Sunday October 29, 2006
- A different level of government once sued Microsoft for monopolistic practices, remember? Here’s our county government doing its part to extend that monopoly.
- The error message is an absurdity at best, a lie at worst. It should say “This website is broken,” or “Sorry, this website doesn’t work with standards-compliant browsers,” or something.
- 99% of the people who make websites bust their asses to make their sites cross-compatible (it’s a pain mainly because of Microsoft’s malice and incompetence, btw). The fact that the government of our county — the 8th most populous in the nation — can’t be bothered is disgusting.
Overall, my impression is that miamidade.gov is a very information-rich site, but with lots of baffling gaps. Check out how the parks listed on pages like this don’t link to the parks’ pages. C’mon, guys; you can do better. Update: Dugg.
Monday August 20, 2007
The charter review is underway. Video of the task force’s first meeting is up at Miami-Dade’s webcast page (for 8/14/07), and I thought I was going to have to watch it, but luckily, Rebecca Wakefield did the dirty work for us. It’s all a little disappointing: panelists with vested interests, a limited number of topics under consideration, and interesting ideas from citizens given warm dismissals. Lots of interesting information available at the task force’s page.
Tuesday January 22, 2008
A Citizens’ Bill of Rights has been added to the January 29th elections ballot. Here is the question, and here is the ‘Bill’ itself (I think). So it looks like this crappy Herald article is wrong — it’s not “Miami voters,” it’s “Miami-Dade voters” (thanks again, Miami-Dade officials, for making this extra confusing), not an insignificant distinction. What the article does not bother to do is to explain just what consequences this measure might actually have. Update: I’m wrong wrong wrong: the “Bill of Rights” is a City of Miami thing, the County thing is something else.
Monday October 8, 2007
Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose ‘Pepe’ Diaz: “I do not want to see that city come before us and ask for any money like the $300,000 to help with the festivals.”
Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro: “That’s one voice within a city. People when they’re leaving office go off on tantrums.”
Dermer’s response: “We are the engine of revenue production — certainly tourism revenue production — within the county. It behooves the county to ensure they have the cleanest, safest and strongest engine to keep that revenue coming.”
“OK, we’ll show those bastards. We’ll re-design the site, top-down, make it all Web-2.0 looking, throw every widget under the sun at it, and be damned if they’re not blown away.”
Uh, sorry, Judi. You blew it. Big time. So much so that a comprehensive, methodical analysis would take weeks, of which I ain’t got. But let me give you some highlights:
- You’ve got five (oh so slick) tabs running across the top: ‘Home,’ ‘Service Center,’ ‘County Agencies,’ ‘County Hall,’ and ‘Calendar.’ With the exception of the first and last one, do you really think anyone who doesn’t work in a county government has any idea what those things mean? You get paid for obfuscation?
- It’s a non-standards-compliant mess of HTML tables. I sympathize: web standards have only been globally accepted since around 2002. Nobody would expect you to get up to speed when building a website for a body that only governs 2.4 million people.
- Some of your links launch new windows . . . some don’t. This would be annoying enough if there were some rhyme or reason to it. There ain’t. Speaking of links, about half the links to existing pages have broken.
- What’s the single worst method for delivering online video? Windows Media? OK, let’s use that exclusively. (I’m letting the random links to PDF’s slide.)
- Here’s another great idea: let’s have as many sections of the site look and behave as completely differently from each other as possible! OK, you’ve got the main page. Compare the following: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . . ok, I’ll stop. Those last two aren’t technically even on the same domain (btw, is there a reason for that?). This takes the cake, though, right? No navigation for you! (What makes this particularly fun is that all these pages are a just a single click off the main page. Imagine what we could find if we dug a little.)
- With the possible exception of the Luminati, every other website in the universe that requires registration has the registration button on the login page. I searched like crazy for the registration button, and after a long search was informed that “Due to our recent upgrade, however, registration is temporarily suspended.” Ah — so this is one of the new “features.” Got it. Curious about why I was trying to log in?
- because the “My Calendar” thing seemed like the only hope for getting useful information out of your otherwise hopeless calendar page. Speaking of the calendar, if a sane rethinking of the whole thing is out, can we at least have the events open to real pages, instead of crappy popup windows?
- On the “Information for . . .” menu, residents are #9 on a list of 11. Thanks for making it abundantly clear where we rate.
- Extra poke in the eye to Firefox (or any non-IE/Windows) users: home page opens scrolled down a random number of lines, “intro” video distorts into its letterboxed shape, and of course none of the previously mentioned FUBAR has been addressed.
- . . . all of which brings me to the sad conclusion that this is nothing but a shitty new skin on the same shitty old mess. We think these people are going to implement county-wide wireless internet access? They can’t even get a website working right.
Wednesday January 10, 2007
Sooner or later, you’re going to run into a Genious of Despair, and he’s going to ask you if you know who your county commissioner is. Time to get ready . . . except that the MiamiDade.gov website doesn’t make it easy. There’s a list of commissioners, and pages for each of them, and, hmm.. ok those link to maps of the districts, but where’s a map of the whole county? Wait for it . . . and nope: after five minutes of furious clicking and searching, I can’t find the answer. There’s a “Who is my Commissioner?” link, but that takes me back to the Firefox now allowed page. The site is borked in other ways, too — expanding menus won’t stay expanded, links launch new windows and mysterious “applications,” and I just know there’s a hidden link to a PDF lurking somewhere ready to crash my computer.
Let’s play a game: I’ll give you safe Jpeg links to the district maps, and you try to figure out which one you live in with the fewest possible clicks (give yourself a pat on the back if you get it in six or fewer!). Then return to this page to decode your answer. Ready?
Nope, that didn’t work either. The URL’s to the district maps are not consistent, and some of the Commissioners’ pages don’t even give a link to the map. Surrendering, I fire up Internet Explorer, and go to this horrible contraption, what appears to be a Java-powered nightmare from the latter part of the 20th century. My computer wheezes, groans, and chuckles as I tried to pan and zoom on the crappiest of little maps.
Seriously, though, if it’s wrong for the WLRN website to be inaccessible, it’s 10 times worse for the county (annual budget: $6 billion+) government website. (Ways in which it’s inaccessible #4080: the commission map is color coded. Plus, what’s up with 13 commission seats and only 8 zones on the map?) Hello, is anybody out there listening?
Saturday September 17, 2005
It’s not every day that Critical Miami gets to bring you some really really good news. But here you go: the County has a new system for solving all your problems. Something on your mind? Pick up your phone and dial 3-1-1. The only requirement is that your call not be an emergency. Their operators are trained to handle almost anything. The potential is endless; we shall be availing ourselves of this service, and bringing you reports as they develop.
Sunday February 26, 2006
Everyone has been doing these over on BoingBoning. No way to resist getting in on the fun…
Tuesday September 4, 2012
I know you’re disappointed with Obama. But look, you don’t want Romney and a Republican congress running the country for the country for the next four years. And if you think about it, you don’t want Obama going down as a one-term president.
And here’s the thing: Florida will decide this thing, more than likely. We’re the largest tossup state, and we’ve been picking the president since 1992 (when, amazingly, we voted to give George Bush Sr. a second term).
All of which is to say that you need to get ready to vote. If you’re registering for the first time, the application is at the bottom of this page. You should also fill out one of these if you want to change your party affiliation or if you’re moving. (Though if you’re moving within Dade County, you can just call the elections department, 305-499-VOTE, and they’ll do it over the phone.) If you’re submitting one of these forms anyway, you might consider changing your party affiliation, either to lodge your weak protest against the hegemony of the two-party system or because you’d like to vote in someone else’s primaries (like this year’s Republican primary). You should to enjoy perusing the list of political parties recognized in Florida.
Don’t get purged — make sure your Drivers License is up to date. You can update it through Florida HSMV’s charming Virtual Office. This would also be a decent time to consider becoming a Poll Worker. I bet you have no chance if you don’t speak Spanish or Creole, but you can give it a chance anyway. (As a hint, the link to the voter application PDF is broken at that link. If you click “ESPAÑOL,” you can get the application there.)
Do it today, otherwise you’ll be kicking yourself like those jackasses who voted for Nader in 2000.
Tuesday July 17, 2007
A live, auto-refreshing list of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue active calls. Can I have these archived, sortable, and mashed into a Google map, please?
Monday February 5, 2007
Miami-Dade’s new housing locator appears to be pretty comprehensive, and lets you search by area, number of bedrooms, and price range. Even has Google maps integration. Too bad you can’t pull up a map with all the results and click from there. (via Miami Vision)
Wednesday December 26, 2007
Christmas tree recycling instructions: if you’re served by Miami-Dade waste management, just leave it on the curb before January 25th. If not, drop it off at one of 14 collection points. Soon to come: free Christmas-tree wood chips! Update: And in Broward.
Monday November 5, 2007
Double the Vote, a project of Category 305, is out to increase participation in local elections, starting with tomorrow’s elections in Miami Beach, Miami, Hialeah, Surfside, Homestead, and Golden Beach. Only 10% of registered voters vote in local elections in Miami-Dade. This is particularly silly when you realize that in local elections, every individual vote is proportionally much more important then a vote in national elections, and that local issues have much more effect on your day-to-day life then national ones.
Ah, but who to vote for? Who follows local politics, anyway? Well, DtV has links to information about Miami Beach candidates at Category 305, and the Sun Post and Miami Vision. See also the Herald’s recommendations for tomorrow from their politics page, which links to numerous stories related to the election(see also this). So read your ballot, do your research, tell your employer you’ll be in late tomorrow cause you’re voting (prepare for looks of shock, but most bosses have no problem with this), and off to the polls first thing in the morning.