So Much Silicon

Being a bit of a technology geek, one place I’ve always wanted to visit is Silicon Valley.  Stretching southwards from San Francisco to San Jose, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley are home to many of the world’s major computing and technology organisations. Birthplace of companies like Apple, Adobe, Google and Twitter, breeding ground for new ideas at universities like Stanford, and host to big annual tech events like MacWorld and WWDC; the SF Bay Area really is a slice of geek Mecca.

So I’m pleased to say that I’ll be spending the next week or so here.  I’m actually here for the Adobe Summer Institute, a 5 day conference and workshops held at Adobe’s San Jose offices as part of their Education Leaders program.  We get to spend all week immersing into the serious end of fun stuff like Photoshop and Flash.

This afternoon I visited Wikispaces, a company based right here in San Fran only a few blocks from my hotel.  Wikispaces put a message out on Twitter a while back asking for volunteers in the bay area for anyone interested in taking part in some usability testing for some new Wikispaces features.  Purely on the off-chance, I dropped them a line and mentioned I’d be in SF in mid July, and Adam from Wikispaces replied back to say sure, drop in and be part of it.  So I found my way down to their office this afternoon, met Adam, James and Jess and spent about 90 minutes doing some really interesting usability testing, talking about some cool upcoming stuff in their products and having a great chat about usability, interface design and web navigation in general.  It’s always good to chat with super smart people doing cool stuff, so I was really pleased to have had the opportunity to drop by.

I had a bit of a wander around Union Park, dropped into the Apple Store on Stockton to leech a bit of free wifi while I listened to some of their free presentations. Then it was back to the hotel for a couple of hours of sleep before going for a walk through Chinatown and up to North Beach.  The place was buzzing… but I really do hate traveling alone!  There’s something about sitting in a restaurant on your own that is just kind of pathetic… Instead, I bought a couple of hot pizza slices and kept wandering, taking in the atmosphere, trying to appear only slightly less pathetic.

Anyway, I’ll try to put up a few short posts while I’m here just in case anyone is interested.  Big day of sightseeing tomorrow, and still trying to wrangle a visit to the TWiT Cottage on Sunday to meet @leolaporte… not sure if that will come off or not, but it’d be kinda fun if it does…