Friday, 7 July 2017

Social Housing Renovation Simulator

An image of the javascript websiteIn the UK there was a big fire in a residential tower block which had been renovated only a year ago. Many people were asking why sprinkler systems hadn't been installed, or why flammable materials were used instead of more expensive flame resistant materials.

In order to understand how these decisions could be made, I thought I'd try to build a model or a simulator.

The first couple of versions just randomised the chance of a fire and how many people would die, based on known data. Then later iterations added the different renovations that could affect the chances. Then I added a nice uft-8 box drawing, because I'm old school, and feel that this art form has been neglected.

To answer the question of why wouldn't you prioritise fire safety, I added factors such as how easy it is insulate tower blocks or keep them dry. If you renovate a cold, damp and mouldy tower block and it remains cold, damp and mouldy, then the renovation work was pointless.

Anyhoo, it is here

I feel at this point it is stable and does what I kind of envisioned it to do. But my mind is boggling, new features bubbling to the surface. Whilst I accept that it is very crap, its no Sim City '86, neither is it as sophisticated as anything written this century and will probably never be.

However, further features would be as follows:-
  • Add windows as something to buy
  • Add draftiness as an attribute
  • Add landscaping as something to buy
  • Add aesthetics as an attribute
  • Select which UK region the tower block is located in
  • Make the residents pay rent each month
  • Somehow calculate the possible rental income from the renovations
  • Tidy up the weightings for each attribute sum so that things like sprinklers quash all chance of a fire going out of control.
  • In the event of a fire, assign blame and points of failure, such as illegal cladding over certain heights
  • Generate a list of names of the dead, which doesn't go away
  • Collect data from users about what they have chosen
  • Set challenges for renovation budgets
  • Option of doing things on the cheap, which causes danger or incorrectly installed features
  • Add gas risers in stairwells
  • Add additional fire escapes
  • Calculate deaths based on residents of flats on each floor
  • Deal with running costs and fire inspections such as combustible material in hallways
  • Use css
  • Make it look pretty on mobile devices

Friday, 31 March 2017

Karen Bradley's Internet History

You may be asking why this is relevant, please allow an exposition...
A few years back in the wake of the 'Snooper's Charter' I put out a Freedom of Information request to get then Home Secretary's 'internet history' including internet telephony, browsing data and email meta data. This was knocked back as being too all encompassing. So I sent out another FOI for just the browsing data, and this was knocked back as being "a fishing trip" and "vexatious", which could be described as hypocritical, but was kind of accurate, I was trolling.
That Home Secretary then became Prime Minister, and a new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd was promoted, so I sent a new FOI, this time, I was less trollish, and requested the browser history for just one day to "gain a feel for the sort of websites that the Home Secretary visits during their day to day work".
Despite confirming that "the Home Office holds the information that you have requested" this request was knocked back because the browsing history was "personal information". This could be seen as progress from the Home Office, an awareness of people's concerns about privacy.
Still, Internet Service Providers have to keep their customer's "Internet History". You may be wondering in the context of Cabinet ministers, who their ISPs are. I wondered this too, and after the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested that ISPs could monitor bad language or something on the internet, I put in a FOI to find out who the Health Secretary's ISPs were.
As a private citizen he could have any ISP but for government work, the Department for Health is it's own ISP, and hosts a Departmental secured network.
So, the other month, it was announced that Karen Bradley, Culture Secretary, would be leading the government's Digital Strategy. To what extent does Karen Bradley understand and use the internet?
Her own MP website is out of date, saying that she is still a Home Office Minister, despite moving to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in July last year, and her twitter feed is just supermarket opening and schoolkids smiling, rather an a genuine attempt to engage with people. I put in a FOI for her browser data for the day before the news about her Digital Strategy role.
The response was:-
I can confirm the Department does not hold any information in scope of your request.
Does that mean the Department doesn't have a Departmental network, or it does and it doesn't keep Internet History Records, or that Karen Bradley didn't use the Departmental History that day?