Tag Archives: tech

The Discord community is unique and diverse

By Charles Cassel, Mark Haiko and Soren Ryan-Jensen

Staff Writers

Louis Parks’ first experience with Discord was a few years ago in the summer of 2016, around one year after Discord’s release, when a few of his friends on Skype were urging him to make a Discord account. At first, he didn’t switch, but a few days later the peer pressure from everybody else switching had convinced him to try it out. After a few days of usage, he had adjusted to Discord and preferred the cleaner application over Skype. At this time, the only chats he was in were with friends who played Minecraft with him. At first, he didn’t really use it, but now he uses daily.

Discord is a chatting platform developed by Discord Inc that fills in for many roles. Other platforms that are similar are Skype, Teamspeak, and, most similar, Slack. Discord was made and is primarily for gamers and by gamers. Unlike Slack, Discord has voice chat and programmable bots that can do everything from moderating to playing music.

In Discord, you can call people personally or start group calls, but its main feature is the servers. Anyone can get up and host a Discord server where they can invite their friends. In these servers you can have multiple text and voice channels, as well as roles and bots. In the channels you can chat with people with either speech, text, or images.

This is a small list of text channels.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko
This shows two people having a conversation in General Banter. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

Our server is called the “Cereal Bowl.” We are comprised of around 80 people from various places and backgrounds. We were formed on July 3, 2017, after Steam chat didn’t work for us. It started with only two people, and it has since risen up to 80 people actively playing and talking to each other.

This shows the layout of Discord. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

An example is a group of around 10 people running a clan for the game known as Rust. They used the Discord server to organize in-game raids and events, and they would use the server’s voice chat to communicate important information like player location and amount of materials needed. Discord was an integral part of this.

This is a chat used for Rust. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

Another instance of Discord’s use is for Counter-Strike Global Offensive, abbreviated CSGO. People on the server used Discord to help them organize games and used it for callouts and formulating tactics. CSGO is a highly competitive game, where being able to speak to your team in really important; but, even though the game has an in-game chat, Discord was used to a greater extent and to greater efficiency.

Discord is highly used by gamers for its great versatility and easy accessibility. Unlike Teamspeak, you don’t have to do anything at all to host a server in which to chat, except for starting up the server (unlike most Discord-like apps, where you either host a server from your computer or you pay a company to host for you). But Discord’s ease of access and the servers being free were the main reasons people jumped ship for Discord.

This shows a small group of people who inhabit the server.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

People also use Discord for general chatting and banter. Since you can join a call at any time and people can see you in the call, they might also join in and start chatting. A lot of people in the “Cereal Bowl” usually join in a voice chat and talk about anything they feel about it. Sometimes they talk about school, what they did over the week, or just talk about things that seem relevant at the time.

This is an example of a person using images to communicate. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

Our Discord server is quite diverse. We have people from the United States, to the Middle East, and even Japan. Almost everyone on the server speaks more than one language, usually having English as their main language. Out of the people we surveyed, only one out of the nine people didn’t speak a second language.

An example of diversity is Charles Derrick William Bailey the Fourth. He is a German-American living in Tennessee, who speaks both German and English. Another example is Jens Berg, who is a German-Chinese-American; he speaks English to others, but to his parents he speaks either German or Chinese, depending on which parent he is speaking to, and he is also learning Spanish.

When surveying the people on the server, we also noticed that everyone knew English, and when looking even deeper and looking at everyone in the Discord, all of them speak English, even if they live in Belarus or Japan. People in countries where English isn’t really common still spoke English.

Many different people had many different starts in Discord. There was Louis Parks, who was mentioned at the start of the article, who started using Discord after all of his friends started moving to it instead of using the more popular app at the time, Skype. A similar situation happened to Vadim Fedorov, who moved to Discord after having a large amount of his friends move to Discord.

This shows Bageldorf sharing memes in Meme Hub 2, the reason he made the Cereal Bowl. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

A few other examples are when Steven Johnson’s friends “introduced it to me, and we spent the day just sending memes to each other because we had nothing better to do” or Charles Derrick William Bailey the Fourth, who joined a Discord server with his clan called “LOST.”

There are also a few other instances, but most people started doing Discord after their friends decided to stop using another app for voicechat at the time and switch to Discord; therefore, the person would feel uneasy not using Discord when everyone else was using it, so they would also start using Discord instead. With this process, a large amount of people started using Discord because their friends have them make the switch, and, with that, most of the voicechatting community started using Discord.

Using Discord allows people to communicate to groups that in other cases they couldn’t reach before. For example, our source Charles Derrick  William Bailey the Fourth stated, “I had a hard time with learning the genitive der, die, das, den, and Discord helped me by allowing me to join German servers and talk to people. Also I can talk to friends that are learning German and help them.”

Another example comes from Steven Johnson, who also echoed this statement, saying, “It is difficult to learn Spanish because it’s a lot of memorizing conjunctions and words, Discord helped me because some of my friends speak only Spanish or mainly Spanish at their homes so I was able to learn Spanish better from them.”

As we can see from these statements, Discord can help people learn more languages because it makes it easier to reach people who know those languages. People also use Discord for other things; our source Taehui uses Discord to “communicate with majority of friends (both IRL and online).”

In addition, almost all people interviewed used the word “communicate” or “chat.” This supports the idea that Discord is not just for gamers.

In an article posted by Psychology Today, one reason people hate others is due to a sense of something being alien or “other.” However, one interviewee, Louis Park, reported: “I always see people getting along, and it is rare to see any arguments of genuine hate. There is no hate speech, and the most intense arguments I have ever got into personally is over Minecraft.”

A person passes on information to his server mates. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

Charles Derrick William Bailey the Fourth also echoed this opinion, saying: “It depends on who you hang out with, but almost everyone I have met has been very kind, and I enjoy talking to them.” Steven Johnson also agreed, saying: “I view people on Discord as friends.”

Many people from many different backgrounds come to Discord to connect under one cause: to have fun with each other, regardless of race, religion, language and barriers. In Discord communities people respect and care about one another, as shown by Louis Park and Charles Derrick William Bailey the Fourth, who claim that they “always see people getting along” and that “almost everyone I have met has been very kind.” Discord is also a place where people can strengthen their relationships and academic skills by practicing skills with each other through calls. For example, Steven Johnson used Discord to help him practice Spanish with others: “It is difficult to learn Spanish because it’s a lot of memorizing conjunctions and words; Discord helped me because some of my friends speak only Spanish.”

In conclusion, Discord is a very positive and diverse place that can be used to expand knowledge and friendship. It is also very unique compared to many other ones.

Downtown anticipates major changes from proposed Google campus

By C.M. Bateman

Tahoma Editor-in-Chief

In December, the San Jose City Council agreed to sell over 10 acres of the downtown region to build a new Google campus. The proposed campus aims to positively renovate the infrastructure and strengthen the core of the city; however, the Google village has also sparked fear and anger from San Jose residents and business owners, specifically from those located in or around the land parcels sold to the organization during the negotiations.

The proposed project would stretch from the south tip of the San Jose Market Center to W San Carlos Street, curving along the railways leading to the Diridon Station and Autumn Street on the parallel side. The campus includes plans to open up space to the neighboring communities with cultural walking areas, various entertainment and dining establishments, as well as residential and office space for up to 20,000 Google employees.

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Google’s vision for the downtown San Jose village. PHOTO CREDIT: The Mercury News

diridonstation

Diridon Station serves as a transit hub for Silicon Valley.

One of the main focuses for the campus is the development of Diridon Station- a central public transportation depot in San Jose connected by ACE, Amtrak, Caltrain and VTA light rail, along with local and regional bus services. BART and the California High-Speed Rail system also plan on adding Diridon to their map. These numerous platforms and public transportation connections define Diridon Station as the gateway to San Jose.

Rick Jensen, communications director for the San Jose Downtown Association, details the long-term effects anticipated for the city as a result of the Google campus: “San Jose is the only big city in the U.S. where there are fewer jobs than homes, which means transit-wise there are more people leaving San Jose to work than coming into the city. That has to be reversed … The Google project and the west side of downtown will become a worldwide model for how to grow an urban center correctly.”

An article from San Jose’s Office of Economic Development stresses the importance of urban villages to increase housing and jobs in the city, which simultaneously would help combat the urban sprawl Jensen mentioned. The Google campus will provide more jobs and housing units for local residents as well as increase ridership to the city itself.

Google Campus Inforgraphic

Infographic on the anticipated changes and affected area as a result of the Google campus. GRAPHIC CREDIT: Maxwell Taniguchi-King

However, many individuals are furious and concerned about the effects of the proposed campus.

The San Jose City Council voted unanimously to sell over 10 acres of land to Google for the project after 10 hours of discussion, testimonies and protests.

According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, advocates against the campus voiced their worries about rising housing costs, which would push gentrification and displacement as a result of the campus being built. Some protesters held signs condemning the decision to sell the land parcels. A group of activists chained themselves to chairs in the meeting hall while chanting in protest of the sale. Several people were arrested.

The effect of the campus on low-income homeowners, the elderly and homeless has been a key concern throughout the almost two-year negotiations with Google. In May 2018, a public meeting to discuss Google’s proposed campus features at San Jose City Hall faced similar setbacks regarding protesters; after San Jose police officers “briefly discussed the situation with the demonstrators,” they left peacefully.

Many are distressed that the Google campus would only drive up the cost of living in the city, even with the idea of building more housing units as a part of the project.

Angela Nicole Walker, a local teacher at Rocketship Public Schools, lives near the SAP Center and Diridon Station. She began renting an apartment in late 2017 and first heard about the proposal shortly after moving in. Walker emphasized that she felt “upset” upon hearing the news: “I finally moved downtown, and then I felt like my rent was gonna go up.” Walker noted, “People already can’t afford it … and people aren’t gonna be able to live downtown.”

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Rent Trends in San Jose. PHOTO CREDIT: RentCafé

Affordable housing has remained an issue in San Jose over the past several years. According to a survey from Zillow, the median home value has soared up to over 15 percent in the past year (October 2017 – November 2018) and is expected to rise by 15 percent by October 2019. The average price of homes listed in the San Jose area falls under $950,000; specifically in the downtown area, the price is $728,000. Renting in the downtown area varies based on apartment structure, but averages around $2,731, making it the second most expensive area in the city.

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Bay Area housing goals for San Jose are still out of reach. PHOTO CREDIT: The Mercury News

The median household income, taken from a 2017 United States Census, is $96,662. In 2017, the annual salary for a low-income family in Santa Clara County resides at $84,750. This makes it difficult to find affordable housing, which has also become sparse in San Jose. Only 20 percent of the city’s targeted number of building permits for affordable units was reached, while 2,622 homes were built at the market rate, surpassing its target number by 162 percent.

The Google campus risks soaring housing costs and displaced residents; however, the rising housing market in San Jose remains at the forefront of the company’s review. Jensen stated that the parties involved in the negotiations “are all in favor of providing at minimum 25 percent affordable housing, attempts to minimize displacement, [and] offer access to training and local hiring practices.”

While homeowners and other residents face concerns for housing, business and property owners face various challenges from Google’s expansion in the downtown area. Those around the sold land parcels expect more attention and business because of the expected balance of daytime and nighttime traffic.

The SJDA has been working closely with Google management to ensure fair compensation for business owners. Jensen states, “Those being bought out are getting very good prices for their property … Property owners are already benefiting from increased property values.”

Despite fair compensation, local business owners (who are all within the land bought by Google) have mixed responses to the proposed campus.

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Taiko performs in Downtown San Jose.

Wisa Uemura, executive director of Taiko, an arts center focused on the Japanese art form of ensemble drumming, said, “Our interactions with Google have been straightforward, and they seem sincerely interested in listening to the needs of the community and figuring out creative ways to connect their plans to mutual benefit. However, with any development of this magnitude, there are legitimate public concerns that warrant discussion and action.”

The previous owner of Borch’s Iron Works and Welding, declining to state his name, commented on how “the campus should bring in a lot of good changes for this area; I’m looking forward to the way they’re going to clean this place up.”

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Puccio Machine & Welding Works has been located in downtown San Jose for almost eighty years. PHOTO CREDIT: Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Kerry Puccio, the owner of Puccio Machine & Welding Works, is the third-generation owner of the store; the business has been in the family since 1941. Puccio was bought out by Google several months ago in one of the land parcels: “Now I gotta figure out what to do.” Puccio said, “There’s a lot of people who aren’t happy. They’re trying to find places and can’t find places. It’s too much and there’s no property available.” Puccio is among the owners who must relocate their businesses: “Google’s not going to hire me.”

The proposed Google campus remains an exciting prospect for the growth of the industrial downtown area, but it falls short on providing support to local residents and owners. The community of San Jose must prepare itself to take on the upcoming changes once the campus begins major construction as early as 2025.

See below for a video of the community’s response to the Google campus:

Featured Image (at the top of this post): San Jose street art welcomes visitors in the downtown area. PHOTO CREDIT: Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Tahoma Sports Editor Will Butler contributed to this article.

Video game companies offer opportunity

By Umar Arancibia, Oscar Hernandez, Trevon Madere and Alexis Sanchez 

Staff Writers 

The Electronic Arts campus was almost like a college campus, including a big grass field in the center of all of the buildings. One building was a gym that featured a sauna and a massage room. This building also housed the basketball courts that real-life NBA players play on, which gets translated into the game. That building also included one of the two EA cafeterias and a martial arts room.

Patrick Foster, product manager of EA, showed a display timeline of EA over the years, from when they were first founded to now. Foster said, “This is where we start to figure out if we really want to stay in the game.” The same building also displays all of the awards EA has earned. Foster explained, “These are our internal awards that many of our big-time workers have earned.” 

Electronic Arts is a perfect example of a company in the Bay Area that students would want to work at. It enables people with the dream of making video games to have the opportunity to do something that could benefit both their lives and their society. Working at EA combines the core skills of tech skills, communication skills, organization ability, management and problem solving. To get personal insight on how these skills can allow gamers to contribute not only to the company they’re working for but also to their community, we interviewed students from the Video Game Club at Summit Preparatory Charter High School about what they thought of tech companies in the Bay.

Prep sophomore Xavier Ramirez said, “Video games bring a lot of excitement and joy to children’s lives.” He said tech companies are “bringing jobs in our community to Silicon Valley, and they are high-paying jobs.” 

Prep sophomore Ryan Call explained how the techniques tech companies use in business are also in our schools. “It’s a big impact since every student in this school has a computer, and there are two classes where you are involved with coding.” 

The questions we asked the students were not only about contributing to the community, but also about what steps they are taking to prepare themselves to work in a company like EA. “You need to be creative and good with teamwork,” Ramirez said. That truth is shown in many ways at EA and also in other tech companies, as confirmed by Foster.

Call said, “You will need skills of designing or like stories – like in some types of games you need a story, and, of course, every game has a main character.” This shows how the act of using imagination and creativity is to your advantage when working at these big tech companies. Something as simple as the plot of a story can contribute so much to the company. Having a lot of creativity can bring the company to a brighter future.

What students are doing in their classes can get them closer to working at a company like EA. Ramirez said, “In gaming class we are using JavaScript, and that will affect us in our social life with the gaming community because we are already familiar with a certain formula so we are already prepared.” This shows how ready the youth in the Bay Area are to work in fields such as tech. 

The tech companies in the Bay Area have made an extravagant impact on the community. Tesla, YouTube, Facebook, Google and EA all heavily contribute to the community. These companies bring joy as well as jobs.  

Here is a look at the EA headquarters: