Friday, September 04, 2009

A few weeks back a lady from the BBC was interviewing us at Dana Street.

Well, I finally got a chance to listen to the blog post she made. I learned a little about the area myself so thought I would share it. In particular, there is a wonderful interview with some of the Olsons. Here it is. Have a listen. (Update: looks like the podcast download is broken. Reported it. I'll update this if I can find a fixed link.)

It reminded me how lucky I am to have been brought up here.

I may complain that it is impossible to find enough Obscure Sports in Silicon Valley to fill a quarterly blog post, but no one will stop me from making my own. Incidentally, after doing a little research, I have to say that San Francisco's little pinky toe forgets more about obscure sports every day than Silicon Valley ever knew.

Listening to that interview might also make people who grew up here a little sad considering what has been lost in the area.

I'm still finding cool things here, and I took some pictures of one of them. The Palo Alto Electric Car Show is held at Palo Alto High School every year, and for the last three or four years I have remembered to go. It's about 75% homemade vehicles and 25% commercial stuff, and there is always a test track where you can play with the smaller/slower things, like scooters, or...homemade joystick-controlled automagically balancing lawn chairs...

Daily Commuter Solar Trikes:

Model (T?) Conversions:

And a wildly fun electric bike-board product that rides like a combination of motorcycle, skateboard, and surfboard:

Tom has a great opportunity if he can market that thing. It's called the Zummer. I got to ride it and it's a blast and a half. I was grinning like an idiot the entire time. I could potentially even commute with it on the train. I hope all his business needs is some marketing money and a little economy of scale.

That's really the meat of it. Just incredibly neat stuff. Terrific fun. Even practical in some cases. Most of it built by entrepreneurs and enthusiasts on a shoestring. I didn't meet anyone who wasn't discussing their designs, or open to it.

I hope I'm not being too dramatic here. I really felt like I started to understand what Charlie Olson said. We don't have a lot of farms or orchards anymore. We have smog. And we have this.

Other stuff:

The guy who sells the conversion kits for my model of miata was there, too, but the price is still a bit steep (read: I'm still not wealthy). Still, I can dream. I took a few snaps of the commercial products as well...




I forgot to take a pictures of the Smart. It may not have been one of the factory conversions anyway. However, I did see a Cheap Copy of a Smart From China that the owner had to rebuild for safety reasons that would be embarassing to the guy in the electric lawn chair:

If making stuff was a sport, I could blog the Silicon Valley Making Stuff Sports Daily and I would have to become a cutthroat editor just to shrink it down. I used to go to more than one geeky "meetup" per day when I was in between jobs in the 90s, and we've come a long way from those days.