Archive for the PodCamp Barcelona Category

Open Politics?

Posted in PodCamp Barcelona, Politics, technology with tags , , , , on October 22, 2008 by Chris

The 8th Parliamentary Day of Audio-Visual Communication Media of the Parliament of Catalonia took place on Monday. The theme was “Society, Media and Politics: Rights and Obligations” and according to the Parliament’s own webpage, was “open to any citizen who wanted to participate virtually”. After registering and receiving a password, the participant could watch the events online and send comments which would appear in the Parliament itself. 

PodCamp Barcelona had been invited to participate and we duly registered. However it was impossible to see the event in Safari. So, a little annoyed, we changed to FireFox which was crashed by attempting to watch the proceedings. We tried again and again and each time FF crashed. 

We tweeted this on Twitter, where we could follow events, and the organisers tweeted back that they were investigating the situation. Meanwhile we received other tweets from people who were watching via FF. So we asked them if they were using Mac or PC, and they were all using PC’s. Meanwhile we fired up an old laptop which has Windows operating inside Ubuntu and lo and behold, in Internet Explorer we could see the event. The only problem is that the laptop has no sound, so we could watch but not listen. 

We received another tweet from the organisers to say that they had checked and although the event page didn’t work in Safari, it was working in FireFox. We then tried FF in Ubuntu and it didn’t work there either. 

We are explaining the situation in detail because we think that it illustrates very well that the concept of “Open” is still not understood. It is not enough to put an event on “the Internet”. Open means using technology that will function on any operating system and any browser. If the Parliament calls upon citizens to participate they must make sure that they are using Open media – it is bad enough that commercial services such as RENFE have ticketing systems that only function in Internet Explorer, but it is completely unacceptable that the Government uses applications that only function on certain platforms/browsers. While we welcome any initiative to make public authorities more Open, events such as this only demonstrate the gap between the hype and the reality. 

Ironically the only way we were able to follow The 8th Parliamentary Day of Audio-Visual Communication Media of the Parliament of Catalonia was via Twitter, an Open Source, cross-platform, cross-browser, web application.

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First thoughts on UrbanLabs

Posted in Citilab-Cornellà, internet, P2P Foundation, Plan Avanza, PodCamp Barcelona, technology, UrbanLabs 08 with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2008 by Chris

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photos by Enric Senabre 

UrbanLabs has been a very ambitious project which has brought people together from all over Spain and beyond at Citilab-Cornellà to discuss and possibly construct a common vision of where we are going digitally and the crossover to an increasingly blurred “real” life. Unfortunately due to my wife Ana being ill I had to return to Lleida after the first day and a morning spent poking around the magnificant space that is Citilab-Cornellà, thanks to the invitation of a very busy Enric Senabre who made me more than welcome. Since returning home, I’ve followed the rest of the event on the web and although I haven’t been able to participate directly, have been able to watch the streaming of the thought-provoking talk given by Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation as well the interesting presentation of David Cierco, the General Director of the Plan Avanza of the Spanish government. It also means that I was able to see this morning’s discussion of the future and organisation of UrbanLabs, and I want to say here that I would love to be involved. 

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with Michel Bauwens yesterday and he couldn’t praise Citilab-Cornellà highly enough. I certainly got the impression that the place is not the typical council-funded project filled with bureaucrats and powered by enchufes, but a genuine place full of imagination, ideas and the willingness and creativity to put them into action – as an old cynic I’m bloody shocked. If you have the opportunity, go and check the place out for yourself, I’m hoping to be able to go back and spend more time there soon. 

As I had to leave early, I could ony participate in one session about Digital Education which was facilitated by Boris Mir. There were so many ideas and projects talked about that it would have taken weeks to discuss every pertinent point and it was hard to find a structure to encompass everything in the allotted time. As we found out at PodCamp Barcelona, it showed that there are many, many people out in the digital world trying to find the way to explore new avenues of communication and co-opereration and UrbanLabs has gone a long way towards finding a way to have that dialogue in both the “real” and digital worlds and demonstrates that for many of us, that separation is disappearing. 

Minerva magazine just publised an interview with and an essay by Michel Bauwens (in Spanish). 
Juan Freire blogged Urbanismo emergente: ideas para el grupo de trabajo de Urban Labs 08