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Comment Re:Not just an IT problem (Score 2) 198

No, this is the state of play even before we start talking about lobbyists.

The regulations accumulated like that as the result of some grievously bad deal that happened a long time ago on a project you've never heard of. Because of this forgotten screw-up, Congress passed laws to require oversight and record keeping for this, that or the other detail.

Also, when Congress appropriates money in the budget, they allocate the money for certain purposes. In government, they call that "colors of money". Certain colors can pay for R&D, certain colors for initial purchases, other colors for maintenance, things like that. This can guide certain government decisions, such as whether to pay for more R&D now to have lower initial procurement costs, or buy cheaper components in initial procurement and plan for higher maintenance costs, etc. Using funds for purposes not consistent with the appropriated purpose is a crime.

Let's use my cheeseburger example. If you want one, you determine what kind of money you have and what quality you want, and some qualities may be out of your price range. You then go to McDonalds, or Red Robin, or Rainforest Cafe, whatever, and you pay your money and you get a (restaurant name) cheeseburger. Let's say they advertise a double quarter pounder, medium rare with Tillamook medium cheddar cheese with pickles, onions, tomatoes on a sesame seed bun, and you want all that.

Now, let's say the government wants the same cheeseburger, only they're going to buy 10,000 of them. As a result of the FAR, the following certifications must be established before delivery and acceptance by the Decision Authority:

- Weight of each hamburger patty must be +/- 5% of the Critical Performance Metric of 0.25 lbs. Continuous sampling, measurement and reporting must be done to maintain quality/quantity standards to the governments specifications (The restaurant/manufacturer's own QA process is done separately and in parallel, but has no bearing on the government's metrics.), reported monthly
- The cooking process must be certified to achieve a 95% outcome of Medium Rare (see appendix A for definition). Sampling, measuring and reporting to be provided monthly.
- Quality of other ingredients are also to be sampled, measured and reported, monthly.
- The economic health of the providers of cheese, tomato, onion, ground beef, buns, etc must be assessed for economic viability, and a multi-source procurement process must be implemented for any critical material to ensure the supply of all components even in the event of a supplier going out of business. If a component can only be procured from one source (possibly for proprietary reasons), the liability of the manufacturing line must be assessed and if necessary, the government will buy the whole plant to assure the production of the material even if no one else on the market wants that product any more.

Without considering corruption, wastage, inefficiency, lobbying, political favors, etc, this is how you make a $200 hamburger. All by the regulations.

Comment Not just an IT problem (Score 5, Informative) 198

It's a military, construction, health, fill-in-the-government-blank, problem.

General Dynamics, Raytheon, Boeing, Halliburton, etc provide a critical service: they understand government regulation. If you've ever seen a printed out copy of the Federal Acquisition Regulations, you'd be surprised that gravitational collapse isn't happening.

For most businesses, it's not worth taking a government contract until they're asking you to provide a COTS solution, where you know what you're selling, and the government pays you, and that's the end of it. The government is getting exactly what the commercial market gets. Firm Fixed Price contract, no surprises.

As soon as the government wants it customized in any way, and they're willing to pay you to customize it, that rabbit hole goes all the way down. Every stipulation of the contract must be assessed for compliance, and every assessment requires some kind of test, and every test has a schedule towards passage of the test, and every last one of these things costs time and resources, which means money, which the government is going to pay you, because the government wants its double cheeseburger in a way that no-one else wants it.

If you're an action oriented kind of entrepreneur, this will drive you insane. So you don't do it yourself. You go in as a subcontractor to one of the big Gov-BS-Handlers. You do the work, they firewall you from the BS, 50% for you, 250% for them (after change orders and spec changes and reviews and program management overhead) and everyone is happy with the $500 hammer (non-sparking, minimal toxic release, aircraft rated, 8 pound, loading bracket hinge, for the hitting of, one count)

Dog Eats Man's Toe and Saves His Life 207

Have you ever been so drunk that you passed out and your dog ate your toe? I haven't either, but luckily for Michigander Jerry Douthett, he has. It turns out Jerry has type 2 diabetes and a wound on his toe had becoming dangerously infected. After a night of drinking Jerry passed out in his chair and the family dog Kiko decided to do a little doggy doctoring. From the article: "'The toe was gone,' said Douthett. 'He ate it. I mean, he must have eaten it, because we couldn't find it anywhere else in the house. I look down, there's blood all over, and my toe is gone.' [Douthett's wife] Rosee, 40, rushed her husband to the hospital where she's a gerontology nurse — Spectrum Health's Blodgett Campus. Kiko had gnawed to a point below the nail-line. When tests revealed an infection to the bone, doctors amputated what was left of the toe."
PlayStation (Games)

US Air Force To Suffer From PS3 Update 349

tlhIngan writes "The US Air Force, having purchased PS3s for supercomputing research, is now the latest victim of Sony's removal of the Install Other OS feature. It turns out that while their PS3s don't need the firmware update, it will be impossible to replace PS3s that fail. PS3s with the Other OS feature are no longer produced since the Slim was introduced, so replacements will have to come from the existing stock of used PS3s. However, as most gamers have probably updated their PS3s, that used stock is no longer suitable for the USAF's research. In addition, smaller educational clusters using PS3s will share the same fate — unable to replace machines that die in their clusters." In related news, Sony has been hit with two more lawsuits over this issue.

The Big Technical Mistakes of History 244

An anonymous reader tips a PC Authority review of some of the biggest technical goofs of all time. "As any computer programmer will tell you, some of the most confusing and complex issues can stem from the simplest of errors. This article looking back at history's big technical mistakes includes some interesting trivia, such as NASA's failure to convert measurements to metric, resulting in the Mars Climate Orbiter being torn apart by the Martian atmosphere. Then there is the infamous Intel Pentium floating point fiasco, which cost the company $450m in direct costs, a battering on the world's stock exchanges, and a huge black mark on its reputation. Also on the list is Iridium, the global satellite phone network that promised to make phones work anywhere on the planet, but required 77 satellites to be launched into space."

Funeral Being Held Today For IE6 194

An anonymous reader writes "More than 100 people, many of them dressed in black, are expected to gather around a coffin Thursday to say goodbye to an old friend. The deceased? Internet Explorer 6. The aging Web browser, survived by its descendants Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8, is being eulogized at a tongue-in-cheek 'funeral' hosted by Aten Design Group, a design firm in Denver, Colorado."

The Final Release of Apache HTTP Server 1.3 104

Kyle Hamilton writes "The Apache Software Foundation and the Apache HTTP Server Project are pleased to announce the release of version 1.3.42 of the Apache HTTP Server ('Apache'). This release is intended as the final release of version 1.3 of the Apache HTTP Server, which has reached end of life status There will be no more full releases of Apache HTTP Server 1.3. However, critical security updates may be made available."

Researchers Pooh-Pooh Algae-Based Biofuel 238

Julie188 writes "Researchers from the University of Virginia have found that current algae biofuel production methods consume more energy, have higher greenhouse gas emissions and use more water than other biofuel sources, such as switchgrass, canola and corn. The researchers suggest these problems can be overcome by situating algae production ponds behind wastewater treatment facilities to capture phosphorous and nitrogen — essential algae nutrients that otherwise need to come from petroleum."
Role Playing (Games)

Genre Wars — the Downside of the RPG Takeover 248

Phaethon360 writes "From Bioshock and Modern Warfare 2 to even Team Fortress 2, RPG elements are creeping into game genres that we never imagined they would. This change for the most part has managed to subtly improve upon genres that needed new life, but there's a cost that hasn't been tallied by the majority of game developers. 'The simple act of removing mod tools, along with the much discussed dedicated server issue, has made [MW2] a bit of a joke among competitive players. Gone are the days of "promod," and the only option you have is to play it their way. If Infinity Ward are so insistent on improving the variety of our experiences, they don’t have to do it at the expense of the experience that many of us already love. It really is that simple. If they don’t want to provide a good "back to basics experience," they could at least continue to provide the tools that allow us to do that for ourselves.'"

Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight 140

Last year we ran the story of Yves Rossy and his DIY jetwings. Yves spent $190,000 and countless hours building a set of jet-powered wings which he used to cross the English Channel. Rossy's next goal is to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, from Tangier in Morocco and Tarifa on the southwestern tip of Spain. From the article: "Using a four-cylinder jet pack and carbon fibre wings spanning over 8ft, he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth." Update 18:57 GMT: mytrip writes: "Yves Rossy took off from Tangiers but five minutes into an expected 15-minute flight he was obliged to ditch into the wind-swept waters."

Comment Re:Chanj (Score 2, Insightful) 1656

<lol>Wud hav had it neway</lol>

On November 3rd, 2004, one could predict that there would be change happening on January 20th, 2009. One could predict that the 44th president of the United States of America would be inaugurated.

It is now the responsibility of the 44th President to ensure that there will be an orderly transition of power to the 45th President. It is also his responsibility to ensure that there will be an orderly transition to the 100th President, and the 200th President, and so on.

So Help Barack H. Obama, God. So Help Us All.

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