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    I Hear San Francisco Singing: Poetry to ignore jackhammers by

    Here’s a little post- Independence Day digestif for San Francisco residents seeking inexpensive thrills in the Season of the Rich. Skip local poet-hero James Franco and turn to the American father of free verse, Walt Whitman. Yesterday afternoon, Pando’s John Dolan wrote an analysis of the debt Franco’s free verse owes to “Whitman’s worship of the ‘I’.” For San Franciscans gritting their teeth and yelling into their earbud microphones over the excruciating din of a construction boom, Walt has…
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    Lyft gets a shave and announces NYC service starting Friday

    Lyft announced today that it will begin offering its service in New York City for the first time on Friday evening. The service will only be available for rides originating in Brooklyn and Queens, though riders can then be transported up to 60 miles. Which sounds like a horrible deal for the 500 initial drivers, who may have to drive from Brooklyn to Manhattan and then make it back to an outlying borough for the next ride. Obviously, New York…
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    City Hall rejects plan for Pinterest to take over historic SF building

    Pinterest’s dreams of establishing a flagship San Francisco office in a historical building in Potrero Hill ended abruptly Monday afternoon. At City Hall, Supervisors Malia Cohen, Scott Wiener and Jane Kim of the Land Use and Economic Development committee voted unanimously to reject a bill that would have granted historic landmark status to the Design Center building, where Pinterest had arranged a lease for 311,000 square feet of office space. “This decision has to do with landmarks and not with…
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    Salesforce authorized to provide cloud services to the Federal Gov’t. Here’s why that’s a big deal

    In a move that could have big implications for the budding civic innovation space, this morning Salesforce became the first outfit to be granted authorization to provide both software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud services to U.S. Federal Government agencies. Before explaining why this is so significant, here’s some background on the government’s IT management system: Back in 2010, the Obama administration announced a “cloud first” policy for improving and cutting the costs of the government’s IT management. Because it’s the government,…
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    SF Class War 2.0 – Activism is iterating

    The “class wars” that erupted in a series of Google bus blockades over the winter seem to have subsided somewhat, or perhaps have just ceased to generate the click-rates to feature prominently among daily reader-chum. This relative silence is music (presumedly not the kind one makes with bullhorns and hand drums) to the ears of the tech industry and elected officials who’d prefer to be the glove to the industry’s hand. But forces are gathering in the quiet, and…
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    The FTC wants to regulate data brokerage: Where were they last century?

    This week in the-one-hand-knows-not-what-the-other-is-doing news, the Federal Trade Commission took a principled stand against data brokerages that collect user data across disparate sources and sell it on to enhance targeted advertising.  Never mind that, a mere 30-minute drive away from FTC headquarters, the NSA has been shown to be doing much the same, only more so. The Commission’s report, released Tuesday, bears the heading “a call for transparency and accountability.” Meanwhile, Edward Snowden is forced to laugh at Vladimir…
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    San Francisco’s QuickCoin – Bitcoin so simple, even Mom can use it

    There’s enough froth around cryptocurrencies to fill all the nightclubs in Ibiza many times over, but there has yet to emerge a killer app. Certainly nothing that will put the transformative power of Bitcoin in every mother’s virtual wallet, along the lines of what companies like AOL and Netscape did for adoption of the internet in the early-to-mid-’90s. San Francisco’s Quickcoin represents the newest and one of the most promising attempts yet to getting that see-saw moving, manifesting the Bitcoin…
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    Game on, San Francisco. City Hall no longer at war against Pac-Man and Donkey Kong

    When  Shawn Vergera and Tiffny Chung, the owners of San Francisco’s Blackbird Bar, were poring over paperwork relating to opening a second establishment, they found an inconvenient glitch in the city’s Planning Code. The new bar has a couple of gimmicks. First, it will serve only beer and wine and, second, it’ll offer an armada of arcade games. As SFGate gleefully points out, that would make it a “barcade.” Unfortunately, it was that second gimmick that threatened to screw everything…
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    OpenGov raises $15 million – Software prepares to eat Uncle Sam

    Yesterday, Mountain View startup OpenGov announced it had closed their Series B round of financing at $15 million. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Thrive Capital and Formation 8. The investment marks the first for Andreesen Horowitz in the civic technology field, and represents the maturing of the civic innovation market. The investment world has been slow to back the proliferating sector, similar to hesitation around other markets rich in red tape like healthcare and…
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    Activists march on the Googleplex to demand more transparency. Schmidt responds: “We get it”

    I was on hand yesterday afternoon for an activism jamboree of sorts, just outside the Googleplex, on the springy lawns of Charleston Park in Mountain View. A number of different groups converged to stage a rally before the start of Google’s annual shareholders meeting: An anti-eviction group, a government transparency group, an environmental group, local rally stalwarts the SEIU 1021 and… a Boston-based investment management company. There was a small plane flying a banner, one of those giant gym-class

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