Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Net2 Cambridge

NetsquaredI had a lovely time on Saturday at Barcamb, a techie unconference in Cambridge. Quite a bit techier, actually, than I’m used to – but that offered a different perspective on things, which was rather nice.

It also meant catching up with some friends, like Mark Cheverton, Matt Wood and Simon Jones – and bumping into new people, like Barcamb organisers Vero Pepperell and Lee Theobold and cool hacker types like Gareth Rushgrove.

Another one of those new people was Claire Sale, who works for NetSquared, the rather cool US-based organisation that “enables social benefit organisations to leverage the tools of the social web”. That makes her a colleague of the marvellously energetic Amy Sample Ward, which is a jolly good thing.

One of the things Amy has been doing in London is setting up a NetSquared network, where “Social changemakers and technological forerunners come together at Net Tuesday events to mix, swap stories and ideas, [and] build new relationships”. Claire is hoping to get something similar going in Cambridge.

There is already a Meetup page setup, where people interested in attending, and maybe helping out, can get together and get stuff done. I’m guessing this will take a similar form to the London group – let’s just get people in a room together first, and then worry about what we should be doing.

Net2Camb seems a decent tag to apply to blog stuff, tweets and other online material to track activity and conversations.



LocalGovCamb is the latest regional LocalGovCamp to be arranged. I’m helping put this together with Michele Ide-Smith.

There are hardly any details, really. December this year or January 2010. Somewhere in Cambridge. Theme will be local government innovation.

While the event is obviously targetted at authorities close by to Cambridge, there is no resason why folk from further afar shouldn’t attend.

Visit and bookmark and keep abreast of the latest information. You can also submit your interest in the event.


Timetric is a Cambridge based startup that, in their own words, is

here to help you make sense of data. If you think about it, most of the numbers we come across every day are things like temperatures, prices, rates, volumes: numbers which vary over time. That’s what Timetric focusses on: graphing, tracking and comparing the movements of data over time.

The fancy name for this sort of thing is time series analysis. We’re building tools to make it as easy to build models on top of time series — updated whenever the data they’re based on is updated — as it is to use a spreadsheet.

Which sounds pretty cool. I have to say, what I know about statistics and time series can easily be written on a stamp with a carrot, but even I can see some of the benefits of this, especially as Timetric makes it easy to embed graphs into blogs and websites. Like this, which I chose at random from the Timetric site:

With all the recent work in and around government to open data up and make it reusable, we are going to need the tools that will help us make sense of it all. It look like Timetric is going to be one of those tools.

Visit Cambridge site hacked

Cambridge City Council’s Visit Cambridge tourism site has been hacked, with various unsavoury pictures and links added, reports the Cambridge News:

CAMBRIDGE’S official tourism website was still offline today after pornographic images were posted in place of pictures of the historic city…

It comes after horrified bed and breakfast owners were shocked to log on to the site, run by Cambridge City Council, to find hardcore images of couples having sex and people exposing themselves for the camera.

Ooops. Here’s a screenshot from Cambridge News’ site:


Cloudcamb, 17th December 2008

This is why I moved to Cambridge – stuff like CloudCamb happening on your doorstep:

All are invited to attend the first Amazon Web Services user group in Cambridge, on Wednesday 17th December. Learn more about getting started from the experts, or discuss your own use of Amazon Web Services with like minded start ups, businesses, scientists and entrepreneurs.

More details at the CloudCamb site.

Busy, busy

Sorry for the light blogging of late, but I have been jolly busy of late, not least with moving house. I’m now resident in Cottenham, near Cambridge. Do come and say hello if you are ever nearby.

Here’s a couple of morsels to chew on before I can get back in the blogging swing of things:

  • I’ve started work at DIUS! I’m doing two days a week working for Steph Gray, building WordPress sites and helping implement some other social media goodness, including some training for civil servants. Should be fun!
  • Since moving to Cambridge I have wanted to see if a similar social media scene could be started here as is happening in London and Birmingham. Maybe the coworking collective could be the start of that.
  • Tomorrow (Wednesday 5th November) I’ll be at Public Sector ICT 2008 near Northampton with Steve Dale, running a social web workshop which no doubt will feature the beautiful game at some point.
  • I haven’t forgotten about ReadWriteGov and I promise that some content from the day – which was a rip-roaring success, by the way – will go up on the blog soon. Before the end of the week? I should hope so. Also, look out for some new RWG events near you soon!
  • Public Sector Forums are running a GovWeb type event on the 4th December in Edgbaston. I’ll be talking about social web stuff there. It will be great – so do sign up for it. More details on that soon.
  • Finally, welcome to Twitter, Bracknell Forest Council!

Nick Davies at Wolfson College

John Naughton links to an event taking place in Cambridge on 19th May:

Nick Davies, a well-known and award-winning investigative journalist, has recently published Flat Earth News, a controversial and highly-critical analysis of the British news media in which he argues that the business of truth has been “slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance”. The book examines national news stories which, Davies argues, “turn out to be pseudo events manufactured by the PR industry and the global news stories which prove to be fiction generated by a new machinery of international propaganda.” With the help of researchers from Cardiff University, who ran a detailed analysis of the contents and sources for our daily news, Davies found that “most reporters most of the time are not allowed to dig up stories or check their facts”, leading him to describe UK journalism as “a profession corrupted at the core”. In the book, he also presents a new model for understanding news.

I’ll be there – anyone else?