Tag Archives: mysociety

4 years and 2 months later… TheyWorkForYou plugin gets an update

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;

  1. Go to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard, search for TheyWorkForYou and install
  2. Download from the WordPress.org plugin repository and install manually

One important note: if you are using the original plugin, you’ll need to remove that first.

Enjoy!

Updates to WriteToThem WordPress Widget

I’ve given my WriteToThem WordPress plugin a well overdue refresh this evening.

You can download the latest version from the WordPress.org plugin repository now.

Here’s what’s changed;

  • Re-write: For those technically minded it now uses the WP_Widget class as it should do, which makes it much tidier.
  • Translations: I’ve also added support for translations so, if you want to make a Welsh or any other language version you can!
  • Filters: There are some filters in there (search the code for apply_filters to see them) for you to tweak the output if you’re looking for some advanced customisation.
  • GitHub: The code is also on GitHub so if you want to contribute, please do!

If you have any issues with the plugin, please post in the forums over at WordPress.org where I can better help you.

WriteToThem.com WordPress plugin

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.

You can download the plugin now and subscribe for future updates.

TheyWorkForYou.com WordPress plugin

As part of some work for Talk About Local I have just developed a WordPress plugin using the TheyWorkForYou.com API.

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.

I made a demo video and wrote instructions on how to set the plugin up which have been posted over on the Talk About Local blog, as well as instructions on installing the plugin.

All that’s left to do now is download the plugin (ZIP).

What part of your privacy does Google StreetView encroach upon?

Google StreetView car by I See Modern Britain

Google StreetView car by I See Modern Britain

 

Right from the start I’ve been fairly dismissive of privacy concerns over Google StreetView.

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?

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Make Parliamentary Scrutiny More Accessible

The Free Our Bills campaign from mySociety is today encouraging supporters to ask their MPs to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 2141.

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.”

They are the creators of many popular democracy web sites including WriteToThem, TheyWorkForYou and the No. 10 Downing Street Petitions web site.

The EDM asks the House of Commons to acknowledge the need for this change and the need to work with mySociety to get it done.

If you would like to see more parlimentary scrutiny then please write to your MP and ask them to sign the EDM.