I created my first mobile phone android app today. I found that there were a whole bunch of websites that created free android apps. So I’ve made one that follows myRSS feeds (both main blog and comments) using Appyet. And then, after Appyet had emailed me my .apk app file (950 Kb!), I read it into my mobile phone and installed it.
Amazingly, it actually worked! Although I couldn’t see my avatar anywhere. And I read a few new comments (including the one from Mac the Knife offering to put money into the ISIS poll). After I found my way to commenting, my laboriously crafted response got lost. So I’ll say here, thank you very much Mac, but it’s not money we need, but time. And, um,… beer. This survey is being run on an all-volunteer basis, and we’re going to get very thirsty.
And because the app included a twitter feed, I thought I’d sign up to Twitter. And so there I’m now cfrankdavis (I think) – although my attitude to Twitter is pretty much like Leg-iron’s: there’s no way I could confine myself to 140 characters.
Anyway, if anyone reading this has Twitter, I’d be interested to know whether they’ve seen anything.
And then, because it published apps, I signed up as a developer (for £15!!) on Google Play – partly because I’m hoping I can produce a Smokernet app at some point. But I didn’t manage to upload my new app there because it needed a screenshot of the app, and I have no idea how to create a screenshot of a mobile phone (if that’s what they wanted).
So it’s not going to be possible yet to download a Frank Davis blog android app from there yet. But I did create another one on another free website. The app is here, but I haven’t tried it.
Anyway, my mobile phone now has a Frank Davis app on it. So if I can find a pub with a free wi-fi, I should be able to sit there drinking beer and smoking cigarettes and interviewing smokers and watching comments appearing on my blog. i.e. Hard Work.
I doubt if anyone will actually want a Frank Davis android mobile phone app, but if they do, I’ll have to email it to them.
I’m not sure about all this hi-tech twitter feed stuff. I’ve yet to read anything on Twitter that was in the least bit thought-provoking. I don’t think it’s possible to provoke any thoughts at all using just 140 characters.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more important it seems to me that this ISIS poll is centrally all about meeting real people in the real flesh, and… talking to them.
Yesterday’s encounters were rather memorable. The first bunch of smokers I approached in a pub garden were smoking all right, but they weren’t, erm, smoking tobacco. They were smoking grass. And their first question was, “Are you from the CID?” But once I had failed to arrest them, they relaxed, and cheerily filled out the questionnaire. I vaguely wondered whether, in the ISIS pollster guidelines, pollsters should confirm that the respondents are actually smoking tobacco, and not something else. But since I’ve never ever come across this before, I decided that maybe it was sufficiently unusual to not merit detailed advice. They were smoking! How was I to know what they were smoking?
And then there was the rather pretty 20-something who actually liked the smoking ban because it was so much more sociable outside pubs these days. I could only think that if the government banned smoking within a 100 metre radius of pubs, she’d have been saying how it was so much more sociable in fields and ditches these days. I bet she would have loved to have been on board the Costa Concordia when it rolled over and sank in the Mediterranean a few months back, with all those people holding hands as they slid down the side. How wonderfully sociable that must have been!
And then there was the guy who read the question about distrusting experts, and said, “But I am an expert!!!” I didn’t ask him what he was an expert in, but it had never occurred to me that I might actually end up asking these questions of an expert. The same question is not just about experts, but also the mass media. So next week, I bet I’ll find myself talking to someone who works for the BBC, or the Daily Telegraph.
There was food for thought in all those responses. And yet, while all these people volunteered these responses, they didn’t write them in the box provided. They all said very interesting things, but they didn’t write down what they’d just said. I think that I might write down what they said for them (always making it clear that “they said…” this or that).
You’re not going to get this sort of thing on Twitter.
And maybe that’s half the problem with the modern world. David Cameron probably reads all sorts of stuff on twitter, and thinks it’s what the real world is like. But it’s not. The real world is full of surprises. And I had five surprises yesterday from the real world, which I’ve just described. Using something like Twitter you’re using a sort of grunt-medium. Why allow as many as 140 characters? Why not just one or two? “Mm…” “Nn…” “Yy…” “Ff…” In txt com wrld, there’s actually a lot less information, not a lot more. And a sort of fog of misinformation has descended. Nobody can see anything, not even the manifestly obvious.
Like what awful damage smoking bans do.