Friday, August 5, 2011

When Nerds Give Back!

Recently the following article was posted on my companies web page. Visit to read this article and the musings of my other co-workers and check out our companies new web site, it is really stunning!

ScreenShot2011-08-05at10.16.02AM-2011-08-5-10-19.pngLike other programs such as Teach for America or Americorps Code for America is a way for Technologists, and other IT people to give back using our unique talents to help governments be more efficient and connected with its citizens.

By pairing city governments with technology people to develop scalable solutions to improve government transparency and communication, replace outdated technology with modern Web 2.0 technology.

Code for America is working to create open source software repositories so governments can share code and solutions to help them integrate platforms, reduce costs, and eliminate redundancy.

Geeks like to solve problems and create new software. So using those talents to serve the community is away for another group of Americans to give back to the community. Government has been historically slow to change and adopt new technology that businesses have used for years to remain competitive.

Code for America gives city governments a chance to catchup with larger organizations with bigger budgets and more human resources without having to spend the money.

Currently the city of Chicago is a finalist for the 2012 Code For America Fellowship to update the 311 system in Chicago. Making it more than just a phone based service to contact city government services. Open311 will extend the existing 311 service to the web and allow citizens to contact government services and track status updates through the web and smartphones.

Freedom Speaks LLC has created a program called City 311 that runs on Windows Phones, Android, iOS, and Blackberry and the web. Allowing participating city governments to receive reports from citizens for graffiti removal, report potholes, request bulky trash pickup, report illegal dumping, street light outages, or virtually anything else that might need to be reported to a city government. Allowing this to be done electronically of course makes it more efficient since someone isn’t required to be on the phone to take the report. The appropriate department can get the dispatch right away and the citizen can get feedback on the status of the report. Making us all just a little more connected.

Check out Code For America at or take a look at the City 311 app on your smartphone or

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