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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Millennial Problems: Most Pokemon-Obsessed City Is NOT S.F.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 9:45 AM

The Lafayette Building in Detroit - WIKIMEDIA
  • Wikimedia
  • The Lafayette Building in Detroit

We stumbled upon something this week that has us utterly flummoxed. How, for the love of all things Squirtle, did San Francisco only register eighth on a list of Top 10 Cities Most Interested in Pokemon Go?!

Well, millennial friends, it certainly did. By the grace of Metapod, the good folks at Internet Service Partners used Google Trends to determine which states and cities are most obsessed with the mobile phenomenon that has led to, among many hard-to-believe stories, an outright ban in Iran, a new provision in New York preventing paroled sex offenders from playing the game, and the shooting death of a man in San Francisco.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

S.F. Renters Partying Like It’s 2009

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 12:00 PM

  • torbakhopper/flickr
If you’re currently trying to rent an apartment in San Francisco, this news might make you laugh: The market is cooling so much that landlords are offering generous perks for signing a lease.

But to anyone considering a 400-square-foot studio for several thousand a month, the idea that things are getting better for tenants is comical. But apparently it’s true, according to Yahoo Finance, which proclaims that incentives for potential tenants are at levels not seen since the days of the Great Recession. The catch is, of course, these landlords seem more interested in renting to tech workers than, say, people who don’t work in tech.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

John McAfee Brings Guns to Bitcoin Fight in SF

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 12:15 PM

In Scott McKenzie’s famous song about this famous city, he tells visitors they’re “gonna meet some gentle people” in San Francisco. Apparently John McAfee doesn’t believe him - and if he’d written the song, he probably would’ve sang something like, “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to pack a few glocks in your suitcase”

In case you’re wondering, yes, we’re talking about that John McAfee. He’s the same John McAfee who lives this life and is going to do this starting tomorrow. And if you breeze through a few of those stories, you will come to find out that John McAfee doesn’t give a fuck, is still filthy rich, probably lost his marbles years ago despite still being quite brilliant, and prefers the company of firearms to blondes.

And when he’s going to San Francisco, he doesn’t mess around:

Tweeted this morning (he also pinned the tweet, showing he means business), presumably at an airport awaiting takeoff to SFO, McAfee captioned the photo thusly: “Heading to d10e in San Francisco. Bitcoin techies are dangerous folks. Can't be too safe.”

Hahaha, that John McAfee! He’s such a card, that one. Bringing guns on an airplane, to a tech conference, in San Francisco. Surely you jest. (Don’t forget which John McAfee we’re talking about.)

For those who don’t know, d10e takes place tomorrow and Wednesday. This is the fifth time it’s happened, and the conference is meant to “showcase the latest in fintech and disruptive, decentralizing technology,” like bitcoin, according to a press release. Sounds pretty boring.

So, perhaps to liven it up a bit, organizers went the extra mile. The conference will be streamed in virtual reality, which makes no sense to us, but oh well. And they got a brand name (literally!) in McAfee to speak, or shoot bullets at people. Or maybe in the air. We don’t know, they don’t know, only McAfee knows. Be warned. 
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Uber Killing Jobs in SF By Hiring Robots

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 2:05 PM

  • Knightscope

Why pay an able-bodied human to do a job when there’s a perfectly good robot available? And if that robot costs a fraction of what you’d pay the human, all the investors and shareholders will be ecstatic. Cha-ching!

Uber, everyone’s favorite modern taxi service, is using a robot to patrol its vehicle inspection lot in Mission Bay, according to Fusion. Instead of paying a security guard $15 or so an hour, and only having that person work eight hours before overtime kicks in or their shift ends, this little egg-shaped robot needs no lunch breaks or time off — and costs a mere $7 an hour. That’s what Uber pays Knightscope, the company that created the robot, for the privilege of downsizing the city’s workforce.

“For the cost of a single-shift security guard, you get a machine that will patrol for 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Stacy Stephens, Knightscope’s vice president of marketing, told Fusion, adding that two security companies are also leasing the robots.

The robot also won’t call in sick, won’t complain about working conditions, won’t ask for time off for the birth of a child, won’t ask for a raise, and won’t have an opinion that’s different from yours. Essentially, the robot won’t let “life” get in the way of Uber’s unbridled pursuit of wealth and power. That’s simply too enticing for a company like Uber.

Remember, Uber is the company that undervalues its driver “partners” and wants driverless cars to replace real drivers so it can make more money. Uber is also the company that boasts of how lucrative and freeing a driving gig can be when in reality it’s just another low-wage job.

Robots are slowly but surely taking over society. Who knows how many lawmakers and heads of industry are actually robots. Imagine robot teachers. We know robots are about to take over the fast-food business, at least in San Francisco, so it’s only a matter of time before we’re all unemployed and fighting against the machines. Good luck, fellow humans.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Big Day For Airbnb: Sues City, Seeks Funding at $30 Billion

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 2:39 PM

One way to announce to someone you're suing. - AIRBNBACTION
  • Airbnbaction
  • One way to announce to someone you're suing.

Airbnb is all growed up. The San Francisco-based company — which was a literal air mattress in its co-founders' apartment just a few years ago — is now an international juggernaut offering hotel alternatives in 200 countries (where in at least a few places it's also blamed for exacerbating housing shortages).

The company is currently seeking funding based on a valuation of $30 billion, according to the New York Times, and may even turn a profit (!) as soon as later this year (!!). What might help its profitability? Not having to pay San Francisco $1,000 a day for every illegal listing it offers.

To that end, Airbnb is suing its hometown. In a lawsuit filed Monday, Airbnb is asking a federal judge, as the Times observed, to not enforce a law regulating Airbnb units that Airbnb had a hand in creating.

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S.F. Voters Could Tax Twitter, Other Tech Companies

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 2:13 PM

  • Davide D'Amico/Flickr
Voters in November will have the chance to declare their love, or lack thereof, for the tech industry – often labeled the sole source of the death of the city’s soul.

Supervisor Eric Mar, with the support of colleague Aaron Peskin, is expected to introduce a ballot measure today at the Board of Supervisors that would, essentially, bring back a tax eliminated by the city five years ago, according to the SF Examiner.

The Fair Share – Homeless and Housing Impact Tech Tax would generate some $120 million a year by imposing a 1.5 percent tax on tech company payrolls. (Recall that the city's controversial "Twitter tax break" was an exemption on the payroll tax available to firms who relocated to Mid-Market, before the city did away with payroll taxes altogether).

And that’s where things get sticky.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Millennial Problems: A Mystery Inside an Enigma

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 1:05 PM

click image GIPHY
  • Giphy

Millennials can be a study in a lot of things, but maybe none better than contradictions. The world’s most annoying generation thinks the best places to live in the U.S. are New York City and San Francisco, yet their top priorities for their home city are a healthy economy and rent and housing prices that aren’t too damn high.

That’s according to these easy-to-browse survey results from Abodo, some apartment listings site we’d never heard of (probably because we can’t afford to ever rent another apartment in the Bay Area).

Abodo contacted 2,000 people born between 1982 and 1998 to compile these results. It offers no plus-minus on the outcome (rookie move), but the results are still oodles of fun. Especially the contradictions.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Airbnb Wants You To Fight For Airbnb-Friendly Regulations

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 11:27 AM

  • Airbnb action

We still can’t believe Kyrie Irving made that shot last night and the Warriors are the best-ever second place NBA team. But what we can believe is that Airbnb is going full-court press to stop San Francisco from making its business in the city miserable.

Famously, Airbnb's home city has proved incapable of making Airbnb follow simple rules. There are thousands of available Airbnb listings that are not complying with the city's very modest rules, requiring hosts to register with the city and putting a limit on the number of nights a valuable housing unit can be used as a tourist hotel. But with the city's Board of Supervisors taking a no-nonsense turn and preparing to fine Airbnb $1,000 a day for every scofflaw listing, Airbnb is turning for help... to its hosts. 

Using its host-led activism arm Airbnb Action — which originally launched in early June 2014 to combat New York City’s crackdown at the time on the short-term rental service — the company is clearly in attack mode following the Board of Supervisors’ unanimous decision to make it play by the rules. But so far, as TechCrunch points out, it has not gone for the jugular.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Another "Uber For Kids" Coming to S.F.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 12:43 PM

  • Screenshot/HopSkipDrive
Just months after an “Uber for kids” startup called Shuddle shuttered, another one is revving up its service in San Francisco. It could be a losing bet for a number of reasons.

HopSkipDrive sees its service working in a city notorious for having more pet dogs in households than children, and a public transit system widely used by youngsters. At first glance, it’s hard to see the difference between HopSkipDrive and Shuddle, which begs the question of why one would thrive over the other — not to mention the fact that there is another player in the game locally called Zum. But there is a key difference between the three ventures: money.

HopSkipDrive has venture capital backing. Zum does not, and Shuddle’s dried up and it could not attract more. Forbes surmised that Shuddle’s downfall might have been due to a lack of demand or lack of further interest from venture capitalists. It could also be that this kind of market is just too small.

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Millennial Problems: Zuckerberg vs. Seinfeld

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 7:00 AM

  • Screengrab
When you run the world’s most popular social media platform, it would stand to reason that you’re pretty good at communicating. Like, you understand social cues, dead space, self-deprecation, making others comfortable, yadda yadda yadda.

Only, what if that’s not the case? What if your life is ruled so much by emoticons, thumbs up, shares, and the endless roll of comments that you’ve completely forgotten how to just be?

For Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, it would appear nothing comes easy — especially when you’re trying to do everything with a broken arm and no one believes you.

The millennial and Mission District mansion-owner — who at least some of the time commutes outside the city for work, when he's not staying at his Palo Alto compound — invited old man comedian Jerry Seinfeld to Facebook headquarters Tuesday for the company’s very first live Q&A.

Mostly dull, the video is quite long at an hour. But right off the bat, we get some useful info: Zuck says he’s not one of the lizard people. (We don’t blame you if you’re still not convinced.) But after that reveal, just skip to about the 43-minute mark.

That’s when Seinfeld “arrives.”

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"