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 […]

That went better than expected.

That business of soliciting donations to buy the 2011 General Assembly session video? It took just under 46 hours for all of the money to be donated. A lot of it was donated by friends and regulars here. Larry Gross, Shaun Kenney, Jim Duncan, Craig Fifer, Kathy Mateer, Jeffrey Uphoff, Jeannine Lalonde, Bruce Roemmelt, Janis […]

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 […]

Memo to Virginia journalists.

Please start including bill numbers in your coverage of legislation. If you did that, then Richmond Sunlight would promote your coverage of that bill, prominently, on that bill’s page, as well as on pages about related bills. Media coverage is the only major component of the information ecosystem that simply can’t be incorporated into this […]

Richmond Sunlight’s JSON API.

I’ve just released v1.0 of the Richmond Sunlight API. It’s JSON-based, simple, and straightforward. This turns Richmond Sunlight into a web-based service that allows any application or website to get data about the General Assembly automatically and basically seamlessly. The most exciting bit, I think, is the Photosynthesis API. Now any individual or organization can […]

The Senate killed a bill to put their own voting records online. So I did it for them.

The Senate Rules Committee killed a bill today that would have put legislators’ voting records online. The House passed freshman Republican Jim LeMunyon’s HB778 overwhelmingly. But the Senate Rules Committee—overwhelmingly Democratic, incidentally—barely allowed it out of subcommittee, and then killed it on a 13-2 vote. Officially, they think it’d just be too darned hard to […]

Sen. Hurt is, in fact, the most partisan member of the senate.

I just finished adding a new feature to Richmond Sunlight—the ability to sort through legislators by a variety of attributes like location, race, sex, year they started in office, etc.—and when I was done, I found a bug. For some reason, my code was listing Sen. Robert Hurt as the most partisan Republican in the […]