SFGate just ran a story about the working homeless in San Francisco.  These are people that make as much as $3,000 a month own a car, but cannot afford an apartment in the city.  The story profiled a man that is a software developer, gets paid via Paypal, has a laptop, has an iPod, and works extremely hard. He says that he sleeps in tents in Golden Gate Park in order to save money.

It is completely crazy to me that someone that makes as much as $36,000 a year can’t afford a place somewhere in the city.  I am sure that if he looked hard enough he could rent a room in someone’s house or a garage room deep in the Avenues for about $800 a month.  But then he wouldn’t be saving any money.  This guy’s goal is to save up $10,000 to "get out of this."

But don’t call this guy homeless, he prefers "urban outdoorsman." Admitedly, this guy’s situation is a bit special because he is a software developer with a laptop, but he can’t be the only employed homeless person sleeping in Golden Gate Park.  I bet there are day laborers, painters, and other employed unskilled laborers that make nearly as much that cannot afford a place in the city, but want to be as close to the city as possible.  As the economy worsens the number of people sleeping in the park will only continue to rise, employed or otherwise.

Actually, I have been back from Houston since Friday, but it has taken me this long to recover.  The diversity conference was great, but I was stuck at the Houston airport for five hours on my way back to San Francisco because of hurricane Dolly.  Dolly struck Texas at Brownsville, which is a couple of hundred miles away, but the rain and thunderstorms wreaked havoc at Houston airport nonetheless.

If I never go to Houston again that would be fine by me.  The place is completely flat, humid as hell, the architecture is uninteresting, and the urban landscape looks completely depressed except for the Galleria section and downtown.  In short, if you do not have any business in Houston, you probably are not missing much.  I bet that Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio are all way cooler.

Well, I have been to Dallas and can vouch for its coolness.  I am only assuming that San Antonio and Austin are cooler than Houston.

I am heading off to Houston this morning to attend my firm’s annual Diversity Summit.  I am part of the Hispanic Latino Network Advisory Board and will be there to discuss our network’s progress with the other diversity networks and with our Chairman and CEO.  I will be back to the office on Friday.

Ah, yes, I am talking about Rice-a-Roni.  Everyone knows that it is the San Francisco treat, but I doubt that many know the history of Rice-a-Roni and it’s roots in San Francisco’s Mission District.  The San Francisco-based producers of NPR’s Hidden Kitchens series, known as the Kitchen Sisters, are working on a radio piece that will air on July 31st on NPR’s Morning Edition.  In their own words: "In this story, the worlds of a young Canadian immigrant, an Italian pasta-making family, and an old Armenian woman converge to create the ‘San Francisco Treat.’"

Be sure to listen to NPR’s Morning Edition on July 31st.

A lady in Pennsylvania took a grainy video of her son dancing to Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy with her digital camera and posted it onto YouTube so that her family and friends could see it.  About four months later, Universal Music Corporation sent a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice to take the video down the video.  Well, she wasn’t having it–she sued Universal Music Corp.

The issue in her lawsuit against Universal is whether the owner of the rights to a creative work that’s being used without permission can order the Web host to remove it without first considering whether the infringement was actually a legal fair use — a small or innocuous replication that couldn’t affect the market for the original work.  Clearly the grainy and crappy quality of the video should be a clue to anyone that it was likely fair use.  But Universal and other copyright holders currently don’t need a reasonableness test for fair use *before* sending a DMCA notice.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is involved with the case and prepared to take it to the limit one more time (yeah, that was an Eagles reference and it is fair use).  I can’t wait to see the outcome of this case because copyright holders, and others, are abusing the DMCA every day.

The Problem with Wikipedia

Via xkcd.

San Francisco was recently ranked as the most walkable city in the United States by Walkscore.com.  The company evaluated the 40 largest U.S. cities based on residents’ proximity to grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, movie theaters and other amenities. I know what everyone out there is thinking, but the steep hills of San Francisco or any other cities were not taken into account in the rankings, just distance and concentration of the amenities.

In fact, that is one of the reasons why we love living here.  Unless I have to travel to visit one of my clients I walk to my office six blocks away.  I love that I get exercise and can walk to the grocery store every day if need be to pick up fresh produce, since Whole Foods is only a block and a half away.  I walk so much that my car just yesterday crossed the 10,000 mile threshold after 18 months!  Try doing that living anywhere in Los Angeles county.   Walking definitely enhances your quality of life.

The launch of the Apple iPhone 3G was today.  Yes!  The "Jesus Phone" is here!  In full disclosure I have to say that I did not get one.  I don’t even want one, really!  Nobody believes me though. Anyway, I walked past a nearby AT&T store in the afternoon and the line *outside* the store was at least 50 deep.  I thought they were giving the damn phones away!  It was quite a spectacle.  Success, right!?  Well, not really.  The launch was plagued with all kinds of problems, er errors.

You see, Apple and AT&T devised a way to stop people from unlocking the phones.  They decided to have people sign up for AT&T phone service right inside the stores!  The store employees would type up all of the information and get people up and running in a few minutes.  Well, that didn’t work very well.  Subscription servers were crippled by the volume of subscriptions and some people waited a couple hours inside the stores during the setup process.  Jesus Christ!?  Indeed.

You just won the game

Via xkcd.

"This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."
— T. S. Elliot, The Hollow Men (1925)

A company claims to have developed and is ready to produce a microwave ray gun that is able to beam sounds directly into people’s heads silently.  The sounds produced can be loud enough to incapacitate people.  The device is called MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) and would be used as a new form of military crowd control since it can’t be blocked out.  You know, covering your ears won’t work.  Other researchers warn of brain damage risks associated with such powerful microwaves.

This device sounds like one of those things that James Bond villains would mount on a satellite to try and take over the world.  If any one government or person could incapacitate throngs of people without even making any noise that would make that government or person too big a threat for everyone else. Wouldn’t it?  It sounds to me that this could really be a doomsday device.  That is of course if the CERN Large Hadron Collider doesn’t evaporate Earth first.

The ‘pregnant man’ that fascinated the world a few months ago gave birth to a healthy baby girl right before the holiday weekend.  And no, it was not a c-section, because he still has female genitalia (he had only removed his breasts).  I have to wonder if he will complete his sex change to male genitalia now that he has finally given birth to a child as desired.

Many bloggers in Iran have been imprisoned or tortured for airing their views online.  Now new legislation is being proposed by the Iranian parliament that will up the ante on the "crime" of blogging by making it punishable by death (listen to PRI report).  The proposed bill (see translation here) seeks to "toughen punishment for disturbing mental security in society."  The bill adds "establishing websites and weblogs promoting corruption, prostitution and atheism" as activities that shall be punishable by death, along with pornography, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping, and sexual exploitation.  The scariest part is that the government would define who is a "corrupt" blogger.  Scary.

According to a recent survey, Puerto Rico is the second happiest country in the world behind Denmark.  I’ll tell you what, we go to Puerto Rico every couple of years for my family reunion and it’s hard to be unhappy when you are in perfect weather, at the beach, with a tasty beverage in your hand.  But even if you live there year-round, island living is not really very stressful.  Even the accountants do less work!  I bet if Hawaii was its own country that it would make the top 10.  We can’t wait to go to Puerto Rico for the holidays this year.