The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is well known for being the guard dogs at American airports, but they’re also known for wasting money. Their latest big spend was around $336 000 (R4.9 million) for an iPad app that… randomly displays a left or right arrow.
Yes, that’s all it does.
Now YouTube content creator Chris Pacia has shown just how much of a farce that is, as he can recreate the app in a single ten-minute video.
Before we look at Pacia’s work, let’s look at a video of the original $336 000 app in action.
If you didn’t believe us before, there it is: a multi-million dollar piece of software.
Now let’s see the same app, made for practically nothing in the same amount of time it takes to throw together a competent sandwich.
If you’ve never looked at code coming together before, the above video can be a bit confusing. So here’s an easier summary: all the app needs to do, once the screen is tapped, is generate a random number (say 1 or 0). Each number is assigned an arrow (left or right) and then that arrow is displayed according to which number comes up when it’s randomly chosen by the program.
We are not joking when we tell you that anyone, absolutely anyone can make a similar app. We have writers on the team here at htxt.africa who worked as programmers, and they tell us that this kind of app is what they teach you to make in your first 45-minute IT class in grade nine.
To make matters even worse, that $336 000 cost is only a portion of the total cost of the project. All told, the figure is closer to $1.4 million (R20 million), as it includes the software and the actual iPads used to display the app, as well as installation costs and various extraneous expenses.
Having seen the possibilities, we’ve already started work on our own multi-million-rand app that randomly generates up and down arrows. Government agencies, get in touch.