You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

'Hacking Tyler' to Chronicle Digitization of a Small Texas Town

BY Nick Judd | Monday, May 9 2011

A news app developer at the Chicago Tribune promises to chronicle his efforts to improve a small Texas town's community, through technology, in a new blog announced in The Atlantic:

Tyler has information that could be freed. Tyler has government that could be opened. Tyler has news that could be hacked. Moreover, Tyler has an almost completely unexploited market. There are no hackers there. The small number of high-tech businesses that exist in the region are either web development shops serving local businesses or robotics companies.

He's moving, he writes, to be close to his son: His wife is divorcing him and moving, with his son, to Tyler.

"I expect to spend many nights being painfully underwhelmed with the place and with myself, but this is the best way I know how to deal with it," he writes. "This new blog will serve as documentation of my progress on all fronts."

A moving story, but it evokes a culture clash that Fast Company's Anya Kamenetz aptly summed up in her exploration of civic hacking:

Just as the infusion of thousands of bright-eyed Harvard and Brown grads into public-school classrooms for two-year stints has failed to magically transform school systems, there's an inherent arrogance detectable in the idea that folks conversant in Ruby on Rails are somehow best equipped to deal with the intractable problems faced by cities across the nation, from crack vials in playgrounds to police brutality.

Via Jennifer Pahlka