CanuckExpat- Are you considering relocation to this area? Housing costs are definitely outrageous, and have been going up again significantly since the start of 2013. (At least as far as purchasing goes; I have been fortunate to have fairly "cheap" rent that has not gone up too much over the years, but I suspect the crazy housing market will lead to overall rent increases as well, if it has not already). If you were hoping to buy, be aware anything under 600-700K (and sometimes even over, especially if it's a good school district) tends to go to a cash buyer. And cash or not, homes are averaging about 10-20+ offers, and generally sell quite far above list price.
Commute will depend a lot on where you're thinking of working. Santa Clara/San Jose tends to be much cheaper to live than further North up the peninsula and into SF. Everything within short commute of Google/Facebook etc is crazy expensive since those employees (and all the venture capitalists funding the startups) are willing and presumably able to pay it. I currently commute about 8 miles from Sunnyvale to Palo Alto, can take up to 30-45 minutes depending on traffic and how badly the streetlights are timed that day. Some public transit options available, and do see a fair amount of bikers out although the bay area could definitely use better bike-friendliness.
Hard to comment on what salary is worth it, although I ran it through this calculator:http://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/
With the default setting of $50K salary in Baltimore, says you'd need ~$93K in San Jose for equivalent standard of living. Not sure how accurate that is, but I can say almost everyone in non-computer industries around here feels the squeeze. My husband and I frequently talk about getting out of here for somewhere more affordable. If it wasn't for family in and fairly close to the area, we would be much more inclined to leave. That being said, this can be a really nice place to live too, just not necessarily so much nicer than everywhere else to justify the prices.
Sorry, I'm not sure how helpful this is... overall I'd say you should do a lot of research before moving here if you're hoping to live the MMM way!! Not impossible to save up money here, but you likely won't get there as fast as you would living somewhere else.