Online Voting

Lee Hachadoorian on Dec 3rd 2011

Estonia is apparently a leader in secure digital signature and voting. 95% of adults have electronic signature credentials, and the country’s national elections take place completely online. I found this out during Day 1 of the CUNY IT Conference, in the keynote address by Robert D. Atkinson of The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Atkinson claims countries with smaller territories, like Estonia, can advance  projects like online voting because all the stakeholders can be brought together to move such a project forward. Continue Reading »

Filed in Governance | 3 responses so far

Occupy the Commons

Lee Hachadoorian on Nov 18th 2011

Occupy Wall Street is two months old. While sympathetic with generalities of the critique, I’m a little unsure about what actual changes this will lead to. This is partially because OWS has not specified policy demands. This lack of specificity has been defended by Bernard Harcourt as a form of political disobedience, as a protest not only of the current conditions but also of the political system which has led to this point. In this view, articulating demands is merely buying into the institutions and ideologies that OWS rejects. Further, an alternative view of decision-making is being articulated in the participatory democracy of the General Assembly itself. (See this piece on the intellectual roots of the protest.)

But leaving aside participatory democracy, the essence of the critique captured in “We are the 99%” comes down to economic inequality. What is to be done about inequality depends (at least partly) on your opinion of the cause. Participatory democracy is the solution offered by OWS, because the cause of inequality is taken to be corporate capture of traditional political channels. Continue Reading »

Filed in Governance,Urban | 3 responses so far

Downgrading a Package in Ubuntu

Lee Hachadoorian on Oct 28th 2011

Never satisfied with something that is already working (Firefox), a few months ago I decided to check out Chromium, the open source version of Google’s Chrome web browser. My impression is that it is very snappy at page loads. In looking into which browser would be better on an old, hardware-challenged computer (a Sony VAIO with a 1.2 GHz Pentium M and 512 MB RAM), I found that Tom’s Hardware reports that while Chrome has a heavier memory footprint, it also has faster page loads. On low-end systems that makes it kind of a toss-up—will the increased memory demands translate into a faster feel in your browsing?—but on my 6 GB RAM Dell desktop and my 8 GB RAM Lenovo laptop, the OS can easily afford to throw a couple of GB to Chromium in exchange for a faster browsing experience. Continue Reading »

Filed in Computing,General | One response so far

Mindmapping for…well, everything!

Lee Hachadoorian on Jan 15th 2011

It was probably a year-and-a-half ago, while participating in a Summer-long proposal writing workshop with other members of the New York Graduate Urban Research Network, that a fellow graduate student recommended the use of mind maps to help organize some of my ideas. (This after I sketched something that looked like a Venn diagram of overlapping literatures related to my research.) I checked out some open source mindmapping software packages at the time, but it was only this last Summer that I started using one in earnest. In this post I’ll describe some of the things I use mind maps for. Continue Reading »

Filed in Computing,Productivity | 2 responses so far

Make It Your New Years’ Resolution to Try Linux

Lee Hachadoorian on Dec 30th 2010

About 2½ years ago I made the switch to Linux. I figured getting a new home computer was as good a time as any. While I was already going off the beaten path with Linux, I decided to not go too far off by choosing Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution. I kept Windows Vista (pre-installed) on its own partition, just in case I changed my mind.

While I was able (and more than willing) to tinker in order to get things to do what I wanted, my wife, who like me would be using the computer for both personal and professional purposes, needed things to “just work”. Any technical problems she had were going to get kicked to me. I asked her to give it a couple of weeks, but her verdict after one day was “This isn’t any different from Windows.”

I think most end-users would, like my wife, find no real difference for email, web browsing, word processing, and spreadsheets. Continue Reading »

Filed in Computing,General | 4 responses so far

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