The annual gathering of geeks including coders, ham radio operators, astronomers, inventors, cosplayers, medieval martial arts, train operators, and Google Ingress players at Ala Moana Beach Park – Magic Island, April 21, 2013.
April 21st, 2013 · communities
March 21st, 2013 · legislation
I’ve been negligent in my posts here but I have an excuse. I’ve been following the Open Data bill (HB632) through the Legislature and blogging about at Hawaii Open Data. If you are interested in the journey a bill takes you will find my posts here:
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February 17th, 2013 · communities, spirit, zen
Catching up on some belated posts, I especially wanted to bring attention to this event brought to us by the Rotary International. The keynote speech was by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Among many other awards, she also won the highest civilian honor in the U.S., the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is an amazing woman and I was fortunate to have the chance to hear her speech. The keynote was finally put online and it is well worth watching. There are many quotable moments but one that stood out for me was the following:
Compromise requires courage because compromise means letting go of your vanity. A lot of people do not compromise because they think it is a sign of weakness. Compromise is a sign of strength… Compassion allows you to recognize that other people’s needs are as valid as your own.
We all need to find ways to work towards peace and compassion is a great place to start. The challenge is taking the words and turning them into action. We each need to find our own way. Ryan Ozawa and I had the honor and opportunity to share our thoughts on technology and peace at the Peace Forum earlier that day. I decided to share a meditation practice of mine in the hopes that others could find a way to discovery their own form of practice. It’s finding out what resonates with you and turning that into action. You can find my presentation here.
You have to learn to be at peace with yourself. To be at peace with yourself you have to face your weaknesses and you have to have enough compassion for yourself not to condemn yourself for these weaknesses. You have the courage to work at your weaknesses, to try to change yourself. Peace requires change and change requires a lot of hard work. And hard work requires commitment and courage.
January 1st, 2013 · culture, disruptive tech, events
As I look back at 2012 I can honestly say it was a good year. The year of the Dragon was a dynamic year with lots of changes going on all around. It was the confluence of many events that came together in 2012 and will set the course for 2013. Here are some of the memorable moments of my 2012, in somewhat chronological order:
1. The first Civic Hackathon resulting from CityCampHNL was held in conjunction with the City and County of Honolulu.
2. Unconferenz 2012 was memorable not only because of the topics and attendance (Tim O’Reilly, Jen Pahlka, Kirk Caldwell, Kym Pine, etc.) but it also debuted Code for America to the Honolulu community.
3. Geeks on DaBus was the culmination of an idea that sprung from CityCampHNL and the Civic Hackathon. We used DaBus app and converged on Kaka`ako to talk transportation with Mayor Carlisle and folks from TheBus.
4. Transparency Camp and the folks from Sunlight Foundation. I never thought Washington D.C. could be so much fun.
5. Getting the chance to visit a floating hospital on the high seas is always a memorable event. Here is a helicopter landing on the USNS Mercy in the waters off O`ahu.
6. Visiting Midway Atoll for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway was incredible not only for its historical significance but for the experience of seeing thewildlife reclaiming the island.
7. This large golf ball shaped radar has become a regular feature in the Pearl Harbor view plane. Few get to visit and tour the insides of the SBX.
8. Have you ever felt like you are part of a bigger movement? I felt that way when attending the Code for America Summit. Open Government and Open Data is making great strides thanks to the efforts of CfA.
9. Visiting South Korea was an awesome experience. I have a much deeper appreciation for Korean culture and people. It is a place I will return to soon.
10. We capped the year of Open Data with a demo day called Hon*Celerator. It was a code contest of applications built around data from data.honolulu.gov and data.hawaii.gov. This is just the beginning…
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November 25th, 2012 · alternative energy, auto
I love these screens on the Chevy Volt’s dashboard. This one shows the ratio of electric miles verses gas miles between charges. These are helpful as you hone your driving patterns to get the most efficient mix of electric and gas powered driving. As gas prices go up, obviously you want to fuel up at charging stations. If you are plugging in at home it’s best to be equipped with a PV system or else you will be refueling with expensive HECO gas generated electricity.
I was impressed with the overall performance of the Volt. I can’t compare it to other EVs but relative to my Acura TSX, the Volt had pretty good pick up. Something I did not expect from an electric car. As far as the ride goes, the Volt was not as smooth as my TSX. Let’s face it, I am spoiled.
One of the things you need to consider is whether you are dependent on the air conditioner. In the summer the AC is a must, especially in afternoon rush hour traffic. Keep in mind this will sap your electric charge. The AC will in consume 16% of the power from the battery. With the AC off the climate electrical consumption was 3%. I drove the car around with the AC off most of the time.
For recharging, one of the dashboard screens gives you an estimate of how long it will take to charge up from a 120V vs. 240V outlet. Generally speaking if you plug it in at home you will need about 8-10 hours to fully recharge. A full charge was taking about 4 hours from the Better Place charging station at Topa Tower.
Overall it was a fun experience driving the Chevy Volt. I must thank Chris Colquitt from GM and especially Shauna Goya from Comm Pac for allowing me to park at Topa Tower, easily accessing the charging station. That made all the difference. An electric vehicle is definitely in my future. It will just depend on price point and relative ease of recharging. Now I know what to expect.
November 24th, 2012 · alternative energy, auto
Driving around town during Thanksgiving will easily take you beyond the 44 mile range of the Volt’s battery pack. When driving an electric car the first thing you will notice is how quiet it is. There is no revving of the engine and the car moves as silent as the wind. So I was curious what it would sound like once the engine kicked in.
Let me tell you, it was pretty uneventful going from battery to gas generator. I would not have noticed had it not been for the change in the power flow graphic. As soon as the gas generator engages, the engine appears in the graphic. Up until then it was just the graphic of the battery.
In the Volt, the gas generator is not an engine per se. It is not connected to the transmission. Instead the gas generator is used to generate electricity to move the car. It does not fully recharge the battery although I did notice a small charge in the battery when idling. The gas generator works in tandem with the battery and in this mode gas efficiency seems better than a purely gas powered car.
Once I pulled into the garage, I did notice the gas generator running. It made me think about the next time I would be able to charge up the battery to save my gas.
Day 5 – Overall performance.
November 23rd, 2012 · alternative energy, auto
There are obvious driving patterns that conserve battery power. I noticed when driving around town, where there is a lot of braking and accelerating the battery will deplete faster than when you are on the freeway. Another observation is that the battery us used less if you are going downhill. But if you are doing round trips like be back and forth to town, then going downhill one way will result in going uphill on the return trip. It evens out in the end.
I did notice that if you could minimize rapid acceleration and braking, battery power is preserved. At the end of the day, the Volt used more battery miles from town to Pearl City and less from Pearl City to town. This due to the downhill effect going from Pearl City to town.
Much of the car’s battery performance is visible real time. The Chevy Volt has a power flow screen that is addictive to watch. It shows when the battery is feeding the transmission and when it is getting a regenerative buffer. Unlike the Toyota Prius, the Chevy Volt does not recharge the battery. Regenerative buffer is just a small charge flowing back into the battery.
Day 4: Activating the gas generator.
November 21st, 2012 · alternative energy, auto
The main thought that crossed my mind was to come up with a plan to get recharged each day. When Chris Colquitt (GM) gave me the overview yesterday, we were in the parking garage of Topa Tower. The building conveniently provides 4 stalls with EV charging stations from Better Place. The good thing is that Better Place is providing free charging until the end of December 2012. The bad thing was only 2 EV stations were working.
To hedge my bets I left home early and claimed a stall at 6am in the morning. I usually go for a run first thing in the morning but I did not want to take a chance that the two working stalls would be occupied. Lucky I did that since stall 3 & 4 were still out of order. I went for my run after parking at Topa Tower.
Lesson of the day, you become very conscious of the battery charge. Fully charged you get 44 miles. As soon as you go beyond 44 miles the gas generator kicks in. Psychologically the system makes you want to minimize the use of gasoline as much as possible. It’s as if that tank is held as a precious reserve.
When I picked up the Chevy Volt at the end of the day it appeared the Better Place stalls 3&4 were repaired and operational. The BP promotion is a timely one and if you can take advantage of it, you should. To find EV charging stations near you, including the BP ones you go to this site built by local app developers, Mavens LLC.
Day 3: Optimal driving patterns
November 20th, 2012 · alternative energy, auto
Thanks to Shauna Goya of Communications Pacific and Chris Colquitt from GM for the one week test drive of the Chevy Volt. I’ve not only wanted to drive an electric vehicle (EV) but wanted to understand the subtle changes in driving routine when filling up with electricity. The following posts will be my experience over the course of the week driving the Volt to and from work.
For starters, Chris gives me the 10 minute data dump on electric car operations and how to get the most efficient use out of the electric storage system. I thought when I upgraded from my Acura Integra (1996) to the TSX (2010) I went through a quantum leap in technology. Going to an EV is another quantum leap. The Volt has an electric battery that covers about 44 miles on a full charge. After that a gasoline engine charges the battery extending the vehicle another 300 miles.
Starting the car is with a push of a button and everything is controlled from the display screen. I drive out of the parking lot at about 2 miles per hour as I try to adjust the AC and find the radio. Once I hit the road it’s like regular driving. By the time I get to Pearl City the electric gauge has 20 miles on it, enough to get back to town.
Tomorrow, I need to figure out my logistics for getting a full electric charge.
October 7th, 2012 · communities, government, innovation
This video is of Jen Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director of Code for America delivering the keynote address at the CfA Summit. It brings to light the movement we are a part of to help create a smarter government through civic engagement. I’ve talked before about the confluence of events that brought me to this point and to witness the intersection of all the people at the Summit is quite amazing.
Personally, I will be sorting through all the information presented at the conference for some time to come. There were the personal contacts, civic accelerators, CfA Brigade members, videos to watch, links to explore and the myriad of ideas swirling around in my head. This CfA Summit experience is an incredible view into a movement that is happen across the country.
In the video Jen talks about living in the intersection, on the boundaries of one environment to the next. This civic movement is the intersection between the monolithic, bureaucratic government and the lean, agile, civic hacker community. Technologies that brought us smartphones, the Internet and app development are scratching the surface of government, and assuming willing participants within government, we are seeing news ways of engaging and collaborating. Watch Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s speech as a mayor who gets it. And as David Eaves, MC for the CfA Summit would say:
Code for America is not really about hacking code—it’s about hacking culture.
I’m not sure how much Honolulu appreciates this but with the help of CfA and the dynamic duo of Gordon Bruce and Forest Frizzell, we did a lot to hack the culture of the City & County of Honolulu. We did CityCamp Honolulu, Civic Hackathon, Geeks on DaBus, Honolulu Answers and now Hon*Celerator. We also brought design thinking into City government. Now the challenge is to keep the momentum going, regardless of who the next Mayor is.
Have a great October and before we get into the frenzy of elections, enjoy the videos, photos and links from the CfA Summit.
- CfA Summit website, videos and photos
- Lauren Dyson – Code for America blog post
- Christopher Whitaker – Storify summary of the CfA Summit
- Jason Hibbets – Hacking Code and Culture
- Eugene Eric Kim, Groupaya – Code for America: Hacking City Government, Not Just Apps
- Burt Lum – Flickr photos