My network was down and so I headed over to the library to get some work done. It was surprisingly cosy, pleasant, and welcoming out on the sidewalk on Middlefield Road. Free wireless, cafe tables with umbrellas, and really good music on decent speakers… the only thing missing was an espresso cart. About 30 high school kids were there in a nebulous swarm, chatting, and I’d say over half of them texting on their cell phones. Something was being arranged… a lot of them were waiting for some other group which finally showed up and they all went into the library.
I remarked on the niceness of the “internet library cafe” to this guy in the photo and then on impulse was like, “Hey! Can I blog you?” He was slightly taken aback. “Yes.” (unspoken: wtf! why is this little riot nrrd taking my photo? ) He (Bob) seemed like he could handle it just fine. Alas, I looked at the web site on his card and there’s nothing there! But now I’m totally wondering if he’s This guy and we were totally sharing a technological and social infrastructre? Or was he this guy and I could have had a fascinating conversation about the Khmu dialects & linguistics? Or is he the CTO of this company? Maybe he’s ALL OF THEM…. But if so, what’s with the cheap Vistaprint card and broken web site, dude?
Menlo Park… Palo Alto… check… tons of laptops. Redwood City? Not so much. I guess we’re gentrifying. I hope the town doesn’t lose its cool character as it gets richer and more silicon-valley-ish.
I wish some of those teenagers would have given me their myspace addresses.
Work on my thesis was horribly derailed by the lack of network at home – and by my having to pound on fixing it all day long. (After a lot of floundering, labelling everything in our co-housing network closet, 2 calls to comcast, and buying a new router, which helped, it finally was solved by upgrading my airport firmware and a restart/reset.)
The great thing about the library net cafe: I felt like it was really a public space, being used properly. A public square. There were no obnoxious rules, you didn’t have to buy anything, you didn’t have to be there for a particular reason. You could just hang out. No one came to give the teenagers a hard time (I *hate* that when I see it, and always speak up to point out how dumb it is.) We all spoke to each other – kids, guy in suit, and the kind of skeevy looking hairy guy in the painty shorts who was regaling the kids with stories of past drug busts as they tried to control their eye rolling and smirking and kind of failed. Anyway, it’s a really nice public space. And right across from City Hall, too!