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Hackers swarm 'Super Happy Block Party' in Palo Alto

Original post made on Mar 31, 2012

Hackers, artists, entrepreneurs and self-proclaimed geeks of all stripes staged their own Occupy movement on a downtown block of Palo Alto Saturday afternoon -- though in this case, city officials were in on the game.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, March 31, 2012, 9:03 PM

Comments (11)

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Posted by paltan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Were the venture capitalist appointments advertised?? I wish I had known! Any VC's up this late?

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Posted by TanyaHarding
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I bet some one hacked those elevators?

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Posted by Tumescencious
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Web Link not smolder

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Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2012 at 10:59 am

Too bad I only found out about this event after it had occurred. Where was it advertised?

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Posted by Jon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

They should do this every 6 months, invite more people and take over University. Move other Burning Man....

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Posted by Silicon-Valley-Is-About-Innovation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2012 at 11:38 am

The term "Hackers" is poorly chosen, given that has become associated with illegal access to information on supposedly secured computer systems.

There was a yearly meeting of programmers and systems designers in the mid-1980s, also called "Hackers". It was usually a three-day event, that required an invitation for entry. It was useful at the time for networking, and sharing of ideas, but the sessions stopped when the group's organizers lost interest.

A better name for such an event would be: "Innovation!" or "Innovation and the Future". While Palo Alto City Government is hardly the right partner to be involved in anything like this event--given its long-term hostility to Information Technology, and the capabilities of the Internet, local VCs, on the other hand, would be well-advised to become the sponsors of such an event. The local Chamber of Commerce would be good sponsors too--if they were not just a voice for the real estate/property developers in town. And the so-called "Business Improvement District" could be a sponsor, except that it is simply in business to gauge membership fees out of the businesses, while providing nothing of value in return.

Because of Google, and Apple, and the Internet providers, the world has changed a lot in the past twenty years. Technologies like "Facebook" have emerged from no where to disrupt brick-n-mortar business (like the Post Office and news media) and even may have a distorting effect on first generation Internet technology--like e-mail.

Older Palo Altans, still clinging to paper-based technologies, are definitely in need of "education"--not only to the current capabilities of the Internet, but also to get a vision of what is coming next. Of course, Youtube is a good place to put this sort of information, but street faires have been around for 1500 years (or more).. so they are a good place to meet and greet and give folks a taste of the future.

Palo Alto City Government definitely needs to get a new point-of-view about how to deliver services. To what extent this sort of event will shake loose a few cobwebs at City Hall is an open question.

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Posted by Richard C. Placone
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I support the idea of giving this event a different name. I also seriously doubt that the City of Palo Alto should be a sponsor, beyond granting the request to block off High Street. It's beyond me why the city thinks it must be involved in everything like this - it's "so Palo Alto". I'm one of the older residents, but am fairly up to date on IT, though I choose not to use all of it, as the various social networks - I just don't want to be that connected to the world. If this event had another name, I might have attended. I'm one of those who associates "hackers" with something very bad and potentially dangerous. Glad to learn this is not what is behind this event.

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Posted by a local
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm

to @ Silicon-Valley-Is-About-Innovation

Hackers did not stop, it moved. It's alive and well.

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Posted by Jackie
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I never know when Palo Alto is joking, or when it's being serious. The truth in this community is often stranger than fiction.

This article was in the Daily Post last Saturday. But the Post only reports half of its stories accurately, as a rule. So I thought for sure this sounded like an April Fool's Day prank, until I saw today's Post cover photo, and the article about the event.

The City was a sponsor? I too, wonder why this wasn't reported anywhere else, and sooner. One would think the Weakly would have reported this last week. But then, the City is one of the Weakly's biggest advertisers, from what I hear, so perhaps it was beneficial to everyone fo this to go unreported prior to the day of the event, keeping those that complain about everything away.

I like the name as it is. I, like Rich Placone, associate "hackers" with something bad. But anyone that would show up to this event, and participate, is a good hacker, a cooperative hacker, a thinking hacker. Not devious and secretive.

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Posted by Silicon-Valley-Is-About-Innovation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

> I too, wonder why this wasn't reported anywhere else, and sooner.

It was reported in the on-line blog "Tech-Crunch" about two weeks ago. Tech-Crunch is kind of an "insider's" blog, so not too many people outside the Silicon Valley "glitteratti" read it.

If there is continued interest, maybe the sponsors will do a better job of getting the word out in the future.

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Posted by Took a licken, but still ticken
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

Ah but it was advertised online and it was talked about beforehand in the Palo Alto Weekly.

The registration filled up very quickly.

My only complaint is that it expected one to use Facebook, to register - but if you by choice have decided not to use Facebook for personal or business reasons ,then it was difficult, but not impossible to do. ( Contrary to their wishes, Facebook, Twitter, Google and all of the other social networks connected via oauth are not the official identity source of the world inhabitants nor should they be the only registration option offered. What this event did illustrate is the preferences and / or prejudices of the event organizers.

BTW - Just for the record - my body may have aged, but the brain still works just fine. Not every older person living in Palo Alto has been left in the paper world. Who do you all think invented so much of the underlying technology then and now in Silicon Valley and elsewhere ? Old does not mean stupid, slow and technophobic.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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