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Palo Alto civic hackathon aims to spur innovation

Original post made on Jun 7, 2013

From lasers and marshmallow shooters to tech workshops and TED-style talks, Palo Alto's colorful and eclectic celebration of hacking had something for just about every one of the roughly 5,000 visitors who spread out around Lytton Plaza during the National Day of Civic Hacking on June 1.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 7, 2013, 9:18 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

It seems that the City of Palo Alto has finally gotten around to recognizing the value of having thousands and thousands of smartphones in the community, and the ability of these smartphones to allow their owners to report problems with various city services—like potholes and abandoned shopping carts. Pictures of the problem can also be uploaded:

Web Link

I first suggested this in the mid-1990s, and have continued to remind the City of this sort of need almost every year since then—about 17 years to get a response from these folks.

In addition to the current interface, it seems reasonable to expect the integration of other on-line communications tools, like Skype, Instant Messenger, and Google/VideoChat/Hangouts into the City’s customer service delivery model.

I look forward to hearing about the success of this sort of offering from the City. Routinely we don’t hear much about the success, or failures, of these sorts of efforts. Given that the future of communications, and computing, is moving into the mobile domain—it’s necessary for the City to move into that domain also.

The opportunities to employ new, and emerging, technologies that are available to the City as quite large, as these somewhat ad-hoc lists suggest:

Ideas Submitted to the Palo Alto City Council About The Use of Technology:

Web Link

Web Link

Well, this is a rather large step—given how far behind the proverbial eight-ball the City has been, to date. Let’s hope that residents understand the opportunity being offered, and start to report problems around the city that too often have been ignored for too long a period of time.

I also suggest that the City Manager create a technology plan with 1-year and 5-year timelines, so that we can see what he's planning, rather than showing up once in a while with some new "goodie".

Posted by Kenneth Huo / Kevin Huo
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

The Encounter of Walking Pod and a Talk with Scott Parenteau

by Kevin Huo

Bringing Maker Faire to Palo Alto/CityCamp -

“I want to make!” A little kid exclaims. Here at the Maker Faire/CityCamp Palo Alto, it isn’t just your ordinary scientific convention.

It is robot’s towering around, the technology that makes an adult dream like a kid here at the Maker Faire/CityCamp Palo Alto.

Meet the Creator ::::::
Name: Scott Parenteau
Residence: Sacramento, CA

Walking Pod-

Have you seen Star Wars? Ever think about the robots, the unthinkable machines. Wait, not machines but actual robots that move!

Well, Maker Scott Parenteau has created not only pods of metal, but a Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome inspired Walking pod.

It is a livable, innovative design for the future.

The walking pod can not only be walking, but is made of triangular steel plates that can be easily stored. As he has created an Aqua Pod, a Living Pod, but will soon hope to have a tree house pod, and beyond.

As a first time Maker for the Maker faire, CityCamp Palo Alto, he believes that everyone can create.

All you have to do is get your hands on actually try your best to make everything yourself. Plus, he recommends try cardboard first!

Posted by Lisa van dusen
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 8, 2013 at 11:08 am

Great coverage of a catalyzing event! The Watch+Design for Civic Impact Design Thinking workshops were also made possible by support from Leadership Palo Alto civic leadership an academic year-long program for accelerating civic leaders (now accepting applications for the 2014 class - email and KQED, presenting station for the PBS film, Extreme by Design http:www// which is incorporated into the workshops. Let the civic hacking continue!

Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2013 at 11:42 am

For the attention of Wayne Martin and other interested community members. The City of Palo Alto City Council and City Manager approved a 3-year IT strategy. It began on July 1, 2012 and its first year is almost complete. More details can be found on the IT department microsite here: Web Link
In addition, an update on the 3-year IT strategy was presented to the community and City Council on May 20, 2013.
Here is the presentation that was used: Web Link

Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm

> The City of Palo Alto City Council and City Manager
> approved a 3-year IT strategy.

Thanks for the info. Even though I have made numerous mention of this need for over ten years, it's interesting that no one from the City has ever bothered to respond to my emails with to let me know that a 3-year study is underway.

There are a goodly number of goals on the page pointed to by this link, but not much information. There are a lot of pretty pictures in the multi-media section of the web-page, but nothing like a writeup of these ideas. Would anyone happen to know what the status of the documumentation might be?

It will be interesting to hear the Council explain the various projects being proposed, since they seemed to have approved what has been proposed, to date.


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