The Only Needle I Don't Fear: Seattle Space Needle LEGO

The Only Needle I Don't Fear: Seattle Space Needle LEGO

I am afraid of heights. That fact has been established on more than one occasion. I also don’t much care for needles. Let’s face it: they’re a pain in the ass. We’ve also established that I adore my LEGO creations. What could be more amazing than being able to have a needle that I’m not afraid of… without having to go up a bajillion flights of stairs?

The Seattle Space Needle LEGO kit is a fairly detailed replica of the original landmark. It comes with a little book that will give you a peek inside of the design and history of the structure. This awesome little desk ornament only measures about 8.7″ tall and 3.1″ wide. It doesn’t take up much space here in my office. That’s a good thing, considering all of the other LEGO things sitting around in here.

I’m starting to think I need a bigger office. What do you think?

Seattle Geek Week

So, the 10th Gnomedex conference has been scheduled for August 19 – 21, 2010 (and everybody is invited to attend, by the way).

Some of my Seattle-area friends have been asking if they could hold their event during the week of Gnomedex (assumedly, asking out of respect). That got me to thinking: why not string together some kind of loosely-official “Seattle Geek Week” to further make connections between the lot of us?

I started to write this post long before Andrew Hyde and the Startup Citizens of Boulder, CO announced Boulder Startup Week – but that endeavor is very much in the same vein, and should underscore my vision and serve as call-to-action for Seattle Netizens.

“Geek,” as defined by Wikipedia:

A person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. This could be due to the intensity, depth, or subject of their interest. Persons have been labeled as or chosen to identify as physics geeks, mathematics geeks, engineering geeks, sci-fi geeks, computer geeks, various science geeks, movie and film geeks (cinephile), comic book geeks, theater geeks, history geeks, music geeks, art geeks, philosophy geeks, literature geeks, historical reenactment geeks, 2012 geeks, video game geeks, and roleplay geeks.

If you want to produce a gathering for your own community in Seattle (or any surrounding city), let’s do it. The Eastside can play, too – since that’s where I happen to live. 😉

This idea is not specific to technology groups – it’s for any one of our communities which have only grown stronger through tools like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and the like. If anything, I’m hoping to create mutual awareness, helping various communities connect with one another – to help them escape their own echo chambers.

  1. Any group can participate.
  2. Any event can participate.
  3. Any venue can participate.
  4. Any person can participate.

There are no committees – just communities. I don’t even have a logo for the idea, though I did register the SeattleGeekWeek.com domain the other day.

I’ve set up a Google Calendar for the Seattle Geek Week Schedule (iCal) – but this is just an organizational starting point (Boulder used Plancast):

If you’d like to celebrate your connections and interests in a real-world capacity, why not do something that week? To be added to the calendar, simply submit your event details and we’ll get ‘er included:

All submissions are made public immediately, but many not be included in the calendar until a human volunteer gets to them. I don’t know who that volunteer is yet. 🙂 HELP.

Seattle Wins Free Civic Apps Through Code for America

Have I ever mentioned how much I love living here in Seattle? This place is on the cutting edge of both technology and social media. We are blessed to have many companies with home bases or satellite offices here who are heavy hitters in one of the two “industries.” The city and surrounding area are filled with people just like me… scary thought, I know.

I didn’t realize until now, though, how much our city government has entrenched itself into these niches. Back in February, Code for America asked cities around the U.S. to submit their requests for applications – apps they wanted or needed to solve civic problems and engage citizens, specifically, apps that will promote transparency, participation and efficiency. For example, a city could have requested an application to help them connect neighborhood groups with emergency first responders. Seattle entered the contest… and was one of only five cities chosen to have their apps built for free. Once each app is finished in January 2011, it becomes free to use and share for any other city in the country.

City chief technology officer Bill Schrier explained yesterday what our city’s request was. Keep in mind that it’s more of a vision at this point:

The City is interested in an application which will help mobilize neighborhoods and communities to civic action. Ideally, the application would identify civic groups, non-profit organizations, social service and community organizations active in each neighborhood. It would serve as a continuous calendar of meetings, events and volunteer opportunities in neighborhoods, and then allow individual people to volunteer and connect with each other to do work on behalf of their neighborhoods.

Part of this would be better connecting the City government to individuals in neighborhoods, but it is really, also, more about giving communities a tool to connect groups and individuals with each other. Example projects might include clean green, maintaining traffic circles, blockwatches for drug dealing, connecting people to organizations like the rotary or local chamber of commerce or to resources such as senior centers. Ideally social media such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter would be used as well.

There would be an ‘information’ aspect for City government, e.g. getting the word out about a paving project or a community meeting about a proposed land use action.

Normally, an app such as this would cost upwards of $200,000.00 to have designed and created. However, the cost will be nothing thanks to the people at Code for America. They are currently seeking developers, designers and project managers to work on the projects for Seattle, Boulder, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The teams will work closely with each city to make sure that the app is designed properly.

Love is in the Air for Apple Fans

If you are an Apple fan, nothing would be worse than hooking up with the “perfect” person – only to discover that they are a Windows user. That is likely the biggest deal-breaker of all. Thanks to new service Cupidtino, you’ll never have to worry about this again. The site promises to bring Apple fan-boys and girls together in a relationship nearly guaranteed to last:

Die-hard Mac & Apple fans often have a lot in common – personalities, creative professions, a similar sense of style and aesthetics, and of course a love for technology. We believe these are enough reasons for two people to meet and fall in love, and so we created the first Mac-inspired dating site to help you find other Machearts around you.

This may sound like some sort of weird scam, but it’s very real. The site is set to go live sometime in June, but you can sign up to beta-test it now. I’ve read a lot of commentary about this studly service today, but none of them sum it up better than Mike over at TechCrunch when he said that “Apple fans can be annoying when they’re on their own. The thought of them breeding and creating little Apple fans, a whole family of hard core hipster Apple lovers, is just not a good thing. On the other hand, making sure that Apple fans only date other Apple fans is a good way of stopping them from spreading their Apple fan genes to the general population, I guess. So maybe this site isn’t all bad.”

My only question now is: How soon will we see a Windows-only (and Linux-only) dating site? Which of you are going to step up and start it?

Love of one platform or another is not required to grab some of the latest software and apps for your devices. We welcome all people!