Wednesday, July 18, 2012

And Now the President's Coming to Orlando

The Tickets
The President is making a campaign stop in Orlando this coming Friday at Rollins College. This makes the second college stop that Team Obama has made that I'm aware of, the first being the First Lady at U.C.F. last week. I have two tickets to the event to photograph because my wife had the intestinal fortitude (and the wheel chair) to stay queued up along East Colonial from 4:30pm until 7:00pm, waiting for these tickets. I was at work and couldn't leave to go and stand in line. When I did come by to take these photos it was 5:30pm, and I stayed just long enough to grab a few shots and then head on home.
Angry Donkeys
The weather was cloudy and threatening rain, and it started to sprinkle almost as soon as I got there. The campaign staff had set up a single table in the front lobby of the 1516 building, and were slowly and  laboriously typing in the names and contact information of everyone who came to get a ticket. This is what they did when we came to get tickets to see the First Lady.
And the Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down
As a consequence a line formed that stretched west down East Colonial, past the Publix and on to the intersection of Shine and Colonial, where it turned south as it were down Shine. According to my wife she believes it continued around the corner of Hillcrest and then into the Publix parking lot. And since this is Florida in the summer, liquid sunshine fell from the skies on those who waited patiently. My wife was so far back in the line when I arrived that I didn't walk far back enough to see her.

Neither one of us realized until she finally got her tickets is that this event will be held outdoors on Friday. My wife would be fine as she'd be in her wheel chair, but according to directions handed out with the tickets we're not allowed to bring umbrellas or water. We can bring cell phones and cameras, but not really important items like umbrellas. Or water. They say they'll supply water, but the last time they supplied water it was in little paper cups, about a dozen at a time. Perhaps this time they'll have learned from the U.C.F. fiasco and they'll have enough bottled water on hand.

As much as my wife would like to see the President, it looks like the both of us will have to pass. I have to work that day (project deadlines) and without her umbrella to keep both sun and rain off as well as her water bottle to stay hydrated, she isn't too keen on spending three or more hours in the hot noonday Florida sun from the time she arrives until the President shows up, like she waited for the First Lady. The only reason the First Lady's event was tolerable is because it was held indoors at U.C.F.

A Suggestion for Obama's Orlando Campaign Staff

My observation is how incredibly slow and ancient this handing out of tickets has been. Twice. For a President that is supposed to Get It with regards to the use of current technology, the Orlando campaign staff doesn't. If I were in charge I'd have had every ticket printed with a unique QR Code uniquely identifying every ticket with a number. I'd then write an app (Android or iOS, or both) that would allow anyone campaign staffer with an Android or Apple smartphone to walk through the crowd and;
  1. Scan the QR Code of a ticket,
  2. Take a photo of someone wanting said ticket,
  3. Have that person say their name, phone, or email address.
The app would associate the photo and audio track with the QR Code and either store it locally or send it up to some backend process in the cloud. Afterwards the cloud or a local notebook could convert the speech to text and add that to the previously gathered data. The app could be written to be extremely simple to operate, a single button to start the process and one to stop it if necessary. They could even create a series of kiosks in the lobby and put one person from the campaign down in the lobby to keep an eye on things and help if anything went wrong. The technology is pervasive in today's smart phones and anybody (myself included) could write the app as well as the backend storage and data mining tools. Instead, you have somebody sitting and typing slowly into a notebook keyboard for each and every person who comes into the lobby.
    I thought the First Lady's trip was an anomaly. After today I realize that there's a definite lack of expertise and leadership with the Obama Orlando campaign staff. It is a sloppily run campaign.

    Update 19 July

    My wife let me know that local Rollins students will be allowed to attend as well. That's only fair, but it sets up the same situation for this event that occurred at the last, where ticket bearing attendees won't be able to get in. This is one more example of a sloppy operation, the inability to carefully and successfully manage who attends and overall supporter expectations. Yes, it's all free (no money exchanged hands) but to wait twice, once to get a ticket, and then again to get into the event, only to run the risk of not actually getting in, is a bit much to ask for. Especially twice in a row.


    Various Pens and post processed in Lightroom 4.1. I used a busted yellow umbrella to keep the rain off of them.


    This makes my 1,300 post.

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