Archive for the ‘Silicon Valley’ Category

Ghost Towns in the Silicon Valley

Most people image ghost towns being located in dusty, arid regions of the United States, however, there are a handful located in the South Bay. While some of these aren’t easily accessible, I’ve found it to be an excuse to spend a couple hours outdoors and do some other exploring. Here are some highlights:

  • New Almaden – This is the only truly accessible ghost town located in the Silicon Valley. Located on Almaden Road, this was the biggest source of mercury used to extract gold from ore during the Gold Rush. A small museum located at Casa Grande will teach you more about the area, and the role New Almaden played during the Gold Rush.
  • Holy City – There’s not much left of Holy City other than the Holy City Art Glass Workshop and a handful of structures and walls of old buildings. Founded by cult-leader William Riker in 1919, Holy City was situated on old 17. Today, only the old post office stands, which serves as the Holy City Art Glass Workshop. You can get there be following San Jose-Soquel Road.
  • Lexington and Alma – Now located under the waters of the Lexington Reservoir, these two towns were also located along old 17. These were important rail stops when the logging industry was going strong in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Recently, Lexington was last seen when the reservoir was drained for maintenance in 2009.
  • Drawbridge – Formerly the home of drawbridge operators that operated Southern Pacific Railroad’s draw bridges crossing Mud Creek Slough and Coyote Creek Slough, it later became the home of speakeasies and brothels during the prohibition. Unfortunately, to the town is now restricted, however a display about the ghost town is available at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Facebook 7.07 Visits – Google 7.03 Visits

Facebook 1601 California Ave. Palo Alto, Ca.

Last week (ending on March 13) Facebook had more visits than Google.

Charisma: A Mike Gold Mystery

We were first introduced to Mike Gold, a successful Silicon Valley software entrepreneur in Opium, a Phil Bookman novel.

Charisma: A Mike Gold Mystery finds Mike working on his latest challenge. As the newly hired CEO of a biotech company he must first tackle the technology, and then take the company public. After the drama Mike went through in Opium: A Mike Gold Mystery, this should be a piece of cake. But once again, his life takes a surprising turn. Mike’s friend, and that of a loved one, will soon be in danger.

Charisma: A Mike Gold Mystery by, Phil Bookman on Amazon

Attacking The Crown Jewels : How To Protect Your Business Strategy Against Competitive Threats. (Nonfiction) by, Phil Bookman

From My Yoga Mat to The Movie Maverick

I was on my yoga mat this morning at 24hr, trying to focus on my breathing in savasana (or corpse pose, the much anticipated final super-duper relaxing pose of any yoga class). Usually my mind wanders off into space and I feel pretty floaty, but today it just kept going back to Tuesday night at Cinequest.

While I didn’t see any movies that night, I did have the pleasure and privilege to see the one, the only, a man perhaps referred to as The King of Ayurveda; Dr. Deepak Chopra.

Cinequest 2010 brought Chopra to San Jose’s California Theater to present him with their Life of a Maverick Award. The audience, filling the seats, were first (after some rather embarrassing sound issues) treated to a showcase of Bikram yoga. Luckily they didn’t turn up the heat in the theater to match the 90 degrees of Bikram Yoga San Jose, and we were simply reminded of the beauty and power of yoga.

Chopra discussed many abstract topics, touching on the cosmos and atoms to the conscious and the soul. A favorite moment of the night was near the end where he went into the audience to answer questions. I knew what he was talking about for most of it, at least sort of. Others in the audience either seemed perplexed or completely enthralled. Either way, the general feeling was that of respect and positivity.

Dr. Deepak Chopra transformed his own life and then helped to do the same to millions others. I left feeling inspired, as I assume the filmmakers did as well, to turn the balance you can find in life into a conscience piece of art. Get more info below, I’m off to give my yoga some much needed focus.

Bikram Yoga San Jose

Deepak Chopra

– tonight’s the last night, go check it out!

Real Revolutionaries at Cinequest

Real revolutionaries

For nerds like me, the highlight of Cinequest is likely to be the premiere presentation of a new documentary about the origins of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley. The Real Revolutionaries tells the story of William Shockley, Robert Noyce, and the “Fairchild Eight” or “Traitorous Eight”. Shockley was a genius physicist who later became known for what can safely be called crackpot theories about race and intelligence. Noyce was one of eight physicists and engineers Shockley hired when forming the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, who later quit en masse to form Fairchild Semiconductor. Noyce and Gordon Moore later left Fairchild to start Intel, and others of the Fairchild Eight also went on to found a host of “Fairchildren”, companies with roots at Fairchild.

The film did a good job of covering these events, and included interviews with several of the personalities involved, as well as with Robert Noyce’s widow, and Syl Jones, the African-American journalist for Playboy who interviewed Shockley in 1980 about his race theories. The filmmakers also tried to spice it up with animated segments describing the technology involved. The animations were perhaps too cute for my taste, and the technological explanations were quite superficial given the amount of time taken to present them. But the historical information made the film overall an interesting 90 minutes, and the photos and film of Silicon Valley in the ’50’s and ’60’s were fascinating.

After last night’s screening there was a panel discussion led by NBC 11 reporter Scott Budman (far left, above). Panelists included Federico Faggin, third from left, who lead the design of Intel’s, and the world’s, first microprocessor; and Julius Blank, second from right, one of the actual Fairchild Eight.

The Real Revolutionaries will be screened again Saturday, February 27, at 7 pm at the California Theater.

This’ll get people talking

A new, extra smart-alecky, theory on the origins of Silicon Valley’s success in all things “tech”: “The lack of single women in the Silicon Valley has a huge effect on what men do in the free time…”

I Am T•Pain


Mark Thompson, local South Bay renaissance man, is a bestselling author, speaker, and an advisor to world leaders. All very impressive, but I was blown away when he told me that he was with Smule, and the cool I Am T•Pain – one of the top iPnone Apps of 2009.

I Am T•Pain is on my iPhone – my songs are hilarious attempts. This App will draw attention at an office party, a family gathering, or a New Year’s Eve party.

Smule – I Am T•Pain and other cool products.

Mark Thompson

SuccessMatters on twitter

Success Built to Last

Success Built to LastThe Book

San Jose: Starbucks Card Mobile App


Yes, here in Silicon Valley (and Seattle) there’s an app for that.

Starbucks is testing an iPhone/iPod touch app in San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale, CA. Why here? Because we are cool, or it may be because Apple is here.

My Starbucks Card app was free. It was easy to load my account with my major credit card. I can check my balance, and view my transaction history, etc.

There is a drink and food menu – with cute little pictures. I love it, but the app is only good to use in selected stores.

There is one in San Jose, one in Cupertino (not far from 1 Infinite Loop), one in Sunnyvale, and five (!) in Mountain View. There is even a Starbucks listed for Castro High School. Do they drink more coffee in Mountain View?

There is a place on the app to let Starbucks know what we think. I wish my favorite store (14801 Los Gatos Blvd) was participating.

My iPhone is always with me, and now so is my Starbucks card!

20520 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014
5180 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95129
1037-C El Monte Ave., Mountain View, CA 94040
1380 Pear Ave., Mountain View, CA 94043
Castro @ High School: 750 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041
809A Cuesta Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94040
2410 Charleston Ave., Mountain View, CA 94043
1687 Hollenbeck Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94087

The Tech Awards 2009 Gala & Al Gore

Al Gore: Global Humanitarian Award

Al Gore: Global Humanitarian Award

This year 15 Laureates, who were selected from 650 world wide nominations, are vying for recognition. Laureates in five categories: environment, economic development, education, equality, and health will be rewarded for their efforts to improve lives around the world. One Laureate in each category will receive a $50,000 cash prize.

“The global challenges of the day have become increasingly strident, more deeply rooted,” said Peter Friess, president of The Tech Museum. “Still, there is hope. These incredibly impressive Laureates have all proven to be equal to, or better than, the challenge to make the world a better place.”

To make the evening even more special, this year’s recipient of The Global Humanitarian Award is Al Gore.

“With all that is going on in the United States it is easy to forget that much of the world is still without power, lighting and access to quality, or sometimes to any, health care and education.” said Mike Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials. “This year’s laureates remind us that through creativity, entrepreneurship and determination, individuals and small groups can have a powerful impact and bring innovative solutions to the world’s most immediate problems. We salute all of The Tech Awards Laureates for their amazing work to benefit humanity and thank Vice President Gore for his tireless work to inspire action to save the planet.”

The Tech Awards Gala: Information & Tickets (buy now – tickets are going fast)

Thursday, November 19, 2009
6:00 p.m. Reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner
San Jose McEnery Convention Center
150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, California, 95113

Thrill the World 2009

Thrill The WorldThere’s this little music video by Michael Jackson called “Thriller” – anyone heard of it?

Right. I know. You might be tired of hearing about all things Michael Jackson – but tough it out for one more. This one is a bit different. I promise.

Thrill The World is an “annual worldwide simultaneous dance of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.'” Annual – meaning it’s not something that just came up within the last few weeks. Matter of fact, they’ve been doing this since 2006 when 62 people danced and the first Guinness World Record was set for “Largest Thriller Dance”. The following year, 1,722 people in 52 cities danced Thriller at the exact same time, again breaking records. Last year that number went up to 4,179.

No doubt, this year may be the biggest number yet.

Luckily for us in San Jose, Grave Mistake will be putting together the workshops for San Jose/Silicon Valley dwellers to participate in the event. Learn the dance, some costume design, and makeup techniques.

Local time of the worldwide event will be Saturday, October 24th at 5:30pm PDT. Until then, join others in learning the steps at the first dance workshop on Sunday, August 2nd at 11:00am at John Mise Park in San Jose.

If it sound interesting to you, head on over to Grave Mistake and register!

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