technology solutions

Technology solutions can be software or hardware or even new ways of using old processes. They are tools that assist individuals and communities to engage with each other, share information, and take action.

81 Ways Humanitarian Aid has Become Participatory

Update: I've since posted my full thesis and a short summary of it.

My Media Lab Master's thesis argues that information and communication technologies, and particularly the web, have expanded the range of ways the public can help in times of crisis, even (or especially) if we're nowhere near said crisis. Or, to be more formal about it, participatory aid is mutual, peer-to-peer aid mediated or powered by information and communication technology. We're building a platform to help coordinate participatory aid projects, but first, I wanted to share some examples.

The wired monopoly and the future of broadband

Media Lab Conversations: Susan Crawford
March 28, 2013 #MLTalks

Susan Crawford was at the Media Lab today to talk about her new book Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age. She is a highly-respected lawyer and professor and has taught at Cardozo Law School, University of Michigan, Yale, and now Harvard Law School. She was on Obama's transition team reviewing the FCC, and a special advisor to Obama Administration on Innovation and Tech policy. She is also a former board member of ICANN and founder of OneWebDay.

The live webcast of Susan's talk with Ethan Zuckerman andy Andy Lippman will be published here soon. The following is a liveblog of the Q&A session by Molly and Erhardt

Q&A

Tracking memes across television news: A tool for analyzing how stories move through broadcast

Too long, didn’t read: You can use this Ruby script to query Archive.org’s recently-launched TVNews archive and download JSON files with the results. It’s great for tracking how frequently a person or topic shows up in U.S. televised news broadcasts.

(cross-posted at Nieman Journalism Lab)

Civic crowdfunding at #SXSWi 2013 - liveblog

SXSW2013

This week I spoke on a panel at SXSW Interactive on civic crowdfunding, titled "Can crowdfunding save local government budgets (SXSW 2013)?" Here's a liveblog of the talk, by Helena Puig Larrauri and Leah Jones.

Panelists: Eric Engelman - advisor for Mayor of San Diego
Story Bellows - co-director of Mayor’s office of new urban mechanics in Philadelphia
Rodrigo Davies - researcher at MIT and advisor for Spacehive
Jordan Raynor - Co-founder of @citizinvestor

Food Rescue: Designing a Tech Solution for Somerville

This is the second in a series of posts about how technology can help food rescue and food security.  I am collaborating with community groups in Somerville, MA; trying to extend and enhance existing food rescue programs. Click here to read the first, a tech overview.

Food Rescue - how can tech help?

This is the first in a series of posts about how technology can help food rescue and food security.  I am collaborating with community groups in Somerville, MA; trying to extend and enhance existing food rescue programs.  Read the second post, about our design workshop, here.

Food waste is a huge problem in the US – with millions of tons wasted per year and scores left hungry around the nation. Members of the Somerville Coalition for Food Security approached me to help work on this problem here in my town; wondering how technology could help them expand their exiting food recovery programs. As a first step, I did a bunch of research into who is using technology to help with food rescue, and how. This post summarizes that research.

Teaching government how to fail

Image by Soelin (http://www.flickr.com/photos/soelin)

"Our job is to get government used to the idea of failing."

Nigel Jacobs' New Urban Mechanics team at Boston's City Hall has piloted several successful projects since its launch in 2010, from video game-inspired citizen engagement platforms to mobile apps to report potholes. But according to Jacob, one of the most important contributions the team is making to civic innovation is not building great apps and services, but in giving government officials the space to get things wrong.

How Do We Make Social Media In Higher Ed More Awesome?

In a guest post published today on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Head Count” admissions and enrollment blog (for which I myself have written), Jack Baworowsky, VP of enrollment management at Dominican University, warns his colleagues that it “is not a question of if but when will there be a major shift in the way we think about student recruitment.”

Reflections on the First Hackathon at the White House

White House Hackathon poster

On Friday, February 22nd, 2013, the White House held its first ever hackathon. Twenty-one coders, data scientists, and user experience designers from around the country joined seven members of the White House’s development team to work on the first We the People API. I had the great privilege of participating in this event. (Dude! I went to the White House to hack! Ok, back to journalist voice).

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