Thursday, April 12, 2012

Can you spare an app?

OK, it was bad enough to be menaced (thank goodness, temporarily) with a smartphone-based system for finding parking places in a whole chunk of San Francisco near our neighborhood.

Now it seems homeless veterans are about to be gifted with a smartphone app to find shelter beds and other resources. Courtesy of Jon Bon Jovi, no less.
"The HUD and VA officials acknowledged it's not likely every homeless person has access to a smartphone, which is why the agencies are also focusing on "caregivers," a term which encompasses shelter employees, community groups and Good Samaritans alike."
And you just know that if there's an app explaining where to find the shelter beds, and shelter staff take the time to feed the data into the aforementioned app, the said shelter staff will thereupon become that much less eager to get around to convenient low-tech notification methods like, oh, posting signs in shelters' windows or answering the phone when someone calls up to check if there are beds.

So people who don't have smartphones will have to depend on the grace of people who do have smartphones to get this stuff looked up at all. And the digital divide will deepen. Sounds real empowering.

Look, folks, apps are not the answer to everything.

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