Metro's Best of Silicon Valley 2002

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[whitespace] Editors Picks: Everything Old Is New Again

Best Place to Find Free Used Computers

Palo Alto Drop-off Recycling Center
East end of Embarcadero Road, across from Byxbee Park, right before the landfill, Palo Alto

First, let's get this straight. Scavenging at the Palo Alto recycling center is illegal, verboten and forbidden by law. Or so say several signs posted around the site, which is situated near the entrance to the municipal dump at the east end of Embarcadero Road off Highway 101. The signs don't, however, do much to stop daily raids on the bins that hold discarded computer and electronics items. There probably won't be any Pentium IV systems heading for reincarnation, but earlier Pentiums and Macs, along with monitors and printers, are often tossed into the box either by upgrade-minded consumers or, more recently, dotgoners high-tailing it out of town. One friend recently picked up a perfectly fine laser printer that needed only a fresh ink cartridge to revive. Veteran dump divers say the trick is to appear to be putting items into the bins while you are really sneaking them out. Do not try to test or inspect the items on-site. Instead, take them home and check them out. If they don't work, they can always be dragged back to the recycling center, this time with a clean conscience. (Open seven days a week, 8am-5pm.)


Best Place to Get Trashed

The Recyclery
1601 Dixon Landing Rd., Milpitas 408.262.1401

Not all dumps are created equal. The Recyclery, an "integrated solid-waste facility" in Milpitas, not only processes 1,600 tons of trash every day but provides a bit of historical perspective as well--it houses the world's only garbage museum. The Greeks may have invented the first garbage dump around 500 B.C.E., but Americans are making up for lost time by generating more rubbish per capita than any other group of people on the planet. A 100-foot-long "Wall of Garbage" exhibit represents the amount of debris produced in the United States every second. It'll make you proud to be an American.


Best Local Board Game

In the Chips--Silicon Valley: The Local Investment Game of the Santa Clara Valley

OK, this category is something of a cheat--how many local board games are there, anyway? But now that the NASDAQ has slipped below its prebubble days, what better time to roll the die and "make your wealth through proper management of your income in home purchases and business investments," as the instruction sheet for this relic of 1980 puts it. Unearthed in a local thrift store, the game (apparently sold as a marketing gimmick to the area businesses--Courtesy Chevrolet, Amdahl, Russell's Fine Furniture--highlighted on the playing board) includes mock headlines from the San Jose Mercury News with such boosterish flashes as "Talented thespian chosen for role in TV movie to be filmed in San Jose" (worth $5,000) and "Saratoga tennis player jumps net after winning Mountain View Tennis Tournament" (a $3,000 bonus)--and the highly prophetic "Stock market falls in heavy trading. Losses are substantial." (At which point the future wants to shout, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!") Best of all are the real estate cards: a house in the Rose Garden for $220,000, digs in Sunnyvale at a mere $132,000 and--wait for it--a place in Monte Sereno pegged at $300,000. Please, no drooling on the board.


Tireless contributors to this year's editor's picks included Corinne Asturias, Michael Gant, Allie Gottlieb, Todd Inoue, Gary Singh, Sarah Quelland, Loren Stein and Gordon Young


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From the October 10-16, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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