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The Biggest Tech Mishap of 2013?

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the anything-involving-a-marketing-department dept.

Software 162

Nerval's Lobster writes "Some high-profile tech initiatives really crashed-and-burned this year. Did BlackBerry executives really think that BlackBerry 10 would spark a miraculous turnaround, or were they simply going through the motions of promoting it? That's the key question as BlackBerry 10 devices fail to sell. Then there's Facebook's misbegotten attempt at 'skinning' the Android OS with its Home app. Or maybe Healthcare.gov counts as 2013's biggest debacle, with its repeated crashes and glitches and inability to carry out core functions. What do you think was the biggest software or hardware (or both) mishap of the past twelve months?"

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162 comments

All of the above (0)

dubdays (410710) | about 4 months ago | (#45826787)

Let's face it...BB is circling the toilet bowl, the Facebook skin was DOA, and the Healthcare.gov launch was a farce. They're all shit...the only difference is the smell.

Re:All of the above (5, Insightful)

Onuma (947856) | about 4 months ago | (#45826969)

Arguably, the mistakes RIM made with Blackberry go back about 7 years or so. When they didn't react smartly to the advent of the iPhone and Android devices, they started hammering the nails into their own coffin.

Re:All of the above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827687)

But Amateur Hour is over!

My company (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45826795)

My company got bought by private equity. It's depressing to watch as the company is managed by people who don't understand our products and don't care.

Re:My company (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827679)

if you haven't changed jobs, please accept whatever happens to your career as obvious and totally your fault.

Re:My company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827817)

My company got bought by private equity. It's depressing to watch as the company is managed by people who don't understand our products and don't care.

At least they're outsiders. We've got company folks like that. At the top.

Isn't it always? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828279)

I always thought that 'not understanding the business' and 'not caring about the business' were core requisites for any manager out there.

NSA leaking (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826807)

NSA leak was the most damagind and biggest tech fail.
They still don't know what was taken.

Re:NSA leaking (5, Interesting)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 4 months ago | (#45826929)

Then why does the economic damage predate the leak? Everyone knew what was going on from the days of the AT&T disclosure, Snowden only provided the physical evidence for Americans to act on it. I happen to have a little experience with the intelligence community, had a great uncle that was OSS when it incepted to be the CIA in 1947. Keep secrets they did, spy on Americans; no they didn't, weaken encryption resulting in fraudulent sales of security devices, no they did not, were they saints, not really however that was a matter of prospective, but as a nation we were stronger. Our constitution meant something then, so did a mans word, and sworn oath.

Re:NSA leaking (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 months ago | (#45827751)

That happened NSA leak was not the fall by itself, but that we learnt that most hardware and software is backdoored already or in the process to be, and that any expectation of privacy for anything that resides or goes through US should be discarded. What failed is internet security as a whole, badly. And, of course, any trust that you may had on US government, but that is not tech.

Slash!dot Beta (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826809)

taco must be turning in his grave

Re:Slash!dot Beta (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826913)

Every year even worse, even more generic layout. How pathetic

Re:Slash!dot Beta (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45826921)

taco must be turning in his grave

Bring out your beta! Bring out your beta! Bring out your beta! Bring out your beta!
Here's one
9 pence
I'm not dead!
What?
Nothing, here's your 9 pence.
I'm not dead!
'ere, he says he's not dead.
Yes he is.
I'm not!
He isn't?
Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
I'm getting better!

Re:Slash!dot Beta (5, Funny)

chromas (1085949) | about 4 months ago | (#45827009)

That's a good Python script you got there. Unfortunately, Slashdot is written in Perl.

Re:Slash!dot Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827265)

You say this like they're not still planning to roll it out in 2014.

Perhaps you're one who has been lucky enough not to get the "accidental" redirect to beta every once in a while (that sticks until you clear your cookies)? I has been happening to me with increasing frequency for the past month or so.

Re:Slash!dot Beta (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828425)

At the bottom of the page for Slashdot Beta is a link they have now added to go back to Slashdot Classic which works for me whenever I am forced to that Beta monstrosity.

I'd say the target hack... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826819)

They lost credit card numbers... pin codes!? and the c v v codes?!?!?!? what. the. fuck.

Why were they even storing those. at all. thats some world class fuckup that's going to cost many thousands of people real money. Theres no writeoff for regular people unlike businesses. People are Fucked...

Altho it's slightly more than a "mishap".

It's either that or the obamacare fuckup. But really who expected a goverment website to work right... Thats like a normal fuckup for us.

Or maybe the NSA being such treasonous completely useless wastes of space and money who should all be swinging at the end of a rope.
But that goes beyond just this year too. They've been shitheads for a long time. We just now know about it for sure.

Re: I'd say the target hack... (1)

supersat (639745) | about 4 months ago | (#45826847)

Encrypted PINs and the magstripe CVV, which is different than the CVV2 on the back of your card.

Re: I'd say the target hack... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827019)

card number and cvv. that's enough to clone you up some cards and go on a shopping spree.

Re:I'd say the target hack... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 months ago | (#45827805)

Adobe security breach, with millions of passwords recovered in plain text (and published) could be pretty close to Target's one, a lot uses the same password everywhere (or a trivial modification of a base password like adding site name), so wasn't just adobe account hacked, was that a good percent of those people got every major site they use hacked.

Sheldon Cooper Sniffs Penny's Pooper (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826823)

nt

That's easy.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826827)

"Some high-profile tech initiatives really crashed-and-burned this year. Did BlackBerry executives really think that BlackBerry 10 would spark a miraculous turnaround, or were they simply going through the motions of promoting it? That's the key question as BlackBerry 10 devices fail to sell. Then there's Facebook's misbegotten attempt at 'skinning' the Android OS with its Home app. Or maybe Healthcare.gov counts as 2013's biggest debacle, with its repeated crashes and glitches and inability to carry out core functions. What do you think was the biggest software or hardware (or both) mishap of the past twelve months?"

Healthcare.gov? That's a junior league fuck-up... I nominate the NSA for getting pwned and punked by one Edward Joseph Snowden who walked out of their secure computer facility with all of Americas dirty laundry on a USB stick.

Re:That's easy.... (4, Interesting)

dubdays (410710) | about 4 months ago | (#45826919)

Healthcare.gov? That's a junior league fuck-up... I nominate the NSA for getting pwned and punked by one Edward Joseph Snowden who walked out of their secure computer facility with all of Americas dirty laundry on a USB stick.

Too bad it's pretty much amounted to nothing positive thus far. The president hasn't done shit to change anything, congress critters NEVER do shit (except contribute massive amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere), and the general public pretty much doesn't give a shit. Don't get me wrong, Snowden's a hero in my book, but the revelations really haven't had a significant impact on US society as a whole, sad as that may be.

Re:That's easy.... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45828333)

It has cost US companies money. Money is the only language that the US government, owned by corporations, seems to understand. I'm still hopeful that it has a bigger effect, but it will take time. Contracts won't be renewed, business will be lost to other countries.

Once it becomes clear that the NSA is affecting US corporations profit, once the first poor quarterly earnings are blamed on them, once the people holding the purse strings (lobbyists) start to care...

My vote is for (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826835)

The NSA's exfiltration detection system...

Snowden (4, Funny)

supersat (639745) | about 4 months ago | (#45826843)

I'm pretty sure it was hiring Edward Snowden as your SharePoint admin.

Re:Snowden (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#45828555)

Or, more importantly, giving your Sharepoint admin who has a copy of the constitution sitting next to his keyboard, wears an EFF hoodie that mocks the NSA to work every day, and has turned down promotions due to moral objections to the agencies activities full admin access to everything you have.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

dubdays (410710) | about 4 months ago | (#45826851)

The year of the Linux desktop. But, dammit, 2014 is DEFINITELY going to be THE year!!!

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826955)

How about the soft failure of the GPL?

For all the Revolutionary Nerd talk, it seems that GPL has died due to a combination of...

- lawers finding ways around it
- engineers finding ways around it
- people just not bothering (enforemnt potential is nil)
- domiance of other licensing schemes
- a general failure of the OSS model in general, as with a few high profile exceptions notwithstanding, the OSS model has failed to produce the variety and quality of software and applications that the competitive world has done.

Re:Obligatory (0)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 months ago | (#45827011)

"OSS" is much bigger than the GPL.

GPL is mainly Stallman-ish "Free Software" flag waving bearded digital tailban types who don't use the internet because it impinges on their freedoms.

OSS is everything between that and proprietary software.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827143)

sure. but i still contend that OSS, painted with a broad brush, is mostly a hollow joke. as i see it, and im sure people will disagree, is that for profit companies have basically taken the best of the few truly good OSS projects out there and have commercialized them in a way that the difference between them and proprietary software is basically zero and the whole enterprise, from GPL on up, has amounted to a huge wealth transfer from naive do-gooders to corporate or at least entrepreneurial interests.. which would be fine IF there wre some "philosophical win" associated with it, but for all practical purposes there hasn't been. AndroidOS is a good example of this.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827275)

How about the soft failure of the GPL?

For all the Revolutionary Nerd talk, it seems that GPL has died due to a combination of...

- lawers finding ways around it
- engineers finding ways around it
- people just not bothering (enforemnt potential is nil)
- domiance of other licensing schemes
- a general failure of the OSS model in general, as with a few high profile exceptions notwithstanding, the OSS model has failed to produce the variety and quality of software and applications that the competitive world has done.

I think it's about time you bought yourself a new keyboard :)

Re:Obligatory (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 months ago | (#45827003)

Windows 8 is definitely helping the cause
Linux dominates the mobile world with Android
ChromeOS (another Linux-based operating system) is apparently very popular and already has nearly 25% of new laptop sales in the US
There's SteamOS which is a big question mark still

ZOMG It could actually happen in 2014!

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827071)

Chome OS is just the new freedos, to get around the windows tax. I would not take those numbers seriously.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827187)

The excuses never end, but they do get worse with time. Also, your spelling is ... horrible, to say the least. You should try to improve it, if you want to be taken seriously.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827541)

Horrible spelling? They most likely made a typo by skipping the "r" in Chrome. From that single mistake, it's unfair to say their spelling is horrible. You're just trolling because they stated a fact you don't like and you don't know how else to respond, Larry.

Re:Obligatory (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 months ago | (#45827853)

That you or at least normal people can't install Windows in Chromebooks means that that 25% is not a get around to avoid windows tax, but proper linux sales from the ground up, somewhat the "market share" of linux, at least for the laptop area, jumped to 25% with that alone.

Re:Obligatory (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 months ago | (#45827839)

It was the year of the Linux tablet and smartphone, that by now is a market bigger than the desktop one. Maybe 2014 or 2015 would be the year of a proper linux (as in not android) tablet, if Ubuntu touch and others adaptations over android kernel succeed.

Re:Obligatory (1)

LinuxRulz (678500) | about 4 months ago | (#45828327)

The year of the Linux desktop. But, dammit, 2014 is DEFINITELY going to be THE year!!!

Well, Android smartphones and tablets are thriving which makes for linux on mobiles. And now that Steam is available on linux and the steambox is announced, so I can certainly see more people sticking to Linux for most uses. Heck, I'm in a windows software development firm and convinced my boss before the holidays that I was more effective on linux with Debian+git+Vim+KVM+Wine+mono than whatever the "MS suggested dev environment" is.

So for all that's practical from my point of view, 2014 is already THE year!

Cheers!

Windows 8 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826855)

For demonstrating that forcing a tablet interface on desktop users does not help your bottom line.

Re:Windows 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826889)

Initial release August 1, 2012; 16 months ago.

Re:Windows 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827017)

Initial release August 1, 2012; 16 months ago.

And that stench still hasn't wavered after 16 months. The split personality of semi-touch and semi-desktop was as natural as sewing the two outside halves of Siamese Twins together. Frankenstein would be proud, but he didn't even like Windows 8.

The Surface product line had a lot of potential, but not at that price point. And the write-offs Microsoft took on Surface & Surface RT make HealthCare.gov look like lunch money.

Re:Windows 8 (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 4 months ago | (#45827315)

Yeah, I'd vote for Windows 8 as well across the board - Windows 8/RT/Phone8. Actually, the last ain't so bad, but the 3 of them, taken together, demonstrates the worst about Microsoft this year.

Windows 8.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826869)

Windows 8.1 brought back the Start Button.

Re:Windows 8.1 (3, Insightful)

dubdays (410710) | about 4 months ago | (#45827069)

The implementation of which (if you can call it that) is just as useless as not having one at all. MSFT basically said "fuck you" and gave us a useless little button that doesn't do anything new.

Re:Windows 8.1 (3, Interesting)

oji-sama (1151023) | about 4 months ago | (#45827437)

If you set it up to use the same background as on the desktop the transition is less disturbing. After tweaking the location of the little squares I find it usable, although not an improvement. I set a few updating columns to left, then a couple of columns of static icons related to different tasks and now along with the win+q (which doesn't open the whole modern UI anymore) can find/open stuff pretty quickly.

I still dislike the way right button is handled in the modern UI. Give me my context menus back. Unnecessary useless movements are unnecessary.

Re:Windows 8.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828663)

Win+Q... how didn't I notice that before? +1 internet point for you.

Re:Windows 8.1 (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45828397)

I have noticed that when you buy a new laptop here (Japan) most shops offer to either pre-install or sell you software to bring the start menu back.

To be fair to MS they did listen. I was surprised when they brought the start button back and allowed booting directly to the desktop. The start button fixes the biggest UI problem with Windows 8, which is that it wasn't obvious how to get back to the start screen. Okay, it's not exactly what people wanted, but it's not as offensively bad as the original implementation.

What really pissed me off about Windows 8.1 is the fact that it wouldn't let me log in without a god damned Microsoft account. I made one years ago to take advantage of the free 25GB Skydrive they offer (no personal details given, drive contains only a massive encrypted container and some ISO images of MS operating systems I sometimes need to download and install) so logged in, then prompty detached my local account. Still irritating though, almost as bad as the way Google is trying to drive YouTube users to G+ by forcing them to have a G+ account.

HealthCare.gov, by a mile (2, Interesting)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 4 months ago | (#45826895)

No contest. It's got everything: hubris, cronyism, bureaucratic bungling, political idiocy, numerous huge IT errors, hundreds of millions of dollars. Once all the details come out, this massive fail will be studied in universities. Books will be written. The political consequences will last for years. Coming soon: the doctor shortages. And does everyone know that in 2014, the health plan tax kicks in? I don't mean the "Cadillac plan" tax, or the tax if you don't have insurance. I mean the 2% tax on every health plan. [nypost.com] Yes, in order to make health insurance more "affordable," they are taxing health insurance! Words fail.

Re:HealthCare.gov, by a mile (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 months ago | (#45826979)

Doctor shortages? Big deal.

Re:HealthCare.gov, by a mile (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827035)

Doctor shortage? There are thirteen of him and he makes house calls anywhere in time and space.

Re:HealthCare.gov, by a mile (2, Interesting)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 4 months ago | (#45827669)

No contest. It's got everything: hubris, cronyism, bureaucratic bungling, political idiocy, numerous huge IT errors, hundreds of millions of dollars. Once all the details come out, this massive fail will be studied in universities. Books will be written. The political consequences will last for years. Coming soon: the doctor shortages. And does everyone know that in 2014, the health plan tax kicks in? I don't mean the "Cadillac plan" tax, or the tax if you don't have insurance. I mean the 2% tax on every health plan. [nypost.com] Yes, in order to make health insurance more "affordable," they are taxing health insurance! Words fail.

Yep.

The idea that there is even some question about what the biggest tech mishap of 2013 is says a lot about Slashdot/techie politics. When you go all in for someone, it's very hard to admit later that you were wrong.

Re:HealthCare.gov, by a mile (4, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | about 4 months ago | (#45827925)

What's funny is that the person you are quoting barely even mentions the TECH mishap - he sums it up as "numerous huge IT errors" but then goes on a rant about things that have NOTHING to do with the fucked up launch of healthcare.gov, but you want to claim that other people can't seem to separate their politics from their ability to assess the success or failure of a tech project. What the ever loving fuck does someone saying there will be doctor shortages, or a 2% tax, have to do with the website sucking? Nothing. Stop projecting your partisanship onto other people.

Personally I hate the ACA because it isn't single payer and all it will wind up doing is delaying actual healthcare reform in this country by decades while simultaneously keeping a useless industry alive. In any case, this story isn't about politics, it's about tech fuckups in 2013. So:

As an IT project, Healthcare.gov was an abortion. You had project management that was behaving in a fairly schizophrenic fashion (namely, political leadership who were battling over the ACA trying to repeal/defend it) leading to delays in starting implementation, you had incompetent contractors hired to put it out, you had incompetent developers building it (my god, the amount of pointless data streaming up and down was staggering, the front end code we could see was incompetent at best, the whole mess was completely non-performant) and then to top it off, as a post-mortem it seems that most were trying to assign blame and score political gotcha points and throwing up all kinds of irrelevant shit rather than just dealing with reality and trying to do a solid job implementing the law of the land.

I do agree there can be no doubt that Healthcare.gov is the absolute biggest fuck-up of the year.

Though my vote for worst tech issue of the year definitely goes to the NSA stuff - I'll take a thousand shitty websites over big brother any day.

Re:HealthCare.gov, by a mile (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#45827823)

And does everyone know that in 2014, the health plan tax kicks in? I don't mean the "Cadillac plan" tax, or the tax if you don't have insurance. I mean the 2% tax on every health plan. Yes, in order to make health insurance more "affordable," they are taxing health insurance! Words fail.

Well, I'm assuming the goal is to use that money to provide health plans to those who can't afford them, obviously if more people get coverage than before and the costs per person don't go down the total will go up. Here in Norway it's a tax for employers when they pay me income, essentially for every 100 NOK I get they must pay 7.80 NOK to the government. If there's a street bum with no income, get still gets the same healthcare as me and obviously that's coming out of the pockets of everyone else. If we took away the tax and let everyone get their own insurance I'd be paying for just me, right? And the bum would probably die, but let's leave morality out it for a second.

By making sure everyone is in good health and vaccinated, we reduce the spread of disease and infection. If some of the uncovered people could get back into taxable work they could become an asset or at least less of a tax burden. Desperate people who need money for surgery can lead to crime and exploitation. And most of all, we don't throw hot potatoes around in the system trying to deny or revoke their coverage. The overhead is far less. I'm also fairly confident I will get an appropriate treatment based on medical needs, of course our doctors and nurses are just as human as anyone else but at least I'm not fighting a giant insurance company who want my treatment to be cheap as possible without getting sued and lose.

If you want to take non-tech mishaps then Obamacare is taking on all the challenges and costs of socialized medicine while providing little to none of the benefits other countries have. The Democrats sacrificed the soul of the system, while the Republicans have poisoned the apple so it's set up to fail. In a few years it'll be a disaster and everyone in the US will agree socialized medicine can't work, despite all the pointing to what happens in pinko commie land.

Re:HealthCare.gov, by a mile (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827867)

The only input the Republicans had was forcing Congress to have to use the same plan. Any claim they changed the bill otherwise is an outright lie, period.

The subsidies, to make it affordable, are tax credits. If you pay no federal income tax (47% of the country) you get no subsidy. If you make under $17K you get no subsidy. It caps out, so if you make over $43K you get no subsidy. The amount of tax you pay on $43K is not much because of our tax system and deductions, and if your subsidy is greater than what you pay in federal income tax you don't get that extra.

The subsidies will help some people, but the LARGE MAJORITY will get nothing from it. The 47% who pay no taxes, or those who make too much, will get nothing leaving only a small percentage of citizens able to qualify for anything. Those who do qualify will get tiny amounts, regardless of what was promised by the web site.

The DNC knows this and is trying to figure out how to spin it. One of their failed attempts is to blame the GOP for writing it bad, like the above poster did, but everyone knows the GOP had nothing to do with it and didn't vote for it at all. They even managed to call it Obamacare, and Obama himself said he was proud to have it called that, now he regrets saying that and people are spinning that its only called that because of the GOP.

Just watch over the next year as the GOP is blamed for every single failure despite it being 100% written by, voted by, run by, and owned by the DNC.

Re:HealthCare.gov, by a mile (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828299)

The subsidies, to make it affordable, are tax credits. If you pay no federal income tax (47% of the country) you get no subsidy. If you make under $17K you get no subsidy. It caps out, so if you make over $43K you get no subsidy. The amount of tax you pay on $43K is not much because of our tax system and deductions, and if your subsidy is greater than what you pay in federal income tax you don't get that extra.

FYI, Refundable tax credits are not the same as tax deductions. That's a big fraud concerns, as the IRS pays out billions in unwarranted tax credits.

From: http://www.healthaffairs.org/healthpolicybriefs/brief.php?brief_id=97

"To help make premiums affordable, federal subsidies in the form of tax credits will be available for eligible individuals and families who purchase insurance through an exchange (see "Eligibility for Subsidies" below). The tax credits are refundable, which means that eligible taxpayers receive the full amount of the credit, regardless of how much they otherwise owe in federal income taxes."

Re:HealthCare.gov, by a mile (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#45827935)

Isn't that situation normal with a lot of SAP, IBM etc contracts let alone whatever IT pilot fish are hanging around Washington to gobble up crumbs? Blaming such a thing on anyone other than the contractor that fucks it up reveals more about the person pointing the finger in the wrong direction than anything else.

Not really by a mile (1, Flamebait)

eclectro (227083) | about 4 months ago | (#45828679)

The political consequences will last for years. Coming soon: the doctor shortages.

Spoken like a true TeaParty ideologue. While the initial rollout of healthcare.gov was an unmitigated mess, the recovery will in time be recognized as one of the greatest tech successes. The initial design goal was for the website to be able to accommodate 50,000 simultaneous visitors. On Monday December 23rd the website was supporting 83,000 concurrent users. About 2 million people have enrolled into healthcare plans, 1.1 million through healthcare.gov. Quite a substantial number from those six people that enrolled the first day!

Regardless of what you think of the individual mandate or health care reform, that is a remarkable tech turn around - taking millions of lines of pre-alpha code in October to production status by the end of the year. Here is a short video interview with New Relic, one of the companies behind the turnaround. [bloomberg.com]

For all the bad politics our government might have, do not underestimate its propensity to solve a technical problem.

Surface? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45826897)

Microsoft's surface write offs?

I nominate: (5, Insightful)

Xeno man (1614779) | about 4 months ago | (#45826983)

I'm gona throw in a nomination for EA and the launch of Sim City. While probably not the largest screw up, I would say they had the most warning. With security breaches or even building a new Health care website, there are unknowns. You can't predict when someone is going to steal your data or how they are going to do it outside of a few tech guys that know how their systems work and whos warnings go unheard. EA had everyone screaming at them to not use DRM but they did anyway. They were warned that if they did use DRM that servers would be maxed out on launch day. They claimed that they were prepared for it but obviously they were not. They were warned and people begged for them to listen but they didn't and come launch day, everything they were warned about happened. It wasn't a minor hiccup either as it took a month for everything to be sorted out.

If that's not a screw up, I don't know what is.

Re:I nominate: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827157)

The Sim City 4 screwup is even larger than DRM servers.

They claimed the need the servers to simulate a total lot of the cities and that this was too much for the average PC. So the need to simulate the cities on the server. That was a lie. Sim City 4 is not really a good simulation, it works with very simplified models which create all kinds of odd occurances in the cities (which are totally unrealistic). For example? They simulate Sims in packs of 1000s, so skyscrapers are empty when one "sim pack" leaves. Every Sim drives the shortest route to the closest(!) place of work and also from there to the closest (!) free house. That leads to jammed roades even if a bypass freeway is near (and empty), this leads to entire regions where people cannot find work even if there's a lot of shops, these simplified simulations lead to all kinds of stupidity in a game that claims to be a "simulation".

Everyone said their maps are too small. They ignored it and now people complain the maps are too small.

People did want to build their city, but now are forced to build several small ones in their "regions", I guess the developers and publishers had the wet dream to create a large, buzzing online environment where ten people each build their small, specialised city in their own region and happily working together. But totally neglected that their audience wants to build their own megacity, not ten small pieces or one small piece and work with someone else.

Sim City 4 is acutally a bigger screwup than you make it out to be and what sets this apart from other "bad" games are two things: First the lies and the deliberate deception of game magazines and customers before the release who much the game would actually simulate. Second, the screwups are not issues of bad implementation or limited budget of a small developer who planned and wanted too much. Many of the really big, bad issues of this games are actually working as designed. They are not bad code, incompetence of a few coders, bad planning what you can do, but fundamentally wrong strategy, misunderstanding what the franchise is, the attempt to turn it into something that cannot work with the franchise and planning from the very core by the publisher and game designers.

So yes, I do say Sim City 4 fully counts and EA/Maxis screwed up much more and on a much deeper level than parent is giving them credit for.

Re:I nominate: (1)

game kid (805301) | about 4 months ago | (#45827179)

Were you going for a "shame there wasn't a 4th" joke there? (SimCity 4 [wikipedia.org] is a different game from this year's version [wikipedia.org].)

Re:I nominate: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828169)

No, very apparently and obviously I'm confusing the two. It would be a) a pretty lame joke and b) factually wrong if I actually spoke about SC4 - here's the corrected version:

The current Sim City screwup is even larger than DRM servers.

They claimed the need the servers to simulate a total lot of the cities and that this was too much for the average PC. So the need to simulate the cities on the server. That was a lie. Sim City is not really a good simulation, it works with very simplified models which create all kinds of odd occurances in the cities (which are totally unrealistic). For example? They simulate Sims in packs of 1000s, so skyscrapers are empty when one "sim pack" leaves. Every Sim drives the shortest route to the closest(!) place of work and also from there to the closest (!) free house. That leads to jammed roades even if a bypass freeway is near (and empty), this leads to entire regions where people cannot find work even if there's a lot of shops, these simplified simulations lead to all kinds of stupidity in a game that claims to be a "simulation".

Everyone said their maps are too small. They ignored it and now people complain the maps are too small.

People did want to build their city, but now are forced to build several small ones in their "regions", I guess the developers and publishers had the wet dream to create a large, buzzing online environment where ten people each build their small, specialised city in their own region and happily working together. But totally neglected that their audience wants to build their own megacity, not ten small pieces or one small piece and work with someone else.

Sim City is acutally a bigger screwup than you make it out to be and what sets this apart from other "bad" games are two things: First the lies and the deliberate deception of game magazines and customers before the release who much the game would actually simulate. Second, the screwups are not issues of bad implementation or limited budget of a small developer who planned and wanted too much. Many of the really big, bad issues of this games are actually working as designed. They are not bad code, incompetence of a few coders, bad planning what you can do, but fundamentally wrong strategy, misunderstanding what the franchise is, the attempt to turn it into something that cannot work with the franchise and planning from the very core by the publisher and game designers.

So yes, I do say Sim City fully counts and EA/Maxis screwed up much more and on a much deeper level than parent is giving them credit for.

Re:I nominate: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827217)

Pedantry point: SimCity 4 was previous in the series released in 2003, this one is called just "SimCity".

Non-pedantry point: despite all this shit and all the negative opinions on the Internet, it sold 2 million copies - just like SimCity 4 or Civilization III. Or 200k copies more than Quake or half a million more than Duke Nukem 3D or twice as many as BioShock.

That's the thing, people keep lapping it up, so calling it "mishap" doesn't really cut it when it keeps printing money.

Nokia (3, Insightful)

jbernardo (1014507) | about 4 months ago | (#45826991)

I know, it's a slow motion train wreck that started in 2011, but the death by Elop was consummated only in 2013, with the fire sale to Microsoft.

Re:Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827065)

Really? More than Blackberry? It's sales of smartphones actually went up, which is way more than can be said for BB.

Re:Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828529)

They basically sold ALL of their infrastructure and independent manufacturing capacity. Now they are just another design company that doesn't build their own hardware or have their own OS. They pissed away all of their competitive advantage for nothing, but making some executives alot of money. those that cared about the company already jettisoned their shares. all that is left is the vultures expecting a fat payoff from Microsoft.

Re:Nokia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827073)

Nokia were dead long before Elop had the reins, he just tried to change the dieing horses direction....unsuccessfully. Though arguably they did do quite well the last 12 months gaining back some market share with the Lumia line.

Re:Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827149)

2004 it started...long long long before Elop

Captcha was "precise" ....

Re:Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827223)

But Nokia is not sold to Microsoft... yet
furthermore only the mobile division is on sale...
and the rest of Nokia may begin manufacturing mobile phones after 2 years.

Windows 8.1 (0, Troll)

dubdays (410710) | about 4 months ago | (#45827043)

Fail. Enough said.

Re:Windows 8.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828049)

Not sure why it's moderated Troll.
After all, this impacts a lot of people all over the world (more than Healthcare.gov or SimCity whatever) and Windows 8.1 still a big downgrade compared to Windows 7 as far as I understand it.

Website makeover (5, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 4 months ago | (#45827059)

Without a doubt, the biggest tech failure of the year is slashdot's new mobile site, and the horendous beta desktop site. I can't imagine the motivation behind the flashy, slow, non-functional mess. If classic.slashdot.org ever goes away, so too will I.

Re:Website makeover (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 months ago | (#45827079)

Could not agree more, somehow a week ago I got directed to the beta site. All I could think was "What the FUCK are you guys doing", Slashdot has gotten worse and worse with each new version but if that shit that is in beta goes live this place will become a ghost town.

Re:Website makeover (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827139)

I can only recommend: pixelcity.com/s

In that way should be slashdot!! Clean, fast... Just text.

NOTE: I got to know about this from another slashdot post long ago :)

Re:Website makeover (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 4 months ago | (#45827147)

Except that's just a striped down front page. Managing the horde of comments is the challenging part, and they made no attempt to do so.

Wish it was just that (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 4 months ago | (#45828095)

Wish it was just that.

Page source = 128KB.
ctrl+a, ctrl+c, ctrl+v of page yields 16KB.

Is that other 112KB of CSS really necessary?

Re:Website makeover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827977)

I cannot agree more. The beta site is great if one wants a SEO-spammy style blog type of interface for cat pictures, but for usability, it is pretty botched up and absolutely worthless for looking at any amount of decent threads.

I give props to Slashdot/Dice Holdings though. The previous UI is still available, and that is a big saving grace.

how about.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827063)

...the slashdot redesign?

iOS 7 (4, Insightful)

Powercntrl (458442) | about 4 months ago | (#45827091)

Apple basically threw away everything that made iOS look approachable and polished.

Re:iOS 7 (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45828263)

My girlfriend wanted an iPad Air for xmas, and when I suggested a Nexus 7 she thought I was just being cheap... So I got her one. I'm not that familiar with iOS or previous iPads but it was pretty disappointing out of the box.

The box itself has the iPad, a USB charger and a cable. That's it. Not even headphones or a cleaning cloth or a stand or something. Turning the iPad on the first thing you see is a white screen that shows up how uneven the backlight is at the edges of the screen perfectly. The set up process is rather long... She set it to Chinese so I couldn't read all of it, but considering she already had an Apple account for her iPhone 4 I would have expected a single log-in to be pretty much all that was required. It seems to duplicate a lot of questions too, like asking you for interface language, then keyboards, then location... on a device with GPS, wifi and mobile network access.

Once you get into the main OS it is slick enough, as smooth as my Nexus 5. None of her apps were installed though, she had to do that manually. That seems to be the way of iOS: it makes you work, do everything manually. For example, when you install an app it just dumps the icon on the home screen in the order you installed it. There isn't an app tray, no alphabetical list. You have to organize all apps yourself, sort and categorize them. No widgets, so you have to open an app to get some tiny bit of information. The notification area only has basic controls so most notifications require opening an app too. When you want to move data from app to app there is no simple sharing mechanism, it's a save/switch/load or copy/switch/paste operation.

The UI is inconsistent too. Maybe this is an iOS7 thing, I don't know. For example, there is no back button, so backing out or cancelling things is handled differently by each app. In some apps it isn't even obvious what is a button and what isn't, which is an issue for Android as well but at least you can always just hit back if you don't want to do something.

I suppose it's okay as a tablet. You can learn to use it. Not having used iOS extensively I assumed most of the issues I knew about were geek things that normal people didn't care about, but actually a lot of it is basic usability issues. I guess with all the hype I was surprised, I expected more. Definitely expected more for the money.

...and the winner is: (4, Interesting)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | about 4 months ago | (#45827155)

"Tech Companies" for allowing the NSA infiltration for fear of the federal and state governments frowning upon them and shifting their privileges to other industries and companies. It's like a no-choice NDA; it's just put on you without your agreement or consent, but with an expectation of fulfillment or consequence. For shame no decent leaks came from Google, Apple, Microsoft, random users/hackers/crackers, designers and manufacturers, etc. before Snowden. Only now companies position themselves with the product/customer, saying they were forced but are glad they can admit to (and hopefully reform) it. Strange and mistrustful times.

Re:...and the winner is: (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45828289)

I'd say RSA specifically. It has been revealed that the NSA paid them for a backdoor and that they recommended insecure algorithms to customers. Their core business was undermined and shown to be flawed... It's hard to imagine how any company could survive that, although somehow they have.

At least all the other companies were attacked by the NSA, and didn't just open the door for them. At least, as far as we know.

The NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827189)

I do not know where to start. That they use tech to collect all that information - or that they have no idea at all what to do with it or how to actually use it to prevent all those things that are claimed they need to prevent.

Given the money spent and the rights and principles of freedom, democracy and enlightenment violated we're seeing very little actual return but a lot of very questionable things...

They (and their allied services from the UK, Canada, etc) are a rolling mishap of bad politics and technological clustering... it's like an obese person is stuffing even more chocolate in their belly, without thinking, plan or anything else but the will to go on stuffing choloclate for the sake of fighting the threat of chocolate being unhealthy to others.

International Space Station (1)

savuporo (658486) | about 4 months ago | (#45827459)

Well, ISS weighs around 400 tons, a bit more now. One of it's coolant pumps spontaneously developed undocumented features recently, and the crew mounted a fix up mission with somewhat makeshift EVA suits and other merryness right around the time when everyone was stuffing their faces around christmas tables.

So if we are talking about big mishaps, thats pretty big, coming in at 400 tons and whizzing about at 7km/s overhead. Fortunately, the fix worked.
 

The Year No One Learned From Mistakes (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45827677)

2013 is notable for being the year the technology industry did not learn from its mistakes. There's no one single worst mistake. It's like the year Time magazine put a mirror on the cover - the entire industry is to blame!

Windows 8. Gnome 3. Unity. iOS 7. What is the lesson? Users do not want gratuitous change that destroys workflow patterns and muscle memory, and yet technology companies keep cramming them down our throats. In 2013, Windows 8.1 came out and it was just more of the same. iOS 7 destroyed everything we knew about Apple's "it just works" usability, and threw in a snow-blindness photo browser with a white background just to put salt in the wounds. The only thing we can look forward to is more change for the sake of change.

Healthcare.gov is just a symptom of a dysfunctional system of outsourcing to contractors who skim their money off the top, and then hire technology experts with whatever is left, insuring any technology project is going to fail. No one seems to care about quality. That's why software projects fail. Until structural changes are made in how technology is created, nothing will change.

Lessons were there to be learned from, but in 2013, forget it - no one cared.

Re:The Year No One Learned From Mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828331)

True, but I think the NSA setting up a system that made Snoden's caper possible takes the cigar.

Also, I'd personally like to nominate the Yahoo groups 'upgrade' for (dis-)honorable mention.

Re:The Year No One Learned From Mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828423)

Users do not want change...bring back the Program Manager, now!

Blackberry 10 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45828237)

I have the Z10. I don't play games. The phone was built around communication. E-mail, face book, phone calls, BBM. I feel sorry for anyone that chooses Android or iOS over a new Z10 or Z30 if they use it primarily for communications.

There are less games/apps but I can do everything I want to do with it. There are enough games to keep me entertained. And with the exception of no Netflix, it does everything most would want. Thing is, you can install Android apps on the phone and support for that improves with every OS release.

The phone's user interface also shows how last gen Android and iOS are.

ObamaCare website (4, Insightful)

enharmonix (988983) | about 4 months ago | (#45828473)

Whether you agree w/ the Affordable Care Act or not, it is legally required that everybody have insurance. When you've got a government mandate to use a website* and that website doesn't work, that's a pretty big problem.

* Yes, I am aware there are other ways to sign up. But a) have you ever had to wait for service at any office run by the government? and b) isn't this 2013? almost 2014?

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