Aura – An Easy to Follow Self Driving Vehicle

My step-mom April Halberstadt attends church on the Santa Clara University Campus. Knowing my proclivity for chasing self driving vehicles down the Streets of Silicon Valley, she made a point of letting me know that there’s a self driving shuttle on campus.

Auro Self Driving Shuttle, Santa Clara University, Silicon Valley, USA
Auro Self Driving Shuttle

While recently in the neighborhood, I went to see what’s going on in Santa Clara and swing by the university campus. Most of what’s interesting to see is in or around the university. The city and university are centered around the mission. While on campus, I typically swing by the De Saissat museum- but I was too early on this visit.

Santa Clara University, Silicon Valley, USA
Mission Santa Clara

In any case, there was no sign of the self driving shuttle actually, I noticed there literally was a sign, literally (!) that I passed. But in any case, there I was minding my own business checking out the Mission building when up pulled the Auro. A young man seated  in the Auro (guess we can’t call him the driver) was asked by a lady passing by, so if you have to choose between hitting a pedestrian or a skateboarder what happens. At that point I chimed in suggesting the Auro should hit the skateboarder because they are more annoying. They then went on to discuss the “Trolley Problem” and I kept photographing.

Auro Self Driving Shuttle, Santa Clara University, Silicon Valley, USA
Auro Self Driving Shuttle

What was nice, from my perspective at least, is that the Auro is very slow. And that it has a route and stop right in front of the iconic mission. So after a few photos close up, I sat and relaxed at the fountain a ways back to get a more distant view. After getting a few sans vehicle photos eventually the Auro drove slowly towards me. In fact, another little similarly configured electric powered utility vehicle zoomed right past the Auro. The series of photos fit nicely into an animated GIF (see below.)

Auro Self Driving Car Race

Tearsheet

I was visiting my dad and noticed an image of mine on the cover of a flyer from Santa Clara University: Santa Clara University Impact- Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.

Tear Sheet
Tear Sheet

That image is available as stock for other uses- follow this link:

Silicon Valley, San Jose and the South San Francisco Bay Area as seen from the East Foothills (Michael Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Silicon Valley, San Jose and the South San Francisco Bay Area as seen from the East Foothills (Michael Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

Why would anybody photograph a parking lot?

——– update ——

Looks like the editorial photos here are of a parking lot in negotiation with Chinese tech company LeEco. There’s a story in Business Journal here.

——– original post ——-

Yahoo! Parking Lot, Santa Clara (M Halberstadt)
Yahoo! Parking Lot, Santa Clara (M Halberstadt)

Why would anybody photograph a parking lot? I was struggling for an answer to tell anybody if I was asked while conspicuously documenting an empty parking lot in Santa Clara.

Yahoo! Headquarters, Sunnyvale, CA (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt, M Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
Yahoo! Headquarters, Sunnyvale, CA (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt, M Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)

Turns out the answer is one of those Silicon Valley stories, a symbol of the tumultuous business cycle of the tech world. This particular lot is for the moment owned by Yahoo. Yahoo is ancient in Internet years- old enough to vote in human years is equal to centenarian for a search engine. And like a centenarian, the end is almost certainly near.

Yahoo Headquarters, Sunnyvale, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Yahoo Headquarters, Sunnyvale, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

In researching, I found that Yahoo had purchased the 48.6 acre lot in 2006 back when they were still making money and planned to expand on the site. They demolished the existing properties, and not having built up the site it now serves as a parking lot for the new nearby Levi’s Stadium.

Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Editorial Use Only) (Michael Halberstadt)
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Editorial Use Only) (Michael Halberstadt)

As Yahoo crumbles, rumor has it that the lot is going up for sale. The lot was originally purchased for $106 million I can only imagine how much more it’s worth a decade later.

Yahoo Bus (Michael Halberstadt)
Yahoo Bus (Michael Halberstadt)

Guess the short answer is it’s newsworthy.
P.s. the land is bound by: Old Ironsides Drive, Tasman Drive, Patrick Henry Drive, Old Glory in Santa Clara California

Get off My LAWN!

Get Off My Lawn

 (Michael Halberstadt)
“Get off My Lawn”, The Apple Garage, Silicon Valley (Michael Halberstadt)

I’ve been following up on usual shtick but from a bit higher on subjects that seem would make a difference. Two places that came to mind that would benefit from the elevated view my new pole setup has afforded me.

Both of the places on my list were at the top of Silicon Valley history. Two garages in fact. Though technically while chatting with a reporter after the death of Steve Jobs, that she was corrected and Apple started in the house and not in the garage. But legends don’t necessarily bother adhering to the truth. Unlike the last times I’ve visited these sites, they both retained a Silicon Valley tradition of putting up NO TRESPASSING signs.

Historic Garage Where Silicon Valley Was Born (Michael Halberstadt)
Historic Garage Where Silicon Valley Was Born (Michael Halberstadt)

In any case I started at the Birthplace of Silicon Valley. Already ahead of its time Silicon Valley was born to two fathers. The two proud dads were Bill H and Dave P- better known as HP.  They started out in a lovely Craftsman in Palo Alto. I got a few elevated shots and moved on.

"Get off My Lawn", The Apple Garage, Silicon Valley (Michael Halberstadt)
“Get off My Lawn”, The Apple Garage, Silicon Valley (Michael Halberstadt)

Next I headed to that other familiar haunt, the “Apple Garage”, where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started making the Apple I. Things there had changed a bit. I drove up to see a couple of signs stating PRIVATE PROPERTY – photograph only from the sidewalk. Of course I did, I had no interest in getting any closer than the sidewalk for what I was working on. But low-and-behold an old lady (figuratively) came out wagging her cane yelling (still figuratively) get off my lawn! I tried explaining the obvious, you are in a house that is where the largest corporation in the world started. It’s of historical value. And I’m not on the property anyhow. But she would have none of it. I felt sorry for her- she must have a constant flow of tech tourists invading her space.

Virgin Mary Statue, Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Michael Halberstadt)
Virgin Mary Statue, Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Michael Halberstadt)

Somehow I have to merge this story with another piece I’ve been working on. Santa Clara has been on my radar recently. Listening to KQED a while back there was a little story about Santa Clara. They updated their motto from “The Mission City” to “The Center of What’s Possible”. Sounds a bit more modern, yet smacks a bit of corporate jingleism to me. Basically I think they’re trying to convey that Santa Clara isn’t stuck in the past but is home to numerous tech companies, a fancy new stadium, Great America, etc. Looking at their webpage it’s kind of obvious Santa Clara needs some marketing help. They have a little box labeled “Santa Clara Events Calendar – Find things to do in Santa Clara!” That sounds great but the picture in the box is actually of OAKLAND!

No matter how you look at it Santa Clara is a small, kinda sleepy city in the South Bay. It has a few interesting landmarks and I tried to cover what I could the other day. The primary draws have been the Mission on the University Campus. There are a few small (& free!) art museums in town including de Saisset also on campus as well as the Triton across from City Hall.

Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Michael Halberstadt)
Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Michael Halberstadt)

In researching stock photo subjects I found that the nice little free museums are balanced out by some pretty expensive other attractions. I don’t care much for sports, but thought a trip to the 49’ers Museum would be a reasonable subject. But the cost to visit is $15, that may be not too bad for a rabid fan, but for a guy like me that actively looks for bars that don’t have sports on TV, no thanks!

Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Editorial Use Only) (Michael Halberstadt)
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Editorial Use Only) (Michael Halberstadt)

I finally managed to head over to the stadium and poke around. The good news was that when there isn’t an event at the new stadium the parking garage is free. I parked got a few shots from the top of the garage. Then headed down to walk around the stadium. There are some nice pedestrian bridges, bike paths and the like nearby.

Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Editorial Use Only) (Michael Halberstadt)
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Editorial Use Only) (Michael Halberstadt)

Got a few good stock shots there. But to quote our former governor “I’ll be back.”

Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Editorial Use Only) (Michael Halberstadt)
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley (Editorial Use Only) (Michael Halberstadt)

 

I’m Putting Silicon Valley on the Map

Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley

I’m Putting Silicon Valley on the Map

There was a time when explaining where Silicon Valley is took some effort. As an exchange student in the mid 1980’s I had to tell people I’m from near San Francisco. As a young man I worked at Flint Center on the DeAnza Campus in Cupertino. I recall looking at the map of a flyer for a show that was playing claiming they were in San Francisco, not Cupertino. Presumably that’s because in 1990 or so Apple Computer’s Designed in Cupertino wasn’t etched on something in every other US household and few folks knew where it was.

Zoom forward a couple decades and probably every other farmer in rural China has heard of Cupertino. Perhaps because they are the ones etching the logo on the back of our iPods, Pads and any other product beginning with a lower case “i”. No need to pretend I grew up near San Francisco, I can just say Silicon Valley and everybody knows exactly where I’m talking about.

In any case my daughter Ella was reading a book cover that caught my eye. It featured a close-up of pin on a map with some custom text. I already had an idea like that in the back of my head, graphically maps look nice. And I can make my own custom map highlighting the places I feature on SiliconValleyStock.com.

Just to cover my bases I shot verticals with room for type in the hopes of a book cover. And horizontals that work better on the web to boot.

Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley

 

Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley
Close-up of map of Silicon Valley