Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Makers. Computer Programming.

What most schools don't teach. Computer programming.

Fwd: Enter the 2013 Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Afterschool Alliance <>
Date: Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Enter the 2013 Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

The 2013 Lights On Afterschool poster contest is now officially underway! The winning poster could come from YOUR program—but only if you enter!

Each October, 1 million Americans and thousands of communities nationwide celebrate Lights On Afterschool to shine a light on the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. Last year, more than one million people gathered at more than 9,000 sites across the country and at U.S. military bases worldwide to participate in the only nationwide rally for afterschool programs.

Encourage all of your program participants to submit artwork that celebrates afterschool programs and conveys the importance of keeping the lights on afterschool. The winning poster design will be printed on tens of thousands of posters sent to Lights On Afterschool celebrations across the country, not to mention that the winning artist will be featured on our website, blog and Afterschool Storybook! This contest is a great opportunity for an afterschool program to gain national recognition for the great enrichment opportunities it offers, since the young artist's program will be credited on the poster, too!

The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2013. Click here for contest details and submission guidelines. Keep in mind that the winning artwork will be scanned to become a digital image, so avoid using textures or raised materials. We love bright colors that jump off the poster, so materials that won't smear or rub off—like markers, paint and pens—often work better than crayons, watercolors or chalk (or why not try your hand at some digital art?).

The artwork or design should generally promote or convey afterschool or Lights On Afterschool. Abstract or realistic drawings are welcome. Some examples of ideas might be:

  • Portray or convey Lights On Afterschool celebrations (for an examples of events, see our event summary from 2012 and photo gallery some examples: children performing, communities celebrating, children learning, singing, acting, etc.)
  • A design around the theme "keeping the lights on after school."
  • If a light bulb is included in the design, think about using the energy efficient light bulb.
  • Think about promoting afterschool by portraying the kinds of things that happen in afterschool programs or by demonstrating the benefits of afterschool.

We're already excited about the 14th annual Lights On Afterschool on Oct. 17, 2013, and can't wait to see what our afterschool artists come up with to help us celebrate!

Afterschool Alliance

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Fwd: New Dawn, New Possibilities. Pledge for Stretch

THANK YOU! We crossed the line yesterday. More Stretch Goals include Windows Mobile
New Dawn: New Possibilities
Not displaying correctly? Click Here
Pledge for Stretch

We Made It! A huge THANK-YOU to everyone who pledged, tweeted, facebooked and did all the outreach that meant we crossed the line yesterday. LiveCode Next Generation will become reality.

Today, we have already made two of the three stretch goals we posted, so we're ready to offer you some more! We've still got 19 hours left, what can we do for you...?


Physics Engine Physics Engine:
we'll do this if we hit £417,000

Perfect for writing games and animation rich apps. Add a new 'sprite' layerMode to acceleratedRendering mode to enable fast GPU-based image transformation. Move popular graphic effects such as drop shadows to the GPU. Then using this, adding support for the Box2D physics engine.


Windows/Phone 8 with Theme:
we'll do this if we hit £424,000

So many people have asked for Windows Mobile support since RT was launched! Doing the Cocoa layer first brings this within reach. You'll be able to build your mobile apps seamlessly for iOS, Android AND modern Windows Mobile platforms. How cool is that?


dasVector Shape Object:
we'll do this if we hit £434,000

Like the graphic object on steroids. Sub-pixel positioning, shape determined by intrinsic properties (i.e. width of rectangle, radius of circle etc.). 'Group' type, containing a collection of shapes to be nested - and imported/exported in a (subset of) SVG.


Reworked Multimedia Support:
we'll do this if we hit £441,000

Multi-channel sound on the platforms that don't yet have it. Upgraded Player control using latest native video libraries on all platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android). Sound recording cross-platform - 'record sound' on mobile as well as desktop.


New Browser Control:
we'll do this if we hit £450,000

Upgraded to be one control for all platforms for identical rendering of web content. (Use WebKit on both Desktop and Mobile.)

Reaching these totals means that we will start work on these items in parallel. Some of these items do have dependencies on other items being completed first (Pluggable Themes & Cocoa is essential before Windows RT for example). We'll work to deliver those items with dependencies as quickly as we can. We expect to be able to deliver everything within a few months of the main release.

We cannot wait to start work on these great features for you! Let's see how far we can get in the remaining 19 hours!

Pledge for Stretch

Stretch Goals: Windows Mobile and Physics Engine

RunRev Ltd   25a Thistle Street Lane South West    Edinburgh  UK   EH2 1EW   UK

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

VW and Chengdu

Check out this car from our favorite city in China.

Fwd: Schenley/ Call to action

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Concerned Citizens" <>
Date: Feb 22, 2013 3:45 PM
Subject: Schenley/ Call to action
To: <>


It is not over- really! But an affirmation of continued support for Schenley as a school is key.

We need 100 people to come to Monday's public hearing beginning at 6:00 pm at the Board of Education Building on Bellefield (near Forbes Avenue). Wear black and red and support those speaking in favor of Schenley as a school and/ or speak yourself (call (412) 622-3868 before Monday at 12:00 to sign up). Do not leave it to others- it's now or never. Email to to let us know you will be there.

If you would like to speak, points to cover may include:

It is easy to say not to spend money on a building, but other city HS buildings have windows and do not require middle and HS students to share one set of athletic facilities.
Board members representing the relevant area of the East End support this facility.

An actual cost/benefit analysis is needed
Cutting air conditioning and the extra electrical capacity it requires would cut many millions of dollars from the estimate and reduce energy consumption. Other nonessential items may also be cut. East End families need the opportunity to offer input and prioritize.
How much will it cost to make comparable like new renovations at Peabody- all new systems, all new doors, all new finishes, acoustic tiles, etc. especially given the "building within a building" structure that was created when Peabody was bricked over; what is the cost of adding windows?
What is the cost of providing equitable athletic facilities to Hill students?
To what extent has the loss of Schenley increased charter enrollment, and what is the yearly cost of charter tuition for students who would have otherwise chosen Schenley?
What are the benefits to the city and the district of the educational offerings by some of the bidders (there were no educators on the sales agent's panel, limiting the usefulness of its recommendation).
Logic- it makes no sense that conversion to a totally different use would cost half as much as keeping the building a school. A requirement to use separate contractors might add a few percentage points to the cost of the project, maybe even 5%, but not 80%+.
How has the closing of Schenley affected achievement of students in affected neighborhoods?

Strong schools/ strong city
The school building is the first thing a family considering PPS or a transfer to Pittsburgh sees; if they don't like what they see their inquiry may stop right there. The building is a visible sign of a city's commitment to its schools. We need options that will attract families.
Schenley was the only high school with 100% enrollment and has a proven ability to attract students.

Upcoming changes in the Board
Many Board members do not plan to return. The next board is the one that will have to deal with the consequences of this decision so why not leave it to them. For example, where would students go while Peabody is renovated?
With building closed almost 5 years, what is the rush to sell now rather than waiting for input of new Board members in a matter of months?

The building is not well suited for housing
There is a very real concern it will be used as student housing, which is not a good fit for the neighborhood.
Due to large hallways and common spaces the building is not a strong candidate for residential use.
From an environmental point of view the existing use is best.


This message is from Concerned Citizens who started the petition "Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors: Investigate if important information about Schenley was withheld at the time of closing ," which you signed on

View the petition  |  View and reply to this message online

Unsubscribe from updates about this petition

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fwd: An Exciting Announcement

Approve. Keep the Ron Morris legacy alive

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Raja" <>
Date: Feb 22, 2013 3:27 PM
Subject: An Exciting Announcement
To: <>

Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
Dear Friend & Supporter:
As one of the people who've believed so deeply in the mission of our campaigns, I want you to be among the first to share some exciting news.  After my family and I recovered and rested from the disappointing election loss, I've been on a search for ways to keep our ideas and values alive outside the walls of elective office
If there's anything I learned from months on the campaign trail is that everyone has an incredible story!  The Pittsburgh region is still a place where a man or woman with a good idea, supportive family, hard work and some old fashioned grit can bring their dreams to life.  We still dream big dreams in Pittsburgh!
As you know, our region lost one of its strongest champions for free market entrepreneurship when my friend Ron Morris passed away last year. Ron and his wife Karen were on a mission to share with the next generation the time honored truths about the way jobs are created in the real world.  He and I shared a belief that true success is created when we're free to pursue our own dreams and explore the unlimited potential of America.  This is was certainly my story and it was one Ron lived out every day. 
After many rewarding conversations with Ron's wife, Karen, I've decided to do my part to continue extending Ron's important legacy by building a weekly radio show from the popular platform he created here in the Pittsburgh market!
Yes, with my Indian-accent and all, I will be doing my part to share the real life stories of the dreams, struggles and remarkable successes of American's entrepreneurs.  I'm calling the program Your American Story and it will air on the region's talk-radio leader, WPGBNewsTalk 104.7 FM every Sunday from 1:30-2:30PM. 
Will you join me for the official on-air launch this coming February 24th? 
Thanks again for standing with me for the future of this region.  From this chair and from my new microphone, I'll do what I do best – continuing to spread the message that entrepreneurship and innovation should be the driving forces that spur the growth of a region by working with people like you to build your own, great American Story.
With Friendship and Thanks,
PS:  Check out the program at
Copyright © 2013 Friends of Raja, All rights reserved.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15220

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fwd: [New post] PPS: Planning a Privatization Scheme?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Yinzercation" <>
Date: Feb 20, 2013 3:46 PM
Subject: [New post] PPS: Planning a Privatization Scheme?
To: <>

YinzerThing posted: "Around here, the acronym PPS usually means "Pittsburgh Public Schools," but now it might mean "Planning a Privatization Scheme." The district has hired two consulting companies to help it craft an education plan that addresses equity issues for students a"
Respond to this post by replying above this line

New post on Yinzercation

PPS: Planning a Privatization Scheme?

by YinzerThing

Around here, the acronym PPS usually means "Pittsburgh Public Schools," but now it might mean "Planning a Privatization Scheme." The district has hired two consulting companies to help it craft an education plan that addresses equity issues for students and its looming financial crisis. But it turns out those two companies – Bellwether and FSG – support privatization of public schools. Hello? Who invited them to the party?

Actually, the PPS administration did, and then received approval from the Pittsburgh school board to pay them $2.4 million for their advice. The money is coming from local foundations as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been pouring money into teacher evaluation systems across the country, including the one here in our city. In fact, the funders made sure that the contract stipulates, "A commitment that on-going current programs, for example but not limited to … Empowering Effective Teachers, will continue to be implemented while the planning process is in progress." [PPS Board January 2013 Legislative Session]

Remember, there is nothing wrong with teacher evaluation per se. However, the current national obsession with evaluation starts with the faulty assumptions that we have a crisis of bad teaching in our schools (while ignoring the very real crises of poverty, budget cuts, equity, and more); that we must weed out "low performing" teachers; and that we can identify "bad" teachers based on the test scores of their students. [For more on the serious problems of this obsession, please see "The VAM Sham".]

But concerns with the teacher evaluation system aside, the Pittsburgh school board voted to approve the contract with FSG (with Bellwether as a subcontractor) without asking a single question about the philosophy of these two companies. Only board members Mr. Mark Brentley and Dr. Regina Holley voted "no" after inquiring if there weren't local organizations that could do this consulting work, keeping all those dollars in the regional economy (an important point). But what's worse than sending those dollars out of state, is that we will be spending $2.4 million on a plan formulated by people who actually believe we ought to be handing our public schools over to private companies.

Let's start with Bellwether Education Partners. Mary K. Wells, a co-founder and managing partner at Bellwether, told the Post-Gazette that the group does not necessarily advocate charterizing public schools. "We're for high-performing schools that serve all kids really well. I think we're quite agnostic around whether that is the traditional public school setting or the charter school setting." [Post-Gazette, 2-19-13] Yet Bellwether's small group of five partners includes Andy Smarick, who just published a new book, The Urban School District of the Future, that "argues that the traditional urban school district is irreparably broken, and that … it must be replaced." Smarick, who helped start a charter school in Annapolis, Maryland, believes that, "Vastly better results can be realized through the creation of a new type of organization that properly manages a city's portfolio of schools using the revolutionary principles of chartering." [Bellwether: Can Chartering Replace the Urban District]

Seriously? This is their starting point. That Pittsburgh's schools are beyond hope and our only way out is to hand them over to charter operators. Education historian Diane Ravitch responded to the premise of Smarick's book saying, "Suffice it to say that his arguments begin with the assumption that the schools and the system are broken, whereas I have concluded that the schools are struggling to educate children who have been harmed by poverty and societal neglect. … If poverty is the cause of low academic performance, as it appears to be on every standardized test and in every nation, then we might see better results by reducing poverty than by opening charter schools." She points out that Smarick, like most corporate-style "reformers" has spent no time as an educator. Ravitch continues:

Smarick doesn't like public education. He likes privately managed charter schools getting public money. Given his limited experience, I wonder whether he has ever spent any time in good urban public schools. I doubt it. Nothing that I have seen from his pen acknowledges that charters experience failure on the same scale as public schools. Nothing acknowledges that urban charters get no different results from public schools unless they somehow manage to minimize the number of students with disabilities and students who are English language learners and to exclude the students with behavioral and academic problems. If this is the case, then what exactly would be accomplished by dismantling urban public education and handing it over to entrepreneurs? [DianeRavitch, 10-23-12]

Back in September, Diane Ravtich also went head to head with another Bellwether partner, Andrew Rotherham, on Diane Rehm's national public radio show. Rotherman and two other conservatives blamed unions for all problems in schools and claimed that even in "right-to-work" states (which severely curtail unions), unions are too powerful. While Ravitch explained why the Chicago public teachers were striking to defend the education of their students, Rotherman was publicly rooting for the Chicago mayor to defeat the union. [DianeRavitch, 9-12-12]

These are the people who founded Bellwether. They were management consultants and investors (Ms. Wells herself worked at Bain & Company) and they have MBAs, not education credentials. Bellwether's own client list reads like a who's-who of charter schools and corporate reformers. So I'm not particularly inclined to take their word for it when they tell us that they are "agnostic" as to whether charter schools are the path of Pittsburgh's future.

Brad Bernatek, the FSG director working with the Pittsburgh public schools, also claims that his company is "fairly agnostic" on privatization. [Post-Gazette, 2-19-13] But the FSG website makes it very clear that they believe in school choice – often code for charters, vouchers, and tax credit programs in the corporate "reform" lexicon – saying that their expertise is in "Unleashing the potential of technology and ensuring that a range of high-quality school options exist to meet the needs of all students." In the fall, Bernatek authored a report on "blended learning" as the future of education, looking at how schools – especially charter schools – are combining cyber learning with traditional classrooms. [Blended Learning in Practice: Case Studies from Leading Schools]

Last week the district asked me to meet with Mr. Bernatek to share my vision for the future of Pittsburgh's public schools. I talked about the things our grassroots movement has been fighting for: art, music, library, science, history, and languages for all our students. Our teachers back in the classroom and smaller class sizes. A restoration of our tutoring programs, nurses and social workers in every school, parent engagement specialists, and community-based wrap-around services that address poverty and whole neighborhood needs. I want to see our district and our school board take a public stand and boldly insist that state legislators deliver adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding for all our students. And I want them to start talking about public education as a public good that must be cherished and promoted.

But I don't see any of our priorities reflected in the process FSG/Bellwether will be using to work with Pittsburgh public schools. They have established an advisory group that will split into six subcommittees to look at: "finance and budget analysis; student outcomes and effectiveness; organization and human capital; information technology and operations; stakeholder engagement and communication; and the types of available schools and the external landscape." [Post-Gazette, 2-19-13]

Where is a rich curriculum for our kids? Where are teachers? The only subcommittee that even mentions students is "student outcomes and effectiveness," which sounds like more emphasis on the testing, evaluation, and measurement that's turning our children in data points and is not about real learning. When I told Bernatek that we want an end to the punitive culture of high-stakes-testing, he admitted to me, in the interest of full disclosure (for which I give him credit), that when he worked for the Seattle school district as director of research, evaluation, and testing he helped to select the very test that teachers there are now refusing to administer to their students. (For more on that test and the Seattle opt-out movement that is spreading like wildfire, please see the series of posts under our Opt-Out Movement category.)

Does all this mean Bernatek and his team will recommend more testing, charterizing our public schools, or blended cyber-learning as the answer to Pittsburgh's challenges? I don't know. But I do know that the district and school board ought to have asked a lot more questions before hiring these two companies. This information is all available on the web (many thanks to Yinzercator Pam Harbin for the internet sleuthing for this story). Which leads me to suspect that the district knew full well just who they were dealing with. And that raises a lot more questions. Is PPS really Planning a Privatization Scheme?

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Program at the Mt. Lebanon Library: The History and Impact of Financial Power – 1868 to 2008

Free Program Series at the Mt. Lebanon Library

A facilitated program series planned and moderated by John Hemington, on The History and Impact of Financial Power –1868 to 2008, will be held at the Mt. Lebanon Library. It will examine, evaluate and draw conclusions from the historical, political and economic roots of both the Great Depression and the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 (GFC). We will try to determine whether the same processes, problems and ideas which led to the Great Depression are related to the events which triggered the GFC. We will also critique the contribution of mainstream economic ideas, models and policies and whether they may have contributed to the ongoing turmoil in the world’s economies today and what this bodes for the future?

The group will meet twice a month to discuss readings from the three books and the cumulative issues raised by these readings. The program will last for a year, beginning on the first Tuesday of March, the 5th, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:45 p.m. and subsequent 1st Tuesdays (except for July which will be the 9th). The 2nd monthly meeting day will be determined at the initial meeting. The program is free but will involve a commitment of time and a willingness to read the three books over the course of the year – listed below – on which the program is based. Clearly, not everyone will be able to attend every session, but a good faith effort should be made to attend as many as possible and to read the material assigned.

Even for those with a good background in history this should be a fresh and revealing experience. Our goal is to demonstrate conclusively that there is not just one history connecting events over time, but perhaps as many different histories as there are historians; and that critical study and evaluation is required to come to meaningful conclusions. Participants will be encouraged to carefully evaluate the facts behind issues before arriving at judgments about the nature of current events. There is no interest in furthering any particular political agenda, view or ideology in this program, therefore, three non-mainstream – but highly credible – authors have been selected for the core reading material. Because the material is primarily historical and minimally technical any reasonable literate individual should be able to participate fully. The discussions will be moderated to minimize argumentative speeches and debates. The idea is for conclusions to be focused on the factual substance covered in the materials – not on personal political or cultural prejudices. An extensive list of optional readings will be provided.

Carroll Quigley, whose book Tragedy and Hope is central to this project, is one of the very few historians whose studies focused on the activities and operations of the world’s “power elite” in the twentieth century and is reputed to have been the only historian ever given unfettered access to the Archives of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Rockefeller Archives. Prior to his death in 1977 Quigley taught at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where one of his students was Bill Clinton. Earlier in his career he taught at both Princeton and Harvard.

Reading Material

Tragedy and Hope – A History of the World in Our Time (1966), by Carroll Quigley (through page 1083)
The Gods of Money – Wall Street and the Death of the American Century (2009), by F. William Engdahl
Debunking Economics – The Naked Emperor Dethroned (Revised Edition, 2011), by Prof. Steve Keen

If Interested Contact John Hemington at: jehemington -at- verizon -dot- net or show up at the initial meeting.

“We were taught by Dr. Quigley that mankind's greatest tragedies were the consequence of man’s adherence to mistaken or outmoded ideas. The most pernicious of these false ideas are the belief in the perfection of knowledge and that the truth is ours to possess. The belief in the infallibility of human knowledge destroyed classical civilization and threatens to destroy our own. It was faith in the false god of perfect knowledge that led to the silencing of Galileo by the Inquisition, the Reign of Terror in France, the slaughter of a whole generation at the River Somme and the burning of Wilhelm Reich’s books by the U.S. government. It was this same sort of intellectual intransigence that deluded our leaders into believing that strategic bombing could crush the Vietnamese Revolution and has led our civilization closer and closer to ecological disaster.”

William Erickson (Georgetown SFS ‘75)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One of the thousands of things you can do with LiveCode

I got a mention on another blog about the software I wrote to keep track of attendance at Swim & Waterpolo Camp with PPS Summer Dreamers. 

Update about 'Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors. Hoodwinking Schenley Situration Again. Inofo on Schenley was withheld and is still OUT-of-BOUNDS

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Concerned Citizens <>

Subject: Update about 'Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors: Investigate if important information about Heads up!
- A renovation estimate from PPS is due tomorrow.
- However, the requirements of the Board resolution for the estimate have not been met.
- Specifically, Board members were to be provided with specifications and instructions for the estimate in advance of the estimate being done, so that any issues could be resolved before a figure was released.
- Despite numerous requests by Board members, specifications have not been provided.
- It is possible, then, that the estimate may include nonessential items like air conditioning, and that were there are various options for resolving an issue a more expensive option may be chosen. For example, the 2004 capital budget for ventilation upgrades was $1.35M; a later estimate for a different approach was $2.99M; but if the unprecedented approach of taking down all corridor walls is chosen the cost could be increased by $10M or more.
- Concerns about an inflated scope of service and therefore an inflated estimate are real because, incredibly, PPS officials and agents are still refusing to confirm that asbestos in the building plaster is minimal.
- Therefore, any estimate released by PPS should be taken as just a starting point subject to reduction when nonessential items are removed and less expensive options explored.
- The final step in any reasoned decision will be to compare the estimate for renovating Schenley to the renovation that Peabody will require, and to consider also the cost of making available to high school students at U Prep and Sci Tech athletic facilities comparable to those provided to other high school students in the district (cost of athletic facilities being approximately $20M).
- Until PPS does the right thing by Schenley we will not "just give up."

This message is from Concerned Citizens who started the petition "Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors: Investigate if important information about Schenley was withheld at the time of closing ," which you signed on

View the petition  |  View and reply to this message online

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Coding Freedom

I just read this article about Gabriella Coleman's book, "Coding Freedom".

The book is an exploration of the culture of FOSS; I'll spare you a
bunch of words, as the author of the article linked above explains it
much better than I can.

In true open source spirit, the author has released the entire book
under a Creative Commons license, and made it available to download for
free, here:

(You can also buy it in "dead trees" format from Princeton University

wplug mailing list

Fwd: [DW] Chicago - Civic User Testing Group

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steven Clift
Date: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Subject: [DW] Chicago - Civic User Testing Group


Introducing the CUT Group: Get paid to test civic apps
Today we're excited to launch the Civic User Testing Group, a set of
regular Chicago residents who get paid to test out civic apps.

If you live in Chicago, sign up today and get started.

Fill out a CUT Group profile and sign up to be a tester of civic apps,
and we'll send you a $5 VISA gift card
If and when you are chosen to test a civic app, you get paid a $20
VISA gift card and bus fare
Here's how we explain the program:

There is a large and growing community of "civic hackers" in Chicago —
technology developers who make websites, mobile apps, and other tools
that often have specific use in Chicago. The goal is to make software
that helps make lives better in the city.

The problem is that lots of civic apps get attention among a smallish
group of other developers and people interested in the world of open
data, but do not get wide acceptance by the people they were made for
— regular residents of the city of Chicago.

You are going to change all that!

We need people from all over the city, using all sorts of devices,
browsers and operating systems.

One of the reasons I'm excited about in this project is it is the
first launch with my colleague Chris Gansen, who is working with us as
a program manager. He last served as an engineer for Obama for
America, where he was responsible for their Dashboard tool, which
helped get hundreds of thousands of people involved in the election
process. We're privileged to have him focused on our work here in

I recently wrote a post, Turning Civic Hacking Into Civic Innovation,
where I laid out the immense assets that are available in this city to
support this work, and identified a gap:

What's currently missing? The people.

All of this is great. Two important components for civic innovation,
government and developers, are here in force in Chicago. But dozens of
developers looking at each other in conference rooms over pizza is
never going to lead to making lives better in Chicago without the
active involvement of real residents expressing real needs and
advocating for software that makes sense to them. The good thing is
that Chicago has assets in this area as well.

We think this is a great step in establishing sustained, meaningful
collaboration with residents around the data and technology. CUT Group
is a lightweight way to get people involved. The hope is once everyone
is involved in this world, we'll find new ways to innovate that we
can't possibly conceive at this time.

* * *

Here's some coverage of the CUT Group out in the wild:

Civic Hackers Want You: Group Offers Cash for App Testing

But Daniel X. O'Neil, co-founder of EveryBlock and executive director
of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, says the current relationship
between government agencies and coders is incomplete.

"[D]ozens of developers looking at each other in conference rooms over
pizza is never going to lead to making lives better in Chicago without
the active involvement of real residents expressing real needs and
advocating for software that makes sense to them," O'Neil wrote on his
blog last month.

That's why Smart Chicago is launching a "Civic User Testing Group," to
involve citizens from all over the city in testing, and eventually
conceptualizing, new apps and tools. Participants will become the beta
testers for developers looking for feedback on their latest work.
Testers will both submit feedback through the group's site and be a
part of "mildly scientific" focus groups through the city, O'Neil

Steven Clift -
  Executive Director -
  Tel/Text: +1.612.234.7072

Group home for Newswire - Steven Clift's Democracies Online Newswire:

Replies go to members of Newswire - Steven Clift's Democracies Online Newswire with all posts on this topic here:

For digest version or to leave Newswire - Steven Clift's Democracies Online Newswire,
with "digest on" or "unsubscribe" in the *subject*.

Newswire - Steven Clift's Democracies Online Newswire is hosted by Democracies Online -

Mark Rauterkus    
PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim and Water Polo Camp Head Coach
Pittsburgh Combined Water Polo Team
412 298 3432 = cell

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Fwd: Please promote-- Help a veteran get the help they need..Next Wednesday

From: <>

Please promote-- Help a veteran get the help they need..

Veterans Event

The Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center (ENEC) is proud to sponsor a veterans' event featuring Karen Payne, career advisor and case manager at the Veterans Leadership Program (VLP) of Western PA.

She will present on the following opportunities to support veterans' needs:

· Overview of what services VLP provides to veterans and their families.

· Housing – Seven individual housing programs ranging from 12 months stay up to 36 month.

· Three rental assistance housing programs

· Life skills training, individualized goal setting leading to self-sufficiency, referrals for supportive services.

· Eligibility: Veterans status, low income, proof of homelessness, must have some income.

· Employment program for homeless and non-homeless veterans and their families

· Vocational counseling, resume preparation, job development, workshops, and job fairs.

· Individualized assessment and one-on-one assistance in supporting veterans in their job search.

· Helping veterans remove barriers to employment.

· Some supportive services for transportation, clothing and tools.

· How the Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center will help you with employment.

· Contacts and referrals with many employers.

The event will be held at:

The Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center

5321 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

On Wednesday, February 13th at 11 AM

To register for the event please call (412) 362-8580


Sponsoring agencies:

Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center, Neighborhood Learning Alliance, Pittsburgh CONNECTS, and Bloomfield Garfield Corporation