WordPress for Presentations (part 1)

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to get rid of using presentation software (like Microsoft Powerpoint and LibreOffice Impress). Since I’m mainly presenting stuff on the web, about the web, I want to use a web-based tool. Like my blog. And now I can! Here’s part one of the journey. Doing presentations with WordPress, […]

Dutch development data and results online

Today, Ben Knapen, the Dutch State Secretary for development cooperation, presented the  “Resultatenrapportage”, the “reporting of results” on Dutch efforts in development aid in the period 2009-2010 . He used the occassion to also present the first…

Smarter crowdsourcing

Paul Currion has written a critique on Ushahidi and crowdsourcing in humanitarian crises. I think he misses quite a bit of what actually went on, it’s like me judging the effectiveness of institutional aid based on what I see and hear on TV. Robert Munro has answered Paul’s critique with a more in-depth review of what happened and didn’t show up on Ushahidi.

I do agree with Paul’s (somewhat hidden) observation that tapping into an existing infrastructure (in the case of Haiti: the Open Street Map community) is a next step. I’d generalise that: tap into an existing social infrastructure. Consider the Haitian diaspora as such.

One way to look at crowdsourcing is as "a random group of people connected by technology figuring out processes to address a one-off goal". But that’s still a rather centralised view: an unconnected mass of people coming together like a flash mob.

A better way would be to consider socio-technical architectures: groups of people connected by technology, establishing (new) patterns of collaboration for on-going goals. That’s more a peer-to-peer view: an ad-hoc configuration of groups of people with different skills coming together to address a complex situation.

ResRap 3, 2, 1, Go!

Two weeks ago the #resrap 2009-2010 project kicked off at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs: the biannual reporting of results of Dutch international development aid. It’s the second time the Ministry works together with civil society (this time at a more ambitious level through Partos 1) to report on our joint Dutch contributions to the Millennium Development Goals as completely as possible.

Earlier, I used the 6-minute film A Case For Open Data In Transit” to illustrate my drive as member of the #resrap web advisory group, to not just collect data for analysis, but also make it available as raw data. Using the approach presented by Joshua Robin at the Gov 2.0 Expo 2010, last May: Focus on 3-2-1.

FOSDEM 2010, getting up to speed again

FOSDEM 2010 (photo by fry_theonly)FOSDEM 2010 (photo by fry_theonly)Racing back to Amsterdam at 270 km/h, time to consolidate my takeaways from this year’s FOSDEM in Brussels. More geeks (5,000+ expected), more lectures (200+) and more topics I wanted to follow: succeeded with OpenOffice, Drupal, and CouchDB, but not with Mozilla and XMPP. A geeky overview of my takeaways.

Clay Shirky as my Sound Byte Hero

I haven’t managed to write (publicly) for some time: new projects kept me busy, either launching, or preparing. But thanks to a tweet by Planspark, I read (yet another) piece by someone who is becoming my personal “Sound Byte Hero”: Clay Shirky. At the moment, Siegfried Woldhek and I are preparing a position paper on how International Development Cooperation will change, as part of a series of debates with existing organisations and the Minister for Development Cooperation here in The Netherlands. So when my friend Tim Bonnemann send out a tweet today “Must-read of the day: Clay Shirky’s “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable”, I summarised the take-away quotes for me.