riverrun research | beta

from swerve of shore to bend of bay

California First Lady Maria Shriver & California Secretary of State Debra Bowen at the Women’s Conference at the California Museum

One morning before work I went to the Women’s Conference in Sacramento.

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links for 2010-06-30

  • Best Western Chicago Hillside
    Rate: $109 to $139.
    Description: This hotel is only 15 minutes from downtown and minutes away from other beloved Chicagoland attractions: the Brookfield Zoo, the Ernest Hemingway Museum, and the Oakbrook Shopping Center.
    Phone: 708-544-9300.
    (tags: Chicago Hotel)
  • This Chicago property is located in Wicker Park and near The Loop. A daily hot breakfast is offered at the property and free Wi-Fi is available in every room.

    At this completely non-smoking House of Two Urns Bed and Breakfast and Apartments, guest rooms include satellite TV. A DVD player is also provided in each room.

    The House of Two Urns features free off-street parking. The property also includes on-site laundry facilities and a kitchen. The hotel offers free passes to the local fitness center.

    The O'Hare International Airport is a short drive from the Two Urns House. Millennium Park is located near the property.

    (tags: chicago B&B)
  • The California Public Employees' Retirement System announced Wednesday that the state needs to increase its pension contributions by $600 million a year.

    Schwarzenegger's new agreement raises the retirement age for state workers by five years and requires current workers to contribute more of their salaries into their own retirement accounts. The deal is expected to save $72 million this year — a number that would grow to $2.2 billion if all the state's public sector unions reach similar terms, according to the state finance department.

    There's increasing political pressure for them to do so. Voters in a number of California cities will be voting this year on increasing retirement ages and cutting pension benefits for government workers. Meg Whitman, who won the Republican nomination to succeed Schwarzenegger last week, has called for raising the retirement age of state workers.

  • State pension funding levels vary dramatically in the U.S. Several states have pension plans with high levels of funding or even a surplus (levels over 100 percent), but many states have pensions that are extremely underfunded.

Filed under: delicious

links for 2010-06-28

  • 30-minute kiddie pool from scrap pvc and a tarp
    After another week of 100 degree weather, I wanted to make a kiddie pool for my son to splash in. A friend suggested using scrap pvc and a tarp left over from a burning man project. This is a fun and easy project that should take less than 30 minutes to prepare. Once you have the pool, it is easy to take apart and store when you are done.

    Parts list:
    At least 30 feet of pvc, 1/2" or thicker
    About (10) 1/2" T-Connectors
    One 8'x10' tarp or larger
    PVC cutter or a hacksaw or sawsall for cutting pvc. Note, a pvc cutter is cheap an will make everything go much faster, plus they are a cool tool to own.
    Clamps of bungies to secure tarp to frame (duct tape would also probably work, or just having a very big tarp)

    Final pool size is ~ 4×6 feet

  • Welcome to Google Apps Training!
    Now that you have a Google Apps account, it's time to make the switch to Gmail, Google Calendar, and all the other new apps you'll be working with! Use this site as a guide during your first days and throughout the transition.

    For optimal performance, we recommend using a Chrome or Firefox web browser with Google Apps. You can continue using Internet Explorer or any other browser for your other applications.

    Please note that access to some documents may require you to authenticate with your Groupwise ID and Password

    Want to be eligible to win some exciting prizes? Just sign up for a LA GEECS webinar! Click here for the details!

Filed under: delicious

links for 2010-06-27

  • What is the definition of beautiful? Well, the official definition is "Having qualities that delight the senses, especially the sight.” So this was the starting point for judging our My Beautiful Intranet competition on IBF 24.

    We wanted to find the intranet homepage most pleasing to the eye. The incentive of an Ipad as a prize certainly helped the entry numbers, and we received submissions from as far afield as Sydney, California, Barcelona, London, and Venlo and Noordwijk in the Netherlands.

    (tags: intranet ibf24)
  • Nations around the world are grappling with the challenge of “open government”. Many are openly stating that they embrace it, most are struggling to understand what it is and how to actually implement it. Why are they so intent on this? Because the people, the constituents they serve, of all kinds, from families to communities, corporations to small business and non-profits, and public sector employees themselves are demanding it.

    So what does “open government” really mean? How does it work? And how can we as New Zealanders, embrace it and enable governments to better meet the peoples’ needs?

    A central component is the role that emerging technologies such as infrastructure, cloud computing, Web 2.0, open data and information transparency, can play. It also encompasses issues of policy development and governance, the development of human capital, and the utilisation and understanding of the role of social media.

  • One of the most important skills for almost everyone to have in the next decade and beyond will be those that allow us to create valuable, compelling, and empowering information and experiences for others. To do this, we must learn existing ways of organizing and presenting data and information and develop new ones. Whether our communication tools are traditional print products, electronic products, broadcast programming, interactive experiences, or live performances makes little difference. Nor does it matter if we are employing physical or electronic devices or our own bodies and voices. The process of creating is roughly the same in any medium. The processes involved in solving problems, responding to audiences, and communicating to others are similar enough to consider them identical for the purposes of this paper.

Filed under: delicious

links for 2010-06-26

  • The Obama administration announced new policies today intended to make it easier for federal agencies to use social media, and for people to use government websites.

    The administration views sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as a good way to improve government transparency, participation and collaboration. But a memo from Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag directs agencies to be cautious when establishing a Facebook page or posting a video on YouTube. Agencies must examine privacy policies of third-party websites they plan to use and update their own privacy policies to address the use of social media.

    Many government agencies already connect with the public through privately operated websites: for example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency hosts informational videos on disaster response on YouTube, and the State Department launched a program on Facebook called the Virtual Student Foreign Service.

Filed under: delicious

links for 2010-06-25

  • Our first two topics in this 12 part series were Pattern Recognition and Environmental Scanning, both practices for enhancing the opportunity to create meaning from information and to assist in decision making. The next topic looks at how others can contribute to this process.

    ::Network Weaving::
    …One of the main topics we have been covering is the idea of breaking down silos – between fields, between organizational departments, between people, and even more deeply, between our own ideas about the values that defines us and who we really are – so the analogy of building bridges seems appropriate.

  • boomerang is a piece of javascript that you add to your web pages, where it measures the performance of your website from your end user's point of view. It has the ability to send this data back to your server for further analysis. With boomerang, you find out exactly how fast your users think your site is.

    boomerang is opensource and released under the BSD license, and we have a whole bunch of documentation about it.

Filed under: delicious

links for 2010-06-23

  • Give us your ideas….
    The President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), through the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), is interested your response to the following question:

    * What are the critical infrastructures that only government can help provide that are needed to enable creation of new biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology products and innovations — a technological congruence that we have been calling the “Golden Triangle" — that will lead to new jobs and greater GDP?"

    (tags: policy ideas)
  • Google has added an experimental branch to the VP8 code tree, encouraging developers to begin work on the next incarnation of its newly open sourced video codec.

    Mountain View open sourced its $124.6 million VP8 codec less than a month ago in an effort to create a royalty free standard for web video, rolling it into a larger media format known as WebM, and WebM has already turned up in developer-build and beta browsers from Mozilla, Opera, and Google itself.

    The VP8 bitstream – the format of the video itself – is fixed. As the encoder and decoder are tweaked, the project's main tree will stick to the same bitstream. But on the experimental branch, Google is already looking ahead to future versions of the codec, allowing changes to the bitstream as well. The experimental branch will house work on, say, VP9.

    (tags: google video)

Filed under: delicious

links for 2010-06-22

  • The following is a guest post from Tod Maffin, one of Canada's most influential web and technology commentators.
  • For centuries economies have been based upon a well proven model of bartering, early trading involved individuals exchanging goods or services of similar value then over time we saw cash become the primary means of applying a value to a transaction. Over the last decade we have seen several companies and individuals work out the next step in the evolution of currency, applying value to information in ways that we never previously imagined.

    As a society we have always understood the value of big pieces of information. Every day corporate moguls exchange it for power, spies have used it to bring down ancient kings, and criminals have occasionally been able to turn it into money by blackmailing a cheating spouse. However, at the lower end of the scale we’re probably just starting to understand the value of the information that we hold.

Filed under: delicious

links for 2010-06-21

  • Opscode, Inc., a cloud infrastructure automation company, today announced the limited beta release of the Opscode Platform, the world’s first hosted configuration management service. The Opscode Platform makes the popular open-source configuration management tool Chef even more powerful and easy to use.

    “Automated infrastructure management represents one of the most complex and urgent problems in IT,” said Rachel Chalmers, industry analyst at The 451 Group. “The launch of the Opscode Platform has the promise to become a watershed moment for web infrastructure. It’s the salesforce.com of configuration management.”

    With the advent of cloud computing and virtualization, it is easier than ever to create new servers on demand. Very quickly, a bottleneck has developed around the configuration management layer, where files are written and packages are installed as new server infrastructure is built and maintained.

  • Count the smart phones in Capitol corridors. Check Facebook and Twitter to “follow” your favorite elected official. Watch city council members on the dais texting during meetings. What are they saying? And is it any of our business? Of course it is.

    The explosion of social media constitutes a radical shift in the way we communicate. Erik Qualman, writing in Socialnomics, says it’s the biggest cultural shift since the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, current state law doesn’t address the communication transformation that has made the Facebook population the fourth-largest country in the world. And because of this legislative technology gap, the public is left wondering what government business is being conducted on social media and what we’re missing.

Filed under: delicious

links for 2010-06-20

  • Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences
  • Zepheira is a leading global provider of services applying semantic technology and Web architecture to information integration challenges, especially to support collaboration, data sharing and social computing. Zepheira leads development of several Open Source Software projects for the public good.

    Zepheira identifies patterns and relationships inherent in your data, to deliver strategies that reduce complexity and increase collaboration.

  • A writer's blog entries on writing (process) "Author Shanna Germaine talks about her personal cliches in writing. It’s kind of a funny list. She covers both things she returns to a lot, and things which are absent in her writing. After eight novels and close to three hundred short stories, I’m not sure much of anything is absent from my writing, but I certainly do return to a lot of things. In no particular order, and off the top of my head, here are some of my tropes…"
  • Open data doesn't empower communities. I'm not saying open data is a bad thing, but we need to highlight the gap between the semantic web and social impact. Otherwise we'll continue to get swept along on a tide of technocratic enthusiasm where hope lies in 'a flood of data to create a data-literate citizenry'.

    I'm inspired by the idea that nuggets of opened data could seed guerilla public services, plugging gaps left by government, but i don't see any of that in the data.gov.uk apps list. The reasons aren't technical but psychosocial – the people and communities who could use this data to help tackle their own disadvantage and marginalisation don't have the self-confident sense of entitlement that makes for successful civic hacktivism.

Filed under: delicious

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