photo by Liam

photo by Liam

Meet Echa Schneider: Library Nerd, Pinballer, and Oakland Blogger

Echa Schneider, web developer at Oakland Public Library, used to hang out in Reed College’s rec room dropping quarters into a pinball machine. It was Medieval Madness, she remembers, and the object of the game was to  knock over a castle. A Classics major from Texas and Louisiana, she was roped in by the ecstatic noise, the flashing lights,  the wobble of flippers, and the tilting, what she calls “artful nudging.” It launched her into the world of pinball, and soon tech, where it’s all about taking a plunge. “I just start,” she says. “I love figuring it out, playing the game to figure out the rules.”  Read more

#VatorSplashOakland: 5 Oakland Startups to Watch Out For

Start-ups and venture capitalists are meeting up and mingling at this year’s Vator Splash Oakland.  It’s like watching speed chess:  They’re playing a very intelligent game at an audacious, breakneck clip. Everyone’s hustling and trying to win the future, rebuilding the way businesses work, the way cities work. It can get especially heated, given the ongoing Silicon (V)alley, price-per-square-foot war pitting Oakland vs. San Francisco vs. everyone else. (“Let’s make this arbitrage happen,” emcee Ezra Roizen said at one point.) It puts a whole new spin on “painstaking,” but it’s thrilling to watch. What’s the next move going to be?  Read more

#Oakmtg: Meet the Hashtag Warriors of Open Government

On Twitter, "#oakmtg" is used as a shorthand for local politics and a pulse-taker of bureaucratic boards, councils, and committees. The hashtag became a way to tap in to an active community in Oakland with an activist-bent, and it quickly and quietly amassed a loyal following.  Read more

The Immunity Project tackles HIV and AIDS — From Right Here in Oakland

Oaklander Naveen Jain may have stumbled on a groundbreaking idea:  Anyone can be a superhero. Because instead of super-speed or impossible strength, these heroes can beat the deadliest virus on planet Earth. HIV controllers, the 1 in 300 people who have a natural immunity to HIV, are the closest we’ll get to comic books, Naveen says. With The Immunity Project, a bio-medical start-up, he wants to give that “biological superpower” to the world, using controller genes to make a free, effective HIV vaccine.  Read more