G’day mate – Aussie & American vocabulary comparison

It’s always a funny experience when I run into a language barrier with my American friends and work colleagues. Today, over lunch the 3 of us Aussies shared some terms we ran into which our American friends have / had trouble recognizing. In spirit, I compiled a list to get us Aussies accustomed to the choice of words to use when speaking with our American friends.

The list – vocabulary comparison

The following list of words are angled from an Aussie wanting to convey a message. Use the American column as a guide to see what an American will understand, and adjust accordingly.

Word American Australia
Boot Something that goes on your foot The trunk of a car
Texta { confusion } Say: marker A marker & also a brand
Thong G-String (the underwear) & something Borat wears A sandal held on the foot by a strip
Fortnight { confusion } Say: 2 weeks A period of fourteen consecutive days
Soft drink Say: soda/ pop / soda-pop Nonalcoholic beverage (usually carbonated)
Takeaway { confusion } Say: to-go Prepared food that is intended to be eaten off of the premises
Lemonade Drink made from lemon juice, sugar, and water – not carbonated Fizzy lemon drink
Arvo { confusion } Say: Afternoon The hours after 12pm
Pissed Very angry. Say: drunk Some who is drunk
Chemist { confusion } Say: Pharmacy / Drug store The place you buy medicine, shampoo, cough syrup and lotion
Ute { confusion } Say: Truck An automotive vehicle suitable for hauling
Napkin A piece of paper or cloth you use to wipe your face and hands when you eat A women’s sanitary product
Barbie It’s an anatomically incorrect female doll that comes in a pink box What you put beef, shrimp and chicken on to grill it outside
Rubber A contraceptive device An eraser

Employment tip

If you are using British syntax/terms (non American spelling) in your LinkedIn resume, fix it up immediately or crowd source it to an American to correct the grammar for you. Recruiters in Silicon Valley use LinkedIn to “keyword search” for potential candidates using the American grammar. So you may miss out on potential offers if you are in the market for a new opportunity.

Keep these differences in mind next time chatting with an American

An Aussie (me) with an America (SFFD)
An America (SFFD) with an Aussie (me)

If you have other words which you ran into please share them below in the comments section and I will add to the list above.

Happy conversing!

~ Ernest

Hacker Dojo – a community center for hackers and thinkers

Hidden in Mountain View, California, few minutes walk from Castro St (downtown) is one of a kind 13,000-square-foot (1,200 m2) community center and hackerspace. It is called Hacker Dojo. Every since finding this place I have been less frequent at Red Rock and more at Hacker Dojo where I am also a member and occasional acting staff.

HackerDojo logo
http://www.hackerdojo.com/

What is Hacker Dojo

Hacker Dojo is a community center for hackers and thinkers to meet, discuss, learn, create, build and play.

Hacker Dojo is a community center in Mountain View which is about 1/3rd coworking space, 1/3rd events venue, and 1/3rd a big social living room.  In the spirit of DevHouse, a physical community space for hackers and thinkers on the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a location for events, lectures, parties, BarCamps, DevHouses, LAN parties, hackathons, knitting circles, tinkering, brainstorming, coworking,  etc. While Hacker Dojo is technically a “members only” private club, they welcome visitors to many of the lectures and classes, and invite people to use the space on a drop-in basis as well. It is not a residential space.  The Dojo is a community space first and foremost – this means that the focus of the layout and activities is to lend itself to be a useful place to throw classes, host parties, brainstorm, and hang out. * Source HackerDojo

Hacker Dojo front entrance
Hacker Dojo greets you!

Hacker Dojo: Origins, Context, and Future

This slide is good at explaining the origins of Hacker Dojo and where the concept of hacker space is heading: http://www.slideshare.net/dweekly/hacker-dojo-origins-context-and-future

Why a community space and not home?

A number of reasons, but the most important one is that it’s very hard to study and tinker in an environment that is set aside for living, eating and sleeping – the home. Like they say to never study in bed since it’s used for sleeping and if you do you will disturb your sleeping pattern. Which is why libraries are effective as a study environment – not just for the quiet zone but because you are in an environment with positive energy that encourages education. Hacker Dojo is that environment with the energy and resources which encourages hacking, tinkering & learning. It just works. I’m sure there is a proper psychology explanation behind this but I’m sure you know what I mean.

Let’s look inside

Here are some snaps I took while attending a mobile development class and then later hacking in one of the private rooms. Click each photo for a full size version.

HackerDojo - Savanna
Hacker Dojo - Savanna

HackerDojo - Mobie Development class in 140B
Hacker Dojo - Mobile Development class in 140B

HackerDojo - 140B
Hacker Dojo - 140B

HackerDojo - Private rooms
Hacker Dojo - Private rooms

The dojo has it all for the nerd inside you

  • Ton of interesting and smart people either running their own startups or networking,
  • 3 bathrooms,
  • A kitchen with filtered water and all sorts of teas and occasional freebie snacks,
  • Library with a vast number of technical and business books – both new & old,
  • 6 x private rooms with whiteboards big enough to fit a team,
  • Top floor sports a living room style area where you can watch movies on a projector and kick back on a couch or bean bag,
  • Fully ducted air condition – perfect temperature year round,
  • Plenty of spare LCD screens to hookup your laptop to with converters,
  • Laser & injet printing facility (in Savanna room),
  • Fiber Optic Internet – fast up and down (see below). Great for working with remote servers.
HackerDojo Internet SpeedTest 2012-03-04
HackerDojo Internet SpeedTest 2012-03-04


Larry gives a video tour of the Dojo

Hacker Dojo is Located at

Address: 140 South Whisman Road in Mountain View, CA. (map it)
More info: http://wiki.hackerdojo.com/w/page/25437/FrontPage
Become a member: http://wiki.hackerdojo.com/w/page/25447/JoinTheDojo

Other Hacker Spaces in California

If you see me at the Dojo come and say G’day to this Aussie!

Hacker Dojo in the News

April 4, 2011 4:00 AM PDT
At Hacker Dojo, Silicon Valley techies build toward success
Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-20050179-52.html

~ Ernest

Things to do in Silicon Valley + San Francisco

Things To Do in Silicon Valley, The Bay Area & in San Francisco.

So you decided to visit Silicon Valley and/or San Francisco and want to know where to go. Here is a hand full of places in Silicon Valley and San Francisco you can visit during your stay. Of course there is plenty more to do and see then what’s listed below, but this should be a good start for you. Don’t forget to read public transport options so you know how to get around Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Things To Do in Silicon Valley (south bay)

Silicon Valley is suburbia, sprinkled like candy with many high-tech firm and great places to eat. It is nothing what you expect and must be experienced to be enjoyed.

University Avenue & Stanford University, Downtown Palo Alto
You can’t go wrong here. There are plenty of great restaurants to eat at, shops to explore and Stanford University is just round the corner (across El Camino Real).

Stanford University is enormous. There are plenty of free shuttle buses from Palo Alto CalTrain (on University Ave) which can take you directly to and around Stanford University. The University is beautifully located on a large piece of land surrounded by trees, grass lands and mountains. You can freely walk through the grounds and enjoy the Spanish-colonial style building architecture. Drop by the library and the gift shop if you want to get yourself some merchandise.

The road leading out of Stanford University is called University Avenue and heads directly into Palo Alto downtown. Downtown is full of great restaurants and shops.

Some of my favorites places to eat there:

  • Cheese Cake Factory – largest menu of choices you will ever see. And their cheese cake’s are like no other. Simply delicious.
  • La Strada Ristorante Italiano – nice little Italian place with great Seafood Marinara and delicious thin crust Pizzas.
  • Zibibbo – outstanding food & presentation and they know how to match the wine to your meal. They are a part of a larger group called Restaurant LuLu. Their San Francisco LuLu Restaurant is just as superb.

Castro Street, Downtown Mountain View
This is my home town and also another great place for dining and mixing with the locals.

Downtown Mountain View, Castro Street - one of the things to do in Silicon Valley
Downtown Mountain View, Castro Street – one of the things to do in Silicon Valley
  • Red Rock Cafe – if you want to feel experience a hackers atmosphere then this is the place to be any evening during the week. Grab an Avalanche (a better version of Starbucks Frappuccino), connect to the free wi-fi on your laptop and absorb the energy in the room. You will no doubt also find me there. Check out my post on Red Rock here.
  • East West Bookstore – known as a spiritual bookstore, it is the source for expansive ideas, a retreat from ordinary life, and a gathering place in support of community ideals and spiritual growth. It was founded by a monk by the name of Swami Kriyananda who is the author of over 100 books and the composer of over 400 pieces of music. If you are into spiritualism then you will find this place valuable + it’s across the road from Red Rock.

Some of my favorites places to eat at Castro Street:

  • Gelato Classico Italian Ice Cream – you won’t look at another ice cream again after having some of these. Try the Tiramisu Gelato, there is something super tasty about it.
  • Tomi Sushi – this place is a must for dinner. The sushi here melts in your mouth, it’s reasonably priced ($16 dinner combination) and the atmosphere & setup is authentic Japanese. including the chefs.

Santana Row
Santana Row is an upscale shopping, housing, dining and entertainment complex in San Jose, California. Westfield Valley Fair is located just to its north, on the other side of Stevens Creek Boulevard, and the Winchester Mystery House just to the west, across Winchester Boulevard.

High-tech companies to drop by for a picture

  • Googleplex – a must! Located at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View. You will see plenty of Google bikes around which the Googlers use to move around between the campuses. Something is always buzzing around here. From the T-rex in the courtyard, outside swimming pool to the university style feel atmosphere.
  • If you venture a tad down the road you will come across the Android complex with the large statue of the Android robot next to a cupcake and around the corner Mozilla & LinkedIn Corporations. If you run into some sheep don’t worry, they are working for Google eating cutting down the grass.
  • HP (Hewlett-Packard) & Symantec – because they are right next to each other on Ellis St in Mountain View and the HP founders are famous for having kick started what is known today as the Silicon Valley.
  • While you’re in Mountain View, check out the other tech companies located in Mountain View. There are plenty here!
  • Facebook is located on 1601 S California Ave, Palo Alto. Although there is not much to see from the outside. See my post on Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol (OGP) where I have included a picture of the building. Again not much to see but if you have it on your to-do list then why not.
Me at Googleplex for lunch - a must on the things to do in Silicon Valley
Me at Googleplex for lunch – a must on the things to do in Silicon Valley

For more high-tech companies in Silicon Valley mapped out on a nice map of the bay area, check out my blog post located here.

Attend a Meetup
If you have the time try to go to one of the popular meetup groups. There is always a buzz in the air, plenty of energy and interesting people to connect with + score a free pizza & coke. Read my prior blog post on which meetups to attend.

Recapping the popular meetups:

  • Hacker Dojo: Located around the corner from my place (in Mountain View) is a place for hackers to hang out and code. Also the home of Android weekly developer meetings and monthly presentations from cloud companies et al.
  • Googleplex: Hosting Silicon Valley Google Technology Users offers members who develop applications using Google technology to connect and present their projects.
  • Yahoo’s LAMP meetup hosted every month to share Yahoo’s engineering efforts and provide an environment to learn.
  • Stanford Bases: Stanford University’s entrepreneurship group is one of the largest student entrepreneurship groups in the world dedicated to cultivating the next generation of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond.
  • The Silicon Valley NewTech Meetup Group [SVNewTech] – always fills up in minutes once the reservations open with over 200 people attending each month.
  • The Silicon Valley iOS Developers’ Meetup – another one which fills up with over 100 people attending each month.
Things to do in Silicon Valley on a Google Map
Things to do in Silicon Valley on a Google Map

Things To Do in San Francisco (the city)

San Fransisco is a city of micro climates. You can notice the difference as you drive up 101 or 280 and the weather changes from a beautiful sunny day to overcast & cloudy. So check the weather online before setting off on you trip from the valley into the city.

Lombart Street & Zig Zag Street
Lombart Street is famous for having steep hills. The Russian Hill part of Lombart Street intersecting with Van Ness Ave is the start of the most steepest hill in San Francisco. It must be driven up to be experienced. As you drive look back for a second to get a glimpse of the street’s sharp inclination.

Once you reach the top, you will be greeted by the most famous “Crookedest Street in the World.” with a 40-degree slope and tight hairpin turns. It is lined with houses and beautifully manicured gardens. It’s worth walking and driving down it.

San Francisco - Lombart Street at night
San Francisco – Lombart Street at night

Fisherman’s Wharf
It is the northern waterfront area of San Francisco and a famous tourist location. It is best known for being the location of Pier 39 & it’s blubbery sea lions, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Cannery Shopping Center, Ghirardelli Square, a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, the Musée Mécanique, the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf, Forbes Island and restaurants and stands that serve fresh seafood, most notably Dungeness crab and clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. It is also the place where you can organize a trip to Alcatraz (ref The Rock movie with Sean Connery) – which is clearly seen from Pier 39.

Cobb’s Comedy Club
My favourite comedy club! Headliners who performed at Cobb’s Comedy Club are regular guests on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman. Many have their own comedy specials on Comedy Central and HBO and can be seen starring in movies and on television.
More here: http://www.cobbscomedyclub.com/

Samovar Tea Lounge
Fanastic place to start your day with a nice selection of teas. There are 3 unique locations: Samovar Yerba Buena Gardens, Samovar Mission-Castro, and Samovar Hayes. Yerba Buena Gardens is my favorite for it’s atmosphere and unique location.
Website: http://samovarlife.com/

Dinner

  • LuLu Restaurant – great service, reasonably priced food and always fresh and tasty.
  • One Market Restaurant – awarded a Michelin Star for its excellence. If you have extra cash laying around this place is worth a visit.
  • Burger Bar – never disappoints, if all you want is a burger. Try the Kobe Beef Burger – it comes from Wagyu cow and the Kobe beef is rich, tender and juicy and cannot be matched by any other beef.

Nightlife

  • Vessel – located in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square district, Vessel represents a luxurious lounge of signature San Francisco style and elegance.
  • RubySkye – another club located in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square district in the famed theatre district, Ruby Skye is San Francisco’s premiere Nightclub and Special Event Venue.
San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge. North of SIlicon Valley.
San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge. North of SIlicon Valley.

More Things to do in Silicon Valley?

This should keep you busy during your visit. There are also great posts by the Y Combinator team on things to do while you’re in Silicon Valley here:

Startup School – Things to do (other than Startup School)
http://wiki.startupschool.org/doku.php?id=having_fun_in_the_bay_area

Paul Graham – Where to See Silicon Valley
http://www.paulgraham.com/seesv.html

Steve Blanks – A Visitors Guide to Silicon Valley
http://steveblank.com/2011/02/22/a-visitors-guide-to-silicon-valley/

If you know / have heard of other cool places please share it with the rest of the readers here by placing it into the comments section below.

Happy exploring!

Other related posts of value:

Public Transport in Silicon Valley

http://www.theroadtosiliconvalley.com/transport/public-transport-commuting/

Major roads in Silicon Valley
http://www.theroadtosiliconvalley.com/transport/major-roads-silicon-valley/

Red Rock – hackers hangout
http://www.theroadtosiliconvalley.com/local-stuff/red-rock-hackers/

Ernest

High-tech companies in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California, United States. The region is home to many of the world’s largest technology companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, HP, Intel, Cisco, eBay, Adobe, Agilent, Oracle, Yahoo, Netflix, and EA.

The term originally referred to the region’s large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers, but eventually came to refer to all the high-tech businesses in the area; it is now generally used as a metonym for the American high-tech sector. Despite the development of other high-tech economic centers throughout the United States and the world, Silicon Valley continues to be the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development, accounting for 1/3 of all of the venture capital investment in the United States. Source: Wikipedia

I once came across this awesome map at SFO of Silicon Valley tech-companies distributed across the valley. And here she is:

High-tech companies in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley companies - click image to enlarge
Silicon Valley companies - click image to enlarge

The full list of companies can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Companies_based_in_Mountain_View,_California

~ Ernest

Red Rock Coffee – a place for hackers & coffee

Having visited many cafe’s in Mountain View and surrounding suburbs, Red Rock is by far the best cafe / hang out / study / hacking joint around. The atmosphere here is superb! chilled, relaxed, and filled with plenty of smart people either studying, meeting up or hacking code.

It’s a 2 store cafe. 1st floor is the cafe and sometimes where live music is played. 2nd floor is where people chill, the hang out area. Where it’s all happening. Most days it is filled with plenty of guys and gals on their laptops connected to the world-wide web while soft chilled music plays. The room has plenty of windows so natural light can flow in and naturally bath the room with light. Being in the heart of down town Mountain View, you can always jump out for a bite to eat and come back to this relaxed atmosphere. It’s an ideal place to be when you need to detach yourself from your local dwelling (home) and chilling out in a different environment where energy levels super high.

Internet? yes it’s free.

So not only is coffee, tea and The Avalance (my favorite drink) here great but they also give you free internet & plenty of free power points to plug your laptop in and start changing the world. With WiFi, you have a choice of connecting to either Google’s WiFi or Red Rock’s AeONsafe Free, Secured WiFi.

Red Rock from Castro Street
Red Rock from Castro Street - level 2 is where the action is, level 1 is the cafe with live music
2nd floor of Red Rock where hackers hang out
2nd floor of Red Rock where hackers hang out & local meetup.com groups meet

Location of Red Rock

201 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 967-4473

Links

Red Rock website:
http://www.redrockcoffee.org/

Red Rock on Yelp:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/red-rock-coffee-co-mountain-view

If you see me at Red Rock please drop by and say hi! I love meeting and connecting with like-minded individuals. I like to look at people I don’t know yet as friends I haven’t met yet. Say g’day to this Aussie 🙂

Ernest

Mountain View, the heart of Silicon Valley

After spending a good deal moving around between apartments, I decided to call Mountain View my home. Mountain View is a city in Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The city shares its borders with the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale, as well as Moffett Federal Airfield and the San Francisco Bay. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 70,708. For more information about Mountain View visit this Wikipedia article.

Downtown Mountain View, Castro Street
Downtown Mountain View, Castro Street - love the mountains

Downtown Mountain View is the place to be for food and hanging out at Red Rock. Great cafes, bars and restaurants are located on Castro Street. The picture above is of Castro Street. It’s always busy here even late into the night and you are surely going to spot a number of sport and luxury cars like Audi R8, Porsche 911 GT4 et al.

Downtown Mountain View, Castro Street
Downtown Mountain View, Castro Street
Microsoft bus shuttle service
Microsoft bus shuttle service thru Mountain View

Mountain View is a cute little town home to many high technology companies.

Tech companies located in Mountain View

Here is a list of high tech companies you would have heard or know of that have their head office located in my new home town, Mountain View.

Coupons.com
The leader in digital coupons, including online printable, social, mobile and loyalty card promotions. The billion dollar company, Coupons, Inc. is the driving force in transforming the multi-billion dollar coupon industry and ushering it into the digital world. http://www.coupons.com/

GooglePlex
Headquarters of the multinational public cloud computing, Internet search, and advertising technologies corporation. The company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, often dubbed the “Google Guys”, while the two were attending Stanford University as Ph.D. candidates.
http://www.google.com/

Y-Combinator
Y Combinator is an American seed-stage startup funding firm, started in 2005 by Paul Graham, Robert Morris, Trevor Blackwell, and Jessica Livingston. Y Combinator provides seed money, advice, and connections at two 3-month programs per year. In exchange, they take an average of about 6% of the company’s equity.
http://www.ycombinator.com/
Also the group behind extremely popular hacker news site:
http://news.ycombinator.com/

Symantec Corporation
The largest maker of personal computer security software. Symantec’s consumer antivirus and data management utilities are marketed under Peter “Norton’s” name.
http://www.symantec.com/

eLance
Provides an Internet virtual marketplace for freelancers and freelance agencies to negotiate work contracts with businesses that hire independent professionals and agencies.
http://www.elance.com/

LinkedIn
Is a business-oriented social networking site mainly used for professional networking.
Very common amongst business and technology professionals.
http://www.linkedin.com/
I’m on LinkedIn – let’s connect: http://www.linkedin.com/in/semerda

Mozilla Corporation
Developer of Internet-related applications such as the famous Mozilla Firefox.
http://www.mozilla.com/

Mint.com
Mint.com is a free web-based personal financial management service allowing users to track bank, credit card, investment, and loan transactions and balances through a single user interface.
Personally this is the BEST financial product I have ever used online!
http://www.mint.com/

23andMe
Privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company founded by Anne Wojcicki and married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
http://www.23andme.com/

Google WiFi for Mountain View is provided free of charge to all Google customers in Mountain View as part of Google’s efforts to reach out to their hometown. It’s not the quickest but it works well with Google Voice and when surfing the web at one of the cafe’s in the area. Look out for a WiFi connection called “GoogleWiFi”. Kudos to Google!

Me (Ernest) at Googleplex
Me (Ernest) at Googleplex

The full list of companies can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Companies_based_in_Mountain_View,_California

Who would have thought that one day I’d be passing every morning VeriSign, Symantec, HP and eLance on my way to work. And around the corner from where all these companies are is the Lockheed-Martin air base so I get to see some cool planes fly around. Still waiting for that UFO experience!

Ernest