Hang on a second while we grab that post for you.
Follow along as 3 digital guys from St. Louis head to SXSW in a brand new Ford Focus decked out with the best in driving technology.
3 Guys and a Ford - Day 5 SXSW Lunch
The “Tall Chief” stands at 46 ft. in Big Cabin, OK.
At Wendy’s! We’re in MO!! #3gf http://4sq.com/b68ggc
Train tracks to nowhere. This ran parallel to the old Route 66.
Doorwau from abandoned Purina Chow feed supply building in Chouteau, OK.
Choutea Farm Purina Chow supply building in Chouteau, OK. Lots of cool stuff along Route 66.
Hafiz found a new hat. Hanging at gas station in Kiowa, OK.
This small town in Oklahoma was great. In the town square, they had speakers blaring Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. It was odd and surreal, but we loved it.
We smelled the BBQ from the highway and the Siri helped us out a bit.
3 Guys and a Ford - Day 5 SXSW Lunch
DAY 4, DEAN KAMEN - INVENTION & INSPIRATION: BUILDING A BETTER WORLD
You may know Dean Kamen as the guy that invented the Segway. If your knowledge of Dean stops there, do yourself a favor and look him up after reading this. Dean Is one of the biggest American inventors of our time and has a laundry list of creations that make life easier and safer for everyone.
Dean is a very understated guy. The first thing you notice about about him is his quiet demeanor. For such a brilliant innovator, he seems to be remarkably humble and soft spoken. That is… until he gets talking about helping people. Dean lives to help make the world a better place through his inventions and his passion for this is extremely contagious. From the FIRST organization, to the robotic arm and his water filtration system, listening to Dean inspires you to deliver greater value to the world in all that you do.
The first thing Dean covered was the robotic arm. He launched into a story about a high level military representative asking for help. This military man proudly told Dean how well equipped the american military is. He boasted about the high-tech weapons and protection they provide the men and women that guard our lives.
He then told Dean about soldiers that get injured and lose an arm on the front-lines. No more state of the art technology for them. We send them home wearing a plastic stick with a hook to replace their arm. This, as the man told Dean, was unacceptable.
To fix this issue, Dean and his team built a self-powered, self-contained robotic arm in under two years. The arm could pick up a grape without damaging it and bring it to the owner’s mouth to eat. It’s nothing short of inspiring to hear about a man who can design and replace appendages. Think about that. He. Built. An. ARM. What did YOU do in the last two years?
Dean then went on to talk about the self-contained water filtration system he built. These things are the size of a mini-fridge and run on cow dung. That’s right. Not a typo. Basically the user inserts a hose from one end into anything with moisture, from mud to sludge, and fresh water comes out the other end. He can now distribute these to impoverished locations around the world to create clean drinking water for communities.
The great thing about Dean’s talk is that is picks you up and throws you out of the bubble these conferences leave you in. It makes you think about the bigger picture. We’re here to learn and observe, network and connect.
Maybe we should all be thinking less about how to do our jobs better, and more about how to make the world a better place.
3 Guys and a Ford - Day 4 Update at SXSW 2012
Skinny Lister Performing at B.D. Riley’s during SXSW 2012
KEYNOTE ADDRESS, DAY 5:
What I love about Jennifer Pahlka’s final keynote at SXSW Interactive today was her focus on changing government from the inner-workings. She highlighted a series of outdated digital systems that often causes us frustrations. But who wants to work with local governments? Who wants to help with civic software or back-end systems for cities. At the heart of it, local government is what we as Americans connect with the most. By fixing the systems on local level, you can help fix government.
The key question, can you get talented developers from Silicon Valley and bring them down to key local cities to help code and develop apps to solve real issues. Not big federal programs, but local governments that struggle to get their systems up to date.
Pahlka realized that there’s an opportunity to change the system. Just like “Teach for America” program to recruit teachers, why couldn’t we recruit coders to help different cities in need. Things are changing today, and our preconceptions of government not wanting to change and evolve is dissolving.
A great case study was focused on the Boston Public School system. The tool allows parents and students to find eligible schools and create a customized list of favorites. Before, it was a crazy set of documents that parents had to sift through to determine what schools they could send their kids too. It wasn’t this huge $2 million project, but simple, efficient and created with the bureaucracy.
If you’re a developer and interested in Code for America, check out the site. The CfA Fellows work hand in hand with forward thinking cities across the country to help them do more with less. I love it because it’s really about connecting people in need with the talent that has typically reserved for well-funded start-ups and big digital agencies.
As a developer, you can also join the Code for America Brigade. Start a brigade locally with other developers and maybe you can help on other projects in the works!
"Coding isn’t about making software, it’s about rewiring society."
— Clay Johnson
"We’re not just consumers of government and services. We’re citizens and as neighbors and fellow citizens, we can help each other." Pahlka said. "I’m calling on everyone to act like a citizen."
"We’ve built an amazing consumer internet. We can do so much now. But now it’s about building a citizen’s internet," Pahlka said. "When you think about serving your country. We think about the military. But we also are fighting another battle. And we need an army of geeks."
At it’s core, government is what we do together as a society. It’s not a problem as an institution, but a problem in collective participation. And through digital tools, that participation and connectivity grows within our communities. It’s about breaking down silos and figuring out how digital solutions can help us all.
Check out other projects from CfA: