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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 102
    More: Asinine, Apple IIe, al-Qaeda, missions, special reports, naval air station, Oregon National Guard, night terrors, gary  
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9589 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jul 2013 at 1:55 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-10 03:40:42 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.



Yeah, wow do I agree with that statement.
We are all so used to MS and Apple constantly making upgrades, and making their own products obsolete, that we actually think that we need to have these outrageously powered machines.  And most people don't do much that's more taxing than checking their email.

In any case...  I think that the reason that the military, or the gov't in general doesn't upgrade is because, what they have is tested and reliable.  And considering the Pentagon will pay $9000 for a hammer, imagine what a computer upgrade would cost.
 
2013-07-10 03:40:56 PM  

WordyGrrl: 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.


It's NOT working fine if you've got systems that can't talk to each other and so things have to be printed from one station to be manually reentered at a station down the hall. Or if a soldier can't be accurately tracked because he arrived by bus instead of by plane.

That's not a payroll error, that's a system failure, and they need to tear everything out, at tremendous cost in time and labor, and replace it from the ground up. Because all those little patchwork fixes are what's caused this mess.
 
2013-07-10 03:41:47 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.


And the military isn't ridiculous in most practices in general?
 
2013-07-10 03:45:05 PM  

RockSteadyUSMC: 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.

And the military isn't ridiculous in most practices in general?


Its the government, it goes hand and hand
 
2013-07-10 03:49:48 PM  
Our Troops don't complain about their pay. They don't complain about their working conditions or access to the nearest Starbucks or anything else. That's because they are AMERICAN Troops. They are Proud and they volunteer to Defend Homeland and Fight for YOUR Freedom. THAT is a sacrifice and the only reason they accept payment is to cover the cost of living for their families who, due to age or infirmity, cannot join them on the line. Truthfully, it demeans the Noble and Honorable sacrifice of our Troops to give them money, as though they were mercenaries or whores who smile and suck your cock and/or kill your enemies, but only so long as you're paying them. Does the mercenary care about your Freedom? Does the whore love you? Does she care about your feelings? No, they're in it for the money. But TROOPS! care about your Freedom. They want to make sure we take out the terrorists OVER THERE so we don't have to fight them here in Homeland.

But some forces in Government want to undermine that Noble Sacrifice. Some elitists in Washington, DC, think that we should spend YOUR tax dollars to update personnel, medical record, and payroll systems to be able to "help" our brave American men and women in Uniformed Armed Services (TROOPS!!!). Help them to stay away from their Band of Brothers by holing up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Insult them by giving them money, so much as telling them, "It's on the footlocker, take it on your way out, whore". When what we need to be doing is building up our Drone Fleet. We are currently embroiled in a war in Iraq, a war in Afganistan, two potential wars in Syria and Egypt, a tenuous ceasefire in Korea, a non-stop insurgency on the Mexican Border, and an ongoing psychological battle with the terrorist devil hold-outs at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. And our Brave Men and Women are fighting this battle every day. Not for your filthy money. Money that's just as easily given to welfare cheats or elitist, Ivy League bookworms to perform studies on how better to turn your children into homosexual communists.

Meanwhile the drone programs are underfunded. How can we expect them to perform all of these tasks and support our Troops! unless we take the Drone program to the next level? Drones are toiling around the clock, working 36-hour shifts. We must construct DroneTown, he model, livable community designed around values of the traditional village paired with the modern efficiency of the shopping mall. DroneTown, where the families of our brave, dependable drones can thrive and grow. Only then will our Troops know their work is done and be content with a hearty hand-shake and a sternly delivered, "Well done, Troop."
 
2013-07-10 03:51:09 PM  
I've seen both sides of the issue when it comes to upgrading computer hardware and software.

One international company i was hired at, was using 20-year-old software so limited, that you had to reboot the computer just to change the program's language. Everything from the user interface to the data on the back-end was set up to only be able to use one language and one currency at a time, and God help you if you were attempting to view the data with the computer set to the wrong language. And this was their primary business system for an international company operating across Europe, North America, and South America.

There was no choice but to completely re-write the system, so that it could support multiple languages at the same time, had the ability to recognize timezones, and could recognize and convert between international currencies. Oh, the old software was also still using 2-digit dates, 5 years AFTER Y2K.

ON THE OTHER HAND:

I was at a conference 2 years ago, speaking with a bunch of database admins. They were taking about situations where they had to buy new hardware every 6 months to solve a performance problem, as more people used their companies' software.

When it was my turn,  I told them the company I was working for had the same problem as they did, but my solution was to look for ways to optimize their database. This involved adding proper indexes to the data, modifying the structure of the database, and rewriting the data queries used by the software. The queries I wrote looked a bit more complicated, but they returned results 50x faster (no joke) on the same hardware. I had spent 2 months tweaking their database and software, but ended up saving the company $200k in new hardware they didn't have to buy.

The other DB admins looked at me as if i had just grown a glowing purple horn on my head. They were so locked into the corporate mindset of just throwing more hardware at a performance problem, that the very concept of optimizing the database and/or software was an alien concept.
 
2013-07-10 03:54:54 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.


That's because just after posting I changed it to "letmein12345678"
/In case you didn't get my point, these rules are in place because of the people who pick stupid passwords.
 
2013-07-10 04:00:37 PM  

technoblogical: 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.

That's because just after posting I changed it to "letmein12345678"
/In case you didn't get my point, these rules are in place because of the people who pick stupid passwords.


sort of
you could test for stupid passwords and reject them (many sites do that, or at least give you a warning).
but when you make the password requirements complex and change them often, people just write them down, making the security infinitely worse.

I would bet huge amounts of money that you could walk into any major company and find passwords sitting next to a monitor, or in a top drawer. I know that is where my boss hides his.
 
2013-07-10 04:02:58 PM  
Heh, I remember DFAS. I worked IT Support there from 2001-2006 when Zack Gaddy was there, and HQ was in Crystal City, Arlington, VA, right down the street from the Pentagon and across the river from DC. Gaddy came to DC from DFAS Denver. He hated DC and he didn't want to be there, at all. He went to the Pentagon and told Dov Zackheim that he wanted to shut down the office in Arlington and move all HQ functions to Denver in 90 days but Zackheim shot the idea down.

Then the BRAC recommendations came out and DFAS was recommended to be slashed in half, half the workers laid off or transferred and half the offices closed. While everyone gets a 10 year window to implement the BRAC recommendations, DFAS implemented all of them in 2 years. Where I worked, it went from 800 people to like 600 people in the space of the first three weeks, as all the old-timers took their retirement and bailed out. I stayed on until almost the end until I got laid off and went to another agency that also been "BRACed" but took the full ten years to implement everything.

fun fact, the trouble ticket system we used there was command line based. No GUI for you!
 
2013-07-10 04:03:38 PM  

technoblogical: 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.

That's because just after posting I changed it to "letmein12345678"
/In case you didn't get my point, these rules are in place because of the people who pick stupid passwords.


That's why I just use the password my IT people gave me: "Password1!"

It's engineered it for security, that's why they told me to use it.
 
2013-07-10 04:05:09 PM  
When I got out of the Navy, I watched the office go through my pay records and go through maybe 20 tables calculating what my last paycheck was supposed to be. When they finally decided on a value, it was obviously way off; I mean several thousand dollars off, off. (There are gobs of 'fields' that all combine to make up a military paycheck. Cost of Living Allowance (COLA - more expensive to be stationed in some areas than others), Overseas, combat or hazardous duty pay, etc. It's a combination of some or all. A lot. My 20 tables example may be a low estimate).

Being a dick, I refused to sign for the check until they wrote a nice letter stating that I disagreed with the sum; that I felt I was being overpaid and only accepted the check because they ordered me to. Copy to me, copy in my record (which mysteriously disappeared).

Almost two years later, they finally finished the audit on my account. I got a nasty nasty letter from the government claiming they were going to garnish half my check starting next month until the entire amount I owed was repaid - with interest retroactive to the day the check was cut (iirc 7.5%); and a contact number. I called, and got bounced maybe a dozen times before I got to someone who didn't just file complaints, but could actually make a decision. The very nice lady gave me her fax number, and I faxed her the letter. She said: 'oh', Apologized, then proceeded to set up a payment program where I paid the government the lowest possible payment (I still remember the amount: 28 dollars AND ELEVEN CENTS!!!) every two weeks until it was paid off, zero interest. It took years.

In the end, after their final, final audit they sent me a check for 3 cents. I kept it - it expired after one year, but I didn't have the heart to cash it; I figured it would cost the taxpayer more to process the check...

/The Jerk reference in case anyone missed it. ...and this chair.
//On an odd coincidence side-note, my one professor did APL programming for the lunar missions - APL was a beautiful, wondrous thing... and I am ever so glad I haven't seen it in 30 years lol. wiki here.
 
2013-07-10 04:05:28 PM  
I work for a tech company and we still use old 386 computers in our labs and run windows 3.1 on them... because all they do is control simple machines and the programs they run is equally as old.
It does the job so why replace it?
 
2013-07-10 04:06:52 PM  
 half-century-old computer language that is largely unable to communicate with the equally outmoded personnel management systems employed by each of the military services.
I'm thinking Assembly or FORTRAN

 the Defense Department's endemic failure to keep track of its money - how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is lost or stolen.

The department's authorized 2013 budget, after sequester, totals $565.8 billion - by far the largest chunk of the annual federal budget approved by Congress. Yet the Pentagon is literally unable to account for itself.


Hard to believe aint it? Just cut another check, we're good for it.  It would be so nice to see heads starting to roll on this one but no, some poor bastard in accounting of sponges will be furloughed for the rest of their lives and that's the end of it.

Cynical? *gasp* not me
 
2013-07-10 04:07:45 PM  
That's why my password is my social security number: ***-**-****

Oh hey, I noticed it auto protects you from posting your SSN here, you guys should try it.
 
2013-07-10 04:11:11 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.


That is because Fark autofilters out your password if you put it in the body of your message. I knew that one was fake.

See, watch - My password is *********

Same with my Social Secutity number. ***-**-****
 
2013-07-10 04:13:42 PM  

overlord_mike: I work for a tech company and we still use old 386 computers in our labs and run windows 3.1 on them... because all they do is control simple machines and the programs they run is equally as old.
It does the job so why replace it?


Because what are you going to do when it breaks? How fast can you get back up and running? Would it go faster if you had equipment that's under warranty and supported by the manufacturer?

Kind of reminds me of when I was renting a space from the storage company near my house. The entry gate was controlled by software running on an Apple IIe. I asked them what happened when the hardware broke- they had to go to eBay to buy new parts. I don't think I'd want to rely on that for my critical parts procurement.
 
2013-07-10 04:16:16 PM  

The Stealth Hippopotamus: 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.


We ran the payroll, accounting and purchasing for about fifteen hundred people on an IBM 360/30.  Sixty four kilobytes of core and eight spindles of 7.25 megabyte removable disk (each, IBM 2311 drives).   Later on we upgraded to an IBM 2314 with 29 megabytes / spindle or 230 megabytes for the entire array (8 removable packs).  Most of the programming was in Cobol which simply works.  There was also PL/1 and some assembly code.

There was also RPG, which was an invention of the devil.  Hopefully the inventor of that misbegotten language is roasting in hell, being sodomized by Satan's barbed wang.
 
2013-07-10 04:18:09 PM  
Some of you people don't seem to have mastered reading comprehension. The military's current payroll systems (that's plural- as in, "more than one system") are massively obsolete and don't work either independently or with each other. Those saying "if it ain't broke ..." are missing the FARKing point that it IS broke.

The reason it stays broken is the fact that the Pentagram can't be bothered to put a four-star Flag in charge of the program until it gets fixed (which is what TFA said was recommended by their own internal audit). No Flag officer wants to be bothered with mere accounting- you don't get medals for accounting. For FSM's sake, the DFAS computers can't even produce data on how much they actually do (according to TFA).

Either allow each service to manage its own payroll or turn a couple of rival accounting firms loose on DFAS. Each firm gets a bonus equal to a percentage of the dollar value of every documented case of error, waste, fraud, or abuse they uncover that the other firm doesn't. Said bonuses to come directly- dollar for dollar- out of DFAS' operating budget. Hire a third firm to audit the first two, and to handle disbursement/collection of uncovered errors. After this is completed, fire or re-assign everyone working for/at DFAS. The accounting firm which found the most errors/waste gets a contract to manage the military payroll system, audited by randomly-selected outside accounting firms under DoJ contract who will get paid bonuses (taken dollar-for-dollar from the military accounting firm's contract) for every error or example of waste documented.

This will cost a ton of money, but we (the taxpayers) will get a functional military payroll system which will not turn out to be our military's worst enemy- which is basically what we have now.
 
2013-07-10 04:20:52 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.


CAC logon FTW
 
2013-07-10 04:22:52 PM  

The Stealth Hippopotamus: 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.


I'm sure they [thought they] did, at the time.
 
2013-07-10 04:23:21 PM  
So you have the biggest budget in the known universe, but you can't spend a few grand and put some modern equipment in some Army basement and some payroll nerds to run it all?

The worlds tiniest violin, it is sounding. Sounds like one i7 would outperform the lot of it put together right now.
 
2013-07-10 04:29:55 PM  

wingnutx: 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.

CAC logon FTW


So a retiree is going to get a CAC reader, install the software, add security exceptions, etc to use said CAC? I suppose anything is possible.
 
2013-07-10 04:47:08 PM  
Gyrfalcon:

That's not a payroll error, that's a system failure, and they need to tear everything out, at tremendous cost in time and labor, and replace it from the ground up. Because all those little patchwork fixes are what's caused this mess.

And in our genius, our country is designed with many, many levels of government that have all been patched over for decades.  My state's IT infrastructure is so creaky they're hiring back retirees* because they're the only ones who know how to use the custom made systems.  I've been told nothing has been updated or rewritten since 2000.  Same thing, different agencies can't talk to each other despite their only role being to talk to each other.

I'm beginning to view this in almost generational terms.  It feels like the grownups in charge for the last 20-30 years have just been patching things together instead of trying to build something new for the betterment of the country, whether we're talking about bridges, accounting systems, civic institutions, anything really.

*At TWICE their former hourly rate, since there's no benefits to worry about, since the retirees already have their benefits through their pension, which taxes also pay for.
 
2013-07-10 04:47:46 PM  
URAPNIS:

So a retiree is going to get a CAC reader, install the software, add security exceptions, etc to use said CAC? I suppose anything is possible.

You can get a reader for $20 from AAFES. Software is downloadable for free, but you don't actually need any if you run windows 7 or later.

There are a lot of step-by-step guides at  http://militarycac.com/index.htm

I'd be happy to answer questions about it if you have any, or at least point you in the right direction.

The new password requirements are as idiotic as you say, and it's worth the effort to avoid them.
 
2013-07-10 04:54:45 PM  

Gyrfalcon: It's NOT working fine if you've got systems that can't talk to each other and so things have to be printed from one station to be manually reentered at a station down the hall. Or if a soldier can't be accurately tracked because he arrived by bus instead of by plane.

That's not a payroll error, that's a system failure, and they need to tear everything out, at tremendous cost in time and labor, and replace it from the ground up. Because all those little patchwork fixes are what's caused this mess.


You're generally much better off leaving systems where they are, running nicely, and deal with the interface problem. And what you do is to stick a broker machine that everything talks through that takes requests as either fixed format TCP/IP requests or webservices. And gradually, you turn the boxes into dumb data servers that anything outside can talk to. And then, you build unit tests that can fire requests at those interfaces to make sure that any change you make on that machine hasn't broken anything.

A company I know is running their banking on 5 different mainframes. One of which dates back to the mid-90s. You go to their online banking system, you ask for a certain sort of request, and it goes through from your shiny PC via a load of networking stuff to a broker that converts a SOAP request into a fixed format string and gets your account details from a load of early 90s COBOL code that I wrote.

The problem is government, and that they lack the incentives that business has. You run a software company and you make it successful, you get a bigger car and better pussy. Politicians don't. In fact, the way for politicians to get a bigger car and better pussy is to hand over wads of cash to a consultancy who then employ them when they leave office.
 
2013-07-10 05:01:41 PM  
I was stationed with a guy that went through this back in '96. They withheld his pay for almost a year saying he owed money to the PX. His wife finally talked to our battalion CO and said if it wasn't fixed on his next paycheck she was calling her congressman. It got fixed and he received all his back pay in a lump sum.
 
2013-07-10 05:04:12 PM  

wingnutx: URAPNIS:

So a retiree is going to get a CAC reader, install the software, add security exceptions, etc to use said CAC? I suppose anything is possible.

You can get a reader for $20 from AAFES. Software is downloadable for free, but you don't actually need any if you run windows 7 or later.

There are a lot of step-by-step guides at  http://militarycac.com/index.htm

I'd be happy to answer questions about it if you have any, or at least point you in the right direction.

The new password requirements are as idiotic as you say, and it's worth the effort to avoid them.


Yeah, we got the reader for free (reserves) and it works fine for AROWS-R and stuff. It did give me an error when I tried to use it for MyPay. I don't remember offhand what it was though. I'll have to dick around with it later.
 
2013-07-10 05:06:52 PM  

pat34us: ^^^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


And then they'll order us to purchase at least X number of sets of whatever they come up with, indifferent to the fact that it will cost about 20 times as much as we get in uniform allowance.
 
2013-07-10 05:16:10 PM  
static.comicvine.com
 
2013-07-10 06:03:55 PM  

angryviking: pat34us: ^^^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

And then they'll order us to purchase at least X number of sets of whatever they come up with, indifferent to the fact that it will cost about 20 times as much as we get in uniform allowance.


submit a bill?? ;-)
 
2013-07-10 06:08:46 PM  

angryviking: pat34us: ^^^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

And then they'll order us to purchase at least X number of sets of whatever they come up with, indifferent to the fact that it will cost about 20 times as much as we get in uniform allowance.


Also a factual statement.
 
2013-07-10 06:34:14 PM  
TFA: Schoomaker returned to work, but he didn't get paid. DFAS had - correctly - stopped Schoomaker's monthly retirement checks when he resumed active duty. But its computers weren't able to restart pay for a soldier returning from retirement.

In the meantime, soon after Schoomaker's return to active duty, a computer-generated letter arrived at his home, addressed to his wife and offering condolences on the general's death. DFAS's computers were programmed to assume that when a retiree was taken off the rolls, that person had died.

The letter didn't cause any undue alarm at the Schoomaker home; the general was living there at the time. He did notice that the letter spelled his name three different ways.


I think that may be one of the most fantastically incompetent things I have ever read about.
 
2013-07-10 06:43:22 PM  
1,36 billion dollar budget / 2.7 million soldiers = $503.70 per soldier per year
 
2013-07-10 06:45:57 PM  

evaned: I think that may be one of the most fantastically incompetent things I have ever read about.


I have now read (well, skimmed) the rest of the article, and I think I have to take that back, and demote that  particular story to, say, the third most fantastically incompetent thing I have read about.
 
2013-07-10 06:57:41 PM  
They should have gotten real jobs, not lousy government handout jobs.

That, and DoD shouldn't have to spend money it doesn't want or need to on useless programs that serve no purpose, so they could use the money where it's needed.
 
2013-07-10 07:33:34 PM  

cybrwzrd: 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.

That is because Fark autofilters out your password if you put it in the body of your message. I knew that one was fake.

See, watch - My password is *********

Same with my Social Secutity number. ***-**-****


Wonder if it works with our Canuckian SINs? 495-613-913 - not my SIN.
 
2013-07-10 07:34:15 PM  
Nope.
 
2013-07-10 07:46:54 PM  
CSB
I worked on the Seawolf Submarine sonar software back in 90/91.  Coming in, I figured it was a 3-4 month job, including documentation, testing, etc.  I was there a year and never wrote a line of code.

Twice the Navy flew in teams from the other coast to hold document reviews.  There were twice as many of them as there were of us.  The reviews were each a week long.  Nothing technical was discussed.  The entire point off the meeting was that this paragraph should be 3.2.2.1.2 instead of 3.2.2.1, and random_naming_standard should be RandomNamingStandard.  It just blew my mind.

I write device drivers.  Before doing anything I plug my hardware into a system and play with it a bit, cuz the manuals always lie.  But according to the (2167?) coding standard we were under I couldn't touch the hardware until the design was complete, even though we had a couple cards in house.  We had these Sky Warrior DSP cards that would do all the heavy lifting.  They had a mode called 'chaining', which let you specify a bunch of DSP operations on a block of data before the CPU got interrupted.  My whole design depended on chaining.  After I left, the woman who ended up implementing my design found out chaining didn't work.  The vendor had never had anyone else use it, and hadn't actually implemented it yet.

sigh

I'll never again work on a government project, nor disbelieve any horror stories I hear from people stuck on them.
 
2013-07-10 07:49:14 PM  
The DFAS accounting system still uses a half-century-old computer language that is largely unable to communicate with the equally outmoded personnel management systems employed by each of the military services.
They coulden't say Cobol?


Cobol - 1959 - 54 years
C - 1972 - 41 years
 
2013-07-10 08:05:20 PM  

Snotnose: CSB
I worked on the Seawolf Submarine sonar software back in 90/91.  Coming in, I figured it was a 3-4 month job, including documentation, testing, etc.  I was there a year and never wrote a line of code.

Twice the Navy flew in teams from the other coast to hold document reviews.  There were twice as many of them as there were of us.  The reviews were each a week long.  Nothing technical was discussed.  The entire point off the meeting was that this paragraph should be 3.2.2.1.2 instead of 3.2.2.1, and random_naming_standard should be RandomNamingStandard.  It just blew my mind.

I write device drivers.  Before doing anything I plug my hardware into a system and play with it a bit, cuz the manuals always lie.  But according to the (2167?) coding standard we were under I couldn't touch the hardware until the design was complete, even though we had a couple cards in house.  We had these Sky Warrior DSP cards that would do all the heavy lifting.  They had a mode called 'chaining', which let you specify a bunch of DSP operations on a block of data before the CPU got interrupted.  My whole design depended on chaining.  After I left, the woman who ended up implementing my design found out chaining didn't work.  The vendor had never had anyone else use it, and hadn't actually implemented it yet.

sigh

I'll never again work on a government project, nor disbelieve any horror stories I hear from people stuck on them.


meh
charge 10x and at least get paid a lot for doing mindless work
:D
 
2013-07-10 09:25:31 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.


After you set your initial password, use you CAC if you can, then you don't have to deal with the crazy password at all.
 
2013-07-10 09:42:42 PM  

namatad: charge 10x and at least get paid a lot for doing mindless work


I like to get things done.  Wasting time drives me nuts.
 
2013-07-10 10:26:47 PM  

fenian-: cybrwzrd: 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.

That is because Fark autofilters out your password if you put it in the body of your message. I knew that one was fake.

See, watch - My password is *********

Same with my Social Secutity number. ***-**-****

Wonder if it works with our Canuckian SINs? 495-613-913 - not my SIN.


You see UltraFark knows your real SIN through their work with the NSA. You have to put *your* number in for the filter to work.

Oh crap, someo --Signal lost
 
2013-07-11 12:54:52 AM  
Obligatory Duffel Blog post on the subject:  http://www.duffelblog.com/2013/02/enemy-hackers-deem-ako-mypay-not-ev e n-worth-hacking/

/Spend way too much time on that site
//Really love reading the comments of those who don't know that it is the Onion for DOD folk
///slashies
 
2013-07-11 01:00:02 AM  

TelemonianAjax: Gyrfalcon:

That's not a payroll error, that's a system failure, and they need to tear everything out, at tremendous cost in time and labor, and replace it from the ground up. Because all those little patchwork fixes are what's caused this mess.

And in our genius, our country is designed with many, many levels of government that have all been patched over for decades.  My state's IT infrastructure is so creaky they're hiring back retirees* because they're the only ones who know how to use the custom made systems.  I've been told nothing has been updated or rewritten since 2000.  Same thing, different agencies can't talk to each other despite their only role being to talk to each other.

I'm beginning to view this in almost generational terms.  It feels like the grownups in charge for the last 20-30 years have just been patching things together instead of trying to build something new for the betterment of the country, whether we're talking about bridges, accounting systems, civic institutions, anything really.

*At TWICE their former hourly rate, since there's no benefits to worry about, since the retirees already have their benefits through their pension, which taxes also pay for.


Probably. It may be why it's so prevalent in government, which has no incentive to actually fix the damn thing, but just mend it from administration to administration. When I was working for Disneyland, they actually had that very issue--I wasn't in IT, but I heard about it from people who were. Over the 80's and early 90's, the company had expanded, and become a mishmash of assorted systems that weren't communicating very well, stuff was getting lost through being faxed from Anaheim to Florida so it could be re-entered, etc.

So the company spent $XXX,XXX and hired tons of temporary data entry personnel to convert the systems to ONE system, enter all the crap into the new system and so on. It took months and cost a fortune--but at the end of it, The Walt Disney Company was on one network instead of three or four. So it's possible. It's hard and expensive and time-consuming, but it has to happen if you have millions of employees and billions of dollars in revenue. There's no reason the Pentagon couldn't do it. Take a bunch of Pfcs and don't give them any passwords, just a stack of files and say "Enter this crap into this computer." They do it and then they're reassigned. Repeat until all computers are updated, then link the networks. It would probably take over a year, but it could be done.
 
2013-07-11 01:31:30 AM  

Gyrfalcon: TelemonianAjax: Gyrfalcon:

That's not a payroll error, that's a system failure, and they need to tear everything out, at tremendous cost in time and labor, and replace it from the ground up. Because all those little patchwork fixes are what's caused this mess.

And in our genius, our country is designed with many, many levels of government that have all been patched over for decades.  My state's IT infrastructure is so creaky they're hiring back retirees* because they're the only ones who know how to use the custom made systems.  I've been told nothing has been updated or rewritten since 2000.  Same thing, different agencies can't talk to each other despite their only role being to talk to each other.

I'm beginning to view this in almost generational terms.  It feels like the grownups in charge for the last 20-30 years have just been patching things together instead of trying to build something new for the betterment of the country, whether we're talking about bridges, accounting systems, civic institutions, anything really.

*At TWICE their former hourly rate, since there's no benefits to worry about, since the retirees already have their benefits through their pension, which taxes also pay for.

Probably. It may be why it's so prevalent in government, which has no incentive to actually fix the damn thing, but just mend it from administration to administration. When I was working for Disneyland, they actually had that very issue--I wasn't in IT, but I heard about it from people who were. Over the 80's and early 90's, the company had expanded, and become a mishmash of assorted systems that weren't communicating very well, stuff was getting lost through being faxed from Anaheim to Florida so it could be re-entered, etc.

So the company spent $XXX,XXX and hired tons of temporary data entry personnel to convert the systems to ONE system, enter all the crap into the new system and so on. It took months and cost a fortune--but at the end of it, The Walt Disney Company was on one network instead of three or four. So it's possible. It's hard and expensive and time-consuming, but it has to happen if you have millions of employees and billions of dollars in revenue. There's no reason the Pentagon couldn't do it. Take a bunch of Pfcs and don't give them any passwords, just a stack of files and say "Enter this crap into this computer." They do it and then they're reassigned. Repeat until all computers are updated, then link the networks. It would probably take over a year, but it could be done.


I wholeheartedly agree.
 
2013-07-11 01:50:24 AM  

Gyrfalcon: TelemonianAjax: Gyrfalcon:

Snip...
There's no reason the Pentagon couldn't do it. Take a bunch of Pfcs and don't give them any passwords, just a stack of files and say "Enter this crap into this computer." They do it and then they're reassigned. Repeat until all computers are updated, then link the networks. It would probably take over a year, but it could be done.


I'm guessing that it were to happen this way it would be a bunch who were on extra duty for NJP reasons or the sh*tbags that every unit was trying to get rid of and get pawned off onto the project.  I can guess the hilarity that would ensue.  This does need to be done but it would need dedicated unit personnel that are specially trained for the project and supervised by Civilian DOD employees or contractors with the right skill-sets.
 
2013-07-11 02:59:19 AM  
Fine. DON'T upgrade the computers.. just give the man his farkin' money!!!!
 
2013-07-11 03:18:50 AM  

1ceTr0n: 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


Newsletter address please, subscription necessary ^_^
 
2013-07-11 11:22:08 AM  
It comes down to:

Reliable Iron that has been working for decades in a basement unmaintained:

upload.wikimedia.org

Bloatware that needs rebooted every few days:

i0.wp.com

Now, there are reasons to upgrade, but there are also ways to virtualize and connect old hardware into a modern network. Especially when the logic has proven reliable.
 
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