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Submission + - Administration Admits Obamacare Website Stinks

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: The WSJ reports that six days into the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the new health-care law, the federal government acknowledged for the first time Sunday that design and software problems have kept customers from applying online for coverage. The website is troubled by coding problems and flaws in the architecture of the system, according to insurance-industry advisers, technical experts and people close to the development of the marketplace. Information technology experts who examined the healthcare.gov website at the request of The Wall Street Journal say the site appeared to be built on a sloppy software foundation and five outside technology experts interviewed by Reuters say they believe flaws in system architecture, not traffic alone, contribute to the problems. One possible cause of the problems is that hitting "apply" on HealthCare.gov causes 92 separate files, plug-ins and other mammoth swarms of data to stream between the user's computer and the servers powering the government website, says Matthew Hancock, an independent expert in website design. He was able to track the files being requested through a feature in the Firefox browser. Of the 92 he found, 56 were JavaScript files, including plug-ins that make it easier for code to work on multiple browsers (such as Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer and Google Inc's Chrome) and let users upload files to HealthCare.gov. "They set up the website in such a way that too many requests to the server arrived at the same time," says Hancock adding that because so much traffic was going back and forth between the users' computers and the server hosting the government website, it was as if the system was attacking itself. "The site basically DDOS'd itself." The delays come three months after the Government Accountability Office said a smooth and timely rollout could not be guaranteed because the online system was not fully completed or tested. “If there’s not a general trend of improvement in the next 72 hours of use in this is system then it would indicate the problems they’re dealing with are more deep seated and not an easy fix,” says Jay Dunlap, senior vice president of health care technology company EXL.
Open Source

Netflix Touts Open Source, Ignores Linux 481

Julie188 writes "If Netflix loves open source, where's the Linux client? Last week's post from Netflix on its use of open source has gotten a lot of coverage from the tech press. Too bad nobody's called the video giant out on its hypocrisy: They benefit greatly from open source, but really don't care to let their customers do the same."
Privacy

TSA Saw My Junk, Missed Razor Blades, Says Adam Savage 609

An anonymous reader writes "The TSA isn't the most respected of governmental agencies right now, but at least it comes by the poor reputation honestly. The lack of standards, inconsistent application of searches and policies, and occasional rude agent all combine to make flying an unpleasant experience. It's often derided as 'security theater,' which describes the experience of Mythbuster Adam Savage before a recent flight. Savage was put through the full-body scanner, and while he joked that it made his penis feel small, no one seemed to notice the items he was carrying on his person. The video tells the rest of the story."
Businesses

SCO Assets Going To October Auction 217

An anonymous reader noted that the SCO Group is having a bankruptcy auction in October. The article says 'After bankruptcy in September 2007, SCO and an affiliate filed schedules listing combined assets of $14.2 million and debt totaling $5.2 million.' I wonder if we could all chip in and buy something as a sort of 'Thanks for being a pimple on the face of humanity' present.
Earth

Scott Adams On the Difficulty of Building a 'Green' Home 482

An anonymous reader writes "Scott Adams built himself a new house with the goal of making it as 'green' as possible, and detailed his experience for those interested in following in his missteps. Quoting: '... So the architect — and later your building engineer, too — each asks you to sign a document saying you won't sue them when beavers eat a load-bearing wall and your entire family is crushed by forest debris. You make the mistake of mentioning this arrangement to your family, and they leave you. But you are not deterred because you're saving the planet, damn it. You'll get a new family. A greener one. Your next hurdle is the local planning commission. They like to approve things that are similar to things they've approved before. To do otherwise is to risk unemployment. And the neighbors don't want to live next to a house that looks like a compost pile. But let's say, for the sake of this fascinating story, that everyone in the planning commission is heavily medicated with medical marijuana and they approve your project over the objections of all of your neighbors, except for the beavers, who are suspiciously flexible. Now you need a contractor who is willing to risk his career to build this cutting-edge structure. Good luck with that.'"

Submission + - Woot to AP: You owe us $17.50 (consumerist.com)

ChipMonk writes: The Associated Press have draconian terms for using their content, but they have no problem swiping content from others:

You see, when we showed off our good news on Wednesday afternoon, we expected we'd get a little bit of attention. But when we found your little newsy thing you do, we couldn't help but notice something important. And that something is this: you printed our web content in your article! The web content that came from our blog! Why, isn't that the very thing you've previously told nu-media bloggers they're not supposed to do? So, The AP, here we are. Just to be fair about this, we've used your very own pricing scheme to calculate how much you owe us. By looking through the link above, and comparing your post with our original letter, we've figured you owe us roughly $17.50 for the content you borrowed from our blog post, which, by the way, we worked very very hard to create.... All you'll need to do is show us your email receipt from today's two pack of Sennheiser MX400 In-Ear Headphones, and we'll call it even.


Image

Anti-Speed Camera Activist Buys Police Department's Web Domain Screenshot-sm 680

Brian McCrary just bought a website to complain about a $90 speeding ticket he received from the Bluff City PD — the Bluff City Police Department site. The department let its domain expire and McCrary was quick to pick it up. From the article: "Brian McCrary found the perfect venue to gripe about a $90 speeding ticket when he went to the Bluff City Police Department's website, saw that its domain name was about to expire, and bought it right out from under the city's nose. Now that McCrary is the proud owner of the site, bluffcitypd.com, the Gray, Tenn., computer network designer has been using it to post links about speed cameras — like the one on US Highway 11E that caught him — and how people don't like them."
Piracy

Pirate Bay Legal Action Dropped In Norway 223

superapecommando writes "Copyright holders have given up legal efforts to force Norwegian ISP Telenor to block filesharing site The Pirate Bay, one of the parties to the case said. The copyright holders, led by Norway's performing rights society TONO and by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry Norway (IFPI Norge), have lost two rounds in the Norwegian court system, and have now decided against appealing the case to Norway's supreme court."
Encryption

Ubisoft's New DRM Cracked In One Day 678

Colonel Korn writes "Ubisoft's recent announcement that upcoming games would require a constant internet connection in order to play has been discussed at length on Slashdot ('The Awful Anti-Pirate System That Will Probably Work'). Many were of the opinion that this new, more demanding DRM would have effectiveness to match its inconvenience, at least financially justifying its use. Others assumed that it would be immediately cracked, as is usually the case, leaving the inconvenience for paying customers and resulting in a superior product for pirates. As usual, the latter group was right. Though Ubisoft won't yet admit it, Skid-Row managed to crack the new DRM less than a day after it was first released."
Image

CES, Reporter Breaks "Unbreakable" Mobile Phone Screenshot-sm 316

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Reporter Dan Simmons from the BBC's technology show Click managed to break a mobile phone marketed as 'unbreakable' (video), during a demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas." The phone can survive a 10 story fall, being submerged 20 feet for 30 mins, and you can use it to hammer a nail; but it's no match for a British journalist.
Idle

Hand Written Clock Screenshot-sm 86

a3buster writes "This clock does not actually have a man inside, but a flatscreen that plays a 24-hour loop of this video by the artist watching his own clock somewhere and painstakingly erasing and re-writing each minute. This video was taken at Design Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2009."
Security

Now Linux Can Get Viruses, Via Wine 343

fsufitch writes "Wine has advanced enough to make Linux not immune to Windows viruses. However, just like many Wine applications, it takes a bit of effort to get the program off the ground. Also, just like some Windows programs running via Wine, not all features may work — in this case, the crippling of the system, immunity to the task manager, identity theft, etc."
Operating Systems

Submission + - Lenovo analyst: Linux on netbooks is doomed 1

thefickler writes: "Lenovo's Worldwide Competitive Analyst, Scott Kohut, has predicted that Linux will only ever be a niche player as an operating system for netbooks. Kohut cited a number of factors that have led to the demise of Linux as a netbook operating system, but his main criticism is that Linux is still too hard to use compared to Windows. He suggests that some members of the Linux community even "like the fact that [Linux] is a little difficult and that it isn't accessible to the average user"."
Image

Cutting Steel With Flaming Bacon Weapons Screenshot-sm 73

Ed Pegg writes "Theo Gray demonstrates the Bacon Lance, a flaming meatsword that can cut through steel. Yes, with some ordinary bacon, and some pure oxygen, it's possible to cut through security doors. Form the article, 'I recently committed myself to the goal, before the weekend was out, of creating a device entirely from bacon and using it to cut a steel pan in half. My initial attempts were failures, but I knew success was within reach when I was able to ignite and melt the pan using seven beef sticks and a cucumber.' This comes out right after his profusely illustrated book of science experiments, Mad Science."

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