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Shutdown Illustrates How Fast US Gov't Can Update Its Websites

timothy posted about a year ago | from the when-to-drag-feet-and-when-to-leap dept.

United States 77

An anonymous reader writes "Despite what we hear about how much the U.S. government is struggling with a website, it is reassuring that most of government entities can update their websites within a day after they are asked to. This conclusion is the result of research done by the Networking Systems Laboratory at the Computer Science Department of the University of Houston. The research team tracked government websites and their update times, and found that 96% of the websites were updated within 24 hours after President Obama signed HR 2775 into law, ending the Government shutdown. Worth noting that two websites took 8 days to update. It is interesting that the team was able to use the shutdown as an opportunity to study the efficiency of the IT departments of various parts of Government."

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It's easier . . . (4, Insightful)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#45318949)

to take something down than to make something new.

Re:It's easier . . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45318971)

As the federal government well knows by now.

If you always keep your expectations low WRT government, you'll always be pleasantly surprised. Or screwed.

Re:It's easier . . . (2)

deadlydiscs (1505207) | about a year ago | (#45319075)

Agreed... not very honest of poster to compare removing temporary redirects to that of bringing in a new crew to evaluate, repair & optimize the hardware and software components of a website like healthcare.gov.

Re:It's easier . . . (2)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#45319445)

Exactly. It's like the difference between building a car from scratch, and driving it off a cliff.
Building it is a lot harder than taking it down or destroying it.

Re:It's easier . . . (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319335)

Healthcare.gov isn't just a website. And these "glitches" aren't just some bugs in some code.

Re:It's easier . . . (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year ago | (#45319431)

Especially if that "something new" has to tie in to other existing sites they didn't do and get info from them.

Re:It's easier . . . (0)

tomp (4013) | about a year ago | (#45319665)

The quick response isn't a reflection of how easy it is to change a page. It's a reflection of the millions of dollars government agencies have spent preparing for every potential shutdown over the past few years.

Long before the shutdown happened, government agencies stopped doing the people's work and instead started to prepare for a lapse in funding. Government inefficiency caused by the same people who are tasked with oversight to prevent wasteful spending.

The web sites were able to be turned on quickly, in part, because it started happening *before* the president signed HR 2775. OPM ordered government employees back to work the day before it was signed.

what's so hard about mod_rewrite? (3, Interesting)

deadlydiscs (1505207) | about a year ago | (#45318951)

for fscks sake.

Re:what's so hard about mod_rewrite? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319585)

For fuck's sake, 99% of Java web server outperform Apache. mod_rewrite is for losers.

The shutdown had been threatened for weeks. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45318965)

Doesn't it make the assumption that there was no lead time? The shutdown had been threatened for weeks.

Did the IT departments wait for the order to be signed before beginning any work on the updated sites or did they start the updates before the order was signed and then just flip the site over to the update version once the shutdown was confirmed?

Re: The shutdown had been threatened for weeks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319353)

No. We are put through this multiple times a year over the last decade. I never saw the plan until oct 1st and even it had blanks... we just redirected to the same place. Good thing I had 1:1 nat to redir all my sites in about 30 seconds. Keep in mind the last time a shutdown happened was 17 years ago and my agency was funded through it so this was a first.

Re: The shutdown had been threatened for weeks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319383)

I should further this... congress and the president have signed a CR just before midnight in the past on a somewhat regular basis. So no the order wasn't official until 12:01 oct 1st.

Re:The shutdown had been threatened for weeks. (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#45321351)

Doesn't it make the assumption that there was no lead time? The shutdown had been threatened for weeks. /em>

They probably have pre-developed a site to be displayed during the government shutdown, and a site to display during normal operation.

Some secretary inserts a little key at their desk, turns it, and the website changes to the shutdown version.

Re:The shutdown had been threatened for weeks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45323123)

And this was not the first shutdown; these depts/agencies probably had Shutdown versions of their sites canned and ready to go from the last one.

It's not that hard. (3, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45318985)

mv index.html old_index.html ; mv no_longer_block_access_to_static_data.html index.html

The sites that blocked by DNS wouldn't have much more to do.

Re:It's not that hard. (3, Informative)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#45319243)

Except most did it via DNS redirects. Many actually turned off the servers, so they weren't serving a "Gone Fishin'" page. They changed DNS to point over to usa.gov, which remained open and hosted the static pages.

Re:It's not that hard. (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45319423)

Except most did it via DNS redirects.

Which I cleverly mentioned in the second line.

Probably 1/2 to 1/3 of the data I was looking for during the shutdown was on sites that appeared to be still up, but either simply warned about the freshness of the data, or actually blocked it because of the "shutdown," or more accurately "shutdown theater."

Re:It's not that hard. (2)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#45319455)

The bastards at NIST actually took most of the data offline. :-) Good thing I had most of it in my own private stash, which I've since updated to have all of the SPs.

Re:It's not that hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45324567)

It's not their fault, the government just ran out of time. (Someone had to say it)

Re:It's not that hard. - Green initiative? (1)

ynoref (3297285) | about a year ago | (#45323885)

People are always complaining that that our government can't work together, especially on the environment.

Perhaps unintentionally, you completely renewed my faith in our political system when you shared that, "Many actually turned off the servers."

Clearly Democrats and Republicans CAN work together on the environment.

The "great shutdown of 2013" was a bipartisan effort to curb global warming!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

---
Always look on the bright side of life....

Watch This! (1)

retroworks (652802) | about a year ago | (#45319013)

"Due to federal shutdown, the information on this government website is not being maintained and may be out of date"

..and now THIS ("Nuthin' up the sleeve..")

.

PRESTO! It has disappeared!

Sites restored before 8am (0)

deadlydiscs (1505207) | about a year ago | (#45319023)

Those are your CIO's that need to be promoted (or terminated, depending on the actual intent of the government these days) :(

Anyway.. notice on TFA how most of the sites are restored after 8am. Lazy bastages! :)

Depends on what you mean by "Update" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319027)

Should we expect it to take much time to post a new notice or change some text on the front page of a website? How much does that involve the IT department assuming their front page is setup with some CMS that allows content to be posted with minimal technical effort? There is a big difference between changing the functionality of a website and slapping some notice on there with a default "page unavailable" message for none front page stuff. Heck, there can be a big difference between just changing text on a front page, and changing text that has detailed information, with the latter probably having to go through more people to check the actual content.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (0)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year ago | (#45319115)

Yeah, a real non event. Coming up later, Congress hosts the first "bring your butler to work" day.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (4, Informative)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#45319259)

Should we expect it to take much time to post a new notice or change some text on the front page of a website?

Exactly. I am one of the government workers who 'shut down' our website.
All I did was replace the index page and altered the security program to prevent working even if you still had a valid cookie.
It took me 30 seconds to log in (from home) and undo the fixes (and most of that time was spent logging in).

Shutdown means different things to different people. For the last shutdown, we were given two conflicting orders:
1. Turn off the web servers
2. Display a web page to visitors announcing we are shut down.

/* for you manager types, I cannot serve up a web page if I have shut my web server down */

That isn't a problem of government; it is a problem of non-techie managers freaking out and trying to one-up each other.
I have seen similar things happen in private industry.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about a year ago | (#45319419)

Was there any technical reason why your website needed to be taken down?

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (2)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#45319531)

At some point most sites have some contact with a human individual, or the site generates reports on who has and hasn't paid taxes, fines etc. Since the individuals aren't there to react, then it is probably much easier to pull down the whole site than chop down those bits which won't function during the shutdown.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (-1, Troll)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#45322443)

Was there any technical reason why your website needed to be taken down?

Sorry Citizen. Despite several attempts, we have not been able to provide the Tea party utopia of infinite services with zero pecuniary input.

Probably some bug in the system put in by liberals.

But really, the outrage by some that any services provided by our tax dollars went away during the shutdown is sort of.. odd. Here is the effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5Du5FHBQ-w [youtube.com]

Really, a Teabagger telling a park service employee they should be ashamed of themselves for something he helped bring about. I see Nelson Muntz telling a kid he is bullying to "stop hitting yourself"

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45322745)

Tea *Party* members wanted only to delay Obamacare for a year until it actually worked. Now they look like geniuses.

The Republicans passed a number of budgets, any of which Democrats could have signed to avoid shutdown. So it's hardly the Tea Party having caused the shutdown; it was the vanity of Democrats insisting Obamacare not be touched even though it wasn't ready to launch anyway. If the Democrats had not been stuck on that one issue there would have been no shutdown.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (1)

parkinglot777 (2563877) | about a year ago | (#45324083)

Tea *Party* members wanted only to delay Obamacare for a year until it actually worked. Now they look like geniuses.

Hmm... Define the word work please...

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (2)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about a year ago | (#45326759)

You mean the thing they've been trying to destroy they honestly wanted to work? They were just looking out for Obama's best interests?

You do understand that implementing it NOW is getting the website in working order and the delay would have pushed the non-working website issue down the line? A very complex system that didn't go right is a separate issue -- and since Republicans and Tea Party members have not created anything in recent memory, I'm wondering why they think anyone believes that they pretended to care when not blasting a program as the rot of Hell.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45327287)

You mean the thing they've been trying to destroy they honestly wanted to work? They were just looking out for Obama's best interests?

Of course not - they wanted the delay to get more time to shut it down. Some of them even wanted the delay to protect the people who would lose insurance...

But the point is that the Democrats were so vain they were willing to shut down the government EVEN THOUGH IT WOULD HAVE HELPED OBAMACARE.

You do understand that implementing it NOW is getting the website in working order

What you DON'T understand is Obamacare is way more than a website, there is more broken than you know.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45324013)

Wow, teabagger?! Where did you come up with something so original and creative! And my, such a mature thing to say! Boy, I wish I was even half as clever as you! My, you witty bastard! What's it like to be so clever! And it really is good that you can make such intelligent remarks without having to lower yourself so much as to making immature childish remarks!

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (0)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#45328185)

Wow, teabagger?! Where did you come up with something so original and creative!

Odd that you'd say that. "Teabagger" is distinctly not creative, and not original. It is the name of the members of the Tea Party. It is no more original than "Republican" or "Democrat"

Definitive or descriptive terms are seldom original. That'ts why they are definitive or descriptive terms. They've become an accepted part of the lexicon.

So ya done good - you realized that it was neither original or creative.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45322739)

Thought so. A big argument back then on Slashdot from those arguing it made sense to shut down government websites was that the servers were being actually powered down to conserve power - I knew that was bullshit.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (0)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#45330907)

The servers were shutdown because no one was there to monitor them for break-ins. It's part of our security stance and something we aren't really allowed to ignore.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Update" (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45332751)

Didn't you read? The servers were *NOT* shut down. That's what the admin said - he just rendered the website unavailable. If the servers were down it wouldn't have been able to forward...

People on Slashdot claimed that's why the servers had to be shut down. Like so many other things liberals say, they were lying or totally wrong. But it doesn't matter what they said, only if they were believed at the time... it apparently worked on you.

you mean "shutdown" ... (4, Insightful)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about a year ago | (#45319051)

... if there was a real shutdown, nobody would have been paid to put "shutdown" notices on websites.

Re:you mean "shutdown" ... (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about a year ago | (#45320017)

It's not hard to redirect to a static page. It's equivalent to turning out the lights before leaving the building.

Re:you mean "shutdown" ... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#45320139)

...which is why they did it for free, rather than get paid...

Oh, wait... what you said didnt actually respond to his point? Yeah.

Re:you mean "shutdown" ... (2)

artor3 (1344997) | about a year ago | (#45320323)

You realize that they set up the redirect pages ahead of time, right? Just like the guy who turns off the lights does it while still on the clock, before actually punching out.

It's kind of funny that you right-wingers were DEMANDING that we not pay our bills, but are simultaneously outraged that we would shut off some government services.

Re:you mean "shutdown" ... (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#45322453)

You realize that they set up the redirect pages ahead of time, right? Just like the guy who turns off the lights does it while still on the clock, before actually punching out.

It's kind of funny that you right-wingers were DEMANDING that we not pay our bills, but are simultaneously outraged that we would shut off some government services.

Well you do have to kind of do some fancy maneuvering to never be wrong about anything.

Re:you mean "shutdown" ... (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#45322775)

Which service was shut off, exactly?

You seem to be missing the point. Nothing was shut off. For web pages, some pages were changed. Thats not shutting them off. For parks, people were hired to erect barriers to entry and thats not shutting them off either. So the bills keep coming in for a services that are only down "in spirit" ...

We could go on and on about this, with you continually needing to be intentionally vague and launching personal attacks....

Re:you mean "shutdown" ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45324651)

Uh yeah, you're a moron. There were numerous services actually unavailable and it caused a significant impact to the economies of many states, ironically the hardest hit were a large number of very conservative states. You have zero idea what you're talking about. Your opinion does not matter. Try doing a search before proving that you are a complete idiot to the world.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/10/12/states-hurt-by-government-shutdown/2967711/

Re:you mean "shutdown" ... (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about a year ago | (#45343717)

Were servers actually shut off? Domain names allowed to lapse? Anybody laid off? Bandwidth drastically reduced?

No? Then it was just shutdown theater, not shutdown.

Re:you mean "shutdown" ... (1)

Velex (120469) | about a year ago | (#45320945)

I think what he said did respond to the point. It's like turning out the lights on the way out.

Then again, maybe I'm just misunderstanding what GGP meant by a "real" shutdown, and I'm hoping he wasn't making a no true Scotsman fallacy.

Now, if the building were under attack from military hardware or in the direct path of an F5 tornado, then yes, I might raise an eyebrow at spending the time to put up a page that says, "Our building is about to be destroyed and has shut down."

It's just... you know... when you know something is going to happen... you kind of prepare for it... and when it's something as trivial as changing a DNS entry or throwing up a static site... it really is just like switching off the lights on the way out.

That being said, I am left shaking my head at the ACA federal exchange rollout. That thing about knowing something is going to happen and being prepared.... I just don't understand how the higher-ups could have allowed such a debacle. Didn't they understand how much of a political field day the opponents of the ACA would have if the rollout went poorly? And then it went poorly, and the political field day goes on a month after the fact...

Obviously, a successful rollout is something that could have happened. Now, granted, I am aware that I'm partially comparing apples to oranges but I'm also not quite. As we're aware, Kentucky managed to do a bang-up job. Now granted, Kentucky's exchange only had to handle traffic from one state instead of, what was it, 37? Yet, somebody high up in the Obama administration should have known that was going to happen, that they were going to be building a national exchange with a couple of exceptions of states that would actually build their own. Hell, I guessed it was going to happen like that two years ago! (Although I would have thought Kentucky would have been one of the states not to do their own exchange, but who knew.)

Of course, I can join the bitching and moaning, but truth be told, I really have no idea what political forces may have designed the thing to fail. It could be the case that actors who didn't give a flip whether or not they played nice with Kentucky were the same actors who may have contributed to the roll-out problems, perhaps in technical ways, perhaps in other political ways. The only thing I can say from having been part of software rollouts that not everybody wants to succeed is that when somebody who has enough clout doesn't want something to succeed, it's going to be a very painful rollout for everyone, and it's very easy to point the finger of blame when one is creating the very problems one is seeking to blame others for.

If I'm wrong and there's evidence that millions upon millions of dollars were spent designing the shut-off notice static sites and rolling them out, please let me know. I don't think that's the case, but sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if I were wrong these days.

Also I'd like to say that like others have noticed, many of the services that federal websites provide continued to be available. For example, I go to noaa.gov to get my weather (and to read the forecast discussion). Well, during the "shutdown," noaa.gov was unavailable (for the pedantic, it resolved and served up a shutdown notification, but for all intents and purposes was down). Now, I know that when I put in a zipcode, it actually sends me over to weather.gov. I still go to noaa.gov because occasionally they have an interesting story in between the parade of AGW stories on their front page. Well, as it turned out, weather.gov was up and functional the whole time.

It did make me wonder, though, getting to GGP's point about a "real" shutdown. What would happen if the data the NWS posts to weather.gov and the web services related to forecast and weather information at weather.gov were unavailable? That would have a far bigger impact than not being able access the fluff at noaa.gov. What would wunderground.com (or everybody's favorite---weather bug) do to function? I'm assuming that they consume data from weather.gov but that they also have additional resources they use to compile their forecasts. (Wunderground.com also posts data from mini weather stations that people have constructed at their own homes and businesses---neat stuff in case anyone wasn't aware!) I really wonder what would happen, and I'm not inclined to buy into theories that weather forecasting would advance in leaps and bounds because of some Randian force that would let Dagny take the helm and apply her superior knowledge of metallurgy to the problem or that tornadoes would destroy every trailer park from here to Oklahoma because the NWS data is unavailable and only the NWS could ever possibly provide such data.

(Sorry to the guy I modded up who actually is an admin for one of the affected sites, but this is Slashdot, and somebody's wrong on the internet! Besides you're at +5 now, so perhaps somebody can put you back there once my +1 informative evaporates after I hit post here....)

How is this complicated? (-1, Flamebait)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45319053)

All they did was press "undo"... the shutdown didn't actually change anything. Government agencies were ordered to inconvenience everyone for awhile for entirely political reasons and then were returned to normal operation. That's it.

There was no policy or functionality change. They just disabled systems and then turned them back on again. All the government has to do to coordinate that is... Nothing. CNN basically did it. Government employees and their IT departments were watching the news. When the "shutdown" was ended they just went back to work and turned things on again.

Politics aside, I just don't see why that is impressive. You get the same sort of coordination at every bathroom in the US during Super bowl. Oh half time started!... 100 million toilets flush. That isn't organization anymore then every cock crowing at dawn or fish showing up at the surface of the water at dusk and dawn. Its like giving people credit for all commuting at the same time in the morning.

Would be nice to know which sites took eight days though.

Re:How is this complicated? (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#45319097)

Exactly.

The websites were intentionally changed to display a notice they had been "shutdown" . If they had been shutdown, no one would have seen a notice.

What's more, many important sites with automated data feeds that I access stayed up and pumping out data, meaning someone was still taking a measurement too as the process is not automated.

It was nothing more than both fracking parties trying to make the other guy look like an asshole at OUR expense and frustration.

Vote every single one of those pricks out of office over the next two elections. The next president should meet a house and senate with no incumbents at all.

Re:How is this complicated? (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year ago | (#45319607)

Vote every single one of those pricks out of office over the next two elections. The next president should meet a house and senate with no incumbents at all.

It feels good to say that but unless you force all of the lobbyists to be just as inexperienced as the incoming Congresspeople it could be a disaster.

Re:How is this complicated? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#45326915)

The real trick is to find people who can't be bought and convince them to run for office. Most Americans know that it's a thankless job in a corrupt culture where little can actually be accomplished. And anyone who is qualified for the job is smart enough to know that they don't want the job.

We could use a few more of those who, despite not wanting the job, are willing to take a term out of their private life for the greater good.

Re:How is this complicated? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year ago | (#45327223)

Sometimes I think we'd be better off if Congress was selected by lottery from a list of registered voters. Yeah, we'd get some duds but at least they wouldn't be tied to their big campaign donors.

Re:How is this complicated? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#45327779)

Hunger Games: Congress Edition. Probably a good idea, actually. Until that one catastrophic group of complete idiots gets bamboozled by one powerful individual.

Re:How is this complicated? (1)

deadlydiscs (1505207) | about a year ago | (#45319119)

Yeah the scary bit are the 8-dayer folks tha over-complicated their "shutdown" process to the point that they couldn't restore the service by 8:01 am local time.

Re:How is this complicated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319519)

Probably a majority of the delays can be attributed to bureaucracy. I work in small local government and I see it all the time: something that should take an hour takes 3 weeks due to people scheduling meetings to discuss meetings about when meetings will take place with IT.

Re:How is this complicated? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#45319121)

Yeah, it's like lights out when the last employee leaves for the shutdown and to be surprised they all managed to switch the lights back on when they returned to work. Well, almost all.

8 days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319887)

The IT person may have been laid off or on vacation. Or, someone was never assigned to the reactivate the webpages. Who knows? The US is/has been run by idiots that don't care about the population other than how to exploit it. When voting in the future look into whether the candidates are not only intelligent but know how the underpinnings of communication function. Don't vote for "change" or "cut costs". Vote for someone that has proven that they can get things done in an open and honest way. IS that even possible?

Re:8 days? (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#45324133)

Sounds like you're advocating for a meritocracy. Sadly that's probably a few generations and a few social/political revolutions away at best. At worst it'll just never happen. Shame eh.

Not surprising. (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year ago | (#45319065)

Is it really all that surprising that well established web sites with well established update procedures are easily updated? A lot of it probably consists of collecting any updated information and running some script to update the web site. Someone is no doubt tasked with doing this as regular part of their job.

The private sector can do it faster (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319105)

I noticed that within hours after the shutdown ended, foxnews.com was featuring stories about Benghazi again ("the questions Americans STILL want answers for!") using their rather large top headline font.

Stories about the shutdown/re-opening/GOP infighting were completely buried for days afterwards.

Re:The private sector can do it faster (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319141)

I LOVE stories about Benghazi. Those little black ribbons are like membership cards for the Low IQ Society.

Re:The private sector can do it faster (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319211)

Cause we all know the government would never ever lie to us about anything. Anyone who doubts this must have a low IQ.

Re:The private sector can do it faster (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319229)

Because anyone who thinks incidents like this are unique to Obama absolutely DO have a low IQ. The fact that they remained quiet for the 11 deadly embassy attacks under Bush, and didn't raise a stink when he could have nailed Bin Laden's ass to the wall in Tora Bora (opting, instead, to twiddle his thumbs for two days), make them hypocrites.

Re:The private sector can do it faster (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319291)

Who said anything about this being unique to Obama? I think it is everyone's patriotic duty to question the "official" story being told by the Administration. If the Democrats had a little more testicular fortitude, maybe they would have questioned Bush administration's "intelligence" about WMDs in Iraq.

Re:The private sector can do it faster (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#45319859)

This. So much this. Posting anonymously to vote up.

y&ou FAIL it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319193)

significan7ly

dumb comparison (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#45319209)

This is a ridiculous comparison. The data are from two completely different proceedures, from a technical perspective.

Taking a functional government website, like say Astronomy Picture of the Day [nasa.gov]

To make it 'not work' all they have to do is whip up a basic "this site shutdown due to..." with a few HTML tags and its is "taken down due to the shutdown"

That's all...a few lines of HTML and a redirect!

Second, the criticism of the Obamacare website in the media is not representative of the ***ACTUALL*** technical problems.

Politics aside, the website problems were **routine IT work**...its not an excuse, but **management** is to blame for not scheduling testing with enough time before rollout...

So, this data is doubly unusuable...but it makes sense...

**of course** sites like Astronomy Picture of the Day were up in 24 hrs after the shutdown lifted!!!!! It just took a few lines of code!

Re:dumb comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45319863)

And FYI, the APOD at nasa.gov is simply the main mirror of many for the site. APOD itself never shut down.

From the APOD forum: [apod.com]
"Although the main APOD web page is served from NASA, APOD is written and edited by professional astronomers who do not work for NASA directly as civil service employees. Therefore, APOD will continue to be updated daily even if the US government shuts down, but will (likely) not be served from NASA during this period. To follow APOD during a shutdown, you can link to one APOD's mirror sites..."

thnx (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#45319895)

glad you posted that...I'm a fan of APOD and I remember seeing that but couldn't locate it

It isn't a technical question (3, Insightful)

feenberg (201582) | about a year ago | (#45319825)

There is a great misunderstanding in all these comments. The question isn't "How long does it take to change 3 lines of code", of course that only takes a few minutes. The question is: "How long does permission to change 3 lines of code take to wend its way through the agency from the Secretary to the contractor?" That typically takes weeks or months, but in this case was done quickly because no one between the Secretary and the coder thought to interfere. That is very unusual. Another question (not answered) is how long does it take for a request from the coder to the Secretary? Typically that would be "forever", which is why most things never get done. It would help if someone below the secretary were authorized to make a decision, but typically that isn't the case.

Re:It isn't a technical question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45322275)

There were no lines of code changed. We redirected the websites to a shutdown notice and then powered off the server rooms, turned out the lights in the offices and sent everybody home. Do you not understand what shut down means? The time to bring everything back up and checked out varied depending on what had to be done, who had found another job, and what had failed in the meantime because of being unattended. Nobody needed permission from a Secretary for anything. It was just "get back to work".

Not all website changes require the IT department. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45320165)

I think the point missed in all of this (including my brief scan of the article) is that not all website changes require or even involve IT departments. As a matter of fact, I'd really be curious as to how many websites are under the purview of IT. I can tell you that in 15+ years of web development, I can only think of one or two web sites that I've worked on have had regular involvement with IT. Maybe it's different at the government level, I'm going to call "gross generalization" on this one.

I'm guessing the author has no clue ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45320897)

... about anything web related.

Because redirecting a website to a static page is completely trivial. As simple as renaming two files.

Government is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45321305)

the enemy

Bookmark this story to expose private sector lies (1, Interesting)

vlueboy (1799360) | about a year ago | (#45321447)

A year ago we learned that a private company like Apple "for technical reasons" [slashdot.org] needed 14 days to update a page with a simple text message. They sought to delay complying with the UK court order that would expose lies that had hurt Samsung.

Government websites, despite exhibiting worst-of-the-worst bureaucracy known to all of us, now show a tangible "worst case" upper bound. Great! now we can point all private companies' lying lawyers to that and ask why the private sector is suddenly 7 times slower.

Reassuring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45322465)

Seems like a desperate attempt to make the government look less incompetent.

signed a law? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45322677)

i normally don't comment on politics in USA but - the president of USA needs to sign law bill to end shutdown? wow couldn't their parliament/congress whatever just end the shutdown that they started and ask federal workers to go back to work? talk about lots of red tape

Silly study (1)

ebvwfbw (864834) | about a year ago | (#45333207)

All the had to do is do a redirect from all to a "sorry charlie" page via their load balancer or Akamai. Then simply undo it later. Why it's so easy EVEN a Windows guy could have done it.

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