Chris M. Lindsey

Public Administrator, Web Developer

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Edward Snowden’s Lawyer

Edward Snowden’s lawyer, a look at the disturbing treatment of whistleblowers. On working with Snowden:

The secrecy of Radack’s work with Snowden requires two laptops beside each other: one standard Windows, and another running an encryption setup that she asks me not to describe in detail. There’s no Wi-Fi anywhere in the office; it’s too hard to secure. “I joke that I use drug dealer tactics,” she says. That means burner phones, paying in cash, meeting in person. “It’s a terrible way to work as an attorney, but you have to.”

On Jesselyn Radack’s own privacy:

Leaving the house in the morning, she spotted a black van idling on the street outside. She walked up to its window and asked the men inside if they needed anything. They said they were there for her neighbor, but were stumped when she asked for the neighbor’s name. “It’s about intimidation,” she says. “It doesn’t matter if they’re surveilling you all the time, as long as you think they might be.”

And on Radack’s own treatment as a whistleblower:

One day, she got a call from her office telling her agents were gearing up to arrest her that night. The tip turned out to be wrong but it took a toll, sending her into a panic and aggravating her MS [multiple sclerosis]. Her pregnancy miscarried that night.

Scary. And shocking. Great work by The Verge.

Why Philadelphia’s Chief Data Officer Quit

And that was my single biggest frustration during my time at the city — we were constantly using 20th century answers to problems that required a 21st century solution.

This is the world I want to live in:

Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport… Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

I wish this happened far more often (the rarity justifies this post), but I see us going in the direction of openness.

Great writing from Shawn Blanc:

I believe the human sprit wants – and even needs – to be challenged and given hard-to-reach goals. I also believe that put in the wrong environment day after day, that same human spirit will forget about its ability to imagine and grow.

TLG 2014 Conference

Last week I had the pleasure to attend the Alliance for Innovation’s Transforming Local Government conference. It was enlightening and inspiring to be around other public servants that have done such great, innovative work. Sadly I can’t point you to videos of the conference presenters, but you can watch the Alliance’s YouTube channel that contains submissions for their Innovation Awards. Also, some of the best information can be found under the hashtag #tlg2014.

I took a lot away from the Conference, but I think the greatest example of a change initiative came from the city of Durham, North Carolina. Their presenters included a GIS Analyst and Zoning Inspector (usually you see finance director and city manager types). They successfully changed their organizational culture by involving employees every step of the way, and really by letting the employees lead. Very impressive.

Backing Up Twitter with WordPress

Last week I found out about an updated WordPress plugin that let’s you archive your Twitter feed within WordPress. The plugin: Ozh’ Tweet Archiver.

I’ve already put it to use with my own Twitter archive here. I’m using the Hemingway theme for the moment, but Ozh already released a theme that looks like the new Twitter profile that I might utilize.

Ozh’s plugin only imports the most recent 3,200 tweets (thanks for that restriction, Twitter), and he just posted a way to use your Twitter archive to import your previous tweets. That wasn’t available last week, so I used the Advanced CSV Importer plugin to take the csv file from my Twitter archive and put those older tweets into the WordPress database.

This plugin is a really good way to maintain a usable archive of your tweets. Twitter might not always be around, plus, this is your writing, store it on your own website! Thanks, Ozh, for your hard work on this.

I tweeted about it over the weekend, but if you haven’t read Marty Smith’s article The story behind the song ‘Talladega’, go have a read. I’m a huge fan of Eric Church’s new album, The Outsiders, and like always Marty does a great job telling the story behind the album.

Grilling!

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Grant and Great Grandma

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Abhi Nemani on technology in government

Abhi Nemani of Code for America:

In departing, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about coding for America. At the end of the day, it’s not merely about technology and cities; instead it is about the optimism technology confers and the meaning that cities make us crave. What defines this movement is an unyielding belief in the possible. A constant and a fervent desire to try new things, to push new boundaries, to do important work. That’s rare, and that’s special.

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