The New York State Senate has been doing a lot to increase engagement with its citizens. The Director of Technology Innovation Noel Hidaldo recently gave a presentation (below) at the IgniteNYC event. Some of the stuff is procedural such as assigning their content a Creative Commons license. Other he touches on are much more substantive such as holding a digital town hall. Connecticut should start thinking about adopting some of these ideas.
For example, one idea they might adopt is allowing citizens to comment on the legislation using a web form. It’s a really basic thing but currently the state website does not allow you to do this. A quick and easy way to submit written testimony that goes along with public hearings might encourage more people to submit their testimony and ideas.
Having worked with some state agencies when doing some academic research I know they are willing and able to share data. The Yankee Institute recently put up a large amount of data from the comptrollers office. I do not believe they are unwilling to change, they just need some help from the next generation of nutmeggers.
Over the summer I was fortunate enough to get to work for Dan Malloy’s exploratory committee. Today I got to see him announce his candidacy in Hartford. Dan’s pitch is simple and compelling: he successfully ran Stamford and therefore has the experience needed to be successful in running Connecticut.
Dan is also participating in the Citizens’ Election Program. This program requires candidates to collect small donations from a large number of donors in order to get a grant to run their campaign with. This allows candidates to not feel indebted to large donors and spend more time talking to people instead of raising money. As a result the field of candidates for governor this year is larger than 2006.
To learn more about Dan check out his website or just ask me.
Today I got the 4GB of RAM I ordered to upgrade my 13" MacBook Pro. Installing the upgrade was quick and painless procedure. However after I successfully installed the RAM the backlight on my keyboard stopped functioning. I called up AppleCare support and after a few prompts I was connected to Megan. The first surprise was that Megan did not seem to be from a foreign country. Second was the manner in which she counseled me through my new problem. She was pleasant and after informing me I was out of phone support she advised me of all my options. I was lucky because when I tried to reinstall the old RAM and I discovered I had knocked a ribbon cable that supplied power to the backlight out of its place. After replacing it my backlight came to life. This is the type of issue that likely would not have been noticed or solved over the phone. However I will never forget how painless and helpful my experience with AppleCare support was.
I know I've neglected this blog quite a bit lately. I pulled a new theme for it from the Drupal theme gallery which I believe looks a bit cleaner than the previous one. I also cleaned up the spam. I hope to update this blog a little more frequently over the coming year. If you have suggestions on issues to write about or for a better theme please feel free to let me know.
Today I added a Creative Commons license to this blog. While you might not be familiar with Creative Commons if you’ve used a website such as flickr to host your images you may have already have encountered and even used it. The license I chose gives permission to freely use the content as long as proper attribution is made. There may be little to take and remix now but maybe in the coming year I will write an interesting post you want to build on or finally learn how to make the next viral video. If you are interested in more information just check out the Creative Commons website or click “read more” to see a video from Prof. Lawrence Lessig explaining the importance of Creative Commons.