Activism

  • Preface This essay expands a proposal on Open Data in schools that I made in 2011, which requires very little, if any, funding and central authorization/coordination to be implemented. As of this writing, I know of no other proposal of the same kind, with the exception of this 2012 presentation from New Zealand. Also, I have not heard of any large scale implementation, or had occasion to do any real work on this topic.
  • A couple of weeks ago I was invited at the first National Open Government Partnership Forum in Skopje, Macedonia, for the panel titled “OGP-related Initiatives at the Local Level - Comparative Perspectives”. Here’s a short trip report, complete of link to my slides. The Forum included a good summary of the OGP/Open Data landscape, from which I’d like to quote, in no particular order (*) some remarks and statements I’ve found more interesting for me and (as far as I can tell, of course!
  • In December 2013 I came across something I still consider yet another proof of two things: first, much trust in the actual competence of many “digital savvy” Internet users is misplaced; second, many of the proposed alternatives to current social networks are trying to solve the wrong problem. Since it’s still relevant, here is a quote from an email in the public archive of the mailing list (emphasis mine): It is clear to me that a growing number of everyday local residents are actually offended or at least perturbed if you ask them to use something other than Facebook to engage in their local community online.
  • A reader of my critique to the “Linux owns the Internet” slogan just made the comment integrally copied here:I agree that some of the big companies are pure evil when it comes to user’s data, but your suggestion that this is Linux’s “tragicomical proof of failure” is just plain wrong, even more than the catchy title you linked to. Linux and the GNU software collection provide a flexible and solid server system.
  • I just got a request to run a workshop on “Open Data in and from Schools” next week, at the Open Data Week in Marseille. (added 2013/06/21, 07:30) IMPORTANT: please note that this is NOT, I repeat, NOT about creating and using open data ABOUT schools, in order to run them better, monitor their “performances” or anything like that. This is about things to do in class or as homework, with very very basic computer skills, even when there is only computer per school with only very slow/intermittent connectivity!
  • There are many reasons to not be on Facebook, or to leave it. There is one though, from Digital Interface, that doesn’t make sense, as far as I am concerned. It goes more or less like this (please read the complete version too): The typical complaint about GooglePlus relative to Facebook is that “there’s no one here”…. Consider the following arguments that shares a similar form: I’m not going to put solar panels on my roof because no one else on my block is doing it, and I don’t want to be different
  • E-democracy is working on a blog post on the Top Ten Reasons Facebook (Alone) Doesn’t Cut It for Neighbors Online. This is a partial, extra-short summary of that page, expressly written in the hope that it will motivate you to join that discussion, understand what is at stake and get out of the dangerous “Facebook-only” bubble. by using only Facebook you eliminate at least 1⁄3 of your potential online audience, not to mention inter-generational connection potential Most people don’t friend many neighbors, deliberately Facebook gives you what you like most, not what you need to know Facebook pages don’t work for effective neighbor connecting.
  • Last week at ForumPA in Italy, Andrea Di Maio gave a talk on “Open Government: The Reality Behind the Myth”. He left the conference disappointed for the lack of attendees and the somewhat nasty reaction to criticism: Although the session was in parallel with four of five others and was being streamed live, I was still disappointed with the low attendance I believe that a good part of the explanation here is waaay simpler than one may think, and has nothing to do with self-proclaimed technologists, culture and so on.
  • (this is a reformatted version of a proposal I submitted to the Gdansk Agenda website in September 2011) According to a survey published in December 2011 from the EU statistical agency, more than 100 million EU citizens have never surfed the Web. That’s why one of the goal of the Gdansk Agenda is digital inclusion. When I put that survey side by side with the crisis Europe is going through, it seems evident to me that both simple ECDL-style teaching on how to use computers and the Internet and bringing broadband everywhere are absolutely unsufficient to achieve digital inclusion.
  • (this page is part of my 2011 report on “Open Data: Emerging trends, issues and best practices”. Please follow that link to reach the Introduction and Table of Content, but don’t forget to also check the notes for readers! of the initial report of the same project, “Open Data, Open Society”) After the October 2010 Government Open Source Conference in Portland, John Moore reported the surprise, among participants, that people were not demanding more open data, that the push had not yet come from public.