There is a conscious effort to make Google IO not just an information-dense environment, but a party. I joined in the fun for all three evenings I was free in San Fran. This included one photo-walk, one rock & roll performance, and one cross-faction Ingress event. Here are words and pictures.

Photo Walk · As in, the Google+ San Francisco PhotoWalk with Thomas and Trey, where T&T are short for Thomas Hawk and Trey Ratcliff, two photogs of renown at least on G+.

Over a thousand people signed up and a few hundred actually turned up. I heard 400-ish which, if true, means that each uploaded ten photos, more or less. The camera ecosystem seems vigorous, the photwalkers wielding everything from exotic monsters in the Alpa and Phase One flavors to the pocket computers that most actual photos are taken with these days. Here’s one of those:

Picture-talking on a San Francisco PhotoWalk

But wow, were there ever a lot of mirrorlesses in evidence.

While I took away a few general-purpose downtown-San-Francisco shots, I thought the most interesting local subjects were the photographers at work, for example here:

Street guitarist being photographed

After about 800 pictures of this grizzled rocker had been taken I laid a couple bucks on him and I hope lots of other photogs did too.

Is this a great-looking photographer or what?

Photographer on a San Francisco PhotoWalk

This was my first-ever PhotoWalk and I’d like to try it again, on a smaller scale.

Rock and Roll · I strolled into the Google IO after-hours party not knowing who was going to be playing — rumor had suggested Daft Punk — and thought, as I walked in, “that looks like Billy Idol”; and so it was.

Billy Idol at Google IO

Billy’s in good shape and moves well even if the years haven’t been kind to his face. I have a lot of respect for straight-ahead hard rock played unironically and well; some fools think that’s an easy thing to do. Billy’s band did, and while a few of the tracks were flat, everyone’s gotta love the chestnuts like White Wedding and Mony Mony.

And then they played LA Woman. I’ve always loved that song for its loping rhythms and chromatic crescendos and genuine menace, but (I realized) had never heard it played live by a competent rock band. I am sincerely grateful to Billy and the band for doing it up just fine.

Billy Idle at Google IO

When a rocker’s playing a corporate gig I guess they have to throw in a few words for the crowd to illustrate that they know where they are. So Billy said something along the lines of “Hope you guys go out there and have good luck with your apps. Some of the money I get for doing this will probably go into them. Isn’t it great to do the thing you most love to do and get paid for it?” It is! I was actually sort of touched.

Ingress · My first ever Ingress cross-faction event. Sixteen or so portals scattered round San Francisco were designated as special and the factions could score by enfielding or owning them.

My own Resistance faction wasn’t remotely organized and so we got our butts kicked; but, as usual with Ingress, I saw some places I wouldn’t have otherwise seen, and met some people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.

My own little role, admittedly in a side-show, was wildly entertaining and I’ll write it up separately. Here are a couple pictures from the closing ceremony down by the Bay Bridge, processed into what I fondly hope is a vaguely Ingress-y style.

Here, a boat pulls up to the pier to deliver a couple satchels-full of prize goodies.

Ingress cross-faction meetup prize delivery

It was kind of nice, if chilly, to be down by the bay with this wildly-random assortment, both IO geeks and local San Fran Ingress nerds. Thanks to Niantic for a decent night out.

I’m thinking “Virtual Light”

Yes, in between the fun, meaningful technology happened and there’s more to come; but the pictures aren’t as good.

author · Dad
colophon · rights

May 16, 2013
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