Christian Heilmann

Posts Tagged ‘mashups’

Barrierefreiheit im Netz der Daten – mein Vortrag zur Best of Accessibility 2009

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Gestern war ich in Duesseldorf um bei der diesjaehrigen Best of Accessibility in meinem Vortrag “Barrierefreiheit im Netz der Daten” ein paar der Mythen ueber das Thema zu verwerfen und hoffentlich den Teilnehmern der Konferenz ein paar Ideen zu geben.

Da mein Leben derzeit hauptsaechlich aus Reisen besteht kam ich direkt von Flughafen zu meinem Vortrag und verpasste leider den Grossteil der Konferenz. Allerdings kam ich noch rechtzeitig fuer einen Kaffee und ein Stueck Kuchen vor meinem Vortrag nachdem ich den Organisatoren dann doch fuer einige Zeit zum Schwitzen brachte. Sorry.

Als kleine Wiedergutmachung gibt es hiermit einen gar seltenen deutschen Blogpost und sowohl den Vortrag als PDF und aus Audioaufnahme. Ich kauderwelschte gar gewaltig, aber das passiert eben wenn man zu lange im Ausland lebt.

Oder eben als embed auf SlideShare:

Ich hoffe das die Teilnehmer der Konferenz etwas fuer ihr Geld geboten bekamen und am naechsten Tag ihrem Chef etwas Neues beibringen konnten. Fuer Fragen und Anregungen bin ich fast immer auf Twitter unter @codepo8 zu erreichen.

Hacking for Innovation – my talk at the Sunderland Hack Challenge

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

I’m just enjoying the complimentary wireless on the National Express train from Newcastle to London and uploaded the presentation I’ve given at Sunderland University to start the Hack Challenge they are giving their students. Together with Yahoo Developer Network Sunderland Uni is asking their student to spend a month to build a web application using Yahoo services and mashing them up. The hacks will be judged by Yahoo for prices and graded by the professors as a part of the course deliveries.

My presentation was meant to inspire the students to find good hack ideas and realize that innovation is not something you are paid or told to do, but something that everyone can be part of by concentrating on what you want to make better and finding the right tools and people.

[slideshare id=937827&doc=hackingforinnovation-1232551242755069-2&w=425]

The initial hack ideas of the students were very encouraging and I am looking forward to the next video conference where they’ll pitch the ideas in detail and show the technological decisions they’ve made to build their apps. It is great to be able to partner with universities to see what potential is there.

UK Government initiative calls for hackers to mash-up public data

Friday, July 4th, 2008

It is pretty cool to see what is happening right now in the UK when it comes to mashups and data. Show us a better way is a web site and competition that asks ethical hackers to come up with ideas to use a wide range of public data for the good of the public. Straight from the horse’s mouth this sounds like this:

The UK Government wants to hear your ideas for new products that could improve the way public information is communicated. The Power of Information Taskforce is running a competition on the Government’s behalf, and we have a 20,000 pound prize fund to develop the best ideas to the next level. You can see the type of thing we are are looking for here

To show they are serious, the Government is making available gigabytes of new or previously invisible public information especially for people to use in this competition.  Rest assured, this competition does not include personal information about people.

We’re confident that you’ll have more and better ideas than we ever will. You don’t have to have any technical knowledge, nor any money, just a good idea, and 5 minutes spare to enter the competition.

There is a vast amount of APIs available to play with so what stops you from giving it a whirl? My own idea, cabsharing is something I was actually planning to do for quite a time, maybe even as a start-up, but why not here?

Is it time to take mashups and use them to solve real issues?

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

This is my presentation given at the BarCamp4 at Gcap in London, talking about my recent move to start doing more mashups again and what lead to it.

My mashup and accessibility fatigue

In a nutshell I have to say that I was getting tired of ethical hacking and mashups. Far too many people just create mashups for the sake of putting some information together or prove a technical concept but I just couldn’t see the use of what was produced. We create a lot of ideas, prototypes, proofs of concept, celebrate them as being cool and then never re-visit or turn them into projects.

I was also bored with the accessibility movement on the web. Instead of concentrating on solutions for people we ran in circles demanding technical solutions or implementation of standards that don’t make much sense in the real world. It was much more important to be compliant with something than to really deliver for the people who needed us to remove barriers for them. It is all about demanding things to be done rather than doing them. And I felt that I wasted my time trying to get something done in this surrounding.

Boost #1: The social innovation camp

That changed drastically when I was a judge at the Social Innovation Camp. The concept of the camp was brilliant: allow people who have real world problems to draft up an idea how modern technology like web sites and social networks could help solving or at least making these problems smaller. The entries were massive and ranged from simple things like sharing sites (rent a drill instead of buying one and let it collect dust) to personal growth/learning monitoring systems.

Boost #2: Enabled by design

The project that stood out the most for me was Enabled by design which is a showcase site for people with disabilities showing the world what problems they have fulfilling certain day to day tasks (say cutting food) and what tools are available to overcome these problems.

The second idea of enabled by design is that it should become a place where product designers and production companies could get information about what products are needed and then can start designing and producing those in more appealing ways. Most assistive technology and products are ugly, and they don’t have to be – actually that makes the person who just had to start to use them to fulfill tasks previously easy for them feel even worse. People get as excited about product design as we get about APIs and mashing things up – both of these great amounts of energies could be targeted to solve real-life needs of real people.

Boost #3 – Ability 2.0 conference and accessihacking YouTube

With my mindset of giving the accessibility world a swift kick up the backside I gave my talk Fencing-in the habitat at the Accessibility2.0 conference pointing out the useless energy we waste on technical solutions built to satisfy ourselves rather than making a difference for the end user.

One of the other talks that day was Antonia Hyde talking about the issues users with learning disabilities are facing on the web, especially in regards to online video. Well, I thought to myself, as YouTube has an API, and I’ve been playing around with it already, why not have a go at an accessible YouTube player. I’ve created a prototype and sent that out to Antonia and some other accessibility contacts and the feedback was awesome.

What confused me most was that I got feedback from schools and blind people thanking me for the player and finally being able to use YouTube. I liked that a lot – realizing that I helped far more people than I thought by tackling something I hadn’t tried before – thinking in detail about the needs of people with learning disabilities!

The player is going strong and I am now writing documentation for the 2.0 version which will feature a search, playlists created by bookmarking in and more features like zoom.

Question: What about the future?

Am I weird (don’t answer that out of context) or is there something in there? Are there more developers out there who are stuck in a rut mashing up data without ever really making a difference with it, or do I care to go there just because I have so much exposure to this world?

I am imagining (and already started) planning an event for exactly that – social and accessible hacking of currently used internet services. We could have a hackday weekend with spokespeople from different agencies explaining the issues that people with disabilities have to use for example flickr, youtube, last FM and so on and a bunch of hackers to have a go at building alternative interfaces based on the APIs of these companies. I would also like to get people from these companies there to learn about the hacks and maybe take on some of the learnings and put them in the live systems.

The question is: would that be something you want?