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New Frontiers for Government Waste: The $200K. Mobile App

The OSHA Heat Safety App

The infamous $640 toilet seat which the Pentagon purchased back in the 1980’s now has a crappy, excuse the pun, modern day equivalent: a government-made mobile app with a price tag of $200,000.

Rich Jones of Gun.io, a job board for hackers, downloaded and installed the Heat Safety app from OSHA. It’s a straightforward service that finds your current location, measures the heat and humidity and serves up a warning with notes if the temperature is dangerous.

One might call it the kind of app that could have been created for less money by simply telling people to stick their head out the window before work. But this level of precaution is OSHA’s mandate and it’s good, in theory, to see government trying to leverage new technology.

Mr. Jones, an Android developer himself, took a much darker view. “Pardon my French, but I really cannot stress how bad this application is. Firstly, it isn’t actually capable of the function it is supposed to do. When I first tried the application, it told me that it was currently 140F in Boston. It is also extremely slow, it looks like butt, and it crashes all the time. It is completely horrible in every way. If I had to reproduce it, I’d say that it would take be about 6 hours at the maximum. At my hourly rate of $100, that’s $600.” Read More