Day 82-84: Google, Computer History Museum and Sancramento

We left San Francisco and ventured into the ever so slightly more rural parts of California. Eventually, we want to do the coastal road connecting San Jose and LA but before that, we want to see the National Parks of California, and so we need to head East.

These couple of days were more Dan’s fantasy than mine, but I think I managed to appreciate it as much as a computer novice could. We made our way over to California’s Google offices in order to have a little experience of Silicon Valley. The offices were very much as we expected them to be; sleek, slightly hipster and futuristic.

The first thing we noticed was that there were Google bikes everywhere. Nothing too special about them, except that they offered the workers free transport.Dan was telling me that the workers can just leave them on the side of the road anywhere once they were finished, and they would be picked up and returned to Google offices. That would be super cool for the workers. 

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Then it just got cooler.

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That last picture is a Google Self-Driving Car. Apparently (I’ll say apparently until I can catch a lift in one of these) you can sit back and take a nap, while the car does all the work for you. The only annoying thing is we kept seeing the drivers meddle around with joysticks in the cars, so maybe they’re not completely self-driven? Either way, they blew our mind! 

We spent a good hour talking about what life would be like if all cars were replaced with google cars. Infants sitting in the drivers seat, taking a nap while heading to work so those hours are no longer a waste of life. You could commute much further to work, as you wouldn’t have to do the commuting yourself. And less road accidents. Seeing those cars definitely told us that we were in the future. 

The Google mascot is a dinosaur, which seems cutely ironic, as Google is all about the future.

From here, we went to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. If I seemed at all ignorant just now, its about to get much worse. I did not have a clue here. I knew nothing. Dan loved it all, so maybe he’ll re-do this blog post, but until he does, you’re gonna have to see this museum through my eyes.

They had several things.

They had a Google Car, as modeled by Dan.

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Then they had a giant cigarette dispenser.

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Then some giant cassette players.

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Some mini beer kegs.

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Some TNT.

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Some cheap Christmas lights.

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Some large pennies that hadn’t been stamped with anything yet.

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An extremely white man offering money to any woman who could sew the fastest.

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An exposed washing machine. Everyone was going crazy over this one. It just went round and round.

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A flask with a complicated stirrer.

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A fun game where you had to guess the correct time each morning before work.

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And the most annoying piece of technology to ever be invented.

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Yeah, I didn’t get it. After about an hour, I went to the gift shop. It was a well ventilated building.

After the very modern, we went to the very old fashioned. We drove (in a manual car unfortunately) to Sacremento, where we would be staying for the next two nights. A woman named Dora agreed to host us on CouchSurfing while we were there. Sacremento has a section within the town that pays homage to the days of gold mining in the area. It shares its history by letting you walk through the shops as if it was the late 19th century.

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I liked the place, but if you don’t have the money to go shopping, you begin to get a little bored wandering around. I eventually stumbled into a fortune tellers shop. I don’t personally believe in fortune telling, but I have to give her credit for her calm demeanor when speaking to me. I could have easily spent an hour talking to her, mainly because she was chilled, but a little bit because I’m slightly narcissistic. She told me that I will not have a great amount of sickness in my life – score!

That evening, we had a chance to speak to Dora about politics. It’s a very obviously contentious topic to be discussing at the moment as things are getting more and more tense closer to the election. I don’t like bringing it up either as it seems a bit hoity toity of me to come stomping into someone’s country and start discussing their politics with them when I barely understand them myself. Dora seemed pretty open to the idea though, so we used it as an opportunity to quiz her on her views.

One topic that came out of our discussion was America’s use of guns as Hillary opposes the use of them. As a Brit, it seems absurd that everyone should own a lethal weapon in their homes. I’ve grown up without a gun in my house, so having one now would make me feel more unsafe, if anything. Dora is someone who has grown up with guns in the house, so she had the view that if everyone around her has a gun, then she would compromise her safety not having one.

I can’t justify it in my head, but I can’t think of a plausible solution to it now either. The guns are out there and people own them. How would they ever manage to reel them all back in? Apologies for this blog suddenly becoming very somber. To anyone worrying back home, Dora was very sane, just like 99% of gun owners I’m sure. If you’re still worried, we’re not staying with Dora anymore.

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