Sessions at OpenTech 2011 in Seminar Room

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Saturday 21st May 2011

  • 1C - Open Data Cities

    by Jag Goraya, Greg Hadfield and Julian Tait

    Open Data Cities: Manchester

    Julian Tait


    Open Data Cities: Brighton

    Greg Hadfield

    By 2050, 70 per cent of the world's population will live in cities - networked cities in a networked world. Open-data cities can get a headstart on the journey into the future. But can Brighton and Hove, Manchester, and Lichfield rival San Francisco, New York, and Washington? Should UK cities have CIOs, as US cities have? And what is an open-data city anyway?

    Open Data Sheffield

    Jag Goraya

    Seizing the open data city initiative. Addressing public sector stakeholder and geek community expectations.

    At 10:45am to 11:25am, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union

  • 2C

    by WDMMG, OKFN and Rufus Pollock

    Adopt a paragraph

    juliano spyer

    A few years ago i started a project called Adopt a Paragraph to product collective translations of texts from English to Portuguese. It worked really well and it only used Google Docs and Twitter. here: http://bit.ly/aynXbL

    Introducing Open Spending: "Where Does My Money Go?" Goes Global

    Slides: http://m.okfn.org/files/talks/op...

    Rufus Pollock

    The "Where Does My Money Go?" project helps UK taxpayers to better understand the public purse. It uses a range of interactive tools to enable users to explore and visually represent complex datasets. Internationally it is widely cited as a shining example of the reuse of open government data. Building on this, Open Spending aims to take the project global, developing both a platform and a a flexible range of open source tools to represent spending data from around the world. We're exploring, structuring and mapping out different kinds of public finance from all around the world - state budgets, spending reports, grants and subsidy data. Our goal is to create an interactive platform similar to OpenStreetMap: while on OSM you map your block, on OpenSpending it's your local government spend.

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union

    Coverage audio clip

  • 3C - linked data

    by Paul Makepeace, Francis Irving, ScraperWiki, Hadley Beeman and glynwintle

    Hadley, Link, Gov! - LinkedGov

    Hadley Beeman, Glyn Wintle, Alex Coley

    Updates and engagement in this highly entertaining talk by the linkedgov project.

    Crowdscraping - real stories of using ScraperWiki to gather worldwide datasets

    Francis Irving

    Track every company in the world? Every farmers market? All the planning applications as they come in? Increasing computing power, cheaper data storage, neater screen-scraping libraries, and new collaborative software, together combine to let us gather data sets we never would have dreamed of before.

    Google Refine

    Paul Makepeace

    Refine is a powerful, fun, fast tool for exploring, visualising, and 'cleaning' datasets. Data rarely comes in the form we want it in: inconsistencies, formatting errors, corrupted accents, schema mismatches, ... Refine can help interactively discover patterns and sift out and transform your dataset, without scripting or programming. I'll cover core concepts: faceted browsing and clustering, as well as touch on the GR Expression Language, and reconciliation.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union

  • 4C

    by Kuan Hon, Manuel Corpas and Francis Davey

    Cloud computing & data protection legal issues

    Kuan Hon

    EU data protection law issues raised by cloud computing. What information in the cloud is regulated as "personal data", and what isn't? Problems with anonymisation, encryption, sharding/chunking. Who's responsible for "personal data" in the cloud; who should be? Where's data stored, and should it matter? What about disclosure of cloud data to third parties eg law enforcement authorities? Which country's laws apply if there's a dispute?

    Experiences with Personal Genetics: A Family Journey

    Manuel Corpas

    Direct-to-consumer genetics testing is a new field of commercial activity that makes genome screening available to the general public. Test results are delivered on line via a password-protected account contextualized with state of the art inferences about the individual's clinical features, disease risks and ancestry. Interpretation of results is limited to the information supplied by the provider and usually not accompanied with genetic counseling. Custodians of genetic information may not have the necessary skills to interpret results, let alone interpret results for others. This talk presents a personal journey of a genome bioinformatician acting as genetic counselor for his whole family, yet with no formal training to do so. Becoming custodian of genetic information for a whole family resulted in unanticipated situations and reactions that are hereby presented. As the utilization of these tests become ever more widespread, it is hoped that these experiences provide useful insights to new customers of genomic technology who try to understand their own genes.

    One Click Orgs: where we are going next

    Francis Davey

    The One Click Orgs is a project to automate the creation and support the decision making of organisations. In particular it aims to provide a platform where formal meetings can be avoided and decisions can be made via electronic consensus. Setting up a formal structure for an organisation can be a mental block for many small groups or businesses. Once created, the need to hold traditional 'meetings' can slow down organisational progress and get in the way of transparency. We hope One Click Orgs will make those problems a thing of the past. Version 1.0 for simple unincorporated associations was launched in March. I will discuss where we hope to go and what design and legal challenges we will need to overcome.


    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union

    Coverage audio clip

  • 5C

    by Fossbox CIC and Gervase Markham

    Empowering the next generation of FLOSS developers

    Garry Bulmer

    Based on University intake, the numbers of school children coming into software development is dwindling. I propose the Free/Libre/Open Source community should reach out to schools, and work with school children to develop their skills so that they are enthusiastic and technically capable of becoming involved in Free/Libre/Open Source Software and Hardware (FLOSS/H) development. Let's aim at creating a significant extra-curricula FLOSS/H development 'clubs' across UK schools. I talk about some of my experiences. I would like part of the community to become actively involved in leading and mentoring school FLOSS/H clubs. I propose we start with existing FLOSS technology and develop an action plan which will have tangible results this year. The session will aim to begin the process of developing an Action Plan
    Garry Bulmer

    Talking non-techie

    Paula Graham

    I think all of us with a commitment to open technology want to empower users but it's not always as easy as it sounds - many Desktop users positively don't seem to want to be empowered! Or at least not necessarily in the way we think they should. It can be all too easy to project a sense of what feels empowering to us - and also to expect people to run before they can walk. Borrowing from methodologies such as participative design and action research, We work with refugee and migrant networks, women's groups and non-profit networks to identify what's needed in each specific context and where FOSS can fill a real need as perceived by the end users - the 'killer app', service or feature will be different each time when addressing different challenges and goals. Many of the answers seem counter-intuitive to open source and social enterprise cultures. For most of the networks and groups we work with, poverty alleviation and digital inclusion are urgent, pressing needs. People have few resources - so creative over-enthusiasm needs to be avoided. The answer in this context is very rarely to build something new. It's a matter of putting together and customising what's out there and, crucially, finding ways to ensure that non-technical people can take care of the technology themselves sustainably. At the other end of the equation we work to open channels between non-technical end-users, techies and developers.

    Mozilla - more than just Firefox

    Gervase Markham

    The mission of the Mozilla Foundation is not "build a kick-ass browser", it is to "promotes openness, innovation and participation on the Internet". Building Firefox is an important part of that, and it's how we saw off the first big threat to the open web, but it's only a part. Come and hear about what else we are doing to make sure the web is still open, participatory and generative in 50 years time, and how you can support us in doing it.

    At 4:00pm to 5:00pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union

    Coverage audio clip

  • 6C - Knowledge Hub, QR Codes, Innovation

    by Terence Eden

    The LocalGovernment Knowledge Hub

    Stephen Dale

    to follow

    QR Codes - easy access to data

    Terence Eden

    QR codes offer a free and easy way for you to offer direct people direct access to your data. Find out how & why to use them in campaigns, piublicity, official communications, fundraising, and more. Will also include "subversive" uses of the the technology.

    Teaching old dogs new tricks: innovating in a tech-scared world

    Ann Griffiths and Matthew Booth

    We?d like to show people how the public sector is turning to technology to help it solve some of the big problems it faces, and how it's beginning to see the opportunities technology provides to do things better. Our presentation would explore: The public sector attitude to technology, and how that's changing; how it currently uses technology and where innovation is happening around efficiency, empowerment, and service delivery; where there are opportunities that haven't been taken up yet, and opportunities to do things bigger and better, e.g. around "collaborative consumption"; What the challenges and blockers are to further development and positive change (such as the skills and capacity, and issues around data security), where the public sector needs help to progress, how technology experts and other sectors can play a part, and how that benefits us all. This wouldn't be the kind of dry government-speak people might be used to hearing.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union