USPS In-APPtitude on Display | Citizens Against Government Waste

USPS In-APPtitude on Display

The WasteWatcher

Sometimes, when it comes to grAPPling with the overarching, mind-numbing problem of trillions in government waste across all federal agencies, it's the little vignettes that really illustrate and crystallize the larger story.

And so it goes with the newest mis-hAPP unveiled by the United States Postal Service and reviewed by a reporter for Popular Mechanics:

It's a simple demonstration of augmented reality’s potential: layering digital information over real-world objects in ways that add context or provide richer experiences. But to keep itself relevant in the digital age, the USPS needed to go further than this first attempt, which is little more than a greeting card.

The idea of turning stationary physical infrastructure from the analog era into a useful source of updated digital information certainly has appeal. New York City is about to take a similar tack with its 8,400 pay phones, planning to replace them with 10,000 new Wi-Fi hotspots. For the USPS in particular, the challenges of adapting to the digital era have been difficult: insurmountable pension costs and declining paper mail business have put the USPS's finances in deep trouble. The agency reported a $2 billion dollar quarterly net loss in August, far more than the $740 million it reported in the same period last year. And that was despite revenue increases from price hikes on package deliveries.

So far, though, this app hasn’t proven to be the solution for giving today's generation of smartphone-addicted, constantly texting adults a new reason to visit their local collection boxes. I tested the iPhone app on several blue collection boxes in my neighborhood in Brooklyn and none of them worked. As it turns out, the app needs to capture the USPS Eagle logo in your smartphone's camera view in order to function properly, and that logo was completely faded on all my local collection boxes.

Not a new phenomenon, CAGW has exposed and highlighted the feds' mismanagement and miscues related to mobile apps for years.  Just a reminder that the mis-APProporation of taxpayer money continues APP-ace.