Apr 09

What if you, and people like you, volunteered for the police?

British, Open Source with tags: , 1 Comment »

When thinking about Open Web evangelism my thoughts led me to some advertisements that I saw on the Tube when I was recently in London. They had content like this:


You can now potentially volunteer for the metropolitan police. At first this seemed a little strange, but it quickly made a ton of sense to me.

I remember how I felt about the police as a kid. The bobby-on-the-beat police. The cops were part of the community and were seen as truly helping out in many ways.

Now fast forward to moving to America. Here I fear the police. If I see a police car pull someone over I get goosebumps and raised hair on my arms.

London is a huge cosmopolitan city, and with that growth it has also seen an increase in crime. If you walk past New Scotland Yard you see a chap with a machine gun. Far from the local bobby. The problem is that you lose your grip on the community around you. If you don’t know what is going on and the vibe you have less information. You probably have less informants too.

So, how could the Met go about getting a closer connection to the people again? How about inviting them into the fold. Open the curtain so those people offer a valuable service and see how the force works. On the flip side, when you interact with a cop now, it could actually be your kids teacher! If the system works out you feel differently towards the copper crew again and the community gets more close knit.

I am obviously not close enough to the scene in London, and wonder how well this program will do / has done (anyone know more?), but in general, I love it. Putting people first.

Nov 01

Google Code relaunches new redesign using jQuery, great video content, and more

Google, Tech with tags: , , , , 2 Comments »

I have seen the Google Code team churning away under the inspiration of DeWitt for some time to get to where we are today. Google Code launched a redesigned site that is so much cleaner and gives developers access to so much more. I love the fact that we both ate our own dogfood, and some open source variety. DeWitt puts it well here where he talks about how we have grown:

One of the most exciting things about the redesign is that everything you see here was built using technology and APIs that are available to everyone. The pages we’re serving don’t rely on any secret back-end tricks; the site is built on plain HTML, JavaScript and CSS, each using our public APIs. In fact, all of the techniques used on Google Code can be duplicated on your own site.

For example, the search results pages use a combination of the AJAX Search API and Custom Search Engines. The homepage gadgets use the AJAX Feed API and Google Reader feeds. The videos are powered by the YouTube API, the blogs by the Blogger API, the events powered by the Google Calendar API, the metrics by Google Analytics, the forums by Google Groups, etc., etc.. And we’re pleased to use jQuery, the wonderful open source JavaScript library (not ours, we’re just fans), to help power each page. Stay tuned — over the upcoming weeks we’ll offer detailed articles and tutorials about how we built the various parts of Google Code using open technologies.

Remember when you would go to a huge list of APIs? Now more takes you a great product page which gives you a lot of context. Search is a first class citizen (which makes sense… Google and all) and you now have great suggestions and a fantastic use of CSE. I can’t wait to show you more of the innards via interviews with the team…. now that they can have a bit of a breather.

The breather won’t last long though, as this just the beginning. When I look at the thoughts for the future I get really excited. Google Code got a lot better today, and will go to a new level soon.

I love launch days :)