Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Only in Silicon Valley: License Plate Sightings in the Field

Driving around silicon valley on routes 101 and 280 ("The 101" and "The 280" if you're from California) you can't help but notice this isn't like the rest of America.  You'll see dozens of Priuses and Teslas... and still the occasional Fisker.  But what really drives-home the fact that this is northern CA are the Vanity plates.

Herein I will only post plates that I personally see. And I see a lot. To wit:

Webmaster1 - yes, I believe you were #1... because this car may have been around since Tim Berners-Lee invented the web.

Ethernet - This was parked right around the corner from where I live. I'm thinking the car also dates back to the first time that a 10baseT got plugged in...  And it turns out - indeed - that it was owned by David
Boggs, co-inventor of the internet!   Only in Silicon Valley... 

Patent: This one speaks for itself. Their other car is probably a Bentley.

WebApp.  Microcode for a microcar?

1E4 Gauss. That's a Tesla.... literally and mathematically.  James Maxwell and Carl Gauss would be proud of ya'.

Apple. No, not Steve's car. But I'm sure they've had multiple offers for this plate. Wondering how many times it's been stolen.   Oh... and years later, I see the owner made a major hardware upgrade! 

I Debug. What Claudius the engineer says. One classy coder.

Byte Law. I take that to be a metaphor for Shark Attorney. Nice Karma.

Silica. His wife's car is plated SiO2. I have to wonder what form of the compound he made his fortune with. (Perfect for a Blog post with the word "Silicon" in it).

PWR V*I. Another apropos Tesla vanity plate right around the corner from me. What? That's a Watt.

Nfobahn for the autobahn.  But is the Benz speedier than my 2 gig WiFi?

CMD SHFT. Now that car's got to have an awesome function keystroke.

Net Sclr. Judging that this was taken in a Citrix parking lot, I'm guessing this guy has something to do with NetScaler.  That's auto load balancing for network traffic, not load balancing for automobile suspension in traffic.

Cloud C. [Guest submission] Wow, just wow.  Thanks @geoffarnold

UX Dzinr. [Guest submission] And that's quite a user experience you're driving Mr. Designer. Thanks @susanwu88. Recently saw this guy in my neighborhood. So I'll take credit for the sighting, too.

SMB Guru. [Guest submission] Yep, that's his thang. Billboard or vanity plate? Thanks @AnuragTechaisle

ARM Pwrd. Oh boy, that's a RISCy vanity plate. 

SUNW. A bygone ticker preceding a bygone ticker (JAVA) for a bygone company (now ORCL) that held a special place in my heart. Alas, it didn't look like Scott was the guy driving.

iPodded. You did?  I was unaware there was a past tense of a noun.

BEA Number 1.  BEA… fastest SW company to reach $1B. And this is a Proud Man (and the ex-BEA CEO). Go Cardinals.

PA VC. Either cute spousal initials… or a Palo Alto Venture Capitalist? You decide.

I Binary. And I think he was doing 100 in bumper-to-bumper traffic on RT 101. (Get it?) LOL.

Java Fun. Love this one. And it ain't about coffee… cross-referencing SUNW above.

OK, this isn't a vanity plate sighting. But the SLS was being driven in my hood by a local businessman, sailor, and Forbes Man #5….  Larry.

Innovation. How Apropos. And especially perfect when found on a Tesla.

Java Man.  From the looks of this plate, it historically pre-dates Java Fun (above) and possibly Neanderthal Man as well. Could it possibly even pre-date the programming language?

Java Com. Likely a reference to  But what's with the "Got Coffee" reference? (Hopefully just wry humor.)  3rd Java-related vanity plate sighting!

I Hate Microsoft [Guest submission] Well, someone was either burned bad by Balmer, or worked for Sun Micro at some point in their career. Thanks to @derek32smith for snapping the pic and for @skpodila for bringing to my attention.

APPLE OS - More general purpose than saying Lion or Tiger or any other aggressive mammal. (also see AAPL 9 below) 

Hey RTFM - [Guest submission] Clearly displayed by an enlightened, yet very frustrated, front-line IT support person. For the uninitiated, think: Read The F%&# Manual... a common complaint when dealing with instruction-averse users. Thanks again to @skpodila for finding this via @UODucks.

IP Reuse - Intellectual Property or Internet Protocol? Patent lawyer or inventor of DHCP? IPv4 company car? You get to decide.

HW Engr -  Hardware is still king, despite how much software-defined-everything seems to dominate trade press.

PIXXL - Is this a commentary on the size of the vehicle, or on their display technology profession?

CTXS Ready - For those in the know, it's a technology compatibility program.  Thanks @swarna for reminding me to post.

Quantum - An apropos Si Valley vanity plate found on a compact 2-seater.
...was that a wave, particle, or BMW Z4??

I Crypto - Crypto? Or de-crypto?

IP Video.  Besides, who uses broadcast TV or cable anymore?  This photo also receives the "Only in Silicon Valley" bonus award for the MIT license plate frame.

Pixar4U. Had to include this one, with its San Francisco and Emeryville roots, as well for as its Cupertino-based Jobsian funding.

Comp LWR.  Whether this lawyer is into computers or compensation, another only-in-silicon-valley sighting. Probably knows the Byte Law guy above.

SaaS APM. Why do we use acronyms in Silicon Valley? Because that's short for Software-as-a-Service (delivered) Application Performance Management.  Guessing this one's owned by someone from NewRelic or AppDynamics?

Go Pure:  My bet is it's a Pure Storage marketing vehicle.  Is a vanity plate fee deductible as a business expense?

NASDQ FB: Many of you will instantly recognize the references to the exchange and to the ticker.

BLM RCH - Short for BloomReach. Big Data analytics. Small Car transportation.

CLKMAIL - That would be Click Mail. Smart email.

I Love Lytro - This guy clearly knows something about Light Field imaging cameras and sensors. If you don't believe me, ask Andreessen-Horowitz, Greylock and NEA.

NETGURL - Faster than a speeding packet. More powerful than a 32-core CPU. Able to leap great latencies with a single bound. It's.... NetGurl.

NETPOP1 - If you're a geek, this means a Network Point-of-Presence. If you're not, you're just a cool networked dad.

JR GEEK - Apparently not yet a Major Geek... or I suppose they're just a maturing Nerd?

PPT DIVA - Probably works for Duarte.  Seriously...  how would we possibly convey any ideas at work if it were not for PowerPoint?

FACEBK - needs no introduction Guest submission by former colleague @mitchparker.  Plate probably does not belong to Mark Z.

Yodlee - think this guy works there? (BTW, nice ride)

Net BSD - can you say highly-portable open-source Linux O/S?

HTTP 451 - Error code for Site Unavailable for Legal Reasons - If, for example, it's censored by the government.  I'm soooo curious what business this guy has. Or had.

VMUNIX - I'm nerding out here... Back in 1979, 3BSD (the third Berkeley Software Unix Distribution) was released. First to have Virtual Memory, hence VM. I'm guessing that by the type of license plate this Beemer is sporting, this guy was part of it. Also loving this latest find due to the Net BSD plate two clicks up.

CPTR NRD - For the Computer Nerd. Need I say more?

Hacker Girl - yup, that girls-that-code initiative sure seems to have paid off.... or has it?

Silicon 4 Sale - That's how Silicon Valley got its name in the first place. FAB-ulous plate!

Engineer F+ - What do you call the person who graduates last in their engineering class?   An engineer.

Apple MV - Apple Mountain View? Momentous Vision? Motor Vehicle?

Jedi Coder - Not modest in the least... and on a P100D. Must be quite the coder.

Nerd Nation - How apropos. It certainly seems that way, living here inside the Bubble.

802.11AC - Guest submission from @DavidGee - Think high-bandwidth WiFi protocol, and you'll get the picture of how truly nerdy this plate really is.

In Beta - You know this person does lots of development and testing.  I wonder if their other vehicle has "Outa Beta"?

ISO27001 - Do ya think they're into InfoSec and Risk Management?
Live to Byte - Bitten by the technology bug, or biting the software bug?

Siri - Hey Siri, please bring my Benz around to the front of the estate...

Syntax Error - A frustrated compiler designer?

Server Dude - An Iron Hugger in a Prius? Anyway, hoping to find Server Gal soon. To pair with HKRGRL and NETGURL above.

CTRL-ALT - Makes me want to cry out "DEL".  Clearly a close personal friend of CMD-SHFT noted above.

PR Maven - In the world of high-tech, your Public Relations staff need to be bold. Clearly not lost on this PR professional.

Mozilla - a Fiery, Foxy vehicle.

Innovate IP - Judging from the high-end Porsche this is bolted to, I'm guessing they're an IP attorney, or made serious coin with IP licensing (no pun intended).

HTTP 402 - Payment Required. And, evidently, this chap in the shiny M3 is the recipient.

Cyber404 - License not Found ?

MY IoT - Just one of a few billion programmable Internet-of-Things.  This one just happens to have four wheels. (Guest submission from a friend)

Comp Sci - So very proud of their coding degree.

DNS NMBRS - What you do when 12 digits won't fit in a 7 digit field.

BOX.NET - Squarely an #OnlyInSiliconValley qualifier.

100MBPS - The guy is clearly into networking. And he's probably flaunting the bandwidth he has to his car.

I LOVE GOOGLE - I'm betting they love that ticker too, judging from the quality of Ride they were driving.

CTRL-G Turning the new page of life. 

HTTP 501 - uhh... License Plate Service Not Found?

CashFlow - Literally found this one in a VC's parking lot.  Too apropos.

ROM RAM - Cute couple's initials? Maybe. But more likely that this guy's into volatile and nonvolatile memory technology.

Wire Frame - Clearly a UI or Web-obsessed designer.

011111 - Guest vanity plate submission. Yes, a machine language nerd, but what's the message?

 Square Wave - Vehicle corners tightly, not sinusoidally.

TAO WEB - The way of the Web?  The path of Packet? The avenue of the Applet? The trail of TCP/IP? Ommm.....

UPDATES - For that Tesla, that's not any updates, but over-the-air-updates.

Aps Market - Maybe they work for Google Play?  Apple App Store?

Wavelength - velocity over frequency. But then again, this guy might have just been a surfer.

MEMLEAK - modern version of oil leak?  Or maybe they know I Debug, above?
(Guest submission by D. Berger) 

AD CLIK. One click at a time, and away goes all of your personal information... into their wallet.

High Tecky.  Not entirely tech. Just a little.

AAPL 9.  Ticker for you-know-what. Possibly referring to employee number, iPhone version, MacOS or other?  (also see AAPL OS above) 

Think Different.  Another AAPL employee toeing the company line? 

Venture. I'm guessing that's the industry that got this guy/gal their Tesla, as well as their spot in Woodside where this was photographed.

C6H12O6. Sugar, sugar. Clearly owned by a lover of sweets... or a food chemist?

68000. Geeky reference to the Motorola 68000 processor used in the first Macs. And parked outside the Hillsdale Apple store. D'oh. 

SGML. <comment> Standard Generalized Markup Language </comment>  
<Type> ISO8879

XCODE it.  Definitely someone who develops for the Apple platform. Actually, for ALL Apple platforms. Google it sometime. 

Canadian Engineer.  Met this guy.... owned by a proud Canuck from the GWN. And, no less, a real Rocket Scientist. 

Googled.  Past-tense verb, past-tense employee, or statement of financial status?

Malware. (Guest submission by @paullipman).  Do you think the driver creates or defends? 

Google. Yet another proud (and perhaps, financially independent) Googler.

Neural Net.  (Guest Submission) That this is on a NetFlix plate holder makes me wonder how their recommendation engine really works....  

No Login.  (Guest submission from @AndrewShikiar ) Spotted on the way to an Identity and Authentication conference.  Passwordless is on the way. 

Apple22. Could it be an early employee? Then again, it could be a car service. 

UNIX. 'nuff said.  (Guest submission from @davidgee) 

Not PC.  A Mac user, then? 

DP AAPL. This is an obscure one. I think they must have made money by being a Depository Participant (DP) brokering Apple Stock.  

SIGSTOP.  (Guest submission from David B).  A Linux geek who prefers to Pause, rather than Kill.  Perhaps a message to pursuing RoboCops? 

Love To Code.  A quintessential vanity plate of Silicon Valley.  Love what you do. 

U+1F697. That's unicode for the car emoji. 🚗 Totally nerded-out.  (Guest submission from @veltman

POSIX.  Once there was O/S compatibility. Those were the days. 

Other Fun Links....


Anonymous said...

First of all, a slight correction. The use of "the" before freeway names is a distinctive trait of natives of *Southern* California. Down there, it seems, freeways have such importance that they warrant a direct article in front of them. Up here, we can only hope that they never gain that sort of linguistic sway.

And second, I'm disappointed you don't have a certain "BEA NBR1" plate photo from days gone by. :)

Quantum said...

these are a tad much, but hey, it's their money to spend.

Unknown said...

IH8MSFT is mine. Thanks for posting. I worked for Netscape and Oracle so always battled microsoft. Did I get burned? Not really. But you have to ask - has microsoft every developed an original idea? Or a replica of an original idea that you can't live without?

Ken Oestreich said...

Thomas - sorry it's taken so long to respond. Thanks for noticing! I figured it either belonged to a Netscape employee... or one from Sun Micro. Sadly, there are a number of "follower" strategies that seem to work in the market. Just look at Kia in the auto industry, that constantly steal design elements from other manufacturers.

Geoff said...

Oh wow... Hilarious!

First question: How long did it take you to accumulate all these photographs?
Second Question: Can you bid for any of these plates via auction?

Thanks. made my day

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Ken Oestreich said...

Geoff... kinda late-to-the-game to respond to you. But apparently I've been at this since 2013.

And what a cool idea to recommend bidding on vanity plates. the Apple one would go for... well, overpriced.

~ Ken