The U.S. Government isn’t exactly known for smart spending, but at least that $10,000 hammer actually works. That’s more than the Department of Labor can say after they blew almost $200,000 on an utterly crappy app for the iPhone and Android.
The app in question is the OSHA Heat Safety Tool, available for free from the App Store. The stated goal of the app is to give access to the heat index where your work, and then converts that temperature into a safety level and offers up some tips on working safely in those conditions.
Okay, not bad so far. That could be useful. But as of writing, the OSHA Heat Index has a lowly average of a one-and-a-half star rating on iTunes. “Amazed at the incompetence,” writes one reviewer. “Did a five year old write this app?” puzzles another.
Sounds pretty terrible, but here’s the kicker: a Freedom of Information Act request reveals that the U.S. Government spent over $96,000 to make this app, along with another $106,467 to make the Android version.
And for all that, the app doesn’t even work. Rich Jones, who discovered the extravagant spending and craptacular app, describes the app thusly:
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 me about 6 hours at the maximum. At my hourly rate of $100, that’s $600.
In other words, the U.S. government has overpaid for this app by roughly $198,800. And after all that, it doesn’t even work correctly. One thing’s for sure: that’s quite the racket the app’s developer Eastern Research Group has put together.
Forget about Occupy Wall Street. Looking at this wasteful spending on useless apps, maybe it’s time to Occupy App Store?