Tag Archives: San Francisco

Navigation technology Fail in Bay Area

It’s easy to see San Francisco and Bay Area as the Western hub of hi-tech technology. The theory goes that one should be able to fully navigate and organize their day with a smartphone and a bit of change for the transportation. Which works pretty well for the most part.

Bay Bridge Silhouette
Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

You tell the phone to use GPS to figure out where in the space it is, you tell it where you want to go and decide on transportation mechanism: Driving, Public Transport and Walking. Google Maps then sends all this personal data to the big machine in the sky and gives you back directions. Pretty nifty as it knows most of the public transportation options.

That is also a catch for unwary traveller new to the area. It turns out that while there are plenty of transportation options during the day, the bay area public transport is tricky at night. It seems that Google Maps only knows night transportation within the San Francisco and gives up if you’re somewhere else, in Oakland for example. While 4 hours of walking are always an option, it’s not something you want to do at 1 AM. With a bit of luck you catch a cab and a bit of cash later, you’re home.

There’s a bigger lesson here. Blindly trusting the technology in corner cases such as late night trains, buses etc. is not very smart. Always check everything online three times to ensure that if you leave the party late, you’ll know how to return home and have a Taxi phone number with you, just in case ?

San Francisco Friday Night Skate

San Francisco looks like a city where one could really enjoy roller skating, if one didn’t mind hills, and can venture on the road once in a while because of the busy streets. It’s not surprise that Friday Night Skating started here 20 years ago! and they’re still continuing with the weekly events. Their page – California Outdoor Rollersports Association – talks that 300 – 700 people come to skate every week. In the end it turns out that they’re about 50 now, but still a big group.

nightskate
Image by Gandalfar via Flickr

I’ve only participated on Ljubljana’s Night Skate events, so I don’t have much to compare this to. It’s quite different in format in execution. Firstly, the group meets at 9pm, when it’s already fairly dark. It’s also quite cold, about 12 degrees Celsius and windy. But you dress well and it’s not a problem.

Once David “D” Miles arrives with his beat box, the serious fun starts. The whole group moves down the Pier to the first stop, where you have a really nice view of Alcatraz. There are also people with normal skates, as well as guys on bikes. The most fun was probably the soap bubble bike, full for lights that was making bubbles along the way. Lots of fun skating behind her in cloud of bubbles 😉

The whole event lasts for three hours and it feels more like a moving party on roller skates then the sporting event that I’m used to. People dance at every stop, often random people from the street spontainiously join the fun. They even turn Union Square into one of their stops. Everyone takes the whole event in good spirit and even the random police that you meet tries to help and make sure everyone is safe.

The lenght of the circular path is about 20km and it’s not trivial, mostly because of hills and of pretty quick moves between stops. You skate a while, then have a 10 min stop for everyone to catch up and move on. While it doesn’t seem much during the skate, you can feel your legs at the end of the night.

To learn more, you should check their page: San Francisco’s Friday Night Skate that very accurately portrays the path and the events that happen, down to the tricks on the escalators.

Also check out skysurfer87’s Flickr set, to see more pictures.

Overall, the feeling is amazing. This was the most fun and intensive way to get a feeling for San Francisco, while skating by the pier, through the tunnels, across the hills and between the office buildings.

It’s something you need to experience, next time you’re in SF and can skate well enough.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

San Francisco – initial culture shock

It’s just over a day since I arrived to San Francisco, and it’s time to write down some initial reflections, to prevent me getting too used to them:

  • starting off with the weather. It’s actually kind of cold. Around 14C throughout the day, even though reports are optimistic and claim 22C high. It’s also bit windy in some areas, making this climate even more annoying. It’s no bad, it just means I can’t walk around without a jacket.
  • hills are fun. Terrain button in Google Maps actually makes lots of sense now. You actually have to consider elevation when moving around.

operascreensnapz018

  • I’m still afraid of getting lost. It’s not that hard once you figure out which roads are connecting ones, but from the map, it looks like something from an ant farm:

operascreensnapz019

  • Solution to getting lost is of course – Google Maps enabled phone. Luckily @alpheus1 borrowed me his Google I/O Android G2 phone with powerful SIM. With all those apps on your phone, that use locational services (like where’s the closest cinema, shopping and what is the best public transport route from “here” to “there), you suddenly see the Future of Mobile. It’s very bright and I can’t wait for it to come to .si
  • Lots of Chinese take-away/restaurants here, the other half are hair saloons and spa’s. There’s also a place where you can legally buy medical marijuana (if you “need” it). Economy of local business development in neighborhoods has to be fascinating.
  • Lots of Hybrid cars on the road, together with very big cars. Think like SUV .si, just bigger.
  • People are much nicer here. Joggers in the morning actually greet each other.
  • Units here are just wrong. I wanted to buy 1kg of apples in the afternoon and realized I have no idea how to explain in local language. If you are wondering, you want to get about 2 lbs (pounds) of apples.
  • Working with people from all timezones is funny. My Dashboard looks currently has 5 clocks, so I don’t have to think:

x-chat-aquascreensnapz001

  • For now I still care for weather at home, so I can follow local chatter in chat rooms:

firefoxscreensnapz122

  • Don’t let the weather report mislead you. It’s 14C all day.
  • I have yet to try roller skating over these hills, but it seems that they’ll be at least useful for weekend sightseeing tours around the city.

I have yet to connect with local scene so the report on that follows a bit later, but just looking at events list for next week shows some very promising things.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Taking a break/moving to San Francisco for the summer

Sometimes stars just align the way you want. In about 48h I will land in San Francisco where I’ll stay next 3 months with two big goals: take a bit of a break and mingle with the local community and spread the word of Zemanta.

San Francisco
Image by brothergrimm via Flickr

Should be fun and I’m looking forward to meeting many of friends that happen to live nearby or already told me that they’ll too visit San Francisco during the summer break.

I also have another big plan, blog daily about the adventures there, tech scene and personal development on the way. We’ll see how that goes.

Is there an event/gig you think I should check out and report about? Let me know!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

My 5th and 6th month of running

I missed updates for February (5th month) and March (6th month) and I’ve been hearing from you. It’s a proof that keeping a public log of these action is indeed motivational as your friends can keep tabs on you and can poke you if you aren’t keeping track or not exercising.

February running log

February was mostly a failure for me as I was both sick and it was freezing cold so I didn’t dare go running as I was afraid I’m going to slip and hurt myself. Here’s the calendar nonetheless:

Lucky for me March was  a great sucess in a way. I still didn’t manage to get to my old distance (100km+ per month), but I’m getting closer to that.March running

I’m especially happy about it is becuase the running was done mostly while I was travelling. I managed to get a couple of runs in Austin and a run in Las Vegas and another one in San Francisco. This answers my big question – can I run while traveling?

How is it? It’s a phenomenal feeling. Because of conference and afternoon activities I actually had to wake up early in the morning and go for a run before breakfast. It turned out to be a great way to take some personal time with just myself, running and my thoughts as well as a way to calibrate my biorhythm so I didn’t have problems with jetlag.

I could also finally test my original reason for running – to have more energy when traveling. I can say it works great! I had so much energy to walk around the conference, scheme new ideas and party with everyone that it was simply amazing. I can only recommend lots of running to others that have such hectic lifestyle.

Now lets see if I can get closer to 100km/month for April.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]