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Living in Palo Alto before the Internet?!

Living in Palo Alto before the Internet?!

Inspired by a Quora question, naturally (embedded below):

What was it like to live in Palo Alto before 1990?

Despite its cozy, symbiotic relationship with Stanford University‘s computer science and engineering pioneers that stretched back decades, Palo Alto was much less monolithically tech-focused before the commercial Internet explosion of the 1990s. It formed the northern terminus of Silicon Valley back then (no, really; San Francisco was almost an afterthought to the tech community).

Peace, love, and 8-bit CPUs
While it was never quite as far out there as Berkeley, Palo Alto had a strong utopian flower-child streak. I knew kids named Oak and Sparrow.
Tonier than its South Bay neighbors such as Mountain View and Sunnyvale, it was pleasantly upper-middle-class, yet not “wealthy” on the whole (that would be Atherton or Los Altos Hills), housing a disproportionate number of educated professionals of all kinds — including many Stanford faculty, of course. (Professors and their families really lived in those beautiful homes of Professorville.)


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AP phone records, al Qaeda and civil liberties: thinking a couple moves ahead

AP phone records, al Qaeda and civil liberties: thinking a couple moves ahead

I’d like to avoid more senseless slaughter of civilians by terrorist organizations and more invasive laws passed in response to such atrocities—whether they involve obtaining library checkout records, monitoring data packets transmitted over the Internet, or what have you. If that means throwing the privacy of AP reporters’ phone records for these two months under the bus, so be it. Continue Reading

Copywrong: Brilliantly Disruptive Startups from Napster to Pinterest

The law simply hasn’t kept pace with the largest upheaval in the distribution and consumption of content in human history, which has taken place in less than two decades since the consumer Internet was born in 1994. To a large extent, members of the general public have little idea what copyright is, how it works, or how it applies online, if at all. Continue Reading

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