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Showing posts from 2010

Don't Make Me Think #FAIL

Made me laugh but I'm still SlideShare bamboozled :-) First login link goes to: Second to:

Visualising 200 Years Of World Health

The BBC video embedded here is a BRILLIANT use of infographics (graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge) explaining how the health (defined by life expectancy x income) has changed over the past 200 years for all the main countries of the world. If you're thinking of presenting data to someone then stop and think how you could use a visual and communicative approach that goes above and beyond a slide-deck ("Powerpoint") - here's some FREE tools for you to try: Prezi Google Spreadsheet: motion chart Google Maps ( examples ) Wordle Walrus And it's not just about using your data - there are kick ass tools that will take your concepts, ideas and words and mash them up with appropriate images and the like: amaztype Flickr Time Websites as graphs Of course there are too many for me to list (and it's not my area of expertise) so check out 50 Great Examples of Data Visualizatio n for more inspiration. And now, the video If that had you think

I Just Paid $10 To Use Ubuntu - Now You Should Even If You Use Windows/Mac

I love Ubuntu , you know that by now ... it's easy to use, stable (especially with 10.10) and responsive. And, let's not beat about the bush, it's free ... to download and use $0 is what I've paid for it. And so, giving $10 directly to help one of the developers is the very least I can do ... so I have. If you want to help someone out then may I suggest you do the same This from OMG! Ubuntu: Please help support Amber and Pete Graner after some devastating news Last week while Amber and Pete Graner were attending the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Florida, they received some very bad news. Lightning had struck their home and it had caught fire, burning to the ground. Luckily, no one was injured – their family and their pets are fine, but their house is now gone. I met and hung out with Amber last May when we were both at UDS-M in Belgium planning the Maverick Meerkat release. Amber is an awesome long standing contributor to Ubuntu, with significant contributions to

International Software Freedom Day 2010

So let's chop up International Software Freedom Day a bit: International = this is happening ALL over the world Software = the stuff that makes your boxes, wires an touchscreens actually do stuff Freedom = aha, the nub Day = a focus but not to be taken literally eh Christchurch :-) Freedom, that's the key. Freedom from what? Freedom to do what? Users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. You can read more about the four freedoms on the GNU website . Open source software is a part of what is known as FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and I can guarantee you are using a piece of FOSS software right now. It might not be the application as a whole but deep inside there will be a little piece of something that has come from the FOSS world. That's right, someone somewhere has allowed others to build upon their work - amazingly awesome eh. And yes, Microsoft do use FOSS software and even have a whole team based around open source. If yo

Public Attitudes to the Sharing of Personal Information in the Course of Electronic Public Service Provision

We can all assume that openess is "good", that the government should share and that we "know" NZ citizens are happy to provide personal information to the Government ... but is that actually what people think? Professor Miriam Lips, Dr Elizabeth Eppel, Amanda Cunningham and Virginia Hopkins-Burns from Victoria University of Wellington have recently published their findings of their research paper entitled, "Public Attitudes to the Sharing of Personal Information in the Course of Electronic Public Service Provision " . The summary ( view on web | PDF ) states: Our research findings demonstrate that the majority of participants had a benign view of information sharing intentions and practice in the New Zealand public sector. Generally, the participants in this study had a high trust in the New Zealand government and its agencies and thought that they are working in the best interests of citizens. Exceptions could be found among participants with a high depe

OpenLabourNZ Public Event This Saturday (28th Aug)

(and when there's a similar open event for National, ACT or The Green I will pop that up as well) From Clare Curran (@clarecurranmp), Dunedin South Labour MP and "open government advocate": I realise that you may not be able to attend this event. If you can't I hope you will participate in some way from afar and details on the live streaming will be announced soon. But I do ask that you circulate details of the OpenLabourNZ event to as many people as possible in your networks inside and outside NZ. This is a genuine attempt to develop a policy for a political party in an open way. And if you believe in the principles of open government I hope you'll support, critique and even help, with advice and suggestions. You don't have to support Labour or consider yourself political. It's about strengthening our democracy and opening up. See my latest Red Alert post which contains details of registration (email ) Doing things differently: OpenLabo

NZ Moves To Embrace Public Sector Information Re-use And Open Data

Thanks to Julian , a stalwart of the Open Govt Ninja's ( become one ), I have read Keitha Booth's excellent review of the New Zealand Government's moves to embrace public sector information (PSI) re-use and open data. She has concisely and fully described the "how we got here" and "the NZ environment" pointing to real-life examples of where data openness has lead to increased service for the community. If you're working within a government agency, check it out to see what your colleagues are doing and how you already have the permission to open up your information and where you can too benefit from ensuring re-use via open data. Topic Report 15: New Zealand moves to embrace PSI Re-use and Open data European Public Sector Information Platform Topic Report no. 15 (published 13 August 2010) Author: Keitha Booth, New Zealand State Services Commission This report summarises the key features of New Zealand’s information policy environment and then describ

Māori Language Week + Google

In New Zealand this week (26 July - 01 August 2010) is Maori Language week and I assume that everyone reading this blog will somehow, no matter how small, already be involved! As you are readily aware I have a large "online world" and so thought it would be appropriate for me to spread the word and get involved online. Fistly, I went to the Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission - website, , and checked out the options for me which turned out to be full and easily put to use - expect me to get better and better at using the basics over the week (please, let me know if I'm mispronouncing anything :-) I'm going to try and permanently translate my online bios/abouts such as @MiramarMike, Facebook , Google Profile ... let me know if I've missed any. And finally, being a heavy user I thought I'd check out what they offer in way of support for te reo. Of course there has been the Māori version of the mai

Collaboration At Its Finest

Over on the WaveAdept blog ( subscribe ) you'll find two posts from me around "collaboration" Online Collaboration On A Document – A Great Story Sometime ago a few of the WaveAdept team were over in Sydney working hard (that’s our story and we’re sticking with it!). Whilst over in the Great West Island we stumbled over an opportunity that we believed the team really should have a crack at … but we only had an afternoon to gather our thoughts, write up an RFP* and get it out to the relevant people. ... read the full article >>> The 3 C’s – Communication, Consultation and Collaboration You’ve got the technology (be it Google Apps, SharePoint or whatever) and your IT people have integrated it, patched it, set you up and handed it over… now what? Well, for a start, sit back and congratulate yourself that your organisation is: Saving costs (NZ$2million per year for NZ Post with their Google Apps roll-out, and they’ve just started) Freed up your IT staff to co

#tweet4yourteeYouTube Mission + NZ Google Barcamp

The Tweet 4 Your Tee guys are pretty bloody awesome because not only do they manage to arrange a tweetup for their promo video but they SPONSOR THE NZ GOOGLE BARCAMPS !! Thank you. And of course I have my @MiramarMike t-shirt from the Wellington @NZGoogleBarcamp. Get yours for the Auckland event (Sat 21st Aug) and @Tweet4yourtee donate NZ$10 dollars to the event! Now, watch the video to see how many local Twitter peeps you can spot (@smrtgirl right at the front there ;-). Then, get over to their online store and buy yourself a T-shirt with your @Twitter name on it.

The Real Life Social Network v2

A common sense, obvious and leading presentation from Paul Adams who is the "Senior User Experience Researcher" at Google. If you want to know about Facebook's weakness it's the word "friend" - and we all know it, it's been the butt of jokes for ever and it's the reason we all feel uncomfortable using it - what is a "friend"? The Real Life Social Network v2 View more documents from Paul Adams . Paul's "about": Senior User Experience Researcher at Google. I’m the research lead for sociability, and I work with teams building products and features for the social web. I’ve previously worked as a User Experience consultant at Flow (working with the BBC, The Guardian, Vodafone, London Underground, and others), and as an Industrial Designer at Dyson

6 Phases A Government Agency Goes Through When Asked To Open Up Their Data

Finally got around to catching up with the Guardian's TechWeekly podcast from 8th June and for those, like myself, that are advocates of "open government" / "open data" (can you have the one without the other?) you should get yourself along to around the 25min mark to hear Tom Watson (UK Labour MP) who: ... was instrumental in helping the previous [UK] Labour government understand the value of opening up its public records, shares his view on the reasons why openness should be valued – and what he had to do to convince his political colleagues I strongly advice all those 'working;' in this field to listen to his views and approach! I especially loved his excellent "6 point plan" in regards to the "institutional response to data release": Denial that the Minister is asking for this stuff Resistance Moral Panic when they realise you're serious ... after the release ...   Outrage that this stuff is being given away and

'NZ Open Govt' Calendar

Ok, so Craig Thomler popped an Aussie calendar up first with his Gov 2 and social media events calendar for Australia to which I thought, "Shame there's not enough NZ events to warrant a calendar" - I was wrong, the demand is there so let's crack into a similar calendar for NZ. The "NZ Open Govt' calendar is based upon the barcamp calendar from the NZ Open Govt Data Barcamp and Hackfest event. That means it's open to all members of the associated Google Group already. If you want to add an event to the calendar let me know and I can do it for you OR, even better, give you the access to do it yourself - Links: Public URL Subscribe (ics) XML feed h

"Everyone" On The Internet Isn't Always International

Another in the series, "No, the Internet isn't international" - pt1 , pt2 , pt3 Google released it's Google Voice service with the headline, Google Voice for everyone . Of course the 'everyone' referenced was 'everyone in the USA' ... check out the blog comments . It is actually a serendipitous discovery for Google that a) they are a no-borders company; b) their Google Voice service is obviously eagerly awaited all around the planet. "No-borders company" ... hmm, actually no, they are not. They are legally a USA company with the majority of their staff working within the US. They have (large) satellite offices around the world that feed back to the main US corporation. Their services are perceived as being ubiquitous and global but even that perception is false - you can't get a blogger account in China, never have been able to. So, OK, Google isn't global but the perception is that they "think global". The same fo

The Internet Isn't International ... Again

More in my Kiwi-centric "the Internet isn't really international, is it!" series - pt1 , pt2

Deep Amongst The Technicals Google Talks About People

[cross post with WaveADept blog ] Google I/O 2010 , this year's annual developer event Google hosts, has been full of interesting announcements , ( re ) releases and developer goodies (we are particularly interested in the Gmail contextual gadgets , expect more news from WaveAdept) and whilst we are certainly happy for our clients that Google Apps is expanding out to become a "platform" onto which the commodities of mail, calendar, documents can be built, we were chuffed to see the following session sandwiched inside the agenda . How to lose friends and alienate people: The joys of engineering leadership from Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman. Whilst the session was aimed at "engineering leadership" it can, of course, be applied to any team. I love that they start of saying that the word "manager" isn't useful anymore (was it ever). But hey, don't take our word for it, here's the Wave used to annotate the session A

The Evolution Of Privacy On Facebook

I'm sure you've all heard the hullabaloo from the digerati* (the people that jump onto the technology as soon as it comes out and leave it it in disdain when "real people" appear ... believe me, it happens) about the changes to Facebook's default privacy settings allowing more and more of the stored data to be accessed by anyone, anything or any app. So what, some online site changes it's default settings, who cares eh! Two reasons why "So what": They have 400 million users They don't care about any of them So now we have (conveniently for Facebook): The "flashing 12" problem The "surely they won't do anything bad" issue The "Meh, I don't care" attitude "Mike, this is all just computers, just too bloody technical for me - leave me be as I have some friends to talk with and a photo to post!!" I tried to tell everyone but it just wasn't getting through. And then I found this ... The Ev

Brilliant! Google Chrome Speed Tests Video

That's how to make a point! These speed tests were filmed at actual web page rendering times. If you're interested in the technical details, read on! Equipment used: - Computer: MacBook Pro laptop with Windows installed - Monitor - 24" Asus: We had to replace the standard fluorescent backlight with very large tungsten fixtures to funnel in more light to capture the screen. In addition, we flipped the monitor 180 degrees to eliminate a shadow from the driver board and set the system preferences on the computer to rotate 180 degrees. No special software was used in this process. - 15Mbps Internet connection. - Camera: Phantom v640 High Speed Camera at 1920 x 1080, films up to 2700 fps "Why does in the potato gun sequence appear at once, and not the text first and images second? And why does it appear to render from bottom of the screen to the top?" Chrome sends the rendered page to the video card buffer all at once, which is why allrec

Let 'Em Know

I'm lucky enough to be a part of a conversation on the mailing list where I get to hear amazingly passionate people talk about how they want to actively help NZ Government become an open and sharing set of organisations. And being mainly self-confessed geeks (with a seemingly inequitable love of live offline quirkiness) the focus of many is to solve the NZ traditional "closed approach to governance" by using a computer. But there are also those that want to be real about it all and actually get physical in their approach - talk to people etc etc ... Nat Torkington popped up these few "real and active" actions that all Kiwi geeks can do in order for those in power (mostly politicians but by no means limited to that happy band) to get to hear the "open up our data!" request: Register where you live, to find your local MP's Office Commit to regular meetings (collecting dates and times, reporting back) Discussions

Work Can Be Social

Maybe this is what some middle manger types are worried about with the inevitable* move to social IT - social means talking which can sometimes be, heaven help us, fun. The following tweets, from earlier this year, are labelled "VodafoneNZ" and "TelecomNZ" but really, they are between two people with a sense of humour that work at places that happen to be in competition. I love it. Here's the original tweets: TelecomNZ ->  VodafoneNZ -> TelecomNZ (can't discover link, darn!) * inevitable because we are social animals and therefore all our tools inevitably become social tools.

[URGENT] Want A Free/Open Internet, The "Wellington Declaration" Is Ready For YOU To Sign

(note: you need to sign the declaration by 9am Tuesday 13th - get into it! ) ACTA, that secret( ish ) international agreement being negotiated between the governments of USA, the European Commission, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Canada, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand , Republic of Korea, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates. A quick overview of ACTA from Wikipedia : The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral trade agreement for establishing international standards on intellectual-property-rights enforcement throughout the participating countries. Its proponents describe it as a response "to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works." The scope of ACTA is broad, including counterfeit goods, generic medicines, as well as "piracy over the Internet". A document leaked to the public in 2008 includes a provision to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide information about

Everything You Wanted To Know About Google -- But Were Afraid To Search For!

(cross post from WaveAdept ) [disclosure: I am part of the volunteers helping to create this event] From Android to Wave, Google Apps for your company to SEO for your website AND  everything in between ... Thursday 25th March, 2010: 8:30am-4pm Bar Bodega, 101 Ghuznee Street, Wellington [ map ] Ticket price: $0 The world's first free and independent Google-centric barcamp* is being held in Wellington on Thursday 25th March (8:30am-4pm) and we at WaveAdept are chuffed to be amongst the plethora of local, national and international sponsors of this community run event. Of course a Google-centric conference could probably run for a week trying to cover all aspects of the Google services so we'll be concentrating WaveAdept's efforts on how Google Enterprise services save costs and provide value to Kiwi companies. We won't, however, be using the event to push our services or Google products (that's for the more traditional events) but trying to get i

We Have All Been Let Down By Those That Know Better

The Internet was designed peer-to-peer BUT it doesn't run like that for the vast majority of people (we are clients logging onto servers). I so wish it did run in a true peer-to-peer manner and we all had had the support, focus and software from the complete computer industry to make that happen. We didn't (thank you Microsoft) and are unlikely to in the forseeable future. What I mean by "support, focus and software" is that the IT industry had spent time allowing my wife to run her own infrastructure that would, as she wanted, connect out to her mates infrastructure. Of course, with the design genius of, say Apple, the technical expertise of Microsoft and software from local suppliers this could've generated a world where the word "infrastructure" isn't needed. Peer-to-peer has never taken off because the focus has remained with the techies. It was never focussed on my wife but on geek dreams. Facebook is MASSIVE because it focuses on my wife. Apple

Been A While, Welcome Back And Hello From 2010

I'm focussing on the NZ Google Barcamp that's being arranged for Thursday 25th March in Wellington that already has around 30+ saying they're coming (we're likely to limite it to 150 bums on seats). Get the latest: And follow on Twitter: @NZGoogleBarcamp And now, enjoy a giggle ...