Bought my first SLR camera today,a Nikon D3100(Amazon affiliate link),which from what I’ve read is a very strong full-featured camera,for the nice price of $599 for body and single lens.
I bought mine at Best Buy down the street,where I love the service,and added the two-year protection plan,since I have a habit of dropping things. Sure enough,before my second shot,I’d dropped it lens first onto the concrete. Continue reading Shooting:Nikon D3100 and a Day At the Park
Dennis Herrera,City of Attorney of San Francisco,is running for mayor of San Francisco. Here,he opens his new campaign office at 1645 California St.,with a packed room of supporters,and talks about the role of municipal government. “The most progressive thing that we can do is make San Francisco a model for a city that works,”Herrera says. Continue reading Dennis Herrera:Faith in Cities
A decade ago,my editor at the San Francisco Examiner,David Burgin,took on a crusade to clean up San Francisco’s Market Street,which he figured should be The City’s own Champs-Élysées. In a series of strident editorials,we bemoaned “The Mess on Market”and the unsavory conditions of what passed for a skid row in SF,Sixth Street.
A decade ago,Market Street really was a mess. Walking between City Hall and my offices at the corner of Sixth Street,I sometimes squeezed an uncapped ink pen in my pocket for some feeling of security. And it’s still bad enough for business that even seedy strip clubs go under,and office space is filled with temporary art installations.
But the efforts of the last decade are finally bearing fruit,with the best to come. Twitter,my favorite company,is likely to open up shop in the Mid-Market,just across the street from my office in Fox Plaza. City officials have proposed a cap on payroll taxes for businesses in the area,legislation that aims to bring Twitter into the old SF Mart furniture emporium,a grand yet near-empty building now called “Market Square”and represented by one of the City’s most well-known lobbying firms.
Since the days of Burgin’s Examiner,there have been a lot of changes to the Mid-Market,which stretches from Powell St. to Van Ness. The iconic and futuristic federal building opened up,brining an influx of white-collar commuters into the neighborhood. Stretches of the Mid-Market are closed to traffic but buses,the historic streetcars,and taxis,and cyclists have taken advantage of the traffic controls and expanded bike lanes in great numbers.
Burning Man is looking to set up its corporate HQ in the Warfield Building,where The Examiner used to live. Real estate titan Angelo Sangiacamo,in a deal brokered by bellicose former Supervisor Chris Daly,is well underway with transformation of a low-rent lodge into a Miami nights-inspired condo complex. Fox Plaza,where my office is,will eventually get a new second tower,and there are new signs of life with a hip coffee and wine bar kitty corner from Twitter’s presumed HQ and an Andersen Bakery opened up in our lobby in just the past few months.
What a difference a decade makes.
Fire Department App –PSA from Fire Department on Vimeo.
Imagine,you’re in the middle of a weekly team meeting when your iPhone vibrates. You stand up and calmly tell your coworkers,“There’s been a heart attack in the first floor gym. I’m CPR trained. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Similar scenarios may soon by playing out all over the country thanks to groundbreaking use of the location-aware features of modern smartphones and access to emergency dispatch information from local fire departments. In the San Francisco East Bay,it could be happening in a matter of days,as the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District rolls out its new ‘Fire Department’app for iPhone,which launches publicly today.
I felt the world change
A couple weeks back,I found myself in Chief Richard Price’s office with my friend Joe Hackman,eyes glistening with tears as we watched a PSA video for the application (read Joe’s thoughts on what the new app means to our SF East Bay community). In the video,a 72-year-old man collapses at the lumber store;across the parking lot,a young man in an electronics store gets an alert “CPR needed” – his phone gives him an address and map of where to go,and shares the location of the nearest automated external defibrillator. Sitting in that office,seeing an app that puts real life-saving information at the fingertips of any willing and trained volunteer,I felt the world change.
The creators of this application have moved beyond the real‐time Web to the right time Web. – Tim O’Reilly,O’Reilly Media
Chief Price and his staff first conceived of this application more than a year ago,after an incident in which they were having lunch and learned on their radios that a man was having a heart attack just steps away. Heart attack-induced brain death begins in just minutes,and fire department staff simply cannot arrive fast enough to save most people –but any army of CPR-trained volunteers can. And while they have had to be in exactly the right place to respond,the new app will dramatically extend the ability of everyday citizens to save lives.
Price told me that he has just 43 firefighters on duty during the day,but in his suburban district of 170,000 people,10 percent have CPR training. “You can see the significance,”he said. Area residents will see the app PSA in local movie theaters beginning this weekend.
Price and his staff developed the iPhone application in partnership with the Center for Applied Informatics at Northern Kentucky University. Over the coming weeks and months,he will work with the International Association of Fire Chiefs and developers at Workday to bring the free application to Android and other mobile platforms,and to spur widescale adoption.
“The value of this application is far too important to society to not ambitiously share it with other communities around the globe,” Price said.
In the San Ramon Valley alone,community members who download the new app could help respond to as many as 100 calls a year. Across the U.S.,nearly 300,000 people die each year of cardiac arrest.
“I think in the big picture,what we recognize is that of the people who have sudden cardiac arrest,less than one in three get CPR,” said heart surgeon Junaid Khan,president of the American Heart Association’s East Bay board. “Without CPR,a person really has very little chance of survival. For the first time,a smart phone application can actually help save a life.”
‘You can get there faster’
Dr. Khan and Chief Price also talked about the added benefit of creating more responders. Historically,even CPR-trained individuals sometimes balk in the face of crisis,but now self-identified volunteers within 500 yards of a heart attack in a public place will receive push notifications,increasing the likelihood of two or more responders,who can encourage one another and even take turns administering CPR.
“I think this is really a perfect marriage of technology with a government service and volunteers who want to participate,” said Kahn. “Every minute lost dramatically decreases your chance of survival. Literally every minute counts.”
I asked Kahn about the medical savings associated with early response in terms of less long-term damage. He said more data is needed for such an epidemiological study. “If you get the patient to the hospital before significant damage,the chance that they would successfully recover obviously increases. This app would let you know. You can more likely get there faster than the fire department.”
To learn about CPR and AED training in your area,visit the AHA’s website.
For more information on the new application and an electronic press kit,visit the SRFPD’s website.
To download the SRVFPD’s app now,visit ‘Fire Department’in the iTunes store.
Chief Price will be a guest on Gov 2.0 Radio on the evening of February 6,2011,to discuss this new technology.
I’ve run for partisan political office a couple of times. Traditional politics is in my mind akin to cultish religion. You must be intensely devoted to the cause,often to exclusion of others with diverse views and at the expense of diverse experience. On many levels,it is not pleasant for me,and I won’t here explore why I keep doing it. I start with traditional politics because I want to strike a contrast to a new egalitarian mode based on social and technical innovation.
Gov 2.0,in my advocacy,is use of emerging technologies to promote a more transparent,efficient and collaborative government. Gov 2.0,in its co-creations by citizens,bureaucrats and entrepreneurs,represents a dramatic remaking of traditional governance power structures through information sharing,low-cost and open source tools,and increased participation.
As a mass movement,Gov 2.0 is very young and green.
The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer (link bait,yes). Unconferences can move Gov 2.0 forward,but only from its infancy. As we develop maturity models for Gov 2.0,we need to create new models for community events. This is what we are grappling with after San Francisco’s first CityCamp last fall. CityCampSF wasn’t the first San Francisco-based unconference around Gov 2.0 themes;the organizers of the 2009 California Data Camp helped with outreach for CityCampSF and both unconferences used the same event space. CityCampSF also drew participants from SF GovLoop meetups and the internal City government crowdsourcing campaign InnovateSF.
CityCampSF was an “open space”style unconference. We were successful in bringing together more than 75 people around the theme of civic innovation,and many useful connections were forged. However,despite a number of online channels for continued dialog and participation,the handful of action items identified and the people brought together around the event quickly diffused. Just a few months later,individual organizers don’t know much about how folks who met at the camp are working together or what projects it has sparked or helped grow.
CityCamp is modeled after a number of similar events,including Government 2.0 Camp. But Gov 2.0 Camp was two years ago and its wiki hasn’t been updated in 21 months –it is an important historical event,but it is history.
Another unconference-style event,CrisisCamp,is doing much better,buoyed by a formalized parent group,CrisisCommons,which recently secured a $1.2 million grant to foster and staff its work in creating innovative solutions for crisis response and global development.
More traditionally styled Gov 2.0 conferences continue as well,including Tim O’Reilly’s Gov 2.0 Summit and Expo,Sarah Schacht’s Open Gov West and Alan Silberberg’s Gov 2.0 LA. CityCamp is also booming,with locally organized events taking off in cities around the world. There is a clear need for low-cost,participant-driven events in the Gov 2.0 space and BarCamp and unconference-styled events help fulfill that need. But there is also a real need for new event models that support progress in the greater Gov 2.0 corpus.
During Howard Dean’s presidential campaign,a radical local politician explained to me why he was backing the Dean campaign and stood with the Democratic Party despite core views that skewed left from the national organization:“It’s a good brand.”
Gov 2.0 is at this point a brand,and as yet a good one with a very decentralized power structure. Anyone who can compellingly present their vision within a broad umbrella of social tech and open government principles has a say in the future of the movement,and no pundit or corporation has successfully co-opted the brand. Gov 2.0 remains a grassroots movement largely absent any harmful locked-in features. It has advocates with left and right political views,united in concern that rigid legacy systems aren’t compatible with the fluid challenges of today’s globalized and uncertain world.
Amidst this tableau,San Francisco’s citycampers are looking at where we need to go next. We’ve had unconferences,what we need is a local brand to advance. In 2011 in San Francisco,we’re exploring alternative event formats and how to both grow and sustain a local Gov 2.0 tribe. We’re looking at event design to expose traditional advocates to the Gov 2.0 spirit,and to funnel energy into actionable plans. We’re considering regular informal meetups and collaboration with other groups to keep our community energized.
I’m interested in hearing what other citycampers are doing to keep their communities alive and to create outcomes,and to know what kind of role you think events play in advancing Gov 2.0 as a whole.