Thursday, 1 March 2012

Obscene Automated Tour Guides

I went to a rather nice museum a few weeks ago - it was quite new and focussed on doing everything in as modern a way as possible. In keeping with that, they'd replaced the tour guides with iPod touches that ran a custom app.

The app itself was pretty great. It identified nearby exhibits (via unique bluetooth transmitters, I'm guessing) and let you rate how you felt about them. You could read through some extra information if you wanted, and sometimes see related audio or video clips.

As an added bonus, you could leave the app and access the normal iPhone tools. I wasn't the first person to realise this.

These guys were able to deploy an advanced location-aware custom app, but don't have anybody who understands iPhone restrictions, the iPhone Configuration Tool, or old-fashioned Kiosk Mode. It didn't even throw any errors when I added a throwaway email account.

This wasn't just a recent problem - a lot of the contacts had been added over 6 months before, so they aren't even being wiped regularly. I can only assume the guys who made the app are long gone while the staff just update exhibit information on a local server.

To end with, here's some more detail about those gentlemanly prior patrons of the museum.

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