How To iPlayDate: Bernal Neighbor Creates App to Connect Local Families with Kids



The Citizens of Bernalwood should be proud of our locavore technologists. They build many amazing things, many of which are inspired by local conditions. The newest piece of amazing locavore software is an iPhone/iPad app called KangaDo, which is a kind of hyperlocal personal organizer/social network  for parents. It was created by Neighbor Sara, who says:

I am a NW Bernal resident (Winfield Street since 1999), tech professional, and mom of 2 active boys (8 & 11). Now I’m also the co-founder of a mobile startup. Over the years I’ve tried pretty much all the different variations of working from home, part time, taking time off for the baby, working full time at the office, etc.… and I’ve concluded that the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” rings true. We love our Bernal village on the hill.

I’m excited to share our free, newly released iOS app: KangaDo. It’s designed to help busy parents connect with their  “village” of  friends and family in local communities. KangaDo makes it easy for busy parents and  trusted friends to instantly organize  kids’ activities – without the endless email trails and text messages.

Here’s how it works:

  • Find and connect with local parents/friends you trust.
  • Instantly set up playdates, childcare, carpools, or whatever you need. Offer your help if you can (eg. “Anybody need milk? I’m at the Good Life store..”)
  • Friends are notified via the app when friends send them messages or requests, and they are reminded of events or requests they have accepted. KangaDo with your iPhone’s calendar.
  • Share requests by email with friends outside the app.
  • Free texting, photo & location sharing.

Download it from the App Store.

Clever! Impressive! Very cool! Plus, it’s fun to imagine how we’d describe KangaDo at a pitch meeting for Bernal Heights venture capitalists:

“See, it’s kind of like Twitter goes to a yoga class with TripIt then bumps into Uber and the BernalHeightsParents mailing in the playground behind the Bernal library.”

There you go. Done deal.

Free Wi-Fi Coming Soon to Cortlandia


San Francisco is moving ahead with a program that will install free WiFi networks at 31 locations around the City, and the Bernal Heights Recreation Center just off Cortland was selected as one of the free hotspots. If all goes according to plan, the service will be operational by Spring 2014.

The free service comes courtesy of Google, and the San Francisco Chronicle provides the background:

Six years after a deal to blanket the city fell apart, Supervisor Mark Farrell and Google will announce a plan Wednesday to bring public wireless Internet access, on the technology company’s dime, to parks, recreation centers and plazas across San Francisco. The $600,000 gift from Google will cover the costs of the equipment, installation and maintenance of wireless capabilities for two years.

It will allow residents to work from Mission Dolores Park, let visitors download information to their mobile devices in Civic Center Plaza and make it easier for parents to sign their children up for recreation programs at centers from the Excelsior district to Bernal Heights, Chinatown, the Marina and the Sunset District. In some of those areas, it may be the easiest place to find Internet access, Farrell said.

Star Sighting: Neighbor Markus, Fresh from the Set of “Good Morning America”


Yesterday I walked into Harvest Hills Market  to buy some raspberries, and who did I see? Neighbor Markus!

Of course, he’s Neighbor Markus to us. But to the rest of the world, he’s Markus Spiering, head of product at Flickr, the venerable online photo-sharing service that’s owned by Yahoo.

Flickr rolled out a dramatic (and critically acclaimed) redesign this week, and on Tuesday Neighbor Markus was in New York City to do an appearance on Good Morning America — right alongside Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. (Sizzle!)

Yet on Wednesday, there he was: Neighbor Markus, buying some fruit and a loaf of bread at Harvest Hills… just like us!

Seriously though; Flickr’s new redesign was long overdue, but the final result was well worth the wait. If you haven’t seen Neighbor Markus’s handiwork yet, you should take a peek at the new, improved Flickr

And if you happen to see Neighbor Markus strolling in the neighborhood, give the dude a big high-five. He’s earned it.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Introducing Bernalwood… The Magazine


As our longtime readers know, Bernalwood is many things. It’s a glamour-soaked nickname for Bernal Heights, our fabulous neighborhood. Bernalwood is a blog. Bernalwood is a Flickr group. Bernalwood is a Twitter account. And now, Bernalwood is a magazine.

Let me back up and explain. By day I work at Flipboard, a company that produces a rather lovely app for reading news feeds on your iOS or Android gadgets. Last night, Flipboard introduced a new version of the app that makes it possible to curate and save articles, tweets, and photographs into a digital magazine which (much like the rest of Flipboard) looks rather sexy.

For the last few months, I’ve been test-driving the new version of Flipboard by publishing a magazine called (…wait for it…) Bernalwood! In essence, it’s a curated compilation of all the other manifestations of Bernalwood, all packaged together in one place, in a paginated, visually rich format.


In practical terms, that means I’ve combined the posts from the Bernalwood blog with images submitted to the Bernalwood Flickr group and clever/funny/insightful posts about Bernal Heights that have been posted to Twitter. The result is a way-new sort of neighborhood news publication that you can read right now on your iOS device (Android is coming soon), but which feels like a glossy magazine.

If you have a smartphone or tablet, just follow this link from your device to download Flipboard. Once the app is installed, search for Bernalwood, then tap the “Subscribe” ribbon at the top left to add Bernalwood magazine to your Flipboard.


Don’t worry… the Bernalwood blog isn’t going anywhere. Bernalwood magazine is just a different way to get the Bernal Heights experience, from the safety and comfort of your personal device. Try it out, and thanks, as always, for playing along as we continue the Bernalwood experiment.

Oh, want to create a magazine of your very own? Go for it! The new version of Flipboard lets you do it too.

Bernal Heights Provides Non-Pornographic Demonstration of Vine, Twitter’s New Online Video Service


Vine is a new online video sharing service created by our friends at Twitter. It’s nifty little  service that makes it easy to create and share short, six-second videos that loop endlessly.

In theory, that makes Vine an ideal tool for Burrito Justice wannabes the world over.

In practice, there is a critical difference: whereas Burrito Justice creates animated GIFs to serve the cause of La Lenguan independence, Vine has become notorious as a haven for short-form porn and exhibitionism. Oops.

Thankfully, Bernal Heights serves as the backdrop for a VSFW demonstration of Vine’s potential, in a video created by Bill Couch that’s called “Bernal Fireworks”

Welcome to the Future… you saw it here first.

Bernal Neighbors Create Hypnotic, Animated View of Bernal Heights


It’s 2013. At last. Finally. In Bernal Heights.

Let’s ease into the new year with a nice web animation created by Neighbors Barbara and Mark. It lives on the About Us page of the website for AnimaCrackers, their Bernal-based animation studio. It shows a cute cartoon Bernal Hill, a cute cartoon Sutrito Tower, a spooky cartoon moon, and cartoon spotlights sweeping the Bernal night skies.

It’s highly fashionable and vaguely hypnotic. Which makes a quick neighborly viewing session a perfectly appropriate way to begin 2013 in Bernal Heights.

Bernal Heights Gets High-Profile Cameos in New Google Maps and Flickr Apps

GoogleMaps.BernalShot 2

Right now, tens of millions of desperate Apple iPhone and iPad users are rushing to download the brand new, just-released Google Maps app for iOS. They are doing this because Apple Maps has some trust issues, which makes the arrival (or, reprise) of Google Maps on iPhones and iPads a very big deal.

And when those tens of millions of lost map junkies click on the iTunes Store link to score a copy of the Google Maps app, they are each greeted with a screenshot that gives Bernal Heights prime placement.

Look closely:


Even more closely:



Now, Google is a company with deep pockets. A company that knows what it wants, and it knows how to get it. Google could have shown anyplace in the world on that map. They could have given a shout out to glamorous neighborhoods in New York, London, Paris, Milan, or Tokyo.

But they didn’t.

They gave a shout out to Bernal Heights.

Oh, and this isn’t just a Google thing, either.

Did you hear about the new Flickr app? The one that was also released yesterday? The one that’s also supposed to give the world a taste of how Marissa Mayer plans to save Yahoo? Well, it’s showing off some screenshots too.  And guess what so hot right now neighborhood scored a major cameo on Flickr’s stylish app promo page?


Let’s zoom and enhance for an even closer look:


That’s right, the whole thing is practically a Bernal Heights valentine.

Obvious Conclusion: Bernal Heights r00Lz the Internets.

UPDATE: In the comments, we learn that Neighbor Markus lives in Bernal and also heads up the product team at Flickr. So if you see him on the street, you can say hello, welcome him to the neighborhood, and insinuate your Flickr feature requests into the conversation. In the meantime, here’s the clean version of the photo shown above:

San Francisco in Steffi's sunglasses