onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Web Stuff

Under Attack

Sorry for our brief absence . We’ve had nasty online criminals attacking our website, but things are OK now and we are back…

The Essex Eye

the essex eye

OnlineFOCUS readers may be interested in a newish website called “Essex Eye”. It has local crime news and crime prevention advice. It’s not altogether clear who’s writing it. The site conveniently collects together information that’s been published elsewhere.

There is almost too much crime data to look at , including links to monthly crime figures for each council ward!

“Lights, Camera , Action”

Thanks to the Mighty Oz for pointing this item from the government website

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles today published a new guide for local people explaining how they can attend and report their local council meetings. New guidance explicitly states that councils should allow the public to film council meetings.

The new how-to guide gives practical information for the public to attend meetings of a council’s executive and how to obtain council documents. The government has changed the law to allow citizens to report, blog, tweet and film council meetings in England. It also outlines the assorted rights that taxpayers’ have to access council papers and documents….

You can find quite a few council chamber videos on Youtube. Here’s one from a small City council in the USA, which gets a bit tetchy, nothing spectcular, though there is some hat throwing after about 2 minutes 15 secs:

Thank You For Reading OnlineFOCUS

onlinefocus stats

Thank you for reading onlineFOCUS – July was our best ever month for visitors, with an average of 230 different visitors every day.

District Council Website Disrupted Tonight

From the district council website :

There will be severe disruption to our online services today (17th July 2014) from 6pm – midnight for essential maintenance.

This will affect the following systems:

Services for viewing council tax, business rates or benefit account, registering or obtaining a PIN and council tax banding
Online forms
Online parking services
Committee Management Information System (CMIS)
Online planning, building control and licensing searches
If you would like to comment on an application, please email:

planning: planning.applications@rochford.gov.uk

building control: building.control@rochford.gov.uk

licensing: licensing@rochford.gov.uk

Any emails to the Council will not be received until the Council opens on Friday morning.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

A Deluge Of Data

“Datashine” is an impressive new online tool for looking at census data. It’s been developed by James Cheshire and Oliver O’Brien at University College London. If you are curious about our district it’s definitely worth a look (especially if you are a councillor!)

If you click here you go to a map centred on Rochford.

Then you can play around with the “Data Chooser” and select from a deluge of census data. For example, if you adjust the data chooser for 1 ) “Health” 2) “General Health” and 3 “Very Good Health” you get the following display, where the green roads have the highest number of healthiest people. As you move your cursor around , the key tells you what council ward you are in. So with the cursor at the top of the image you can see that only 22% of people on one of the caravan sites in Hullbridge said they were in very good health. (Click on the image to enlarge):

datashine1

Here’s some more examples (in each case with the cursor pointing to Brixham Close in Rayleigh).

Percentage of families with dependent children:

datashine2

Percentage of adults with a university degree:

datashine3

Percentage of adults aged 17-74 who commute by train:

datashine4

Percentage of people who are Christians:

datashine5

Percentage of people aged 75 or over:

datashine6

Hat-tip: The Guardian

How Many Readers Do We Get?

For anyone who wonders if anyone reads onlineFOCUS , here’s our daily figures for June – you can click on the image to enlarge it:

stats daily

This month we had between 114 and 255 visitors each day. The software we use defines a ‘visitor’ as someone who hasn’t look at the site in the previous 24 hours – in other words someone having a look 20 times a day counts as one visitor, not 20.

Here’s the monthly figures for the past year:

stats

The stats  show that we get between 5000 and 7000 visitors in most months. That figure is a bit lower in December (probably due to Christmas)! The figure for June this year is about 1000 higher than for June 2013…

 

How To Protect Yourself From Malicious Software

desktop computer

From the National Crime Agency website:


The National Crime Agency is warning people they have two weeks to save their computers from a powerful malicious software attack. The malware called GOZeuS is hiding within attachments in emails and, once downloaded, enables hackers to access computers and scan them for valuable information.

If no data is found, a second malware, known as CryptoLocker, locks the computer, displays a window with a countdown, and demands a ransom to grant access again.

According to the NCA, people are asked to pay 1 Bitcoin (£200 – £300) to regain access to their files.

The NCA is advising people to make sure security software is installed and updated, by running scans and checking that computer operating systems and applications are up to date….

Get information here on how to keep your computer safe and follow the advice as soon as possible. Here is part of it:

This page has been created to help you protect your computer, your finances, your identity and your family against a new global online threat. The threat is targeted at random private individuals and small businesses, so it is critical that you read this page and apply our advice immediately if you have a computer running any version of the Windows operating system – including Windows running as a virtual machine on an Apple Mac, any server running Windows and Windows embedded. This is not a case of isolated attacks, as over 15,000 computers in the UK alone are thought to have been already affected.
What you need to do NOW…
—-
Go to one of the links to internet security software companies at the bottom of this page to download a free tool to scan for Gameover Zeus and CryptoLocker, and remove them from your computer. We advise you do this even if you haven’t had a communication from your ISP.
Do not open attachments in emails unless you are 100% certain that they are authentic. Click for more info.
Make sure your internet security software is up-to-date and switched on at all times. Click for more info.
Make sure your Windows operating system has the latest Microsoft updates applied. These normally include the latest security precautions. Click for more info.
Make sure your software programs have the latest manufacturers’ updates applied. These normally include the latest security precautions. Click for more info.
Make sure all of your files including documents, photos music and bookmarks are backed up and readily available in case you are no longer able to access them on your computer. Click for more info.
Never store passwords on your computer in case they are accessed by Gameover Zeus or another aggressive malware program. Click for more info.
———
This warning is not intended to cause you panic but we cannot over-stress the importance of taking these steps immediately. This is because the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has taken temporary control of the communications used to connect with infected computers, but expects only a very limited window of opportunity to ensure you are protected.

Rayleigh View

rayleigh view

Councillor Toby Mountain has just launched his own newsblog – RayleighView.

Looks classy and professional. You can find it here.

How To Report Potholes Online

Pothole in Leasway, Rayleigh

Pothole in Leasway, Rayleigh

Potholes are a County Council responsibility. You can always contact one of your councillors, but there are two ways of reporting potholes (or other highways defects online)

You can go to http://www.fixmystreet.com/  and report it there, This has the advantage that other people can see that you’ve done it. The people at FixMyStreet will then forward it on to County Highways. This is a national website, so if you see a street problem anywhere in the country, they will forward it on to the appropriate department.

Or you can go directly to the County Council website and report it there. This has the advantage that you get a reference number for following it up if nothing happens.

Pothole in Leasway , Rayleigh

Pothole in Leasway , Rayleigh

Hopefully A Bit Easier Now

 

computer

Last week we asked onlineFOCUS readers how easy it was to find out from the District Council website about public speaking at meetings of Full Council.

Well , the District Council have today added some information in their “Council and Democracy” section. Hopefully this will help a bit. So a big thank-you to Corey Vost, Christine Paine and Mark Lydford for their assistance! Here’s the new wording (click to enlarge):

public speaking

 

 

 

 

 

This Week’s Challenge

computer

We get around 150 – 250 unique visitors per day to onlineFOCUS , and we suppose that most of you are pretty good at using websites.

So we’d like to see how easy you find it to use the District Council website. The challenge is this :

Find out from the council website whether the public can ask questions at Full Council meetings.

If you can’t find the answer in 15 minutes, give up! Please let us know how you get on… And how many minutes it takes you.

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Who We Are

We are Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in Rochford District.
We want to improve local decision-making and we see onlineFOCUS as a good way of keep residents informed and involved.
Please click here to email us .

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Comments Policy

We welcome your comments, they are very important to us. However please note:
* We may not necessarily agree with the comments made by our readers
* We ask everyone to treat people with respect when making a comment. No personal abuse please.



Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
Ron Oatham Ron Oatham Bruce Smart Bruce Smart Chris Stanley Chris Stanley

Latest Comments

  • val martin: 12 wks to do what they need to do on a very small, but important piece of road in Essex (i’m not...
  • admin: Corey, no more news since from County Highways, we will chase them…
  • Corey Vost: A week shy of 3 months later and still no progress!!! Have we been forgotten?
  • Greenbelt: Maybe it not being on Google maps is the same reason it is not on satnavs. It comes up on the satnav as...
  • A.Matthews: Chestnut drive is nearly opposite Asdas down towards Trenders Avenue between two bungalows .
  • JIM Cripps: Yep, fair play a decisive action based on common sense – a rare commodity , but where is Cheshunt...
  • Christine Paine: I popped into the exhibition this morning as I had some time left on my parking ticket after doing...
  • Christine Paine: Full marks to the Council on this one. It wouldn’t be the first time that Travellers have...
  • Chris Black: Hi, Bawler, you beat us to it :) we were going to post something tonight – and will still do so,...
  • Bawler: Couldn’t work out how to start a new post, so tagged this on the end of this one -couldn’t see it...
  • Janet Warner: A bit depressing! I was born in 1943, & it’s not encouraging that 71 years on we are still...
  • Jim Cripps: Rochford was actually established as a fighter base in WW1 , along with Stow Maries and Goldhanger it...
  • Christine Paine: You thoroughly piqued my curiosity about the bath chair murder, so I looked it up. Very gruesome
  • Chris Black: Oz, the father left school in Bristol at the age of 13 and was still working when he died at 69, when...
  • The Mighty Oz: Chris, re post 12, if the dad died after 55 years at work and he started work at 15 then would have...
  • admin: The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has the final say, not the council. They will definitely...
  • Jim Cripps: So who actually has the say on the divi-up ? – if it is the Cabinet then this will almost certainly...
  • admin: Bruce is checking on that for you…
  • Angelina: It’s very good to see him taking such a caring view towards our Police officers and PCSOs.
  • Mrs J Burgess: Is there a family fun day on this bank holiday monday 25th august 2014
  • Chris Black: Grannyt – I think you can always quote individual anecdotes to support an argument for and...
  • Grannyt: I knew someone who had free school meas for her children and thought the Council should still provide them...
  • RAB: There are still free school meals for any family who are in receipt of a benefit and should still remain the...
  • The Mighty Oz: This one could run and run but, someone with 2 kids already gets nearly £130 a month in child...

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The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

Reporting A Problem

If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

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Geography, History , Science

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If you read onlineFOCUS for a while you can see the kind of things we are trying to achieve locally. Maybe you would like to help us?


If you fancy helping us deliver leaflets, or actively campaigning for us at election time, or simply just helping behind the scenes with paperwork, please contact the onlineFOCUS team here.

“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

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If you would like email updates on what the Lib Dems are doing nationally, click here.
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