REI Open-Sources Its GovDashboard Tool

REI has open-sourced its GovDashboard tool (PRESS RELEASE). “REI built GovDashboard to incorporate the strongest features of public sector transparency dashboards commissioned by the U.S. Federal Government such as Performance.gov and ITDashboard.gov. Popular features include a user-friendly interface, a dozen standard ways to visualize data, dashboard building, and customization tools that can incorporate data tables and visualizations, text, photos, and other objects, with content updated as frequently as data sources change.”

Reviewing Gov’t Agencies on Yelp?

Soon you may be able to review your local government agency on Yelp. “Yelp, the popular Web and mobile service that helps people find local businesses by ratings and is best known for restaurant reviews, is now open for official government use. GSA is opening the door to agencies to launch new Yelp pages to listen and respond to comments from the public, then use the data to drive improvements to services.”

Google Launches WiFi Router

Google is launching a wireless router. “…the company is launching a new device called the OnHub, in partnership with router-maker TP-Link. There’s another, Asus-made device in the works. For $199, it promises to make your Wi-Fi faster and more reliable, and to give you the ability to update and fix your connection. (You know, for the rare times unplugging it and plugging it back in just won’t do.) Presales start today, and devices will ship in the coming weeks.” It looks like a shorter, beefier Echo.

Smithsonian Announces Public Access Plan for Its Research

The Smithsonian has announced a public access plan for its research. “The Smithsonian has released its Plan for Increased Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research, based on the principles outlined by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Through the new plan, all applicable publications and supporting data resulting from federally funded research will be available through the Smithsonian Research Online (SRO) website or CHORUS, a nonprofit membership organization that helps federal entities increase public access to research. The plan will take effect Oct. 1 and apply to articles submitted to publishers on or after that date.”

University Endowments are Getting Rid of Twitter Stock

University endowments are getting rid of Twitter stock. “Yale University, which has a $23.9bn endowment fund, sold all of its 34,345 shares in Twitter – worth just under $1m at Monday’s stock price – over the last quarter. Harvard University, the world’s wealthiest university with a $36.4bn fund, sold 29,856 Twitter shares between April and June. Stanford, which has an endowment fund worth $21.4bn, sold 18,000 shares.”

YouTube and Livestreaming

WIRED takes a look at YouTube and what it might do for livestreaming. Another good search/data aggregation idea, folks – it’s a royal PAIN to get a calendar of hangouts and other planned live events taking place on YouTube. You can filter for things that are live right now, but a) that doesn’t let you plan, and b) search results like that give minimal amounts of information about the live event. Every time I hear someone say that all search problems online have been resolved, I want to throw things. “YouTube built some of the infrastructure for live video almost by accident, in the course of creating the YouTube we know now. It has a terrific, usable player that is embeddable basically anywhere and accessible all over the world. It supports almost any technical setup you can think of. It has subscriptions, channels and a notification system that can easily […]

Facebook Looking to Do More With Events

Facebook is working on treating public and private events differently. “Public events will now have larger header images, and will present more information about the location and event, such as an artist’s profile or photos of the venue. Meanwhile, wall posts will be less prominent given they will almost certainly be strangers.” It’s also considering having more options than the simple “Yes/no/maybe” of going or not going. Which I think would be great; often I’m interested in the event but can’t attend because everything happens on the west coast; it’d be nice to have a “Keep me posted” button that hips me to tagged multimedia or followup posts.

LA Times: With Alphabet, Whither YouTube?

From the LA Times: What’s next for YouTube as Google reorganizes? “With more than 1 billion users and a reported value of $70 billion, YouTube, which will remain part of Google, has evolved into a major asset for Sergey Brin and Page’s empire, a seemingly farfetched notion when the tech giant first acquired the once-small company in 2006. But even as the video platform is at a point in its history where it can cement its dominance and become ever more lucrative, some are asking: Is YouTube too big to innovate?” Seeing what it’s been doing in its race against Twitch, my answer to that question would be no.

Digital Trends has a VR Headset Roundup

VR has gone to being a constant background murmur to a constant chatter on my RSS feeds. If you’re trying to get an overview, check out this headset roundup from Digital Trends. “Unfortunately, the limits of computer processing power and memory have relegated proper VR devices to military and government use. There have been attempts to make VR devices for the consumer market, but they have all been received poorly. Some true believers always remained, however, and now 2016 seems to poised be the Year of VR. The big names in the industry have all slated their devices for release in the upcoming year, and consumers will have a great selection to choose from when the virtual headsets finally hit shelves. Below are some of our favorites, along with their specs and features. Virtual worlds never looked so inviting.”