As a progressive, data geek, and homeowner, solar panels were hard to resist. After moving into our new home in 2020, my spouse and I decided to invest in installing a solar panel array on our roof. When the panels went online in June 2021, I eagerly began crunching the numbers.

Solar power produced on our first full day of production, a sunny summer day except for some clouds in the afternoon that you can see in the chart as a bite in our solar energy production.

First, a shout-out to our installer Solar Solution who did a fantastic job and I highly recommend them if you’re in the DC area. (I know that makes this sound like a sponsored post, but it’s not, they really were superb.)

The Benefits

First, the obvious: The energy we consume from…

Months before my bar mitzvah I realized I was agnostic about god, and by the time I was 35 my jewishness was honed to Passover and tzedakah. Then some things happened, normal things, that brought jewishness to the front of my mind: moving in with my now-wife Leah who has kept a kosher kitchen, watching anti-semitism move into the White House, and planning (and then having, but really the planning) a Jewish wedding.

There is no answer to what it means to be a Jew — if you’re Jewish, you likely already know this. Yet there are also endless answers…

My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Japan — the first trip there for both of us. Over three weeks and in five cities, we were awed by the country’s rich history, its transformations following United States aggressions, and how its incredible population density has led to unique designs for its public space.

I was also really digging its trains. Like most everywhere else, its public transit is made up of many interconnected systems, each system with its own complex history of private and public ownership, such as the JR Shinkansen bullet trains, the JR local rail lines, and…

Tips (or a convention) for writing good commit messages in your source code version control.

I have been known to write very long git commit messages. What follows is a guide to writing good commit messages in a style that I like for my projects.

Why I have high expectations for git commit messages

There are two main reasons why I care about git commit messages in my projects:

  • Some projects are very serious either because of web security issues or human safety, and serious projects require accountability. When something goes wrong in these projects, it is important to know the exact cause: what code change was incorrect, which end-users are affected by the problem, why the change was made, etc.
  • Good work deserves…

A short and somewhat secular take on the traditional Passover Haggadah.

For the motivation that led me to write this Minimalist Haggadah, please see:

I developed this Haggadah with no formal experience in Jewish scholarship but an interest in getting the key components of the Seder locked down before trying other modern alternatives. I used this Haggadah with Leah and some friends on April 24, 2019, and I will update it below from time to time as I learn more.

A Minimalist Haggadah starts below. Please feel free to print and share this, and please share your modifications with me so that I can learn from them.

Getting our Seder table ready.

Notes for the Seder Leader (You)

The Haggadah is a…

The Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue, New York.

The Jewish holiday Passover has always been my favorite holiday, and it is a part of some of my earliest and fondest memories. My grandfather led the earliest Seders in my lifetime, directing each member of the family to have a turn reading a portion of the Haggadah in Hebrew or English, while my cousins and I laughed over the absurdity of eating something called soup nuts. This year, while I celebrate Passover with my fiancée’s family, my cousins now lead the Seder for our family back home.

The Haggadah instructs and guides us to retell, explain, and experience the…

In 2016, DC Mayor Bowser established an Open Government Advisory Group (OGAG) comprised of members of the public (like me) and government staff from across the District’s government. Although the group has been underwhelming, our work on promoting open government data in the District has had two outcomes. The first was helping the District form its new Data Policy.

The second is a new recommendation document that we finalized earlier this year. Aimed at government agencies with data looking to make it open government data (either here in the District or anywhere), the document provides some help. Not technical help…

After DC’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA) declined to re-appoint the District’s chief open government enforcer for a second term, I filed Freedom of Information Act requests with BEGA and the Executive Office of the Mayor for relevant emails to find out more about what really happened. Was it retaliation for stirring the pot? Were BEGA board members responding to political pressure from the Mayor? Or did BEGA have a legitimate basis for seeking a new person for the position?

What was in the emails…

As The Washington Post reported based on my FOIA requests, the Mayor’s staff were hostile to Traci Hughes’s…

Last week DC’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability decide not to renew the appointment of its Director of the Office of Open Government for another five-year term. Below is the testimony I made before the DC Council’s judiciary committee (video) yesterday.

Photo by Alex Howard, thanks Alex!

First, some background:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.

My name is Joshua Tauberer. I am a District resident, a well-known advocate for transparency in government, and a member of the Mayor’s Open Government Advisory Group.

Last week the open government community was blindsided by the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability’s decision to not renew…

I sold off my BTC and donated the profit to charity.

Let’s be honest about Bitcoin. It’s cryptographic candy. No one buys and sells Bitcoin out of a concern that their transactions aren’t public enough or because they want to burn up more of the planet. People are excited by Bitcoin because it promises to be a disruptive technology and, of course, because its value keeps going up.

But Bitcoin is a technology in search of a purpose and heading in a direction I don’t want to be a part of.

If you ask people who are disadvantaged by the existing global financial system, you would hear the need for more…

Joshua Tauberer

Civic hacker/entrepreneur. Changing democracy. Changing myself. f/stop.

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