“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. …

More on my White House adventure.

I mentioned in June that I’d gotten an award from the White House. Now they’re promoting it on their website. On the “Champions of Change” site—that’s the award that I got—they’re featuring the sixteen of us who received awards on that occasion, all in the realm of open data technology. I was in awfully good …

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 …

My new adventure: The State Decoded.

A little project that I started a year ago now has been eating up a lot of my time, especially in the past eight months or so. I decided that, as Richmond Sunlight improves the display of legislation, I should create a new site to improve the display of the state code. It could hardly …

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 …

McDonnell on open government.

Gov. McDonnell, on open government: “I’ve long been an advocate of putting our full budget, all our legislation, a number of things about state government online in an easy to download, easy to access fashion,” the governor said. Really? I mean, if that’s true, that’s great, but it’s news to me. If there has been …

Bigger textareas mean longer comments.

At the bottom of every bill on Richmond Sunlight is a comment form, with a textarea for typing a message and a few text input fields for name, URL, and e-mail address. On January 30, I significantly increased the size of the textarea, making it more than twice as large in area. My theory was …

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 …