Shocking it’s been so long really, but I’ve finally revived my TheyWorkForYou WordPress plugin.
When I first released it, all the plugin did was supply a TheyWorkForYou widget. Nothing’s changed! That’s for good reason though… At the time, the latest version of WordPress was 2.8.6 and we’re now on 3.8.1 so a lot has changed!
Crucially, the way plugin developers add widgets has changed so that needed to be updated.
Also of huge importance was that the original plugin hard-coded my own TheyWorkForYou API key and was a key reason why the plugin never made it to the WordPress.org plugin repository. There is now a simple settings page for you to enter your own API key, and the widget isn’t even available to you until you do that.
I have a bunch of other enhancements I want to add, all of which are listed on the GitHub issues page for the plugin. If there’s something you’d like to see in the plugin, please add it there too.
Given the amount of functions provided by the TheyWorkForYou API there are probably loads more things the plugin could do – please think of them and ask me to add them. Or, even better, fork and pull on GitHub and to add them yourself.
Finally, to use the plugin you can;
Go to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard, search for TheyWorkForYou and install
As if the TheyWorkForYou.com plugin wasn’t enough I’ve also created a plugin for WriteToThem.com as well!
The plugin adds a new widget which your blog readers can use to get in touch with their politicians from councillors to MEPs. There’s a demo video and instructions on how to set up over on the Talk About Local blog.
For this first version the plugin creates a single widget which shows the latest activity for your MP. I hope to add more in the future and if you have any suggestions, please add them to the comments below.
There’s plenty of discussion going on in Government about putting data out and what to put out and how to put it out and all that nonsense. Especially in local government.
It sounds like there’s concern that releasing data isn’t good enough and that government has a responsibility to put that data into a format that can be consumed by citizens.
This is true, they should be putting information out in a way that is usable and accessible. At the same time though, it’d be good if they just put all the raw data out and let anyone develop their own usable, accessible versions. It’d give government a head start in developing their own versions as they can see all the innovative uses of the raw data and take a cue from them.
Birmingham City Council’s web site is a great example of where it could help. A new council web site finally arrived late and over budget and was subject to a lot of criticism. Subsequently, a bunch of passionate (some would say crazy) brum folks made their own version by pulling the data from wherever they could.
How about if BCC had put their data out there and invited the brum community to do their worst? I have no doubt BCC would have a whole host of examples of good uses of that data. Examples that they could then adapt and build into the new site. Let’s call it data democracy, shall we?
In my view, Google are just snapping what any general member of the public can see in that place at that time anyway. It’s already “in the public domain”, so to speak.
I haven’t had the fortune to come across a staunch opposer to StreetView yet, but if I did, as I commented over at MySociety, I would ask them, “What part of your privacy goes Google StreetView encroach upon exactly?”
Sunbathing naked in your back garden? I’m your neighbour, I can see you out my window…
Walking to the shops? I’m walking my dog, I see you. We even pass each other on the pavement and say hello.
Leaving an adult video store? You’re in public, the public will see you. If you don’t like being seen, stay at home and order off the internet or by phone.
Are you an anti-StreetView kinda person? Tell me exactly what it is that makes you uncomfortable about StreetView. Am I being too dismissive, missing the point etc?
The campaign aims to get Parliament to publish bills in a much better way which will allow software developers to come up with new and innovative ways to present bills to the public and build tools around them.
It’s another project from mySociety, a non-profit organisation, organised by volunteers who aim to “build websites that give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives” and to “teach the public and voluntary sectors … how to use the internet most efficiently to improve lives.”