OpenTech 2010 schedule

Saturday 11th September 2010

  • 1A: Just Do It: The Documentary

    by Emily James

    In early 2009, documentary maker Emily began filming the clandestine activities of several groups of environmental civil disobedient activists in the UK. Her footage shows us the people behind the politics, providing the often overlooked human element to their story. It is an experiment in crowd-funding, group production and community- engaged documentary filmmaking. Emily talks about the what, why, and how of telling this story.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Saturday 11th September

  • 1A: NO2ID: tales from the battlefront

    by Phil Booth

    As the wider battle against the database state intensifies, Phil Booth looks back and draws a few lessons from NO2ID's campaign against the National Identity Scheme.

    Also in this slot:

    Just Do It: The Documentary - Emily James

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Saturday 11th September

  • 1B: Mozilla Drumbeat

    by Gervase Markham

    Will the internet still be open in 50 years? The web is healthy now, providing raw material for new kinds of innovation, creativity, wealth and democracy. Yet there are many who see this as a threat, and would neuter or dumb down the net. The Mozilla community believes we can - and must - keep the web open. That's why we build Firefox. It's also why we're starting Drumbeat, an invitation to teachers, artists, lawyers, filmmakers and other everyday internet users to do things that will make the web better, and keep it open for the long haul. Ultimately, our goal is a strong, safe open internet: an internet built and backed by a massive global community committed to the idea that everyone should all be able to freely create, innovate and express ideas online without asking permission from others. This talk will explain how we're going to get from here to there, and how you can be part of it.

    Also in this slot:

    Where now for open video? with visionOntv - Hamish Campbell

    Open Data & The Rewards of Failure - Chris Taggart

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Saturday 11th September

  • 1B: Open Data & The Rewards of Failure

    by Chris Taggart

    At the moment the public sector is incentivised to do big, slow projects which get a lot of launch publicity but whose almost inevitable failure doesn't harm the originators. This is the current reward of failure -- big projects, big failures, big payoffs. Small, innovative projects however bring no kudos, no increased power and any failure is associated with the originators. How do we change that? Open data. This presentation explains the current incentives, and explains how open data in the public sector is not just good for transparency, engagement and efficiency, but is a crucial part in changing those incentives, to rewarding success, and encouraging small projects where any failure is a step towards success (a la Edison).

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Saturday 11th September

    Coverage slide deck

  • 1B: Where now for open video? with visionOntv

    by Hamish Campbell

    How could open media thrive?

    1. "A project of shared communities". Sharealike, decentralization and visionOntv - How open media projects could really compete with closed media. Building a decentralized network with open source and industrial standards.

    2. "A world of TV reporters". Can open content be both quick-to-make and watchable? (citizen journalism training and visionOntv's experience of running live-edit wind and solar-powered studios).

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Saturday 11th September

  • 1C: - process and properties

    by Jeni Tennison and Richard Stirling

    The project grew out of the consultancy from Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt to Gordon Brown and his Digital Engagement Team. Richard Stirling has helped spear head the project that had its beta launch in January 2010. Working closely with the Central Office of Information and the Office of National Statistics, Richard has brought from its concept idea through to a successfully launched public website, with hundreds of new open datasets being added weekly. Richard's talk will cover getting the project off the ground, highs and lows, and the logistics surrounding such a high profile piece of work both from the eyes of the Cabinet, and the public. Richard will also discuss the future of and learnings from the project. This session will be the one to talk about why (not) RDF/XML/linkedData/WebServices etc in.

    Also in this slot: - built on the API - John Sheridan

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Saturday 11th September

  • 1C: - built on the API

    by John Sheridan

    The National Archives talk about and their work top open the statute book. Interesting in multiple ways, it's the first a large scale gov website development where the API was built first, and is open to anyone to use, free of charge.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Saturday 11th September

  • 2A: LinkedGov: Filling in the Gaps

    by Hadley Beeman

    The Data's not enough; we need stuff around it. Government datasets are often published with budget codes, cost centre codes, and other quirks in need of explanation -- but without that explanation. The answers live with the civil servants, local government officers, and statisticians who work with those datasets. This project will set up a system for those with the answers to easily input this metadata into published government datasets. We will then make those improved datasets searchable, providing APIs for apps and visualisations and a simple web-based search tool that should be an everyday resource for those in government, research, education, community activities, or anyone curious about their country. This volunteer-led project aims to raise the profile of government opendata and transparency by: improving the quality of available data helping citizens to access the information they want building a search tool which is useful for those in government, encouraging them to publish high-quality data involving many people from the developer, government, research, education, academic and volunteer communities.

    Also in this slot:

    Open Data in Clinical Trials - Ben Goldacre and Louise Crow

    Rewiring the State - Emma Mulqueeny

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 11th September

    Coverage slide deck

  • 2A: Open Data in Clinical Trials

    by Louise Crow and Ben Goldacre

    Pharmaceutical companies running clinical trials are increasingly being required to register them in one or more databases. Once the trials are finished, the results ought to be published in medical journals, but there is little incentive to publish negative data, for example from trials that were terminated early due to poor drug performance or dangerous side effects. These results may quietly disappear, leading to unrealistic estimates of the effectiveness of drugs and poorer medical decisions. This talk introduces a project headed by Ben Goldacre, currently at the prototype stage, aiming to encourage publication of clinical trial data by combining information from the different trial repositories in one publicly accessible website, crosschecked with publications. This would allow the identification of trials with no published results, making these absent data points publicly visible.

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 11th September

    Coverage slide deck

  • 2A: Rewiring the State

    by Emma Mulqueeny

    Rewired State, Young Rewired State and Friends, on what we've done so far, what we need to do next and what you can do too.

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 2B: Open Rights Group

    by Florian Leppla, Michael Holloway, Glyn Wintle and Jim Killock

    Founded in 2005 by 1,000 digital activists, Open Rights Group is the UK's leading voice defending freedom of expression, privacy, innovation, consumer rights and creativity on the net. Find out about our campaign plans, including repeal of the Digital Economy Act, freeing up more public data and how you can help out.

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 2C: Can Twitter Save Bletchley Park?

    by Sue Black

    Two years ago Sue Black visited Bletchley Park, fell in love with the place, and started a campaign to save it. Starting with a letter to the Times and an appearance on BBC news, and more recently using social media, Sue tells the story of how the geek community are coming together to make sure Bletchley is saved for posterity.

    Also in this slot:

    CC'ing the world - Nick Booth

    Feedback for Emergency Doctors - Dr Carl J Reynolds

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 2C: CC'ing the world

    by Nick Booth

    By the time the conference comes round it'll be nearly two years since I organised the first social media surgery for community groups. Now they are being used across the world as a techniques for spreading skills in neighbourhoods. I'd like to tell you my recipe for making them work, share stories of the difference they make and explain how we link that to public use of data.

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 2C: Feedback for Emergency Doctors

    by Carl Reynolds

    Two databases were queried to create individualized reports for junior Emergency Doctors on their diagnostic accuracy. I discuss the need for information system innovation in Health Care, difficulties setting stuff up in the NHS, and experience of a project to give feedback to Emergency Doctors.

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 11th September

    Coverage slide deck

  • 2D: How UK Universities are Using LinkedData

    by David F. Flanders

    Several projects will be outlined currently going on within Uk Universities on how linkeddata is being utilised to achieve new and exciting achievements. This projects are currently being funded as innovaiton funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 3A: Climate Change Update

    by Gavin Starks

    What's actually been changing in science, business and politics to create change? What's the signal in amongst the noise? What do we need to do next? Did you know 3-4,000 companies in the UK are now legally required to calculate their carbon footprint? Information, some answers, more questions and anecdotal stories from the collision between us, the planet and the internet of things...

    Also in this slot:

    Giving the Enlightenment Another Five Hundred Years - Bill Thompson

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

    Coverage slide deck

  • 3A: Giving the Enlightenment Another Five Hundred Years

    by Bill Thompson

    Bill Thompson argues that online access to the cultural record is vital if we're to build on the past, preserve enlightenment values and build an open society - so the time has come to sort out codecs, metadata and rights.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 3B: Election lessons

    by Tim Green

    The 2010 election was the first one where all the candidates were directly asked a set of local questions. This is the story of how we found thousands of volunteers, all the candidates and local issues. Covers the work of DemocracyClub, YourNextMP and TheyWorkForYou.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 3B: Fix My Transport: coming soon from mySociety

    by Louise Crow

    Late this year, mySociety are planning to release FixMyTransport, a site focussed on connecting and empowering people who share transport problems of different kinds. As getting a new ticket machine in your station is an order of magnitude more difficult than getting your local council to fill a pothole, FixMyTransport will be built on top of a new back end system called Project Fosbury. Project Fosbury is about helping people get over difficult obstacles. It will be a modular platform for breaking down a complicated civic task into pieces which can then be allocated to one or more people. The aim is to place these tasks in a joined up infrastructure that will lower the barriers to achieving changes that may require multiple actions over a long period of time. There will be a single public home page for each mini campaign, showing recent activities on the site, as well as integrating with external social media. We hope to repeat the FixMyStreet phenomena where some 'insoluble' problems suddenly become soluble once they're in the public domain.

    Also in this slot:

    GroupsNearYou - Tom Steinberg

    Election lessons - Edmund von der Burg, Tim Green and friends

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 3B: GroupsNearYou

    by Tom Steinberg

    Why GroupsNearYou hasn't achieved it's aims yet, and what you should know as a result

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 3C: Enhancing Trust in Science through Computable Publication

    by James Hetherington

    AMEE, the Avoiding Mass Extinctions Engine, provides a RESTful API comprising many mathematical models of the environmental impact of human activity, in particular, greenhouse gas emissions. This API is consumed by many environmental-impact-tracking websites. The models and data used by AMEE in building the API are published in many forms, but most of these are designed to be read by humans only, and are not arranged in a manner suitable for computational use. We advocate and enable Computable Publication of scientific research, where the results, dependencies, and methodologies are published in a machine readable fashion. This promotes One-Click Reproducibility. Greenhouse gas management is a world of conflicting governmental and international standards, none of which is initally published in a computable form. By making these available as Computable Standards, AMEE can enhance the capability of the world to make wise long-term decisions based on trustworthy open science.

    Also in this slot:

    Who Owns my Genome Data - Manuel Corpas

    OpenGeoScience: not just earthquakes - Patrick Bell

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 3C: Who Owns my Genome Data

    by Manuel Corpas

    Current advances in DNA sequencing have made it possible that by 2020 every person in developed countries has had his/her genome sequenced. The good news is that your health prospects will be dramatically improved; you'll be able to know your susceptibility to disease and act upon it early. The bad news is that even if you don't want to know your genetic risks, the chances are somebody else will know about them; maybe your GP, your sister or even the Government. Here I briefly present some of the ethical and social challenges that current advances in personal genomics are likely to generate, particularly data sharing and ownership issues. Some of these challenges I have encountered directly through my work as developer of a database of patients with rare genetic disorders. Given that data yields of genome data will explode in the near future, research is needed into how to handle this data ethically. A reasonable balance must be struck between data sharing and personal privacy while ensuring derived benefits can be translated into better healthcare as quickly as possible.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 3D: Mydex Community Prototype

    by David Alexander

    After public data the next big item on the agenda is how we deal with personal data. It's high time we regained control of it. Step one is to offer people personal data stores, and give people capablity for third-party verifitation/authentication and for selective disclosure. Mydex Community Prototype will have this working for chang of circumstances from Oct 2010. This means people can submit change of circs to councils and other relying parties, and external proof of their claims. It's a small but definite step towards VRM.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • OpenGeoScience: not just earthquakes

    by Patrick Bell

    OpenGeoscience is a free web service from the British Geological Survey (BGS) that provides geological information for non-commercial and innovation use. Available resources include street-level (1:50 000 scale) geological maps for the whole GB (delivered via Web Map Services), nearly 50,000 photographic images from BGS? national collection, access to databases e.g. rock classification scheme and lexicon of named rock units, an open research archive and software downloads such as our digital field-data capture system. OpenGeoscience aims to exploit and open up access to BGS knowledge, information and data. The user community is taking advantage of OpenGeoscience and a number of ?mashups? incorporating the geology mapping WMS have already been created. This presentation will touch on knowledge exchange initiatives within the BGS and how OpenGeoscience fits in. It will discuss the user community for OpenGeoscience and how the service aims to meet their needs. The technical methods of its implementation will be explored and plans for the future unveiled.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 4A: and friends - applications and impacts

    by UK Open Public Data

    What's been done with open public data, and what's better in the world as a result, and what still needs your help. This is about the data that is available, and what is done with it, and what else could be freed up etc. For process/format type talk, see the "process and properties" session in the morning.

    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 4B: Open Platform: How it works

    by Francis Rhys-Jones

    The Guardians Open Platform initiative provides resources for developers to access to the wealth of content and data created and curated by this media organisation. This talk starts by focusing on the Content Api, a service giving developers access to the content created by the Guardian, an archive published in realtime but reaching back to the inception of the website in 1991. The talk reviews the latests developments in the api, what meta data is exposed and how it can be used to navigate and discover useful content. It then moves on to talk about the challenges the development team faced around scalability requirements of the api and discusses the architecture that solved these problems, giving details of the implementation in Apache Solr, Scala and hosting in Amazons EC2. The api fits into a wider 'open in, open out' strategy. An approach aimed not only at providing resources to the development community, but allowing the Guardian to incorporate their work into Giving important and interesting work access to the reach the site provides. The talk covers what the development team have done to make this work.

    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 4B: The Guardian's Open Strategy

    by Stephen Dunn

    The news industry is undergoing massive change. In particular traditional newspaper business models have been disrupted by the Internet. As Clay Shirky said: If the old model is broken, what will work in its place? To which the answer is: Nothing.... There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke". This is becoming an old story. But this year - news organisations are making their moves. Some are now adopting different models to try to survive - some are moving behind paywalls. The Guardian is taking a different, open approach. Last year we spoke at OpenTech about the beta of our Open Platform. In this talk we'll cover how the Guardian's open strategy has moved on and grown - our open strategy is much more than having a technology platform - it is a strategy being adopted across the organisation, from editorial to commercial depts. I'll illustrate how being open has changed the way we do things, and explain how our technology platform is having to evolve to work with these changes. (this is a double header: also in the same session - Francis Rhys-Jones of the Guardian gives an in depth view of the technology we are using to do this)

    Also in this slot:

    Open Platform: How it works - Francis Rhys-Jones

    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 4C: Modern FreeBSD

    by Mark Blackman

    FreeBSD has moved on. The FreeBSD that was used to power old-school ISPs has progressed to offer features matching and exceeding any other Unix variant. FreeBSD offers complete support for threading, embedded devices, high-end CPUs with dozens of cores in total, uniquely lightweight virtualization, modern filesystem and storage management, the latest development tools, new internal project management processes, advanced security features and open-source spin-off projects.

    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 11th September

    Coverage slide deck

  • 4C: Modern Java: Scala

    by Tom Morris

    Scala is a relatively new general-purpose, open source programming language on the Java platform. It combines strong static typing with functional programming, a very flexible object system, great support for building concurrent, high-performance applications and a syntax that is comfortable for those coming from dynamic scripting languages like Python and Ruby. The talk consists of a high-level overview of the benefits of the language for developers, and shows how it can be used to build mashups, hacks and prototypes rapidly but cleanly, and take advantage of many mature open source libraries for processing linked data, working with the Semantic Web and APIs.

    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 11th September

  • 4C: Modern Perl

    by Dave Cross

    Perl has changed. The Perl that people use these days is different to the language that you stopped using to write dodgy old CGI scripts ten years ago. We have ORMs, templating systems, MVC frameworks and all of those things that you expect from a modern dynamic programming language. This talk will catch you up on the last ten years of Perl development.

    Also in this slot:

    Modern FreeBSD - Mark Blackman

    Modern Java: Scala - Tom Morris

    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 11th September

    Coverage slide deck