Post by Gregory of Yardale
Designing a handheld device for Census enumerators is something Apple could probably do over lunch. Apple could have come up with a slick little iPhone app that would be inexpensive, elegant, and ergonomic. Blackberry or Palm could have come up with something similar, although maybe not as slick.
The device she had strapped to her hand was a Harris HTC, which looks either like the ugliest cellphone you’ve ever seen, or a Palm Pilot designed by the US government. We scrolled through bad, inaccurate maps of the area, which looked like they’d been dumped from an early version of MapQuest, wondering how the ridgeline behind my house had magically been transformed into a navigable road, and talked about the device.
My enumerator was reasonably fond of her HTC – there were serious ergonomic problems, like a power button that tended to get inadvertently pressed when gripping the device, powering it off. And powering on isn’t exactly easy, given a multi-stage security process which requires a fingertip swipe, then a series of three security questions, answered by typing an on-screen keyboard with a stylus.
It gets worse. Much, much, worse. Read the article.
The government is buying 525,000 of these Zunes and handing them out the ACORN “volunteers” to perform the census count that will determine congressional representation and electoral college votes from 2012 to 2022. Doesn’t that fill you with confidence?
Just wait until they start running health care.