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Australia The Almighty Buck

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Dumps Water Data Project 112

Posted by samzenpus
from the that-wasn't-the-plan dept.
littlekorea writes "Australia's weather bureau has racked up bills of $38 million for a water data system, based on Red Hat Linux, MySQL and Java, that was originally scheduled to cost somewhere between $2 million and $5 million. The Bureau's supplier, an ASX-listed IT services provider SMS Management and Technology, did a good job of embedding itself in the bureau, with all changes having to be made by the original consultant that built it."
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Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Dumps Water Data Project

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 07, 2014 @06:30AM (#46184283)

    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I actually couldn't initially believe it when timothy described the commenters as "an audience".I mean, I could have genuinely accepted "peanut gallery", but audience is really just too much considering how most of the performance is actually made down here in the comments.

      Then again, such an attitude would explain a lot of the editorial decisions over the years. Have the slash editors really been looking at the site as a news blog first, and a commenting system second? For all these years?

    • for pity sake

  • See you all back on February 17!
  • Beta (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843)
    Beta is so bad, all of the comments have turned to shit!
  • by mrthoughtful (466814) on Friday February 07, 2014 @06:38AM (#46184319) Journal

    It sucks when some designers or an agency comes along and takes all your money and then produces utter shite, which you are expected to pay for, because you asked for their advice. Like Slashdot. What an epic mess.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday February 07, 2014 @06:40AM (#46184331)

    racked up bills of $38 million for a water data system

    for that amount of money they could have secured a water supply for a small town, or provided flood defenses along half a mile of a river.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And bought back slashdot from a bunch of soulless high level marketers

      FUCK BETA

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crutchy (1949900)

      for that amount of money they could have secured a water supply for a small town, or provided flood defenses along half a mile of a river.

      a private company, maybe
      a government agency... not a chance in hell
      government is the definition of waste

    • used to know the leader of this project quite well, personally, and i can assure you the company in question did everything in it's power to deliver an honest specification and work. the problem was the australian government - it's damned near impossible to hit a specification moving at the speed of australian politics at the time.

  • The kind of information they are trying to stop flowing...by intentionally killing Slashdot .

    US5722418
    +
    US5644363
    +
    GoogleGlass
    +
    Acceptance
    =
    ????

    If history is any sort of an indicator, any rights we sell today, our children must buy back with blood tomorrow

  • Hi Folks,
    It's your regular neighborhood troll magic maverick , and I've got a small couple of requests for you.
    1. In the firehose, vote down as offtopic anything that isn't related to the beta. Vote up anything that is related to the beta.
    2. Join the boycott from 10th to 17th Feb. Demonstrate that without the commentators, /. will obviously die.

    Cheers,
    Now back to your regular scheduled trolling.

    • by StripedCow (776465) on Friday February 07, 2014 @08:19AM (#46184723)

      Meanwhile, at Slashdot headquarters:
      "Wow, the comment statistics have really been going up lately."
      "Must be related to those 25% of users that are using beta now. They seem to like it. Keep pushing it!"

      • I'm pretty sure "Slashdot Headquarters" consists of a few cubicles with a few underpaid admins. Dice Holding Company's headquarters are probably much nicer, but I doubt that there are many employees there either! I'm willing to bet that there are just enough to get by and make profits by dismantling websites and genericizing acquisitions according to an unimaginative formula that they believe will help them make net profits in the long run.
    • LOL someone is butthurtz about my post and modded it off topic. I guess I'm going to need a bigger shotgun.

  • ... that sounds exactly like BETA!

    Let's stick with the old layout Mmkay?

  • Fuck Beta (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FunPika (1551249) on Friday February 07, 2014 @07:14AM (#46184479) Journal

    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])

    • 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])

      All of you who don't like the Beta, just put 'I hate Slashdot Beta!' in your SIG and find something else to talk about. Just for god's sake stop hijacking threads with this off-topic whining. The rest of us have all long since noticed that you don't like the new site layout.

      • by PGC (880972)
        Yeah, you are right. Fuck Beta.
      • by N1AK (864906)
        I thought that for the last couple of days. Then I tried using Beta for a couple of threads and it is a much less enjoyable experience so I can understand the frustration. Putting "Fuck Beta" in a signature isn't going to do anything to change the owners mind. Being polite and respectful and offering feedback, has apparently, been ineffective. So what would work? Making the comments section largely unusable by spamming it with "fuck beta" comments perhaps? You have to consider that the pro-beta comments are
  • on topic thread here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crutchy (1949900) on Friday February 07, 2014 @07:22AM (#46184509)

    this article seems to imply that linux was the reason for the cost blowout... and not that it was managed by a government agency.

    look at any project administered by any government agency around the world... how many are on budget? why is that? it has nothing to do with linux and everything to do with government waste

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the United States, the standard railroad gauge is exactly four feet, eight-and-one-half inches wide. Why? Because that's the way they built them in England. Why did they build them that way in England? Because that's how wide English tramways were. And why were they that width? Because the people who built the trams also built wagons, and wagons wheels were that far apart. Why? Because the ancient Roman roads in England had wheel ruts exactly that far apart. Why? Because those ancient ruts were made by t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Now, perhaps with proper microstructuring, you could make a system in which electrons under a potential difference tunnel across a gap, carrying heat without providing a thermally conductive path back to the cold side, and perhaps you could get high cooling efficiencies out of such a device. Granted, you still have to pull the heat off the hot side of the device, but if you could (for example) have the cold side at 20C next to your CPU, and the hot side at 120C exposed to an air stream, you will move more h

    • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Friday February 07, 2014 @10:18AM (#46185515)

      The problem is the tender system is broken. Government projects in Australia are contracted to the consulting company who promises to deliver a solution in the shortest time and the smallest budget. They then sign a blank cheque based on the expected initial phase of development and then the company puts its hand out until completion.

      What happened here is that the company promised to deliver a solution at $2.5million a year and has managed to milk the system for an additional $30m ! So it's a government department, certainly, but the contractor exaggerated its ability to deliver.

      I've worked for a government IT project, directly employed by the department, where years after the original company did handover, we were still cleaning up the mess. No documentation, no code comments, some of the worst anti-patterns I've ever seen. Too many cowboys in the industry and it's a pity the government just don't have an in-house development team.

      • by crutchy (1949900)

        either that or just not put the tender out to begin with... it's not like taxpayers are going to benefit from any outcome

        the government should just stick with what it was originally chartered to do... govern... and that's all

  • "did a good job" and "with all changes having to be made by the original consultant that built it" in the same sentence surely this is an oxymoron!

    Sorry will have a go at BETA on my next post

  • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Friday February 07, 2014 @07:49AM (#46184611)

    This waste of public money illustrate the fact that companies might be "Pushing Open Source" but not wanting to be "Open Source"...

    Using "free" software is not really relevant if the company does not integrate a policy of putting software back into to "free" pool...
    If they would use best practice, the level of contribution (+ probabley higher reuse) would make sure that they are not the "only player avaiable"...

    And of course going over 80% increase of the initial deal should get you axed anyway, how the hell did it grow to 38 in 18 month ?

        Somebody willing to "show" his/her code would probably not end up in this situation, additionally even if the deal would be "more expensive than initially planned"
        at least the Australian government would have something they could promote, share, sell to other countries....
        That way they just have a big hole in the public account (and probably some people who have got a very nice and totally undeserved bonus of some form or another...)

  • StackExchange, can you please build us a new Slashdot?

    You have most of the code already in place (comments need to be hierarchically structured, though).
    You have the servers.
    Most importantly, you have lots of sincere users with a background in programming, physics, etcetera.

  • by maynard (3337) <j...maynard...gelinas@@@gmail...com> on Friday February 07, 2014 @08:26AM (#46184753) Journal

    According to TFA:

    SMS Management and Technology won the IT initial development contract in June 2009 in a deal initially expected to be worth at least $2.5 million per year.

    The audit office questioned the value of the project, which is estimated to have reached $38.5 million for associated systems and applications by 30 June 2013.

    So, across four years what should have cost $10M wound up costing nearly $40M. However:

    Within 18 months, however, four change orders had been processed, increasing the value of the deal to over $15.4 million in the first two years

    Thus, change orders from a client who changed milestones mid-stream:

    The milestones for the contract were not tightly specified, nor was the extent to which the industry partner staff would be integrated with or separated from internal bureau IT staff roles and deliverables.

    Leading to a situation where, "The contract began to resemble a time and materials contract rather than a fixedâfee contract contingent on achieving milestones and deliverables." Meaning that the client kept changing their mind so often the consulting firm was required to baby a system they hadn't thought through to begin with and had thus grown into a monstrosity that served disparate and disorganized goals.

    No wonder it went over budget.

    But that has nothing to do with open source and everything to do with bad project management. Notice that they've solved the problem by choosing "...a replacement, based on an off-the-shelf software product."

    Which, if it meets their needs - bully for them. But is more likely an imposed solution to a problem they hadn't clearly defined to begin with. Thus, it's likely they'll find themselves in the same situation. Not because open source software is bad, or the commercial software is bad, or the consulting firm was probably bad... but because the bureau of meteorology has no idea what it wants to do with this data.

    The problem here is with undefined goals set by management. Until they face that fact they'll go round this merry-go-round again and again. And taxpayers will foot the bill.

  • It looks like shit. Where was this designed , a coding bootcamp?
  • ....point out that Beta sucks ?
  • by urbanriot (924981) on Friday February 07, 2014 @10:04AM (#46185369)
    In other news, a high school co-op student 'working' for Slashdot has racked up an undisclosed amount of semester time designing a new beta site, a site heavily criticized by any user that's pushed into it. Many users are attempting to pool their resources to create an alternative Slashdot site as they feel the owners of Slashdot.com aren't listening to their criticisms since the current site is fine the way it is and doesn't need any the horrid beta design.

He's dead, Jim.

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