IE11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

California Tech Stories You May Have Missed

Industry Insider — California has compiled a short reading list of recent technology news from various sources that may not have popped up on your radar.

A person working on a laptop.
Keeping up with tech news specific to California is both job-critical and daunting, so Industry Insider — California has curated and boiled down a few stories of interest that you may have missed. This week, these offerings involve schools, libraries and coastal flooding.


A much-vaunted AI chatbot — custom designed to help students thrive academically and parents navigate the complexities of Los Angeles public schools — has been turned off after the company that created it furloughed “the vast majority” of its staff.

The school district said it dropped its dealings with AllHere, the company that created “Ed,” the sun-shaped chatbot, after “we were notified of their financial collapse.” AllHere did not respond to an inquiry from The L.A. Times this week, and the level of its operation is unclear.

In a separate development, a major data breach has affected a data cloud company called Snowflake, which has worked with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The district said Tuesday that there is no connection to the AllHere situation and that it is working with investigative agencies to assess the damage and which district records were obtained through a third-party contractor.

Meanwhile, the district unplugged the chatbot — for which AllHere had been paid $3 million — on June 14, less than three months after unveiling the animated figure as an easy-to-use, conversational companion for students and a soon-to-be-indispensable guide for parents. “Ed” is both a chatbot, personified as a happy, round sun, and an online platform that attempts to put together in one portal student records, assignments, grades, academic recommendations and mental health referrals.

Officials on Tuesday emphasized that the chatbot’s information sources remain available on the Ed platform. Users simply must navigate through it in a more traditional fashion — using drop boxes and clicking links. A continuing feature is that information can be found without having to sign in more than once, said Tony Aguilar, the district’s chief of special education and specialized programs.

The district intends to bring back the chatbot, but it’s on hold while officials determine how to proceed.


Nearly three months after a ransomware attack disrupted phone lines, computer services and Wi-Fi across Solano County’s public libraries, systems are still down with no recovery in sight — an all-too-common plight for vulnerable government agencies, experts say.

Patrons who depend on using library computers haven’t had access to them since the April 5 attack, and some workers have had to find other ways to print papers or connect with other libraries, most of which still do not have working phones, library staff said.

Solano County officials still have not publicly confirmed that a cyber attack occurred. The county’s chief information officer, Tim Flanagan, told the San Francisco Chronicle in mid-June that the investigation was ongoing, and that the county library will provide more information once the investigation concludes. No indication was given of when that would happen.

Solano County’s libraries have remained open, and patrons have been able to check out books and other material, both physical and digital. But as of July 1, computer services and Wi-Fi remained down across the nine branches in Dixon, Fairfield, Suisun City, Rio Vista, Vacaville and Vallejo.


Corte Madera has launched a new online resource to evaluate potential flood risks.

Town leaders hope the site, called the Corte Madera Shoreline Flood Explorer, will foster support for potentially pricey coastline infrastructure projects such as the installation of berms, flood barriers, drainage systems, and marsh land.

“We created the shoreline explorer as an interactive tool to help residents understand what we’re up against in terms of Corte Madera’s current and future flood risk, and to make sure folks have the information they need as they join the conversation on how best to protect our community,” Mayor Eli Beckman said, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

The video and online tool use data from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Coastal Storm Modeling System to model flooding impacts under various storm surge and high-tide scenarios. The program was developed by Virtual Planet, an environmental technologies firm, and the town. The tool explores flood scenarios in various degrees of detail, featuring 360-degree views of the Corte Madera shoreline.

The site was developed as part of the town’s “shoreline adaptation engagement effort,” a public outreach campaign prompted by a climate adaptation assessment the town conducted in 2021.

It cost about $22,000 to develop the video, online interactive tool and virtual reality version in both Spanish and English, said Phoebe Goulden, the town’s climate official. The multiyear shoreline adaptation effort is estimated to cost the town about $75,000.

This digest is compiled from articles distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.