Remember — project proposals are due tonight.
Remember — project proposals are due tonight.
Agenda for Today
In today’s class, we will be discussing their project
proposal. (See http://blog.mixingandremixing.info/2009/02/20/day-8-notes-and-day-9-mon-feb-23-preparations/).
The project proposals students need to submit are outlined here:
Here’s a note I sent to my students to help them model their proposal
Project proposals dues on Wednesday, Feb 25 at 11pm.
For those of you who missed class last Wednesday, Feb 18, you missed a great talk by Bernt Wahl on the business case behind mashups.
On Monday, Feb 23, we will be discussing your project proposals. The proposals were originally due on Monday, but I’ve decided to extend the due date to Wednesday, Feb 25 at 11pm to give you some time to improve your proposal. To facilitate discussion, please bring 25 paper copies of your draft proposals to circulate in class. We will be hosting some graduate student visitors from Finland, who will be very interesting in learning about your ideas.
This weekend, I will respond to any draft ideas that you have sent me. I encourage you all to contact me to arrange a time to talk to me.
To help my students develop their projects, I’d like to model the project development process by writing about two projects that I’m pursuing over the next two months:
In this post, I will tackle the first topic only.
I will write some of my background thinking leading to more formal statements of my project proposals, produced in a format I outline in Mixing and Remixing Information » Project Proposal Format.
Government Transparency / Apps For America
A place to start is of course to read the rules of the Apps for America competition. To enter, you need to produce a working application to submit by March 31.
Note the criteria for apps for America [emphasis mine]:
To get a feel for how to do to stay in the competition, you should look at the APIs, scan them for their capacities, and also start brainstorming ideas:
As you do so, reflect on their own interests questions and passions. As I thought about my own interests in this area, the following came to my mind:
What I’m settling on for the purposes of writing this model, knowing that I might change if there’s a good reason to….but also keeping in mind the March 31 deadline.
A Specific Project: Using Freebase to Prototype/Build a PolDB
Though I’m certain yet that this is the project I plan to submit, I’m leaning towards building a prototype for PolDB, which is described on the Project pages as:
Build an open IMDB-like service for All 300,000+ elected officials in the country and build biographies on all of them much like the style of IMDB. Allow for community participation, submission and vetting.
Accomplishing this task is beyond what I can do by March 31 — however, I will explore how much progress one can make towards building PolDB by leveraging Freebase, the Wikipedia, and other sources of data, including the Sunlight Labs API.
Let me now answer the questions (in point form) listed in the project proposal. What I’d like in the actual proposals is a more integrated narrative.
What problem is your project aimed at solving? Alternatively, why would someone want to use what you are making in your project?
According to Metaweb Technologies, Inc. : About:
Freebase, created by Metaweb Technologies, is an open database of the world’s information. It’s built by the community and for the community – free for anyone to query, contribute to, build applications on top of, or integrate into their websites.
My project aims to seed a PolDB using freebase.org as the database and possibly application hoster (using the Acre platform). One model I have in mind of an existing application built on top of Freebase APIs is bioventurist.com (and its companion Freebase base http://bioventurist.freebase.com/) (You can read more about it on the Freebase developers’ list.
Is your project doable given the constraints of time, our starting knowledge, etc?
Yes, if I don’t aim to build the entire PolDB project. I plan to start by making sure that congressional data already available in APIs such as the Sunlight Labs API gets into Freebase properly. I will see to what degree the native Freebase interface for a base will accomodate editing and vetting by the community.
What interface are you imagining? Is it a web, desktop, or mobile application? What platform are you running? Often a rough sketch of the interface can help clarify a lot of issues
I’m imagining a web application such as bioventurist.com using Freebase as a back-end. I will also prototype a data extractor so that the data for PolDB will not be tied to the Freebase indefinitely
What data or services are planning to bring together? Be specific.
What’s your plan for getting the data. Often the data you might want might not be easily available.
Beyond the APIs for congress…..that becomes trickier [need to think through this]
Do the APIs you plan to use actually support the functionality that you need in your application? Show how it does so.
What programming language do you plan to use?
Break down the project into steps. You can end up changing the steps later, but I want to make sure you have a clear conception on what the steps are.
[More details would be good….]
Highlight what you are currently working on.
Right now, I’m learning Freebase. On Saturday, Feb 28 I will attend an event at Freebase headquarters on how to build a base.
Identify areas of “high risk,” areas that you are uncertain about and/or things that might undermine the entire project. Write about how you are planning to deal with these potential problem areas.
[I have to write about what I plan to do….]
If you are unclear about what you might want to do, I’d suggest starting with Flickr-centric ideas if you don’t have any other ideas in mind.
I’ve brought up the topic of trying to track TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program). What can we do to improve our oversight of TARP? Can we build off of:
Keeping in mind that the project proposals are due on Feb 23. (See http://blog.mixingandremixing.info/s09/project-proposal-format/) and that tomorrow’s class (Feb 11 Day 7 is devoted to an introduction to enterprise mashups with a guest speaker Justo Hidalgo of Denodo Technologies), that next Monday is President’s Day, and that Wednesday Feb 18, we have Bernt Wahl to talk to us about business perspectives around mashups — we won’t have much class time before your project proposals are due. Consquently, I encourage you to
Let me elaborate on that last point. We have a number of places to communicate available:
I especially commend to you the forums — they provide a place for structured conversations. To support your project proposal writing, I’ve added an assignment to update me by Feb 16 at 5pm on your progress towards writing a proposal.
For those of you who missed the Google Geo-APIs workshop yesterday, take a look at the links to the tutorials provided at the workshop:
Today’s class is the Mixing and Remixing Information » s09-Day 06 Google Geo-APIs workshop
Here are some exercise to help one get use to programming on the ischool clusters.
get warmed up on ischool.berkeley.edu
~/public_htmldirectory — e.g.,
echo “hello — how are you? This year is 2009”;
in ~/public_html type
curl -o Source.zip http://www.apress.com/resource/bookfile/3901
get the permissions right: chmod -R o+rX Ch* R*
get flickrsearch.php working in Chapter 6
setfacl -m u:apache:r–,o:—,m:rwx flickrsearch.php