Wednesday, December 22, 2010

There’s an app for that, too

For some reason, the national-led government has released an iPhone app (one for Android is also available from the Android Market). It provides the news summary from the government site (beehive.govt.nz). Using it, one can access the feed and individual press releases and speeches, much as one can do on the website or by following the Twitter feed of the NZ National Party (http://twitter.com/NZNationalParty) or maybe that of Prime Minister John Key (http://twitter.com/johnkeypm) whose staff sometimes tweet Beehive posts. Curiously, there’s no Twitter feed for the Beehive site itself.

The app’s okay as far as it goes, if not terribly useful, but there are two things I don’t like at all: First, and most obnoxiously, the start up screen is a big photo of John Key (the image accompanying this post is that welcome screen; click on it to embiggen). It’s a little too Big Brother-ish.

The other thing is more basic: The “Social” tab shows recent Tweets on Twitter that contain the word “beehive”. Most of them are completely irrelevant and some aren’t exactly family-friendly. This feature obviously wasn’t well thought out. Now, if The Beehive had a Twitter account, it could display Tweets that contain that “@” in the Tweet, so they’d at least be relevant—well, there’s a greater chance they could be, anyway.

Worse than all of that for iPhone users, it’s only available from a website: Access http://isites.us/apps/beehive/beehive_ from Safari on your iPhone (I don’t know if it works with iPod Touch). Then, look for the line that says: “To install Instant App for iPhone, visit The Beehive from Safari” and click on the link.

With a convoluted installation process as well as flawed design, this app has very limited appeal—and not a whole lot of point right now. But, at least it’s free.

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