Yaba Yaba

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Archive for the ‘Free/Open Source’ Category

Where Does My Money Go? the beauty of open data

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The good people of the open knowledge foundation have just released a prototype of their visualisation tool for UK gov spending. This on the same week that the gov announced radical plans for opening their data. Makes the heart soar.

Open data needs to be seen, not just done.

Written by yishaym

December 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Take it from the Dod

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CCN - Collaborative campaign news thingy

CCN - Collaborative campaign news thingy

The Dod is a master hacker and overall kewl kat who has been putting his skills in the service of good people for many years. Currently on his agenda is the campaign against biometric ID in Israel (Hebrew). As part of his support for that campaign, he has developed a very clever widget which allows a group of people to collaboratively update a news ticker and embed it on various sites. The ticker is very web2.0, with flickr galeries and all. RSS coming soon.

Here’s the use scenario. You’re running a campaign, and need to constantly collect and distribute news in real time. You have 0 budget but a good group of activists.

Old school: nominate a PR person, have everyone email her the news, she edits them and maintains a website.

New school: open a private room on friendfeed, everyone joins the room and picks up the bookmarklet, and starts pushing news to the room. Next, everyone picks up this widget and plug it into their blogs, sites, etc. Now the news is flowing from the people to the people by the people.

The Dod has promissed twitter feedout and other goodies, but will not say when. With a bit of nudging, he’s ported the widget, and its documentation, to English. Only bummer is that it doesn’t work on wordpress.com. It works fine on blogspot, or on hosted wordpress.


The original, as used by the Israeli human rights society's campaign against biometric ids, as seen on Bracha Goleshet

Open up!

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Jonathan Gray’s been busy. Open Knowledge Foundation is hosting two THREE interesting events in November:

Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information
, Saturday 1st November 2008, 1030-1600, London Knowledge Lab

The UK Government produces and distributes a vast amount of documents and datasets – from national statistics to environmental information, from socio-economic data to legal material. Recent technologies allow this information to be explored, built upon and made accessible in new ways – whether through visual representation, semantic interlinking, or through social media applications.

This informal, hands-on workshop will bring government information experts together with those who are interested in finding and re-using government information. In addition to focused discussions about legal and technological aspects of re-use, government information assets will be documented and tagged on CKAN, a registry of knowledge resources.


Open Everything, Thursday 6th November, 0900-1730, Chalk farm Roundhouse (London)

On 6 November 2008, London will host an Open Everything event, a global conversation about the art, science and spirit of ‘open’. The conversation will cover, well, everything. Qualifier: the ‘thing’ in question is built using openness, participation and self-organisation. There are people coming to talk about open technology, media, education, workplace design, philanthropy, public policy and even politics. These people want to tell you what they’re doing and find out what you’re up to. And they’d like to have lunch with you. That’s why they’re coming to Open Everything. For more on what we mean and why it matters, check out: http://www.openeverything.net.


Workshop on Finding and Re-using Open Scientific Resources, Nov. 8th, London Knowledge Lab

This informal, hands-on workshop will focus on finding and re-using open scientific resources – including open and public domain data, open access journal articles, and open educational materials. We will look at existing tools for discovering open material, metadata standards for relevant material in different domains, and how researchers go about looking for the material they need.

In addition to focused discussions about legal and technological aspects of re-use, open scientific resources will be documented and tagged on CKAN, a registry of knowledge resources.

Written by yishaym

October 10, 2008 at 2:56 am

Blackadder kicked out of Facebook, John Wood drafts the spec for the worker’s social net

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Derek Blackadder has been kicked out of FaceBook again. This time for good – his account has been deleted. I’m not going to pose a protest ban on FaceBook, because I already did that. And came back, and got bored of the whole thing.

But this incident leads John Wood to a very pointly analysis of why FaceBook is good, why its bad, and what the ideal social network for social action would look like.

Now here’s what I think. With current platforms such as google app engine, open social, ning and the lot, it should be possible to hack something useful in a few weekends in the garage. Who’s game?

they’re coming! they’re coming!

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RepRap is an open-source self-replicating 3D printer.

Translation: a cheap machine that can build a copy of itself. Sorta. But it can make cute flip-flops.

Written by yishaym

June 12, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Cameron Sinclair: we have an army of designers, and only 3 paid staff

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Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity and recently the Open Architecture Network, was awarded the TED prize in 2006. In his acceptance speech, he talks about housing crisis, HIV/AIDS, natural catastrophes, and how solutions can be designed for saving lives and making them better. How? not by a centralized structure. By a global network of design innovation, based on an open source model.

A model that assumes that every human being is a potential design innovator, every person is an expert in his environment and needs, and the role of the Architect is to bring out that expertise and unleash that potential.

Written by yishaym

May 13, 2008 at 11:29 pm

interesting times in low-cost land

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With Walter Bender’s resignation from OLPC and Microsoft’s announcement the low cost scene is becoming the best show in town.

Open source is about freedom of choice and ownership. If people are free to choose, they are also free to make bad choices – such as running windows on their nice little low cost laptop.

The other side of the equation is, of course, they should be free to run the copy of OS they bought on any hardware they choose. To be honest, I’m not worried: a) I doubt it will hold in court. b) even if it will, it won’t hold in real life. Vendors will simply make it easy to upgrade machines after purchase. The only snag is the touch screen.

But the main scoop here shouldn’t be lost in the flurry of gossip: OLPC won. Remember Negraponte and Papert’s original claim? For years, computers have been getting more expensive when they should have been moving in the opposite direction. This was driven by producer agenda, not by user’s needs. If we want children worldwide to be a part of the global conversation and have access to the canon of human knowledge, we need to reverse the trend. When OLPC started is was a crazy dream. Now its a thriving market. And the more competition, the more options, the more flavours of hardware and software – the better for all.

Written by yishaym

May 12, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Have we lost Linux to the dark side?

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Nicholas Carr notes that over 70% of the Linux kernel is developed by corporate hacks.

So, Have we lost Linux to the dark side?

Of course not.

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone. John Maynard Keynes

Sometimes, just sometimes, it works.

Written by yishaym

April 21, 2008 at 2:21 pm

mySociety: Make us a ‘How to Do FOI video’ and win a hoodie

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MySociety are my heroes. They are the archetypical UberGeek hacktivists, and they get things done. Things like WriteToThem, TheyWorkForYou, FarmSubsidies, unDemocracy and WhatDoTheyKnow.

And today they want your help:

Today we’re launching the hastily named WhatDoTheyKnow Video Challenge. We want you to make short videos (max 2 mins) in which you explain in a clear and friendly way how to file successful FOI* requests. We’re not expecting Hollywood production values, just a friendly face and a good explanation would do fine. If you can do funny, splendid.

‘Cmon. let’s see those sweeding skils.

(digg story)

*: Freedom of information

The Cute Cat Theory

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Ethan Zuckerman’s notes from his talk at ETech. Including pictures of cats, youtube freedom of speech virals, government monitoring googlemap mashups, and a lot of stuff to think about – whether you’re a political activists, technological startupist, or just want LOLCats to rul da wrrld.

Read it. save it. spread the word.

(also on the WorldChanging blog)

| digg story