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Four short links: 14 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 14, 2014

dategrep — print lines matching ranges of dates. Genius! Business Case Guidance in Agile Projects ( — how the UK govt signs off on Agile projects, which normally governments have no clue over how to handle properly. Hyper Growth Done …

Open data can drive partnerships with government

By Andy Oram
March 24, 2014

As governments and businesses — and increasingly, all of us who are Internet-connected — release data out in the open, we come closer to resolving the tiresomely famous and perplexing quote from Stewart Brand: “Information wants to be free. Information …

Four short links: 7 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 7, 2014

Coalesce — communication framework for distributed JavaScript. Looking for important unsolved problems in computer science? Reusable tools for distributed anything. Where Do All The Women Go? — Inclusion of at least one woman among the conveners increased the proportion of …

The RSA/NSA controversy concerns you!

By Jeffrey Carr
February 18, 2014

As a cyber security author and CEO of a security consulting company, I was personally shocked by the RSA’s attitude about the alleged secret payments it received from the NSA as well as its willingness to weaken its BSAFE product; …

The public front of the free software campaign: part I

By Ezra Haber Glenn
December 10, 2013

At a recent meeting of the MIT Open Source Planning Tools Group, I had the pleasure of hosting Zak Rogoff — campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation — for an open-ended discussion on the potential for free and open …

New hope for the vision of metropolitan regionalism

By Ezra Haber Glenn
November 19, 2013

Editor’s note: this post originally appeared on Glenn’s CityState blog. This version has been lightly edited. Others have written — and I’m sure will continue to write — with enthusiasm and hyperbole about the ways that new web portals and …

Furloughed Federal Programmer? Five Ways to Keep Busy During the Downtime.

By James Turner
October 2, 2013

For the first time in eighteen years, 700,000 Federal employees are sitting idle. Among them are software engineers working throughout the government, who may now find themselves with nothing to do and lots of time to do it. With that …

Four short links: 28 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 28, 2013

Huxley vs Orwell — buy Amusing Ourselves to Death if this rings true. The future is here, it’s just not evenly surveilled. (via rone) KeyMe — keys in the cloud. (Digital designs as backups for physical objects) Motorola Advanced Technology …

Four short links: 29 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 29, 2013

Quick Reads of Notable New Zealanders — notable for two reasons: (a) CC-NC-BY licensed, and (b) gorgeous gorgeous web design. Not what one normally associates with Government web sites! svg.js — Javascript library for making and munging SVG images. (via …

Four short links: 16 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 16, 2013

Australian Filter Scope Creep — The Federal Government has confirmed its financial regulator has started requiring Australian Internet service providers to block websites suspected of providing fraudulent financial opportunities, in a move which appears to also open the door for …

Sprinting toward the future of Jamaica

By Alex Howard
April 18, 2013

Creating the conditions for startups to form is now a policy imperative for governments around the world, as Julian Jay Robinson, minister of state in Jamaica’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, reminded the attendees at the “Developing the …

Strata Week: Our phones are giving us away

By Jenn Webb
March 29, 2013

Mobile phone mobility traces ID users with only four data points A study published this week by Scientific Reports, Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility, shows that the location data in mobile phones is posing an …

Four short links: 28 March 2013

By Nat Torkington
March 28, 2013

What American Startups Can Learn From the Cutthroat Chinese Software Industry — It follows that the idea of “viral” or “organic” growth doesn’t exist in China. “User acquisition is all about media buys. Platform-to-platform in China is war, and it …

The City of Chicago wants you to fork its data on GitHub

By Alex Howard
March 19, 2013

GitHub has been gaining new prominence as the use of open source software in government grows. Earlier this month, I included a few thoughts from Chicago’s chief information officer, Brett Goldstein, about the city’s use of GitHub, in a piece …

GitHub gains new prominence as the use of open source within governments grows

By Alex Howard
March 8, 2013

When it comes to government IT in 2013, GitHub may have surpassed Twitter and Facebook as the most interesting social network.  GitHub’s profile has been rising recently, from a Wired article about open source in government, to its high profile …

On the power and perils of “preemptive government”

By Alex Howard
February 28, 2013

The last time I spoke with Stephen Goldsmith, he was the Deputy Mayor of New York City, advocating for increased use of “citizensourcing,” where government uses technology tools to tap into the distributed intelligence of residents to understand – and …

White House moves to increase public access to scientific research online

By Alex Howard
February 22, 2013

Today, the White House responded to a We The People e-petition that asked for free online access to taxpayer-funded research. As part of the response, John Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, released …

Personal data ownership drives market transparency and empowers consumers

By Alex Howard
February 13, 2013

On Monday morning, the Obama administration launched a new community focused on consumer data at While there was no new data to be found among the 507 datasets listed there, it was the first time that smart disclosure has …

Four short links: 13 February 2013

By Nat Torkington
February 13, 2013

CA Assembly Bill No. 292 — This bill would provide that the full text of the California Code of Regulations shall bear an open access creative commons attribution license, allowing any individual, at no cost, to use, distribute, and create …

Investing in the open data economy

By Alex Howard
February 5, 2013

If you had 10 million pounds to spend on open data research, development and startups, what would you do with it? That’s precisely the opportunity that Gavin Starks (@AgentGav) has been given as the first CEO of the Open Data …

Open data economy: Eight business models for open data and insight from Deloitte UK

By Alex Howard
January 28, 2013

When I asked whether the push to free up government data was resulting in economic activity and startup creation, I started to receive emails from people around the United States and Europe. I’ll be publishing more of what I learned …

We’re releasing the files for O’Reilly’s Open Government book

By Laurel Ruma
January 18, 2013

I’ve read many eloquent eulogies from people who knew Aaron Swartz better than I did, but he was also a Foo and contributor to Open Government. So, we’re doing our part at O’Reilly Media to honor Aaron by posting the …

RFP-EZ: Making it easier for small companies to bid on government contracts

By Tim O'Reilly
January 18, 2013

A few years ago, when I was doing the research that led to my work in open government, I had a conversation with Aneesh Chopra, later the first Federal CTO but at the time, the Secretary of Technology for the …

U.S. House makes legislative data more open to the people in XML

By Alex Howard
January 11, 2013

It was a good week for open government data in the United States Congress. On Tuesday, the Clerk of the House made House floor summaries available in bulk XML format. Yesterday, the House of Representatives announced that it will make …

14 big trends to watch in 2013

By Alex Howard
December 22, 2012

2012 was a remarkable year for technology, government and society. In our 2012 year in review, we looked back at 10 trends that mattered. Below, we look ahead to the big ideas and technologies that will change the world, again. …

Big, open and more networked than ever: 10 trends from 2012

By Alex Howard
December 22, 2012

In 2012, technology-accelerated change around the world was driven by the wave of social media, data and mobile devices. In this year in review, we look back at some of the stories that mattered here at Radar and look ahead …

The United States (Code) is on Github

By Alex Howard
December 6, 2012

When Congress launched in beta, they didn’t open the data. This fall, a trio of open government developers took it upon themselves to do what custodians of the U.S. Code and laws in the Library of Congress could have …

Investigating data journalism

By Alex Howard
November 26, 2012

Great journalism has always been based on adding context, clarity and compelling storytelling to facts. While the tools have improved, the art is the same: explaining the who, what, where, when and why behind the story. The explosion of data, …

Charging up: Networking resources and recovery after Hurricane Sandy

By Alex Howard
November 2, 2012

Even though the direct danger from Hurricane Sandy has passed, lower Manhattan and many parts of Connecticut and New Jersey remain a disaster zone, with millions of people still without power, reduced access to food and gas, and widespread damage …

What I learned about #debates, social media and being a pundit on Al Jazeera English

By Alex Howard
October 22, 2012

Earlier this month, when I was asked by Al Jazeera English if I’d like to be go on live television to analyze the online side of the presidential debates, I didn’t immediately accept. I’d be facing a live international audience …

Strata Week: A realistic look at big data obstacles

By Jenn Webb
October 12, 2012

Here are a few stories from the data space that caught my attention this week. Big obstacles for big data For the latest issue of Foreign Policy, Uri Friedman put together a summarized history of big data to show “[h]ow …

Culture transmission is bi-directional

By Jim Stogdill
October 11, 2012

I read this piece in the New York Times the other day and have read it two or three more times since then. It dives into the controversy around DARPA’s involvement in hacker space funding. But frankly, every time I …

The missing ingredient from hyperwired debates: the feedback loop

By Alex Howard
October 3, 2012

What a difference a season makes. A few months after widespread online frustration with a tape-delayed Summer Olympics, the 2012 Presidential debates will feature the most online livestreams and wired, up-to-the-second digital coverage in history. Given the pace of technological …

What caused New York’s startup boom?

By Jon Bruner
September 24, 2012

Since the crisis of 2008 New York City’s massive financial sector — the city’s richest economic engine, once seen to have unlimited potential for growth — has languished. In the meantime, attention has turned to its nascent startup sector, home …

Congress launches in beta, doesn’t open the data

By Alex Howard
September 19, 2012

The Library of Congress is now more responsive — at least when it comes to web design. Today, the nation’s repository for its laws launched a new beta website at and announced that it would eventually replace, the …

President Obama participates in first Presidential AMA on Reddit

By Alex Howard
August 29, 2012

Starting around 4:30 PM ET today, President Barack Obama made history by going onto Reddit to answer questions about anything for an hour. Reddit, one of the most popular social news sites on the Internet, has been hosting “Ask Me …

Three kinds of big data

By Alistair Croll
August 21, 2012

In the past couple of years, marketers and pundits have spent a lot of time labeling everything ”big data.” The reasoning goes something like this: Everything is on the Internet. The Internet has a lot of data. Therefore, everything is big …

With new maps and apps, the case for open transit gets stronger

By Alex Howard
August 13, 2012

Earlier this year, the news broke that Apple would be dropping default support for transit in iOS 6. For people (like me) who use the iPhone to check transit routes and times when they travel, that would mean losing a …

Palo Alto looks to use open data to embrace ‘city as a platform’

By Alex Howard
August 2, 2012

In the 21st century, one of the strategies cities around the world are embracing to improve services, increase accountability and stimulate economic activity is to publish open data online. The vision for New York City as a data platform earned wider …

Mobile participatory budgeting helps raise tax revenues in Congo

By Alex Howard
July 30, 2012

In a world awash in data, connected by social networks and focused on the next big thing, stories about genuine innovation get buried behind the newest shiny app or global development initiative. For billions of people around the world, the …

Mr. Issa logs on from Washington

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

An interview with Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) on open government, personal data ownership, a digital Bill of Rights, Internet freedom, regulation, and more.

Rethinking regulatory reform in the Internet age

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

As the cover story of a February issue of The Economist highlighted, concerns about an over-regulated America are cresting in this election year, with headlines from that same magazine decrying “excessive environmental regulation” and calling for more accurate measurement of …

Do citizens have a ‘right to record’ in the digital age?

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

When Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and I talked this summer about his proposal for a digital Bill of Rights, I followed up by asking him about whether it might be more productive to focus on the rights that we already …

Should the Freedom of Information Act extend to data in private companies?

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which gives the people and press the right to access information from government, is one of the pillars of open government in the modern age. In the United States, FOIA is relatively new — …

Does the Open Government Partnership merit more oversight and attention?

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

There are any number of responsibilities and challenges inherent in moving forward with the historic Open Government Partnership (OGP) that officially launched last September. Global Integrity’s recent assessment of the National Action plans submitted to the Open Government Partnership by …

Uncertain prospects for the DATA Act in the Senate

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

The old adage that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” is often applied to organizations in today’s data-drenched world. Given the enormity of the United States federal government, breaking down the estimated $3.7 trillion dollars in the 2012 budget …

We the People need our existing Bill of Rights to apply in the digital domain

By Alex Howard
July 14, 2012

The proliferation of a series of proposals for "Internet freedom" and a digital "Bill of Rights" highlights the interest of civil rights advocates in affirmative principles and a problematic lack of hooks to specific policies or binding commitments from policy makers.

UK Cabinet Office relaunches, releases open data white paper

By Alex Howard
June 29, 2012

The Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom released a notable new white paper on open data and relaunched its flagship open data platfrom, This post features interviews on open data with Cabinet Minister Francis Maude, Tim Berners-Lee and Rufus Pollock.

UK Cabinet Office relaunches, releases open data white paper

By Alex Howard
June 29, 2012

The Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom released a notable new white paper on open data and relaunched its flagship open data platfrom, This post features interviews on open data with Cabinet Minister Francis Maude, Tim Berners-Lee and Rufus Pollock.

Four short links: 29 June 2012

By Nat Torkington
June 29, 2012

Personalization (Chris Lehmann) -- We should be careful about how we use that term, and we should be very skeptical of how well computerized programs can really personalize for kids. Most of what I see - especially from curriculum and assessment vendors - involves personalization of pace while still maintaining standardization of content. This. Unveiling Quadrigram (Near Future Laboratory)...

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