“Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

There was a moment in an episode of The Simpsons (“Mountain of Madness”), that aired back in 1997, that I’ve mentally revisited every so often over the past decade: In transcript form: Homer: So, Mr. Burns is gonna make us all go on a stupid corporate retreat up in the mountains to learn about teamwork. […]

The merits of government apps contests.

On O’Reilly Radar, Andy Oram makes this important point about apps contests: It’s now widely recognized that most of the apps produced by government challenges are quickly abandoned. None of the apps that won awards at the original government challenge–Vivek Kundra’s celebrated Apps for Democracy contest in Washington, DC–still exist. He went on to explain […]

Creating an API for the commonwealth.

In perhaps a misguided effort, I started work a few months ago to create a site to round up all of the APIs for government data in Virginia. That inglorious website is Open Virginia. It’s easy to catalog all of them, because right now, I know of exactly two: Richmond Sunlight’s legislative API and my […]

How I OCR hundreds of hours of video.

One of the features that I’m most pleased with on Richmond Sunlight is the integration of video. It’s one thing to put up chunks of video for people to paw through, but it’s another to automatically index it so that people can be directed to just the parts of the video that interest them. That […]

Legislative video sponsorships.

Richmond Sunlight has no video of the legislature for a single day of the 2010 session, since the site a) doesn’t have a budget and b) I didn’t raise any money. So, this year, I’m soliciting sponsors for every day’s video. The average day’s House and Senate video requires buying $18 worth of DVDs from […]