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July 2008 Archives

July 4, 2008

Show Us A Better Way

For the past couple of months I've been on secondment for 2 days a week to the Cabinet Office, working with the likes of Richard Allen on the Power of Information Task Force.

Earlier this week Cabinet Office Minister Tom Watson launched Show Us A Better Way, a competition with a £20k prize fund to develop the best ideas suggested by the public for products which re-use public data. We also released a couple of new APIs and data dumps. ("After all, public data is your data.")

The response has been, well, really rather good.

I have but one niggle. While Tom and I have been getting lotsa props, the people who worked hardest and longest on all this were getting none of the credit, for the dumb reason that they're civil servants, and therefore, convention dictates used to dictate, must remain nameless.

Well, stuff that. The Cabinet Office just published new social media guidelines enabling all UK civil servants to be normal human beings outside, as well as inside, the government firewall.

So, Richard Stirling, John Sheridan, William Perrin and others - I salute you.

July 7, 2008

OpenTech 2008 "Impossibox" presentation

On Saturday I gave a talk outlining some slightly bonkers 'future of TV' ideas (aka The Impossibox) to the wondrously clueful crowd gathered at OpenTech 2008.

The Impossibox is an idea for a network of PVRs acting as a giant, ever-growing Storage Area Network with enough capacity to store - and then seed via BitTorrent to each and every PVR-cum-node- all the decent TV programmes broadcast in the UK. The launch of FreeSat makes the maths even more compelling, as (bit-level) identical copies of programmes can be captured off-air by any FreeSat PVR, be it in Aberdeen or Plymouth. Hence the cloud is better seeded than for Freeview transmissions, whose time signals will differ slightly depending on the transmitter.

My slides are below, or (downloadable here).

Update: I should have made it clear - as I did at OpenTech - that I gave this talk in a personal capacity, not wearing my Ofcom hat. (In fact I first gave this talk at O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference in 2007, when I still worked at the BBC).

July 22, 2008

Setting Postcodes Free (one small step at a time)

I love postcodes. Nearly everyone knows theirs, they cover most locations of interest, and their dozen-household level of granularity is a geographic sweet spot. They should be seen as a massive global competitive advantage for UK PLC.

So I'm delighted to see the Royal Mail doing the right thing, and allowing people entering the ShowUsABetterWay.com government data re-use competition to have access to the full postcode PAF dataset.

Well done, Royal Mail. As these things go, it's both a brave and sensible move.

Full disclosure: I'm on secondment to the Cabinet Office, helping their Power of Information Taskforce, for whom I've helped set up ShowUsABetterWay.com

About July 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Tomski.com - Tom Loosemore's Blog in July 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2008 is the previous archive.

August 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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