Cab Association Director Steps Down Over Obscene YouTube Videos

Categories: Angry People, Tech

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Twitter
Trevor Johnson
A San Francisco cab official famous for his tirades against ride-share services stepped down yesterday, after a series of offensive videos surfaced from his private YouTube channel.

The videos, which bore titles like "Smack Dat Ass" and "Stupid Bitches," feature Johnson slapping the buttocks of a female passenger, relating a vulgar story about a drunk man picking up a transexual hooker, and chiding seven inebriated women as they crowd into his 4-seater taxi.

They were leaked in an email to the Chronicle and various other news outlets, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates rideshares and other transit services.

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Google Glass-Wearer Claims He Was Attacked in the Mission District

Categories: Angry People, Tech
The war against Google Glass seems to have ratcheted up in San Francisco, with yet another reported attack over the weekend.

This time the alleged victim, a Business Insider journalist named Kyle Russell, seems somewhat less apoplectic -- and evangelistic -- than his counterpart, Sarah Slocum. At the very least, he chides himself for flaunting an expensive, computerized accessory in a neighborhood known for its animus against expensive, computerized accessories.

But Russell still became a polarizing figure after tweeting about the Glass thief who ripped off his glasses on Friday, and promptly destroyed them. After receiving condolences from friends, he was somewhat disenchanted when "the trolls and the anti-tech crowd showed up."

See Also: Here's A List of Bars That Bans Google Glass

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Appeals Court Overturns Conviction of Hacker/Troll Weev

Categories: Law & Order, Tech

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Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer
The Arkansas hacker who became a more pugnacious disciple of Aaron Swartz can go free, a federal appeals court ruled this morning.

The news prompted giddy headlines throughout the tech blogosphere, many of which treated Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer as a cause celebre. "Weev Is Free!" TechCrunch trumpeted. "Hacker Weev's Chilling Conviction Is Overturned," said the more measured headline on Huffington Post.

Journalists have assiduously followed the hacker's case since 2012, when a New Jersey jury convicted him of gathering the personal data of 140,000 iPad users from a publicly available AT&T site, and leaking it to Gawker. Weev said he wanted to expose flaws in AT&T's privacy settings, and maintained, in an impassioned speech delivered the day of his sentencing, that he'd been sent to jail "for arithmetic."

His obdurate stance and flamboyant media persona drew international attention, as did the timing of the case; it roughly coincided with the prosecution of famed hacker Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide before he could be tried for downloading academic articles from JSTOR. Both Weev and Swartz were tried under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a controversial law originally meant to discourage hackers from drilling past a firewall. In recent years, the government has used it to go after renegade programmers who feel compelled to make information accessible to the public.

That was the crux of Weev's case: It put a law on trial, in the guise of an individual. In the end, Weev's polarizing, trollish, douchebag personality was less important than the conflict he represented.

But the three-judge appeals panel managed to completely overlook that debate, when it vacated Weev's conviction this morning.

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UCSF Researchers Create Brain Registry Hoping to Find Cures for Neurological Diseases

Categories: Health, Tech

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Flickr/grapefruitmoon
Technology is being used to find everything from threesomes to voting. So why not use it to help understand our brains better?

Researchers at UC San Francisco have set about to do just that. Launched this week, the Brain Health Registry is an online database that streamlines the process of recruiting subjects for brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, and making that research from clinical trials available to the public. Rosenberg Alzheimer's Project as well as The Ray and the Dagmar Dolby Family Fund are funding the project.

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Candy Crush Maker to Sue Rival in San Francisco

Categories: Law & Order, Tech

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Two big players in a burgeoning market for time-sucking puzzle games will lock horns in San Francisco court instead of Hong Kong, a judge ruled this week.

That means lovers of Candy Crush, the obnoxiously colored Facebook app that allows users to mix and match their favorite sweets, won't have to travel far to watch its locally headquartered maker, King.com, battle an alleged copycat from Hong Kong.

In a complaint filed last August, King accused defendant 6Waves of copying the theme, look, feel, and graphics of two of its other, non-sugary games, Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. The defendant's versions were so blatantly derivative, King's lawyers wrote, that they even filched the plaintiff's cartoon character tutorials.

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Vomit on a Bus, Piss Away Your Credibility

The list of circumstances in which vomiting is the right thing to do is a short one. And, all but certainly, when vomiting is the right decision, it follows a procession of wrong decisions. 

On that note, protesters today all but literally vented their spleens upon a Yahoo bus and its occupants; if nothing else, this morning's nastiness marks the rare achievement first reached by Yahoo instead of Google. 

Often in life, what's most important isn't what one is for but what one is against. You can pick your friends. To a lesser extent, you can pick your enemies. 

Yahoo and its tech brethren couldn't pick better ones. 



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SF Supervisors to Decide Fate of City's $1 Agreement With Tech Buses (Update)

Update, Wednesday, 11:38 a.m.: In an 8-2 vote yesterday, the Board of Supervisors voted to deny the environmental appeal.

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The tech bus that puttered up to a group of Spandex-clad protesters at 24th and Valencia Streets today might face obstructions of a different kind, after the Board of Supervisors votes on whether or not to chuck its deal with San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency.

Last month, a loose confederation of political groups -- led by SEIU Local 1021 political director Chris Daly -- filed an environmental appeal with the board, claiming that the city didn't complete a comprehensive environmental impact study before approving its tech bus pilot program, which would charge the coaches $1 per squat to idle at Muni bus stops.

Because California Proposition 218 prevents municipal agencies from charging companies and then funneling the money into city coffers, SFMTA can only charge tech companies enough money to defray the cost of running the program. The $1 fee adds up to about $1.5 million for Muni over the course of 18 months, which seems inconsequential, when you consider the program's side effects: Opponents are apt to invoke the little old woman who has to hobble into the street to catch Muni, because a luxury tech coach is blocking her path.

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Google Glass: Horde of "Explorers" to Converge on Stanford Court Hotel

Categories: Tech

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Cocktail accoutrements
Graced with a certified persona non grata as its new public face, Google Glass has every reason to launch a charm offensive.

Granted, its latest tack -- an invite-only event publicized on Google's beleaguered social media platform, Google+ -- might not seem so charming.

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Sarah Slocum: New Video Reveals Troubling Portrait of Alleged Google Glass Attack Victim (Update)

Categories: Angry People, Tech

Update, 2:30 p.m.: Sarah Slocum responds. (See bottom.)

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KRON 4
Sarah Slocum, stalwart Glass evangelist
A newly released video of Sarah Slocum's February altercation at Molotov's adds yet another troubling dimension to the Google Glass martyr who claims she was attacked because of her wearable computer.

According to a new video released, before the incident got violent at the dive bar, Slocum hurled a slew of profanities at patrons of Molotov's who asked not to be video-taped by her wearable gadgetry.

"Wait, wait, I wanna get this white trash on tape for as long as I can," Slocum says in the video, pointing at a woman who, moments before, had accused her of despoiling the city. Slocum's profanity-sluiced tirade went viral after it appeared on Raw Story late yesterday:

Here it is:

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Supervisor John Avalos Slams Uber for War on "Fair"

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Twitter
Supervisor John Avalos
Taxi drivers beset by the undisputed Boss Tweed of car-hire apps have a new ally in San Francisco politics.

Or at the very least, they have the ear of a Supervisor who's grown disenchanted with Uber's ideological line.

"I have heard the word DISRUPT 5X today," District 11 Supervisor John Avalos groused, in an exasperated tweet following his meeting with Uber's corporate brass on Thursday. The company seemed steadfastly committed to its free-market credo, Avalos concluded. But it had a problem with the word "fair."

In a phone interview, Avalos described the encounter as a battle of opposing world views. He'd invited two Uber drivers and the company's public policy director, Jordan Condo, into his office to discuss future transit legislation. Avalos says that as soon as he brought up the specter of regulation -- something to make the industry a little more fair to all players involved -- Condo recoiled.

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