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Civic Hacking on Rails

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and and and and and the and so I'd like to start off this presentational and like and like the start up this presentation today with a quote it any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from this effect and something we take for granted because as web developers we work with technology every day and it starts to become routine and we forget you know if you if your garden straight here in Atlanta and you ask somebody has eaten work they would tell you the truth which is that he is magic the Internet is magic and we are god damn
with this is that been the we build the
Internet we build this thing this this this core foundation upon which are very society is built this thing their government depends on their economy depends on our culture depends on how we build a from bits of HTML and CSS and JavaScript and his magic and we are wizards and as anyone knows with great power comes great responsibility the no all of you in the room with me today the you have a responsibility to make you have a duty as the duty to yourself and all the others that there to use your powers for God rather than for
evil now some of you I know use your powers simply for your own amusement what are a simple living will today hopes to inspire you to use your powers to bring like this and put into the what to take up the question of civic and make a contribution to our society 2 are communities and I hope today not just to inspire you but to warn you of some of the perils the you may face on your journey and high faced on online into equipped you with some of the weapons the you may need for your proper back so that as choose will call you could be right now I myself started my journey into Civic Hacking and into rails magic in general not so long ago I was a student at the Finance School and it was a snowy nite in New York City and I was up late on campus in manhattan downtown in the financial district by the lost people and it was snowing outside in the icy wind with cutting through
the streets and even in the halls of our ivory tower of technology in academia it was called you may not know this but New York City is not just its old buildings are not just full of history
Parsifal broken boilers drafty windows older steam pipes with peeling paint running to rescue radiator the especially in lower-income areas this problem is epidemic and people who live in buildings like this don't have control over their temperature like many of us do they would have a thermostat on what they depend on their landlord to provide sufficient heat because all they have are the steam pipes the in lower-income areas particularly although the problem is limited in that a lot of people do not get the heat that they need this isn't just a problem for New York City it from all across the northern United States from Chicago Philadelphia Boston and it's not just a problem in the United States from all over the world that the same issues in Canada we get the same things that you can no seems every year in New York where this problem is particularly bad there's a new story coming out of the New York Times and the year that the see got started it was this is actually the hard story it was there in the Ortega family they lived in an old building in Crown Heights in Brooklyn the and i Cristina day Ortega had a daughter has a daughter with several politicians teachers all the time Chih pozzolana medical equipment and there were not getting sufficient feature called the layer logic the city she complained nothing was happening she went the storage by the which you plug that space here and the draw from the here and from the medical equipment was too much it was circuit to shed choose 1 or the other the best that she could do was to proper matches against the window to try trying keep the draft and this is not an isolated incident which that it work but there 200 thousand healing complacent York City
alone God knows how many there are across the United States or across the globe when my teammates made this map we call call them you can see broken down by zip code in colder more heating complaints there are code than the darker the blood and unsurprisingly this corresponds I really tightly with the areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn at are has the most lower-income different most Lope mostly lower-income so you know it's a big problem right this is dangerous but it's not just Davis illegal is actually against the law there are housing codes in place the provide prohibits in New York it's you has to be the 68 reaching again 55 at nite they're similar laws in Philadelphia and Chicago it's slightly different rules and our the issue is that people are aware it's that they used it's not practical for a city to know the temperature inside of every old building like within its borders like New York City has so many old buildings and it's an impossible task it's a limitation of technology remember that nite at the flat School looking at the snow and trying to come up with a project to work on for school the Howard they've been target date that granted it was
actually really hard I don't know the sign was like really naive and this was the 1st ever tried to build so I didn't know what I was getting myself into and I certainly didn't invent envision what he she would then go on to try to become network of temperature and temperature sensors all across these neighborhoods I did not envision an app that would analyze R. N. and produce reports tend to give to advocacy groups that would then use that information it to bring about justice all imagined was just as a simple graph they connected to a simple wireless among 5 you know how hard could that be could that the no itself the happened this was the 1st of 5 tracks that I
fell for in my quest it that accounting if you are but for the 1st 5 that I know there actually probably when more that have discovered by 5 that I know the the revenue how I know what it's like everybody sitting there thinking I've got this great idea if I just focus on this 1 idea for the next 48 hours the exclusion of everything else to the explosion even is why had upon smells bad then made the maybe it would be cool before I get distracted the it is so easy to distract the silly article projects to we could be working what happens is what happened in the which is the burn out you can't you can't possibly come up you get through the 20 the 48 hours in and afterwards you have it's like kind of OK phase so that you really just cannot stand looking at because you use burned out so hard on it and that's what happened to me any happen would have died I think if it hadn't been for a couple of things that we done by mistake I wrote another 1 another student with me who is also starting to lose focus hadn't hadn't the
folk so the 1st thing that we done while we agreed to give a presentation a bunch students you know with 1 who the ideas of the today and we were going to be horribly embarrassed if we have something to produce severely condemn all at this presentation another thing we did was we made a promise to use so you actually had department it was too cold and who wanted this technology so he could generate some proof take his landlord kicked to the city get the problem fixed the 0 that's or given a guide the
focus so put your reputation online that's the that's the that's the teachers to surviving and overcoming Hackett contract which a reputation the the thinking that
has an idea that this bolt inspiration and you're sitting in the hot words of web development defiance school and I just have an idea why am I totally exempted infallible this pressure have project that I wanted that I needs it to come up with this I want to open if you go and you look at some of the datasets that are just coming online there's so much government data at the city level at the state level at the federal level coming on line that no 1 has had a chance to begin to get nobody's dug yet there's a ton of stuff you can come up with like they just now have traffic information shows where collisions are happening certain cities how could we be mapped back and see what what's the most dangerous section in America alive Update or better yet use other people's technology that is other
people's begin your own 56 % of US adults have smart they have geo-location they have microphones they have accelerometers and you can collect at 1 of the and and and use it to effect policy help people invest in infrastructure because it's expensive and it's not always politically expedient and some of the old infrastructure in United States is in terrible disrepair and really needs help we have the ability to crowdsource that information and the ability ability make it politically viable to invest in infrastructure
field you really wanna have an impact on me advocacy don't just take Open Data and do something cool with it but automate the process of advocating for people who need help because there are others in the advocates in our society the the social workers and the public defenders and community activists these people they are always underpaid always over there's never enough of them and if you can take just some of the hardest part of the job automated for them they have a huge impact and that's what he does will work directly with tenants we we don't have the time or the staff where the skills for we empower advocacy groups by Ottoman 1 of the hardest part of their job which is to gather evidence to be thinking but
homelessness stupid act like a Hasidic hack ideas I helical way cooler Civic Hacking idea that not only do you have caller ID is the need but some of those ideas are actually already better implemented but also back but the majority of those ideas I languishing unloved at the bottom of your data hub report what is I think I think it's
because of the field of dreams fast is the 2nd track that we felt for we thought if you build it they will come right and so we built an MDP and we had a working we had a connected to temperature sensors behind collecting readings the we had a user in the field was actually showing violation and then you know it's starting a boring start lose interest because nobody really cared suffer like this 1 guy I n you know the reason is because while there we knew that intelligent if you build
it they will come if you tell them about it they will come in tell people of height that whatever you're working on Hi bidder that's a cure for the field of dreams about but be careful with that because it's a double-edged sword I now is the the 3rd chapter we
fell 4 was we we got drunk on the press coverage will on a publicity Bender you know after after we started hyping up a project you know we started we entered the competition there is a popular vote and we spent like every man woman and child in the book I went through a whole Gmail context everybody who I had ever sending e-mail to receive an e-mail from and spend on and like you my own grandparents use embarrassing as it was really our as well low point but the result was that we got a lot of attention and precision bombs but that we've been rendered those Fast Company and with writers and CDC in mines were like really excited and it felt like that was the most important thing for us to focus on so we stopped coding we started when talking points and here we we up considering all of our attention on the areas that were most interesting to the reporters rather than the ones they were most important you know reporters and ask you what's your code coverage they asking what you're up to or has a retrial and what they ask you know what's yours strategy for growth and how many users do you have in like how many buildings are every the this is all a terrible distraction without really sucked into it and then got worse got worse we started
pissing off the very people we were trying to help FIL what things that happens if you hopefully eventually have acidic hacking project innovates in some areas that happens to be our helping people to lower demographic where things can happen is people and tell you how how well you so Millwall here so magnanimous and generous and did dedicated counting your time to help these poor helpless slabs living domes and is bullshit is not true but it's really easy to get sucked into and then you start thinking about well I have rather magnanimous up I why thank you got and people you try to help the here that life course then I really only your potential right now it's already cold had been dealing with this project lands assessing prom for like years before you came along I don't need your help why don't you just like to go back to play in world war craft whatever it is you do have see this with your and the and like a valid point and then it wasn't just the 10 was also the government agencies and we're hoping that the housing department they we were hoping it would adopt this technology is another area of civic hackers often innovating in which should be where if you be in the public sector could tell you thank god you young smart India's accommodated to this ill older that government Brock received terrible it's here where everyone is just like wanted spending in grossly incompetent you that's a very common with the code and it's going to disrupt get it right and is also again really easy get sucked into but the truth is that actually those dominated the been working on his promise for like a decade never really deep understanding of the issues or usually doing good and how they can foresee like a ton of problems you definitely guarantee that you may feel baby Dick about and they're like will just you know sit back and watch it as relying on wall maybe lack max in a that's bad enough that they got worse the we got inundated with all these requests 1st appeared you
know petitions to pay I call them can you say they were usually the ridiculous like can you just use this technology to like help with global warming the or could you could you guys maybe just become competitors to next or when that's gonna start monitoring air quality flight really easy it's like at that level it's pretty easy to brush off but sometimes they start to sound like possible feature request you know like communities exposing API for the we can consume your data and you know we have that's actually seemed like a great you know what I think there's a story on the backlog for making maybe we should just like Bob back to the top bang out an API for you there we say is greater up to become a Beatles use great opportunity careful with the actually saying is want you focus on what I want rather than what you're actually doing that's the great up and there's a reason that that API was at the bottom of the back 1 and the reason is because we don't have any data gently to focus on actually getting data so that it can be used that was the challenge we got sucked and all these instructions you pry thinking you know what William on given like when the horrible screw up you on all of these problems you had why am I listening to the we turn around we
did help keep the heat on I think you know we had dozens of sensors in the field collecting readings by the end it on we had actual violations detected this is a graph is a graph from 1 of the
tenants with an active litigation right now you can see I with anatomized it's you can see the names but on those on starts at the bottom those are the readings that were recorded when the temperature was below the legally so time we turn around what were the secret weapons for your prep backpack as future it would say I that that brought you through all these trouser tribulations on your questions where the 4 there were
4 secret weapons the first one this
non-developers non-developers know be a bad rap I think especially in half the fun culture where we've all been there there's that 1 business guy on the team does nothing for like 95 % the competition at the end he gets up it is like a bad pitch the tries to credit provision is like those the altogether and none of the actually get weight but in real life the there also because any project whether it's acidic hacking project or any other product of a meaningful like that has longevity is going to need more skills and develop a half developers where nurses so we think that we can do everything you know where the best person to come up with a long-term strategy and vision and all of the code and the social media in the marketing and this is due the books you know but actually if you turn over those responsibilities to people who actually is like actually specialize in those areas while the 2nd half you're free to get back to actually coding and that's really powerful the only issue is that you bring on if you're a civic tagging kriging bring is non dev volunteers and then you just spend all the word brings me to my 2nd weapon
managers this when it was controversial kinds managers are particularly hated type of non-developer you last for estimates it will use deadlines the making the robot is stupidly in Sedona at all but that's actually that's not managers that bad good managers will protect you from is good managers are like meeting shields if something tries to make a go of meaning is gravel engine block that's what that's what good managers do they keep you focused on what you do best with everybody else focused on with the that and once we got some images people actually started in back to work Toshiba weapon is the day job
this is really important I think I I am very fortunate I work at Sungard consulting services great then shop data super supportive of me in my side and my my said attacking side projects they paid for me come from 2 reels conducive to this topic we mostly about us we're doing well and most importantly they give me that regular paychecks without money and that means that I don't have to I I don't there's there's a temptation to bastardize the original idea which was about giving something back to the community they take instead traditions of the prophet who talked to investors investors investors sharks and Vandevoorde idea with how about this great actually great technology what if we could read like just change the branding so instead of focusing on poor people we just sold this for like rich people and that yeah I don't know about it's like the whole reason we started with so so be careful but if you have a day job Have a good job by day then and you know you can fight crime by nite like Superman had Austin danger so the 4th weapon this was this was
Liberchies eBay is honestly the most important weapon in your arsenal all as perseverance because perseverance will make up for a number of blunders any number of pitfalls in a number of traps in fall into if you get back up on the horse and keep going eventually you make it through and I'm not talking about individual person the no talking about just 1 person because there will come a day when your confidence will fail you there will come a day when you will be ready to give up I'm talking about 15 if you have a group of people with you to support you in those times you have someone to turn to and say why are we doing this and they'll tell you this is why reduce this is why we started this is where we're going this is why it's worth seeing this and the we as or as a as as a project we an organizational how they we meet every sunday To tackle these problems together as a team the set organizational havoc coming back every week time and time again that has kept us going forward you spinning a year over year cell we're obviously the where community also rails conferences another I is another organizational having you may be thinking well OK so I'm prepared now and equipped I
I know that I know the perils that I'm a facing a question the Civic Hacking I see the value of it and have some tools that you put to me with so that I might be better prepared that from that I from what I was excited reading this stock to actually do any civic forgotten why this is important wow like I said teams I'm here to remind you that the Internet is magic and we are god did wizards we have a responsibility now that we have a duty to a thin and doing to ourselves and all of that there to use that power good rather than for evil if even 1 per cent of the commits that we put out winters civic packing project we live in paradise the so this is your call to action after you leave this conference join your local Code for America the gain fork acidic hacking project and get for Stalin Iran because the society that we live got issues so 40 the the snake boat the thank you the you who on things means you know and and
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Metadaten

Formale Metadaten

Titel Civic Hacking on Rails
Serientitel RailsConf 2015
Teil 11
Anzahl der Teile 94
Autor Jeffries, William
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Unported:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen und nicht-kommerziellen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen und das Werk bzw. diesen Inhalt auch in veränderter Form nur unter den Bedingungen dieser Lizenz weitergeben.
DOI 10.5446/30649
Herausgeber Confreaks, LLC
Erscheinungsjahr 2015
Sprache Englisch

Inhaltliche Metadaten

Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract Do you want to use your coding skills for good rather than for evil? Did you ever want to build something to make your city or your community suck less? Here are some lessons from a civic hacker on how to kickstart your project. Hint: it's nothing like writing a gem.

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