Homeland Security Threat Monitor by Greg Hewgill
Keep up-to-the-minute with the current terrorism threat level in the U.S.! This handy application sits in your Windows system tray and displays the current terrorism threat level as set by the White House (red, orange, yellow, blue, or green). Real-time network technology isn't just for sports scores anymore - don't leave home without it!
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Homeland Secutiry Threat Monitor

The Homeland Security Threat Monitor is a very simple, direct, and funny application. It's an icon that sits in your Windows system tray along with the icons that keep you apprised of network status, whether someone's trying to break into your computer, stock quotes and weather - all the "real-time" applications that display information with which you presumably need to keep up to the minute. But this application keeps you updated with the US Department of Homeland Security's system for monitoring the current terrorism Threat Condition: a color-coded range of five levels ranging from severe (red) to low (green.) Although the threat level is typically changed by the White House only every few weeks or months, the Threat Monitor displays it as though it might change at any moment. It even includes an "update now" feature that lets you manually force the application to re-retrieve the threat level - just in case it's changed in the past few minutes. The Threat Monitor also includes some conventional software embellishments like customizable styles - of course in this case, your choices are "USA," "Flag," "Patriot," etc.
In terms of utility, the Homeland Security Threat Monitor offers nothing beyond what's available at the Dept. of Homeland Security's website. But, by adopting the format of "real-time" applications, the project parodies the sense of paranoia and urgency the White House apparently hopes to create with the threat level system. By the author's own admission the Threat Monitor as software is pointless - but of course its pointlessness is its point.

by Amy Alexander, posted 06 Jun 2003


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