This is just so busted, where do I begin? I needed somewhere to duck into downtown to work for an hour before going to Marissa Mayer's favorite hair salon. There's Wi-Fi there, but that's a bonus: not a reason to camp out. Even bloggers have boundaries. But not this guy, who actually worked from the cafe I ended up in on what looks like a laptop with a broken screen. Instead of replacing the laptop — these are lean times after all — he just brought his own external monitor.And pro headphones, and a backup keyboard, too:
So that's what those things are. The box in the photo holds equipment for AT&T's U-verse cable service. The grumpy guy is David Crommie, president of the Cole Valley Improvement Association. He's torqued because AT&T got an exemption from environmental review requirements to install up to 850 of these things around the city. You'll also see smaller green boxes on city sidewalks — those are Comcast's. Verizon manages to bury all its equipment underground. The CVIA has stalled AT&T's plans, but the San Francisco Daily Post reports that "AT&T is now expected to reapply for exemption." (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)
Protesters angry at what they call the "recruitment of children" through the U.S. Army-sponsored America's Army videogame plan to meet in San Francisco's South Park at noon. It's a safe bet they'll march over to game developer Ubisoft on 3rd Street. This being San Francisco, the only real news from the event will be a counterprotest.
I'm a hundred pages into Anathem (accent on first syllable), Neal Stephenson's forthcoming thousand-page novel about Fraa Erasmus, a young man who lives in a millennia-old monastery devoted not to religion, but to science, math and philosophy. They have no Web 2.0. It's convincing enough that I already want to stuff your Twitter feed up your nose. Why? (I promise: No spoilers and nothing not already leaked in the promo materials.)By banishing computers from their lives, Erasmus's reclusive colleagues are able to nourish what he calls "attention surplus disorder," the ability to focus on and think about one thing for a long time. Erasmus's order passes its trains of thought from generation to generation — a Church of the Long Now. By contrast, the video and telecom-addled civilization that bustles outside their walls is full of shallow and incorrect knowledge. People who've never taken time to study anything feel they know everything. Constantly distracted by their jangling electronic gizmos, they can't comprehend the powerful ideas and complex systems wrought by thousands of years of civilization. Their smart machines make them dumb. Inevitably, they look to the cloistered nerds to save them. I've pledged not to do a review until September 9th, but I'll tell you Stephenson's worldview is contagious from page one. It's been following me around in the real world — I haven't hated normal people this much since I was an MIT freshman. You say you're a "geek?" Let's see you unplug your iPhone for a month. Surely you have something more interesting to do.
"Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization" is the new cover story from Adbusters. If you're not familiar, Adbusters is a fun, angry, Starbucks-hating publication whose credo states that we've all been brainwashed by advertising and mass media into an orgy of overconsumption that lets the American Empire destroy the rest of the world to feed our fat faces. I buy it at Whole Foods.
Here we go again. New graffiti on the sidewalk at 18th and Dolores claims nothing short of "Mission Exploitation" by Google employees. A decade ago, the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project posted flyers urging Valencia Street's self-styled "artists" to vandalize luxury cars. Some did. In 2008, most Web 2.0 workers aren't rich enough to draw the righteous anger of their slightly-less-privileged neighbors. Except for Googlers who dare move into the city's youth-culture ghetto between Cesar Chavez and Market.
That's it, I'm leaving. And I'm taking the hot ones with me. Women of the Internet, it's time to go. It's dangerous online for us in tech. As long as we were moderating "coping with cutting" LiveJournals and keeping Zappos rich by shoe shopping, the Valley and the men who made it paid us little mind. But if we dare be more than pretty eyeballs driving the market, we must challenge the deep misogyny pulsing at the heart of the hypertext transfer protocol. Consider this a collective Swiftian kick to the panties. Follow me, for this is why we have no hope here: