Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Federal ACA website FAIL or deliberate DOS attack?

This computer geek is skeptical about the Obamacare website failure given that perfectly working commercial sites have also crashed when subjected to a Denial Of Service attack (DOS attacks, smurf style attacks) when deliberately flooded by access requests.  That's the whole idea of flooding any server with access requests.

I'm sure that the reporters who report that individual hits on the website are well-meaning, but they're not geek enough to recognize that you can open two different browsers (say, IE and then Chrome) on a single computer and have the website count you as two separate people.  It's true even on this blogger website, and it's why I don't take the number of hits on this blog too seriously.  The stats are useful only in ascertaining overall hit patterns, and regions of origin, which aren't all that reliable either given that residents of repressive regimes use proxy servers to get Internet access.

There's another aspect to this, too--both new and old technology computers/smartphones access this government site, and others, and between old and new computer technologies there has occurred a in IP address format which will cause legacy (using IPv4; latest is IPv6) devices to choke.  Given the budget cutting that has occurred on the federal level, odds are good that the software didn't contain additional code to deal with this difference either.

It's my view that when you're trying to contract for a software designer on the cheap, cheap (as in inadequate) is the product you're going to get.  As the saying goes, "If you want to buy good clean oats, you have to pay a good clean price for them.  If, on the other hand, you want oats that have already been through the horse, of course they're going to be a little cheaper."

This evening I heard the new appointee, Jyoti Bansal, state that the main problems with healthcare.gov was that it was given just 8 or 9 months to get developed and then wasn't properly tested because time ran out--and there's the matter of legacy databases.  So what do you want from your government when Republicans cut your budget? A rubber biscuit?

I also heard some talking head bimbo pose the question about whether or not it was "beta tested" as if she knew WTF she was talking about.  Stuff like that can't be beta tested, fer cryin' out loud.  Beta testing happens when you have tech-savvy users give the software a shake-down tryout and there just weren't any users out there for this first-time-ever package. Geez.

If you're using any kind of Microsoft product, you're still using 1970s era legacy bloatware, FYI, so none of us have a choice about that, as Microsoft users.  Linux isn't all that brand spanking new either--its legacy is UNIX.  Apple is just a whole different animal because of its history with Microsoft, and that's a whole 'nother historical can o worms to post about later.

Now then--one of the reasons the human languages I've learned have sort of slid by the wayside is that I've picked up computer languages and currently, I'm more fluent in those...so...although I haven't done so yet, I think I'll drop by healthcare.gov and take a peek at its main page source code just to get a handle on what's what.  Last time I looked, SQL was still used even for the most current databases; the latest version of php had a couple bugs in it, and javascript, although fairly slick, still has to work with php and css codes to pull stuff off.  I'll just have to go over there and take a look-see for myself.

Alright, Bill, I'm tagging you on this blog now since you ragged on me about O-care on Facebook.  You wanna duke it out, buddy?  How about via Google Plus.  I dare ya, +Bill Coleman . Bring it.
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