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SF’s dot com dreamers wake up with hi-tech headaches

From the highway packed with crawling traffic heading downtown you can see the tangle of buckled carriages skewed across the track. Final test runs of the AirTrain, San Francisco's state-of-the-art driverless airport link, don't seem to be going to plan.

One of the trains has come off the rails and crashed into another travelling in the opposite direction. The taxi driver points and shrugs; this is not a city that runs smoothly.

It's three years since the dot com bubble burst and San Francisco, despite having been its birthplace, is still having trouble getting to grips with technology. It isn't just the AirTrain that has problems, the police are struggling too.

With the city's crime rates soaring, the San Francisco Police Department has conceded - some 20 years behind other forces - that perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a central database of information on known criminals. The last attempt to introduce this - eight years and $167 million ago - failed because cops balked at using the specially provided in-car laptops for anything other than a handy place to rest their coffee and doughnuts.

But technological ineptitude isn't the only blight in the lives of San Franciscans.

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