Archive for January, 2010

In a soon future, there will be no more wanderings, no more waiting line, no more dial, no more credit card…

If you don’t believe it, check out Taxi Magic.

Taxi Magic for iPhone can:

* Find taxis near you
* Book taxis without waiting on hold
* Remember previously booked locations
* Track your dispatched taxi on a map
* Display your driver’s name and car number
* Quickly pay by credit card

Insight: “Future is here, it’s just unfairly dispatched.”


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With their respective Opendata Directives, Australia, USA and UK took a large step away from France on national transparency. While American Senate makes available all its voting datas, french national assembly still don’t show any informations, leading french citizens and non-governmental organizations to gather and work over getting datas created and usable.

Nosdeputes.fr is a french website willing to emphasize Parliament action. The dozen of democracygeek volunteers working on this project is synthesizing the various legislative activities of the elected officials. Their first work was to get and then make available the datas concerning commission works, speaches, law votes… This action leaded to the publication of the assiduity-graph of french deputies.

Soon came a new challenge.

Assemblée Nationale - Richardying CC

Assemblée Nationale - Richardying CC

After 2009 and a national debate over the lack of attendance of deputies to the National Assembly, internal assembly rules were modified with new amendment stating:

Beyond two absences […], each absence of a deputy at a commission or ordinary session [of Wednesday], gives place to the withdrawal of 25% on the monthly amount of its salary ».

As written previously, the workingday not attended by deputies are not public datas. Presidents of each commissions do have a list but it is not published. So guess what civilians from Nodeputes, under the organization Regardscitoyens.fr just did ?

They used their attendee made-up list to create a mashup to define absences and then published their study.

By calculating how many deputy-related-commissions took place and how many deputies really showed up on the days of commissions, they got the result.

According to the study, the new amendment did led to a higher attendance rate.

On average between the years 2008 and 2009, the deputies thus increased their frequentation of the obligatory meetings of Wednesday of 54%, passing from an average of one Wednesday presence out of three with one out of two.

And this assiduity is not limited to the only meetings of Wednesday: for these three same months, we can observe that the average of presence of a deputy in committee increases by 36%, that is to say the passage of approximately 3 days of commissions per month in 2008 to 4 in 2009.

Deputies attendance (Nosdeputes.fr)

Deputies attendance (Nosdeputes.fr)

RegardsCitoyens.org published the 42 deputies names who did not respect the amendement and their calcul shows 25 433€ shall be recovered from the total salaries but according to the Parliament, no salary deduction was required for the moment. This situation is particularly ironic as the leading-party UMP is willing to suppress welfares to families whose child misses school.

Video showing Assembly data (un)access, in french only

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Techpresident published an article reporting the publication of a new report on digital political engagement by Members of Parliament in the UK.

The Irish House of Commons, 1780 by Francis Wh...
Image via Wikipedia

Entitled “MPs ONLINE, CONNECTING WITH CONSTITUENTS“, the key findings from this research sponsored by Microsoft are:

– 92% of MPs use email

– 83% of MPs have a personal website

23% of MPs use social networking

– 11% of MPs blog

However, the minority of MP’s using social networking do not usually involve intercommunication. Notice final recommendation:

MPs see the internet as primarily a tool to communicate and campaign, however,individual citizens and civil society groups can take the lead, creating engagement tools online and encouraging Mps to then take part.

In the Guardian article “The internet and politics: Revolution.com“, the edito states:

“Following Barack Obama’s successful use of social networking, British parties have redoubled their rush on to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. A few engaged MPs use such sites not only to broadcast their views but also to listen to their constituents. However, too much political effort online simply mimics traditional marketing-driven campaigning – treating voters as little more than shoppers, and policies as slickly packaged products.”

Back to the basics: defining social media.
Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, a two way effect.

The bad point about using limited version of social media (sic) is the lack of empowerment left to the citizens. Hard to imagine indeed, a collective campaign such as the one launched by the Sunlight Foundation to help lobby Congress vote on S. 482 and pressuring senators by tweeting them, if politicians are not techavailables.

This action seemed efficient as some senators ended up supporting the action but of course in order to launch such civic applications out ouf social media – Hadopi law may be a good test in France- politicians still need to be registered.

Here is “Human to Human” research on french politicians and social networks (in french only) where you learn that ministers may be present on social networks but not all are using the full potential neither. By recently checking out Jean-Pierre Chevenement and his blog with impressive feeds on the right side. -notice the iphone app- I notice that the communication team has corrected the “non-interactivity” issue.

So we are on the way, but it’s a long road.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08:  Mayor of Lond...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

This week, London Mayor announced the launch of a scheme to make the capital Britain’s first ‘Open Data’ city.

The London Datastore makes available a wide range of data about the city, open to use for free (dedicated to french collectivities) in Google Docs format.

Soon to come, many new city apps like this one: Where can I live ? This simple tool helps you answering the question: Where can I afford to live in London by specifying budget and commodities.

Not the most civic app I admit, but I could not help thinking about this tv show called “Looking for a house” where the realtor spend most of his time trying to persuade his customers that they can’t afford to live in Paris with their tiny budget.

Save a realtor, use this app !

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Twisitor and city application

We’ve got it clear that Twitter revolutionized the way we interact but was it clear Twitter’s derivated would revolutionize the way visitors connect to their destination ?

Back to the basics, Twitter is a social networking service that allows users to send and receive instantaneous text within a 140-message.

Now, Twisitor is an application derivated from Twitter and allowing people to interact directly with the citizen of the visited city or its Tourism department. Here is the teaser:

Going somewhere? Get the insider information from those who know, the local tourism authority. Chances are that your final destination is already tweeting and ready to answer your questions and provide tips and recommendations. Connect with them here for all your planning, relaxing, vacationing and traveling needs.

Portland became the first American city to launch an official Twisitor Center – an online visitor information center relying on Twitter to connect travelers with people who can help plan their trips.

The way it works:  Add #inpdx to each tweet you request to have Portland informations and the Twisitor Center staff members will answer your questions.

Here below is the video made by Portland to explain the concept.

Can’t wait to see it in France !

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Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet on 10 jun 2006.
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, UMP french leading-party secretary, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, introduced UMP new socialmedia: Les créateurs de possible.
The idea of this platform is to make it possible for every citizen to purpose, discuss, and get involved in community projects.
« Creators of opportunity», as it may be approximatively translated, is a Do It Yourself project launched by the french right-wing party. This platform of a new kind in France will be online in the following 24 hours.

Creators of opportunity is:

  1. A mash up of socialmedia to serve community
  2. A community open to all the citizens
  3. A simple design with easy ergonomics and traditional functions of a social network
  4. A free speech space with no moderation a priori (except for discriminative contents)
  5. A community where UMP logo does not appear (but the platform logo looks similar)
  6. A webspace emphasizing transparency and authenticity
  7. A social network using web20 tools to spread informations (Facebook, Twitter & Co, RSS)
  8. A platform with iphone app and some widgets available
  9. An online activism toolkit with apps such as online petition and door-to-door advises

Check out the movie.

Eventhough the presentation is not complete as I could not access the platform, this initiative has been underlined as « very risky » during its presentation.

Organized well, it would be easy for a bunch of opponents to transform this platform into a big mess.

The no-yet-existing digital identification would indeed allow anyone to use fake identities and post any irrelevant comment and there will be only 3 staff members to moderate 35 million potential french websurfers.

The Challenge

Maybe the purpose of this website (again, still to be seen) is not to recolt such a great amount of feedbacks. Maybe it could never be so popular anyway as french people have not answered yet the question:

Are you willing to animate a platform launched by a political party when his leader, french President Nicolas Sarkozy gets less than 40% of favorable opinion on national polls?

Of course, UMP presence on this platform seems to be insidious but confusion remains.

Is it a national platform for all citizens to solve problems conjointly ? Or is it a partisan website to launch partisane

projects ?

The UMP and its leader ‘popularity is not at its top and Sarkozy is not known as a man uniting people in real life. For these two reasons -at least- pretend to be able to bond french people on the web is indeed, so risky.

That is why one may regret that NKM, by the way mainly known as Secretary of State in charge of developping digital economy in France, created such an interesting tool for a « party concern only » instead of creating it for a national purpose.

At the meantime, French people are launching a « No-Sarkozy-day » on the net.

Déjà vu

On the other side of the (political) border, we can’t help but thinking about Segolene Royal « Desir d’avenir » platform. Segolene Royal is the french left-wing politician who ended 2nd to the run for presidency in 2007. She actually announced on december 28th that her collaborative website was turning into a platform of solidarity, « a fraternity and solidarity-based website to give a hand on each other projects ».  Platforms are being very trendy lately.

Concerning oversea empowerment projects, we could cite the City of Manor (TX) and its launching of « Manor Lab » that allows citizens to purpose and vote for local projects. http://www.manorlabs.org/

There is also Fixmystreet, the British DIY where you can report or discuss local problems http://www.fixmystreet.com/

Without mentioning all the citizen applications for iphone developped by cities such as New York, Washington, Portland, San Francisco and so on to emphasize interaction and community involvement. Not mentioning neither “Smarter government” project in the UK and “Engage” program in Australia.


So we finally made a point. But we still have time to make up on gov20 so let’s hope that this participative platform – as a first step- will turn to be successful, for an emerging edemocracy and gov20 in France and for the greater transparency that should inevitably follow.












Belle révolution en terme de politique et web participatif: Les createurs de possibles de l’UMP

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Assorted smartphones. From left to right, top ...
Image via Wikipedia

I spent a lot of time writing on my post for tomorrow, and you will see there will be content as french Secretary of State in charge of developping digital economy has presented, in the name of UMP party, a new social-tool to be used by french citizen.

So I have been lazy for today and I will just introduce a local french app very useful to non-motorized Nantes citizens:

With this application, you just need to state where you are and where you want to go to be purposed different itineraries depending on schedule, transport, fastness of walking, and so on.

We are not well equiped with smartphones yet (30% french population) but that is for sure one the most useful tools to download.

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