Saturday, January 02, 2010

Digital Potholes

See the story on iBurgh 2.0 today: iBurgh app takes its place at last on iPhones.  I guess 1.0 was direct to the Apple Newton or something like that.

all I can say is go reread my comments last summer on that.  Then maybe reread it again. Yes that was 6 months ago. 

I'll put this another way.  and there is something I don't talk about too much, but somewhere along the way I actually have a degree in electrical engineering so I do know a little bit about technology.  That and the way government works I've gained at least a bit of knowledge on.  Pick whichever funky term of the moment you want.  Transparency to Digital Citizenship or eGovernment if you prefer... Really important things, but none of it is about the technology.

In a way it is not that disimilar to economic development.  We can pursue lots of things, but there still is this tremedous need for infrastructure.  If the roads and the utilities don't support growth then whatever else you are doing does not amount to much more than window dressing.  Or take your house. Hopefully nobody buys a house with a neat exterior, but unworkable wiring.  I think the real estate folks call it the buidling's 'bones' and it really matters the same way. Same is true for information and a lot of work needs to be places on data infrastructure long before you dedicate time to the front end.

That and I'm tempted to offer a prize for the first iBurgh submission geotagged to Fairywood. Yes, that is a City of Pittsburgh Neighborhood and has been for a long time.  Poor device would probably suffer from a case of cognitive dissonance if you tried.  Hopefully it wouldn't go HAL on us.


Blogger Priya Narasimhan said...

Loved all the points you made--I completely agree with you that the back-end infrastructure needs to support its true functionality, or the front-end doesn't really serve its purpose. I am really thrilled because iBurgh finally provides a two-way channel, now that the City has implemented the functionality to provide tracking numbers for iBurgh submissions. Until recently, it was great that we could submit our iBurgh 311 complaints, but it was hard to know what actually happened to them.

I think we can do even more with iBurgh, and I'm hoping that we can collaborate with our City to increase the transparency of the back-end infrastructure even further. I'd love to hear what else you think we should be doing.

Priya Narasimhan
twitter: @priyacmu

Saturday, January 09, 2010 1:27:00 PM  

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