Off in the distance, as seen from the top of a windy mountain road along the Northern California Coast, is the fabled Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley, once named for its large number of computer chip manufactures including companies such as Intel is now home to a large number of high-tech companies such as Adobe, Advanced Micro Systems, SanDisk, Yahoo!, ASUS, Palm, Tesla Motors, Netflix, and even Facebook. So what better way to evaluate a car loaded with technology than by taking a tour of some of the most prominent high tech companies of our time!
Our first stop was by the San Jose California Airport where San Jose State University has an airplane all painted up for what we can only assume is part of their Aviation and Technology department. More than anything it was a cool photo. So if you know exactly what this is all about, we would love to hear it! What does this have to do with technology? Well every engineer in Silicon Valley had to start at a school like San Jose State, so this is a fitting place for our tour to start.
Our next stop was by the world headquarters of the worlds largest online auction and shopping website, that's right, eBay. eBay was formed in September of 1995 and over the last 14 years has grown from one man and his personal website to a multinational multimillion dollar company that employs over 15,000 people. Also owned by eBay, and headquartered in this building, is the internet payment company of PayPal. You're going to need to know both of these if you want to purchase the truck blogged about directly below this one.
After leaving eBay we headed over to the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field. Founded in December of 1939 Ames is one of NASA's top ten major research centers. The Ames Research Center serves as mission control for many space exploration missions such as the Kepler mission and Phoenix Mars Scout mission. Ames is also home to several large wind tunnels, capable of testing full size aircraft, not just scale models.
Outside of the Ames Research Center we found this cool model of the Space Shuttle and had to have a picture with it. The Space Shuttle is still one of the most complex machines ever built by man and the technology in it is just astounding.
Next on our tour was the headquarters of Mozilla. This one took a while to find. We were expecting a large facility similar to eBay but were surprised to find nothing more than a suite in an office complex. The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that creates and maintains the internet browser that we should all be familiar with, Mozilla FireFox, among other software. Along with the Mozilla Foundation there is also the Mozilla Corporation that oversees the marketing, sponsorship, and distribution of FireFox. FireFox is taking over the world, better get on board!
After leaving Mozilla we took a quick spin past a Microsoft office complex. Microsoft is one of the largest software distributors worldwide with their Windows operating system and Office Suite. There is a good chance that every single one of you reading this right now is doing so on a PC running Windows and using Internet Explorer. So there is no need to really ramble about Microsoft. Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond Washington so we're not real sure what goes on in this particular office, and they weren't really wanting to tell us so we decided to move on and check out Apple.
It's only fitting that after visiting Microsoft we cruise by the world headquarters of Apple. No, not the fruit, Apple Inc., creators of the Macintosh (Mac) computer line, many popular software applications including Final Cut Pro and Garage Band, and of course the now famous iPod and iPhone family of portable music devices. The Apple campus is neat, to say the least, and is commonly referred to as "The Mothership". While there we made sure to check out the Apple Company Story and, sorry to say, resisted buying any new gadgets.
The final stop on our Tech Tour 2009 was the headquarters of Google, called the "Googleplex". What is Google you ask? Google it. (hahahahaha) The Google campus is sprawling to say the least. It seems that every building in the small town of Mountain View California has a Google logo on the door. Wondering how to find Google so you can check it out yourself? It's easy. Just look for Google Street, this will lead you to the main Mountain View campus. Or you can do as we did and search it on Google Earth, there's a button, go figure.
Across the street from the main campus of the Googleplex is where we find the Android. Google Android is an open source mobile phone operating system. Next to the Android is a Cupcake, this was placed there on April 30th 2009 to signify the release of Android 1.5, named Cupcake. If you really want to know more, Google it, it's a fascinating topic.
Ever wonder how they get those crazy close up photos for Google Maps Street View? We spotted these in a back parking lot at the Googleplex. Now we know.
Hope you all enjoyed our quick tour of Silicon Valley!