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Tag Archive: hackathon

OpenGov Voices: Chasing the 8-hour app

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Tom MeagherFoundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.

Tom Meagher is the co-founder of Hack Jersey and the data editor at Digital First Media's Project Thunderdome in New York City. Follow Hack Jersey at @hackjersey or www.hackjersey.com. Reach Tom at @ultracasual.

A few weeks ago, Hack Jersey brought a group of journalists and developers together to wrestle with campaign finance data. We thought it would be a good opportunity for many to get their hands dirty and to start thinking about new ways of reporting and building with the data.

In one room of our event at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a group of journalists went on a data expedition, learning how to explore reports from the state's Election Law Enforcement Commission. In another, we gathered developers to try to build a campaign finance app for New Jersey using the Sunlight Foundation's APIs in a single work session.

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OpenGov Voices: FreedomHack: A Hackathon for Good

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are Barrett_Holmes_Pitner_headshottheirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.

Barrett Holmes Pitner is the Senior Global Editor, Cont3nt.com (one of the organizers of the FreedomHack. You can reach him at barrett@cont3nt.com @barrettpitner

This weekend, August 10-11, coders, hackers, policy experts and journalists will spend 24 hours at a hackathon feverishly working together to develop tools and products that will help those living in the most dangerous parts of the world tell their stories. This is FreedomHack.

FreedomHack 1 We have all been to hackathons and witnessed how the combination of energy, enthusiasm, intelligence, creativity and technical expertise consistently results in products that could take months to conceive in a traditional corporate structure. We understand how removing the monotony of “work” from the equation and replacing it with “fun and passion” can create brilliant results, and this is what we aim to achieve this weekend.

When the organizers of FreedomHack conceived the idea, it was just a handful of us in a room trying to figure out the best way to help these communities. A hackathon clearly rose to the top because of its inventive, spontaneous and fun structure.

From the onset, we have always referred to FreedomHack as “a hack for good.” FreedomHack will allow every participant the opportunity to have fun and work hard over one weekend for the benefit of people who live in embattled communities who desperately need your expertise.

This hackathon will focus on developing secure tools and products for those who live in parts of Mexico that have been overrun by cartel violence and human rights related issues. Citizen reporters and journalists regularly face threats on their lives and at the very least, censorship on the vital topics they are reporting.

Register for the FreedomHack hackathon.

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OpenGov Voices: Improve voter experience in NYC — Come to the Voting Information Project Hackathon!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.J.Marcotte

Jared Marcotte is a manager for The Pew Charitable Trusts Election Initiatives. Recently, as a senior engineer at the New Organizing Institute, Jared worked on the Voting Information Project -- a collaboration with state and local officials, Google, Microsoft and Pew to develop and populate an open API and database of election-related information for all 50 states. Jared is also an interface and interaction designer and has worked on the Election Protection Coalition’s Our Vote Live and KCET.org.

Casting a vote is the most basic way we participate in our democracy, and effective election systems are fundamental to that participation. But in many cases, finding the information you need to cast your ballot – where your polling place is, what’s on your ballot, and what you need to bring with you – is not as simple as it should be. The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Voting Information Project (VIP) works to improve the voter experience by providing up-to-date election information where voters are most likely to look for it - online. Like everything else today, when people want information the web is the first place they look. VIP brings election information directly to the voter by allowing states to expose official election data such as polling locations, registration deadlines, and ballot information on various mediums and platforms like the web and mobile.

Modern voters expect online tools to help them cast an informed vote, and VIP is here to provide new platforms to enhance their experience. On August 2-3 we are hosting our first-ever New York City hackathon at AlleyNYC in midtown Manhattan. The event will bring together 150 developers, designers, and usability experts to generate socially innovative applications that can improve the voting experience in New York City for the 2013 primary and general elections, including the mayoral race.

We’ll be capping the registration at 150 so register today!

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Football and the Art of Civic Hacking

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions Front Cameraof the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.

Sharon Paley is the "chief operator" at gb.tc (formerly know as Greater Baltimore Tech Council.) Dedicated to helping improve her beloved hometown through innovation and technology, Sharon has been instrumental in building Hack Baltimore, a platform created by gb.tc and the City of Baltimore encouraging every citizen to develop innovative solutions for civic betterment. You can catch Sharon's podcasts and blog posts at gb.tc or follow her @sharon_paley.

I like to take this page from Vince Lombardi’s playbook:

“People who work together will win, where it be against complex football defenses or the problems of a modern society.”

What more modern way to tackle the problems of a society than the civic hackathon. They are great opportunities to learn about how our own government works, develop new tools that enable governments to work better, and make a difference in the community and world we live in.

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