I seem to keep ending up in the North of England on work this Autumn, which is good as that’s where I’m from.
The Liverpool event on Friday went really well. Over the day, we probably had about 10 people altogether. It ended up more like a rolling seminar series – we all introduced and talked about what we were up to. Of course, Matthew on the TheyWorkForYou API, Tom on what mySociety doing these days. Also Julian (who does lots of the Parliament screen scraping that TheyWorkForYou depends on) talked about using Public Whip for collaborative research on Parliamentary votes. We spent a while talking about Fredom of Information with Steve Wood, who lives in Liverpool.
Ben (noii) told us about Tad Hirsch at MIT, who has done lots of interesting projects, which are inspiring for mySociety style project ideas. I’m sure we can do a lot with automatic routing of voice calls to volunteers, and with text message lists. Another Ben showed us an early version of some great work he is doing extracting information about newspapers and journalists. Thanks very much to Aidan from Blue Fountain who hosted us in the beautiful India building. We’ll be having two more events to promote the TheyWorkForYou API, and talk about other mySociety matters, later in the year. One in London, one somewhere else, suggestions welcome.
Earlier in September, all of us went to work together in the Lake District (as mentioned in my last post). It’s important to meet up for a solid chunk of time in the year when we spend most of it spread out across the Internet. Matthew took lots of photos, one of which is above (Tom, Louise, Matthew, Chris, Francis and Anna from left to right). It might look from the photo like we were brainstorming solutions to thorny problems, clearing back logs of customer support, writing code, and creating todo lists as long as your arm. But actually we just climbed mountains, hung out by tarns, drank beer and had a good time.
And next week I’m back off up North, to Betws-y-Coed in Wales this time. To give a talk to Bloc about TheyWorkForYou.