To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.about me
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Following on from my previous post, I have been challenged, in the last couple of weeks, building up my list of useful mobile sites and must have APPs.
Previously I prided myself on my ability to do efficient internet searches but I haven't done any serious data mining recently and I needed to update myself on current search engine advanced features. It embarrasses me to admit, but it took me a week before I got the "discovery" process working reasonably and only then did I realized how staggeringly inefficient it is to download apps and/or fat finger mobile URLs into a smartphone in order to evaluate them .So to speed things up (because I have zero patience ) I set up an android emulator for screening purposes..
And to add spice I also got side tracked (sort of ) looking at mobile sites and apps developed by various HK Government Departments for residents and visitors.There are a lot , and IMHO some are of questionable quality and value, especially to HK taxpayers(just look at mobile version of the previous link). In fact I was sufficiently motivated to share my concerns with Charles Mok who is the Legco Member representing the IT Functional Constituency to see if he would consider tabling some penetrating questions to the Government. I mean... tacky Government IT solutions can reflect adversely on HK and it's IT industries ability to deliver world class solutions. He replied within 2 hours ( he would get my vote!!) sharing with me a copy of the questions that he had already asked Government earlier this year, and their response which contained (incomplete) details of development and maintenance costs and usage statistics for these mobile sites and apps.
I spent some time going through this material, comparing it with information publicly available on the Apple and Google application info pages (like downloads counts/trends,user ratings etc) and with published web statistics for the mobile and/or equivalent standard web site (The HK government publishes usage statics for some but not all of its websites - eg webstats for the Police website are there not for the Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation site - go figure). I gave him some feedback and comments and suggested that it might be appropriate for the Government Audit Department to do a Fair Value Audit.
He hasn't come back yet ....He is otherwised occupied with the fall out from Mr Snowden's revelations that the US Government has been hacking the HK internet infrastructure. That's generally pissed people off here and questions have been asked about whether communications between solicitors and clients involved in litigation with US companies or government agencies etc may have been eavesdropped in violation of client privilege. Serious stuff !!!
Back to government apps and mobile sites: Some of the apps DO have high download rates and favorable feedback and they do appear to be relatively cost effective (as compared to some others which are self evidently problematic) . As an aside I also looked at the apps and mobile websites developed by/for the Macau Government. I believe they have a smaller budget and interestingly their mobile sites particularly appear to me to be more focused and usable than the equivalent ones in HK . Maybe they should bid to do work next time HK tenders for development of mobile sites/apps..........more follows.......