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Running Great Britain? There's an App For That! 165

Posted by timothy
from the good-thing-it's-so-simple dept.
judgecorp writes "Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron will get a personalised iPad app to help him run the country. The 'government dashboard' will include health waiting list figures, crime statistics, economic statistics and a real-time news feed. Cameron is a committed Apple user — but British members of Parliament have only been allowed iPads in the House of Commons since March 2011."
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Running Great Britain? There's an App For That!

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  • Lies! (Score:5, Funny)

    by dexomn (147950) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:27PM (#38544166)

    Angry Birds will be running the country.

    • Re:Lies! (Score:4, Funny)

      by Patch86 (1465427) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @06:04AM (#38546826)

      But Harriet Harman is still in the Opposition!

      Oh yes, obscure politics pun-based joke. I went there.

      • by pjt33 (739471)

        Ann Widdecombe may have officially retired from politics, but who's to say she's not pulling strings in the background?

    • ... Angry Birds ...

      I didn't know that Her Royal Baroness Thatcher was willing to come back out of retirement from politics.

      . . . add to her Fergie, Duchess of York, Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and there you have your angry birds to govern Great Britain.

      I personally think that the ideal government to run Great Britain would consist of Pippa Middleton's hot buns.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:29PM (#38544192)

    as "Ruining Great Britain"?

    • by Goose In Orbit (199293) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:43PM (#38544332)

      He doesn't need an iDevice to do that

      • Technically true, but he would get inferior experience by observing the country without the "Retina Display". Also, the "Send economy down the drain" one-click functionality would be missing as it's patented by Apple.

      • by gman003 (1693318)

        See, here's the thing. I'm American, and while I keep somewhat in touch with world events, I don't know how Britain's doing, politically. Don't know how Germany, or France, or Australia, or Uzbekistan or Liberia or Kosovo are doing. I know, vaguely, that there's some electoral shit going down in Russia re: Putin, I know there's shit going down in Korea with Kim III succeeding Kim II, and I think there's still general economic problems in much of Europe, but I don't know specifics. I could probably find out,

  • by dingen (958134) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:30PM (#38544200)
    Hacking into those feeds sounds like a lot of fun indeed!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:34PM (#38544232)

    Stop making apps for the sake of making an app. If the solution doesn't require any specific equipment on the device, just write make it a website.

    • by newcastlejon (1483695) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:37PM (#38544268)

      But... but... Apps! In the Cloud! On iPads! Using social media! Web 2.0, man!

      How else are the Tories ever supposed to convince us that they either know or care one whit about the general populace?!

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:39PM (#38544294)

      Stop making apps for the sake of making an app. If the solution doesn't require any specific equipment on the device, just write make it a website.

      A wwebsite as on the internet?

      Is that you, Paul?

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by lucm (889690)

      An app is an Objective-C equivalent of a website, with an additional touch: it gives the opportunity to Apple to fetch a few dollars in the process. It is also hugely convenient for them because they don't have so spend money on fixing their browser so it work properly on their devices. It's "win-win" with Apple being on both side of the dash.

      • by Bogtha (906264)

        Wow, it's rare to see a comment that is this clueless.

        An app is an Objective-C equivalent of a website

        No, "app" is short for "application". The concept has been around for a long time, it certainly predates the web. Native apps aren't the equivalent of websites. They are fundamentally different things. Apps aren't the shoddy knock-offs of websites you seem to think they are.

        When Apple first launched the iPhone, they didn't include an SDK for native applications and wanted everybody to use web a

        • by lucm (889690)

          Wow, it's rare to see a comment that is this clueless.

          An app is an Objective-C equivalent of a website

          No, "app" is short for "application". The concept has been around for a long time, it certainly predates the web. Native apps aren't the equivalent of websites. They are fundamentally different things. Apps aren't the shoddy knock-offs of websites you seem to think they are.

          In theory, I would agree. In practice, most of the "apps" are features already available on a website. I'm not talking angry birds, but tell me exactly what is "fundamentally" different between the CNN app and the CNN website, or the eBay app and the eBay website, or the Groupon app and the Groupon website (etc.). Nothing.

          When Apple first launched the iPhone, they didn't include an SDK for native applications and wanted everybody to use web applications instead. Mobile Safari was a huge leap forward - at the time, most mobile browsers were junk that couldn't render normal websites. It doesn't need "fixing" so that it "works properly" - this is simply delusional. It's been ahead of the pack from day one.

          Native iOS applications came about because there was a strong demand for them. Apple didn't push them on anybody, and they certainly didn't do it at the expense of Mobile Safari - they have continued to improve it including adding new features that would ordinarily require native applications (e.g. geolocation). Apple have clearly, inarguably invested in Mobile Safari, and your entire opinion is utterly backwards.

          I can't accuse you of being paid by Apple to promote their products, because it is a well-known fact that only Microsoft is doing that (at least on Slashdot). However, I would politely poi

          • by Bogtha (906264)

            In practice, most of the "apps" are features already available on a website.

            I've just done a quick spot check of the iTunes Store front page, the top charts, and my devices. You are way off base. There are certainly some applications that are redundant with a website, but it's certainly not a majority. Right now, the iTunes Store front page for the UK is showing things like Infinity Blade 2, djay and Grand Theft Auto 3. The charts show FIFA, Scrabble, Garage Band, Skype, etc. The number of apps th

            • by lucm (889690)

              The simple fact of the matter is that the comment I was responding to was utterly clueless and as an iOS developer I am in a position to say exactly why it was so clueless. Whining about "bias" when you can't give reasons as to why I am wrong does not move the conversation forward in any way.

              So saying that a comment is *clueless* is helping to move the conversation forward... because you consider that you are in a position to say it?

              Are you a woman?

              • by Bogtha (906264)

                So saying that a comment is *clueless* is helping to move the conversation forward

                When that comment is clueless and I explain why in detail? Yes, that's a valuable comment. A very wrong opinion ceases to misinform people.

                Are you a woman?

                Why the sudden sexism?

                • by lucm (889690)

                  So saying that a comment is *clueless* is helping to move the conversation forward

                  When that comment is clueless and I explain why in detail? Yes, that's a valuable comment. A very wrong opinion ceases to misinform people.

                  You did not "explain" why the comment was clueless, you simply gave your opinion which happens to be different from mine. Putting a label such as "clueless" on an opinion is childish and is a very good way to ensure that the discussion takes a suboptimal direction (like it did).

                  Are you a woman?

                  Why the sudden sexism?

                  Asking if someone is a woman is not sexist. This being said - from your answer I guess you are not a woman, but you have been raised by one.

        • by pjt33 (739471)

          It doesn't need "fixing" so that it "works properly" - this is simply delusional.

          But it sure would be nice if they could make it scan the CSS for @media rules appropriate for the actual screen size before telling the browser to assume it's 960px wide, and without requiring me to add non-standard meta tags.

          • by Bogtha (906264)

            It's not as simple as you are making out, but yes, there are better heuristics they could use these days. That heuristic was designed when virtually nobody used CSS media queries and virtually no software supported them. In those cases, it works quite well to get websites designed for typical desktop resolutions to display on small screens. As media queries become more popular, you may well see this heuristic change.

    • by chrb (1083577) on Friday December 30, 2011 @10:09PM (#38544978)
      Agreed. And I'd go further and say that it should be available to everyone. From TFA: "The software will allow the Prime Minister to see the latest NHS waiting-list figures, crime statistics, unemployment numbers and a wide variety of other data at a glance." The big question is, why isn't all of this information being made available to the general public? It is not secret, it is not personal, it is just a summary view of various national statistics. Once again the tax payer funds software development but will never see the actual software, and citizens are denied access to what should be public data.
    • websites, and "cloud computing" require a constant internet connection. Apps don't, they can actually do useful work any time.

  • Custom-developed app (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:35PM (#38544244)

    "Cabinet Office developers are currently building the customised iPad app so the Prime Minister can remain abreast of government business . . . is expected to be ready by March."

    I'd love to work for the government contractor that got that contract. As if the MPs expenses scandal wasn't bad enough, now we're bankrolling the Prime Minister's iTunes account.

    "The app will essentially act as a government dashboard, providing the Prime Minister with all the latest information from across Whitehall – including the latest NHS waiting-list figures, crime statistics, unemployment numbers, and a wide variety of other data – at a glance."

    I just hope that we, the taxpayers who are paying for this development work, will get a version of the app that we can use ourselves. It's fine if they scrub out the sensitive internal government data that it's (hopefully) tracking, but a sanitised version appropriate for public consumption would still be quite useful. I'd be interested to know things like crime and unemployment statistics, which can then be used to judge how well the Conservative government is actually doing.

  • an "oops" after a baby picks up the ipad would be really bad :p

  • And if not, one is compelled to wonder how they are getting their app onto a device that *ISN'T* on the app store...

    Is their iPad jailbroken?

    • Re:Been there... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by damburger (981828) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @06:25AM (#38546872)

      Let me get this straight. Your (I am assuming that is your site?) criticism of Cybersyn was that it was too ambitious to work, but then the only example of it in action you can come up with is when it *did* work?

      Also, the idea that you can't control anything that features a time lag is absolutely laughable. Talk to an engineer for fucks sake. Or better still, take a ride in an aeroplane that has a functioning autopilot and notice how you aren't tossed around like you are in a washing machine...

  • by mapkinase (958129) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:53PM (#38544428) Homepage Journal

    Product placement much?

  • Better idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:55PM (#38544448)

    Just put him to playing Civilization or the like, and tell him he's running the country.

    • by pellik (193063)
      The press conference where he informs the country that their settlers were attacked by Indian spearmen would be golden.
      • The press conference where he informs the country that their settlers were attacked by Indian spearmen would be golden.

        Yeah, you've got to make sure to tell all the ministers what's going on, so there won't be an embarrassed silence when he asks the Minister of Defense why they can't seem to make progress in the war with the Aztecs.

  • Cameron was doing a test run with the ipad to see if he can run the country with it. Now he allowed others to have it, to run the country so that he can run the country with them. Without the ipad the country would have stalled, rocked and capsized as it is an island, as the US congressman mentioned [youtube.com] (he probably did not have an ipad).
  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:56PM (#38544456)

    While your country is in a rescission, your people are in the streets protesting, and having to budget for a simple can of beans what does the government do?

    Buy the most expensive, most shiny status symbol toy cause they cant be bothered to check their fucking email at their desk.

  • The drill-down on that dashboard will be awesome.

    Each Monday:
    1) Click on Crime Stats
    2) Drill-down by city
    3) Drill-down by street
    4) Sort by count, in descending order
    5) Send a black ops team to deal with the top 10 addresses

    As an alternative, the data could be plugged in Google maps and the info sent to a UAV.

  • Not just iPads (Score:5, Informative)

    by Albanach (527650) on Friday December 30, 2011 @09:16PM (#38544610) Homepage

    I have no idea why the summary says MPs are only allowed iPads in the House of Commons. Members are allowed to use smartphones or tablet computers, there are no brand restrictions placed upon them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You read it wrong. The "only" refers to the date (March 2011) when they were allowed to use them, not to the iPads.

  • I wonder if he knows he's actually running the country.

  • It's called SimCity. And yes, politicians really do think running a city, state, or nation is just a game by their attitude towards us.

    • It's called SimCity. And yes, politicians really do think running a city, state, or nation is just a game by their attitude towards us.

      Damn, you beat me to it...

      I was gonna say, anyone else's first thought was the control panel for SimCity?

      -AI

  • Apple really has the market sewn up!

    Unless, of course, Cameron's just getting the same App as the Orangutans. If the App is made to run Great Britain remotely, would they be better off if they let the Orangutans run it? Would they even know the difference?

  • Of course, all decisions made on the device are subject to the approval of Apple Inc, which will receive a processing fee.

  • We all knew that Apple was planning something evil, and this is the start of it. Once they can get the majority of the world's leaders to become reliant on their apps and devices, they can influence their decisions however they please, thus gaining control over the world. And noone will try to stop them, as all the sheeple just laugh at me when I try to explain it to them!

  • Lemmings.

    Great old game.

  • I think we need to update a famous yes minster sketch.

    Sir Humphrey: Well briefly sir I am the Permanent Undersecretary of State known as the Permanent Secretary, Wooley here is your Principle Private Secretary I too have a Principle Private Secretary, and he is the Principle Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary, directly responsible to me are ten Deputy Secretaries, eighty-seven Undersecretaries and two hundred and nineteen assistant secretaries, directly responsible to the Principle Private Secr
  • So by manipulating the data whoever maintains it can totally detach Cameron from reality and steer the Prime Minister's policy - because as we all know, computers never lie. ;-)
  • At first, the wording of TFS caused me a negative reaction: I think that (with the exception of emergencies) a PM should not be worried with real time data, but more with historical tendencies (because every decission from such PM would take some time to cause effects, and cause effects through a long time).

    But, after thinking about it, it can be useful if it is provided also to MPs. Nowadays, if during a debate someone says somehing like "the unemployment in my district has never been higher", the only way

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