Things Are Good: It’s Fine to not Check Your Email

Stop compulsively checking your email. Frequent checking of one’s inbox will lead to stress for a few reasons so it’s best to schedule your email checking to every couple of hours or so (depending on your job). By limiting how often you look in your inbox you will be able to focus on other tasks ...

Things Are Good: What It’s Like to Use the Internet in Cuba

The internet is a great resource for connecting people to people and connecting people to services and new ideas. Cuba, like other developing nations, has had a hard time connecting to the internet because of the sheer cost (laying cables underwater isn’t cheap!); and for Cuba the costs are higher since they can’t connect to ...

Things Are Good: Amnesty International’s Guide to Safe Messaging

Thanks to the bravery of whistleblowers we know that the Five Eyes are monitoring all internet chatter regardless of who’s talking. This is a big concern for people who care about freedom and rights to have personal communication. As a result, Amnesty International put together a review of messaging apps so you can make an ...

Things Are Good: Capturing Animals in 3D for the Future

We are witnessing one of the largest extinction events in history because people deny that climate change is happening. Regardless of the deniers and the death of entire species we can do something that will help the future of humanity: getting as much information about those species as we can while they are alive. One ...

Things Are Good: Easily Browse Online Anonymously

In a world where our digital lives are tracked by democratic governments (Canada and the UK amongst them) we need to ensure that we can have private conversations online. Over at Digg they have collected a very easy to follow setup to get your protecting your privacy online in only an hour! Keep Your Private ...

eaves.ca: The Future of USDS: Trump, civic tech and the lesson of GDS

Across Washington, the country, and the world, the assumptions people have about various programs, policies and roles have been radically altered in the last 12 hours with the victory of President-Elect Trump. Many of my students and colleagues have asked me — what does this mean for the future of United States Digital Service and 18F? What ...

The Canadian Progressive: Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking

Google is the latest tech company to drop the longstanding wall between anonymous online ad tracking and user’s names. The post Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Things Are Good: Simulations Help Predict How People Panic

Sadly there are still incidents of death that are a result of people panicking while evacuating spaces. For decades engineers have looked into ways to make buildings easy to evacuate and have made a lot of headway, unfortunately there are still times when their efforts are for not. Today the work into dealing with evacuating ...

eaves.ca: Improvising a Digital Curriculum at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Since arriving as a Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to integrate digital into the curriculum. I have a course on Digital Government and will be teaching modules next term on what we’ve learned from Digital Services (like USDS and GDS) as well as one ...

eaves.ca: The Empire Strikes Back: How the death of GDS puts all government innovators at risk

The UK Government Digital Service(GDS) is dead. I’m sure it will continue to exist in some form, but from what I’ve read it appears to have been gutted of its culture, power and mandate. As a innovator and force for pulling the UK government into the 21st century, it’s over. The UK government comms people, ...

Things Are Good: Solar Sales Soaring Sixfold

Bloomberg is reporting that they anticipate a sixfold increase in star capacity thanks to the efficiency of a having a naturally-occuring ball of fire in our solar system. The sun is an abundant resource which shines its rays on us and now we have the industrial means to convert the sun’s rays into a powerful ...

eaves.ca: Canada’s Draft Open Government Plan — The Promise and Problems Reviewed

Backdrop On Friday the Canadian Government released its draft national action plan. Although not mentioned overtly in the document, these plans are mandated by the Open Government Partnership (OGP), in which member countries must draft National Action Plans every two years where they lay out tangible goals. I’ve both written reviews about these plans before ...

eaves.ca: How the Media Should have Responded to Peter Thiel

Much ink has been spilled about Peter Thiel’s funding of various cases against Gawker. However, the discussion of whether he should or shouldn’t mostly miss the point. Nor do the responses give me much confidence in the media, who seem focused on playing victim, rather than focused on the incredible power they have. Let me lay some ...

Things Are Good: Email, Productivity, And How You Feel

Dealing with an endless stream of emails is challenge in any office environment – even just socially it can be rather taxing. The solution to email always seems to be just around the corner with a new startup from Silicon Valley appearing every year to “save” us from email. Here’s an idea it’s not that ...

Things Are Good: What’s That? Use Your Phone to Identify Plants

Pl@ntNet is an app that can identify plants using the camera on your mobile. Presently, it’s limited primarily to Western Europe (since it was in France),Indian Ocean, and parts of South America. The technology behind it can be used to extend it elsewhere and let’s hope it gets more global support. “What makes the project ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Command F: a Bittersweet Function

I tell my students of the magic of “command F” on Macs and “control F” on PCs. This F function key, that can find a word or phrase anywhere in the text, is a game-changer when hunting for the best quotation or for that juicy bit of information or when searching through lines of code ...

Things Are Good: A Way to Think About Digital Currency Replacing Cash

Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other digital currencies are shaking up how the internet thinks about money. In turn, this has forced countries and large institutions to rethink how money works and who claims to have control over it. Perhaps it’s time for the decentralized blockchain-systems to replaced by a robot-controlled centrally-backed system. Or, at the very ...

Things Are Good: The Unstoppable Renewable Revolution

For years naysayers have been arguing that renewable energy isn’t a good idea because the electrical input fluctuates too much on the grid. Now we have more evidence that those naysayers have nothing to back up their argument. Over at Climate Progress they have a good post on key factors that make the renewable revolution ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Junkyard wars

Syrian rebels have been using modern technology in the simplest of ways in their war against the Assad regime in Syria. In the picture at left,  a rebel crew are shown using an angle meter app for the iPad to check the alignment of a mortar barrel before an attack. According to a story in ...

Bill Longstaff: Technology bargain betrayed—where have all the rewards gone?

Early in the Industrial Revolution, many workers were concerned about being replaced by machines. The most well known group were the Luddites, British weavers who smashed mechanical looms that threatened to replace them with low-wage labourers, leaving them without work. Today we look with disdain upon the Luddites, applying the term as pointless resistance to ...

Things Are Good: The Web Makes You Humble, Not Stupid

In the early years of the internet people worried that it would make people stupid and people would sit around not contributing to society. It turns out that the internet is not as bad as TV. Indeed, the web may make us more humble and help us realize our own ignorance. One possibility is that ...

Michal Rozworski: Uber and the Luddites

The fight against the sharing economy, and Uber in particular, can be disorienting. Opposition is often painted as techno-phobia. The good guys in this story are Uber and progress; on the other side are opponents afraid of flexibility and smartphones, kicking and screaming against a future already here. In many ways, this is like the ...

Scripturient: The birth and death of privacy

I was in a local grocery store recently and it was my misfortune to enter, and walk most of the same aisles at the same time as a voluble woman shopper. She spent her entire time there on her cell phone. From before she entered, through the time she collected her groceries, went through the cash register, ...

Things Are Good: The Importance of Infrastructure Changes for a Sustainable World

With COP21 happening this week in Paris there are many approaches to fighting climate change being discussed. No matter what approach is used there will have to be structural changes in how energy is delivered and how goods are transported. Over at Gizmodo they took a look at how quickly we can transition to a ...

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Take The Pressure Off With Tech Aides at Home

Guest Post by Maria Ramos As life expectancies have grown over the years, many people are living longer than ever before. This is undoubtedly a good thing, but it places certain stresses on those who care for the elderly. Besides taking care of an aged parent or loved one, many individuals provide care for disabled ...