Technology

What I learned at CityCamp Raleigh

There is a growing connection between open source geeks, programmers, and local government activists. I love it. One of the great things to come from this is a series of events called CityCamp all around the country. These are well-organized unconferences that bring people together to share ideas, learn about local government, and come up with projects to make their communities better. Last year's CityCamp Raleigh led to the city adopting a formal open source policy. So I thought I'd check it out this year and see what Raleigh has going on.

Are the County and Towns Tracking Our Cell Phones?

In August 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina Foundation filed public records requests with all 100 North Carolina counties and all police departments in municipalities with populations larger than 30,000. The requests were part of a nationwide effort coordinated by the ACLU to determine under what circumstances law enforcement agencies are tracking cell phones. Both the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Chapel Hill Police Department received the requests, and here's what the ACLU found.

The town has posted 2020 theme survey results, but the formatting is terrible. Can anyone help me get this into readable text?

OP Announces First-Ever Online Candidate Forums in Orange County

The editors of OrangePolitics are excited to announce our first-ever online candidate forums for the upcoming Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board, Carrboro Board of Aldermen, and Chapel Hill Town Council elections. Orange County journalist Kirk Ross, former editor of the Carrboro Citizen and a columnist for both the Citizen and the Independent Weekly among others, will serve as the moderator of all three forums.

Each forum will consist of real-time written conversations between the candidates and the moderator. Questions will be solicited from OP readers before and during the forum. The moderator will have final say in question selection. The events will take place online at orangepolitics.org, with one evening dedicated to each race covered.

What question would you like asked? Post it in the comments below!

Bricks and clicks: hybrid local businesses

Recently, I’ve gotten to know a lot of local business owners. Many of them are running retail shops selling products and services, but there are also a lot of people working in offices both downtown and in their homes. A large number of them use the Internet to make a living. The primary difference between these two groups is market size and how it makes or breaks businesses these days.

Many retail businesses have a finite market size, while an Internet business can have a global market size. Traditionally, a small retail business that sells physical products out of its building on Main Street can only sell to whomever walked in the door, meaning its total potential number of customers, or market size, is the number of people who live in the area plus a small number of tourists. However, not everyone in that group is interested in purchasing from a local business. The number of actual customers can be quite small, especially in bleak economic times like these.

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