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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 12
    More: Asinine, Apple IIe, al-Qaeda, missions, special reports, naval air station, Oregon National Guard, night terrors, gary  
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9587 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jul 2013 at 1:55 PM (52 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-10 01:57:42 PM
7 votes:
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 02:36:58 PM
2 votes:
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.
2013-07-11 04:53:04 PM
1 votes:
The Pentagon:  Overpaying defense contractors, no problem.  Paying soldiers: Not so much.
2013-07-11 01:00:02 AM
1 votes:

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.
2013-07-10 04:47:08 PM
1 votes:
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 02:41:29 PM
1 votes:

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 02:38:42 PM
1 votes:
dilbert.com
2013-07-10 02:31:17 PM
1 votes:
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 02:12:46 PM
1 votes:
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 02:04:44 PM
1 votes:
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 01:24:48 PM
1 votes:
I'm surprised they are using computers at all.

/The check is in the mail
2013-07-10 01:04:33 PM
1 votes:
yup we are stupid
 
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