It’s time to start thinking about how to get the western edge of the Triangle more involved in the growing community of open government events taking place this year. As a past attendee of several of these events, I wanted to make sure these upcoming events are on your radar, and ask you to get involved in the growing collaboration between civically minded citizens and the fast-growing local tech sector.

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Erin and I traded fortune cookies at Red Lotus tonight. Mine said something about finally being recognized for the work I put in, and hers said this. Given her recent hiring at the agency where she has served as an Americorps member, and my general analytical nature, I think we just grabbed each others destined cookies.

With the start of the new year, many people take this time to resolve to get a better handle on their personal finances. Whether this means making and sticking to a budget, reducing unnecessary expenses, or simply getting a better understanding of their financial situation, pretty much any approach to person finance is dependent on having a good idea of the numbers inside their bank accounts, where they come, and where they go.

Do you think music software is only the domain of expensive proprietary software? Think again. There are literally hundreds of applications out there designed by, and for, those with a musical bent. Music projects, including many projects specifically for the Linux operating system, flourish in the open source community as musicians take to coding to produce tools to make their lives easier.

Genealogy, the study of family histories, is a popular pastime for millions of people worldwide. Individuals seeking to learn more about their pedigree or simply discover more about their family’s past have built vibrant communities of like-minded (and possibly related) individuals to help each other play historical detective and track down the missing links in their chain of ancestry.

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LEGO bricks: To a parent, they’re a virtual minefield, hidden away in the carpet to inflict unimaginable pain from a seemly innocent barefoot step. But to a child, they are a tool for creatively engineering anything the mind can imagine. And for many, they are our first foray into open source. The instructions with a LEGO set start out as rigid rules, and become merely guidelines as children learn to remix, adapt, and extend the “code” which defines the object being built, and then be shared with anyone nearby.

When it comes to recipes, it pays to be organized. Years of clipped recipes and notes written on napkins stuffed between the pages of countless dirtied cookbooks aren’t necessarily the best way to organize a recipe collection. And let’s be honest, you were probably never going to cook 95% of the recipes in those books anyway, so why not shed them for a more modern solution.

This year’s municipal election is over. There were wins I was proud of and losses that deeply disappointed me. Regardless of who you supported in this year’s elections, I think we can all agree that everyone who ran should be given our thanks for stepping up to the plate; that the incumbents who lost should be given our gratitude for their years of service; and that the council and mayoral newcomers should now be given our help, advice, and honest feedback to keep Chapel Hill moving forward on progressive issues.

The choices this fall for local progressives are crystal clear.

I couldn’t remember Socks.