Four short links: 14 Apr 2009

Open data, lean startups, RSS-as-newspaper, and a design call to arms:

  1. OpenSecrets Goes Open DataThe following data sets, along with a user guide, resource tables and other documentation, are now available in CSV format (comma-separated values, for easy importing) through’s Action Center […] : CAMPAIGN FINANCE: 195 million records dating to the 1989-1990 election cycle, tracking campaign fundraising and spending by candidates for federal office, as well as political parties and political action committees; LOBBYING: 3.5 million records on federal lobbyists, their clients, their fees and the issues they reported working on, dating to 1998; PERSONAL FINANCES: Reports from members of Congress and the executive branch that detail their personal assets, liabilities and transactions in 2004 through 2007; 527 ORGANIZATIONS: Electronically filed financial records beginning in the 2004 election cycle for the shadowy issue-advocacy groups known as 527s.
  2. The Lean Startup Presentation at Web 2.0 — with audio. I’ve raved about Eric Ries blog before.
  3. Times — an RSS feedreader with a newspaper’s layout. News reading can be improved and newspapers are in the middle of dying, so it makes sense that someone would try a face transplant. I’m not convinced that the newspaper’s front page is the model for perfect news delivery, although I do love the ultimate in dense news layouts: Arts & Letters Daily. (via joshua’s delicious feed)
  4. Designing Through a Depression (NY Times blog) — exhortation to work on stuff that matters. This rethinking needs to come not just from designers but from the manufacturers, companies and other clients who decide what products and projects will be produced. There’s no excuse not to examine and re-examine what’s made, how it’s manufactured, what materials are used (and which are recyclable), what benefit it’s giving the consumer (or lack thereof) and what contribution, if any, it’s making to anything other than landfill. I believe recessions are when good things flourish.
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