- The Intuition Behind the Fisher-Yates Shuffle — this is a simple algorithm to randomize a list of things, but most people are initially puzzled that it is more efficient than a naive shuffling algorithm. This is a nice explanation of the logic behind it.
- Wikipedia and Inherent Open Source Bias — a specific case of what I think of as the Firefly Principle: what happens on the Internet isn’t representative of real life.
- Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Program — the Malaysian government is a heavy and successful user of open source.
- Guardian’s Platform Now Open for Business (GigaOm) — elegant summary breakdown of services from the Guardian: metadata for free, content if you pay, custom APIs and applications if you pay more. I’m interested to see how well this works, given that the newspaper business is struggling to find a business model that values content.
U.S. intelligence agencies are using an internal wiki for knowledge sharing.
The United States' sixteen intelligence agencies are using an internal wiki, dubbed "Intellipedia," to share information. We take a look at how Intellipedia is helping these agencies work better.
Understanding a Shuffle, Bias, Open Source a Success in Malaysia, and Guardian APIs
The founder of craigslist.org talks about electronic privacy, Facebook, identity and trust online, and how social media can be used in and by government.
Small conferences are often the best, especially when there’s a high
concentration of really well-educated and personally committed people
sharing a room for two days. That’s what I found at the Politics of Open
Source conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on
Friday. Along with celebrity keynoters — Eric Von Hippel and Clay Johnson — the presenters as well as the attendees could boast a lot of real-world experience, a lot of serious academic achievement, and occasionally even a combination of the two.
Open Government, transparency, Earth Day and WhiteHouse.gov 3.0
Taking a page straight from Mark Coddington's excellent week in review at the Nieman Journalism Lab, my inaugural Radar post looks at government 2.0 news from the past week. If you have news and tips about the government 2.0 space, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or @digiphile on Twitter.
The Office of the National Coordinator has implemented a host of initiatives aimed at transparency and involvement
With the sea change caused by the Open Government Directive I know that many federal agencies might be struggling with how to actually implement this new policy. This is a major cultural shift in government and there are always challenges when trying to bring such broad changes to any large organization. Government bureaucracy is certainly no exception. But this last…
ISP Lockin, Warped Priorities, Government Data, and Book Piracy
- TrueSwitch — “the de facto proprietary API that all the big ISPs use to help users switch, a market opportunity that wouldn’t exist if they just opened up access to each other” in the words of Pete Warden.
- Free Publicity: Who Do We Help? (Anil Dash) — I love cool stuff as much as the next guy. What leaves me at a loss, though, is how many otherwise sane and sensible people give their time and energy freely to help support a company like Apple that, despite its elegant designs and generally excellent products (I use many of them), certainly doesn’t need free PR from some of the most talented people on the web.
- World Government Data — the Guardian build a meta-index to open government data from four countries and will add more as other countries build data.gov-like sites.
- Confessions of a Book Pirate — lots of insights into how guerilla book piracy happens. The scanning process takes about 1 hour per 100 scans. Mass market paperbacks can be scanned two pages at a time flat on the scanner bed, while large trades and hardcovers usually need to be scanned one page at a time. I’m sure that some of the more hardcore scanners disassemble the book and run it through an automatic feeder or something, but I prefer the manual approach because I’d like to save the book, and don’t want to invest in the tools. Usually I can scan a book while watching a movie or two. (via waxy)
Finland makes broadband access a right, $7 billion US stimulus for rural broadband improvements
As our economy continues to lose mass in favor of information-based goods (U.S. exports lost 50% of their physical weight per dollar from 1993 to 1999*) and we continue to see the decoupling of workforce from workplace, connectivity is a critical factor in economic exchange and competitive advantage. Countries that build wide, fast networks to the last mile will have a huge leg up. This week gave us two reasons to reconsider the state of broadband connectivity in the US.
To the average person, government is represented by an anonymous person on the other end of the phone, a pile of mandatory paperwork, and perhaps at best a friendly neighborhood postal carrier. If you ask the average American not living inside the Beltway to name a single individual who works in the federal government, how would they reply? My guess is that the broad majority of them couldn't give you the first and last name of a federal government employee. In reality they would find it much easier to name their local pharmacist, garage owner, or supermarket manager. From the perspective of the government, this is a shame. How might emerging social technologies help to bridge that gap, in combination with a modification in thinking about government public relations?
Publishing “top 10″ lists is unfortunately a staple of modern journalism. But alas, writers must drive readers’ eyeballs, even when discussing serious topics like the government. And so we find a new list that mixes Web 2.0 with the government: “Top 10 agencies with the most Facebook fans.” For the record, this list is topped by the White House with 327,592 fans, followed by the Marine Corps, Army, CDC, State Department, NASA, NASA JPL, Library of Congress, Air Force, and Environmental Protection Agency. Congratulations to all these hard-working agencies. But what exactly are we celebrating here?