Transition Whatcom

I work as a software engineer, and now that I'm done gardening for the year, I've been spending a lot of my free time thinking about the potential of software to improve local resilience. I'd like to get some discussion started about how software can be used to improve our communities, increase our freedom, and achieve other positive goals. Discuss current software projects, potential TW site improvements, integrating existing software into our local community, or starting new projects. If there's enough interest around discussing these ideas we could create a new TW group for it. If there are software developers in the TW community, it'd be great to talk about teaming up to either work on improving an existing project or creating something new.

 

Of course, TW is one excellent example of the kind of software I'm talking about. As far as TW goes, it's doing an excellent job of connecting people and sharing events and information. However, since it's built on a pretty generic social networking platform, it doesn't have any specific features for community resiliency. I don't know much about Ning, but there may be a plug-in framework which would allow for creating new features. Here's a few ideas:

-tool sharing - a user can list what tools they have and others can browse what's available in the community

-bartering/trading

-skill sharing - users can list what they are proficient in and what they want to learn

-ride sharing/carpooling

 

I've found many companies, organizations, and individuals that are working on interesting projects. Here's a few of them:

 

Bright Neighbor

Similar to TW in that it's social networking to improve community resilience. It's different in that it's not built on an existing social networking platform as TW is with Ning, and it has many more features. I'd love to see a free open source platform like this.

 

AgSquared

This is a startup company working on farm management software targeted at small scale organic farms. It's in beta release now, and planned to be free, but will have ads.

 

Neighborhood Fruit

Urban fruit mapping which helps connect unused fruit to those who need it.

 

P2PU

Peer to peer learning. I just found this today, after thinking for a few days about collaborative learning and how software can help manage it.

 

Free network foundation

One huge drawback to internet resiliency is that all the transmission lines are owned by private companies. This creates a possibility of future scenarios where access to certain information is blocked, or the entire internet is shut off. It's happened/happening in other countries and there's good reason to believe it will happen here. This is a group working on the early stages of a decentralized internet linked together by peer to peer connections instead of private telecommunication lines.

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Here's another link I just found to a list of useful open source software on the open source ecology website.

http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Category:Software

At this point, I'm having a discussion with myself, but I'll add another link if anyone is interested. I've created a new subreddit on reddit.com about what I'm calling appropriate software, which is the software side of appropriate technology.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/appropriatesoftware/

Hi Jesse, Many of us are listening to you......you've 18 views so far!  I'm reducing my online time, and increasing my nature renewal time and my face-to-face community time.

 

Jesse,

Good brainstorming going on here. We do have a TW website group, though we haven't met in a while.  We need to do that soon, and I will be in touch.  I have spoken with the fellow who started Bright Neighbor.  It's a good concept, but not free. I haven't looked at it in a while.

 

We also have a "Personal EDAP" website/software slowly developing.  Or I should say it was started, but hasn't had attention lately due to lack of time.

David,

I'd definitely be interested in attending any future meetings of the TW website group. Keep me posted.

 

I'm assuming, the creator of Bright Neightbor wanted to be able to work on the project full time and decided to keep the source closed and charge for the software so he could make enough money. I think with software like this, it's critical that it's open source, free of restrictions, and free of cost. This would have the effect that it might not be possible for a single person to make working on the project a full time job. However, the benefit would be that people from all over the world could participate in the development and communities could easily adop the platform and customize/extend it to their needs.

 

Where can I find the "Personal EDAP" website/software?

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