Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Dec 2020)

Jessica gordon nembhard

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed, watching people shaming others for not working extra hard during the pandemic, employers spying on their employees and our continuing reliance on centralised servers.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with Google implementing Signal’s open source E2EE protocol and Google loosening control of the Chromium project

BBC R&D’s New forms of value research explained by MaxAlexLianne and myself

Ian thinks: Yes this is a bit meta but its great to deep dive into the cutting edge research of BBC R&D’s lab. Remember its all for the benefit of the citizens of the UK and far wider. Worth also listening to the Human Values podcast series if you want to know more about what Lianne talks about.

The Solid project hits a mile stone in development

Ian thinks: Following BBC R&D’s new forms of value, one of the key research aims is using personal data stores. Solid is one such personal data store and its hit a mile stone with a number of different partners.

Hacking society for the sake society

Ian thinks: Bruce Schneier’s talk from Tech Open Air is well worth 20mins of your time. Its a combinations of what goes into these notes. Security, privacy, hacking, dis-information, policy and the internet.

The key for securing our shared water future

Ian thinks: In this sobering Tedx talk, Seth makes clear we are running low on shared water. Seth talks about a rethink of our policy, technology and cooperation around this space.

What black ideas from the past we could take into the future

Ian thinks: Jessica and Douglas talk about how black communities already developed circular economic mechanisms and how effective they have been.

Technology always transforms ethics

Ian thinks: Juan’s thoughts are important to take in, he touches on so many points from ethics to politics. All framed within alongside technology disruption. I did find it strange he never used Brexit in his last reply about example of breaking up a nation.

An unscientific look at algorithms and my phone is still listening to me

Ian thinks: Wired magazine creates a quick and dirty test looking at Youtube’s recommendation algorithm. Plus that classic notion that your phone is listening to you.
Both are crude but if the social dilemma has taught me anything these actually help convince people

The challenges of IP in the coming world of ubiquitous game engine use

Ian thinks: Found via Simon Lumb, a real in-depth look at the challenges around IP in a world of game engines. There is also a podcast if like me you prefer audio

A musical trip into Nerdcore *explicit language

Ian thinks: Hip-hop artists talk about their reality and Nerdcore is no different. Its impressive and fascinating to hear how integrated internet & hacking culture has become in these artists life.

The archive is available here

Who’s dream are we in, Mr Charles

Film references in small cartoons about glasses of water

I don’t know who originally wrote the one on the left but I saw George Takei tweet about it from Josh’s Retweet. Instantly got me thinking about inception (specially since I recently watched it again).

Such a great film and love the scene about Mr Charles. Originally I was going to put “my first thought is: wheres mr charles?” but decided it was too insider baseball. So I must be dreaming won out over mr charles and who’s dream am I in?

Only after watching it the 40+ time did I notice there is no opening credits for Inception

Islington wharf without water

GVA Islington Wharf sign in the lift

I have no words to explain what on earth is going on in Islington Wharf right now…

There was a problem with the water supply a while ago in April. GVA (the management agency) tried to fix it but something needed replacing which required the water to be turned off in Block B (125 apartments).  I was in Copenhagen when this happened so I came back and everything was the same as before, except when I turned on the tap to wash a glass – It blew out so quick it took the glass out of my hand and broke in the sink.

A few days goes by and its clear something is not right…

GVA Islington Wharf sign in the lift

I and others spotted and reported a massive pool of water in the ground floor stairwell. It seemed to be running down the inside of the stairwell. Anyway before long GVA posted notes saying they were having to turn off the water not during the day like before but during the whole day and night. This was about Thursday. then it was communicated things were still not right and that would mean another 24hours of no water. 2 days of no water!

And when I say no water I mean absolutely no water from any taps in the flat. Yes no washing up, no dishwasher and no loo flash water. Luckily I tend to have a jug of water in the fridge and my kettle was full.

Anyway by Friday (today) it was posted around that not only will the water be off but it will be off till Tuesday evening…!

I was moaning before, but till Tuesday? over the May bank holiday! Well thanks… What a wonderful bank holiday weekend most of the people in Islington wharf will have… Here’s what GVA left us all under our doors, on the forums and facebook.

Water for Islington Wharf


As you will be aware we have been working to try and resolve a problem with the mains water supply to the building. Following a review on site today and based on specialist advice we have received, we do not propose to undertake another temporary repair due to the risk of failure and health and safety implications if water should escape into the electrical intake room.

Contingency Plan

We have arranged for 3,000 bottles of fresh water to be delivered to site so there is 6 bottle of water by each apartment front door and there are spare bottles in the block B entrance. All other building systems will operate normally.  A full permanent repair has been authorised and this will be completed on Tuesday.  Our current information is that all residents will be able to return to their apartments on Tuesday evening.

Now bear in mind we’ve been told it will be fixed by a certain date a couple times before, I’m not feeling too confident about Tuesday evening.

To be frank I’m peeded off but I like many others haven’t really got anyone to blame or shout at. Yes we could shout at GVA or ISIS (the company who actually own the building and employee GVA as management agents) but its actually not there fault. They have been good (not perfect but good for once). Early in the week, we had a toilet in the caretaker office and a tap in the bin store to keep us fresh?

GVA and ISIS offered us the ability to stay in a hotel down the road near Piccadilly but for myself this is almost pointless. Instead I’m trying to get conformation about the costs, so I can head down to Bristol and just get away. And thats how I and maybe many others just feel like.

Its all the small things which you forget like water to brush your teeth, toilet water to flush, water to clean the dishes, water to clean our clothes. If the water doesn’t come back on Tuesday night, it will be almost a week without water. This is bad bad news and to be honest if you were in my position you would also be peed…!

Won’t even remind you about the state of our garden right now too…

The walls of our garden

The walls of our garden

Yes the wall fell down and there is now a massive 2 story drop into a carpark…

You can can’t help but feel like the whole place is falling apart…!


The water was turned back on Tuesday evening at about 5pm, and work has started to fix the 2 story drop down to the carpark. ISIS and GVA can count themselves very lucky they didn’t end up all over the BBC news site like this almost exact carbon copy event in Yorkshire. Although it was for about double the amount of people and they were much more organised and took advantage of the open web. No point in moaning about it on a closed Facebook group, nothing will change and your also playing into there hands because no one else can see the problem.