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(Reuters)   The computers used to kill Al-Qaeda: The most sophisticated technology available. The computers used to pay soldiers: A collections of TRS-80's, Apple IIe's and the mainframe used to plan the Mercury missions   (reuters.com) divider line 103
    More: Asinine, Apple IIe, al-Qaeda, missions, special reports, naval air station, Oregon National Guard, night terrors, gary  
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9582 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jul 2013 at 1:55 PM (41 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



103 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-07-10 01:04:33 PM
yup we are stupid
 
2013-07-10 01:24:48 PM
I'm surprised they are using computers at all.

/The check is in the mail
 
2013-07-10 01:56:34 PM
At least they can't get viruses.

There's not enough memory.
 
2013-07-10 01:57:42 PM
The computers used to fly the space shuttle have about the same computing power as an older TI-83 graphing calculator and it was determined that upgrading the systems was basically a total waste of money because it dids its job perfectly right up until the last shuttle launch.  Balancing debits and credits hardly requires high end computing power to output paychecks people...


/work in IT
//if its still working, dont' fix it
///and sure as hell don't upgrade it
 
2013-07-10 01:58:33 PM
We're still paying soldiers? I was led to believe this is a volunteer army and the ability to carry around guns and shoot people is payment enough.
 
2013-07-10 02:00:00 PM

1ceTr0n: The computers used to fly the space shuttle have about the same computing power as an older TI-83 graphing calculator and it was determined that upgrading the systems was basically a total waste of money because it dids its job perfectly right up until the last shuttle launch.  Balancing debits and credits hardly requires high end computing power to output paychecks people...


/work in IT
//if its still working, dont' fix it
///and sure as hell don't upgrade it


This.  If it's working fine, an upgrade will certainly fark it up.
 
2013-07-10 02:02:01 PM

chuggernaught: 1ceTr0n: The computers used to fly the space shuttle have about the same computing power as an older TI-83 graphing calculator and it was determined that upgrading the systems was basically a total waste of money because it dids its job perfectly right up until the last shuttle launch.  Balancing debits and credits hardly requires high end computing power to output paychecks people...


/work in IT
//if its still working, dont' fix it
///and sure as hell don't upgrade it

This.  If it's working fine, an upgrade will certainly fark it up.



Unless its simply not capable of doing its required function anymore or preventing future business expansion then yeah, you basically have no frustrating choice...
 
2013-07-10 02:04:44 PM
I'm sure a massive upgrading of all the computer systems would make everything  much more efficient, right?  I mean, its not like people will have to spend unholy amounts of time both installing, learning and then complaining about the new systems and thus dragging everything down to worse levels than before, right?
 
2013-07-10 02:07:24 PM

1ceTr0n: The computers used to fly the space shuttle have about the same computing power as an older TI-83 graphing calculator and it was determined that upgrading the systems was basically a total waste of money because it dids its job perfectly right up until the last shuttle launch.  Balancing debits and credits hardly requires high end computing power to output paychecks people...


/work in IT
//if its still working, dont' fix it
///and sure as hell don't upgrade it


It'd be nice if we could at least upgrade them to 286s with turbo buttons.  For those accounting moments when you need turbo.
 
2013-07-10 02:08:42 PM
How much tech do you need to run a payroll program and print checks?

I'm shocked the good old gouberment didn't spend a fortune to overbuy.
 
2013-07-10 02:10:14 PM

1ceTr0n: The computers used to fly the space shuttle have about the same computing power as an older TI-83 graphing calculator and it was determined that upgrading the systems was basically a total waste of money because it dids its job perfectly right up until the last shuttle launch.  Balancing debits and credits hardly requires high end computing power to output paychecks people...


/work in IT
//if its still working, dont' fix it
///and sure as hell don't upgrade it




Yeah, I always though that the space shuttle thing is pretty amazing when you consider that people who only need computers to post on facebook and check emails need to upgrade to the next Macbook Air JUST BECAUSE.

Maybe if you enjoy editing your youtube videos of your cats, you have an excuse of needing to upgrade. But if a freaking spaceship can handle using some older hardware...
 
2013-07-10 02:12:24 PM
Soldiers never fill in their goddamn timesheets.
 
2013-07-10 02:12:46 PM
If the old computers still work, why would you replace them?

The biggest, most costliest, stupidest fark-ups I've ever seen in my career were due to the fact that some clueless middle-manager decided to replace well established, working systems because they were "old". It's almost as stupid a concept as "if we re-write it from scratch, THIS TIME we'll get it right"
 
2013-07-10 02:13:34 PM
Are the B-2s still running on 286 processors?
 
2013-07-10 02:19:23 PM
Farking trash-80s.
Everyone knows the cool kids use Commodore 64s.
 
2013-07-10 02:19:33 PM
On a positive note, MyPay (Mil pay website) now requires:

Must be 15 to 30 characters in length
Contain at least two UPPERCASE letters
Contain at least two lowercase letters
Contain at least two numbers (0-9)
Contain at least two of the following special characters:
# (pound or number sign)
@ (at sign)
$ (dollar sign)
= (equal sign)
^ (caret)
! (exclamation)
* (asterisk)
_ (underline/underscore)
Must NOT include any spaces

To be changed every 60 days.
It's ridiculous.
 
2013-07-10 02:20:30 PM

UNC_Samurai: Are the B-2s still running on 286 processors?


Not sure? But hey, if 286s are good enough for the Aegis System, they should be able to handle a single bomber.
 
2013-07-10 02:23:44 PM
Well, since they haven't upgraded in 30 years, I guess we better go ahead and cut taxes.
 
2013-07-10 02:24:12 PM

chuggernaught: This. If it's working fine, an upgrade will certainly fark it up.


I've been doing Fortune 500/US Federal contracting as a software consultant for 15+ years.  I couldn't agree more.

Normally we don't even upgrade stuff anymore - just install the new version and port over what we can.
 
2013-07-10 02:24:15 PM
I am sure my fellow brother and sisters in the Services will agree:  If you "owe" the government $, it will be gone before you ever see your next pay.  If the governemnt owes you $, kiss it goodbye until you call your congressman, then you can wait 6-12 months.

Can't pay your bills due to an pay error?  TOO BAD, you should have planned for this!
 
2013-07-10 02:24:36 PM

chuggernaught: This.  If it's working fine, an upgrade will certainly fark it up.


I think the point of the article was that it wasn't working fine.  If  you read the whole thing, they either need to fix the software, re-write it, or update to new software and/or hardware.  The existing structure, according to the article, is a clusterfark.
 
2013-07-10 02:24:51 PM

URAPNIS: On a positive note, MyPay (Mil pay website) now requires:

Must be 15 to 30 characters in length
Contain at least two UPPERCASE letters
Contain at least two lowercase letters
Contain at least two numbers (0-9)
Contain at least two of the following special characters:
# (pound or number sign)
@ (at sign)
$ (dollar sign)
= (equal sign)
^ (caret)
! (exclamation)
* (asterisk)
_ (underline/underscore)
Must NOT include any spaces

To be changed every 60 days.
It's ridiculous.


god I hate these people.
They really have no clue about password security.
To be honest, the 15 characters alone is pretty secure.
The rest? WTF.

/dont get me started about working from home, but my work account times out after being inactive for 15 mins. Because security!!!
 
2013-07-10 02:25:05 PM
I was a soldier, I always got my money on time, and I never really gave a damn how it got to me.
 
2013-07-10 02:25:33 PM

1ceTr0n: chuggernaught: 1ceTr0n: The computers used to fly the space shuttle have about the same computing power as an older TI-83 graphing calculator and it was determined that upgrading the systems was basically a total waste of money because it dids its job perfectly right up until the last shuttle launch.  Balancing debits and credits hardly requires high end computing power to output paychecks people...


/work in IT
//if its still working, dont' fix it
///and sure as hell don't upgrade it

This.  If it's working fine, an upgrade will certainly fark it up.


Unless its simply not capable of doing its required function anymore or preventing future business expansion then yeah, you basically have no frustrating choice...


/You guys must suck at doing upgrades...
//Work in software
///Think IT nerds are just less capable
 
2013-07-10 02:27:48 PM

URAPNIS: On a positive note, MyPay (Mil pay website) now requires:

Must be 15 to 30 characters in length
Contain at least two UPPERCASE letters
Contain at least two lowercase letters
Contain at least two numbers (0-9)
Contain at least two of the following special characters:
# (pound or number sign)
@ (at sign)
$ (dollar sign)
= (equal sign)
^ (caret)
! (exclamation)
* (asterisk)
_ (underline/underscore)
Must NOT include any spaces

To be changed every 60 days.
It's ridiculous.


imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-07-10 02:29:33 PM

namatad: To be honest, the 15 characters alone is pretty secure


That's why my Fark password is "password1234567"
 
2013-07-10 02:31:17 PM
FTFA: Wallace, the Army assistant deputy chief of staff, says the system has "seven million lines of Cobol code that hasn't been updated" in more than a dozen years, and significant parts of the code have been "corrupted." The older it gets, the harder it is to maintain. As DFAS itself said: "As time passes, the pool of Cobol expertise dwindles."

They could just take their brightest new recruits and instead of giving them a gun stick them in front of a terminal and teach them Cobol.
 
2013-07-10 02:32:29 PM

technoblogical: namatad: To be honest, the 15 characters alone is pretty secure

That's why my Fark password is "password1234567"


That didn't work.
 
2013-07-10 02:34:20 PM
Well, to be fair, it's not like there are very large numbers involved.
 
2013-07-10 02:34:53 PM
I got out of the Navy in December '92 and they continued to pay me until March '93. I called the disbursing officer on my last ship every two weeks to let him know about the error but it still showed up in my bank account on the 1st and 15th of the month.
 
2013-07-10 02:36:58 PM
A few years ago I was a contractor and was assigned to review a process for DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service).  Long story short, I could replace an entire department and their ponderously slow process with an automated process.  The director did not like that because that would effectively terminate his job as well (what's a manager without reports?)
Years later, they were going to close this DFAS office because of consolidation and automation but a congressman got involved to keep the office open because jobs.
So it does not surprise me to hear about inefficiency in the system. It is there by design.
 
2013-07-10 02:38:42 PM
dilbert.com
 
2013-07-10 02:41:29 PM

boarch: 1ceTr0n: chuggernaught: 1ceTr0n: The computers used to fly the space shuttle have about the same computing power as an older TI-83 graphing calculator and it was determined that upgrading the systems was basically a total waste of money because it dids its job perfectly right up until the last shuttle launch.  Balancing debits and credits hardly requires high end computing power to output paychecks people...


/work in IT
//if its still working, dont' fix it
///and sure as hell don't upgrade it

This.  If it's working fine, an upgrade will certainly fark it up.


Unless its simply not capable of doing its required function anymore or preventing future business expansion then yeah, you basically have no frustrating choice...

/You guys must suck at doing upgrades...
//Work in software
///Think IT nerds are just less capable



/Being in IT means I don't make those decisions sadly I'm just told to do it even though I say "don't"
//work with hardware and people. Screw programming, hate it
///could care less what you think
 
2013-07-10 02:45:24 PM
Something else to blame Cheney for.
 
2013-07-10 02:47:50 PM
Davidbyrnesameasiteverwas.jpeg.
 
2013-07-10 02:49:31 PM

1ceTr0n: The computers used to fly the space shuttle have about the same computing power as an older TI-83 graphing calculator and it was determined that upgrading the systems was basically a total waste of money because it dids its job perfectly right up until the last shuttle launch.  Balancing debits and credits hardly requires high end computing power to output paychecks people...


/work in IT
//if its still working, dont' fix it
///and sure as hell don't upgrade it


^^^This^^^  Is not how the military operates, they spent billions replacing every branches uniform with "unique" patterns.

/That are proven not to work better than the ones replaced
//They are already planning to replace them again
 
2013-07-10 02:49:44 PM

I Like Shiny Things: technoblogical: namatad: To be honest, the 15 characters alone is pretty secure

That's why my Fark password is "password1234567"

That didn't work.


Someone probably already changed it to match their luggage.
 
2013-07-10 02:51:02 PM

Kimpak: chuggernaught: This.  If it's working fine, an upgrade will certainly fark it up.

I think the point of the article was that it wasn't working fine.  If  you read the whole thing, they either need to fix the software, re-write it, or update to new software and/or hardware.  The existing structure, according to the article, is a clusterfark.


no
they should hire a professional payroll company like everyone else does.
clearly they have no desire or skill at doing payroll in house.
 
2013-07-10 02:51:41 PM

URAPNIS: On a positive note, MyPay (Mil pay website) now requires:

Must be 15 to 30 characters in length
Contain at least two UPPERCASE letters
Contain at least two lowercase letters
Contain at least two numbers (0-9)
Contain at least two of the following special characters:
# (pound or number sign)
@ (at sign)
$ (dollar sign)
= (equal sign)
^ (caret)
! (exclamation)
* (asterisk)
_ (underline/underscore)
Must NOT include any spaces

To be changed every 60 days.
It's ridiculous.


A soldier would typically use a common access card to login to dfas, but the password requirements are horrible.
 
2013-07-10 02:52:40 PM
I wish I took home that much each month.
 
2013-07-10 02:53:11 PM

I Like Shiny Things: technoblogical: namatad: To be honest, the 15 characters alone is pretty secure

That's why my Fark password is "password1234567"

That didn't work.


crap
now I need to change my passwords
 
2013-07-10 02:56:08 PM

milowitz: URAPNIS: On a positive note, MyPay (Mil pay website) now requires:

Must be 15 to 30 characters in length
Contain at least two UPPERCASE letters
Contain at least two lowercase letters
Contain at least two numbers (0-9)
Contain at least two of the following special characters:
# (pound or number sign)
@ (at sign)
$ (dollar sign)
= (equal sign)
^ (caret)
! (exclamation)
* (asterisk)
_ (underline/underscore)
Must NOT include any spaces

To be changed every 60 days.
It's ridiculous.

A soldier would typically use a common access card to login to dfas, but the password requirements are horrible.


Yeah, I tried that from home. Didn't work the first time so I gave up. I'll have to try again once I have to change the password and forget what it is.
 
2013-07-10 02:58:09 PM

UNC_Samurai: Are the B-2s still running on 286 processors?


Intersil still manufactures the 286, 8088, and all the necessary peripheral chips. I have a tube of military surplus Harris 286 cpus in the parts bin.
 
2013-07-10 03:07:55 PM

Kimpak: chuggernaught: This.  If it's working fine, an upgrade will certainly fark it up.

I think the point of the article was that it wasn't working fine.  If  you read the whole thing, they either need to fix the software, re-write it, or update to new software and/or hardware.  The existing structure, according to the article, is a clusterfark.


This, and it's nice to know I'm not the only one who read TFA. Sounds like the pay system isn't really a system at all, but more along the lines of 50 tangled  strands of Christmas lights (half of which have broken wires), all using different voltage, different bulbs, etc. and nobody bothering to fix it because at least part of it lights up sometimes.
 
2013-07-10 03:10:54 PM

milowitz: URAPNIS: On a positive note, MyPay (Mil pay website) now requires:....

A soldier would typically use a common access card to login to dfas, but the password requirements are horrible.


I have to use MyPay.
I am a member of an organization that is not issued CAC.

/How secure is a password when you have to write them down someplace?
 
2013-07-10 03:14:36 PM
It's actually extremely common for companies and other organizations to use decades old computer systems.  Once you have a system in place which works, you realize that, despite its flaws, it doesn't make sense to upgrade to a new one.  You'd spend millions of dollars, have to retrain everyone involved, and then the new system would have new flaws. Plus, the old systems have the benefit that since they're not running on any modern operating system, they're not susceptible to today's viruses.

At the restaurant I work at, our computers run on MSDOS and some old software from the 1980's.  It works, clumsily, but it works.
 
2013-07-10 03:15:53 PM

joeflood: UNC_Samurai: Are the B-2s still running on 286 processors?

Intersil still manufactures the 286, 8088, and all the necessary peripheral chips. I have a tube of military surplus Harris 286 cpus in the parts bin.


http://www.4starelectronics.com/part_detail/CG80C28616.html
wow
just wow
 
2013-07-10 03:18:36 PM

2chris2: It's actually extremely common for companies and other organizations to use decades old computer systems.  Once you have a system in place which works, you realize that, despite its flaws, it doesn't make sense to upgrade to a new one.  You'd spend millions of dollars, have to retrain everyone involved, and then the new system would have new flaws. Plus, the old systems have the benefit that since they're not running on any modern operating system, they're not susceptible to today's viruses.

At the restaurant I work at, our computers run on MSDOS and some old software from the 1980's.  It works, clumsily, but it works.


the right time to replace old crap is when it breaks.
and it will cost more to fix than to replace.
cost includes retraining and down time and what not.

when it is close to break even is the best time to replace old crap.

/we do this everyday on a smaller scale. broken dishwasher or laundry or microwave or car.
/do the repairs cost more than your car is worth? time for a new POS car.
 
2013-07-10 03:19:48 PM

tommyl66: We're still paying soldiers? I was led to believe this is a volunteer army and the ability to carry around guns and shoot people is payment enough.


They still have one more person to shoot.
 
2013-07-10 03:26:53 PM

URAPNIS: On a positive note, MyPay (Mil pay website) now requires:

Must be 15 to 30 characters in length
Contain at least two UPPERCASE letters
Contain at least two lowercase letters
Contain at least two numbers (0-9)
Contain at least two of the following special characters:
# (pound or number sign)
@ (at sign)
$ (dollar sign)
= (equal sign)
^ (caret)
! (exclamation)
* (asterisk)
_ (underline/underscore)
Must NOT include any spaces

To be changed every 60 days.
It's ridiculous.


Or you can use your smart card
 
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