Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
79

Most locals just call it the City, when it's clear from context that you are talking about the local area. You could say: "I'm staying at a nice hotel in the City". This will be understood to mean "within the San Francisco city limits." (Incidentally, this is a smaller region than most outsiders might guess). In writing, capitalization is optional. ...


37

First, there's a "LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL" sign alerting you that you have 1/2 mile to exit before the toll. Then, there's a sign advising you to call 511 for "travel info" and "toll info." Not a particularly useful sign, but it does further indicate the presence of a toll ahead. Then there's another a "LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL" sign at the southbound Alexander ...


32

In fact, your potential for scenic views will be higher on virtually any mode of transportation other than the bus (plane, train, private car, boat). There is quite stunning scenery along the coast. Amtrak's Coast Starlight follows some of it, between San Luis Obispo and Oxnard, and a seat can be had for as little as $60 coach. But keep in mind that this ...


30

The natives called the San Francisco Bay area Ramaytush Awaste.


29

You have named some of the finest such buildings in the world. San Francisco has some attractive religious institutions to be sure, but nothing I would consider truly world class or on the same scale as a church that has been under construction for 134 years. That said, here are a few sights of interest though (inspired partially by this list, which has ...


27

You should definitively go to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View and especially check out the Stackoverflow plaque in the Computer History Museum Wall. See also the Meta SO thread about it.


26

Black vs African-American (and in written English, Black vs black) is a complicated language and cultural question without clear answers. Entire books can and have been written on the subject. This answer is one (not-black) person's opinion, and really diving into it is probably more of a matter for a site like english.stackexchange.com. But none of that ...


21

You will definitely want to visit Weird Stuff, which is an enormous warehouse of all kinds of discarded technology located in Sunnyvale. It's a bit out there, but very worth it. If you're interested in doing any archival research, you might also want to schedule an appointment with Stanford's Silicon Valley Archives.


20

San Francisco Airport-bound BART trains leave from all San Francisco BART stations and go to the airport without a change of train. It's a good idea to check the schedule, as trains may only run every 20 minutes outside of peak periods. Trains serving the airport will be say San Francisco International Airport (SFIA) on the electronic signs and announcements....


19

(Sorry for the late answer) I've spent about 3 months over the course of a few trips (2 months on my first trip), and I had a list of places I wanted to see. Not all of them are 'attractions' or the usual, but nevertheless something as a geek that's been looking at the things going on in Silicon Valley from a far most of my life I wanted to see: Computer ...


18

This will most depend on your own pace, so this is hard to predict. However, on Wikipedia we can find that the PCT association recommends 6 to 8 months for the entire trail. Starting near San Francisco (at Lake Tahoe, still hundreds of kilometres from San Francisco?), you seem to be able to start near the California Section K, which starts at mile 1092, out ...


17

The only real limitations are the meters themselves, some of which are active at unlikely times: read them carefully the posted signs about street-cleaning and such, so look for those signs and read them too -- the more obscure the rule, the more vigorously enforced it will be, so if the sign says "No parking 9am - 10am on the third Thursday of the month", ...


16

The Pier 39 California Welcome Center (as mentioned in this question) does offer luggage storage. It's $5/bag, 7am-9pm. I've never used the service, but it's run by the state's tourism promotion organization and I would expect it to be reasonably reliable. The catch is the location: it's Pier 39, which is an extremely touristy area, and it's not directly ...


16

So, I'll preface and say that if all else fails, just ask someone, like the staff at your hotel or someone on the street. People will generally be very helpful. That said, here's a station map of the BART: As you can see, all the BART train lines share a lot of the same stations on the San Francisco side, but you will want to be on the Yellow line that ...


15

Yes, the toll signs are plainly displayed, and at least two on any approach. You can fire up Google Earth or Google Maps, drag the "little man" figure to any of the blue lines on the map, and enter Street View (which are photos taken from roving automobiles with special cameras on their roof) and travel US-101 or Doyle virtually and see the signs for ...


14

Yes. Absolutely. Almost all that you mention and tips can be paid using credit cards in almost all of the USA. SFO is a major metro and I cannot think of any establishment which will not happily take your money in the credit card format. It helps to keep a few bucks in cash and the only areas that I think you will require cash for are : Alms : If you love ...


14

Why do they want item 3? Almost certaily so they can charge your card either now or in the future, and probably whether you show up or not. You should check what the cancellation terms etc are for this stay. You should also read this question, and note some of the risks involved in just emailing out your credit card details. As for ensuring the offer of ...


14

Container ships frequently enter the bay, but there isn't a continuous stream of them, so you may be waiting for a while for optimum viewing. You might want to use a ship tracking website (such as this one) to see what is coming in and out. This will show smaller vessels as well, but if you click on each ship, it will tell you its name and type, and often ...


13

TL;DR: Hire only on the days you're likely to need it. You'll almost certainly want a car if you want to get out of the city (Marin, Santa Cruz, Napa, redwoods etc), but if all you're doing is exploring the city, a car is unlikely to be worth the hassle. Getting around the city center with a combination of public transport, Uber and your own feet is easy, ...


13

You can drive, take a cab, there are buses, trains, probably even helicopters, but what most people use and which is designated for travellers going downtown is the BART. You have to cross the airport by foot or in the mini train shuttle (it comes every few minutes) to access the BART station. Once you get there, the price for a one-way ticket is 8.65USD to ...


13

I've actually hitchhiked tens of thousands of miles across North America, and while I haven't done any in the past few years (so things may have changed a little) I think it's certainly possible to do this in under two weeks. I've gone from Massachusetts to California in six days, for instance. What I don't have is any experience hitchhiking as a woman, so ...


12

Is visiting San Francisco viable in 5.5 hours? Only to do a drive through and not a very thorough one. Let's assume that you have your bags checked all the way through the destination and let's further assume that flights will be on time and let's even further assume that there is no traffic going to and from the airport. Under these circumstances it ...


12

There is no exit customs for ordinary travelers in the USA. The only reason I know of (and it does not apply here) is if you had a high-value object, like imported photographic equipment, on which duty is usually paid in the United States, and you want to register the serial number with Customs so that on return to the United States there is no issue about ...


11

If you love arcade games, you should get a bundle of quarters and go to the Musée Mécanique (Linking to yelp because their official site has auto playing music :S).


11

3 months seems like it would be on the tight side, especially if you're not an endurance athlete capable of sustaining a particularly fast pace every single day. The Pacific Crest Trail Association recommends allowing at least five months for the entire trail, and you're doing a substantial portion of it. The time will depend a lot on weather and other ...


11

There is no limit to the amount of cash you can carry in the United States. However, some caveats apply. First, if you (where you is either a single person or a group of people traveling together) are carrying more than $10,000 USD in currency (including foreign currency) or negotiable monetary instruments in or out of the United States, you must declare ...


11

https://www.bart.gov/guide/airport/oak For travelers landing at OAK, there is no need to purchase a BART ticket or Clipper card until after you arrive at the Coliseum BART station Platform 3, where you can buy a BART ticket or regional Clipper card from vending machines. The BART line between Oakland Airport and Coliseum Station is a people-mover "...


10

It's do-able, but you won't get a lot of time in the city. Unless you feel like paying for a taxi, your best option to get to the city is BART which leaves directly from the Airport. Presuming you're there on a weekday, BART leaves every 15 minutes (20-25 minutes evenings and weekends), and takes about 30 mins to the city. Allowing time to get from your ...


10

Almost all major hotels will do this. Conference centres will also make rooms available, especially if you are a conference attendee. The Moscone Center can provide these - they can also provide connection services if you also wanted to Skype from the room as well.


10

I'm surprised noone mentioned the book Geek Silicon Valley It's been a long while since I read it, and it's 5 years out of date (which is a pretty long time in valley terms), but it has a lot of the sort of thing you're looking for. I agree with other answers, by the way - the Musee Mecanique, the Computer History Museum, and Weird Stuff are all good ...


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