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New Tech Money, Same Old Problems

Soulskill posted 1 year,12 days | from the those-who-don't-study-history-are-doomed-to-something-something dept.

Technology 372

An anonymous reader writes "Following the publication in May of George Packer's alarming article in the New Yorker revealing the state of the communities surrounding California's tech boom, the LA Times reports that despite the wake-up call, things are getting even worse in the Bay Area as tech companies seek to completely insulate their employees from ever having to interact with the real world. Quoting: 'Every weekday starting at dawn and continuing late into the evening, a shiny fleet of unmarked buses rolls through the streets of San Francisco, picking up thousands of young technology workers at dozens of stops and depositing them an hour's drive south. It's an exclusive perk offered by Apple, Facebook, Google and other major Silicon Valley companies: luxury coaches equipped with air conditioning, plush seats and wireless Internet access that ease the stress of navigating congested Bay Area roadways. The private mass transit system has become the most visible symbol of the digital gold rush sweeping this city, and of the sharpening division between those who are riding the high-tech industry's good fortunes and those who are not.'"

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372 comments

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Next thing you know... (5, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | 1 year,12 days | (#44568937)

...they'll all be in a huge space station... Hey, waaait a minute!

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44568989)

I've been waiting for the cyberpunk scenario of mega corporation enclaves ruling the world and it's finally here! Rejoice! Time to bust out the baggy trenchcoat that makes me look bigger than I am and night time sunglasses (Don't worry, my vision has been augmented).

Allegory (5, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,12 days | (#44568995)

Every weekday starting at dawn and continuing late into the evening, a shiny fleet of unmarked buses rolls through the streets of San Francisco, picking up thousands of young technology workers at dozens of stops and depositing them an hour's drive south

Huh.

OK, maybe it's because I'm an old-school Missouri farm boy, but... that sounds an awful lot like cows at a stockyard.

They're just one beat off from installing cattle chutes. [wikipedia.org]

MooooooooHeyisthataStarbucksooooooooo.

We are not cattle. We are RUBYISTS! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569053)

How DARE you refer to us as "cattle". We ARE NOT "cattle". We are RUBYISTS.

Ruby on Rails is my life. It is who I am. It is what I am. Ruby is what makes me A GOD among mere mortals.

We Rubyists are the ones who make the world go round. It is our code that powers all that is truly important in this world.

Because we are so critical to modern life, we deserve to be treated better than anyone else. We deserve to be driven around by those who require our services.

We are not merely humans. We are RUBYISTS. We are superior, and we must be treated well because we are the best there is, the best there has ever been, and the best that there ever will be. WE ARE RUBYISTS!

Re:We are not cattle. We are RUBYISTS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569139)

Retard alert...

Re:We are not cattle. We are RUBYISTS! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569405)

Thanks for alerting us to your presence.

We are SLASHDOTTERS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569181)

We are big fat SLASHDOTTERS! With an arrogant, smug sneer, we laugh at anyone beneath us. Including rubyists, as you can see from the sarcastic parent post. But also Java programmers, Windows users, Mac users, anyone lighter than 300 lbs., veterinarians, construction workers, Democrats, Google employees, vegetarians, bicycle riders, Angry Birds players, and anyone who uses a phone with a non-Android OS.

We are not merely humans. We are SLASHDOTTERS. We are superior, and we must be treated well because we are the best there is, the best there has ever been, and the best that there ever will be. WE ARE RUBYISTS!

Re:We are SLASHDOTTERS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569221)

Whoops. That last word should be SLASHDOTTERS, not RUBYISTS. Copy/paste fail. Guess I'm not superior enough to be a smug Slashdotter!

Re:We are SLASHDOTTERS! (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569267)

You're committing the same flaw of the user you replied to.

Giving every user the same stereotype and personality.

Re:We are not cattle. We are RUBYISTS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569529)

Fuck Ruby. Real programmers use C++.

Re:Allegory (1)

aergern (127031) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569099)

heh. Well, this former Missouri boy who lives/works in SF rides his own damn motorcycle to work everyday.

Re:Allegory (1)

turgid (580780) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569211)

heh. Well, this former Missouri boy who lives/works in SF rides his own damn motorcycle to work everyday.

I hope you carry an organ donor's card.

Re:Allegory (3, Informative)

MatthiasF (1853064) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569107)

They have the cattle chutes, too. They're called security checkpoints. Most of these companies have them and some even search you on your way out.

Re:Allegory (3, Insightful)

turkeydance (1266624) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569111)

there's this "turnip truck" thing, too.

Re:Allegory (5, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569147)

Huh.

OK, maybe it's because I'm an old-school Missouri farm boy, but... that sounds an awful lot like cows at a stockyard.

Don't they have school buses in Missouri? This is pretty much the same thing.

And maybe it's because I'm from a European city, but it sounds like the public transport isn't very good if companies run private buses. The Google, Facebook etc here don't need buses, nor (presumably) do the offices in New York. (We don't have school buses here either, children are expected to use the normal public transport. It's free for them.)

Re:Allegory (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569375)

"things are getting even worse in the Bay Area"?

Who the heck is the retard who thinks it is a crime for employers to provide conveniences to employees? O, wait, it might be un-American to treat employes well. Is this schmuck an IRS agent? What is so alarming about these buses, I fail to see. I drive two miles to Caltrain station, pay $4 for parking, $16 for two way ticket, walk 1 1/2 miles to office in Downtown SF, all in all I spend two to three hours commuting. I would love my employer providing these bus rides.

Re:Allegory (3, Interesting)

nojayuk (567177) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569393)

I live in the centre of a city with the best public bus service in the nation, operating at a profit with regular clean modern buses, express services to the airport, park-and-rides, good handicapped access, night bus services etc.

Despite this the big city centre employers like the financial services companies, healthcare, TV stations etc. all run their own shuttle bus operations as the public buses don't necessarily go from one office to another, although a few bus routes actually go into company campuses to pick up and drop off passengers at the office front door as well as passing through the business parks on the city outskirts.

Re:Allegory (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569435)

Within the past month I've started a job in San Jose, moving from the US East Coast to Silicon Valley.

This area has the worst (inefficient, inconvenient, and slow) public transit system I've ever seen. I've opted to rent a car (at $250+ per week) until I can have mine shipped out here just so I don't have to rely on the light rail and buses. It's that bad.

Re:Allegory (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569209)

"... that sounds an awful lot like cows at a stockyard."

It's worse than that.

I've had A LOT of job opportunities in San Francisco. (I live far from there.) The cost of living there is significantly more than twice as high as it is here. (According to CNET's Cost of Living Calculator.) And that's not all... the "quality of life" is just plain different. Row houses with no yards, built an inch apart from each other. Lack of adequate opportunity for outdoor activities. Etc. I could go on for a while about how "quality of life" is just plain not as good there.

I keep telling recruiters that if they want me to move, it would have to be an improvement over what I can get here. So that means they'd have to pay me at least 3 times what I can make here, in order for it to be an actual step up.

They look at me like I'm crazy... but they're the ones who are crazy.

Can't win (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569037)

Wouldn't they complain if the busses stopped and there was a lot more congestion on the road? Don't they have to make the busses really nice in order to prevent people hopping onto those busses?

Re:Can't win (1)

aergern (127031) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569133)

No, you are missing the point. There busses, Caltrain and BART already ... instead of these corps. helping to make public transit even better they are opting out of paying their fair share and spending it on MORE busses that only their employees can ride ... which clog the streets even more. I pass a bunch of them each morning on my ride in. *shrug*

Re:Can't win (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569391)

If they were public buses instead of company buses, would they clog the streets any less? Whoever owns and rides them, they are mass transit. Only in San Francisco would people complain about folks using mass transit. I'm no big fan of Silly Valley and its satellite communities like San Francisco, but this has to be one of the silliest, and most hypocritical, complaints I've ever heard.

Re:Can't win (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569403)

No, you are missing the point. There busses, Caltrain and BART already ... instead of these corps. helping to make public transit even better they are opting out of paying their fair share and spending it on MORE busses that only their employees can ride ... which clog the streets even more. I pass a bunch of them each morning on my ride in. *shrug*

Wait, What? Opting OUT?

Do these companies somehow not have to pay all the local taxes that other companies pay to support the public buses that always run in the RED? Do these private buses opt out of all the road tax, licensing fees, gas tax that the public buses are exempt from paying?

Would not the local buses also have to increase vehicles on the road to compensate if these private services were discontinued? Would those buses be direct routes? With WIFI, comfy seats, and no smelly vagrants sitting next to someone trying to write an email or looking at some proprietary code?

Basically, I don't see the problem here, other than the local bus systems are deprived of the opportunity to LOSE MORE MONEY for every rider the private services handle.

That and a great deal of envy and jealousy on your part.

Re:Can't win (1, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569149)

I think the issue is not so much with these people having access to a better class of transportation than others, it more to do with the communing period and how easy it is. When large cities have nobody living where they work, they become Detroit.

Regardless of whether its a big interstate artery, rail line, or buses; its a problem when people are into the office and strait back to suburbia. Sure you have some big business downtown contributing the tax base, but you don't get the personal income taxes, you don't get any contribution to retail business. You get nothing to support the street level life in the city, and no civic engagement from the professional class there.

Wish my employer did that. (5, Insightful)

sackofdonuts (2717491) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569061)

Driving in the Bay area is horrid. Getting bus service to and from work would be great. Could get some extra sleep too.

Re:Wish my employer did that. (0)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569117)

Getting bus service to and from work would be great

I have this where I live already. It's called the Municipal Transit System. Bus to a subway to my office. Door-to-door in 40 minutes.

But I guess only socialist COMMIE places have that.

Re:Wish my employer did that. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569169)

What's even more confusing is the article treats this like a bad thing, but it's objectively making bay area commutes BETTER by taking thousands of cars off the roads. Can you imagine how much worse traffic would be if these shuttles weren't in place?

It's not like other mass transit is an option. Caltrain is already overloaded.

Re: Wish my employer did that. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569265)

The more you isolate people from poverty around them, the more you'll hear stuff like "if people are starving, let them eat cake." It rots the soul. If a millage comes up to improve public buses, how would you expect them to vote?

Re: Wish my employer did that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569395)

80% of the comments here will be of the "let them eat cake" variety, or "they deserve it" untouchability, or "I deserve it" protestations of privledge, or "win-win" rationalizations of inequity.

Re: Wish my employer did that. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569449)

They'll be less insulated if they drive their cars?

I don't know San Francisco well, but I can tell you that in New York you can walk a few blocks from a neighborhood that you can't afford to a neighborhood you don't want to be in. And New York, especially Manhattan, is less dependent on cars than any other city in the country. Even rich people walk a lot, because it's easy and often convenient. Yet it all does nothing to alleviate the poverty.

Re: Wish my employer did that. (1, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569477)

The more you isolate people from poverty around them, the more you'll hear stuff like "if people are starving, let them eat cake." It rots the soul. If a millage comes up to improve public buses, how would you expect them to vote?

Oh, I see.
The issue isn't that smart technically competent people have high paying jobs, the problem is that they don't have to look at stupid incompetent street riff-raf and gang bangers.

By all means, lets inflict a affluence penance on these high tech workers, and have mandatory alley tours and sniff safaris into the back streets, because god knows its just not fair that someone who works hard to acquire marketable skills should profit while the high-school drop out has to drive a cab, or panhandle for money.

Seems your envy has gotten the better of you.

Re:Wish my employer did that. (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569299)

It's not like other mass transit is an option. Caltrain is already overloaded.

Aaaand now we're finally getting to the crux of the problem: poor mass transit, people living too far from work, the fact that nobody wants to live out in the 'burbs anymore, etc.

There's a lot of factors at play here. Trying to break this into a "rich vs. poor" thing like subby did here is ridiculously simplistic.

Re:Wish my employer did that. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569475)

crux of the problem ... nobody wants to live out in the 'burbs anymore, etc.

Oh, the irony. All my life people complained that everybody moves out to the burbs, destroying urban life, and now the problem is that everybody wants to live in the city? Please make up your mind.

This is good. (5, Insightful)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569063)

The buses are better for the environment and road congestion than if each person had to drive individually. And they don't cost taxpayers extra money. This sounds like a win-win to me.

They probably do cost some taxpayer money (-1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569141)

But the tax cost is probably pretty efficient... I am guessing the riders don't pay income tax on the value of the transportation (but I could be wrong)... AND the company writes off the cost.

Re:They probably do cost some taxpayer money (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569413)

I am guessing the riders don't pay income tax on the value of the transportation

You guess incorrectly. We're taxed on it.

Re:They probably do cost some taxpayer money (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569587)

Which company?

Re:They probably do cost some taxpayer money (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569493)

Income tax? You are going with that? Really?
If they drove themselves, or rode the bus, then what? How does that affect income tax?

Re:They probably do cost some taxpayer money (1)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569495)

SF residents already pay real estate and state income taxes, which is supposed to pay for the infrastructure supporting their individual cars. If they choose to use company-provided buses, they are saving both the city and the state a great deal of money in terms of road infrastructure and environmental costs.

This is a huge win for both SF and CA, and the fact that anybody criticizes this shows you how broken California politics has become.

This is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569191)

The fact that the need motorized transport to get around is indicative of an inherently inefficient and environmentally-unfriendly lifestyle.

They should either move closer to where they work, or leverage their special-snowflake-HTML-"programmer" talent to demand that these companies locate their campuses somewhere closer to where their employees would deign to live.

This just sprawl -- a long established wrecker of cities and communities. But because OMG-techies! nobody can see it for the same idiocy that has failed every time it has been tried.

Re:This is bad. (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569345)

What they are doing is better than nothing. Now it would be great if everyone lived within walking distance to work, but that's just not the environment we live in. It will take a lot to change it. That being said, buses are feasible right now and there's no good reason not to support them.

Re:This is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569567)

No, it is worse than nothing. The whole situation is perverse, and with every move they are further compounding the problems that they've created.

Worse still because this from an industry that has been purporting for years to end commutes and the need to concentrate employees with their "innovations" in communications etc.

Pathetic.

Re:This is bad. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569519)

The fact that the need motorized transport to get around is indicative of an inherently inefficient and environmentally-unfriendly lifestyle.

Buses are a lot more environmentally friendly than cars. If you want everybody to walk to work, you have to go back over 100 years. When mass transit came along, lots of people started living further from work.

a long established wrecker of cities

So you're saying that San Francisco is falling apart because everybody wants to live there. I thought the problem was everybody moving out to the burbs.

Re:This is bad. (1)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569537)

The fact that the need motorized transport to get around is indicative of an inherently inefficient and environmentally-unfriendly lifestyle.

No, it's a sign of poor city planning and poor politics. The cities in the valley are governed by suburbanites who do everything in their power to stop the kind of edgy urban culture that some young techies like. SF, on the other hand, is so full of red tape and so expensive that big tech companies would be foolish to locate there. So what do people do? They live where they want to live, work where they can work, and deal with the b.s. it takes to make it all work. The problem isn't techies, the problem is that city planners in all these cities are trying to impose their preferred lifestyles on the population.

WTF perspective (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569065)

Leave it to the mainstream media to take a bizarre perspective and pretend like it's real. They like to go on about public transportation but will you ever see a big name journalist on a bus? Oh hell no. Yeah, I'm not talking about taking the subway in New York City.

I love how they harp on the fact that "the bus schedules are withheld from the public" like it's some sort of conspiracy theory. Unless your destination is their company, you've got no business sitting on that bus. I suppose they'd prefer the alternative, that employees drive themselves to work in private automobiles? Just more proof (if any was needed) that journalists ignore progress and immediately spring to interpret the next new events in whatever negative manner they can think of.

Re:WTF perspective (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569293)

I want to agree with you but I it is getting more difficult to ignore the ways in which people are disengaging from the real world.

When my former college hired crossing guards to help adults cross a minor city street because they couldn't take their eyes off their gadgets I became convinced something significant has changed. When I see a lack of pick-up games and activity in the parks on beautiful days but see the organized indoor summer camps bustling with kids and tight supervision I wonder if we've become unable to live in the real world.

We live in a world that is safer than ever - whether we're talking about world politics or safety in our neighborhoods but we're also acting more fearful than ever.

Re: WTF perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569305)

There's another option - use public transportation. Try to improve your community instead of walling yourself off from it.

Re:WTF perspective (4, Informative)

asmkm22 (1902712) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569563)

Despite the crappy summary, the articles aren't about public transportation. So I guess, leave it to the average slashdotter to not even bother reading.

They talk about how the big ass buses are just one of many examples of how the gab between the wealthy and the poor keeps widening in that area. They have tons of billionaires and millionaires, yet record numbers of people on food stamps. Any rental property within half a mile of the various elite bus stops is apparently going for up to twice the normal rate, effectively pushing out anyone who doesn't make a google wage.

They also complain about how the tech people don't even get out and interact with the community that they are taking over. They order stuff online rather than go shopping at local places; they bury their noses in smartphones when walking around, etc..

Next time, RTFA.

Sooo.... (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569091)

So we're angry at rich large businesses for doing what poor public schools do? I'm confused -- why is this news?

Re:Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569225)

Because the employees go along with it?

I'd rather just get paid more.

Re:Sooo.... (3, Interesting)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569463)

I'm not sure that's true. If you divide the cost among all the passengers it will probably be less than the cost for each passenger to drive separately. So getting paid more would actually mean less money for you after expenses.

Re: Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569439)

please go on vacation :(

Meritocracy is now a problem? (0)

JoeyRox (2711699) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569121)

These companies are operating in a free market economy and are paying for these perks themselves. Anyone with the talent and IQ is free to join these organizations and enjoy the benefits outlined in the article. Compare that to the corrupt distribution of wealth and benefits offered by Government, such as unaffordable pensions "collectively" negotiated in backrooms between unions and politicians, where the winners are selected based on established power and influence rather than merit and achievement, and where the rest of society has to pay for this corruption via taxes and/or reduced services. These tech companies are subverting their corrupt Government and creating an economic sovereignty. More power to them.

Re:Meritocracy is now a problem? (-1, Flamebait)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569179)

These companies are operating in a free market economy and are paying for these perks themselves.

They might be paying for the bus, but they sure as hell aren't paying for the roads, police, traffic signals, air quality and services they need to run them.

Please, please PLEASE say they pay their taxes...

Re:Meritocracy is now a problem? (2)

CommanderK (1078087) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569279)

The employees are paying their taxes, and many of them actually fall into the highest tax rate (35% on income above a level, don't remember exactly how much). These people pay more than their fair share.

Re:Meritocracy is now a problem? (0)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569309)

Giant red herring emerges from San Francisco Bay and rampages through the city. Thousands flee. Film at 11.

Re:Meritocracy is now a problem? (1)

CommanderK (1078087) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569367)

In what way is this a reasonable response to what I said?

Re:Meritocracy is now a problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569377)

The taxes are the same with or without the busses (except maybe lower gas taxes collected). It does have a positive effect on the "roads, police, traffic signals, air quality and services," though; The busses mean fewer cars on the road, which means less road wear, fewer traffic cops, less congestion, less pollution and other benefits.

I work for one of these companies, it's 40 minute commute from my house to work on the private bus vs 3 hours by mass transit.

they are paying more than their fair share (1)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569469)

They might be paying for the bus, but they sure as hell aren't paying for the roads, police, traffic signals, air quality and services they need to run them.

The people commuting from SF to Silicon Valley are paying for the roads, police, traffic signals, air quality and services, and they are paying some of the highest income and real estate taxes in the nations for that. In fact, SF residents paid for using their own car and the infrastructure that using their own car would require. In addition, they subsidize SF's lousy public transit. Sharing rides using corporate buses reduces the cost and impact relative to what SF residents have already paid for and have a right to use.

Re:Meritocracy is now a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569323)

I think you're missing the point. It's not a matter of receiving perks or who pays for them. It's a matter of degree to which people have begun to avoid living in the real world.

A perfect example is how we entered two major wars without including the expenses of those wars and instead fought and argued for tax cuts. We all want the luxury of living in our own little (or not so little) bubble.

Re:Meritocracy is now a problem? (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569369)

How is riding a private bus not living in the real world? The same could be said for those of us who drive our cars to work vs. those who can't afford the privilege and rely on public transportation instead. And the same could be said for those who can't even afford public transportation and have to ride their bike instead. As for your example of wars, I don't see the connection.

Re:Meritocracy is now a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569483)

A private bus from work to the suburbs avoids dealing with the public who live and work in those places in between. Being on Wi-fi the whole time means they aren't engaged in the world around them. However, you do make a great point about driving one's own car vs. public bus, bicycles or walking. It's all a matter of degree and we're all looking for more protection and separation instead of engagement.

As for wars comment, it has to do with living in the world we create and are in. We want the benefits of eating the sausage but we don't want to experience or even know about how it's made or the consequences of eating it. We don't want to see the bodies come back or acknowledge the expense, provide for the damaged vets that return - we want to be removed from the messiness of living.

Re: Meritocracy is now a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569549)

Would you consider somebody taking a private jet over a slum "living in the real world"? Living in the real world means experiencing life like average people do.

Gated communities come to the workaday world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569123)

It won't be long before G consumes the entire city of Mountain View, which is now just a Palo Alto wanna-be.

Re:Gated communities come to the workaday world. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569543)

Don't think in terms of small and half-baked solutions.
nuclear weapons = community renewal

And The Best Part Is (2, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569155)

They are creating nothing of any real consequence. Everything made by Google, Apple, Facebook, Zynga, etc. is designed to be obsolete in months. They also have a habit of destroying working products and laying off workers for no reason at all.

I have a perfectly usable 2G iPod that is perfectly unusable because it's no longer supported and it doesn't talk to anything except the mothership that disowned it.

What was the last new (new as in it has no contemporary substitutes) COMMERCIAL software product (as in you pay real money to a company that employs people at grown-up wages to buy it) written in a real programming language and introduced with the same usefulness and value as say, Photoshop, Office, Quickbooks, Skype or Final Cut Pro?

There isn't one. Why?

Because all the developers are too busy shoveling pure crap into app stores as fast as they can to try and make rent.

Truth is the "high tech" industry in America was deliberately bludgeoned into a coma in 2000 and 2001. All advancement of personal computers stopped then.

Since no real efforts are being made to rebuild it, the industry will probably never recover. Any future high tech industry will happen somewhere other than America.

Re:And The Best Part Is (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569217)

Google Maps is a little more than "months" old, and it's still serving its purpose very well.

Re:And The Best Part Is (1)

notanalien_justgreen (2596219) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569297)

I think you're exaggerating some. The iOS and Android operating systems were huuuuuge steps forward in productivity while on the road and were very much post 2001. More recently I can think of Dropbox, solid state drives becoming common, screens increasing in resolution, better repository software such as github has been developed. Lots of stuff.....

Admittedly lots of trash too - but that has always been, and will always be the case...

Re:And The Best Part Is (1)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569335)

If you count Twitter, selfies and very short e-mails as "productivity" then I suppose iOS and Android are "productivity tools."

Can you name a textbook written on a phone?

Re:And The Best Part Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569473)

If you count Twitter, selfies and very short e-mails as "productivity" then I suppose iOS and Android are "productivity tools."

Can you name a textbook written on a phone?

No. But can you name boxed software that has enabled millions of people to overthrow their oppressive governments? You're sounding dangerously out of touch with reality. Judging from your ID, my guess is you've been burned recently for not keeping with the times and are taking it out on the younger crowd.

Re:And The Best Part Is (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569559)

What was the last new (new as in it has no contemporary substitutes) COMMERCIAL software product (as in you pay real money to a company that employs people at grown-up wages to buy it) written in a real programming language and introduced with the same usefulness and value as say, Photoshop, Office, Quickbooks, Skype or Final Cut Pro?

Those are all software products that replaced a hardware system and/or manual labor. All of them also aim to create a final product that is easy to represent digitally (pictures, documents, speech, video). There is a limited number of such workflows, so no surprise there.

Worthless article from the legacy media. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569157)

So, the author is pissed off at Apple and Google for solving their own transportation and parking problems instead of waiting around for the incompetent local politicians to handle it?

Guess it was a slow news day on the "bitching about non-problems" desk at the LA times.

-jcr

Re:Worthless article from the legacy media. (1)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569215)

Apple and Google obviously want to separate themselves from the rest of us.

Unless of course they want to use our roads, electricity, capital markets, legal infrastructure, police, fire, building codes, and sell their products on our store shelves. Then they're big fans of telling us how much they want to be a part of things.

Until it comes to paying taxes...

Re:Worthless article from the legacy media. (1)

CommanderK (1078087) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569333)

As I also said in a higher post, the companies don't pay much, but employees pay A LOT of taxes (back-of-the-envelope: if you're making 100k/year, about 20k of that goes to the IRS). You're saying they don't get to use the infrastructure they paid for?

Re:Worthless article from the legacy media. (2)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569465)

the companies don't pay much,

Wrong. Apple is far and away the biggest local taxpayer in the bay area.

-jcr

Re:Worthless article from the legacy media. (1)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569453)

You have no idea how much Apple pays in taxes, do you?

-jcr

So What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569163)

If these companies have the cash and the incentive to bus their people around... why not?

If others don't get these perks... so what? Did those that get them somehow do so at the expense of those that didn't? Would denying some these perks somehow make for a better standard of living for everyone or would it just make everybody equally miserable?

Egalitarianism is only so much horseshit. And frankly, calling it such is doing horseshit a disservice.

The have's and have not's (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569167)

Quote: the sharpening division between those who are riding the high-tech industry's good fortunes and those who are not.'"

How 'bout a little perspective? I'm not riding on one of those buses, but I do recognize the fact that the people who do aren't just lucky. They are actually contributing to the "good fortunes", which trickle down to everybody else.

Sorry if you are one of those who only get a trickle, but that's a lot better than nothing - especially if you contribute nothing.

If you want to get "upstream", try going to school for something useful (like STEM) and not liberal arts.

Re:The have's and have not's (0)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569229)

Ah yes, another STEM asshole. There's one in every tech thread.

This is nothing new (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569175)

Railroads have had private commuter club cars for a century. A bunch of wealthy people get together, purchase or lease a train car, add nice seating, waitstaff, & amenities, and pay Amtrak/Metro North/CNWR to haul it around with their regular commuter trains. In exchange for not sitting with the riff-raff, they subsidize everyone else's fare.

Every so often, some young journalist realizes that rich people can afford nicer stuff and attempts to spin it into a scandal.

Re:This is nothing new (1)

jonyen (2633919) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569361)

True, and even if it wasn't for the shuttles, people probably will complain about tech workers having the option to telecommute.

wasteful (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569177)

Maybe these tech companies should be working on inventing some sort of technology that lets people communicate and collaborate without having to be in the same place at the same time.

Re:wasteful (1)

turgid (580780) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569301)

Er, um, the mail (snail), the phone, the internet, email, the smartphone...None of these is still as effective as co-location.

wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569193)

So, if I understand this right...

One bus crash and then a hiring frenzy?

From ivory tower to silicon valley (2, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569201)

This is a logical extension of the sort of the carefully cultivated isolation you encounter on a university campus. Why subject your employees to the outer-world that is - let's face it - such a nuisance and an eye-sore. Who wants to deal with the unpleasantness of ghetto-fabulous Oakland or South San Francisco? Fuck that. Reality is for suckers.

To be fair, Silicon Valley merely compounds a problem that's been in the Bay Area for a while now - namely the ghetto-ization and nimby-ism that's been going on for decades now. The left-wing excesses begun in the sixties and seventies are now coming home to roost, though a lot of ex-hippies get to watch the drama unfold from the comfort of their homes in the Berkeley hills. Why yes I do bitter much.

Re:From ivory tower to silicon valley (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569565)

This is a logical extension of the sort of the carefully cultivated isolation you encounter on a university campus.

Not NYU - their "campus" is called Greenwich Village.

Re:From ivory tower to silicon valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569593)

Yeah! How DARE those arrogant ivory tower marxist liberals carpool to work!

Not unlike . . . (1)

dogsbreath (730413) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569239)

Oil sands workers in Ft. McMurray.

The plants send out buses to pick up workers early in the morning, pretty much door to door service. Sys admins, truck drivers, and execs. BTW: truck drivers (big trucks - 400 ton) are highly valued, more so than lowly sys admins/IT workers.

Buses come early and suburb house lights are all out by 10pm. Next day same same all over again.

Lots of money to be made and not a lot of folk believe they are in a long term position.

Better than a phalanx of BMW (1)

protonbishop (516957) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569241)

The buses roll through my neighborhood many times a day. I've lived here nearly thirty years.

Still, though some residents initially didn't like the buses, the talk now is we'd rather have a dozen buses than all the cars with the concomitant parking hassles. Our housing prices are up, but thanks to CA property tax law, it doesn't change what I pay.

I continue to work at home, with a sub-minute commute time. Sure pity the fools who have to wait outside for a bus in all weather and then blow another 1.5 hours on commute. I say we continue the bussing, have them bring tax revenues into San Francisco & leave the city nice and quiet during the day.

Guess that's why Google, Facebook, etc., etc. are trying to open larger offices in the city.

Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

quietwalker (969769) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569245)

So organized door-to-door mass transit, reduces the environmental impact of rush hour, reduces roadway congestion in an already congested area, removing the need to drive the commute, your fellow passengers will be co-workers, so it's expected that they'll maintain a reasonable level of public decency, and you don't have to find and subsequently pay for parking, and it's not being paid for with taxes but as a perk to attract more workers - and somehow this is a class warfare thing?

This is just a capitalistic thing.

You wanna know how you can get on those luxury buses that ferry people from point A to a company's door? Just work for the company. You wanna know how you can get those big salaries that are driving the gentrification of the worst parts of town, making them safe and livable for a family? Just work for the company. You wanna know how you can end up a millionaire? Have an idea, work it, and sell it or start up a company to grow it.

This isn't a class barrier, it's a time, effort, skill, and experience thing. That's how our economic system works.

It does suck that an area becoming a better class of neighborhood results in raised rents, but that is literally the price to be paid. The good news is that the more affluent individuals are in an area, the better it is for everyone. It might not increase in equal measures, but it's been well documented - average pay goes up in those areas, following the trend for cost of living.

It's not like a downtown of a city is ever going to be static. It was different than it was 20 years ago, and 20 years before that, and so on. It's always changing, and there's not anything wrong with that. Besides, what comes to mind when I think of a successful anti-gentrification trend is Detroit.

You don't want to end up like them.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569387)

time, effort, skill and experience are class barriers. Underfunded public institutions and harried, priced-out overworked parents are incapable of keeping up with the rush of information fed into the children of the well-to-do. It would be a more equitable situation if there were more middle class families, but they're being priced out, public institutions are neglected by the new tenants, and so the lower economic classed people don't get the resources they could to join the children of elites. You have an intriguing viewpoint, I wonder if it will hold up when you're thrown on the gristmill when your industry disappears.

Commuting (2)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569263)

Google has to ferry their people. Mountain View voted down Google's plan to build a 1000-unit dorm complex. [mv-voice.com]

Bear in mind that most Google employees are not "techies". They're sales reps selling ads. When you think Google, think "Mad Men", not rocket science.

driver? (1)

guygo (894298) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569307)

Who drives the bus... and where does he and his family get to live?

Not Just Silicon Valley (1)

jasnw (1913892) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569331)

My company is located very near Microsoft's Redmond campus, and the situation is the same here. MS runs a large fleet of various people-carrying vehicles that pick up Microsofties all around the area. All the while the mass transit that serves the rest of us is going downhill fast. Every time I turn around MS is working hard to avoid paying more taxes. Gotta love those guys.

what "real world"? (1)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569431)

The real world is that public transit between SF and the peninsula sucks badly: it's slow, dirty, and inconvenient. You can't realistically commute from SF to SV by public transit unless you want to spend four hours doing it. So, the only real-world choice people used to have is to commute in their own cars. But that causes congestion, both in SF and on the highways. And now when tech companies spend a boatload of money trying to relieve the congestion and making life better for everybody, they are accused of "insulating" their employees. SF needs to stop whining and fix its transit system.

And, yeah, SF used to be a dirty, run-down, but cheap place to live, full sailors, social outcasts, non-conformists, weird artists, and recreational drug users, with a barely functioning city government. That had its charms. But people can't recapture that past and you can't preserve it by government decree. Until SF accepts that it has become an expensive city for the well-off, it will continue to be dysfunctional, and it will continue to be an overpriced dump. I used to live in SF but moved away; living there stopped being much fun, and it was way too expensive for the low quality of life it offered.

Wait, wait (3)

drolli (522659) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569455)

Now the people who work hard and are not egocentric enough to fill the highway by their personal ton of steel senslessly produced are having a "luxury". Company busses exist in Europe and Japan since a very long time, connecting the next station/city with big branches of a company, even for factory workers.

It is cost efficient and you have workers who are fresh and relaxed when they arrive at work. It makes economic sense for the company. Meetings start on time. It makes sense traffic-wise (for the space which one bus takes you can maybe have 3 cars, but there may be up to 60 people in the bus).

Further indicaiton that the article is biased: Coaches have air conditioning? That does not make them "luxury coaches". Every car driving there has air condition. The city busses in the city where i live have air conditioning. It is reasonable to have it in such climate. Plush seats? Really? No please tell me: The seat in the cars are probably made of wood. And When did the last time travel in a normal travel bus when the seat where not soft seats? The time that publi transport had wooden seats only is a long time ago. Wireless interent access? The budget bus line in germany has wireless interent access, as have the high-speed trains in germany, japan, austria, france (these are the countries i know of). Having interenet access in a mass transit system makes sense. Just because it does not make sense in a [personal car does not mean it is "luxury". If your employees can chek the mail on the way to work, this qquickly pays off.

So the bottom line is: This is not isolating the employees from the real world" but it is ecologically, economically, and socially reasonable approach. Only a complete moron woud turn around the need to hide yourself in your own car (and pay for it) as a sing of "being connected to the world". Instead of affording a car in a 40km ouside suburb i prefer to pay a little more rent, accept that there are time when the bus goes, get in the queue and relax, and do my private things by subway and walking/cycling.

They need to learn from Foxconn.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569467)

..and build on site detention centers dorms.

This is quite common in India (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569553)

Almost all the tech companies in Bangalore, Chennai, Bombay and Pune do this. Not just for top techies, for their entire work force. This practice started ages ago when factories were built far from the city but with major work force coming from the city. So factories would build "quarters" for essential staff who had to come at all odd hours, and bus the workers in for day shifts. The bus fleets of big public sector companies in Bangalore like BEL, HMT, ITT, HAL etc used to be comparable or even bigger than the city bus systems. Further the city bus systems are notoriously over crowded and wont be able to handle peak loads of shift changes in big factories.

No Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44569569)

This really shouldn't be a concern. If the bus has Internet access I am sure they are all using social media to connect with the world around them.

Congested Bay Area roadways .. (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | 1 year,12 days | (#44569591)

"Every weekday starting at dawn and continuing late into the evening, a shiny fleet of unmarked buses rolls through the streets of San Francisco .. that ease the stress of navigating congested Bay Area roadways"

The reason the roadways are congested is that the car lobby [wikipedia.org] acted to shut-down the public transport system way back in the early twentieth century.
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