Local siblings create pet tracker app inspired by their own dog

Gideon, Ron, Lynn Marks
Courtesy of Gideon Marks
Los Altos natives Lynn and Ron Marks, pictured with their father, Gideon, came up with the concept for an app, DogLog, that records canine caretaking activities during their difficult time coordinating who was tending to their dog, Joy, between alternating schedules.

Siblings Lynn and Ron Marks, Los Altos natives, were having trouble taking care of their family dog. They weren’t negligent pet owners, or particularly busy people, but Joy was sometimes getting fed dinner twice or missing out on her morning walk because they couldn’t keep track of who had done what.

IKB celebrates quarter-century in the design-build biz

Courtesy of Ilona Lindauer
The IKB team took a cruise to Ensenada to celebrate 25 years in business.

Ilona Lindauer recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of her Los Altos business by taking her staff and their families on a three-day cruise to Ensenada.

The cruise was a fitting celebration for an enterprise that has been a labor of love for the owner since its beginning.

The business of birth

VR childbirth
Courtesy of Tracy Donegan
A client of Mountain View resident and childbirth preparation instructor Tracy Donegan uses virtual-reality glasses to expose her to a different, less intimidating perspective of labor.

The birthing suites at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View and Stanford Hospital are scheduled to undergo redos this year in a continuing regional trend away from shared, noisy birthing wards and toward private rooms with a more homelike feel. Part of that impetus is changing social expectations about privacy, but a larger conversation about choice and childbirth also factors in.

The local businesses focused on education, resources and even midwifery that care for families are all finding a niche with women who see themselves as informed consumers, selectively seeking out health-care providers rather than going with the closest neighborhood option. Many women in Los Altos and Mountain View, for instance, have made the drive to El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos because it is the only area hospital to partner with a midwifery practice, combining access to emergency medical care with a midwife model of childbirth preparation and delivery. Access to all of these resources depends on money and insurance. But it also requires consumers who know, in advance, what questions to ask.

LA Tasting Room dabbles with wine tech

Los Altos Tasting Room
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Plum, available at Byington Vineyard & Winery’s Los Altos Tasting Room, dispenses wine by the glass. It functions like a cross between a keg and a Coravin, helping preserve a bottle of wine at its peak by preventing air contact during pouring and storage.

Byington Vineyard & Winery’s Los Altos Tasting Room is experimenting with new formats and hardware meant to make its wines more flexible, scalable and not limited to by-the-bottle drinking. Preservation and storage technology has been expanding beyond bag-of-wine-in-a-box innovations to target the luxury market.

Just inside the door of the tasting room at 366 Main St., a Micro Matic kegerator (keg refrigerator) spouts wine by the glass. Micro Matic launched in 1953 with a focus on breweries and beer but has expanded into beverage hardware of all kinds, from nitro coffee to wine taps.

Los Altos' Silicon Valley Office of Protocol briefs visitors on culture and customs

Courtesy of Drew Altizer Photography
Deanna Tryon, back, welcomes international visitors such as the prime minister of Portugal, right.

Los Altos' library sales, a longtime literary gold mine, need a new home

Friends of the Library Book Sale
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
More than 100 local volunteers sort, price and set out donated books at quarterly book sales that benefit Los Altos’ libraries, above.

Attending a Friday-night preview of the Friends of the Library book sale in Los Altos feels like an antiquarian rugby scrum.

The business of books summons an eccentric cast of characters. Part dealer, part zealot, part hoarder, part dilettante, the keenest shoppers snake in a line around the building, sometimes hours before doors open at 6:30 p.m. When the first wave charges into two huge spaces at Hillview Community Center stuffed with donated books, pawing across box-stacked folding tables, some wield specially calibrated bar code scanners. Within only a few minutes, advance runners begin to trail out to twilight parking lots, arms full.

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