Tech + Gadgets
Somebody recently asked me, "So, when you were a kid, and you were playing with trucks and cars in the sandbox, were you parallel parking all of your hotwheels?" I told her that I have memories of controlled vehicle chaos in the sandbox like other kids...but with an occasional explosion to give the Tonka ambulance and fire-truck something to do. So upon reflection, even then, I was afflicted with the childhood version of parking anxiety, and intermittent explosive disorder.
Sooner or later, almost everyone has to deal with finding a plumber, a carpenter, or a housecleaner to help deal with some issue around the place we call home.
The question is what can information technology do to help make this process more efficient?
If you go to Google today, you'll notice that its logo has been blacked out.
If you go to Wikipedia, you'll see a headline that reads "Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge," followed by the following text:
"For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia."
The reason for these actions by Google, Wikipedia, and other major web-based companies is a pair of bills currently being considered by both houses of the U.S. Congress. They are best-known by their acronyms, SOPA and PIPA.
As we figure out how to meet more and more of our offline needs in online marketplaces, one key issue always arises -- trust. How do we know we can trust the people we meet online?
And if this is an issue with sharing or exchanging things, like our apartments (Airbnb), cars (Getaround), and services (Zaarly), it's even more the case with the decisions about which people will take care of our kids.
San Francisco-based UrbanSitter has emerged over the past six months to help parents and babysitters meet up. It starts with Facebook Connect.
While it’s true that anyone can be a publisher in the Internet Age, it’s also true that the most commonly used tools aren’t for everyone.
I recently noticed on Facebook that my ex-husband has removed pictures he previously posted of the two of us and un-tagged himself from photos posted by others where I’m also in the shot. It’s certainly his right to do this, but emotionally it struck me as something out of 1984’s Ministry of Truth, where records of an inconvenient past were stuffed down a memory hole and a new narrative created to replace it. Why do people feel the need to erase a past they were once so proud of? BTW, We were together for 14 years, had an amicable divorce and are still friendly.
For most of us, cooking meals would be easier if we had better tools for using whatever ingredients we happen to have on hand.
Finding the time to get to a well-stocked grocery store isn’t always easy, and -- as anyone who’s tried to follow an elaborate recipe can attest -- locating the exact ingredients in the precise amounts called for isn’t always possible, either.
All over the Bay Area, particularly in San Francisco, thousands of startups are developing innovative products and services that collectively promise to transform the way we live our lives going forward.
San Francisco is a hotbed for technology. But technology is sizzling at CRAVE, a luxury pleasure start-up assembling sensual products for women in SOMA. Led by two product designers combining smart design with quality and environmentally aware materials and manufacturing practices, CRAVE is upgrading sexy time. As co-founder and lead designer, Ti Chang, puts it "If anything deserves good design, it's the things we bring to bed with us."
It may not seem all that sexy, but much of the most significant innovation in digital technology is devoted to helping us get things done more efficiently.
Here are eight local startups that are leading the way in that regard as we enter the new year: