Last week the outgoing Attorney-General Robert McClelland launched something new from our government.
An app. As in software for smartphones.
Having stuck their toe in the appy water no doubt we’ll have a string of app related offerings from a variety of departments around town.
What better way to wangle a long lunch than to be handing out contracts for something as modish as an app to get the Minister on TV when she launches it?
But what does it do?
Well basically it’s two things:
- — An RSS reader of feeds from the Bureau of Meteorology and various emergency services.
— A repository of generic emergency advice which no doubt is already online and could as easily be put into a pdf
There is a little bit of cleverness with being able to share feed items on social networks. But hopes of the message going viral get a little lame when they lack any information:
What it doesn’t do, however, is provide alerts.
Most people would not mind at all if their phone, every half hour, made a quick check of its position and briefly enquired of the Government if there was anything to be concerned about in the area, with an ensuing notification should a positive result come up.
As long as it can be turned off in the settings most of us wouldn’t mind a full blown alarm requiring intervention to turn off.
Some people will flip out completely at the thought of providing the Government a constant update of their whereabouts, but those can surely have an option to just provide a postcode. Or not use it at all.
As it is the ACT feed is full of warnings about, by way of example, flooding in the Culgoa river. I had to look that up. It joins the Darling literally at the back of Bourke.
So it all seems rather pointless.
What would be useful would be a disaster alert with a scale of privacy settings.
Failing that of all the things government spend money on having a team edit the raw data into postcode specific, and relevant, chunks would help a lot.