Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Google Election Center and the Election 2010 results

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Search engines like also played their part in the November 2, 2010 elections and election results by deploying a few tools that made it easier to gather voting information. For example, when anyone searched on Google for [polling place] or [where to vote], user's were returned a search box to help them find their polling place, candidates, and local election office and they could type in the home address where they were registered to vote. These features were provided under Google's "Google Election Center", an experimental service that lets election officials provide data directly to Google resulting in the creation of various search tools. The facility also allowed anyone with a website to provide this same functionality by embedding the open source Election Center gadget on their sites, or using the gadget code or API to build their own.

Mobile or Cellular Driven Democracy Anyone?

Photo of my new BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphoneImage via Wikipedia

There is an interesting discussion underway at the Pakistan Telecom Grid Community on the possible use of Blackberry services by the government (to read the discussion visit here) and the discussion is getting more interesting by the second. Why, well the first thing I feel is that we don't have that educated or aware lot in our parliament that would know how to access their email messages or use facebook to connect with their stakeholders or voters. Yes, they can make calls, anyone is able to do that with out a literacy level requirement, isn't owning a handset the first step to being able to dial a number!

As far is RIM Research In Motion's Blackberry is concerned in terms of its regulation, its just a paranoia as there are a multitude of other methods used by people that want to do unlawful activity. For example, Credit Card fraud being the largest in the world is not done 100% online. Instead, the percentage of offline fraud is far more greater than that using the Internet.

These are only regulatory controls that have seen to be going paranoid and nuts all across the globe in an attempt to gain more control of the network due to its social and economic dynamics and impact. Its like someone or something slipping for under the noses of the regulator that they are trying to overcome.

If you watch recent Hollywood flicks like the American etc, you will see how the cell phone is disposed off as it is now very commonly understood that there are facilities to trace and trackback on mobile and wireless networks.

Using Blackberry's is one thing, it may be useful to help challenge the status quo from elitism to going and being 24/7 accessible and accountable to citizens using Mobile, Messaging, Email and the Internet by our representatives in the parliament and assemblies?

Mobile/Cellular Driven Democracy anyone?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day 2010 - Where can you vote? Online?

LAFAYETTE, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Voter registratio...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
So as the US elections are underway, the most interesting internet searches have been around "Where can I vote?". So just for research interests, I also followed the same search phrases to explore where and how one could vote online but so far I came across this:
  1. Can I Vote? | Find Out If You Are Registered to Vote
    This nonpartisan web site was created by state election officials to help eligible voters figure out how and where to go vote.
  2. Polling Place Finder
    In most states, people must be registered in order to vote. Locating their polling place does not mean they are registered to vote. To confirm your registration, head down to
  3. 44 - Where do I vote?
    Polling locations and other election day
    Figuring out where to vote, finding out who the candidates are and trying to sift some facts from fiction. Here are answers to some of the ...
  4. Polling Place Finder
    Your Polling Place (where you vote, map & directions); Districts for your precinct (including maps); "Candidates on My Ballot".

Election Day 2010 and Vote 2010

Oregon Voters' Pamphlet, May 2008 Primary elec...Image via Wikipedia
Well the election day and voting day both are near for the US citizens again and I was interested in learning how they go about learning online about whether they can vote or not or access information regarding their voting eligibility. I read an interesting article by Seth Godin titled Voting, Misunderstood here that pointed out that about only 40% of eligible voters will be voting possibly because campaigners are discouraging voters to negative advertising. Well that's an interesting observation as he says:

"Political TV advertising is designed to do only one thing: suppress the turnout of the opponent's supporters. If the TV ads can turn you off enough not to vote ("they're all bums") then their strategy has succeeded."

But I liked what he says in end that

“Even if you’re disgusted, vote. Vote for your least unfavorite choice. But go vote!”

That would be definitely for the citizens of any country because not using your right to vote is an acceptance that you may not hold value in your society that you don't wish to improve through the power to vote!!!

RSS - The most powerful tool keeping the Internet open

RSSImage via Wikipedia
RSS (usually termed as Really Simple Syndication) is a technology devised of open  web feed formats used to publish frequently updated online information resulting from blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video a recognizable and standardized format. RSS is exchanged in the form of RSS documents that include summaries or full texts as feeds, web feeds and/or channels also carrying metadata comprising of but not limited to publishing dates and authorship of the content being syndicated online.

Web feeds benefit online content producers by letting them syndicate content automatically all across the web and that can be accessed through all sorts of hardware devices that can connect to the Internet. RSS benefits readers that can subscribe to regular updates from their favourite online content sources. They can also  aggregate feeds from many online conetent sources into a single place.

RSS software and web based RSS Reader applications like Feed Readers and Aggregator's help access and read  RSS feeds which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. RSS is enabled through the use of an open standard like XML file format allowing information to be published once and viewed by many different programs all over the World Wide Web. Anyone using these applications can subscribe to a feed through entering into the reader the feed's URI or by clicking an RSS icon in a web browser that enables  subscription and then the RSS reader regularly checks subscribed feeds that the user added regularly for new content and then downloads any updates that it can find. These RSS Readers also provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds.

As a content producer and editor, I continue to believe in the power of RSS to be a very strong foundation software for today's World Wide Web providing the ability to bypass many content filtering and content restriction platforms. It also enables content exchanges underneath the Web fabric facilitated by the Internet allowing us, the human beings that use the Internet to produce and share content without restriction!

ICANN about to get over gTLD delays - Publishes Time for New gTLDs Launch!

icann-newtld-hkImage by Charles Mok via Flickr
ICANN seems to be getting nearer to launching the highly anticipated new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) program that will enable interested parties acquire their very own gTLDs such as .YourBrands. ICANN convened a special meeting of its Board of Directors on October 28th last week and resulted in the adoption of an updated new gTLD timeline was adopted as a working plan.

In lieu of this action, ICANN has launched a new Adopted Workplan available here as the Launch Scenario indicating that the possible gTLD Applicant Guidebook will be declared as final go at the up comming December 2010 ICANN Meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.

If this gTLD Applicant Guidebook gets an approval from the ICANN Board during this meeting, the final changes are expected to be implemented as directed and the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook will be posted publicly in January 2011.
ICANN will then carry out a 4 month communication campaign initiating the New gTLD Application Period on May 31st, 2011.

ICANN stakeholders are still sceptical about the much anticipated launch as Elisa Cooper on CircleID suggests that the actual approval for New gTLD Applications will not occur until the March 2011 meeting in San Francisco and thus the Application Period would not begin until Fall 2011 but still parties are being encouraged regardless of when the Application Period begins in 2011, they should plan their application and objection strategies in earnest before the year's end.

Related articles