Mission-based Boombotix makes portable speaker systems ideal for summer fun

Boombotix (whose little garage I’m sure you’ve passed a bunch of times on 23rd) gave us a Boombot a couple weeks ago and we’ve been testing it out. It makes a pretty big sound for its negligible size, so it’s lovely if you’re lazing on a deserted riverbank or blogging in the hammock out back and dying to pump up some jams. (Also, they don’t look super high-tech, so you worry less that it’ll be stolen if you leave it onshore when you go for a dip.)

They have a wireless version too, but I like the wired version plenty. And they both come in a variety of looks.

Plus, right now they’re giving away a Boombot AND tickets to the Treasure Island Music Festival!

Gramophonify your iPhone

Artist Lawrence LaBianca fabricates these beauties in his studio right here in the Mission, and he’s got a Kickstarter campaign up and running (it’s met its goal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still pledge and get in on the perks):

I discovered that a sound projected through a horn can create a sound environment. One can use the phone and have an intimate experience with sound while not overpowering the surrounding area. Imagine sitting at ones desk and wanting to listen to some music, while someone else within earshot is not disturbed.

Last, The idea of plugged in and unplugged at the same time is of interest to me. Plugged into technology with the iPhone. With a nod to the past and the beauty of pure form and visible function as in the Victrola. A perfect marriage of craft and technology.

Read on.

Kids in the park playing with an iPad instead of the playground or each other

Live in fear of germs, yuppie.

Zoltar machine debuts at Alley Cat Books on 24th Street

Alley Cat’s Dan Weiss hips us to the news (via an email titled “I wish I was big”):

Here he is, ZOLTAR in his new home in the gallery at alley cat books on 24th @treat. We have big plans for him that may or may not involve giving book recommendations, for now though he’s in basic fortune-telling mode. Incidentally we are also looking for suggestions for a name for our gallery and offering 50 dollar gift certificates to the best three ideas (Alleycatbookssf@gmail.com)

Thanks, Dan!

Local comedian’s brush with Facebook wealth

Local comedian Emily Heller, on the occasion of Facebook’s IPO, shares the tale of her brush with Facebook wealth. She’d grown up with a lot of kids who went on to bigger and better things (at Facebook):

When I was on the debate team in high school, there was a kid on my team named Justin. He was a couple years older than me, and he was a genius. He used to teach an elective physics class to the other smarty pantses who were too smart for the physics classes that the TEACHERS at our school offered. I, meanwhile, didn’t even take science senior year, opting instead for three history classes, a poetry class, and remedial math.

One day, Justin and I were talking about the future. I knew he was going places; places I would never go; places that had lots of money in them. I asked him what his plan was, and here’s what he told me:

“I’m going to graduate from Stanford in two years. Then, I’ll do grad school in a year. Then I’m going to find some way to make millions of dollars very quickly. Then, when I’m twenty-five, I’m going to retire.”

Read on for the dramatic conclusion, which takes place out front of an SF warehouse party.

Let’s talk about ‘Asian Butthole’

You know — for your Kindle!

(I guess this is some kind of hilarious new comic strip in the Bay Guardian? I didn’t try going to the URL because it couldn’t possibly be a real thing, right? Funny though. Well done, Bay Guardian!)

[via Idiot Tempers]

There’s something fishy about this new iPhone ad set in the Mission

Our pal Eli Horowitz, co-author of the renowned ping pong tome Everything You Know Is Pong, spotted something curious on the back cover of his New Yorker the other day:

Hello Allan.  I have a (non-pong-related) tip for you — almost entirely irrelevant, but it’s Mission-centric and has been on my mind. Have you seen this new iPhone ad set in the Mission?  It’s on the back cover of the New Yorker and Rolling Stone and probably elsewhere.  It says “I could use a latte” and then has a photo of the phone, which shows four listings: Ritual, .1 miles; La Taza, .3 miles, Starbucks (at Mariposa), .4 miles, Grand Coffee, .7 miles.”  So first of all, ha ha, that’s mildly interesting.  But then I was wondering where this phone-holder was standing, and I guessed 21st and Valencia — which might work for Ritual and La Taza, but .7 miles to Grand?  And then I realized there’s NO spot that fits all the data, and so Apple must have messed with the distances — maybe in order to include Starbucks on the list?!  Isn’t that interesting?!?!  No, not really, but still.  Citizen journalism!

It’s interesting! Maybe it’s like how I take every opportunity to mention ping pong, Apple takes every opportunity to mention Starbucks?

(Disclosure: I was not paid to plug Eli’s book, but seriously, Eli, if you have any more of those kickass Everything You Know Is Pong-branded paddles left, the one I won is getting pretty worn and having a backup would really set my mind at ease. Also, April is Starbucks’ Global Month of Service! Join them in making a difference in your community this month!)

Tech giant Oracle launches guerilla marketing campaign in the Mission

They’re the biggest company in the world, but they still feel the need to keep it street? Curious. I guess if it worked for Microsoft.

Capp Street Heliport

The Facebook IPO is already changing the Mission:

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H/T to @cowperthwait

Wells Fargo on the Mission: ‘That neighborhood is a high crime area’

Concerned reader and resident Eric recently noticed that the Wells Fargo at 22nd and Mission quietly changed the hours of their ATMs to a new ridiculously inconvenient 8pm closing time.  Since we happen to live in a predominantly cash-only neighborhood when it comes to bars and restaurants, this makes it quite difficult for any Wells Fargo customers enjoying an evening out to avoid the $5+ penalty for using non-Wells ATMs (not to mention folks who work late and need to deposit checks).  After his repeated requests for an explanation from their @Ask_WellsFargo twitter program (which is for feedback on their ATMs) failed to shed any light on the issue, he finally found time to visit the branch to see what the deal was:

Turns out, they are turning off the Wells Fargo mission ATMs (22nd and Mission St / 16th Street and Mission St) at 8pm every night because of vandalism.  Their words “that neighborhood is a high crime area.”  But they are not actually closing the gates to protect their machines; they just have the screens say “out of service” as to make it appear that nothing unusual is going on.  They are also not publicly saying what the ATM hours are nor, not even to the 1800 numbers you call to Wells Fargo services.  In the main system, these ATM’s are listed as 24hr ATMs.  Amazing.

Took a while to get these actual answers when calling 1-800-869-3557 since everyone that I talked to had no notification that in the Mission, all ATMs have been closing at 8pm for the past 50days.  I am assuming Wells Fargo does not want this info getting out for even the twitter responses are “please follow us so we can send you a private message explaining the situation” which I obviously am not going to follow a bank’s twitter feed.  And what I found out from the branch, they say they have no control of the ATM hours.

Does Wells Fargo hate the Mission?  We followed this up yesterday by visiting the branch ourselves and were told by the manager that the individual branches have no control over the new hours and that the new times came down directly from corporate.  Add up all these facts and something definitely smells fishy.  It’s not merely the inconvenience of being unable to get cash after 8pm; it’s the inconsistency of the explanations that truly inveigles us.  If you’re trying to prevent vandalism, why aren’t you closing the metal gate to actually protect the ATMs?  Have they just given up on our neighborhood?

Also, given Wells Fargo’s recent history of scamming customers with “unfair and deceptive” overdraft charges and allegations that it illegally took advantage of mortgage customers during the subprime bubble, the idea that this is another calculated attempt by the bank to exploit its users out of some extra cash doesn’t sound so far-fetched.

So Wells Fargo, what’s going on here?