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A Weekend in Silicon Valley

31 January 2016

After two weeks in Silicon Valley it was high time to check out some of the famous tech places in the area. This Saturday me and Vidar checked out the Google HQ in Mountain View. Mostly the area is just a couple of locked buildings of course, but I still think it’s really cool to be so close to where some of the most significant inventions in the resent years were built. And in addition to this the area was beautiful, with lots of parks and playful designs. The colorful Google Bikes were very cool and of course we borrowed two to use for getting around in the area.

We biked around, visited the park with the Android lawn statues and tried to get into the visitor center, but currently you need to be escorted by an Google employee. The campus is also known to have extremely good food, but like with the visitor center you have to know an employee to get to it. Instead we found a small Pakistani and Indian restaurant (using Google Maps), which was popular and crowded. The food was amazing and after that we were ready to continue to the next stop, the Computer History Museum.

And it turned out to be one of the more interesting museums I’ve ever visited. One of my favorite aspects of it was that they went way back. Instead of starting when the first analogue computers were invented they had a section even before that. This makes sense since people of course made calculations long before the modern computer. They had a demonstration of one of Charles Babbage’s machines he never finished building (the one that they demonstrated was built long after his lifetime to check whether it would actually work) and it was absolutely fascinating to see how the complex mechanical design worked. It made me think that in some ways it’s a shame that we have lost so much of that. I’m a big fan of the minimalistic Apple design, but perhaps there is room somewhere for a bit of steam punk as well.

I also enjoyed the story of the birth of video games, the beginning of the Internet and of course everything related to Steve Jobs. The Apple II was there along with the original Machintosh. Perhaps the museum was a bit bias when telling their story about the development of computers over the years, but it’s definitely true that a lot (probably most) of modern computing was invented in this area and it’s so cool to be able to live here for a little while.

Today (Sunday) we didn’t do too much, but we decided to pay a visit to Facebook HQ at the pretty amazing address 1 Hacker Way (still doesn’t beat Apple Campus at One Infinite Loop though). The offices weren’t as cool as Google HQ from Saturday, but at least we got some photos in front of the facebook sign. And speaking of photos, be sure to check them out below. I always write something about each photo.

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