Saturday, July 28, 2012

City Of Minneapolis 311 Smart Phone App Reportedly Not Playing Nice With Android Phones...


YouTube Video embed, blog post by John Hoff

A few nights ago, proud new NoMi homeowner Jeff Skrenes was having a house warming party and wanted to show me his Minneapolis 311 smart phone app that he'd recently acquired. Wanting to spread word about the cool smart phone app, I decided to videotape Jeff's enthusiastic demonstration. Things didn't go exactly as planned, however...

The first time I shot video, Jeff tried to upload a photo and a street location to document some graffiti on a black utility box. For some reason, he couldn't complete the upload. Jeff thought he must have done something wrong and wanted to try again. I said, well, let's just "take it from the top" and shoot the video all over again.

So we shot the video all over again. And it still didn't work. Jeff grew frustrated, but mostly with himself. What was he doing wrong?

At that point, Jeff wanted to fiddle with the app on his own and let me know when he got it figured out. The thought flashed through my mind: Why don't we just PRETEND the app is working and do our little dog-and-pony video? But just as quickly I thought, "That's not how we operate at Johnny Northside Dot Com. We tell the truth, even when it's not pretty or convenient."

It started to get dark and there was, um, free liquor at Jeff's party so somehow we never got back around to shooting the video. I actually deleted our first take before doing the second take. Days later Jeff called and asked if I still had any of the video we shot.

Turns out our little video project had documented something we didn't know we were documenting. The Minneapolis 311 smart phone app is reportedly not playing nice with Android phones. Attempts are being made behind the scenes to correct the problem. As I post this video, I am not sure if the problem is recently corrected or if a fix is still being worked upon.

However, the video above was not staged, except we were trying to show how the smart phone app works. What we ended up documenting, however, was how it DIDN'T work.

On the bright side, the video took a free shot at slumlord Keith Reitman, whose ugly and dilapidated "blue sisters" are a special focus of this blog, until they are torn down and something aesthetically pleasing (including well-manicured DIRT) takes their place.

6 comments:

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I had been trying every few days since the 18th to submit this report. Every time, it gave me the same connection error. And when I saw this post, it reminded me that I hadn't made an attempt in a few days. As of 8:13 p.m. today, it looks like that particular Android glitch is resolved. The graffiti report was finally submitted successfully.

However, Gary Schiff's Facebook page has been something of a repository for 311 smartphone glitches. People encountering any difficulties should post there and he'll work with City techies to resolve issues.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

And I just got the confirmation email from seeclickfix that it has been reported...no case # from 311 yet.

By the way John, 311 app users get "civic points" that are probably as useless as foursquare honorariums. But still, I'd like to see Johnny Northside get a smartphone and become the 311 civics points leader.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Today I tried to report long grass and weeds at a vacant lot at 2721 Penn Ave N, and received the same error message as before. So the glitches are apparently not fixed.

Johnny Northside! said...

Good to know. It was my assumption the glitches were NOT YET FIXED when I wrote this story. I was glad to hear you were having good luck with your phone but now, well, back to glitches it appears.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

At least the response time is pretty good.

Johnny Northside! said...

Reportedly still "glitchy" as of today.

http://north-by-northside.blogspot.com/2012/08/311-mobile-app-still-glitchy.html