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The Almighty Buck

Silicon Valley as a Religion 162

NineNine writes "CNet just posted this story likening Silicon Valley both to a religion and to the Middle Ages. " Personally I find the valley to be a catch 22: the food is great, but the culture leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Case in point: the slides before the movie are all want ads for tech jobs for pre-IPO companies. Dozens of them. Everything revolves around it. I'm not having a hard time at all staying in the middle of michigan (despite all the snow we got today!)
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Silicon Valley as a Religion

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  • If Gates is the devil, then Steve Woznaik would have to be the heir-apparant for the title of God (tm). The man hand-built the early Apple computers, coded the BASIC into ROM straight out of his HEAD without using an Assembler, and in general is singlehandedly responsible for bringing low-cost computers to the masses.

    To top it, he's humble- check to see what I mean. He's not a money-grubbing "innovator" looking to screw users with restrictive EULAs and high prices... in fact, quite the opposite: the original Apple and Apple ][ encouraged a great deal of free software and home-brew computing.

    If ANYONE should get ANY form of respect in the computing field, it is Steve Wozniac.
  • I must admit, there was once a time when I was younger when I looked forward to the business trip to SF/SJ. Not any more. Yeah, there's a lot of culture, diversity, and intellect out there. But it's also one of the most expensive rat-holes on Earth.

    It blows me away when my company has clients from the area come here (Research Triangle Park, NC) and they rave about the Valley. Then I tell them how much we paid for our 2800 sq. ft. home with our twenty-minute max commutes. The raves stop immediately. Being 2 hours from either the beach or the mountains is pretty cool too.

    So yeah: We love NC and the Park, and wouldn't want to go anywhere else. Feel free to visit sometime. Then go home.

    ".sig, .sig a .sog, .sig out loud, .sig out .strog"

  • Hmm. For places to hang out, well, I'll piss off the first poster on this thread and recommend Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Nice wine bar there. (And if you visit the UNC campus, you might catch Fred Brooks himself in Sitterson Hall.)

    I'd also recommend the restaurants in Raleigh near the intersection of Hillsborough and Glenwood; there's an awesome little indy CD store there too. (You'll be staying near Glenwood Ave., so getting to that part of near-downtown should be fairly easy.) And there's also the Raleigh City Market near downtown (West Martin Street).

    As for Durham, well, if it was summer, I'd recommend visiting Ninth Street before or after taking in a Bulls game.

    Any other Silicon Hillbillies care to add?

    ".sig, .sig a .sog, .sig out loud, .sig out .strog"

  • There are coding jobs EVERYWHERE in the Bay Area, but the best paying positions are in SF and the South Bay. If you do move to SF, you should consider SanFran. Since BART (think above ground subway, except where it goes under the Bay) runs through Berkeley, you can walk to a station and be in downtown SF in under 30 mins without ever seeing a brakelight or putting up with exhaust fumes.

    Of course, this is partly why housing in the Berkeley area is so expensive :)
  • I used to live in La Honda - only 30-40 minutes *empty* road commute to most of silicon valley. (except at weekends when the 84-west clogs with mountain bikers of course)

    I couldn't see my neighbours house for trees, the sky was black at night, the ocean was a 10 minute drive away and the air was perfectly clear. I could go hiking straight from my house.

    The rent? 1500 dollars a month for a 3 bedroom large house and huge garden - even had a pond and a huge cherry blossom tree. Idyllic to say the least.

    Definitely recommended to anyone who thinks those places don't exist near Silicon Valley.

    Now I live in smog-drenched Tokyo.

    (I have my reasons)
  • I was born in Sunnyvale(63) went to school there(Peterson)attended college at subMission. I rented my first house in Alviso in 82 for 285$ for a 2 bedroom house.And left after 35 years there becuse I couldnt stand having the high tech life shoved down my throat.Technology is great but I dont want to be reminded of work every time I go out ,Sunnnyvale reminds me of a Warren Zevon Song,"Waiting for the next best thing" If Silcon Valley is a religon,then it's a lame one
  • I was speaking of the entire Bay Area, not just in The City. There are areas of Oakland and Richmond that I wouldn't drive through, let alone walk, unless I was packing a gun.
  • When anyone asks me what it's like in Silicon Valley, that's what I tell them. I lived there from '86 - '88 (working for somewhat-lamented Xerox AI Systems and its descendents). I was fresh out of graduate school at the time, and I thought the cost of living was crazy then.

    I currently live in the Washington DC area. Strangely enough, DC and SV do have something in common: if you live there, watch local TV news, and read the {Post, Mercury/News}, you gradually become convinced that {government/high-tech} is the most important thing in the world, and that you know more about it than other deprived people who don't live where you do. When you leave the area, you have to decompress a bit and realize that other things matter, too.
  • Wow, this is the first time I've seen a "Mod this up" comments scored higher than the comment it was referring to...
  • Having visited the "Home Office" back in June, I can safely say, I'm glad I'm remote here in the midwest (not Michigan, but a state across Lake Michigan).

    I get all the Valley perks, but get to spend midwest dollars.

    My co-workers who have yet to strike dot-Com Gold in their previous companies (cash-n-dash and cross the street to a new job), are living in dark, small apartments, hours away (about 3 miles). Meanwhile I have a SV$800,000 house (SiliconValley Dollars) for the low low cost of US$190,000.

    The big thing I saw is, coming from a flat, grid-like street system, is that the saying "You can get there if you can see it" is not true. There is always seemingly a body of water or a mountain in the way.

    I'm kind of happy I'm not there in the madness, but glad I'm part of the madness with that 2000+ mile buffer zone.

  • I work at a company that is in the process of closing it's Portland, Oregon, office. Most of the software engineers, along with several other employees (perhaps 25 folks in all), were offered relocation packages to the office in the Valley. Exactly one person took them up on the offer.

    What I find most astounding about this is that our colleagues in the Valley are aghast that we would not jump at the chance to move there. They actually say things like, "But this is your chance to get into the Valley!"

    Well, thanks, but no thanks.

  • I did notice a bit much of the technology brain rot in SV and I currently live in Washington DC and feel much more balanced out here. The little known fact is that there is a very vibrant technology culture out here, but it doesn't dominate the cultural scene... it compliments it.
  • Silicon Valley culture?? I've lived in Sunnyvale, Fremont and now San Francisco. The entire Penninsula from San Jose up towards Daly City is a cultural wasteland.

    There's a lot of ethnicities mixed in and around that area, but they're all focused on making the big bucks.

    Performing arts is limited to huge concerts at the Shoreline.

    I haven't eaten at any restaurant in the Valley with decent food, service and ambiance with the exception of a few in downtown Palo Alto. And the restaurants in downtown Palo Alto are populated almost universally by status-/money-grubbing social climbers.

    Most people work so hard and long they have little time to appreciate or contribute anything that I would call "culture". And when the dot-com'ers take a day off, they talk about work.

    I work at a company called Woosh! and the only reason I tolerate Sunnyvale is because our CEO explicitly rejects the money-grubbers and those that are "cultural tofu". So we've got a spicy good mix at our office. That's the exception rather than the rule.

    Now, if you don't mind, I need to go comute fourty miles. -Phbbt!-
  • "High-tech work takes on significance that transcends the rhetoric of efficiency, productivity and 'value added,' as it is used to make lives meaningful by aligning them with progressive forces."

    Well, not for me.

    There are two separate issues here. One is the jargon, which is awful. (Of course, so is a lot of technical writing.) But the other is the observation that many tech workers take their jobs a lot more seriously than the traditional 9-to-5er, and that some of the talk around it certainly sounds religous.

    Sitting here in San Francisco, that strikes me as a pretty obvious observation. Read, for example, the first couple years of Wired; they were all fired up about how the world was going to change completely in practically the blink of an eye. That wasn't just rhetoric, either; I knew a lot of people at HotWired, their on-line arm, and many of the people there felt a sense of mission that was not obviously supported by rational belief.

    And although it's slightly less fashionable now, I'd still say that one startup in two talks about how they are going to change the world, revolutionizing X, Y, or Z. Sure, some of this is marketing hype, but many people sincerely believe it. They regularly spend 100+ hours a week on it. Why? Some talk about the money, but that's often a socially acceptable excuse; see The New, New Thing [] for a character study that slyly shows that money is not really the point for Jim Clark, a big mover and shaker.

    Or closer to home, read practially any Slashdot discussion around open source, Microsoft, or vi-vs-emacs. Note the jargon file entries holy wars [] and religious issues []. Or note the high-tech expression drinking the kool-aid [], a reference to the Jim Jones cult suicide.

    So I'll grant that for you, high-tech may be just another job. Oh, and given that you're hanging out on Slashdot, I guess I'd have to say "just another job, plus a subculture". But for a large number of people, especially here in the Bay Area and especially those working on the cutting edge, religion is not an inappropriate comparison.
  • I don't think its Portland. Rather, its that every state near California would be better off without the influx of Californian refugees. In fact, I just visited Portland, and there were a lot of people there who encouraged me to move there.

    Here in New Mexico, Californians have done a fine job of inflating real estate prices. When "foreigners" take all the good real estate and you can't buy a home in your home state because of them, well there's bound to be a backlash.

    I watch the sea.
    I saw it on TV.

  • If you do move to SF, you should consider SanFran. Since BART (think above ground subway, except where it goes under the Bay) runs through Berkeley, you can walk to a station and be in downtown SF in under 30 mins without ever seeing a brakelight or putting up with exhaust fumes.

    So are you recommending living in SF or working in SF? Your comment sounds like your recommending working in SF, but then you mention Berkeley housing costs. :-)

  • Wait wait wait smoking?!?!?!!?!??!

    I'll stick to Ann Arbor, thanx, where I can smoke in a Burger King in front of a 3rd grade field trip group if so inclined. Oh yeah, and GO BLUE!
  • ... I can explain why it happens.

    Companies started moving to Oregon (or opening Oregon/SW Washington operations - Intel is biggest industrial employer in Oregon now) from California in eighties. But you can't move hi-tech operations somewhere without people.

    It meant a lot of educated professionals coming from California with its inflated real estate prices. As the result, people were selling their entry-level to middle-level housing in CA and buying the best here. It inflated prices really much (I've bought mine in 97 for about 160K; it will cost about 180K now, and the previous owner bought it in 89 for about 90K). At the time I was buying I saw an article in Oregonian where authors cited the study that an average Oregon family could not afford a house because they could not accumulate a down payment.

    Not only that, Oregon is often used as a retirement house by the California's oldsters thus again scaling down Oregonian counterparts' savings.

    So, Oregonians (somehow justifiably) link the deteriorating standards of living to the influx of the southerners. No one feels that I'm stealing their bread and butter (even though I'm an immigrant) whether Californians trigger negative feelings towards them.

    My advice to people who move here will be to change plates on their car ASAP, throw away Californian license plate frames and tell that you're from some other state ;-)
  • Is that supposed to be a compliment or an insult?
    When I was there I was in the Army, not the NAVY!
    But then again, it's the Clinton Army, so who knows?
  • I like that idea. Our company is very PC (and proud of its rating in Working Mother magazine's best places to work list. Of course, they'd probably replace them with 5' cube walls rather that 7' cube walls, so maybe I'll just keep my mouth shut (and my head down).

  • Naw it's not sick it's life. I have found that most techincal people tend to talk about technology whenever they are arround other technical friends. It is just the way things are.
  • by cduffy ( 652 ) <> on Monday November 20, 2000 @02:42PM (#611268)
    I spent last summer in the Valley. It was interesting, yes -- but I'm now telecommuting from Chico, CA, and don't particularly want to go back.

    There was quite a bit to leave a bad taste in my mouth -- the traffic, the cost of living, the overall size of the place. The funny part, though, is how I didn't really appreciate what I was missing 'till I came back and spent some time going for a walk through Bidwell Park (one of California's largest municipal parks, including lots of excellent mountain biking area, starting just a block away from my home!) and watching the reactions of my friends from work on seeing the size of the house I and a few friends are renting for less than a Silicon Valley one-bedroom apartment.

    However, the Valley's proponents do have one thing right -- it *is* where everything happens, and there's a lot of good talent there; prior to my visit I'd never met so many skilled engineers in one place. That's why, if I were running a tech company, I'd have an office in the valley, and another (large) engineering center or two off in a smaller, cheaper area like Chico. I'm making less than half what I made in the Valley right now, but my quality of life is far better. I suspect there are others who'd be glad to make the same kind of choice.

    (Not that there aren't tech jobs that pay better than half Valley wages in Chico -- I'm just doing the part-time telecommuting thing for a bit).
  • I live and work in Orlando Florida (BlackRat Village) and it's fine right here, thank you. Every time I've chased a lead to Boston or the West Coast, and especially Silicon Valley, is that I'm somehow already rich enough to live there. I mean, how else can I understand how I get salary offers that would allow me to live like a king anywhere else except in Silicon Valley?

    The other kicker is I did work for a dot-com based out of Boston. They have an Orlando office, and I went to work for them in February 2000. By May 2000 I had gone back to work for the company I was working at previously. While there I watched the stock rise then crash, I got to do lots and lots of travel (which was not supposed to happen), and in general I learned that the grass is not greener on the dot-com pastures. BTW, the former dot-com employer's stock hit a high of $86 dollars in March and is now trading around $3. Their earnings didn't meet expectations, and they had layoffs in September. My old employer gave me back my salary plus a reasonable raise (but not at the crazy heights the dot-com company gave me). The dot-com itch has definately died for me.
  • by krismon ( 205376 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @02:43PM (#611270)
    Having grown up in Silicon Valley... it's really sad to see the changes that have gone thru the area in the last 10 or so years.. People have become more and more obsessed with money. I've never seen such a concentration of luxury cars, sports cars, where 10 years ago, maybe 1 in 10 cars you'd see on the road was a BMW or mercedes, nowadays they are more prevalent(not counting SUV's). Money and status have become the driving force here in Silicon Valley. What's weird also the reputation that we have outside the valley, when most of these people that give Silicon Valley a bad name (as far as greed and such) are not really from here, this is just where they made their money.

    And this obsession with money has driven the cost of living way up in the area, so much so, that even the cream of the crop, coming out of the great schools in the area can't afford to live in the neighborhoods they grew up in.
    (Anyone know of a nice 3 bedroom+2bath in Santa Clara county for under $360k?)
  • Now, if you want religion... Catch 22 is a great place to start, that is if you can get over the repeated disembowelment scene.

    I've got this sudden urge for pasta...

    Actually, with the way some of my friends are, I think that perhaps they worship their systems... if motherboard/processor worship can be declared a relgion, can we get all those nice tax write-off's that scientologists get? Hell, I'd worship my PC for that...

    But Silicon Valley... well, let's just say that California can keep it.

  • Now that is one funny site. gerbilism..... gotta love the net ; }
  • Indeed. I believe there were bumper stickers a while back that said, "Welcome to Oregon. Now go home."

    I live in Idaho. Idaho has a bit of an anti-Californian bias as well. I think you'll find that in most areas that have had an influx of "refugees" from California.

    Is there the same sort of bias in the east against, say, New Yorkers?
  • This is a fair response, and you are right to point it out. (I should add that you should crucify some former 'civic boosters' on the tree as you go ;)). But the pressure put on people to sell their land to developers was absolutely incredible. It went so far, cities were pressured by developers to condemn agricultural land under their powers of eminent domain as a public nuisance (people didn't like dust on their cars etc). It is too much to expect people to continue to resist indefinitely under the weight of community formed by vast numbers of new arrivals (and their money). With all respect, you are blaming the victim. Just ask the Native Americans.
  • I live in Hayward which is definitely working class, but not unsafe. Crime here may be higher than Fremont to the south (I haven't looked at statistics, but that seems to be the general feeling), but that is probably more due to Fremont having a really massive police force than anything wrong with Hayward.

    The commute isn't particularly good though unless you can commute by rail (either to the city ~30m on Bart, or Santa Clara/San Jose ~35m on Amtrak); the east shore freeway and bridges are all parking lots.

    Median home price in Hayward I'd guess to be about $300k, maybe $350k, but the neighborhoods are really quite varied. I live up in the hills just north of CSU-Hayward which has a nice 5 mile green trail loop up into the hills, and several hundred acres of Garin Regional Wilderness and Pioneer Creek Preserve with more hiking trails. My wife and I tend to get out on the trails on our horses every couple of weeks with a picnic lunch or something, and look down on the valley and bay with great appreciation to be up above the smog, endless buildings, and busy streets.

    Two or three years ago you could have gotten a townhouse south of mission in SF for reasonably cheap if the city is more your style, but the city is becoming gentrified extremely quickly so I don't think that is entirely possible any longer.

    I guess if I were looking for a place on the peninsula I'd probably look in one of the areas that has a reputation for being dangerous, but is in a really key location where the situation is bound to improve in the next couple of years. Then work with local government to insist that it does improve.

    No one wants to move in to a dangerous neighborhood, but then two years later, SOMA is suddenly the hot spot to live in.

    Ah well, it is hard to predict.

  • I think your numbers on gay males in SF are very low. This is the gay capitol of the world, I would guess that it's somewhere between 20-30% of the males here are gay. And it tends to be the attractive guys who are gay, but the ugly women who are dykes... so it's a good deal.

    What's more is this town is so social that it's easy to meet tons of women. Other cities might have higher ratios, but that doesn't mean squat if you can't meet anyone. I have met a few cuties in Mexico City so I will agree with you there, but the communication barrier was too much. Some other countries really adore foriegners, no matter how you look. mostly non-english speaking countries though. Mexico City is cheap because the cost of living is subsidized by stealing parts from your car! :) I never felt very safe there, and I'm not one to worry.

    The city with the highest single female/male ratio is New York (in the US).

  • never did that myself ,but I do appericate the irony that the Santa clara county's inmate work release programe is only a couple of hundred yards from netscrape ? Coincidence I think NOT!!
  • I pay $1800/mo for a 371 square foot apartment in NYC's SOHO district, and everyone I know thinks I am really, really lucky ... if that makes you feel any better ...

    Also, 2000 square foot apartments in my area can be bought for around 2 million.
  • Whoops I mean 1000 square foot apartments. 200 square foot is more like 4 million.

    The amazing thing is that there are plenty of real estate storefronts with advertisements for 2000 square foot apartments that only rent for 50 grand a month ... whoo hoo ..
  • This place is an environmental disaster. The air always smells like it is on fire; 365 days a year. Your lung capacity will drop precipitously as you hoover up buckets of PM10 and diesel exhaust while stuck in traffic on 280, 880 and 101.

    Yet, ironically, you can't smoke in bars. I mean, if you gave a damn abou tyour health, what are you doing in a bar in the first place?
  • I've been to Sushi Expo once. I wouldn't consider it the best sushi I've ever had in Silicon Valley. The sushi I had smelled more fishy than it should have, and I had a hard time eating all of it. I'm not a sushi connoseuier, but I'm not afraid of eating any type of sushi available, and have gleefully gobbled down loads of sushi in other places. Sushi Expo is not the worst sushi in existence, but I feel that it is not the best in Silicon Valley.

    In my limited experience so far, the best sushi I have had in the South Bay is at Midori on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale. I've been there several times, and each time has been a grand delight. MetroActive [] thinks they're pretty good, too.

    I'm sure there are better places, perhaps in the San Francisco area, but I don't up to the city that often.

  • I don't know, where are you going to be?

    The alternative to a bar is, of course, a coffee house.
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • A friend of mine from Idaho mentioned this. Apparently it is not a generic, vague dislike, but a specific dislike of ex-Californians' willingness to pay very high housing prices; there is a feeling that an influx of such willingness will drive up housing prices.
  • I'm in the Research Triangle Park area of NC, so I see no reason to move; we have lots of tech jobs open here.

    Then again, I figure my prospects are pretty good wherever I go, these days.
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • While I completely agree with you (this will make me sound like a zealot myself, however I am not), look at the other side of the spectrum.

    ...without particular regard to temporal factors such as schedule, market, or even plebeian usability concerns

    Most commercial software houses break these rules too. US flavored capitalism seeks to maximize profit, shorting anything else it can get away with.

    It's unfortunate that noone can seem to find middle ground.
  • This might have been valid when the stocks were going up up up.. not now. nowadays, you are more likely to find people looking for jobs (with all those busted dot-coms) and looking for apartments, and banging their heads about the traffic and rent rates and finally moving over to tracy or sacremento.
  • "all over the world" Absolutely. The revolution is in the process of going global. I live in an arsewipe developing country where the TOTAL bandwidth is about three T1's. But it's really great. Real life, clean air, 80,000sq miles of empty terrain. Okay, so I will not make more than 30k this year. But I have 20 species of birds living in the swamp opposite my house. And fine rum is two bucks a bottle. The Silicon Valley revolution is about money. What else makes people put up with high rents, crap air quality and traffic?! By 2003, 60% of online spending will be outside the US. Meantime - speaking of globalisation... An online supplier (okay, Egghead), from whom I have purchased before, refused my UK credit card last week because (and I quote) "we've upgraded our software". I hope the whiz-kids who wrote that upgrade all got stock options... Love from Guyana.
  • move to San Francisco for a web job, but after having a stint in Monterey I knew that no matter what the hype is about CA, they don't like outsiders.

    Give me sweet home Chicago anyday, even when it's 20 below!
  • One of my former co-workers, who left Phoenix early this year to move to San Francisco, came to visit today.

    He had borrowed (not rented!) a car to drive while
    visiting. He told us he had to leave his truck
    (very recently bought, still making payments!) because... he can't get parking.

    It's hard for me to even conceive of a residential
    situation that doesn't include parking space. This certainly rules out the project car, the trailer for the motorcycle, the jetski...

    I should mention that the price my former co-worker is paying for rent is about 4 times
    the mortgate payment on a 3 bedroom 2 bath house
    in Dallas.

    I think what's even more unbelievable is that despite the reality of the situation, people are
    *STILL* flocking there. The funny thing is, relatively few of them are making enough to save
    while living on a disposable income; much less becoming "dotcom billionaires."

    There has to be a reckoning sooner or later.

    What *really* scares me though, is the sheer numbers of people recently relocated to San Fran,
    since August 1989, if you get my drift.

  • California Street in Palo Alto (2 great Italian places) And a second vote for Castro Street in Mountain View lots of great food from all over the world.
  • Hey man i live here in Cali. and I don't want the damn valley YOU take it ! The place sucks, the rent is too damn high, and the people...well for the most part they are too damn arrogent.
  • About 500 years ago, a guy named Martin Luther got this crazy idea that it didn't matter how much you knew, or how much stuff you had - God loves us all the same. I can't tell you all the refugees I meet who upon having kids decided to move out of the valley. It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want my kids to grow up there.

    Linux was an operating system developed over the Internet and not from some corporate mecca. We've just entered a new century were it won't matter where you are, you can still be successful (even in Michigan :^)

    Sorry if I'm rambling - I'm writing this on a fever :^~

  • I made the move to Cupertino from Boston a little over two years ago. Here are my thoughts on Silicon Valley living:
    • This place is an environmental disaster. The air always smells like it is on fire; 365 days a year. Your lung capacity will drop precipitously as you hoover up buckets of PM10 and diesel exhaust while stuck in traffic on 280, 880 and 101.
    • The corporate culture, particularly the management culture, is far more relaxed and easy-going than on the East Coast. If you are a tech worker you had better know your shit, though, because your aptitude will be tested to the nth degree by the best tech minds around.
    • There is almost no real culture at all. San Jose is a dull, drab city. The Valley is basically a big strip mall sprinkled with office parks. Palo Alto (University Ave. near Stanford) is about the only decent place to spend an evening out.
    • You can't afford to buy a house here, and if you could, you would be a fucking idiot to pay these prices to live in a toxic strip mall.
    • There are huge amounts of money floating around. If you have half an idea and know a blow-dried marketing guy with some kind of pedigree you can get funded -- dot bomb or no dot bomb.
    • The weather is temperate and it sunny almost all the time, so you'll have a nice tan to go with your hacking cough.
    My advice to anyone making the move is to carefully save whatever you can after paying your ridiculous rent, nurture your stock options with TLC and get the fuck outta dodge before you get cancer.

    If Silicon Valley represents the future of America, not to mention the world, then we are all pretty much screwed.


  • I here there's lots of room in the middle of Kansas...

  • Repeat this, it won't seem so fake then.

    Our Father which art in Redmond,
    Hallowed be thy name,
    Thy Kingdom come, on Slashdot as it is in Redmond
    Give us this day our daily Bootup,
    And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Linux:
    For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for ever. Amen.

  • Yes, evil bill gates is in his cave working all the controls of the evil msft empire. Equate religion to an obsession, if its unaccepted then it's a cult. Otherwise its perfectly fine to be consumed.
  • There are plenty of affordable places in places like Harmony and Zelie....and still fairly close to the 'burgh. Growing fast though...

  • It's hard for me to even conceive of a residential situation that doesn't include parking space. This certainly rules out the project car, the trailer for the motorcycle, the jetski...

    It's the city man, of course there's no parking.

    If you want to live in a parking lot and have a three-car garage for your Ski-Doo, there's plenty of asphalt down in the Valley.

    Personally I like not having to hassle with a car.

  • If you think the food in SF better than in NYC, I can only see two options:

    1- You don't know NYC.
    2- You're insanely biased.
  • OK so ack! Expensive, boring weather, and small food. I am from the south, and I know that puts me about 3 rungs down on the respect ladder off the bat, so lets see I can climb back up a bit.

    I think I have a fairly good basis for comparison. I have worked in Georgia, Alabama, and California. I have lived in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mexico(not new mexico, but Mexico), Kansas, Iowa, and California. And the Silicon Valley is the simgle most expensive place I have ever been. I was watching the news last night, and I saw a story claiming that in 3 counties in the San Francisco Bay area (which contains the Silicon Valley), a single parent has to make approximately $25 and hour to get buy. Now that is just to get by, based on a minimal budget, not get Gap baby clothes, eat out, or little Armani suits for the kid, but get by. What bull. I was stylin in Atlanta for $22.50 an hour, I moved out here, now I make..well...more than that and I still find myself out of money every month. Here is a perfect example. On the news last night they also had a story about an 800 squar foot house which was put on the market at $600+ THOUSAND sold for only $500 THOUSAND. 800 square feet. That is like a Cracker Jack prize in the south. For example, my ex-roommate just bought a house north of Atlanta for around $250 thousand. Kind of pricey? It's a 2 1/2 story 5 bedroom house with thousands of square feet of space. So that is a little difference. Rent is also out of controle here. Mine is $2000 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment at 950 square feet, right next to the railroad, with no air conditioning, and that is a really good price. Check out [] for some prices of apartments in the North California SF Bay area, and figure out how much you would have to make to maintain your lifestyle in the bay area/Silicon Valley. Oh ya, and the food is small. Little expensive portions, and really bad service. Which I can understand, because if I was a waiter making crap pay with crap tips and paying $1000 a month to live with 3 other people, I would probably be a little bitchy too.
  • And for some reason, that isn't affecting connectivity in New Zealand that much. :-)
  • Must be a bitch to have no sense of taste.

  • One of the biggest problems in the Bay Area is that riches are pretty much random: two people might sign up for the same job within a few weeks of each other, one becomes an multimillionaire while the other's options become worthless.

    This has created a huge amount of discontentment among those that somehow failed to attain the riches of their neighbors. A lot of complaints are simply because of this reason. As an example, a number of people make the comment that rich people buy flashy cars. Actually, the reverse is true. I don't know of anybody with a car payment. Whereas elsewhere in the country people try to buy the most expensive cars possible as part of this dominance-games thing, people in Silicon Valley tend to buy relatively cheap cards. By that, I mean, they buy a BMW 535i for $50k rather than a Ferrari at $200k. It's just that when you are spending $2k/month on a 1-bedroom apartment, the BMW doesn't look all that expensive. It's just that other people who didn't luck into options will find that to be a "flashy" car.

    Nine out of every ten startups will fail, the tenth one will make you pretty rich. You can't know ahead of time which is which. If you want to come to the Bay Area, you've got lots of startups to choose from; they'll gladly hire you. However, if you will become bitter and unhappy because after ten years you still aren't fabulously wealthy, then you probably shouldn't come.

    Silicon Valley is no more different than any other high-tech area. It is a bit more concentrated, and a bit less structured, but there is no great religious experience awaiting anybody here. As they say in Star Wars: the only thing here is what you bring with you. Personally, I spend more time on the Internet than I do physically in the valley, so it makes little difference to me.

    In any case, these anthropologists remind me of JohnKatz: they can hear the words spoken by the geeks, but they cannot understand the meaning. They try to repeat the words, but it seems disjointed. They think that technology is a religion/politics/etc. when it isn't. However, technology gives you a view into the human condition that other's cannot see. (I.e. the voting problems in Florida are clearly a failure of technology and have nothing to do with "the will of the people" or the electoral college). Since other's cannot see this perspective, they think it is some religious fervor; it isn't.

  • > Wow, this is the first time I've seen a "Mod this up" comments scored higher than the comment it was referring to

    I'm surprised too. Probably won't survive metamoderation, though.

    If wonder if this will incite karma whores to include references to sed & other UNIX commands in their posts.

  • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @02:53PM (#611312) Homepage
    I haven't seen it, but there is an independent film called "I Want To Blow Up Silicon Valley" [] that attempts to capture the feeling of Bay Area locals being run out of their own town.

    The film shows a local perspective of the technology culture which has overwhelmed Northern California. Rob Logan returns to this place he grew up in to find an old flame. Instead, he finds a place he doesn't recognize quickly becoming a place he doesn't like. He decides he has to set up a "super highway" roadblock to disrupt this "progress" from being transmitted any further. The green hills overlooking the rapidly expanding concrete jungle of Silicon Valley were once the stomping grounds of hippies and Hell's Angels on Harleys. Now they are overrun by latte-drinking, keyboard tapping yuppies on their ten-speeds."

  • by ( 71379 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @02:54PM (#611315)
    I'm not having a hard time at all staying in the middle of michigan (despite all the snow we got today!)

    Well, no shit, Taco. You've got millions of SlashBucks(TM).
  • I wonder how much of the "internet revolution" is really centered around Silicon VAlley. Sure, there's an unlimited supply of companies, buzzwords and tech themes there, but most of what's really relevant seems to come from all over the world...
  • I saw it. It's got some flaws, (the plot to put everyone's computer out of business is pretty ridiculous) but I loved it. Like me, the filmmaker is a native who hates what's been done to the place by aliens. There's some emotion in the picture for sure.
  • by rossz ( 67331 ) <> on Monday November 20, 2000 @03:00PM (#611319) Homepage Journal
    I live and work in the Bay Area - though not actually in Silicon Valley, but my experience still fits the Valley experience.

    The Bay Area has the highest cost of living in the country, having surpassed Hawaii this year.

    Rent is too damn high. I pay more than $1600/month for a two bedroom apartment. I would love to live closer to The City, but I can't afford it unless I lived in a neighborhood that would be dangerous at night. No thanks.

    Don't bother driving. Can you say "parking lot". I made it a point to find a apartment near BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit - the train). My commute is 1 hour and 15 minutes or more. It costs $4.05 each way. That's $8.10 per day or $40.50 each week. Which averages about $175/month.

    If I drove in, my commute would be at least 2 hours each way, probably more. I would have to pay for parking. About $175 to $200 per month.

    Gas for the car is outrageous. I pay about $2.00 per gallon. When I heard on the news that the average gas price had gone up to $1.50, I could only dream of paying so little. Insurance is also overpriced - and required by law.

    I would love to buy a house, but don't see any chance of it happening here. The medium home price is half million dollars - that's right $500,000. Two blocks from my work are new condos that are starting at $700,000.00. I have no idea how many rooms that gets you. When we are ready to buy a house, we will probably move to another state (if I can find the right job).

    On the plus side: Great restaraunts, clubs, theaters. But don't try smoking inside of any building except a private home - not even bars.

    I love living here and my company is great, but I can't afford to work for them anymore. I either need to find a better paying job or move to another city.
  • The problem in Silicon Valley is that it's not dominated by techies, like it used to be. There are all those dot-commers who would be mall developers if that were the big thing. They think they're into high-tech because they know what Cisco part numbers to order and maybe can write CGI scripts in Perl. But they're not.

    That crowd is doomed. Hundreds of dot-coms, mostly the ones based on stupid business ideas, are tanking. I track these at Downside []. (Go ahead, click; I upgraded to "unlimited data transfer" hosting.) Once the IPO money runs out, they're dead.

    Now that running a web site is a mature technology, selling stuff online doesn't need dot-commers; it's just a routine business function ancillary to the main business. Yes, there are pure E-businesses, like Ebay, but there are very few that actually make money. Too many are selling each other banner ads.

    Once that crowd has gone under, or gone on to the Next Popular Thing, we can get back to designing really advanced stuff. But a big recession lies ahead. The whole dot-com sector is down by 1.7 trillion from its peak.

    The Internet bubble is an artifact of a change in SEC Rule 144. Rule 144 used used to prohibit insiders from selling stock for two years after an IPO, which was long enough to keep people from getting rich off dud ideas. In the early 1990s, that was changed to six months. Hype alone can keep a stock up for that long. This is a major driver behind the Internet bubble, which burst on April 14, 2000. []

  • Well. Let's see. It's been a few hours since the last medication. Hmmm...

    Well, I guess what I meant to say was that the salaries offered in various markets, such as Silicon Valley and Boston, look wonderful if you want to live in Orlando. But if you want to try to live on those salary offers in those specific locations, then you'll wind up living in the equivalent of a box.

    Or to put it another way: I live in a nice house (appx 3500 sq ft) on 1/3 of an acre in the general vicinity of Universal Studios. I paid $88K for the original house, then took out a second mortguage for another $25K to add three new rooms to the back. The house is appraised now for about $160K. Do you think I could find an equivalent house for the same money in Silicon Valley or anywhere near Boston? Do you think I could find a house that big in Silicon Valley? No, I didn't think so.

    So, it's fine where I'm at. I make a lot less, but I can afford a lot more. And I don't have to kill myself making a decent living.
  • Monterey doesn't exactly count as Silicon Valley. As a lifetime resident (well, I migrated all the way to Berkeley for school) of the valley, I've found that there are fewer and fewer folks from around here.

    That means there's less and less pressure from tradition, history, and family here. Lots of folks like that, and have made their own cultural enclaves here. One example: the park where I used to play baseball and basketball is now filled on the weekend with people playing cricket. I still don't understand it, but it's cool to watch.

    Another example is mentioned in the article: There's not much entrenched opposition to the gay lifestyle; in general, I'd say there's more pressure to be okay with it than to fight it.

    The climate here is great, but the air and water are both warmer as you move down the left coast.

    There's lots of diversions here, but relatively few incredibly strong cultural/entertainment draws. Short attention spans (outside work) and fickle tastes are de rigeur.

    The valley isn't a land of techno-religion, it's a land of techno-culture, agnostic towards everything else. There are plenty of non-technical folks here still, but between the crazy housing prices, increasingly ridiculous commutes, and the lack of another powerful appeal factor, tech is the surest common denominator.

    But I refuse to consider Dave & Buster's a church; it's a community center. Uh, oh...gotta recharge my card.

  • by kevinank ( 87560 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @03:05PM (#611325) Homepage

    I've lived in the SF Bay Area for 13 years now and I can very much agree that the '.com' crowd have had a negative impact on the region.

    Having multi-millionaires move in next door bragging about their stock options has had a somewhat unpleasant impact on my little street (we're normally a very neighborly crowd; summer block parties, etc, but that doesn't seem to mix well with niveau riche.) And the outrageous housing prices are almost intolerable for anyone who isn't already in a home.

    But it isn't all negative. Before the net gained its preeminent importance the valley was already a great place to work. There is a culture here that encourages people to move from job to job spreading technology and ideas much faster than would otherwise be possible.

    Rather than have to work 20 years on writing and maintaining a single project you are free to move around and find the projects that are most interesting to you, in the part of their life cycle that is most interesting. In 13 years I've worked on half a dozen projects myself, and I'm a relatively stationary person.

    And the projects themselves can be stunningly interesting. I was able to work with CORBA in its infancy, I've worked on distributed applications development from the time I moved out here, and got my first Internet account back in '88.

    The only real key to living here is to get a place out of the rat race where you can spend evenings and weekends without thinking about technology. The local music scene is excellent, the symphony is excellent, there are lots of museums, it is easy to get to the theatre for an evenings entertainment, and there are still affordable places to live if you are willing to be a bit adventurous.

    So maybe the sense of community is getting lost, and that is certainly a hard thing to rebuild, and something that frequently bothers me; but I wouldn't write us off just yet.

  • OK, flame on. I'm sick and tired of all of you newbies and space alien invaders complaining about the place, when in fact it's your act of moving there that's made it so miserable. I remember when there were orchards, open fields, and individual towns, not one big LA-style sprawl, and Dionne Warwick's song wasn't a joke. The smog was always bad though (it's a valley, geeks, and cars didn't have emissions control).

    So, to become part of the solution, go home to Madison or Madras or wherever you came from, and take your cars and condos with, thanks, and plant a plum tree on your way out. Flame off. Thanks for your kind attention...

  • by LHOOQtius_ov_Borg ( 73817 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @03:08PM (#611327)
    While I love the Bay Area (let take a moment to point out that San Francisco, not Silicon Valley, is the cultural and intellectual center of the region - the digerati of the Valley mostly live and almost all party in SF), and am in the eyes of many qualified to be a technocrat myself, I must say that this cheerleading and propagandizing for the leaders of the "technoculture" really does underline how irrational and cultish this supposedly rationalist society really is.

    This includes not only blindly uncritical social science theses (a bizarre reversal of the "noble savage" trend in favor of techno libertarianism as the guiding ideal of (unattainable) utopian perfection)... my irritation also extends to the followers of the cults of personality which have sprung up around people like Linus Torvalds and Bill Gates. For such a supposedly libertarian community, there certainly is an awful lot of idol worship in the Open Source and Internet worlds.

    By painting our culture with these mythological overtones we can conveniently cast issues, and ourselves, in unrealistic, broad strokes and self-congratulatory rants about our positions in the fights between good and evil - which are entertaining for /. postings but do little to achieve real dialogue.

    For the most part is irrational, and it is not wise for technologists to get into the habit of not rationally questioning their work. Cultish, unquestioning devotion to ideas (or technologies, or products) stifles creativity and innovation, and can promote lousy, even dangerous, ideas and technologies over reasonable and better alternatives. (Feel free to Microsoftie-bash here, but this is far from the only case...) It also promotes a culture in which those who do not uphold some status-quo are marginalized, and this can be seen increasingly in the "religious wars" about OSes, programming languages, browsers, even games...

    Rather than patting ourselves on the back about a new, irrational system of devotion, we should be wondering why we can't advance past these archaic notions of fundamentalism and how we can expect to trust ourselves with powerful new technologies when we can't shake old patterns of irrational behavior.

    Even the notion of promoting the techno "way of life" over all else is divisive, and promotes an attitude where all technology is unquestioningly considered "better" than whatever was before and anyone who dares question this is a "neo luddite"

    It is part of a familiar, and insidious, pattern of behavior which keeps the powerful entrenched, builds a separate status for a priesthood which can choose between doing the bidding of the leadership or being cast to the confused and "left behind" polity as sorcerers of evil intent... in short, it is no good for anyone, except maybe the very powerful and the very mercenary...

    There are lots of good things about the "techno revolution" but religious devotion to technobaubles, technocratic ideology, and various new party lines are not them... If you want to read a serious and interesting discussion of the subersive nature of the techno revolution and how it can be seen philosophically as a means to oppose entrenched power structures, I highly recommend the works of Andrew Feenberg []

  • I live here in the valley and I can say that I don't consider myself or the people that I know and work with to be these so called "techno-missionaries", or people who "seek a grander meaning to their jobs".

    The reality isn't anything so grand as they'd like to claim. I live in Santa Clara, CA and I have been living here for my entire life. I have spent signifigant time outside of the area, in different states as well as time in Europe (in Bath, england and Budapest, hungary). The best way to describe the SF bay area is to say thats its like the stock market, its very fast with big money, and very difficult for the little guy to survive for long. Its a great area to start out. This is a place where a nobody with nothing more than a High School diploma can land a job as a sr admin or a jr coder. I graduated at only 16 but still I had no formal higher education beyond a class at UC Berkeley that I dropped out of, and I was hired without even any inquiry into my school background. Opportunity is very abundant here. The tech field has alot of opportunity for obvious reasons, but so do the other areas because of the rising cost of living.

    Housing costs are insane, rents are even worse. The high cost of living is pushing the non-tech workers out of the area, forcing them to commute longer and longer to put in their daily 9 to 5. The backbone of our cities, the county employees, the public workers and store clerks are all abandoning the area because they can't afford nearby housing. My mother has been working for the Santa Clara county dept of revenue for over 15 years, she never owned a house here and now I have to help her to pay her rents just so she can stay near her job.

    Its not easy to live here. Companies are enticing workers from all over the world and offering to pay or compensate for relocation costs. This is making it next to impossible for average people to live here. My mother tells me that half of her dept. has left over the last 5-10 years because of cheaper prices elsewhere.

    I don't find any religious self-conscious epiphany from living or working here. I mostly spend my days trying to keep the company I am in afloat (which is thankfully easy due to our product!) and hoping that I don't have to search for a new job tomorrow. Its definately a cool place to live, for those who can manage it, but I wonder if it will remain such a tech-only place when all the non-tech workers have been forced out and have to commute for 3-4 hours to and from work..

  • > [if Gates = Satan, then Woz = heir-apparent to God ... ] the original Apple and Apple ][ encouraged a great deal of free software and home-brew computing.

    One of my most prized "holy items" from the early days is a copy of the Apple ][ Programmer's Reference, complete with schematics and a fully-commented disassembly of its ROM.

    If you're reading this, thanks, Woz. You rule.

  • by llywrch ( 9023 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @03:38PM (#611334) Homepage Journal
    You could run a sed script against this, & it would end up describing what has happened in Oregon over the last 2 decades. Probably Washington & Arizona too.

    This shock of drastic change seems to be common to too many Western USers. One farm I picked strawberries on is now a subdivision covered with tract mansions & I expect is full of newcomers who wonder (1) what happened to all of the native wildlife, & (2) why they can't find a decent plate of angelhair pasta at 2:00am.


  • Any culture that has elements based on faith will start to take on characteristics of religion.

    Given the various factions, as well as the extreme length of time to become a full "initiate" in your chosen area of expertise, the parallels grow.

    All one has to do is look at the Microsoft vs Linux/Unix battle. One Holy Church vs a group of dedicated Mystics. This keeps up, and it will start to vaguely start to sound like Dune.(Not that we need to act out that archetype ....)

    Given these parallels, people will tend tyo act out and act upon the patterns associated with religion in the context of religion. Not that they have to, but the stimulus response pattern is there. So it is easy to succumb to the hypnotic pattern.

    of course, if you know what is going on, you have a fighting chance to not fall into the trap.

    On the other hand, some like the view, and opt for bungie jumping into the abyss....[obscure joke][Prompted by the image of bungie jumping into a oversized bear trap]

  • I don't shovel snow.

    I basicly work on what I want.

    I get my computer stuff cheap and can fidn any computer part or book I want rigth aroudn the corner.

    I don't have to live in the south. (No offense to the Chapel hill guy, but I speant 2 years in Tallahasse FL and was happy to get north again.)

    In my mid 30s I make 6 figures plus all kinds of benefits, own two porperties and am worth (on paper) about 3/4 of a million dollars.

    If the people here could drive, I'd be pretty damn all around happy.

    Ofcourse, they can't drive in the Midwest, either.

  • More preceisely "Half a manifesto" in Dec 2000 Wired. (Doesn't seem to be online, but slashdot discussed it some months ago.) Jaron has several arguments against "cybernetic totalism", that is the ascribing too much to technological culture. This applies to deifying technological culture too.
  • by BrianH ( 13460 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @03:12PM (#611344)
    It's easy enough to understand why. I'm a California native brought up a stones throw from the SV and I can tell you that California has changed drastically in the last 20 years. California has long been seen as the land of "cool people", where everyone has a good tan and says "Dude" a lot. The reality is that up until the last two decades, the vast majority of the state (outside of LA and the Bay Area basin) was rural farmland and desolate, empty foothills. The economic growth here over the last 20 years has caused vast amounts of farmland to be built over in the name of "economic growth" (anyone else remember the cherry orchards around San Jose?), which pretty much destroyed the rural lifestyle enjoyed by much of the state. Some adapted to the growth, some even thrived on it, but a LOT of Californians packed up and moved elsewhere to find the slower paced rural lifestyles they were used to. Most of them ended up in Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and without realizing it, they created the exact same situation they were trying to flee. The locals in those states became resentful of the major influx of "those damned Californians", and the development explosion they brought with them, and aren't afraid to show their disdain.

    I still live in California because I'm a programmer and this is where the money is, but I can tell you that it isn't the same state I grew up in. When I move elsewhere after I retire, I will understand it if the locals don't like me (I'm thinking Alaska...I love the cold :)
  • "yuppies on their ten-speeds"? What, is this movie set in the '70s or something? Upright road bikes these days have anywhere from 14 to 18 gear ratios, and mountain bikes even more.

    Bottom line, hippies and Hell's Angels weren't economically productive. They were picturesque though. Anyway, I gotta go put on some nice stretchy lycra, I have to go out for an espresso machiatto now...

  • by Bernal KC ( 10943 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @03:13PM (#611347) Homepage
    From the article:
    "A University of Chicago graduate student presented a paper that likened the free software movement, epitomized by the widespread Linux operating system, to the guild system of craftsmen apprentices in the Middle Ages."
    That's the paper I've been waiting to read. I'm not sure if open source is like guilds as mush as it is like monastic work. Linux fanatics and Open Source apostles are often guilty of elevating their endeavors into a sort of religion. I've long believed that Open Source software development is akin to monastic pursuit of knowledge. It is done collectively, iteratively, without particular regard to temporal factors such as schedule, market, or even plebeian usability concerns. Their work is owned not by individuals, but by the church.

    Trappists make great beer -- because they've had centuries to perfect it, and the nature of beer is not changing. Likewise, the linux monks have made a great unix and over time it may become the ultimate unix -- assuming we will continue to need any unix. But I don't expect them to make the first great PDA, or make any other stunning technological breakthroughs. The monastic pursuit of knowledge has it limits

  • I probably shouldn't be telling any of you this, but there *is* affordable housing in the Bay Area. Not in SF, not in the peninsula, but in the East Bay, north of Hayward, you have San Leandro, Oakland and Berkeley, as well as Albany, Piedmont, all west of the 24 tunnel into Contra Costa. I pay US$640 for a rather spacious studio with nice old fixtures. BART is very accessible all over, the weather is nice, and there's culture everywhere (especially Oakland and Berkeley). Oakland is highly underrated, despite the reputation it has for being a rough town. When I left school, a lot of my classmates moved to San Francisco, but I opted out of that, mainly because I just can't get behind paying $2100 a month for a 12x15 closet in the Lower Haight.

    ------------------------------------------------ ---------
    I bent my wookie

  • I'm glad I got out of there and moved back home (still working for the same employer -- just telecommuting).

    Silicon Valley is the only place where your cab driver will ask you about a Sun E10k and your views of open source software.

    The valley is a good place if you're a high-tech money maker (eg, Venture Capitalist pig, head of Amazon or eBay or CEO of an industry leader).

    For those living on meager salaries of $100k or less -- it's a death trap.

  • I don't know about SV, but computers in general are. Think about it; you've got a priesthood of techno-literate people who dispense wisdom and justice to the common folk, and who's knowledge seems divinely inspired. Most common folk using computers involves the ritual offering of the CD, the invocation of the CD-Key followed by the ritual of the install program. People regard the computer itself as the magic box, praying for it's favour, (oh please work, please work, please work), thanking it when it blesses them, and curseing it when, in it's mysterious ways, it curses them. People also ascribe mystical powers to the magic box; it can change their DNA, evil doers can steal their credit card information from it, even if the CC info has never been put into the computer in any way shape or form, etc etc.
  • >>>but I can't afford it unless I lived in a neighborhood that would be dangerous at night

    there are no dangerous neighborhoods in SF. except for the one my company is located in, lovely Hunter's Point.

    don't believe the hype, lower haight, western addition, the tenderloin are all safe (unless you deal drugs).
  • You don't want to live in Alaska. Having lived there for all but ~4 months of my life, I can honestly say that it's a very, very, boring state to live in.

    Ah, but when I retire, that's exactly what I'll be looking for. I grew up in a quiet rural California that doesn't exist anymore, and I want to find that quiet again someday. Some people seem to think that an area isn't "liveable" if it doesn't have a sushi bar on every corner, a 14-screen multiplex every three blocks, and 19 million 7-11's. I grew up fly-fishing on the Feather River, packing into the Desolation Wilderness back when it lived up to its name, and spending hundreds of hours staring through my telescope into an ink-black sky. You can't do those things in California anymore, what with the water pollution, light pollution (the sky in both the SV and much of the Central Valley is dull orange at night), and what I kindly call "people pollution". Someday, I want the quiet again...even if I have to give up my T1 to get it :-)
  • so where do i sign up for the "Church of the Bleeding Edge & Open Source" do the collection plate funds go to the fsf?
  •'s just a bit harder to find.

    I've got relatives who do it, though. One aunt with a ranch out near Placerville, another with a few acres in Penryn. Neither of these are particularly wealthy people.

    I live in Chico. I don't know if there's any sushi bar here. There are a few theatres... I think one fairly big multiplex... but it's nothing like the Valley.

    There's plenty of California that's still unspoiled. You just need to know where to look.
  • Case in point: the slides before the movie are all want ads for tech jobs for pre-IPO companies. Dozens of them. Everything revolves around it.
    Indeed, "pre-IPO" is often splashed up there on those slides. But I've been noticing a lot more "local to your area - short commute" messages too. Either the stock market has taken its toll, or the traffic has.
  • The academics also hailed the Silicon Valley as the world's pre-eminent "technopole"--a "land of hyperbole and image" where lucrative jobs are more abundant than palm trees, and uninitiated technophiles make life-transforming "pilgrimages to a sacred center."
    Well, palm trees aren't native to this part of the world, so I should hope that jobs of any description are more abundant than they are here.

    The city of San Jose has been planting quite a few of the things (trees, not jobs) as part of it's downtown renewal project. They look stupid.

  • I'm not having a hard time at all staying in the middle of michigan (despite all the snow we got today!)

    I'm glad to hear someone with a higher profile than me saying something like this. I'm in Upstate New York, which Hillary called economically depressed during her campaign. Whether she was right or not, this is a nice place to live. Housing is affordable. My commute is typically about 20 minutes, and I can bike to work in decent weather. Yet I am far enough out that there are three farm stands between here and my son's daycare.

    With the net steadily eroding our sense of place, those jobs that don't require a physical presence are going to migrate. They will require reliable net access and the ability to communicate well with coworkers online. But they may no longer require addresses in Silicon Valley, Boston or RTP. The overwhelming question is whether they will require North American addresses either.
  • OK, ya bunch of luzing turists, it's time to come clean.

    If Silicon Valley isn't "mecca for geeks", I wanna know how many of you non-SV folks, when you came here for the first time - probably on a business trip or conference - didn't take a drive and get yer picture taken in front of the Nutscrape fountain.

    C'mon. I know you're out there. I'm not the only one who's done it, and I'm not the only one who's driven visiting friends to do it. So fess up.

    /me raises hand.

    (OK, I may be the only one dumb enough to admit it, but I know I'm not the only one who's done it.)

  • Yeah... alot of my ex-bosses seem to think they are Gods ... I didn't, and left.
  • by jonathanclark ( 29656 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @03:25PM (#611382) Homepage
    Having lived in San Jose (the self-proclaimed 'Silicon Valley') and San Francisco, I can say they are totally different.

    SF is compact with excellent public transport, a large number of people here are 20-30. Women are everywhere and it's common for me to have 2-3 different dates a week. Lots of gay guys makes the odds better for straight guys. :) Night life is incredible, dozens of very happening dance clubs, bars on every block. The big clubs stop at 5am or 7am, and clubs like the endup open at 7am so you can keep going for the whole weekend if you are immortal. Fashion is more up-scale. Young people here don't wear collars, striped shirts, sport coats, or ties (i.e. no NY style). Lots of leather skirts and 6" high heals for women. Both guys and gals wear pretty tight clothing so you better get in shape. The work scene is composed of a lot more smaller startups. You run into a lot of people. Cell phone coverage is excellent - I don't have a home or work phone and no one ever knows the difference. SF is more expensive than SJ for housing, but it's so worth it.

    SJ is more spread out. Almost no public transport. Most people are 30+. Perfect weather. A good place to raise a family, but a shitty place to be 20 something and single. There are a few nightclubs, but not compared to SF. In SJ everything shuts down at 2am and the only place to go is home. SJ has a lot of big mega-corps where you aren't very likely to meet someone new. Despite being "Silicon Valley" I couldn't DSL or cable modem access where I lived. Cell phone coverage is sporadic. Parking isn't that big of a problem, because the city is so spread out. Women? Pretty hard to find. I was luckily to have 1 new date a month there. Fashion is more "business-like" during the day. I.e. ties and suits, and at night. Fairly conservative stuff compared to SF. Lot more porches, Z3s, etc. It's a yuppie town.

  • The Cnet article says that one participant in the conference compared Open Source Software to the medieval trade guilds:
    "Participation in code writing is the apprenticeship in the guild," said E. Gabriela Coleman.
    I would say that OSS is closer to the Reformation (and this idea fits more closely with the 'religious' theme of the conference).

    Martin Luther said that we don't need no stinkin' priests to intervene between us and God (no offense to Catholics, but priests probably did not smell too good in those days:). RS, Linus, et al. basically said we don't need no stinkin' corporations to tell us how to code.

    The fact that the Reformation was made possible by a technological transformation (the printing press) reinforces the parallel -- the OSS movement was greatly accelerated by the internet.

  • With so many tech and service workers leaving the Bay Area, will it become a waste land in 10 years? At some point, people won't want to commute for 2-4 hours to a shitty service job, even if it pays well. The United States "outsources" much of its manual labor to the hyper-poor around the world. Will the same thing happen in the Bay Area?

  • mmmmmm.....Togo's I wish we had them out here on the East Coast. I miss their sandwiches SOOOOO much! Can't get a decent sub out here.
  • The only real key to living here is to get a place out of the rat race where you can spend evenings and weekends without thinking about technology. The local music scene is excellent, the symphony is excellent, there are lots of museums, it is easy to get to the theatre for an evenings entertainment, and there are still affordable places to live if you are willing to be a bit adventurous.

    Which Bay Area towns or neighborhoods do you recommend that are not outrageously expensive or unsafe? I live in Seattle, but can't stand another deep freeze winter. I plan to move to the Bay Area (possibly Berkeley?) or LA next year. btw, are there software jobs outside of downtown SF or San Jose?

  • I live in San Francisco. I just moved here about 3 months ago from Michigan. I live right in the city, in SoMa. My rent is $875 a month, which, although higher than most areas, is much cheaper then the $1600-$2000 range most people quoting. If you live in a trendy area, or look in the wrong places, you're going to get crazy prices. You just have to be persistant, and you will find cheap places. I love it here. I'm withing short walking distance of work, and I am close to some great food and entertainment. Like the bar, POW! Which is just down the street from me.

    It's a great place.. and yes the MBAs who are flooding here I want to kick in the face.. but there's lots of cool geeks too.

  • Having lived here for the last year, I'd have to vote Blowfish [] as the best sushi resturant around here :-)

  • by docwhat ( 3582 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @02:36PM (#611405) Homepage

    Having lived there for 4 years, I can say that they have the best sushi (The best sushi restraunt? Sushi Expo in San Jose where Hillsdale and Camden meet, a little north of I85).

    On the flipside, I can say the housing situation sucks. My apartment, while I worked at TurboLinux, was in Pacifica. It was a very cool town, just 10 minutes from San Fran. 25 minutes from Brisbane, where TL was. Right near the ocean, easy walk to a organic store where I could get the best veggies and fruits.

    However, it leaked like crazy all rainy season (winter) and cost about $2000/mo. and was a 2 bedroom 800+ sq/ft. apartment.

    I decided to move to San Antonio after leaving TL to work for RackSpace []. My apartment is now 1600sq/ft for only $800/mo.

    Double the space for half the price. :)

    Some data points for those who don't know:

    • A Housing survey when I left, 6 months ago said the average 1 bedroom apartment was $1700/mo.
    • Most apartments are rented, sight-unseen, within hours of their being put in papers.
    • If you make only $50k a year, you probably are homeless, in massive debt, or living with a large number of roommates, or some combination.


  • I really had a hard time reading beyond the first few paragraphs. To me, these theories of "technoculture" (at least they didn't call it "e-Culture", or "CyberCulture", or something equally loathsome) seem to contain vague hints of ESR's works on Hacker culture mixed in with a lot of anthropological psychobabble. I spend time in Silicon Valley when I can. It's a nice place. There's some good bars in Sunnyvale. Traffic is bad. Lots of people work with computers. Who cares about the rest of it, really? None of the people I know consider themselves to be part of any "a progressive force for global change". They're just geeks who found good jobs. They're not seeking "legitimacy of membership", they just love to code, and they love it when people can use their work...
    All I know is that sometimes I'm glad I work at a .edu.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead