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Not Just Healthcare.gov: NASA Has 'Significant Problems' With $2.5B IT Contract

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the moving-at-the-speed-of-government dept.

HP 176

schwit1 writes "According to the Inspector General, NASA and HP Enterprise Services have encountered significant problems implementing the $2.5 billion Agency Consolidated End-User Services (ACES) contract, which provides desktops, laptops, computer equipment and end-user services such as help desk and data backup. Those problems include 'a failed effort to replace most NASA employees' computers within the first six months and low customer satisfaction,' the report states (PDF). It adds that NASA lacked the technical and cultural readiness for an agencywide IT delivery model and did not offer clear contract requirements, while HP failed to deliver on multiple promises."

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I hate Dice.com (1, Insightful)

pHZero (790342) | about 6 months ago | (#46185279)

And I hate beta

I also hate dice.com (1)

kdawson (3715) (1344097) | about 6 months ago | (#46185315)

Dear users, I hate dice.com just as much as yuo do. so how about lets patetion them into making the sight "FOR THE USERS" whereby we elect our own representative editors. Bring back ethanol fueled. Surrender timothy and soulskill to the lynch mobs. Get real articles for people who care!

Re:I also hate beta (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185363)

Dnot 4git 2 h8 BETA 2! b/c BETA sux baw1sax

THANKS OBUMMER... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185715)

"If you like Slashdot classic you can keep Slashdot classic. Period."

Re:I hate Dice.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185383)

Take some time to try the beta. It's actually quite good once you give it a chance.

Re:I hate Dice.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185457)

I have no problems with beta either. Honestly, the comments are lacking in features... but you know what, I avoid them anyway. The comments are rarely a source of any kind of actual intelligent discussion even with the old moderation system. It was mostly mockery, trolling, and stupid comments trying to be funny rather than any kind of real intelligence.

Re:I hate Dice.com (0)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 6 months ago | (#46185509)

It honestly still looks to clean with too much white and empty space. Honest. Besides that, I have minor complaints about the beta.

Re:I hate Dice.com (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 months ago | (#46186021)

The only really big problem that I've encountered is that I can't just jump to the comments I posted by going to my comment history. The only link on the comments goes directly to the entire article, not to the specific comment I posted, making it difficult to tell if someone was replied to my post. Perhaps it can be done, but I can't find the functionality anywhere.

Re:I hate Dice.com (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185445)

Apparently Dice contracted to HP to do the beta site.

Re:I hate Dice.com (2, Informative)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#46185723)

Not to worry fellas. They're LISTENING to us (and greatly value our input). Timothy PROMISED!

Just like they've been listening to us for months now, as exactly NOTHING has changed with the beta.

Re:I hate Dice.com (2, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#46185751)

And I'm sure it wasn't Timothy who modded this thread "0 off-topic." No, he's far too busy listening to us and implementing our suggestions to have time to do downmods.

Re:I hate Dice.com (3, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46186099)

And I'm sure it wasn't Timothy who modded this thread "0 off-topic." No, he's far too busy listening to us and implementing our suggestions to have time to do downmods.

As someone who's been hit by an editor downmod(I suspect a certain slashvertisement poster), 0 is a bit high for that. Getting dropped from a +5 to a -1 without seeing anything in-between is a pretty clear sign. Some people with mod points are tired of beta complaints, and it's not unreasonable to assume that they're starting to act.

I don't think malice is required to explain that moderation.

Re:I hate Dice.com (0)

soliter (1672520) | about 6 months ago | (#46185991)

Come on Dice, you can't be serious about the Beta, right?

There is no RC, because I hate dice... and /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46186215)

Alpha will be a step in the right direction.

Typical.... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#46185287)

This is what happens when you under fund the IT budget, and put in management positions MORONS that do not have a strong IT background. If the IT director can not build a pc by hand from parts and then not only install the OS, but all the drivers and then configure it completely, then configure a Cisco switch and router, he is not fit to be in a management role of IT.

Yet corporations and the Government instead put people with ZERO clue about IT to begin with in the role of management and upper management.

Re:Typical.... (5, Insightful)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46185377)

This is a massive failure on several levels of management, and in several different ways of fail.

I think you are asking for the wrong skills of someone in a management role of IT. There are people who can build a PC, install the OS and drivers yet not be able to code their way out of a paper bag. In fact trained monkeys can do that, and there are plenty of certified monkeys. I don't care if the manager can build a PC. I care if the manager knows the difference between hardware and software.

Has the manager of a development group ever written any software in his life?

Another massive fail is that they do not hire the brightest people. They also encourage a culture that repels the brightest people. Bureaucracy. Red tape. Dress codes. Discouraging and even punishing creativity. Encouraging brown nosing and politics. No wonder they can't build an application even with billion dollar budgets.

No amount of money can fix the problems I described. No amount. Give them ten times the budget, but don't change the real problems and the project will still fail. They don't get this. There are no signs that they ever will get this.

Re:Typical.... (3, Informative)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#46185491)

Dress Codes? Man, we didn't have dress codes when I worked at NASA 10 years ago. That's sad.

[John]

Re:Typical.... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46185629)

I guess the poster didn't really claim to work for NASA. So maybe that don't actually have dress codes?

Re:Typical.... (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46185821)

Just to be clear, I have never worked for the government. But I have friends who are 'permatemp' contractors. I've seen their offices and culture. No thanks.

Re:Typical.... (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#46186267)

Okay. I was a contractor for 13 years at NASA Headquarters in downtown DC (bofh (at) hq (dot) nasa (dot) gov :) ). We (IT) spent our time in the Data Center (even got OSHA dinged for cubicles next to the air handlers). At HQ, the environment was pretty good. The main Government IT guy was damned smart and ahead of his time. When other NASA centers were shut down due to the ILoveYou virus, we were still up and running without a problem. So having all the centers using a single contractor for help desk and other IT stuff would be a huge task. The NASA centers are all over the country, not in one location.

[John]

Re:Typical.... (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46185503)

Agreed. As a former U.S. govt. employee, I can honestly say that the red tape is 70% of why I left. Between security ("IA") policies that gave no consideration to productivity, and purchasing requirements that ignored opportunity costs and red-tape-compliance labor costs, I just didn't feel like I'd get as much software developed during my career as I wanted to.

Re:Typical.... (5, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 6 months ago | (#46186023)

I would counter that this is reallly a problem with government IT contracts. In many government entities, at least the ones I've worked with, new projects are assigned to contractors/consultants and the existing staff handles maintenance. Often, the winning bidders don't even have the proper skill set and the contract includes training their employees. This practice started heavily after tightening budgets. Outsourcing was seen as a way to cut costs and in the short term it does, but not over the life of the project. The problem with this approach is that it leads to bloat and feature creep. The more the consultatnts can get you to expand your project, the more they make. Often, they tend to underbid the contract and overprice modifications, of which there are always many (if management new exactly what they wanted, they probably wouldn't need the contractors).

Prior to this, government entities had their own programming staff that was familiar with the business, the culture and what needed to be done. If a project failed, there were employees under your direct control that you could hold accountable. If the internal budget for the project was $X and it was now about to go over that, then there was some explaining to do. Employees worked to keep on budget and on time, because they, too, had their necks on the line.

For entities that still use their own internal staff, they tend to have less grandious projects, but they tend to finish on time and under budget, or at least closer to those two goals.

There is a myth that fewer employees means a more efficient and less costly entity. The reality is different. The myth is only true if the organization were over staffed and under performing to begin with, which is a management problem, not a worker problem.

The most common reason given for outsouricng is cost savings. But, outsourcing has shown, time and time again, that it is more costly in the long run. Contractors are paid more for the job than employees and the firm has a profit figured in. (Look at Snowden, he was paid double of what the equivelant network engineer that was a government employee was paid, plus the pay of his supervisors and the profit to the shareholders).

The second most common reason is that the existing staff doesn't have the skills needed. But again, history shows us that if the skills in question are really needed now, they will be needed in the future, too. Again, this is a management issue dealing with training, not a lack of worker skills. Besides, all of these skilless employees are going to need to somehow get the skills to maintain the software once it is turned over by the consultants.

Finally, the third reason is budget constraints. That is valid, however, only to the point that the projects are held to their actual budget. Since all of these projects that are outsourced tend to go way over budget and still have to be paid for because they are written as cost plus, claiming budget constraints is disengenous.

Managers do like contractors, because it gives them somebody external to blame for their own internal failures. It is a lot easier to fire a contractor than it is the person sitting in the cubicle for the past ten years.

In the end, if you want to reign in spending on a project (whether IT or otherwise), bringing it in house is shown to be the most economical way. OTOH, all of those mega consulting firms that lobby congress, don't let that message get out.

Re:Typical.... (3, Informative)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#46186315)

As a contractor, I was always looking for work. One company I worked for when I was at Johns Hopkins APL would immediately "release" you if work ended. My manager came to me and said that when the contract ended in six months, I would be let go because they had no requirement for network engineers. Since looking for work while unemployed is more difficult than when employed, I immediately started looking for another job. That's when I went to work at NASA.

So I'm going to stretch my job out as much as possible since I like being able to eat regularly.

[John]

I mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46186037)

...it's like some kind of beta or something.

Re:Typical.... (3, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 6 months ago | (#46185413)

This is what happens when you under fund the IT budget

Throwing $2.5 billion at "desktops, laptops, computer equipment and end-user services such as help desk and data backup" doesnt sound like underfunding IT to me.

Re:Typical.... (5, Informative)

tsqr (808554) | about 6 months ago | (#46186075)

Throwing $2.5 billion at "desktops, laptops, computer equipment and end-user services such as help desk and data backup" doesnt sound like underfunding IT to me.

You're right; it wouldn't be, if that's what they were doing, which they aren't. TFA is pretty enlightening; you should read the first couple of pages.

This is an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract with a potential worth of $2.5B. IDIQ means a phased program where whether the vendor gets to continue supplying products and services, depends on whether the customer is (1) satisfied with past performance, and (2) convinced that that the program is meeting its goals. This is not a case of "Here's $2.5 Billion. There's more where that came from; please do your best." If this ends up with $2.5B spent and goals not meant, then NASA will have seriously screwed up. That's the sort of result that IDIQ contracts are designed to prevent.

This contract is for more than computers, help desk and data backup; NASA wants to migrate from a balkanized IT structure to an enterprise structure, which is a massive cultural change. Unsurprisingly, the NASA managers whose empires consist of the disparate parts of the IT structure are not exactly embracing the new order of things.

Re:Typical.... (2, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 6 months ago | (#46185415)

If the IT Director could do all that the rest of the board wouldn't understand a thing he said. An IT Directors job is to translate technical concerns into the Management Moron spoken in the adminisphere so the rest of the board can make informed decisions without knowing what the hell they're doing.

Welcome to Management One on One

Re:Typical.... (1)

manquer (1950350) | about 6 months ago | (#46185599)

Welcome to Management One on One

Management getting some!

Re:Typical.... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 6 months ago | (#46186065)

If the IT Director could do all that the rest of the board wouldn't understand a thing he said. An IT Directors job is to translate technical concerns into the Management Moron spoken in the adminisphere so the rest of the board can make informed decisions without knowing what the hell they're doing.

Welcome to Management One on One

No, an IT Director is there to ensure that the effectiveness of the organization's mission is maximized through the use of information technology. To accomplish that, he/she must do what you said, but that is not the role of the IT Director. (BTW, if this were for corporation, instead of government, the role would be to maximze shareholder value through the use of information technology).

HP's part (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185463)

The report further states that "poor implementation by HP on important aspects of the contract and inconsistent oversight by NASA" have contributed to the failings.

And this looks like NASA allowed HP to run over them.

Although, this being Government and HP being very well connected, I can just imagine a NASA manager trying to hold HP to their obligations only to have HP have one of their bitches in Congress bitch slap the NASA manager down.

Re:Typical.... (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about 6 months ago | (#46185481)

having worked in the government before, half the problems were people insisting their ancient programs work on the new systems and a refusal to change to current versions

i remember i had people saying that they can't use anything other than Lotus or Wordperfect. then complained they couldn't open MS Word documents

Re:Typical.... (5, Interesting)

ebh (116526) | about 6 months ago | (#46185529)

No, this is what happens when you underTHINK the IT budget. HP and other services organizations want you to believe that all you have to do is write them a check, and all your IT troubles will magically disappear. Instead, what really happens is that all your problems are still there, with one more layer of bureaucratic delays and miscommunications thrown in. The company I work for outsourced their IT to HP, going so far as to sell a lot of their server infrastructure (the actual hardware) to HP, and it's been a disaster, only part of which is HP's fault.

Re:Typical.... (4, Interesting)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about 6 months ago | (#46185583)

In my life I've had only one boss that respected IT personnel. None of them were technical, and had some strange image in their heads of a magical fairy land where us IT folk would wave our wands and shit would get done.

I had one non-programmer boss who proposed an amazing CONTACT FORM to her bosses, and I was required to be there so I could take notes and implement it. After watching her presentation, I was asked if I had any questions or comments. I had comments. Gems like: "Why am I putting EACH FIELD on a separate page? That's going to cause the users to submit the form 10 times before they're done" and "I'm supposed to look these addresses up in the CRM, but the CRM guys have plainly stated over the years that they will never ever Ever EVER let anyone query their DB, did something change?".

By the end of the meeting, the contact form was cancelled and my new task was to make a slideshow screensaver for someone's special project.

Re:Typical.... (2)

fulldecent (598482) | about 6 months ago | (#46186195)

Why hire a nerd who can build one system at a time?

Hire someone who writes the contract so HP doesn't get paid in the situation where they fuck up.

We are not an audience (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185289)

I've got to say that the initial post on this topic perpetuates one of the paradigms that is sticking in the craws of Slashdot users. We are not an audience. We might be users, we might be members, we most certainly are contributors. But we are not an audience.

If you persist in thinking of us that way, then you're going to get it wrong. You serve an audience differently than you serve contributing members of a community. Most of the complaints hinge on that difference.

If we were an audience, we'd be coming here for the articles. Most of the complaints are about the comment system, how difficult it is to follow a conversation, how difficult it is leave a comment, etc. I come here, most of us come here, to read what my/our fellow slashdotters have to say. The value here is the community, and the most important contributors are other members, not the site or the editors.

If you don't get that straight, then you aren't going to "get" why we're upset, so there's no chance that you'll deliver us something that we can live with. And that community is going to vanish, leaving you with nothing of value.

You can take suggestions and maybe reduce the implosion, but unless you understand *why* we're upset, you're going to be heading in fundamentally the wrong direction.

Re:We are not an audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185397)

Let's not get too tangled around the word "audience".

Re:We are not an audience (1)

sliceoflife (2814511) | about 6 months ago | (#46185649)

Let's not get too tangled around the word "audience".

Every symptom is very important in correctly identifying, and from there, appropriately treating the disease.

Re:We are not an audience (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46185859)

Ok. Let's not get too tangled around the word 'audience' as you say. Let's try 'bees' instead.

Bees make honey. You can set up bee boxes and have bees live in the boxes and make honey that you can harvest. But the bees are free to leave at any time. They only reason they stay is because it is attractive to be there. Try making the bee box unusable and the bees will just go build a beehive elsewhere. Don't believe it? They've been building beehives for a lot longer than bee boxes have been around.

Re:We are not an audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185735)

DUH... BETA team - HELLO

    Exactly! The 'users' are the 'content'.

    Miscomprehending that is a typical MBA mistake common to many 'twenty somethings'

Dave_Matthews_sr

"most of us come here, to read what my/our fellow slashdotters have to say. The value here is the community, and the most important contributors are other members, not the site or the editors."

Re:We are not an audience (1, Offtopic)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#46185785)

Looks like Timothy is modding all beta posts "0, Offtopic." I wonder how he finds the time, what with all that effort he's putting into listening to our concerns.

why am i still redirected to beta? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185291)

you are claiming you've heard us.

fuck beta

In a parallel universe (4, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | about 6 months ago | (#46185293)

Those problems include 'a failed effort to replace most NASA employees' computers within the first six months and low customer satisfaction,'

Those problems include 'a failed effort to replace all Slashdot contributors' commenting system within the first four months and low customer satisfaction.

No Dice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185303)

At least they didn't hire Dice to do their site's redesign.

The new layout (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185309)

I can't stand the new Slashdot. I hate being referred to as "Audience" when we are making this site happen. If I wanted CNET, I'd go to CNET.

Slashdot Beta: coming out of the closet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185313)

As a gay man, I take positive representations where I can get them. Any time a same-gender relationship is portrayed in a positive but very real light benefits us all. The same can be said of Slashdot Beta, which, much like being gay, will likely remain marginalized in a subculture that seems married to classic HTML. Beta has never really "come out of the closet" to be ready for acceptance by the Slashdot community. But anytime we can get some good press, it helps us all. I'm a big fan of Slashdot Beta and I'm proud that Alice and Timothy have taken a stand and acknowledged that Slashdot Beta is here and boy, is it queer!

Sounds like some communication issues (4, Funny)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 6 months ago | (#46185317)

NASA: We want you to make our computers awesome.
HP: How awesome?
NASA: The awesomest!
HP: So how awesome is awesomest?
NASA: As awesome as you can make it.
HP: Okay, that'll be two billion dollars.
NASA: Deal! Yay we get awesome new computers, and an an awesome new software system, that will do all sorts of cool things like be our ERP solution and our CAD software and our entire core infrastructure solution...
HP: Yay, we just made a ton of money! So.... what exactly did they want again?

Re:Sounds like some communication issues (-1, Offtopic)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#46185823)

You know what *I* find funny? The fact that Timothy has all this time to downmod ever beta post and up-mod everyone else. I thought he spent every minute of every hour of every day listening to us and our input, working our ways to implement our valued suggestions.

Just curious... (-1, Offtopic)

sootman (158191) | about 6 months ago | (#46185319)

... how much did the Beta cost?

Re:Just curious... (1, Offtopic)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#46185853)

The funny thing is that for all this talk about "We're going to make changes based on your input" horseshit, I would almost be willing to bet that they hired a contractor to do the redesign and that he's already fulfilled his contract and left. I bet that they don't even have the capacity to change the design significantly at this point without hiring a new contractor to do it.

BETA looks like any other news site (1, Insightful)

Mark4ST (249650) | about 6 months ago | (#46185323)

I can't stand the new Slashdot. I hate being referred to as "Audience" when we are making this site happen. If I wanted CNET, I'd go to CNET.

Re:BETA looks like any other news site (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185573)

Beta looks like a generic, poorly designed Wordpress blog, not a news site. And no, this is not offtopic, it's precisely ontopic! It illustrates that incompetence is everywhere be it HP, NASA, Healthcare.gov or Slashdot. It also illustrates the incompetence of the management for not recognizing the stupidity of their IT contractors/staff. The only difference between NASA and Slashdot is that NASA doesn't rely on the "audience" to keep afloat.

Re:BETA looks like any other news site (3, Insightful)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46185893)

Audience is the wrong analogy. This is like the bee keeper thinking the bees are his Audience.

Bees make honey. You can set up bee boxes and have bees live in the boxes and make honey that you can harvest. But the bees are free to leave at any time. They only reason they stay is because it is attractive to be there. Try making the bee box unusable and the bees will just go build a beehive elsewhere. Don't believe it? They've been building beehives for a lot longer than bee boxes have been around.

Re:BETA looks like any other news site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46186385)

I was being sarcastic, referring to the yesterday's PR stunt [slashdot.org] . In case you didn't notice it, in their minds this is a news site, even though the news are sometimes a week old, and we are the audience. This is apparently not a platform where we debate and discuss.

Re:BETA looks like any other news site (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#46185873)

We're just passive viewers to Dice. "To you, the lucky receivers of Dice's glorious semen, we dedicate this wonderful new beta site. It is our gift to you, the unwashed masses!"

significant problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185327)

No need rocket science like NASA to have significant problems, slashdot did it with (fuck)beta!

I don't understand (5, Funny)

itsdapead (734413) | about 6 months ago | (#46185343)

Sorry - I don't understand the article. Too much text on the page confuses me.

Please could you re-print it with double-line spacing and a large bit of generic stock photography of a rocket or something so I know what it is about?

Maybe a big chunk of white-space at the top so I'm not confronted with a whole paragraph of text on the first screen.

Also, the screen appeared too suddenly and made me jump - which is dangerous because today is my first day wearing my big boy pants. Maybe more javascript effects would slow it down?

Yours,
A.N. Audience

Re:I don't understand (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46185467)

Your complaint is so yesterday morning. Timothy issued a (sort of) mea culpa yesterday [slashdot.org] .

Re:I don't understand (3, Insightful)

PGC (880972) | about 6 months ago | (#46185489)

That was not a mea culpa. That was a "please shut up".

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185537)

Beta SUCKS, man.

Re:I don't understand (1, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46185549)

I somewhat disagree. I thought it had elements of both (a) f you, you're not our only audience and we know better than you and (b) we're sorry the implementation sucks balls and we'll fix it.

I'd say it's a mea culpa regarding the less important stuff, and a big f u regarding the more important stuff.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185797)

DEEPER! DEEPER! Choke on Timotay's cock!

FUCK BETA

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185835)

The only thing I got out of that was "fuck you, we're not a community, and your comments aren't important."

Dice doesn't want Slashdot to be "news for nerds" any more. They want it to be an IT news aggregation site. It's been moving that way for ages now, it just took the beta for the majority of commentators to realize that classic Slashdot is dead. Going forward, Slashdot is going to be just IT news. I mean, look at this story. What is it? It's just a generic "IT project failed" story. It's not really news for nerds beyond tying NASA and IT together.

If that's the way they want to go, more power to them, I guess, it's just not why I come to Slashdot, and it's time for me to accept that and move on. So, I guess, thanks to beta and thanks to Timothy for making me realize I've been here too long and, as someone more interested in nerd topics than IT, I'm no longer welcome in the New Slashdot. I should have recognized that years ago. Mea culpa, I guess.

Re:I don't understand (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46185519)

Oh, and BTW, I thought your post was very funny.

Re:I don't understand (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#46185927)

That wasn't a mea culpa, it was the digital equivalent of a form letter saying "Thanks, valued customer. We appreciate your input."

Re:I don't understand (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46185929)

That was not a mea culpa. That was an insult that we are their 'audience'. This is like a bee keeper thinking that the bees are his audience.

Bees make honey. You can set up bee boxes and have bees live in the boxes and make honey that you can harvest. But the bees are free to leave at any time. They only reason they stay is because it is attractive to be there. Try making the bee box unusable and the bees will just go build a beehive elsewhere. Don't believe it? They've been building beehives for a lot longer than bee boxes have been around.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185497)

Yeah. Pictures of failed IT projects would help me understand too. And smaller words tool

Re:I don't understand (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 months ago | (#46185625)

Hum.

Beta is green now.

Have they changed the look?

Now I'll switch.

Re:I don't understand (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#46185887)

Sorry - I don't understand the article. Too much text on the page confuses me.

And why are they letting the audience *comment* on it?? Shouldn't an audience just applaud politely?

Olives and feta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185353)

Let's all complain about /. beta. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not.
Let's complain till Feb 10, then don't come back for a week, and see if that got through to some folks here.
(none of these were my original idea, don't mean to karma-steal here).

Beta? We don't need no stinking BETA! (-1, Offtopic)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 6 months ago | (#46185365)

The new site is not "movin on up". It's more like "movin on down", a step backwards. /. aint broke so dont fix it.

Dice, I am protesting the beta site. I will not follow any links from a beta redirect and I will not participate in any meaningful discussion.

You speak of a wider audience, who is this wider audience? Oh, I get it. You aren't satisfied with 3+ million registered users and now you need to attract the clueless likes of the Popular Science crowd.

Judging by how badly your idiot design team mangled (putting it lightly) the comment section, you are COMPLETELY CLUELESS of what Slashdot really is. Its not a news site and we aren't an audience. Its a community driven site in which users submit content and we can discuss it gaining insight, expressing opinions or have a good laugh. The comments are why we come here. The main page is also an ugly mess. Many of us are mature adults with a professions, some of us are students and everything in between. But one this is for certain: we like text. We don't need pictures or videos or other useless web 2.0/HTML5/Social glitz. Just give us links to the content. That is why I am a daily /. user, its simple and to the point. This isn't twitter, Digg or Facebook, we come here to get away from that. You will lose more members than you will ever hope to attract with your new and unimproved design. Please abandon your attempts to cash in on /.

Fellow /.'ers, join me in this protest. Do not post a comment related to an article or click any links. Instead, post a comment in protest of the beta design. Mods (who wish to participate in the protest): Mod up protest comments comments only. Do not mod down on-topic comments as it isn't fair to the poster.

Re:Beta? We don't need no stinking BETA! (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46185609)

That's kind of unfair. It does not help to rave here anymore. I'm sure that by now the Slashdot crew is perfectly aware of the disaster which the Beta is according to users. Right now we have to wait a bit and see if they actually start fixing stuff, which Timothy just tried to convince us about. They cannot add the new code overnight.

Adding new code is the problem (1, Insightful)

j-stroy (640921) | about 6 months ago | (#46186247)

A change of course can be made overnight. There has been no commitment to maintain what the community that creates this site on a daily basis requires.

If you think fixing the unspeakable new site with new code is an option, you probably don't understand the fundamental problems with it, aside from the look and feel. It ain't Slashdot. That's the problem.

Re:Beta? We don't need no stinking BETA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185617)

Shut up

http://beta.slashdot.org/story/197857

Imagine (5, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | about 6 months ago | (#46185379)

Imagine you're a NASA worker with a nice (albeit old) Macbook computer to do your work on.

Some schmuck walks up to you with a brand new hp laptop with Windows 8 on it to replace your Mac.

I fail to see the scenario where the NASA worker _shouldn't_ enthusiastically shun the "helper" from hp.

When the choice is between something nice and functioning and a crappy os on a crappy piece of hardware, the choice is easy.

The problem with these "one size fits all" contracts is that one size does not fit all situations ever.

If hp wants to make this contract successful they should be forced to offer multiple options through multiple vendors where they take a cut to manage the maintenance and configuration of any of the possible selected systems.

Re:Imagine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185691)

Dear Apple fanboy and/or Apple shill:

1) I can see through the subtle advertising you inserted in your post. You, Sir, are a moron.
2) FUCK BETA. Join us in our protest against that disgusting piece of shit.

Re:Imagine (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185827)

When the choice is between something nice and functioning and a crappy os on a crappy piece of hardware, the choice is easy.

SO TRUE! That's why he's getting the HP!

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46186381)

ACES does provide Apple MacBooks. I have one of them..

"moving-at-the-speed-of-government"? wtf is this e (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185403)

HP FAILED to live up to their contractual obligations and we're blaming government?

FUCK THIS SITE.

Buck Feta (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185409)

       

Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here [pastebin.com] so links don't get mangled!)

       

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

       

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this [slashdot.org] in a new tab. After seeing that, click here [slashdot.org] to return to classic Slashdot.

       

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott [slashdot.org]

       

Moderators - only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors - only discuss Beta
  http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org] - Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

       

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

        -----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----
       

Discussion of Beta: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=56395415 [slashdot.org]

        Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&type=submission&id=3321441 [slashdot.org]

        Alternative Slashdot: http://altslashdot.org [altslashdot.org] (thanks Okian Warrior (537106) [slashdot.org] )

Captcha: Overtake

Slashdot crashing ? (1, Interesting)

advid.net (595837) | about 6 months ago | (#46185475)

I see a wonderful spaceship crashing on a planet in slow motion...

This is Slashdot, poisoned by the silly beta that brings buck feta comments in every story

All stories are contaminated, even if there is a main topic [slashdot.org] for complaining and suggesting improvements or "abandon the beta" advice.

We need to stop this.

Stop redirecting to the beta.
Stop filling stories with buck feta comments.

Re:Slashdot crashing ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185671)

FUcking fucking fuck BETA....

Re:Slashdot crashing ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185857)

Fuck your beta in it's stupid ass. Suck on Dice's cock just a little more. Take it all the way to the bawls and tickle Timothy's taint. I know you can do it!

Re:Slashdot crashing ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185907)

Stop filling stories with buck feta comments

No. How about you stop saying "buck feta". Everyone knows you mean fuck beta, so how does sugar coating it like a little toddler make any difference?

Fuck beta

NMCI 2.0 (2)

strangeintp (892348) | about 6 months ago | (#46185495)

'nuff said

Re:NMCI 2.0 (2)

BigT (70780) | about 6 months ago | (#46186301)

Though that will only mean something to a few of us, that was the comparison I immediately made, too.

I think NMCI (and possibly this NASA system) works just fine if you're a headquarters admin/management type and all you need is email/web apps/power point. If you actually have to produce something and require more than those tools, you're going to have a bad time.

NASA's website (3, Interesting)

Altanar (56809) | about 6 months ago | (#46185501)

This from an organization that, when they recently redesigned their website, *still* didn't get around to forwarding http://nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov] to http://www.nasa.gov [nasa.gov] ? Who would've thought?

Outsourcing sucks (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 6 months ago | (#46185547)

One wonders if the government will start insourcing IT projects again since their outsourced service providers seem to suck.

Re:Outsourcing sucks (0)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46185657)

One wonders if the government will start insourcing IT projects again since their outsourced service providers seem to suck.

Not sure that would change anything. There's not much that the federal govt. touches that it can't screw up. My impression after having worked for the govt. for a number of years is that it mostly stems from Congress. And sadly, I don't see Congress acting more wisely anytime soon.

Re:Outsourcing sucks (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46185667)

I'm pretty sure that the Inherent Superiority of the Private Sector is an axiom, not an empirical conclusion open to reevaluation in light of new data...

(Plus, even outside of the kool aide drinkers, is someone who would feel rewarded if you gave him a job, rather than a big, cushy, contract going to make a worthwhile campaign donor?)

Re:Outsourcing sucks (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 months ago | (#46185885)

I realize why they outsource, because they believe in the market and think they will get the best deal. However the government needs enough IT work done that they could hire their own army of IT workers. A whole organization who's only mandate is to provide IT services to all the other departments in the government.

Re:Outsourcing sucks (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46185977)

I realize why they outsource, because they believe in the market and think they will get the best deal. However the government needs enough IT work done that they could hire their own army of IT workers. A whole organization who's only mandate is to provide IT services to all the other departments in the government.

I don't think it's just that. The federal civil service laws make it very hire to lay people off (because they're no longer needed) or to fire them (because they suck). This means that staffing up for a big project is by incurs a long-term obligation to pay workers, many of whom you no longer want, need, or should be spending budget on.

It's way easier to get rid of contractors.

Re:Outsourcing sucks (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 6 months ago | (#46186153)

Contractors also cost a lot more, doubly so when you factor in that you have to keep paying them well past the end of the contract to fix all the screwups.

The government needs enough people that it isn't going to need to increase or decreasing staffing by large amounts regularly, and if it does it can fill those gaps with contractor developers.

Hiring contracting companies to do things is just a recipe for failure.

Why not use Dice? (1, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 6 months ago | (#46185607)

They'd have it implemented already whether you wanted it or not.

Adblock Slashdot until DICE kills Beta! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185615)

Adblock Slashdot until DICE kills Beta!

Don't forget to renew that failed contract. (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 6 months ago | (#46185631)

Don't forget to renew that failed contract. If you don't have a contract or warranty active they'll charge you for things as simple as firmware downloads for the hardware they couldn't get delivered and configured on time.

Feedback for Timothy (4, Insightful)

plasticsquirrel (637166) | about 6 months ago | (#46185637)

I was reading this review of Slashdot Beta made last October, which shows a variety of screenshots and also has explanations from Timothy in it.

http://www.tweaktown.com/news/33368/slashdot-launches-redesigned-website-in-beta-form-we-check-it-out/index.html [tweaktown.com]

Honestly, I was impressed by at least some of the reasoning, and I can see how some changes would actually be positive. The problem, though, is that not all the changes are good, and it's far too much at once. There is a potential to lose what is special about Slashdot including its moderation system. They need to examine Beta and see and what needs to change for it to be accepted by the Slashdot community. Off the top of my head:

  1. Less whitespace, fewer pictures: Slashdot is all about the text and what the community writes here. It needs to be clear and easy to see a lot of information at one time. How many times do we have to say this? Just change the fucking CSS already.
  2. The moderation system needs to either stay the same or change only slightly. Major changes are going to disrupt the community and the flow of the discussion. Nobody wants Slashdot reduced to +1 and -1 like this is Facebook and we're all retards posting pictures of hamburgers and ugly babies.
  3. It would be nice if someone from Dice had the balls or the ovaries enough to make a formal apology to the community about how this has been handled. This isn't all Timothy's problem, and he shouldn't have to take all the heat. The future direction of Slashdot is the responsibility of Dice and Alice, so they should be responding and taking responsibility.
  4. Stop forcing everyone to switch over and stop forcing redirection until the actual site is finished. To do otherwise is confusing and disrespectful. Wait until you have a finished product.
  5. Do a better job explaining everything to the community and respecting the community. Hell, we would be doing a lot of this work for you and making recommendations for you, but Beta was forced on everyone without proper feedback (not to mention the fact that Beta is still unusable and broken).

Here's a real and serious recommendation for Timothy if he wants Beta to eventually succeed without disrupting the Slashdot community: do redirections one day out of the week, and on that one day, have a story posted by Timothy asking the community for feedback -- one day each week for experimentation ("Slashdot Labs Day"). Then for the next 6 days, they can fix the site, while readers continue to use the classic interface. Keep doing that until the big problems in Beta are ironed out and the community is halfway satisfied with it. That is seriously a simple and reliable way that they could fix this and make people happy again. You can take that one to the bank. Unfortunately I don't know if they have the sense to do so because they haven't accepted feedback very well and they haven't kept in contact with the community.

Hey, Adblock Slashdot until DICE kills Beta! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46185699)

Yea!

Too much brainpower expended (1)

nani popoki (594111) | about 6 months ago | (#46185707)

on coming up with an acronym and not enough on proper planning and execution. This seems to be an endemic problem with our government. Beaurocracy at its best!

hey, look over here! (3, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | about 6 months ago | (#46185865)

In a sense, this is "look how incompetent the government is at implementing tech" story, but in another this could be interpreted as an attempt to trivialize what happened with healthcare.gov. "Oh gosh, nothing ever goes right for the government so what happened with healthcare.gov is par for the course (shrug)."

Except the healthcare.gov disaster was LEGISLATIVE, the constant, ongoing, still-unresolved tech catastrophe was only the impact-crater.

The fact that NASA's computer-replacement program was a boondoggle was meaningless, compared to the tech-failure of a program whose use was MANDATED by law.

And Slashdot Beta (1)

kbahey (102895) | about 6 months ago | (#46186079)

And Slashdot Beta is a disaster of a project too ...

Was it done by the same contractors for Healthcare.gov? No, it was mandated by clueless Dice executives ...

Anyone who sees this kind of backlash should immediately back off, not just say : "We are staying the course ..." GWB style ...

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