Tech Awards are val­ley at its best

The Mercury News - - Local News - AROUND TOWN SAL PIZARRO Contact Sal Pizarro at [email protected]­curynews.com or 408- 6270940. Fol­low him at Face­book. com/ mer­curynews. aroundtown and Twit­ter.com/ spizarro.

About 1,500 Sil­i­con Val­ley techies and trend­set­ters packed into the Santa Clara Con­ven­tion Cen­ter for the 12th an­nual Tech Awards on Thurs­day night. The black- tie event has grown into the val­ley’s ver­sion of the Os­cars, but in this case, the big names aren’t cel­e­brat­ing each other, but in­stead sa­lut­ing in­no­va­tors work­ing to save the world, one prob­lem at a time.

The Tech Mu­seum’s big event is al­ways in­spir­ing and cap­tures the spirit of Sil­i­con Val­ley a lot bet­ter than Bravo’s cur­rent re­al­ity show, “Start- Ups: Sil­i­con Val­ley,” does.

Too bad the Tech Awards aren’t the way the world’s be­ing in­tro­duced to the val­ley. Can you imag­ine how many peo­ple might be mo­ti­vated af­ter hear­ing sto­ries about peo­ple in­vent­ing in­fant baby warm­ers and cre­at­ing flood­resis­tant strains of rice?

The ros­ter of val­ley luminaries in at­ten­dance was too long to list, but some names can’t be ig­nored, like Ap­plied Ma­te­ri­als founder Jim Mor­gan and his wife, Becky Mor­gan.

“Jim is so well- known here in the val­ley,” Ap­plied Ma­te­ri­als CEO Mike Splin­ter said. “He’s built a much- ad­mired legacy in busi­ness and the community.”

It’s his name on the James C. Mor­gan Hu­man­i­tar­ian Award, which was pre­sented to In­fosys founder N. R. Narayana Murthy. Murthy spoke about bring­ing con­fi­dence and dig­nity to the poor, which could have been the theme of the evening.

The whole show was top­notch, from the gi­ant pro­jec­tion screens to the tran­scen­dent din­ner en­ter­tain­ment— con­tralto El­iz­a­beth Anker sang “From a Dis­tance,” ac­com­pa­nied by Dolores Du­ran- Ce­falu on pi­ano.

There even was a live in­ter­view with two pre­vi­ous lau­re­ates, An­drea Rezende and Ab­hi­nav Sinha. The trick was that she was in Brazil and he was in In­dia, but for a few min­utes they were both in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

There were lots of fun mo­ments too, like when Matt Hard­ing of the globe- trot­ting “Where the Hell is Matt?” video se­ries wildly danced on stage with the Tech Awards lau­re­ates.

De­scrib­ing this year’s lau­re­ates, Tech Mu­seum CEO Tim Ritchie used a phrase, “eth­i­cal imag­i­na­tion,” that re­ally cap­tures the Sil­i­con Val­ley spirit. That’s the kind of val­ley re­al­ity that should be on TV.

TALK­ING TUR­KEY: Ap­plied Ma­te­ri­als Pres­i­dent Gary Dick­er­son kicked off the com­pany’s hol­i­day food drive last Tues­day with a do­na­tion of more than 8,000 pounds of food to Sec­ond Har­vest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Ma­teo Coun­ties. That trans­lates to about 6,000 ad­di­tional meals that Sec­ond Har­vest will be able to pro­vide for Thanks­giv­ing on Thurs­day.

And there’s still time to do­nate des­per­ately needed tur­keys to Sec­ond Har­vest in time for the hol­i­day. The Curt­ner Cen­ter dock is open 8 a. m. to 8 p. m. Satur­day and 8 a. m. to 2 p. m. Sun­day . Re­mem­ber not to put tur­keys in the col­lec­tion bins or they’ll spoil and help no one.

TREES A CROWD: There’s still room at Valle Monte League’s 45th an­nual Christ­mas tree El­e­gance events at the end of this month. Tick­ets are avail­able for the Morn­ing Cof­fee on Nov. 29 and the big fi­nale on Nov. 30.

Each event in­cludes a fash­ion show and the chance to view and bid on some beau­ti­fully de­signed Christ­mas trees ( and all the gifts be­neath them).

Pro­ceeds ben­e­fit five South Bay men­tal health agen­cies. Make reser­va­tions or get more de­tails at www. valle­monte. org.

LOSS OF A HERO: I’ve writ­ten a few times about San Jose res­i­dent Harold “Skip” Adams, a dec­o­rated Marine and World War II vet­eran . Sadly, he died Mon­day, on the ob­ser­vance of Vet­er­ans Day and just days af­ter his 86th birthday.

A funeral Mass is planned for 11 a. m. Mon­day at St. John Vian­ney Catholic Church in San Jose, fol­lowed by an in­ter­ment with full mil­i­tary hon­ors at Cal­vary Catholic Ceme­tery.

PATRICK TE­HAN/ STAFF

Cliff Sch­midt of Lit­er­acy Bridge Talk­ing Books dis­cusses his project, which is pro­vid­ing a durable, bat­tery- op­er­ated au­dio com­puter to play locally pro­duced lessons in agri­cul­ture and ba­sic health to poor and il­lit­er­ate peo­ple in Africa, who of­ten...

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