Ellen Miller’s brilliant vision for open government

Let’s imagine in for a moment what it would be like if everything the government can share publicly were made public as it happened. If every law, report, inspection, regulation, enforcement action, budget and meeting that we should be aware of is actually made available online and in real time. It would be nothing short of revolutionary.

Many of the incentives that govern our democracies would be fundamentally altered.

Corruption would merely be unthinkable, or at least unsustainable. Regulations could be quickly
enforced. Waste could be quickly addressed. Citizens with good ideas would have an easier time getting in touch with power and the bad actors would be more easily weeded out.

Armed with with access to all kinds of information citizens, can play a more productive and
effective role in self-government and civic life.

Our work to expand public access to government data is enabling citizens like never before to hold their government and their public officials accountable. We must do this because our governments are only as strong as our citizens are informed, and our information is open.

Life hack: buy two belts

Belt shopping is a pain. It’s often difficult to find something you like — in my case, as plain and free of ornamentation as possible — and that’s reasonably priced. The value of the time spent looking is often more than the cost of the belt.

Next time you find a belt like this, buy two of it.

That way, when your belt finally dies, you don’t have to go through this whole process again. Boom. Simple.

(This, of course, doesn’t apply to belts that are fashion accessories. Just the ones that hold up your pants.)

Kathleen Wynne on women and opportunity

This morning, Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s premier-designate spoke at a news conference. Her remarks on women jumped out at me:

I don’t know if any of you remember, or have seen my maiden speech, where I talked about coming to the legislature, I felt that I had a responsibility to represent all of my constituents, but that I had some special responsibilities, and I talked about young moms, who might have been at home listening, and having their little kids and thinking “how am I ever going to do the things with my life that I want to do” and I said I can be an example, because I had three little kids, and I was receiving faxes and doing laundry at the same time, with one on my hip, and that doesn’t mean that at some point you can’t have a bigger life.

But I also said that I had a special responsibility to young, gay people who might be looking for the possibility that there might be a more accepting world somewhere. I’m not a gay activist — that’s not how I got in to politics, so I’m not going to spend the next — I’m talking about it today because you’ve asked about it, but I’m not going to spend the next months talking about this. But it is important to me that young people, and people who are frightened, see the possibilities, and that if I can help people to be less frightened, then that’s a wonderful wonder thing.

But for me the really historic thing, and this is the battle I’ve been fighting since I was five years old and went to kindergarten and realized I wasn’t expected to play with the blocks because I was a girl. For me, the fact there are six female premiers across the country — that’s huge. That’s a huge, huge thing. We’ve wondered about why we haven’t had a higher percentage of women in legislatures and in parliament. Well, maybe we’re reaching a critical mass and maybe now it will just be whether you’ve got what it takes to get your name on a ballot and whether you can win in a riding as opposed to whether you’re male or female. Maybe this will make a difference.

Pauline Marois has already reach out to me. I don’t know who else has, but I’m looking forward to talking with all of them and I think the conversation at that table of premiers will be very interesting, and I look forward to chairing that meeting.

Where to eat (and what to do) in New York

Similar to my Where to eat in San Francisco list, here’s a set of recommendations for food an activities in New York, particularly in Brooklyn.

Restaurants (general)

  • Aquagrill (seafood)
  • The Soul Spot
  • Inoteca (Italian)
  • Shake Shack (Brooklyn location has no line)
  • Veniero (for dessert)
  • Juliette (French)
  • Atlantic Chip Shop (really good beer selection)
  • Nectar (sandwiches and salads)
  • My Little Pizzeria
  • Moim (Korean)
  • Court Street Bagels

Bars (with good food)

  • Char No 4
  • Bar Tabac (try the squid ink tagliatelle)

Bars

  • Angel’s Share (speakeasy)
  • Union Hall
  • Bar Great Harry

Japanese

  • Ganso (ramen)
  • Hibino
  • Sushi Azabu (reservations strongly recommended; so is the unagi)

Coffee Shops (good places to work from)

  • Vineapple
  • Tea Lounge
  • Ted & Honey

Vegetarian/Vegan

  • Red Bamboo
  • Quantum Leap
  • Blossom (fancy)

Middle Eastern

  • The Hummus Place
  • Taim

Cuban

  • Café Habana
  • Sophie’s Cuban

Mexican

  • Oaxaca
  • OMG Taco
  • Rachel’s Taqueria

Thai

  • Spice
  • Ghang Thai
  • Pok Pok Ny

Parks

  • The High Line
  • Prospect Park
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Central Park

Museums

  • Transit Museum
  • Tenement Museum
  • Louis Armstrong Museum
  • International Center of Photography
  • MOMA

Books

  • Book Court
  • Strand

Sports

  • Chelsea Piers

Music

  • The Living Room
  • Googies
  • Rockwood Music Hall
  • Piano’s
  • Arlene’s Grocery
  • Mercury Lounge
  • Union Hall
  • Spike Hill
  • The Bell House
  • Littlefield

M-KOPA, mobile tech startup in Nairobi, Kenya is hiring a hardware engineer

Introduction

M-KOPA is a mobile technology company based in Nairobi, Kenya. Since 2010 we have helped Kenyans acquire solar power products by offering innovative payment plans and a distribution model tailored to the needs of our customers.

M-KOPA Solar provides affordable solar-powered lighting and mobile charging to rural Kenyans on a pay-as-you- go basis, with payment via M-PESA. Additional products using the same patent-pending technology are in pilot.

Our team includes the founder and former executives of Kenya’s popular M-PESA mobile money service.

Tech Fellowship

M-KOPA seeks a high-calibre, experienced, and motivated engineer to join the in Nairobi, Kenya from February 2013 until December 2013.

The fellowship opportunity is supported by LGT Venture Philanthropy’s prestigious iCats Fellowship Program (details are available on the program website).

The Fellow

M-KOPA has a candidate-first HR policy of “finding jobs for great people.” We are seeking the most talented, committed, fun and down-to-earth person we can find to give our technology a “boost” in 2013. Given that we already have an extensive tech team of more than 10 full time employees and part time contractors, covering different technical domains including electronic engineering, software development, database architecture and embedded GSM firmware development, we are open to any candidates who possess strength in the following areas:

  • Embedded device firmware: experience developing code for electronics (especially GSM devices)
  • Database specialist: experience designing database architecture for scalable, data-driven business
  • Enterprise software development: experience with high volume web-based solutions in small and medium-sized teams
  • Systems analysis: experience in systems analytics and business process design Selection Criteria
  • An undergrad or graduate engineering degree (computer science or electronic engineering or similar)
  • Real-world work experience at a dynamic and leading tech company
  • Experience traveling or working in Africa
  • A great enthusiasm for pitching in and working with a fun team in a fast-moving environment.

Fellowship Benefits

  • Living and travel stipend as per iCats fellowship terms
  • Being part of the iCats fellowship class, including orientation and networking in Zurich pre-fellowship
  • The opportunity to spend a year working in “silicon savannah” (Kenya’s tech alley) on a world’s-first innovation, with some of the founders of M-PESA
  • A great work environment at “M-KOPA House” – along with great Nairobi weather, flora and fauna, and exciting weekend trips out of town!

Applications

  • Please send your CV and a cover email to lgtfellow@m-kopa.com by 25th October 2012.
  • A shortlist of candidates will be interviewed by phone. The final candidate will be selected by end of October 2012.

Need a tech job in NYC or Chicago?

Passing along for some friends:

The Noun Project is a highly collaborative place where the world’s visual language is shared and created. We are working with our users, publications and a giant community to simplify and organize visual communication. There’s a lot of great work to be done, and to realize it, we need some talented people. Join the small team behind the big idea.

Chicago: Developer at the Noun Project

Oh hey, we’re The Barbarian Group. We’re a digital-centric creative agency. Which means we think the Internet has finally won, and become the most important channel in people’s lives–just like we always knew it would. So from brand planning, to attention-grabbing ideas, to innovative applications, products and platforms, we combine strategy, technology, creative and media to make everything brands need to navigate this awesome new world.

NYC: Tech Director at the Barbarian Group.