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Armed with a Flip Camera, Freshmen Take Capitol Hill

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, February 10 2009

We can probably thank the Qikking congressman John Culberson for this one. Two freshman representatives, Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado, have been set up by CNN with pocket-sized Flip video cameras and asked to record their first tentative steps on Capitol Hill. "The camera makes it doable," Chaffetz told the New York Times' Brian Stelter. "I can literally put it in my shirt pocket." Indeed, at 4 inches by 2 inches, the Flip HD cameras are little bigger than the pocket Constitution electeds like to carry around. In the first installment of "Freshman Year" (seriously), Chaffetz shows off his office mini-fridge full of Jello puddings and Slim-Fast cans, and glows about sitting down with Obama: "First time I met the President, and I gotta say, I was impressed." He also points out the desktop he uses when "sending out some tweets on my Twitter." Polis is a bit more circumspect, but he does reveal that he likes to wear turtlenecks to the Capitol, switching to (the same) shirt and tie for committee meetings.

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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