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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Author Zuckerberg helps parents balance child rearing and technology


Courtesy of FACEBOOK
Randi Zuckerberg’s Facebook page features this shot of the author with her “Dot” books, which explore the benefits of balancing the role technology plays in family life.

With coding courses increasingly part of the curriculum from elementary school through college and mobile phones a staple in the backpacks of most students, technology has become second nature to children, as common as their first language.

“Silicon Valley is more tech savvy, but we worry about how tech is affecting our children and our careers,” reflected Los Altos author and entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg in an interview with the Town Crier.

She noted the quandary many parents face when deciding the role digital tools should play in their families’ lives.

“Everyone seems to be grappling with this problem,” Zuckerberg said. “Even if you don’t know anything about (technology), our children are digital natives.”

While working alongside her brother, Mark, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, Zuckerberg witnessed social media’s coming of age. Even though much of her professional work centers on using digital tools to market products and people, her most recent endeavors pay homage to the value of time spent away from technology.

What started as a “Dear Abby”-style blog with resources for helping parents and grandparents navigate the evolving role of technology in children’s lives morphed into two books that hit bookstores last month.

Zuckerberg’s children’s picture book, “Dot.” (HarperCollins, 2013), illustrates the fusion between technology and play. “Dot.” complements her book for adults, “Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives” (HarperCollins, 2013), which explores the role of technology in her career and family life.

Zuckerberg embraces digital tools as much as any fast-paced mother and business owner, but her books share insight into how she breaks away from the screen to immerse herself in real life.

One might expect a pioneering tech entrepreneur to publish her books exclusively as online downloads for digital reading on the Kindle and iPad (both books are available in these media), but Zuckerberg intentionally chose to publish printed books that are available at bookstores across the country and internationally. Her publishing choice stays true to her theme of unplugging from technology.

“I definitely think that the print book is not going anywhere,” said Zuckerberg of her appreciation of the traditional publishing medium of ink on paper. “There is so much content online that it doesn’t feel that special.”

Giving devices a curfew

Finding the perfect balance between too much and too little technology is a challenge for parents who want the best for their children.

“Children today need digital literacy,” Zuckerberg said. “But you want to make sure that you’re not getting them in front of tech so much that they don’t have real- world skills.”

Zuckerberg sets clear boundaries for her toddler son when it comes to using technology and emphasizes the need for social engagement and play.

“My general rule is that if he’s going to be using my phone or tablet, he has to be doing something that is enriching his mind,” she said of her son. “It’s for special occasions, not a habit.”

As a mom, she also watches her own behavior to ensure that she’s not setting a bad example for her son. That’s one reason Zuckerberg gives her phone a curfew as much as possible when with her family. She’s also devised creative ways to encourage others to join her digital diet.

She plays a game – Phone Stacking – when hosting guests for dinner. After collecting cellphones in a central spot, she challenges guests to forget about their devices – something that’s easier said than done, particularly considering that the average person checks his or her phone 150 times a day, according to a 2013 report by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The guest who reaches for a phone first must wash the dishes.

“I would encourage everyone to take as much unplugged time during the holidays as possible,” Zuckerberg said. “Research shows that we come back a lot more focused when we unplug.”

Offline in Los Altos

Although Zuckerberg’s jet-setting schedule leads her all over the world for work commitments and book tours, when she’s at home in Los Altos, she finds it easy to give technology a break.

“Because everyone knows each other, it definitely encourages someone to unplug some more,” said Zuckerberg, who tries to leave her phone at home when she’s downtown.

In addition to visits to Linden Tree Books, where her books are sold, Zuckerberg likes to take long family walks around town to her family’s favorite stops: Shoup Park and Bumble.

Zuckerberg said she prefers the engaged nature of Los Altos residents compared with other Bay Area cities she’s called home.

“If we bump into each other,” she said, “we hope you’ll look up from your phone and say hi.”

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