Developers can Change The World
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Developers can Change The World

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James Turk's talk at Rochester Barcamp on April 5 2008.

James Turk's talk at Rochester Barcamp on April 5 2008.

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    Developers can Change The World Developers can Change The World Presentation Transcript

    • Changing the World through Software James Turk [email_address]
    • Developers in the room? How many of you are political?
      • Taxes
      • War
      • Education
      • Immigration
      • Privacy
      • Copyright
      • Net Neutrality
      • Research & Development
      • Export Controls
      • Telecom Immunity
      Do the issues matter?
    • “ I believe that people with an engineering point of view as a basic foundation are in a pretty good position to jump in and solve some of these problems... Those people are not attracted to the political process. And why would someone be?” Why the disparity?
    • When these are the only people involved...
    • ...are we surprised that this is who we elect?
    • Let's focus on one of these guys...
      • Ted Stevens, US Senator from Alaska for 40 years
      • Home raided by FBI and IRS in corruption probe
      • Used to chair Senate Ethics Committee
      • Ranking member of appropriations committee
      • #1 in Individual Earmarks - $389,043,750 for FY2008
      • Chaired Senate committee on Science until 2006
    • Let's focus on one of those guys... What is The Internet? A big truck? A series of tubes? A participatory democracy? NOOOOOO! NO! YES!!
    • Who controls the internet? DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!
    • What can we do? 2) Software to give people information 1) Software to get people involved
    • What can we do? 1) Software to get people involved
      • Flash mobs
      • Social Contracts (PledgeBank)
      • Letter-Writing campaigns (WriteToThem)
      more people involved a more representative government Less power for individual interest groups A government better informed on issues
    • What can we do? 2) Software to give people information
      • Blogs
      • Wikis
      • Citizen Research (EarmarkWatch)
      • Database-Driven Journalism (EveryBlock)
      More public information More voters Better informed voters Reduced corruption
    • How can we build this? Scrape the data But it's 2008 It's really not that hard... sometimes
    • How can we build this? Scrape the data But it's 2008 Now we have APIs
      • Center for Responsive Politics (FEC Data)
      • Project Vote Smart (biographical + vote data)
      • GovTrack.us (everything)
      • LOUISdb (most government documents)
      • USASpending.gov (formerly OMBWatch)
      It's really not that hard... sometimes
    • How can we build this? Make it social Make it accessible Web 2.0: “make the users do the hard stuff” Even trivial interaction prompts further interaction Just Make It Just make it look better than an excel sheet Django (or Rails) will let you get it up fast Open Source it (take “make the users do the hard stuff” to a new level) and/or throw up a simple API
    • so... let's build something + + = ?