This is the site I’ve developed with some fellow volunteers to help keep stimulus spending accountable. All the “shovel-ready” projects that cities want funded are on this site, and you get to tell us about the projects in your city, as well as vote on the importance of any project.
Know something about the bridge that needs repair in your city? Share it in the wiki. Don’t think we should pay for golf course renovations in Arlington, Texas? Vote against it. With enough participation, the administration will take notice before they fund projects.
It’s a soft launch today with the official launch Monday morning. Right now, though, I’d like to ask you to help us test the site by using it. Add comments, edit the project wikis, vote on projects. It’ll take you a couple of minutes and it will really help us. Also, please share the site with your friends and family.
I’ve worked really hard on this for the past month or so, and I’m really proud of it. I’m also incredibly grateful to the guys who helped me put it together, especially Peter Snyder and Kevin Dwyer. You guys rock!
This week on Tech Policy Weekly I discussed government transparency with host Berin Szoka, Jim Harper of Cato, and John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation. Take a listen and hear what we have to say about Obama’s plans for openness and accountability. Also, StimulusWatch.org will be launching very soon. Stay tuned!
During the last week of the Bush administration, I asked the head photo editors of these news services — Vincent Amalvy (AFP), Santiago Lyon (AP) and Jim Bourg (Reuters) — to pick the photographs of the president that they believe captured the character of the man and of his administration. (Via Gruber.)
Apple has owned 1229 Wisconsin Ave. for over two years and has permits to demolish it. However, the Georgetown powers that be keep shooting down the (no doubt) awesome building designs Apple submits. Reminds me of how D.C. officials kept rejecting the original design for the Cato Institute building. Update: According to Google, there’s a French Connection there now.
“Third, messages from the president will be designed so they cannot be forwarded.”—NYT story on Obama keeping his Blackberry. Anyone know how this is technically possible? Unless recipients are required to use special software, I don’t see how you can prevent forwarding.
The Printed Blog also expects to duck many of the major costs that make traditional newspapers expensive to produce. The company will put commercial printers in the homes of its distributors, avoiding the circulation costs of papers with large, central printing presses. Advertisers will eventually be able to buy ads on the Web site, so The Printed Blog will not need to employ many sales people.
It’s like something out of 1999. Have they not heard we’re in the middle of the Awesome Depression?
The Feltron Annual Report came out this week. Long story short, it’s a dude who happens to be a designed who tracks everything about his life: miles walked, beers had, books read, dinners out, temperatures experienced, etc. He then makes a beautiful personal report visualizing the data. Here are Nicholas Felton’s reports for 2005, 2006 and 2007.
This is appealing to me and I’m looking to start tracking some things. Not only does the ritualistic data collection agree with my OCPD, but the promise of finding correlations among behaviors, and the ability to visualize progress toward goals, is attractive.
Some of the tools I’m using include the awesome WeightBot for the iPhone. I hope there will be more Tapbots. I’d love to see a sleepbot. I’ve also ordered a Fitbit, which will hopefully be released soon. Check out the demo video. Finally, I’ve been giving me-trics and mycrocosm whirls, but they are each pretty impenetrable for different reasons. Me-trics is seriously in beta, so I give them the benefit of the doubt.
That said, the beta I’m really looking forward to joining is Felton’s own personal data tracking startup, Daytum. From the outside it looks bad-ass. Here’s Felton’s own data page. It uses Twitter DM’s to accept data, which means you can log in using web, email, SMS, whatever. What I don’t thin it has, and what would be killer, would be timers. That is, I send a message to start a period (when I go to sleep, when I arrive at work) and then send a second message to stop it (when I wake up, when I leave work). The time between messages gets logged.
Assuming you can keep all this data private (because that’s another discussion), do you think there’s value to personal data tracking?
Last week, former FCC chairmen William Kennard and Michael Powell explained in the pages of The New York Times why Congress should postpone the digital TV transition or face a “train wreck.” If by “train wreck” you mean that some people will have to go without TV for days or even weeks, perhaps.
To ease the pain Congress created a $1.34 billion program that could be redeemed for DTV converter boxes. Without irony, the chairmen explain, “Demand for the coupons has been much greater than expected.” Now the government has run out of coupons and there are still requests coming in.
Kennard and Powell also say that while 11 million coupons have been redeemed, and there is an in-store inventory of 18 million converters, “total demand is estimated at 33 to 60 million units.” (I’m no statistician, but 27 million seems like quite a big range to have in an estimate.) Here’s another estimate the chairmen list: while the FCC call center is equipped to handle 350,000 phone calls a day, they expect 1.5 million a day after the transition.
So, given all this data, Powell and Kennard, expect that there will be a train wreck. But here’s my question: aren’t these the same guys who didn’t expect that there would be outsize demand for something valuable if you gave it away free? Do we really want to trust them and Congress with estimates that predict the future? The truth is that a TV transition is going to be inconvenient to a lot of people—many of them minority and poor—no matter when you do it.
Barrack Obama has now joined the chorus of those calling for a delay. This is smart on his part. Chances are we won’t get this delay. If nothing happens, no big deal. If there is a “train wreck,” he can say I told you so. Whatever happens, I know I’ll enjoy the show.