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For this rainy Labor Day, here's an uplifting talk by DataKind founder Jake Porway. He talks data and how it can make a worthwhile difference in areas that could use a change.

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Stack Exchange

Stack Exchange

This Q&A is part of a weekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 100+ Q&A sites.

Consistency vs. best practice: they are two competing interests any time a dev is working on legacy code. If LINQ hasn't been used previously, should it be used today? "To what extent are patterns part of code style," Robert Johnson asks, "and where should we draw the line between staying consistent and making improvements?"

Robert Johnson continues: "With the hypothetical LINQ example, perhaps this class doesn't contain it because my colleagues are unfamiliar with LINQ? If so, wouldn't my code be more maintainable for my fellow developers if I didn't use it?"

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Sean Gallagher


Alpha.data.gov, an experimental data portal created under the White House's Open Data Initiative.

Data.gov

President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that aims to make "open and machine-readable" data formats a requirement for all new government IT systems. The order would also apply to existing systems that are being modernized or upgraded. If implemented, the mandate would bring new life to efforts started by the Obama administration with the launch of Data.gov four years ago. It would also expand an order issued in 2012 to open up government systems with public interfaces for commercial app developers.

"The default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable," the president's order reads. "Government information shall be managed as an asset throughout its life cycle to promote interoperability and openness, and, wherever possible and legally permissible, to ensure that data are released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible, and usable." The order, however, also requires that this new "default state" protect personally identifiable information and other sensitive data on individual citizens, as well as classified information.

Broadening the “open” mandate

The president's mandate was initially pushed forward by former Chief Information Officer of the United States Vivek Kundra. In May of 2009, Data.gov launched with an order that required agencies to provide at least three "high-value data sets" through the portal.

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Scott Gilbertson

The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is deceptively simple — plug in a website and you can see copies of it over time.

What you don’t see is the massive amount of effort, data and storage necessary to capture and maintain those archives. Filmmaker Jonathan Minard’s documentary Internet Archive takes a behind the scenes look at how (and why) the Internet Archive’s efforts are preserving the web as we know it.

The interview with Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, especially offers a look at not just the idea behind the archive, but the actual servers that hold the 10 petabytes of archived websites, books, movies, music, and television broadcasts that the Internet Archive currently stores.

For more on the documentary, head over to Vimeo. You can learn more about the Internet Archive on the group’s website.

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Nathan Yau

This video clearly describes the distribution of wealth in America using a set of transitioning charts. The graphics are good. The explanation is better.

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