Obama App Confuses me

July 17, 2008

How many days, minutes and seconds until we vote for the next president of the United States? You don’t have an answer yet?

Well, if you downloaded this applicationfor your iphone you would. It’s a countdown to Obama ’08. You can glance at your iphone and know when to go vote down to the nearest second. When you click on the URL, however, something funny happens.

It transfers you to another page, that part is normal, and then there’s an Obama logo on the top with an ad for McCain underneath it. It says loading but doesn’t load. That part though could be due to my less than stellar computer.

I tried to read the blog of creator Nick Pettit to see if I could find some answers. Nick describes himself as a software engineer who makes websites. He doesn’t seem to be politically active on his blog. In fact, it’s really about creating gadgets for the web. He has an interesting post describing how important it is to make sure that widgets, when used,serve their purpose. So true, a bad widget just makes you look like you are incompetent. Maybe I’m looking too far into this.

Originally I was just excited to write about the new application thinking about all of the new political tidbits that would come out of the iphone apps. I couldn’t pass this up though. It was just too juicy.

I was trying to figure out the motivation and if it has any deeper meaning. The truth is that the best thing to do is ask the source. So, I used a comment on his blog page to pose my question. I’ll post the answer when I get it.

In the meantime though, the countdown is a great idea to keep potential voters thinking about your candidate.

UPDATE: I received a response from Nick:

Nick said…

I don’t choose the ads that appear. They’re placed there automatically by Google. Just for the record, I do support Obama. Thanks for the heads up! 🙂

How interesting is that?

I couldn’t resist another iPhone story. I still want one. I still don’t have one but now, there’s another reason to love it, GPS. I have an awful sense of direction and could really use a nice handheld GPS device. That way when I visit New York City I’ll always be able to get where I need to go.

 

Enough about me though, this is about politics, so let’s get to it. Techrepublican discusses some possible campaign uses for the new iPhone 2.0 that’s coming out in July. Canvassing has long been a part of political campaigns. If the volunteers had these new GPS capable iPhones they would be able to pin point where they needed to go to spread the word. Once there they would be able to access information about the household that they were visiting. They could then enter in the answers to surveys or add a new email to the campaign’s database instantaneously. Homes that were visited could be checked off. This could make the process more effective and help assure that no home was missed.

 

Now, would campaigns buy iPhones for all of their volunteers? This is not very likely. How then to utilize the technology? Well, how about using Meetup? Groups could be formed for iPhone users with an interest in politics. These groups could meet and discuss a canvassing plan. They could then coordinate with the campaign that they’re interested in and start working.

 

The other interesting concept for the new iPhones is the ability for users to create their own private applications. Only phones with authorization can use these applications. In this way campaigns can create their own ways to utilize this new technology. Volunteers that are included in the circle created by these applications will feel a larger part of the campaign. This in turn would encourage their continued participation. What’s not to love?