SXSW recap; March 12

In Code We Trust: Open Government Awesomeness

Panelists: Alissa Black, Noel Hidalgo, Dmitry Kachaev


How can we create a sustainable model to engage voters with their elected officials? Open source software platforms such as Drupal and wikis are being used to increase transparency and participation in the creation of government as a social platform. The discussion focused on examples of open source government websites and how to maintain a high level of participation. They stressed that these sites are not just e-government pages where you can file forms online. Open Government applications are places for people to collect and view various types of data including, how elected officials voted, crime, population data, and how much money is allocated to various municipal projects.

One example of an Open Government initiative is San Francisco’s Open Data Directive. Mayor Gavin Newsom signed this directive on October 21, 2009 to, “enhance open government, transparency, and accountability by improving access to City data that adheres to privacy and security policies”. RecoverySF is a site that is taking advantage of these open data policies.

For more information on Open Government initiatives check out:

Apps For Democracy

Transparency Camp


OpenMuni Wiki

Open 311

Battledecks 2010


This was a fun one. Battledecks is an ad-libbed PowerPoint presentation contest. Contestants are given 5 minutes to present a topic that they are unaware of until it’s their turn. During the presentation the judges flip through 10 slides that the contestants have never seen before. Scores are assessed based on the contestants interaction with the crowd, use of buzzwords, humor, and other factors that may be made up along the way.

There are a few clips of the Battledecks 2010 on Vimeo posted by Mangrove.

Google in China: Context and Consequences

Presenter: Kaiser Kuo


Some of this talk’s questions have already been answered by Google’s recent redirection of users to Hong Kong. However, there are still many issues surrounding China’s Internet policies that merit attention. In China business such as Google are supposed to police themselves with, “self-discipline” to censor questionable content. Where questionable content remains the Chinese authorities are there to help warn users that they are viewing content that may be offensive. Jingjing and Chacha will appear on your screen should you click too far.

Restrictions on the Internet in China are often refereed to as, The Great Firewall. As a result the Chinese Internet is becoming more of an entertainment superhighway rather than an information superhighway.  Lokman Tsui stated that, “The Great Firewall is the Iron Curtain 2.0”.


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