francisco's relentless grey summer fog lifted for two days -- it was a very happy crowd.

Discovering new music all in one place is a great way to spend three days and there was lots of music that was new to me.

Unmediated experiences...

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TEDxSF - A Curation Of People And Ideas...

I've been to several TEDxSF events but the most recent one felt like a breakthrough event because of the mix of people and talks, plus the new venue.

The event was sold out with about 650 tickets for the Yerba Buena location, a larger theater than the Academy of Sciences, where it used to be held. The mix of people was eclectic as always.

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WeekendWatcher: "April In Paris" In San Francisco - Art, Music, Culture...

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My friend David Rozelle is organizing this event at Workspace in San Francisco Saturday evening. It was great fun last year, I expect the same this year.

Please join me:

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An Ode To LaLa - Steve Jobs Killed My Fave Music Service

Today is the last day of my favorite music service and where I would spend much of my Friday and weekends.

I discovered lots of great music there and put together some great playlists. I was buying music for the first time in ages. offered the best business model: one free play then for 10 cents you could buy lifetime streaming rights from any computer.

Also, I transferred my music library to LaLa's cloud. I could access all my music, at any time, from any computer, from any browser.

It was great. I often would gift 10 cent songs to friends, family that I came across because it was so cheap. And I could easily see what my friends were listening to or had bought recently. It was a great music discovery service.

I was also a fan of the founders, Bill Nguyen (photo) and John Kuch. Both are huge music fans, and I discovered lots of great music through them, watching what they were listening to. They were also big supporters of independent musicians creating a fund that helped struggling musicians.

Oh, and let's not forget a great UI, better than iTunes, better than anything else I've used.

Then Apple bought LaLa in December 2009.

At the time everyone thought that the service would get even better and that LaLa would essentially become the new iTunes, a better UI and with streaming.

We were all wrong. On April 30 Apple said it would shut LaLa by the end of May. We would all get our money back as credits on iTunes.

If I wanted to buy music on ITunes I would already be buying music on iTunes! Why would I want to do that now? Apple should return all the cash money.

Better yet, Apple should have given us the MP3s of all the songs we had bought on LaLa. That would be respectful and heck, it can afford it with its $40 billion in cash.

As you can see, I'm not happy with Apple and Apple won't know because it doesn't respond or acknowledge social or any media in any way. [Lessons for Apple in Social Media: Unlike A Rolling Stone A Good Blog Post Continues To Gather Stories]

I think Apple bought LaLa as a strategic move aimed at frustrating Google's ambitions. A couple of months before the sale, LaLa had been named as a key partner in Google's music service. A Google search for any music usually turned up LaLa at the top of the list. That made LaLa into a big competitor for iTunes. That's what probably killed it.

What's puzzling is why the founders would sell for a paltry sum, reported to be just $17 million. They had just signed the Google deal, created an iPhone app, and signed a deal with Facebook.

Why sell just weeks after putting all those pieces in place and enjoying a renewed momentum?

Take a look at this interview with Bill Nguyen at PC Mag, just one month before the Apple acquisition was announced. It's full of enthusiasm for the next stage in LaLa's growth.

Lala Founder Talks Google, iPhone Apps, Music | News & Opinion |

I think we've been really fortunate in that we've been embraced by the independent artists and distributors, and also all four of the major labels. We add more music every day. We added 400,000 tracks from a French label that are now going to be available in the U.S. We're adding one of the largest libraries of Bollywood music, ever. We have so many different cultures in the U.S., and it's cool that they can just listen to the music here. So we're just trying to add as music from around the world to this platform.

The founders of LaLa had to do a lot of heavy lifting: dealing with the music industry and its arcane licensing systems and having to negotiate a huge number of contracts. Why would they walk away from all that work, just as LaLa was about to find huge new audiences through its deals with Google, Facebook, etc? It sold to Apple for pennies on the dollar--a distressed sale.

And why would the founders sell knowing that Apple would close LaLa? They built LaLa for themselves, as much as anybody, they built it because they are huge music enthusiasts and had a vision of how people would buy and listen to music in the future. Why sell?

It doesn't make sense.

Yes, I could try out some of the other streaming music services. Yahoo Music was great, but I couldn't use it on my Mac when I switched from PC a few years back; Zune looks good but it is tied to the player; Spotify is great but not yet in the US. My 15 year old daughter, Sarah uses Grooveshark. But I really don't want to have to try and recreate all my playlists...

Bye LaLa, I'm going to miss you big time, especially on Fridays. Apple sucks...

Here are a few other fans:

Some LaLa Thoughts

The web understandably up in arms in anger over this. The money I spent to get hundreds of songs on Lala will most likely only get me tens of songs on iTunes. I can no longer listen to my songs online, and any hope that I might be able to listen to Lala on my mobile device have been hopelessly shattered.

...How awesome would it be if Apple is simply killing Lala to replace it with a better more innovative iTunes in the cloud? Could the reason behind shutting down simply be to replace it with I sure hope so.

Why is Apple Killing Lala?

...Lala has been the best system I've ever found for playing music. I've been seeking song finding Nirvana for over fifty years.
If you haven't lived with Lala you won't know what you're missing.
I just don't think people know how cool Lala really is, and I want praise Lala before its forgotten, and maybe explain why Apple is killing it off.

It's all about ease of use. Lala is far easier to use than iTunes, far cheaper, and even more important, it's far more exciting for finding new music and sharing that excitement with other music lovers. All is this is much easier on Lala, I kid you not.

...Steve Jobs, why are you taking this all away from me? Is it greed? Must you destroy anything that is better than something you invented? Do you merely want to crush the competition? Do you even know the beauty you destroy?

UPDATED: What was the Lala Music Site? Why will it close?

I see no evidence that the software press ever managed to notice the ferment and great activity that was happening within the confines of the Lala site, or the design that enabled this to happen. I document this in detail because others who were compensated to discover that this kind of activity was going on must have dropped the ball.

WeekendWatcher: It's A French Thing... "April In Paris" In SF

I'm looking forward to this event Saturday evening. It's organized by some friends, and I know some of the performers such as Allison Lovejoy. It's in a great space too. Just $12 on the door or RSVP until 4pm to reserve $10 tickets.

April in Paris, April 10th, 2010

Workspace, Ltd.
2150 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Please join us on April 10th, 2010 for a showcase of music, art, fashion and atmosphere, inspired by everything French.


Evening Highlights: Live musical performances, French style salon art show by local artists organized by Gogograciegalleries, fashion show presenting San Francisco boutique, April In Paris artisan leather accessories, delicious crepes by street cart Cre'Pierre and Brigitte Bardot look-a-like costume contest open to the public! Prizes and Surprises!

Stroll le Champs-Élysées, enjoy a drink et danse a Place Pigalle, et viver L'Art de Monmartre..

Time: 8:00 pm - 2:00 am

Performances including, live classical, chanson, accordion playing, burlesque dance and more by:

Allison Lovejoy ~ playing French cafe music on piano and accordion
Rob Reich ~ accordion and Dave Ricketts, guitar/vocals of GAUCHO
Zoli Lundy
Lua Hadar
Robin Lovejoy
Branislav Radakovich
Le monde Merveilleux du Burlesque by Delilah
The Panhandlers
and much more..

$12 at the door
$10 tickest at the door with RSVP to: [email protected]
(s'il vous plait - rsvp by 4 pm - April 10th, merci!)

Weekend Watcher: Hornucopia Festival Continues . . . Gaucho at Amnesia

I kept away from the TC50 and DEMO conferences this past week and snuck into some of the Hornucopia Festival shows. There is a Gypsy-Django-Tango sound in San Francisco these days. It's a trend you can find elsewhere too but there seems to a very San Francisco brand of it that spans dozens of groups, it's really exciting.

Here is a taste of that music with Gaucho, who played on Wednesday night at Amnesia. They are a local band and they play a lot of local venues and feature some fantastic musicians such as the legendary Ralph Carney (they are all legendary). I've got an interview coming very soon. Please check them out and the rest of the Hornucopia Festival:


Weekend Watcher: Hornucopia - a Celebration of all Things Horny . . . and the Importance of Culture

It is difficult to escape our day-to-day lives but it is important that we do. I love spending time in environments where people just know me as Tom rather than in my professional roles.

The geek-life is fun but it's not enough. Understanding the culture of our times is important to every business, to every startup--but you won't get it unless you go out and get it. No TechCrunch, no Giga, no Twitter, know tech-nothing--just getting out into a wider culture is important.

Here is one way to do that...

Here is an event, the 11 day Hornucopia music festival in San Francisco, a celebration of any music with horns-- that deserves support--especially the upcoming Saturday show with the Jazz Mafia Summit at the Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley.

Allison Lovejoy from Lovejoy Lowdown has the details . . . She interviews Sol Crawford, one of the more interesting of San Francisco's young music promoters. He is a co-partner at Amnesia, which has earned a stellar reputation as one of the best live performance rooms in the Mission district.

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The Hornucopia Festival is also a non-profit effort to benefit community organizations through a free music workshop, an educational presentation on the provocative history of brass and horn music, and as a fundraiser for two worthy causes: delivering new instruments into the hands of beleaguered youth second line bands in New Orleans and raising money for a humanitarian circus that presents free shows and workshops to refugee children in Kosovo.

Weekend Watcher: Sol Crawford's Pioneering Hornucopia Music Festival

Allison Lovejoy brings us the Lovejoy Lowdown on Sol Crawford organizer of the upcoming SF Hornucopia music festival.

Sol Crawford is one of the most interesting of San Francisco's music promoters. He is a co-partner at Amnesia, which has earned a reputation for one of the best live performance rooms in the Mission district.

Hornucopia is a celebration of any music with horns, and that's a very broad definition. Starting September 4th 35 bands will play across 9 venues in 11 days.

Video thumbnail. Click to play

The Hornucopia Festival is also a non-profit effort to benefit community organizations through a free music workshop, an educational presentation on the provocative history of brass and horn music, and as a fundraiser for two worthy causes: delivering new instruments into the hands of beleaguered youth second line bands in New Orleans and raising money for a humanitarian circus that presents free shows and workshops to refugee children in Kosovo.

Weekend Watcher: Bajofondo Represents Some of the Fruits of Globalization

This summer's free Stern Grove Festival is exceptional. Sunday the headliner was Bajofundo, a Tango inspired collective of top Argentine and Uruguayan musicians. It's a Latin supergroup that's getting a strong following in San Francisco. The Stern Grove performance was packed and the musicians had everyone on their feet.

Tango inspired melodies mixed with traditional tunes and wove into multi-layered compositions that invariably broke into a dance groove. Bajofundo were having fun, enjoying the incredible outdoor redwood grove setting, and playing with the audience, teasing them with the breaks.

Sour Stern Grove Event staff...

It was a very well produced show and everyone was having fun. . . Except the event staff patrolling the well behaved crowd and snapping at anyone that loitered along one of the paths.

They went to unbelievable lengths to harass people, even if one toe was dangling on the side of a path. Anyone taking a photo, even with a camera phone was also hassled. There as a non-stop stream of hassles from the event staff--they were a relentless buzz-kill. It was the only fly in the ointment, the crappy attitude of the event staff - someone should pull that hair out for them.

Stern Grove Festival | Stern Grove Festival - Bajofondo - Uruguay, Argentina & - Electronica / Rock / Tango -

Bajofondo Tango Club is a South American music band consisting of seven musicians from Argentina and Uruguay. They decided to do away with “Tango Club” to shorten their name simply to Bajofondo. The change in the name, more inclusive and with an immediate impact, mirrors the path Bajofondo’s music has followed. Often compared to Gotan Project, their music is a fusion of acoustic tango and electronic music, part of an evolving tango genre which is known as “Electrotango” or “Tango Fusion”, which is greatly helping to bring tango back into the mainstream.

Bajofondo Tango Club – Listen free at

Weekend Watcher: The Seven Deadly Pleasures Cabaret Opera - It Would Be A Sin To Miss It

AllisonLovejoy.jpgTonight: Friday April 18th.

"The Seven Deadly Pleasures - A cabaret opera by Allison Lovejoy and Geoff Ball - A story of human character...or, the search for it."

8.30pm seating, show at 9pm at the Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street, San Francisco. $10.

It would be a sin to miss it...


Weekend Watcher: Scorching weekend plus the Seven Deadly Pleasures...

San Francisco is having a mini-heat wave, summer is here and I hope you manage to log off and tune in a bit and go outside of the geek world :-)

AllisonLovejoy.jpgComing up on Friday April 18th the debut of:

"The Seven Deadly Pleasures - A cabaret opera by Allison Lovejoy and Geoff Ball - A story of human character...or, the search for it."

At 9pm at the Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street, San Francisco. $10.

It would be a sin to miss it...


Weekend Watcher: First Friday Returns...Connecting Not Networking

"First Fridays with Foremski" at the de Young Museum returns this Friday April 4. It was fun last year, small groups, good conversation and a great environment: the De Young Museum in Golden Gate park, which is open until 8.45pm Friday evenings.

(BTW, the De Young was founded by M.H. de Young of the SF Chronicle newspaper family.)

This time I'd like to start off at Peet's coffee on Broderick and Oak around 5pm for a walk through the Panhandle and into the park. Or you can join me at the museum from about 6pm onwards. And drinks at my place 9pm afterwards...

This is not a networking event as such. It is more about connecting than networking.

Come and say "Hi" and come and enjoy the spectacular de Young. There is a no host cocktail bar, and music, and a fashion show, plus lots more this Friday, all free!

Take a look:

Friday Nights at the de Young featuring Discarded to Divine, the de Young Poetry Series, Noise Pop, and Gilbert & George

Discarded to Divine

Discarded to Divine debuts one-of-a-kind creations designed from recycled materials by Bay Area fashion designers and students of recycled couture to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s programs for the poor and homeless.

Bay Area fashion designers such as Jessica McClintock, Colleen Quen, Nice Collective, Cari Borja, Verrieres & Sako, Michael Boris, and Sara Shepherd join fashion students from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, City College of San Francisco, and Academy of Art University.

Music by Von Iva and DJ Omar presented by Noise Pop

Von Iva, the Bay Area synth rock trio—fronted by vixen soulstress Jillian Iva and featuring Becky Kupersmith on keyboard and Kelly Harris on drums—takes gritty soul-drenched dance punk to the masses.

The de Young Poetry Series: Three Vietnamese Poets: Nguyen Do, Hoa Nguyen, and Truong Tran

In celebration of the recently published anthology Black Dog, Black Night: Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry (Milkweed Editions), three Vietnamese-American contributors will read their poetry.

Art Activity for Everyone

Inspired by Discarded to Divine, create jewelry from found and reusable objects.

And don't forget the Gilbert & George exhibit! Maybe I'll see you there?

Tim Ferriss and the 4-Hour Work Week Come To London . . .

Tim Ferris is launching his popular book The 4-Hour Work Weekin London this week at an event at The Chandos in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday April 2nd from 6pm to 9pm. Check here for any last minute event change and a 30 per cent discount.

I first met Tim at a lunchtime event I was speaking at. He wanted some advice on how best to market his book online, which was just a couple of months from publication. He took to the online world of blogging and online marketing like a duck to water. His is a perfect case study of how to launch a book and make it popular without the endless rounds of book tours.

Obviously, you have to start with great content. Here is a Silicon Valley Minute pitch from Tim:

The 4-Hour Work Week Please see: Just Say No To Our Digital Leashes

Weekend Watcher: Friedlander Opening At SFMOMA

I try to keep my Friday evening and weekends geek-free :-) The Friedlander opening at SFMOMA was excellent. I was told I wasn't allowed to take photos at the photo exhibit but it was too late, my iPhone had already snapped a few.

Saturday, February 23, 2008 - Sunday, May 18, 2008Among photography's most prolific practitioners, Lee Friedlander is also heralded as one of the United States' finest. This retrospective assembles the most comprehensive array of Friedlander's work to date — nearly 400 pictures spanning the 1950s to the present — for a stunning overview of his multifaceted career. Inspired by Walker Evans and Robert Frank, Friedlander trained his eye on the everyday — streets, cars, storefronts, billboards — to capture distinctly American scenes and images. His style is inflected by a sharp wit and sense of humor, frequently taking advantage of elements considered by most to be obstacles, including his own shadow or reflection. Friedlander features examples from the artist's extensive personal photo series as well as his commercial work for magazines and album covers. SFMOMA's presentation also includes recent pictures from the sets of high-end fashion shoots.








Weekend Watcher: Scoop! Jazz Was Created In San Francisco... Plus Free Jazz Legends Concert On Sunday

I popped along with Allison Lovejoy to interview Peter Fitzsimmons, the head of the Fillmore Jazz Heritage Center. He told us about plans to revive what used to be a vibrant jazz scene in San Francisco. In fact, the term "jazz" was first used here, he says, not in "N'Orleans."

It is a controversial claim...

Allison Lovejoy interviews Peter Fitzsimmons, executive director of the Jazz Heritage Center located in San Francisco's historic Fillmore district. The Fillmore used to be one of the world's top jazz centers and where the term "jazz" was first coined. Mr Fitzsimmons talks about the work of the non-profit organization, the art gallery, and the new Yoshi's resaturant and jazz club, which recently opened in the Fillmore.

There is a free "Living Legends" jazz concert on Sunday February 24 from 2pm to 5pm at 1290 Fillmore Street, San Francisco:
Eddie Duran, Guitar
John Handy, Sax
Frank Jackson, Piano & Vocals
Al Obidinski, Bass
Denise Perrier, Vocals
Allen Smith, Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Akira Tana, Drums

Other recent Interviews:

Beth Custer...

The Edwardian Ball...

Weekend Watcher: Beth Custer Ensemble at the Red Poppy Art House

BethCusterEnsemble.jpegThe Beth Custer Ensemble will perform new songs written with Octavio Solis from three musical productions: the popular Ballad of Pancho & Lucy, Lethe, and the upcoming June in a Box. They’ll also be playing songs from their CD Respect as a Religion (voted one of the top 100 albums in WNYC's “Listener Poll”) and music from the Joe Goode Performance Group's Hometown.

The Beth Custer Ensemble is the crème de la crème of Bay Area musicians, including drummer Jan Jackson (who’s played with Grammy nominated Will Bernard’s ensembles for many years), guitarist David James (Sila, The Coup, Spearhead), iconic pianist Graham Connah, and bassist Mark Calderon (The Meters, Roots).

Beth is a founding member of the notorious silent film soundtrack purveyors the Club Foot Orchestra, techno-tribal ambient ensemble Trance Mission, the quintet of esteemed clarinetists Clarinet Thing, the trip-hop duo Eighty Mile Beach, and the Latin-jazz-rock influenced Doña Luz 30 Besos.

$12 suggested donation. Doors open at 7:30 pm. Show at 8:00 pm. 2698 FOLSOM STREET SF, CA 94110

Here is a recent video: Beth Custer in conversation with Allison Lovejoy:

Weekend Watcher: San Francisco's 3 Night Edwardian Ball, SteamPunk, Edward Gorey and more...

The Fifth Annual Edwardian Ball starts its 3 nights of festivities this evening at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Saturday is sold out but some tickets are still available for Friday and Sunday.

You don't need a top hat, but many do...

Allison Lovejoy is one of the many performers in the Friday lineup. Here is Allison interviewing Justin Katz, the executive producer, at an event on the eve of the ball.

More info: The Edwardian Ball Weekend 2008

More Love Not Hate ... Launch a SPAM Grenade!

Will it get past your spam filters?

From HATEGrenade team:

Has anybody ever pissed you off so bad that you wanted to add them to a SPAM list?

If so, a new startup site, can help! By using the form on their website, you can anonymously add the people you most HATE to the world's first community driven SPAM list ...


What it is ...
It is the world's first community driven SPAM list, a.k.a. The Ultimate Online Payback!
How it works ...
It's quite simple and 100% FREE … this website is regularly crawled by spam bots. The person's email address that you add to will get completely blown up with SPAM very soon ... this is what we call, Dropping a HATEgrenade Beeeatch ...

The rules ...
There are no rules ... except that you should be aware that you, not us, YOU are soley responsible for the comments you make on this website.

Why we created this ...
Because we are dorky web-developers that do not know how to fist fight. Because we might be able to make some money from it one day? Oh yeah, and because it feels oh so good to SPAM our enemies ... muahahaha!

HATEgrenade Team
[email protected]

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Geeks Abroad: The Weekend Starts On Thursday . . . Don't Weep For Me Silicon Valley

News Release from Leela Palaces, one of India's premium hotel and resort spa brands: leela_logo.gif

Thursdays Begin Long Weekends for Techies Who Head to Leela's Spas in Bangalore and Kovalam to Unwind and De-stress

Bangalore -- January 2008 -- What do American hi-tech and finance pros from Microsoft, IBM, Dell and Goldman Sachs do when they are done with business in India? They indulge in a Royal Spa Weekend at the five-star Leela Palace Kempinski in Bangalore or hop on plane and fly an hour to the ultra-luxurious Leela Kovalam Beach Resort in Kerala and enjoy the hotel's new 8,000-square-foot Divya Spa and Ayurvedic Center. Weekend room rates and spa services at the spectacular Leela Kovalam are a "steal" with lodging prices starting at $215 per night and spa treatments beginning at $55.

In a spectacular location:

The five-star Leela Kovalam Beach Resort in Kerala, located in the south of India and nestled on a spectacular outcropping of rock with panoramic views of the Arabian Sea, has fifteen highly trained therapists and four dedicated Ayurvedic doctors who create tailored Ayurvedic programs for each guest.

And if you can stretch your weekend out a few days...

For those who are able to stay for five days or more, the Divya Spa offers several life-changing packages including:

Stress And Strain Relief Package: Calming guests' moods and bringing relaxation to the body and mind by releasing the day-to-day stress and strain of busy lives. Packages start at five days for $1,490, seven days for $2,225, and fourteen days for $4,225.

You know you need it, all those hours staring at screens...

Spine & Neck Care Package: This program is designed to heal guests from neck and lower back pain due to poor posture from prolonged periods of time sitting at a computer, muscle strains and past injuries.

See you there...

Hotels currently in operation are located in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kovalam and Goa. For more information visit

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Weekend Watcher: Some related CES2008 links...

- Ken Kaplan notices far more video bloggers this year at CES: My CES Social Media Posse Leap in Interest Movin' Ahead

Ken interviews Tay Zonday of "Chocolate Rain" fame...

Here is Chocolate Rain...

- Jason Dunn's CES experience: The Personal Blog of Jason Dunn - The Blogger Bus CES 2008

- John Furrier taunts Kara Swisher :-) Kara Swisher Watch Out - Tom Foremski Has a Camera - Business & Technology Blog

- The incredibly prolific Dan Farber on CES: CES best of show winners | Between the Lines |

- Sarah Meyers: Prank Gawker Style @ Ces Sarah Meyers

- Brian Solis: CES Day Two--

- Rene Blodgett: down the avenue: BlogHaus Energy at Gates Keynote & Beyond

- Marc Canter: Marc's Voice CES #3 - Heading Home

Weekend Watcher: When bloggers sing ...

The delightful Teresa Valdez Klein sings. From the Intel blogger event in Las Vegas, CES2008.

TeresaCentric Blog

WeekendWatcher: CES2008 Notes - FaceTime is worth at least 10x FaceSpace; and other stories

Real time is best time...

Six days in Las Vegas is a long time. But it was time well spent because I got to build relationships with people that would have taken me months to build online. FaceTime is worth at least 10x FaceSpace.

Coming home to Bloghaus...

-The Bloghaus media center was a life saver at CES2008. It was a warm, welcoming place to head for after and between CES events. Having a full bar manned by Carl and John was also very welcome. And the broadband never went down. It was our "home page" for CES.

A French startup...

-I drove up to the Microsoft Siicon Valley campus with Loic Le Meur, the French "Robert Scoble" one of France's best known blogger personalities and a new neighbor of mine in SF. It was great getting to know each other as my stoic Audi was being battered by a tremendous downpour. More on Loic and his video start up Seesmic coming up... From Loic's blog:


Mogulus 24/7...

Mogulus on the bus...

-The boys from Mogulus, the live video startup, were always around and fun to be with. Max Haot and Rainer Cvillink were tireless in their coverage of CES. Here is a great roundup by Max.
(Max Haot is far left in photo.)

The universe always provides...

-It was fun hanging with blogger Paul Mooney (Living, Linking, Learning). As we were walking into the Bellagio, amongst a huge throng of people, I was complaining to Paul that processing my videos could be done a lot faster if it were done in silicon rather than running it through a general purpose microprocessor. Where are the multimedia co-processors when you need them!?

As soon as I said it, a guy walking in front wheeled around and gave us his card. It was Bin Lei, head of worldwide sales at C2 Microsystems, based in San Jose. C2 is developing chips for exactly what I need! What are the odds of that? Certainly better at CES but still...

C2's product family supports encode and decode of all major audio and video codecs (including VC1, H.264, Mpeg2, Mpeg4) in resolutions up to the most demanding HD video.

When the camera stops rolling...

I got some great footage while at CES, but the best is always when the camera stops rolling. I wish I could transfer my memories to video :-)

Here is a recap, in chronological order...

From My House to Bloghaus: The Media Center Bus to CES in Las Vegas

Watching the Bill Gates Keynote in the BlogHaus

Showstoppers + BlogHaus

Intel Atomic BlogHaus


Robert Scoble's first girlfriend(!)

SiliconValleyWatcher CES2008 Out Takes...

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Weekend Watcher: Pete Price and Company...

I've been enjoying my time in the UK and I've got loads of great material to post (coming very soon.)

Here is a fun video from my trip to Liverpool to see my long time great friends Stuart and Carmel Nolan. I was lucky to catch up with Pete Price, a local Liverpool radio personality, stand up comedian, and newly published author: "Pete Price Namedropper."

It was great to show Pete how I put this video together, in about 10 minutes, literally, and I had it posted on Youtube just minutes later.

It's not that I'm some kind of techno whizz kid, which I'm not, it is just that the technology these days: a Sony hi-def video camera and a MacBook Pro with iMovie 8 (comes standard with the laptop) is so point and click that I can wow people without regard to my actual technical skills. It all looks tremendously impressive and I'm happy to take the credit :-)

For about $2500 or 1250 pounds sterling, you too, can have a mobile high-definition video/television production studio....

In a world where the technology is easy, it is one click, it is access to the content that becomes the most important thing.

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I'm Looking Forward To A Change of Scene To See Things Better

I'm looking forward to working from London and New York for the next three weeks. When I'm able to be outside of Silicon Valley for a week or more, this place starts to look a bit differently from my usual perch.

And that helps my overall perspective about what goes on here. Otherwise we get caught up in our own words too much and lose sight of Silicon Valley's place in a much much larger place.

Silicon Valley often feels so very small, like a village. The key influencers here probably number just a few hundred. Which is amazing because Silicon Valley's influence is global and now spans across many important industries.

A few hundred influencers helping determine the future of a much bigger world is fascinating. But that only works if Silicon Valley knows its place in the world, and can converse in a common language of ideas. Otherwise it looks like gobblygook to outsiders. And some of it actually is gobblygook.

Most of the time I'm pretty sure I can tell what is what. But it never hurts to double check and take a look at things from a distance, from the outside in :-)

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BTW if you haven't seen this music video yet you are in for a treat:
(Part of a major new Broadway musical coming in 2008...!)

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Sometimes you don't need to go to a distant place to get a change from the usual. Coming up: "Sing it yourself Messiah" is at Davies Symphony Hall, December 12, 2007. Tickets: 415 401 9229 or

Here is classical pianist and educator Allison Lovejoy interviewing maestro Urs Leonhardt Steiner, who will be conducting the event as the audience sings Handel's Messiah along with the professionals. I can't be there but maybe you can...?

Plastic Should Be The Darling Of the Global Green Movement

I don't understand why plastic hasn't become the darling of the green movement. It is a great way to sequester carbon for many thousands of years.

Plastic is made from oil:

--You can either burn oil and produce copious amounts of carbon dioxide and pollutants.

-- Or you can convert oil into plastic and its carbon stays put for several thousand years. The carbon is bound with chemical bonds that are so strong, it takes many thousands of years to break down and release.

Plastic has other great properties:

--The contents of plastic garbage bags in garbage dumps are partly protected from decomposure. Which means that their carbon content is not released as quickly as in a cultivated compost heap, through methane and other biological actions. The plastic bags protect their contents from those carbon-releasing processes--and that's a good thing.

--plastic based clothing fabrics such as microfiber offer silk, cotton, and leather-like substitutes that are getting better than their organic (and carbon-loose) comparable materials.

--creating plasticized wood and cements is producing superior wear resistant materials that are longer lasting and have superior carbon sequestration properties than their counterparts.

A Carbon Sequestration Value

It would make sense that materials of all kinds, in all manufacturing processes, should be rated on their carbon sequestration properties. For example, wood based products would have a lower value (bad) because they give up and recycle their carbon easily through burning or composting.

Plastic based products would have a higher carbon sequestration value than wood, which would be good because the carbon in plastic is tied up for thousands of years. And plastic does not pollute, it is a very inert substance which means it does not dissolve or react with anything in our environment.

Recycling Increases Our Carbon Footprint

Every time we recycle anything, it increases our carbon footprint because of the energy that is needed to process the recycling. With plastics you don't need to recycle, you just bury it.

Of course, we would have to weigh up the value of carbon sequestration in each case. But right now, we don't consider it at all, and we should.

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Competition: When Flacks Attack Hacks... Identify To Win

If anyone can identify the person attacking me (for no good reason :-) they win 30 minutes of my time, with them or their client. Excluded are the people that work for any of the sister companies of the PR firm that this mystery person works for. By which I mean if you have a common parent you are excluded. Or if you have worked with this person, you are excluded too.


Weekend Watcher: Marcus Shelby & Company - Jazz From North Beach


A few weeks back I was in North Beach at Pearl's jazz club with friends Allison Lovejoy and her sister Erika. It was a Tuesday night and there were just a dozen people in the place, a lucky dozen because the Marcus Shelby experience works on small and large groups.

Here is Marcus Shelby and company, (almost) live from North Beach, San Francisco:

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Please see:

San Francisco Chronicle: Marcus Shelby marries lyrical life of Harriet Tubman with jazz

CNN:The coolest and hottest of San Francisco's music scene

Marcus Shelby profile

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Weekend Watcher: Capturing Silicon Valley's Stories - 4 At A Time

Silicon Valley is getting better at paying attention to its own culture and history--and noticing that there are many giants still walking among us. Recently, the Computer History Museum celebrated 4 key technologists at its 2007 Fellow Awards fund raising event.

It was a great event, I took my son Matt with me so that he could see some of our living history, the people that have helped make Silicon Valley into the world's innovation engine. We were guests of Microsoft, one of the sponsors of the event.

Morris Chang helped create the fabless chip industry. And in doing so, he created a massive innovation platform by enabling small bands of chip designers to buy production time as they needed it. Chip companies no longer needed to own and maintain hugely expensive chip fabs.

John Hennessy helped develop the RISC microprocessor, whose features are found in all modern microprocessors. As president of Stanford University, he has made huge contributions to education, and the creation of a student body that has gone on to found many of Silicon Valley's largest companies. And his work has helped generate huge licensing revenue for the university.

David Patterson made important contributions to microprocessor design and RAID data storage technologies. As head of Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley, he has helped educate generations of computer engineers.

Charles Thacker helped create the personal computer. His work at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center led to the Alto, the machine that inspired Apple Computer and featured a windows graphical user interface. He co-developed Ethernet and also the laser printer.


Video by Aron Pruiett and Tom Foremski. Video Editor Aron Pruiett.

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Weekend Watcher: Old World music with a New World Flare: Vagabond Opera; Jay Smooth and Charlie Ahearn; Americans are not Stupid

by Lucaso

Vagabond Opera strolls through old world gypsy classics, 1920's European Cabaret, up tempo Balkan beats, and Klezmer funk, all with a sideshow of theatrics that will get grannie out of the rocker and off to the show.

The aptly named 6 piece band hails from Portland, OR and puts the vibrato in neo-classical opera, complete with fedoras and striped stockings.

Take a look as we recently caught up with them at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA.

TechOne - Jay Smooth: Interview with director Charlie Ahearn

An interview with the director of 1982's seminal hip-hop film "Wild Style," featured this week on VH1's "Hip-Hop Honors" show.

Americans are not stupid

This is a hilarious video asking people in the street about the world they live in...

Weekend Watcher: Allison Lovejoy Interviews SF Composer; A Korean Band in NY; Jay Smooth's Hip-Hop Rash

Allison Lovejoy interviews Daniel David Feinsmith, a prominent Bay Area composer and performer. Mr Feinsmith is a student of Terry Riley and composes in classical styles. His Feinsmith Quartet performs Oct 18 at the Jewish Cultural Center in San Francisco.

A New York Music Moment... A Korean rock band in Union Square. From TechOne.

Jay Smooth: Hip-Hop Is Giving Me A Rash. From TechOne.

Weekend Watcher : Tempting Fate - 3 Toms Perish in Fiery Car Crash...

Intelligent_Design.jpgI was down at UN Plaza Friday evening catching up with my friend Tom Sanders, from VNUnet and the author of the excellent blog Silicon Valley Sleuth. He's heading back to Holland later this year after a 6 year posting here as a journalist.

I offered to drop Tom off at Caltrans, and on the way we stopped to pick up my friend Tom Abate, business reporter for the SF Chronicle (and Mini Media Guy blogger). Which made for a very rare occurence: 3 Toms in one car.

Actually, it was stranger than that, it was: 3 Toms who are also journalists in one car.

This is a dangerous situation, and I warned my passengers. This type of rare situation can tempt the hand of fate.

It can also draw the ironic hand of the divine being - which expresses itself by taking an enormous interest in our lives. The Divine Being expresses itself by looking very carefully for opportunities that show its complete interest in our lives, by enabling ironic disaters. . . such as : 3 Toms Perish in Fiery Car Crash.

We were fortunate to survive.

Please see: Ironic Design Offers Better Proof Than Intelligent Design

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Weekend Watcher: Allison Lovejoy Plays Chopin . . . and Bartok

Here is a friend of mine, Allison Lovejoy playing Chopin, recorded at the Climate Theater in San Francisco. (I'd love to start a cultural channel focused on Bay Area arts and culture.)

Allison Lovejoy plays Bartok:

Weekend Watcher: If Bill O'Reilly was a Rapper

Jay Smooth is one our producers on TechOne (I'm executive editor of TechOne.)

Here is Jay showing us how Fox News' Bill O'Reilly was a rapper (I'd like to see one on Tim O'Reilly ;-)

3-dot Weekend . . . Social media and IT; There are iPhones and non-iPhones; Gaia hackers upset kids

Social media and IT . . .

If you missed my panel on social media at Intel Developer Forum, you can watch it here. You can find out how Intel has been using blogs and wikis. It is always interesting to see how a very large and established company such as Intel (Intel is a sponsor of SVW) is able to change and embrace social media - it is not an easy process. We also had an Intel lawyer on the podium.

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iPhone religion . . .

I meet a lot of people and many of them like to talk about their cell phones and then go on to tell me why they don't have an iPhone, and/or don't need one. This is interesting because these are unsolicited and unprovoked comments. It is as if just the presence of my iPhone stirs some pangs of guilt or justification.

Let me say this: I like my iPhone, but I'm not religious about it, but many people are religious about their non-iPhones. Which is interesting.

My response is this: think of the opportunity cost to you in your business and professional life. Waiting for another price reduction or until your contract comes up for renewal makes sense if you are the average consumer. It makes no sense if you live and work in Silicon Valley, if you are in media, in PR, or are a developer, or an investor. Saving a hundred or few hundred later, will cost you bigtime now because you will be behind in experiencing and being experienced with this platform.

The iPhone is a media delivery platform of a unique kind. My colleague at TechOne Steve Gillmor, says this:

The iPhone has effectively replaced my laptop for much of my working day. The extent to which I can create the necessary metadata to do my various jobs determines what applications I use.

The iPhone does have problem spots but they are mostly software fixes--it will get better very quickly. What is the cost to you in not having experience with this platform? It is far more than saving a few bucks.

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Blue moon . . .

Lunarr invitations. Let me know on Facebook (send me a friend request) if you'd like to check out this unique collaborative platform created by two Japanese entrepreneurs based in Portland, Oregon.

Lunarr: A Once in a Blue Moon Company with a Unique Collaborative App

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Gaia hackers . . .

My 13 year old daughter Sarah is very sad this week, someone hacked into her Gaia Online account and stole all the things she had collected from over a year's worth of work, and erased all her friend info and other malicious damage. I did some searching and there are several sites that teach others how to hack Gaia user accounts.

I sent Sarah this to cheer her up . . .

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3-dot Weekend: Andy Lark goes to Dell; Nikkei on Media Valley; Nick Aster at Mother Jones; Blogging for dollars; The Conversation Group launches; I hate Quechup

Andy Lark is now at Dell . . .

Andy.JPG.jpgCongratulations to Andy Lark. Sun Microsystems' former head of corporate communications is now Dell's new VP of Global Marketing and Communications. Andy is one of the savviest people I know working in media and communications. Dell has acquired one of Silicon Valley's top people.

Andrew Lark: The Larks Are On The Move

Hat tip to Stowe Boyd.

It's a Media Valley . . .

I've been writing about how Silicon Valley is changing into Media Valley. In the latest issue of Nikkei Business magazine, the top Japanese business magazine, you'll find a long interview with me about Silicon Valley turning into media valley.

Hat tip to Hideshi Hamaguchi. (BTW: Tokyo News sent a reporter to interview me recently about LonelyGirl 15, a story that has legs. How we found the secret identity of LonelyGir15 )

Please also see: Media Valley and... Marvelous Musings of Miss Moxie: Silicon Valley has become Media Valley - someone should tell NYC

Mother Jones hires Nick Aster . . .

My good friend Nick Aster is now Media Architect at Mother Jones, the venerable lefty magazine. Media Architect is a term I made up to describe people such as Nick. I'm glad it is being used more widely. It is a term that combines the best qualities of a media professional with a software engineer.

Architecting the huge array of media technologies we have at our disposal is a tough job, and Nick has been doing it for a long time, at Moreover, at Gawker Media, on my projects, at Treehugger, and now at Mother Jones.

Mother Jones Hires's Media Architect

Blogging for dollars . . .

San Francisco Chronicle's Ilana DeBare interviewed me this week for a piece about how to make money from blogging. All is revealed :-)

Blogging tough way to make money - but here's how

Please welcome The Conversation Group . . .

Congratulations to Giovanni Rodriguez and the other members of the newly formed The Conversation Group. My good friend Chris Heuer is a member of the team. Also Denise Vardakas joins from Eastwick. Mark Adams, co-founder of Text 100 is on the board and so is Peter Hirshberg, CMO at Technorati.

I like the name, a wise choice to move it away from something like the "Social Media Group" which I'm sure was a temptation.

hubbub: Hubbub Merges

I hate Quechup . . .

I fell for it but please ignore any Quechup friend requests. Quechup is a "social networking" site that uses aggressive technologies that spam your address book to recruit users. My apologies to my address book.

Quechup is like one of the early virus/worms that uses your address book and your name, to get people to click. How does Quechup think spamming people's address books is going to build a lasting user base?!

It also damns some of the misbehaving Facebook apps--which are not as bad as Quechup but aren't too far behind. Unless this kind of behavior is nipped in the bud, every social network site will suffer.

See Mashable: Are You Getting Quechup Spammed?

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3-dot Friday . . .

. . . Blue at Big Blue

Tom Cheyney over at the excellent "Chip Shots" blog writes about the layoffs at IBM's chipmaking operations from an insider's perspective.

Yes, he said, “I got tapped Monday”—Blueman was one of the 450 people on IBM’s “resource-action” list, the corporation’s euphemistic term for the unlucky manufacturing and other employees who got notice that they were going to be laid off.
A victim of IBM layoffs shares details, raising questions of fairness

. . . Andrew Keen blows himself up

In a graphic mashup metaphor that left everyone gasping, Andrew Keen, the author of "The Cult of the Amateur" was debating with an august panel at the Stanford Summit. He then put his foot in his mouth and blew his whole rhetoric to pieces. Doctors said they could stitch it back together but why? "He'll only go out and do it again," they said.

The audience heard Mr Keen say that because Prince, the musician, is giving away his music for free, that this would deprive millions from access to his music. Millions would not be able to buy his music anymore, he said.

And because it was free, Prince would not put much effort into it. Prince fans would have to pay $125 per ticket to see him play in Las Vegas. He said that this was exactly the kind of thing that the Internet was destroying. George Gilder was excellent...

Here is the archive:

BTW, Mr Keen fares much better over at TechOne, where I am executive editor. Check out our new show: "Keen on Politics" on TechOne.

TechOne | Technology and Entertainment Video Network

. . .UK ads pulled from FaceBook because of neo-Nazis

Peter Robinett draws attention to this:

Several major British advertisers have pulled their advertising from Facebook after being placed next to a British National Party related page.

For US readers, the British National Party is considered a neo-Nazi party.

Peter asks:

For instance, purely hypothetical, how would you feel if you are listed right next to a neo-Nazi in the in Rammstein’s friends list on MySpace? And of course, should companies like Facebook police their sites for organizations like the BNP, which is legal in the UK yet widely loathed there?

Peter’s Blog » Blog Archive » Losing Control

. . . SF's crumbling WiFi plans

The tireless Kimo has been my source on how San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom plans to bring free Wi-Fi to the city.

It seems that the GOOG+Earthlink plan seems to be in trouble. Kimo points to this article in which Barbara Taylor, reporter with KCBS, says that the issue may come to voters.

So, what to do when the going gets tough, ponders Taylor?

In San Francisco, that often means going to the voters and that's exactly what the mayor is considering as he stares down the barrel of a 5:00 p.m. Friday deadline to put measures on the ballot.

UPDATE: WiFi is on the ballot. Kimo says:

It basically reflects the direction taken by the negotiations between Peskin's office/Board of Supervisors and EarthLink. No provision for the city as an anchor tenet is addressed - which is what EarthLink is now requesting.


1) "Free service should operate at a high speed that fully supports typical home, educational and civic uses"
2) "adhere to privacy policies that offer strong safeguards against the unauthorized sharing of personal information with 3rd parties and against the unnecessary retention of information about wi-fi users' locations"
3) encourages but does not require private entities to adopt strong privacy policies and clear service standards before finalization of the contract and a reasonable term of contract that is not a franchise.

. . . Girls in Tech presents Girls in VC

Co-founder of Girls in Tech, Adriana Gascoigne says: August 8 at Porter Novelli, 530 3rd St, SF. The Women of VC.

Panel includes:Trae Vassallo, Kleiner, Perkins,Caufield, Byers; Jennifer Fonstad, Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson; Eve Phillips, Greylock Partners; Maha Ibrahim, Canaan Partners.

Doors open at 6.30, panel at 7. Cocktails at 8.30.

. . . Happy Birthday to Sabrina Horn of the Horn Group

...Reports FaceBook! Also from FaceBook, news from another PR maven, Margit Wennmachers photos of her new baby. Congratulations!

And FaceBook says that Dev "is now looking for friendship, dating and a relationship." He's got some time on his hands.

The cool thing about FaceBook is that it automates blogging for you. Instead of blogging that I'm in or out of a relationship, that I just uploaded some photos, I'm going to an event, etc, --it does it all for you. Brilliant.

A Tropical Laughing Squid Party...

The Laughing Squid Party on Saturday was fun. I usually try to keep my weekends Geek free but I made an exception. I ran into Dave Winer and Gabe Rivera, from Techmeme. (The other guy invented blogging...) I was scolding them for talking about APIs, on a Saturday night.

They ignored me, or rather Dave Winer tried to ignore me. Dave Winer tried to take Gabe away so that they could continue to talk about API's without my "rude interruption."

I apologized profusely, I said I didn't intend to be annoying so early in the evening, ( I need to pace myself at these events.)

Once I had a taste for being annoying, nothing much could stop me. I think Nick Douglas from ValleyWag would agree.

I had a surprisingly good chat with Jason Calacanis, I've bumped into him twice this week. We spoke about the spiritual path that blogging represents. (Seriously...)

With Mike Arrington, I teased him about his love life. As the Prince of Silicon Valley, Mike should not be surrounded by guys. Mike is straight, which is my point... (and very single.)

Running out of people to annoy I got a ride back with my good buddies (now husband and wife) Chris and Kristie Heuer.

A day in the life of a journalist blogger . . .

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

I was a busy bee on Thursday. The day started slowly, I had trouble getting out of bed due to a 5am stop but by 11am I was up and running and heading down to Santa Clara for a meeting with Hong Kong's technology czar Dr Robert Yang.

Boyd Fung, of the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office set it up and I'm glad he did, because I got an exclusive interview with one of Asia's top technology thought leaders.

I have to say, I'm amazed that the local mainstream media didn't show up to this event because they missed a great story. Dr Yang, is heading up a $1.5bn technology science park and this is not Xerox Parc, this is an institute headed by someone who knows how to make such things work.

Dr Yang used to head Taiwan's technology research initiatives for many years before being lured to do the same for Hong Kong. This is someone who knows how to make technology transfers viable and productive.

His benchmarks and metrics for measuring success are brutal. This is someone who can put together teams of researchers and have them produce jaw-dropping advanced technologies within seven months to a year.

Hong Kong is very serious about becoming the innovation front-end to the manufacturing behemoth of greater China. Check into SVW next week for an exclusive interview with Dr Yang.

. . .

Then I was off to Palo Alto, for a briefing on a hot new startup with a hot new product from a hotshot development team. Alas, you will have to wait until March 7th, but I have secured an exclusive beta test invite for SVW readers because you are the shakers and makers of the future. Watch this space.

Story continues...

This and that: VCs swarm open source conference; Consumers can claim Linux code; Wiki enthusiast told to slow down; Sushi shows Sun is back; Edelman is aggregating the top PR bloggers

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

VCs-a-plenty. . .

The place was full of VCs and vendors and I met just one person who described themselves as a potential customer! Everyone was talking deals, obviously happy with Oracle's announced open-source acquisition deals.

But building open-source communities is not something that is done by announcement. And who do you think is going to be volunteering to develop products for free, so that Larry can buy the company?

Claim your rights. . .

I had an interesting chat with a patent attorney from Philips, the huge Dutch-based consumer electronics company. Philips has been using open-source products within its products for many years. It uses Linux and other components in its TVs and other consumer electronics gear which is often resold under oem deals.

"We tell our partners that they have to offer the source code to their customers, " he said. Because that is the stipulation in the open source licensing agreement. So, if you purchase a product that contains Linux (e.g. Tivo) you have to be offered the source code. But over a five year period, not one customer has bothered to read the small print and make such a request.

He also said that the latest version of the GPL license was badly written and probably intentionally so, so as to create debate and involve larger numbers of people.

A reality smack. . .

You can't slow this man down! Well, the police can and did. SocialText founder Ross Mayfield couldn't make it all the way to San Francisco on Tuesday. In his zeal to man the wiki at the Open Source Business conference--reality caught up with him.

A policeman objected to Mr Mayfield's internet fueled frenzy of speeding to the future, and stopped him. And one thing led to another and Mr Mayfield's car was impounded.

I offered to put him up at my humble blogger encampment under the Highway 101 onramp on 4th street--but Mr Mayfield said he would be fine and would take the train back home to Palo Alto.

Sushi barometer. . .

sushi2.gifSun Microsystems sponsored the evening cocktails and food event at the conference on Tuesday. And the quality of the sushi was more than excellent. I guess the good times are coming back for Sun, and it shows Sun is back on a roll (California :-).

Corralling the top bloggers. . .

I had an excellent discussion with Richard Edelman on Tuesday morning and I knew that Steve Rubel, of Micro Persuasion would be joining the Edelman team but I was under embargo. The news is out now...

Phil Gomes, also a top blogger in the PR sector joined Edelman last year.

Sex and dating - in the workplace

Fun if you can get away with it :-)

Kay Luo from Simply Hired offers these tips for the office Romeo and Juliet...

Top 10 Rules for Safe Sex in the Workplace

Story continues...

Tales of the city--the Geek Beacon

I was showing my friend Jill the power of the Geek Beacon the other evening--it works wonders! In case you don't know about the Geek Beacon, let me explain with a couple of my earliest posts. . .

Story continues...

Venture Wire investigates blogger/FON connection

Venture Wire ran this story Thursday, a story we've been discussing here on SVW since Monday. It is about the PR support top bloggers gave to startup FON earlier this week.

Also, many readers of SVW were surprised to learn the business model for the market research analyst companies such as Gartner, Forrester and IDC. The analyst firms are paid by their clients to write research reports that include them. If you don't pay, you won't be in any magic quadrants.

Plus analysts will offer positive quotes for client's press releases (at least that's the only ones you get to see.) It is a case of "no pay-no say" with these analyst groups--and has been for many, many years.

Looks like another bowling pin that might totter . . .(let's not mention the PR bowling pin.)
Here is my Monday piece: "The battle for the last mile..."

And here is Venture Wire's investigation: • FON Blogs Highlight Possible Conflicts Of Interest In Medium

Story continues...

Oh dear . . .

. . . the transparancy of the past

This is an excellent example of why you should not burn your bridges when you leave town. They will come back and bite you . . . (mashup metaphor #14).

Story continues...

The new and old Beatnicks celebrate Neal Cassady's birthday

By Tom Foremski, Silicon Valley Watcher

img_first_third.gifIt's a warm Wednesday evening in North Beach San Francisco and it is Neal Cassady's 80th birthday and the remnants of the Beat generation, Jack Kerouac's remaining drinking buddies, are inside a small storefront.

It is also the opening of the Beat Museum, and I'm there with my buddy Paul Hrisko to chat with Neal Cassady's son John, and visit with a slice of San Francisco's history from the late 1950s.

I've become very interested in the Beat generation, the mostly East Coast/New York intellectuals that came to San Francisco, and were chosen by the media to represent the rebellious youth of those times.

From Wikipedia: "The members of the beat generation were new bohemian libertines, who engaged in a spontaneous, sometimes messy, creativity. The beat writers produced a body of written work controversial both for its advocacy of non-conformity and for its non-conforming style...

. . . Echoes of the Beat Generation run throughout all the forms of alternative/counter culture that have existed since then (e.g. "hippies", "punks", etc). The Beat Generation can be seen as the first modern "subculture"."

The Beat Generation created a literature that was passionate, raw and emotional. This was a time when a poem, Allen Ginsberg's Howl could spark arrest, and trials for obscenity. The poet Czeslaw Milosz said of Ginsberg: "Your blasphemous howl still resounds in a neon desert where the human tribe wanders, sentenced to unreality".

I've become interested in Neal Cassady, who was somewhat of a mysterious character to some degree, because his writings are rare. Yet Neal Cassady became the muse, an influencing force on the writers, poets, and cultural icons of those days. People such as Jack Kerouac, Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and later, Ken Kesey, Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson and many, many more.

Story continues...