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(Slate)   You would never guess what government agency just blew a lot of money by missing a well-known, written in stone deadline   (slate.com) divider line 166
    More: Dumbass, IRS, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, security patches, Windows XP  
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8477 clicks; posted to Politics » on 14 Apr 2014 at 6:24 PM (18 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-14 05:24:00 PM
There ought to be some sort of automatic waiver here. If IRS can't achieve a certain level of basic competency, then they have no grounds for holding others accountable for anything. I'm just saying.
 
2014-04-14 05:34:59 PM
Well, it's not like they have any sensitive data or anything.
 
2014-04-14 06:11:43 PM
The difference is the government can compel support. You, no so much.
 
2014-04-14 06:15:50 PM

Diogenes: Well, it's not like they have any sensitive data or anything.


What I'm wondering is if this might be some sort of cover-up for their efforts to monitor conservative groups. They've gathered so much sensitive information, and the case is about to break wide open because Darryl Issa won't accept Lois Lerner's cover-ups and stonewalling, and what they've latched onto now is a desperate, last-ditch defense that involves failing to upgrade their computer systems, leaving them vulnerable to outside attack, which would result in said sensitive information suddenly "vanishing" as a result of an unprecedented data breach. We were looking forward to an open an honest examination of our full records by the committee, they might later testify. But, sadly, we lost everything. And the "hackers" who just so happened to strike at the heart of the IRS at this most critical time? Well, I guess they'll just never be caught, now will they? Or perhaps a year or two down the line there will be some clue linking them to, oh, I dunno. Edward Snowden? Was his entire "reveal" nothing more than a long con by the IRS? Was he in fact working for them all along, establishing himself as the perfect escape goat for the IRS? No, of course not. That could never happen. Oh, here, I have some magic bullets to sell you.
 
2014-04-14 06:17:49 PM

Pocket Ninja: Diogenes: Well, it's not like they have any sensitive data or anything.

What I'm wondering is if this might be some sort of cover-up for their efforts to monitor conservative groups. They've gathered so much sensitive information, and the case is about to break wide open because Darryl Issa won't accept Lois Lerner's cover-ups and stonewalling, and what they've latched onto now is a desperate, last-ditch defense that involves failing to upgrade their computer systems, leaving them vulnerable to outside attack, which would result in said sensitive information suddenly "vanishing" as a result of an unprecedented data breach. We were looking forward to an open an honest examination of our full records by the committee, they might later testify. But, sadly, we lost everything. And the "hackers" who just so happened to strike at the heart of the IRS at this most critical time? Well, I guess they'll just never be caught, now will they? Or perhaps a year or two down the line there will be some clue linking them to, oh, I dunno. Edward Snowden? Was his entire "reveal" nothing more than a long con by the IRS? Was he in fact working for them all along, establishing himself as the perfect escape goat for the IRS? No, of course not. That could never happen. Oh, here, I have some magic bullets to sell you.


^ This times infinity.

/or the length of a flat circle, whichever is greater
 
2014-04-14 06:30:07 PM
so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.
 
2014-04-14 06:30:27 PM

whistleridge: There ought to be some sort of automatic waiver here. If IRS can't achieve a certain level of basic competency, then they have no grounds for holding others accountable for anything. I'm just saying.


Agreed.

Seriously, they're still running XP? Yeah, it's better than the rest; but it's six years old. Because they can't find the money is just an excuse. They just never tried.
 
2014-04-14 06:37:06 PM
I remember laughing when they said that the switch to IE 8 & Win7 would be done by the end of 2013.  Of course that was said in early 2012.
IRS' desktop management was run through an A76 or two in the oughts and a bunch of the involved positions were downgraded.  I wonder if this is another case of grtting what you pay for.
 
2014-04-14 06:37:14 PM
www.taylormarsh.com
 
2014-04-14 06:38:35 PM

cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.


Are they supposed to upgrade because new and shiny or because ____________?

I like how all the comments so far are about how stupid the IRS is - what about Microsoft failing to support a product sold only 6 years ago?  Upgrading computer systems is a big farking deal, not something you want to do every 6 years.  Sure I'm running a state-of-the-art operating system, but big companies and government simply can't move that fast.
 
2014-04-14 06:40:30 PM

cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.


because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers
 
2014-04-14 06:40:48 PM

Gyrfalcon: whistleridge: There ought to be some sort of automatic waiver here. If IRS can't achieve a certain level of basic competency, then they have no grounds for holding others accountable for anything. I'm just saying.

Agreed.

Seriously, they're still running XP? Yeah, it's better than the rest; but it's six years old. Because they can't find the money is just an excuse. They just never tried.


It costs a lot of money to be used as a political weapon.  Upgrading doesn't help line the pockets of today's flavor of crony
 
2014-04-14 06:41:35 PM
If they'd only flagged the words "XP support expires" they would have been reminded of this.

Also, that's a lot of cha-ching to Microsoft for a patch. Go, Bill Gates.
 
2014-04-14 06:47:16 PM

Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers


And the cost compared to the upgrade/training/software costs? Tiny.
 
2014-04-14 06:47:59 PM
Refresh my memory, the whole "IRS Is Being Mean To The Little Old Innocent Tea Party" scandal was just a bunch of crap constructed from whole cloth, right?
 
2014-04-14 06:51:37 PM

Superjew: Refresh my memory, the whole "IRS Is Being Mean To The Little Old Innocent Tea Party" scandal was just a bunch of crap constructed from whole cloth, right?


It wasn't even that substantial. Whole cloth would be a significant upgrade over what these clowns had.
 
2014-04-14 06:54:25 PM

gaspode: Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers

And the cost compared to the upgrade/training/software costs? Tiny.


Well, since they're still upgrading all of their computers (for various reasons), even that "tiny" cost is completely waste. So comparing the price of the support with the price of upgrading is more or less irrelevant.
 
2014-04-14 07:00:41 PM
Too bad the Senate shoots down every attempt by the Republican Congress to adequately fund the IRS, which as we all know is Boehner's top priority.
 
2014-04-14 07:01:45 PM

pueblonative: Republican *House


FTFM, though considering what the senate has actually passed you could make a pretty good case that their more or less moderate Republicans too.
 
2014-04-14 07:02:36 PM

pueblonative: Too bad the Senate shoots down every attempt by the Republican Congress to adequately fund the IRS, which as we all know is Boehner's top priority.


Exactly. This article is like me giving subby a wedgie, then criticizing him for walking funny.
 
2014-04-14 07:03:02 PM
It's likely it costs more to upgrade than to pay for extended patching. Welcome to the IT world.
 
2014-04-14 07:06:21 PM
I don't mind Microsoft products and am happily using Windows 8.1. That said, I don't know why the government doesn't use mostly open source software. They shouldn't have to change the software to replace the working software on all their machines (or pay an extra fee) just because the company wants to sell a newer version.
 
2014-04-14 07:09:07 PM

Robin Hoodie: gaspode: Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers

And the cost compared to the upgrade/training/software costs? Tiny.

Well, since they're still upgrading all of their computers (for various reasons), even that "tiny" cost is completely waste. So comparing the price of the support with the price of upgrading is more or less irrelevant.



Im just saying that only by seeing the relevant budgets for upgrades (for instance, what would be the cost of adding resources to speed up upgrades? no idea..) can anyone assess if this amount of money is in fact a waste. Assuming it actually even turns into an actual cost at all, it is very speculative.
 
2014-04-14 07:18:21 PM
 
2014-04-14 07:18:55 PM
So, 11.6 million a year for 58,000 computer comes out to microsoft making 200 dollars for a year of updates. Dang....
 
2014-04-14 07:20:11 PM

BMulligan: Superjew: Refresh my memory, the whole "IRS Is Being Mean To The Little Old Innocent Tea Party" scandal was just a bunch of crap constructed from whole cloth, right?

It wasn't even that substantial. Whole cloth would be a significant upgrade over what these clowns had.


Bu the Chris Christie Bridge debacle is real I tell you, real!
 
2014-04-14 07:21:32 PM

balthan: I don't mind Microsoft products and am happily using Windows 8.1. That said, I don't know why the government doesn't use mostly open source software. They shouldn't have to change the software to replace the working software on all their machines (or pay an extra fee) just because the company wants to sell a newer version.


Like it or not, Windows is the dominate OS by a very wide margin. It's a lot harder to find IT staff to support open source products, people to train on open source software, and employees are less familiar with it. Having free software doesn't really help if your staff can't use it, you can't find enough people to teach them, and not enough IT staff to support it.
 
2014-04-14 07:24:23 PM

dantheman195: BMulligan: Superjew: Refresh my memory, the whole "IRS Is Being Mean To The Little Old Innocent Tea Party" scandal was just a bunch of crap constructed from whole cloth, right?

It wasn't even that substantial. Whole cloth would be a significant upgrade over what these clowns had.

Bu the Chris Christie Bridge debacle is real I tell you, real!


Nah, all those emails and stuff were really just an elaborate practical joke. Christie's sense of humor is legendary, so the staff just can't help having a little fun at the boss' expense.
 
2014-04-14 07:25:03 PM
we were supposed to start replacing XP with Win7  four years ago, however we were given no additional funding and told to upgrade as part of the regular update process.  unfortunatly we also needed to hire or train people to deal with win7 and that budget was cancelled.  a year and a half ago we were at last allowed to do the upgrades but once again with the 'regular replacement'   we upgraded 8,000 computers in 18 months.  with six weeks to go the budget was at last approved, with about 8,000 computer to replace.
 
2014-04-14 07:43:06 PM

madgordy: we were supposed to start replacing XP with Win7  four years ago, however we were given no additional funding and told to upgrade as part of the regular update process.  unfortunatly we also needed to hire or train people to deal with win7 and that budget was cancelled.  a year and a half ago we were at last allowed to do the upgrades but once again with the 'regular replacement'   we upgraded 8,000 computers in 18 months.  with six weeks to go the budget was at last approved, with about 8,000 computer to replace.


In addition, at some agencies, the update was accompanied by union heel dragging. Some locals wanted to ensure training was provided in Windows 7 so that the change wouldn't impact their work performance. It seams silly to me, but I then think of the boomers I know and realize they are largely morons when it comes to computers and switching from XP to 7 might actually cause their heads to explode.
 
2014-04-14 07:45:23 PM

cretinbob: [www.taylormarsh.com image 294x300]


I see you the real deal, and raise you the real clowns' puppets.
ct.politicomments.com
 
2014-04-14 07:47:58 PM
"Blew a lot of money" may not be true.  It costs money to buy new operating systems, upgrade hardware, upgrade software, train/hire people on the new system etc....  Chances are they SAVED money by delaying so long....unless.

The real compelling reason to upgrade for most folks is to increase security (reducing risk) if they have had big problems with that they probably lost money.

The benefits of the new operating system (better/faster hardware, new software etc...) usually is not that big until years after the new operating system comes out.

/upgrading to 8.1 right now at work because of new mobile/touch hardware.
//unusually cutting edge for a government agency
 
2014-04-14 07:51:29 PM

AliceBToklasLives: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

Are they supposed to upgrade because new and shiny or because ____________?

I like how all the comments so far are about how stupid the IRS is - what about Microsoft failing to support a product sold only 6 years ago?  Upgrading computer systems is a big farking deal, not something you want to do every 6 years.  Sure I'm running a state-of-the-art operating system, but big companies and government simply can't move that fast.


They sold it 6 years ago knowing that the EOL was "set in stone' and then extended a few years. The IRS has had probably had at least one refresh cycle in those 6 years, if not 2. This was poor planning.
 
2014-04-14 07:58:23 PM
Aw shiat. Came in hoping for standard jokes guessing made up funny government agencies, leaving severely disappointed.

Sad panda.
 
2014-04-14 08:03:12 PM
Escape goat?
 
2014-04-14 08:03:18 PM

madgordy: we were supposed to start replacing XP with Win7  four years ago, however we were given no additional funding and told to upgrade as part of the regular update process.  unfortunatly we also needed to hire or train people to deal with win7 and that budget was cancelled.  a year and a half ago we were at last allowed to do the upgrades but once again with the 'regular replacement'   we upgraded 8,000 computers in 18 months.  with six weeks to go the budget was at last approved, with about 8,000 computer to replace.


I know your pain.  Since you guys are also on bleeding stump of upgrade cycles, I'm sure your legacy software systems had no issues at all with Win7...
 
2014-04-14 08:10:19 PM
Even though Microsoft ended support for XP last week, about 53 percent of the agency's 110,000 Windows-based computers are still running the outdated operating system. The other 52,000 computers were successfully upgraded to Windows 7 ahead of XP's retirement date.

Just to put things in perspective here... It's not odd to have an IT guy that handles about 250 users alone. Imagine every IT guy in your company being responsible for upgrading as many as 250 computers, and still dropping everything every time you have a webpage that loads slowly.

Oh, and as an added bonus, he can't do these upgrades during business hours, or sometimes during the week at all.

Doesn't mean that I don't think companies have had plenty of time, just that I've worked in 3 different places in the last 2 years, and gone through plans to upgrade hundreds of computers while still being available for every user AND trying to do it while not impacting the users when they are working.
 
2014-04-14 08:12:02 PM

Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers


$200 per XP machine.  Less than to buy  a Win 7 machine.
 
2014-04-14 08:14:07 PM

BSABSVR: Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers

$200 per XP machine.  Less than to buy  a Win 7 machine.


Yes but it's 200 per machine that didn't need to be spent if this were taken care of in your normal upgrade cycle. At worst, this is money that could have been spent on migrating legacy applications.
 
2014-04-14 08:14:44 PM

dr_blasto: Aw shiat. Came in hoping for standard jokes guessing made up funny government agencies, leaving severely disappointed.

Sad panda.


Internet Reticent Society
 
2014-04-14 08:14:47 PM

Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers


Not really. WinXP will continue to work without paying a cent. Support isn't mandatory.
 
2014-04-14 08:20:21 PM

Thrag: Not really. WinXP will continue to work without paying a cent. Support isn't mandatory.


Pretty much this.  And I bet their support folks can support it much more efficiently then Windows 7.

/non-issue is a non-issue
 
2014-04-14 08:26:28 PM

Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers


No, it won't
 
2014-04-14 08:27:39 PM

redmid17: BSABSVR: Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers

$200 per XP machine.  Less than to buy  a Win 7 machine.

Yes but it's 200 per machine that didn't need to be spent if this were taken care of in your normal upgrade cycle. At worst, this is money that could have been spent on migrating legacy applications.


Assuming your normal upgrade cycle is something along the lines of replacing every machine every 3 years or so.  Otherwise you're accelerating your cycle at a cost greater than $200 per machine.  I know people who work federal IT who just got their server apps  off Win2K a few years ago. This was largely preventable, but  at a cost.  That cost was likely greater than $200 annually.  Now if they are still paying this 3 years from now, it's a waste of money, as they can get a new windows PC for under $600.

We are also not factoring in the fact that there are thousands of workers who would likely shiat themselves at the sight of Windows 7,and the time it would take to babysit them would detract from the time available to replace the next machine.

The waste would be to buy 58,000 new PCs that can't be deployed right away due to a lack of techs, untrained users or legacy apps
 
2014-04-14 08:31:02 PM

Gyrfalcon: Seriously, they're still running XP? Yeah, it's better than the rest; but it's six years old. Because they can't find the money is just an excuse. They just never tried.


half our machines at work are running XP. with no problems so why chunk them. as others have pointed out it's not just the $139 retail for the OS it's 3 or 4 times that for new hardware too.

and of course there is the whole legacy software issue. not real bad for us but for government agencies -- oh wow.
 
2014-04-14 08:32:12 PM

Thrag: Not really. WinXP will continue to work without paying a cent. Support isn't mandatory.


And thank god for that.

My lab is running a mission critical piece of data analysis software (w. Oracle DB backend) on WinXP.  Why didn't we migrate to Win7 or upgrade the software?  Because the Oracle DB doesn't work on 64-bit machines at all, and the software itself can only be "upgraded" by buying a newer version at full retail... about $50,000 from what I hear.

So we run it in a 32-bit WinXP virtual machine on a new 64-bit Win7 computer.  It's a pain in the ass in many ways, but we have no choice.  Such is the world of persistent legacy apps :P
 
2014-04-14 08:34:01 PM

BSABSVR: redmid17: BSABSVR: Robin Hoodie: cretinbob: so farking what?

Maybe they don't need to upgrade.

stupid farking shiat.

because it will cost millions of dollars extra to continue to support their outdated computers

$200 per XP machine.  Less than to buy  a Win 7 machine.

Yes but it's 200 per machine that didn't need to be spent if this were taken care of in your normal upgrade cycle. At worst, this is money that could have been spent on migrating legacy applications.

Assuming your normal upgrade cycle is something along the lines of replacing every machine every 3 years or so.  Otherwise you're accelerating your cycle at a cost greater than $200 per machine.  I know people who work federal IT who just got their server apps  off Win2K a few years ago. This was largely preventable, but  at a cost.  That cost was likely greater than $200 annually.  Now if they are still paying this 3 years from now, it's a waste of money, as they can get a new windows PC for under $600.

We are also not factoring in the fact that there are thousands of workers who would likely shiat themselves at the sight of Windows 7,and the time it would take to babysit them would detract from the time available to replace the next machine.

The waste would be to buy 58,000 new PCs that can't be deployed right away due to a lack of techs, untrained users or legacy apps


You're also ignoring the ability of Windows 7 to retain the classic Widows appearance. The migration was going to need to be done at some point. Vista was introduced in 2006. At that point, the writing was on the wall and apps were going to need to migrated from servers and the client computers needed to have working interfaces and applications. They've had essentially 8 years to migrate for Vista and almost 6 for Windows 7.

For an agency that absolutely requires up-to-date patches and robust security, this is a failure of planning. Really the only excuse at this point for not having upgraded is that the machine is going to operate off the network (or on a non-routable part) and/or is operating specialized machinery or instruments.
 
2014-04-14 08:48:50 PM

Gyrfalcon: whistleridge: There ought to be some sort of automatic waiver here. If IRS can't achieve a certain level of basic competency, then they have no grounds for holding others accountable for anything. I'm just saying.

Agreed.

Seriously, they're still running XP? Yeah, it's better than the rest; but it's six years old. Because they can't find the money is just an excuse. They just never tried.


Disagree.

Every person in an agency can know xxx is stupid, but a lot of spending is earmarked for specific things within an agency, and fighting the top on this just results in being replaced.

Meanwhile more often than not the money gets found at the last minute when it becomes impossible for a brinkmanning legislature to postpone any longer.
 
2014-04-14 08:50:35 PM

Fantasta Potamus: It's likely it costs more to upgrade than to pay for extended patching. Welcome to the IT world.


Then there will undoubtedly be hardware failures,slowdowns because of older systems' operating systems slowly degrading, and higher tech time. Eventually that will cost more than upgrading.
 
2014-04-14 08:58:28 PM
You would never guess what government agency just blew a lot of money by missing a well-known, written in stone deadline

Every government agency in the history of ever?

/ made major bank, heck, made major *frequent flyer miles* about a decade ago because a three-letter agency was about to slip a deadline and had to bring in a team of contractors.
 
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