Posts Tagged ‘West Seattle’

Adrian Holovaty

Image by niallkennedy via Flickr

Everyblock’s Adrian Holovaty has signalled a change in direction for the hyperlocal news site he founded in 2007 and which was subsequently bought up by MSNBC.com.

He wants to switch its focus from that of a data-driven aggregator to a “platform for discussion around neighbourhood news”.

He told Poynter: “…we’ve come to realize that human participation is essential, not only as a layer on top but as the bedrock of the site.”

On his blog, Holovaty writes that current social media tools are focused on people you already know and he poses the question: “How many people in American cities can even name more than a handful of their neighbors?

His answer is to use Everyblock to post to them – “instead of the social graph, it’s the geo graph”.

As a way of helping to knit a community together it’s an interesting approach but, as Holovaty himself points out, it’s not attempting to be yet another social network.

“If you want to follow your neighbor’s personal life, friend her on Facebook; if you want to talk about neighborhood issues, use EveryBlock.”

The site was spawned from his Chicagocrime site helped along by a Knight Foundation grant and it has now been extended to cover all major centres across the US.

A skim through the information available for West Seattle brings up local news, messages from neighbours, 911 dispatches, real estate info, restaurant reviews, meet-ups, local photos and much else besides.  Every item is mapped and it’s possible to search by zip code, by area, or even by street.

The granularity that comes from mining official data is impressive, everything from building permits to restaurant inspections are available – though the neighbourhood chatter wasn’t evident when I looked because the change in emphasis is still so new.

Less impressive is the chronological design which, without more sophisticated filters or editorialising, makes staying informed an ordeal by parish pump.

Planning applications can, of course, be a big as a story if they directly affect you, but weeding the relevant from the irrelevant needs better tools to let people decide what they want – and what they don’t.


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Big moon over Fauntleroy

Posted: September 7, 2010 in Travel
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moonWhen the natural world puts on a show it’s achingly, jaw-droppingly beautiful.

This was the moon slipping below the horizon at around 5am. The sunset the night before was wonderful too.

fish eagleThis morning the osprey was back and perched atop the mast of a yacht moored right outside the house in West Seattle.

On the shoreline, ravens were pulling at washed up kelp and seaweed and finding plenty of tasty morsels to eat.

The local heron also flopped into view but took off shortly after one of the neighbours took her daily dip in Puget Sound. Brrrrr!

Talon spotting at Fauntleroy

Posted: September 7, 2010 in Travel
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fish eagleThey say it’s the early bird that catches the worm, but in this case I think it was an eagle that scooped a fish out of the water by West Seattle’s Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal.

It was just after 6.30am and I was outside admiring the view from our beachside accommodation when I saw a heron at the water’s edge.

As I focused in on the heron I heard a splash and my first thought was that someone had thrown a rock in the water. As I turned to see what had caused the noise I saw the bird fly off with a large, still wriggling, fish in its talons.

Shortly after, on a stroll through Lincoln Park, I had a close encounter with a squirrel and got a glimpse of a spotted woodpecker. There aren’t many cities that could produce that kind of variety on a short morning stroll.