MediaFile

Congress plans Facebook “hackathon” to boost engagement with public

Top legislators on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Thursday they will work with Facebook engineers and independent developers to make it easier for the public to engage with lawmakers and follow the legislative process.

The first-ever Congressional Facebook Developer Hackathon will take place Dec. 7 at the Capitol, bringing together lawmakers, academics and developers to find ways to make Congress more transparent and accessible.

A hackathon, a term coined by computer programmers over a decade ago, generally refers to a meeting where new programs and applications are collaboratively developed.

With the growing influence social media like Facebook and Twitter has in people’s everyday lives, “it is essential that Congress fully incorporate these platforms into its daily operations,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.

Cantor will host the event along with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.

“Americans have a right to petition government, and new online technologies are giving that right exciting new possibilities,” Hoyer said in a statement.

Microsoft’s Kinect eyes path beyond gaming, into other industries

As Microsoft Corp’s Xbox gaming console nears its 10th anniversay, the company said its future may lie beyond gaming.

“That’s still the core of what we do, but if you think of the next 10 years of our business, it’s all the new opportunities and possibilities that Kinect is opening us up to,” Craig Cincotta, director of communications for Xbox, told Reuters.

Microsoft’s Kinect, launched last year, is a sensing camera and microphone device that plugs into the Xbox 360 console, allowing users to play games purely with gestures and voice commands.