July 7: Cyrus on Morning Edition (NPR)

Dear Friends,

I’ve been informed that my radio piece on a new startup that is bringing wireless Internet to BART will be on Morning Edition tomorrow (July 7).

It will be available on any of these stations (and their Internet streams).

New York – 5 am to 9 am Eastern – WNYC – 820 AM – www.wnyc.org
Washington, DC – 5 am to 10 am Eastern – WAMU – 88.5 FM – www.wamu.org
Los Angeles – 2 am to 9 am Pacific – KPCC – 89.3 FM – www.kpcc.opg
Boston – 6 am to 9 am Eastern – WGBH – 89.7 FM – www.wgbh.org
San Francisco – 3 am to 9 am Pacific – KQED – 88.5 FM – www.kqed.org

It will also be archived at npr.org and at my site if you miss it.

Lemme know if you hear it!

Update: Audio is here!

Geography matters in Silicon Valley. Um, duh?

No offense to Steve Lohr, but I’m not really sure what the point of his piece in today’s TimesSilicon Valley Shaped by Technology and Traffic” was. As far as I can tell, the main message is “geography matters.” Is this news to anyone, in late 2007? Really?

Alan Wiig had a much more interesting comment on it than I ever would:

Yeah, there is at a book about this from at least ten years ago. I dislike the analogy one of the people give about there being microclimates for wine and microclimates for tech. It naturalizes the tech in a completely artificial way, and ignores that, for better and worse, tech and its attendant development has destroyed the agriculture in Santa Clara. I acknowledge that the tech innovation is pretty wonderful, but it could be anywhere, where the ag is so regionally specific. What will happen if/when all the ag is forced out of the central valley by tract home suburbs built for Silicon Valley commuters? The central valley is the best ag region in the world, and it is being sacrificed for shitty, poorly designed, sprawling housing. Just like Silicon Valley itself…Why is it that the computer engineers can make fast, energy efficient microprocessors (etc) but cannot see the value of urban planning and design? San Jose has some of the worst traffic and freeway design, for no reason — it is a wealthy region full of smart, dynamic people who apparently don’t care about how much the place they live sucks. What is amazing is not that this company profiled it named for Palo Alto, but that these companies don’t relocate into the Bay Area directly — why NOT redevelop some of the poorer areas of Oakland or Alameda or even Hayward? The quality of life is better, the commutes shorter, the public infrastructure more established, etc…

Estonian prime minister opens San Jose trade office

How come no one told me that the prime minister of Estonia, Andrus Ansip, was in San Jose last week?

Anyway, he was there to open up a new “tech embassy” downtown. (I’m assuming that this is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.)


“Silicon Valley changed the world, Andrus Ansip told a small gathering of reporters and city hall officials Friday afternoon. “All of our companies would like to cooperate more with the companies in Silicon Valley.”

Estonia has been scouting the valley for two years. The prime minister officially opened an office of Enterprise Estonia, located in the U.S. Market Access Center on Market Street in Downtown San Jose. The one-person office will be headed by Andrus Viirg.

Estonia is an emerging technology center, aided in part by its proximity to Scandinavian tech centers. Skype, a software program that enables Internet phone calls, was created in Estonia, and has a big presence in Tallinn and Tartu, the two largest cities in Estonia. The company is now owned by San Jose-based eBay Inc.

Of course, Ross Mayfield got to dine with Mr. Ansip. (I’m so jealous.)

I’ll be making my pilgrimage down there to the “one-man office” sometime this week, hopefully.

FBI Hoped to Follow Falafel Trail to Iranian Terrorists Here


Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.

The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.

The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.

A check of federal court records in California did not reveal any prosecutions developed from falafel trails.

I’m not even close to having the skillz of an FBI agent, but I can tell you three reasons why this plan was doomed from the beginning — beyond than the fact that it’s totally illegal.

1) Falafel isn’t a Persian food at all. When was the last time you saw an Iranian eating falafel? (And the one time I went with Boyk to Sunshine Café in Berkeley two weeks ago doesn’t count.)

2) Iranian terrorist? Seriously? Think about that for a second. Name one Iranian terrorist. Go ahead, I dare you.

3) While the Bay Area may have some Iranians, we’re dwarfed by the number that are in LA and Orange counties. Plus, everyone knows that real Iranians (“terrorists” or otherwise) hit up Mashti Malone’s for totally sweet bastani.

[via FP Passport]

Belgian Beers in Oakland!

I was with Boyk and Michele today in downtown Oakland, and we happened to park in front of a new Belgian beer bar that’s about to open up on 8th St. at Broadway. Dude, Belgian beers! Right here in Oakland!

The Trappist
: The Trappist is owned and operated by Aaron Porter and Chuck Stilphen. We strive to bring you the finest beer available, served properly at the correct temperature and in the correct glass. Our bottle list features over 120 Belgian, Dutch, French and American micro brews. We have 15 rotating beer taps, which feature local California, and specialty micro brews from the US as well as several Belgians. We also feature a weekly Cask ale selection from the UK or US. You wont find any big corporate brews here, just the finest artisan brewers.

Holy shit, this is going to be amazing.

Bay Bridge under construction

Todd Lappin managed to find some really neat snapshots of the Bay Bridge under construction from a local electrician who moonlights as a photog.

I’m a union electrician (Local 6 San Francisco). I’m the guy on the job who will climb anything, anywhere, so I usually get really good jobs. A lot of guys are afraid to climb tower cranes and hang off walls, but I have no fears as of yet (except roaches).

I started taking pictures at work mostly for the workers, so they could show people what they do. I was approached by one of the companies on a job, and they asked to buy my work — I had no idea! Later I was working on the San Francisco Center (835 Market St.) and the general foreman said I was wasting my time being an electrician, and that I should take photos. I now use my connections to gain access, and I try to work on the bigger projects in town. I’ve befriended many of the ironworkers who can help me get the vantages I need to shoot the photos I like to take.