[via Apres Garde]
SF Gate reports:
For Brandon Barlow, life as a Google bus driver was one endless cycle of traffic and exhaust.
He left home before dawn and arrived home late, after long hours spent shuttling Google employees back and forth on Highway 101. And Barlow wasn’t paid for the hours he had to wait around near Google headquarters in Mountain View before making the return run to San Francisco. That was the worst part of the job.
“They make everything convenient for Googlers, but they don’t make anything convenient for drivers,” Barlow said recently, exasperated. “There are so many fatigued tech shuttle drivers out there.”
If Silicon Valley shuttle buses are the physical symbols of San Francisco’s tech boom-fueled friction, then drivers like Barlow find themselves in an odd place: Bus drivers have benefited from the boom, but many feel exploited by those who have profited the most from it.
Such workers are tenuously employed with few job protections. Drivers like Barlow don’t even work for Google — they are employees of third-party contractors who typically receive low wages and often paltry benefits. Some drivers have also questioned the legality of practices employed by those contractors, such as requiring drivers to work split shifts in which they spend unpaid hours waiting for the afternoon leg of the commute.
Read on for lots more.
I mean, this is in Berkeley, so…
SFist tells us about the startup that’s making it happen:
QuiQui (as in “quickie,” not “let’s have a Kiki”) is apparently a real thing and not a clever parody of the Internet like the mythological tacocopter. QuiQui promises to deliver small drugstore items to the door of your Mission District (of course) apartment in 15 minutes or less for a mere $1 per delivery fee. Tellingly, the company’s FAQ section lists their closest competitors as Uber and Postmates, which are not exactly direct competition but they all fit the category of “on-demand luxuries.”
The system works like every other smartphone-summoned, on-demand service, but with an airdropped spin: You pull up the app, drop a pin and the order heads your way. To avoid rotor wash and terrorizing small dogs, the drones maintain a minimum altitude of 20 feet, and you’ll actually have to catch your new toothbrush as it falls from the sky.
Coming this July. Read on.
Guys. I was reading the excerpt from Nick Bilton’s forthcoming book about how Twitter was started in The New York Times and I realized something. I might have invented Twitter. I mean, I know I didn’t, but look at these pages that I blogged about a few years ago, it’s almost eerie. I explained my process in my previous post:
A long time ago in this very land (sometime in 2003) I sat alone in my living room, looking out the window onto Guerrero Street and wondered how I could connect with the people of the neighborhood, hear their thoughts, start a dialogue, without having to actually leave my house and face people in real life. Yes, it sounds sad and lonely. Whatever. The point is, I didn’t know about hyperlocal blogs or anything, so I made do with what I had. Which, apparently, wasn’t much. I figured I’d have to do some fishing.
One morning I tied a piece of paper onto a length of fishing line, attached a pen at the end and lowered them both out the window. I left my house for the day and when I came home that night I reeled the paper in (pen gone).
GOOD MORNING. (if evening, please reverse)
GOOD EVENING (if morning please reverse)
I mean, the bland prompt, time stamp, emoticons, timeline, it’s kinda weird. Before you jump all over me and explain why I didn’t invent Twitter or even Facebook, I know. But, maybe it demonstrates why something like that was ready to take off, that we were all ready to begin communicating in this specific manner. I guess I won’t sue. It’s not my style. And all I did was hang a piece of paper out the window. I guess I could have tried a little harder.
Or is he . . . ? He deleted this tweet shortly after he tweeted it. Maybe because it could be seen as criticizing Twitter on Twitter? Maybe because he would seem hypocritical to be concerned about San Francisco’s shifting demographics? Who knows, maybe he was hacked. Maybe he meant it in a positive way, that the Twitter IPO could finally clear out any remaining undesirables. Wait, wait, maybe I’m being too harsh on ol’ Newsom. It was just an ellipsis with an extra dot. Who can know what meaning lay beneath that fourth little dot . . . . ?