Monthly Archives: November 2009

Defining openness: open source, open data, open APIs, open communities, and more

A couple of weeks ago I was in Florida giving a talk on Open Source, Open Data in which I tried to describe what open data was. In preparation for that talk, I went looking for definitions of “open” as it applied to either field, and found myself drawing on the following documents: The four software freedoms This definition of free cultural works, which is based on the four software freedoms The OSI’s Open Source Definition, and The Open Knowledge Definition which seems to be Continue reading →

Warily, and with much trepidation

I used to have a Facebook account. I deleted it. Not just suspended, actually deleted. The whole system over there gave me the creeps, between the ads that oscillated wildly between knowing too much and too little about me, to the way it would send me email notifications that someone had left me a message without actually telling me what was in the message. And then there’s the fact that Facebook’s friending system is reciprocal, which means I can’t let someone follow me without following Continue reading →

The community spectrum: caring to combative

This is part of my “Craft of Community” series of blog posts; you can find more through my craft of community tag. Like I said in my last post, I’ve started and participated in a pretty wide variety of communities: large and small, technical and non-technical, open and invite-only, non-profit and corporate-sponsored, focused and general. The only thing they’ve really had in common has been that they’ve all been online, to at least some degree; my life’s been pretty Internet-mediated since I first got online Continue reading →

The Craft of Community

A surprising number of old friends seem to be asking me, lately, what exactly it is that I’m doing these days. I guess that after a decade of being known mostly as a Perl developer, it seems like I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent. So, to make it clear: these days, my day job is as the community manager for Freebase.com, specifically for what we call the “Freebase geek community”: open source developers, data contributors, and all kinds of individuals who just Continue reading →

My experience with a dawn simulator

A couple of weeks ago I posted asking if anyone had had experience with dawn simulators or opinions of what model I should get. I went with the Philips HF3480 and this is my review. Day 0: The lamp arrived from Amazon and I plugged it in and played with it a bit. Determined that it worked as advertised. Here’s a picture of it part-way through its 30 minute “sunrise” sequence: So far so good. I went to bed looking forward to being woken by Continue reading →

Open government and parsable data formats

I first became aware of these issues via Raymond Yee, who teaches at UC Berkeley and who I’ve worked with a bit, hosting an Open Govt meetup at Freebase’s office, and going over to speak to his class about Freebase. Anyway, Raymond has blogged on several occasions about the lack of clarity in Recovery.gov data format specifications and the difficulty in working with data that is theoretically open but impossible to query effectively. To my mind, if you can’t readily query against the data, it’s Continue reading →