Sampo Uh-Oh

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  • RandomDreamer 2008-08-05 10:06
    Denied - no Euro for you.

    Fist !!
  • guruofgentoo 2008-08-05 10:08
    Imagine the next job interview - "I see on your resume you worked for Danske.... NEXT!"
  • A Nonny Mouse 2008-08-05 10:11
    Danske opted to expand its integration project team to a whopping 2,500 employees and the budget to more than $300 million


    with enough resources, it could have been built in a day!
  • Ilyak 2008-08-05 10:12
    guruofgentoo:
    Imagine the next job interview - "I see on your resume you worked for Danske.... NEXT!"

    I don't think it's any bit of Danske programmers fault.

    Switching a good system to something half-baked couldn't yield any other results.
    This decision was doomed to fail, no matter how hard would they work.
    "If it works, don't touch it"
  • Outlaw Programmer 2008-08-05 10:12
    Great WTF, but it left me with 1 question. If everything is done through a Java Applet, how come the site only works with IE?
  • Cujo 2008-08-05 10:13
    Great choices:

    1. You will meet the deadline or you will not be paid.
    2. You will not meet the deadline and you not will be paid.


  • Joakim 2008-08-05 10:15
    You have no idea how many Danes think Danske Bank is a bunch of monkeys on typewriters.
    I don't know about Sambo but Danske Bank's online system still only works in Windows using Internet Explorer
  • Sir Twist 2008-08-05 10:16
    Outlaw Programmer:
    Great WTF, but it left me with 1 question. If everything is done through a Java Applet, how come the site only works with IE?
    "The most obvious oddity in the Danske applet was that it made extensive use of platform-specific native DLLs -- such as non-Java code -- for no apparent reason, thereby effectively undoing the platform-independence of the Java applet."
  • Julius 2008-08-05 10:21
    Being an ex-customer of Sampo Pankki, I've visited their new online bank three times: to check the new functionality (it gave an error and refused to work), to transfer my money to a different bank (two tries, the first one gave an error saying "multifail" and the second try worked). Using Mac OS X / Safari.
  • Mads 2008-08-05 10:21
    Joakim:
    You have no idea how many Danes think Danske Bank is a bunch of monkeys on typewriters.
    I don't know about Sambo but Danske Bank's online system still only works in Windows using Internet Explorer


    Wrong. It works perfectly well on linux and solaris as well. The only thing that makes trouble is Java 1.6 - stick to 1.5 and it just works.
  • Anonymous Bastard 2008-08-05 10:21
    Sir Twist:
    Outlaw Programmer:
    Great WTF, but it left me with 1 question. If everything is done through a Java Applet, how come the site only works with IE?
    "The most obvious oddity in the Danske applet was that it made extensive use of platform-specific native DLLs -- such as non-Java code -- for no apparent reason, thereby effectively undoing the platform-independence of the Java applet."


    It's still just as bad, absolutely nothing has happened. I have friends who have actually been unable to access their web banking stuff from their own computers for months now. They use 64-bit Linux... Apparently some run 32-bit Windows on vmWare just to be able to access Sampo.
  • Anonymous Bastard 2008-08-05 10:23
    Mads:
    Wrong. It works perfectly well on linux and solaris as well. The only thing that makes trouble is Java 1.6 - stick to 1.5 and it just works.


    Only on 32-bit. On 64-bit it's still all broken.
  • Jack 2008-08-05 10:25
    Hehe. And later on some hackers placed a pic of Comical Ali on the Sampo online banking page.

    I think I prefer the captcha that my credit union makes me enter to access my online banking. Oh, and it works in Firefox, too. Yippee.
  • Martin 2008-08-05 10:25
    Suddenly I'm embarresed being a Dane and a developer.

    Not that I need to defend Danske Bank (I actually switched away form that bank 10 years ago). Sometimes it seems company names are anonymized like "a certain fairly large california based bank" - at other times they are not like in this case. Is there any good explaination to this (risk of lawsuits or whatever)?

    By the way - the bank's danish motto is "Gør det du er bedst til - det gør vi". Which translates to: "Do what You are best at - We do"
  • bitblit 2008-08-05 10:25
    if (RandomErrorNotEnoughRandom == hasEnoughRandomErrors()) {
    makeMoreRandomErrors();
    }
  • yet another Matt 2008-08-05 10:27
    After buying the other bank why did they want to throw away so much money?

    If you buy a product in a real world, like a PC, you don't throw away it's brand new, high speed hard disk and replace it with one that you have lieing around in a draw.

    Someone really should have pointed that the other product was better, and replaced their own.

    I actually feel sad for Sampo.
  • Walleye 2008-08-05 10:28
    [quote user="Ilyak"If it works, don't touch it"[/quote]

    So, do you wait until the jet's engines break down in flight before doing preventative maintenance?
  • Outlaw Programmer 2008-08-05 10:31
    Sir Twist:
    Outlaw Programmer:
    Great WTF, but it left me with 1 question. If everything is done through a Java Applet, how come the site only works with IE?
    "The most obvious oddity in the Danske applet was that it made extensive use of platform-specific native DLLs -- such as non-Java code -- for no apparent reason, thereby effectively undoing the platform-independence of the Java applet."


    Yeah, I read that part, but what does that have to do with browser dependency? I can understand the DLLs causing a platform dependency, but my understanding is the Java plug-in for both browsers is pretty straightforward.
  • Joakim 2008-08-05 10:33
    I switched from Danske Bank before I had a chance to try it out myself, however I was told this by a ... (not quite so) happy ... linux user and Danske Bank customer. He also told me they have a different system for which you need an actual memory key in hand in order to access it and THAT works under linux
  • Peter 2008-08-05 10:33
    I've always thought that Danske Bank would be a great place for developers that care about quality and such stuff ... now I'm not so sure ...

    However, the article explains this job-add for Danske Bank:
    http://www.danskebank.com/da-dk/Job/soeg-job/ledige-job/it/Pages/JOB391974364583333299386890.aspx

    I know, it's in danish, and only a very select few can read that, but the gist of it is that they are looking for developers that have an education in computer science, engineering or something like that, or may have several years experience in developing large administrative systems. There are NO requirements for technology-experience, no mentions of platform (mainframe, Java, VB??) nothing ...
  • Foo 2008-08-05 10:37
    I've been waiting for this story to show up in Daily WTF. It took longer than I expected :-)
  • Moo 2008-08-05 10:39
    If you are looking for a job, there are plenty of second level technical support positions open in Sampo, Helsinki. Your mission is to act as a bridge between the first level customer support problems and Danish developers. The jobs have remained open since Easter.
  • Matt 2008-08-05 10:39
    Martin:
    Sometimes it seems company names are anonymized like "a certain fairly large california based bank" - at other times they are not like in this case. Is there any good explaination to this (risk of lawsuits or whatever)?


    It seems like when the details are public, such as this story, the names are not changed.
    Its the insider stories from current/ex employees that are changed to protect the WTF perpetrators
  • Anonymous Cowardly Lion 2008-08-05 10:41
    yet another Matt:
    After buying the other bank why did they want to throw away so much money?

    If you buy a product in a real world, like a PC, you don't throw away it's brand new, high speed hard disk and replace it with one that you have lieing around in a draw.

    Someone really should have pointed that the other product was better, and replaced their own.

    I actually feel sad for Sampo.


    They're not so much buying the bank's infrastructure as it's customer base. Bank's make money by spending other people's money (generally,) and the more clients they have, the more money they have to spend.
  • Mirar 2008-08-05 10:45
    I'm happy I switched. I used to have Östgöta Enskilda Bank, which was a nice old local bank for the province near Linköping. They had a perfect banking solution that worked with Linux and everything. Very nice logos (old weapon and all), overall very pleasant.

    Then Danske Bank ate them. IT systems changed, Linux were no longer possible - IE only. Logos and layout changed (as you can see above). I switched bank quickly, and I'm happy for it. :p
    Even more happy now. :)

    (Although my current bank - Länsförsäkringar - also just now switched to something horrible, so I'm bound to change again soon.)
  • Daniel 2008-08-05 10:45
    I just hope someone very high up in management got fired for this.

  • mizchief 2008-08-05 10:47
    We must meet our arbitrary deadline at all cost! Why to business types have to have a strict deadline on every project? I understand if you have a limited budget and can only pay your staff for so long before making sales, but when you have $300 million to throw at the problem in the end, why not just monitor the project's progress then move the estimated completion date and adjust resources on a weekly basis?

    There is simply no excuse for a failure this large involving something as important as people's money. Especially any project taking place in this century. We figured out why software projects fail in the 90's and it's time to learn from our mistakes.
  • Anon 2008-08-05 10:54
    mizchief:

    There is simply no excuse for a failure this large involving something as important as people's money. Especially any project taking place in this century. We figured out why software projects fail in the 90's and it's time to learn from our mistakes.

    Sadly, the reason why software projects fail in the 90s (the management) is also the only thing that's unchangable. *cry*
  • Buzer 2008-08-05 10:57
    There was several other WTFs with the system as well. Like several XSS holes due to extensievelink/3gmobilban use of javascript and document.write(). Also, their communication director kept saying "It's not a hole before we have confirmed it's a hole" in public when the XSS holes were being released and only accepting that they "might" have been holes when finally fixed.

    Ironically, the best web interface they have is the mobile interface that remains unchanged :) ( http://mobiili.sampopankki.fi/ )

    Oh yeah, and they are running SharePoint somewhere in their site...

    Addendum (2008-08-05 11:09):
    So managed to somehow add "link/3gmobilban" (/link/3gmobilbank is the last part of the url to mobile interface) after extensieve, you can ignore it :)
  • Mike 2008-08-05 10:58
    [quote user="Walleye"][quote user="Ilyak"If it works, don't touch it"[/quote]

    So, do you wait until the jet's engines break down in flight before doing preventative maintenance?[/quote]

    Bad analogy! Migration is not maintenance. Do you replace a P&W engine with a RR one (which the jet was not designed for) whilst the jet is in flight?
  • moltonel 2008-08-05 11:01
    About a year ago my previous company had (probably still has) Danske Bank as a client, and would send them automated emails containing embeded images.

    * Did the Danske Bank employees see the images we sent them ? No : it turned out that their email software (IBM Lotus) didn't support this advanced technology.
    * Is it implemented in current versions of Lotus ? Yes.
    * How old is Danske Bank's version of Lotus ? 3-4 years past official end-of-life statement from IBM.
    * How was the mater resolved ? I was tasked to send images as file attachment, of course :)
  • Alex Papadimoulis 2008-08-05 11:01
    Martin:
    Sometimes it seems company names are anonymized like "a certain fairly large california based bank" - at other times they are not like in this case. Is there any good explaination to this (risk of lawsuits or whatever)?


    This'll all be explained in an upcoming "Policy" article, but the anonymization factor comes down to the source. In this case, all of the information published came from researching news articles and the like. An anonymous Finnish reader pointed me to the story and helped a lot with navigating various Finnish articles (many of which were not technical of nature) to piece together the story.

    As for "a certain fairly large california based bank," I almost always know the real company behind it (usually through a dialog with the submitter), but it's redacted because the majority of the information is non-public and is tangential to the story/lesson.

    There's little risk of lawsuit for me, as our libel laws burden the plaintiff with proving a statement is maliciously false, but it's a big professional risk for submitters if I name the company. There's only so many people who are that close to a WTF. Redacting the company name and relocating it to "California" creates more than enough plausible deniability. Aside from occassionaly redacting some of the finer details (and, of course, adding in some absurd/humorous hyperbole), the location is about all that changes these days.
  • TroelsL 2008-08-05 11:04
    This explains the less-than-optimal reputation Danske Bank has along many of my peers. But atleast the cantena has good food, or so I've heard.
  • R 2008-08-05 11:04
    Daniel:
    I just hope someone very high up in management got fired for this.



    Hmmm.. you seem be having a slight break with reality. Less coffee maybe?

    The manager in charge will be given a 400 million dollar successful completion bonus for getting it out on time, as well as a huge 'redundancy' package. They'll also be moving to another larger corporation which they can screw up even more successfully for more renumeration.
  • Satanicpuppy 2008-08-05 11:08
    yet another Matt:
    After buying the other bank why did they want to throw away so much money?

    If you buy a product in a real world, like a PC, you don't throw away it's brand new, high speed hard disk and replace it with one that you have lieing around in a draw.

    Someone really should have pointed that the other product was better, and replaced their own.

    I actually feel sad for Sampo.


    Having been through a similar corporate situation recently, I can sympathize. The corporation I worked for had a much much larger information infrastructure, better support staff, etc. The new company...well...didn't.

    The sad thing is, they didn't even fire the old staff, they just left them in place and put another level of processing OVER them, so the formerly straightforward flow of financial information has become a byzantine nightmare of "Who the hell has my money?"

    To top it, the new guys have this massive arrogance which is only barely matched by their incompetence. I dealt with a guy recently who was so proud of his MCAD that he'd actually made it part of his name, (e.g. Bob Smith, MCAD) and he told me flat out that I wouldn't be able to install, or support his code, more less make the changes necessary to update it to our different business unit, like there was something magical there, something that lowly me, with no acronym after my name could never comprehend (Works fine now, btw, but I had to update it to the .Net 3 framework to make it work on our system, and there was some hilarious wtfery that I may one day share that needed to be expunged).

  • bar 2008-08-05 11:09
    The whole site seems to be a customized SharePoint app
  • Joel Robinson 2008-08-05 11:10
    Tom Servo, what is a SAMPO?
  • MBV 2008-08-05 11:17
    Peter:
    ...
    I know, it's in danish, and only a very select few can read that, ...

    I guess all Scandinavians can read it, and in The Netherlands too (although it requires some effort). So not as select as you might think...

    Try reading a Dutch article on some page, I'm curious if it works the other way around :)
  • Bappi 2008-08-05 11:20
    mizchief:
    We must meet our arbitrary deadline at all cost! Why to business types have to have a strict deadline on every project? I understand if you have a limited budget and can only pay your staff for so long before making sales, but when you have $300 million to throw at the problem in the end, why not just monitor the project's progress then move the estimated completion date and adjust resources on a weekly basis?

    Because then the project will never finish (work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion). The proper way to handle this is to adjust scope.

    I'm not saying you should never move a go-live date, just that making it elastic is not the answer either. In a project of sufficient size, there are a lot of parties involved that need some degree of certainty as to when they'll need to perform certain things. You can't keep calling them up every week to tell them the go-live date has been moved again. You adjust scope, and if that doesn't work, you move the go-live date.
  • Ken B 2008-08-05 11:36
    Outlaw Programmer:
    Sir Twist:
    Outlaw Programmer:
    Great WTF, but it left me with 1 question. If everything is done through a Java Applet, how come the site only works with IE?
    "The most obvious oddity in the Danske applet was that it made extensive use of platform-specific native DLLs -- such as non-Java code -- for no apparent reason, thereby effectively undoing the platform-independence of the Java applet."
    Yeah, I read that part, but what does that have to do with browser dependency? I can understand the DLLs causing a platform dependency, but my understanding is the Java plug-in for both browsers is pretty straightforward.
    Perhaps there are other IE-only constructs?

    The County Clerk's office for Westchester County, NY (population ~9 million) is IE-only. Why? I have no idea, but they have things like vbscript code for simple links. For example:
    <td ... onClick="SomeVbScriptFunction()">
    
    click here
    </td>

    rather than using a standard "<form>" tag and "submit" button, or even a simple "<a>" link.

    http://ccpv.westchesterclerk.com/
  • Gnonthgol 2008-08-05 11:38
    MBV:

    I guess all Scandinavians can read it, and in The Netherlands too (although it requires some effort). So not as select as you might think...

    Try reading a Dutch article on some page, I'm curious if it works the other way around :)


    You can sort of make out the context of a deutch text by some simular words. But it is not an easy task. It helps to know german as well as norwegian theugh.
  • ChessKnught 2008-08-05 11:46
    I imagine someone will be nailed to a cross for this fiasco.
  • jbrecken 2008-08-05 11:47
    A Nonny Mouse:
    Danske opted to expand its integration project team to a whopping 2,500 employees and the budget to more than $300 million


    with enough resources, it could have been built in a day!


    Get nine women pregnant, and you can make a baby in a month.
    (Phrase it that way and even a manager can understand.)
  • Mnc_ 2008-08-05 11:50
    MBV:
    Peter:
    ...
    I know, it's in danish, and only a very select few can read that, ...

    I guess all Scandinavians can read it, and in The Netherlands too (although it requires some effort). So not as select as you might think...

    Try reading a Dutch article on some page, I'm curious if it works the other way around :)
    I've stumbled upon (no, not the browser addin) an idol-kinda thing, from the netherlands, on youtube. I perfectly understood one of the judges, while the other two... Well, nothing whatsoever.
    Strange.
    I'm Danish BTW.
  • biziclop 2008-08-05 11:51
    TRWTF is that only 20000 customers left. In a proper world all the big customers would've jumped ship plus at least 10% of the smaller ones and the ensuing barrage of lawsuits should've forced the bank to fold.
  • silent d 2008-08-05 11:57
    R:
    Daniel:
    I just hope someone very high up in management got fired for this.



    Hmmm.. you seem be having a slight break with reality. Less coffee maybe?

    The manager in charge will be given a 400 million dollar successful completion bonus for getting it out on time, as well as a huge 'redundancy' package. They'll also be moving to another larger corporation which they can screw up even more successfully for more renumeration.


    If only we could find a way to outsource management...
  • Tuuli Mustasydän 2008-08-05 12:18
    <nitpick>AFAIK, ATMs aren't locked to any one bank in Finland like they are in America/Canada; everybody uses the same machines, regardless of their bank.</nitpick>
  • ME 2008-08-05 12:18
    Joel Robinson:
    Tom Servo, what is a SAMPO?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampo
  • IV 2008-08-05 12:19
    yet another Matt:
    After buying the other bank why did they want to throw away so much money?

    If you buy a product in a real world, like a PC, you don't throw away it's brand new, high speed hard disk and replace it with one that you have lieing around in a draw.


    Of course you don't use one you have in a drawer. For instance, I just got a new computer with an SATA hard drive. I then paid many people to replace it with a solid state drive using a SCSI interface. And limit the transfer speed to about a fifth of what that interface is capable of. I am rather happy with the results- my family no longer wants to use my computer, and it only cost a few hundred thousand extra.
  • Ben4jammin 2008-08-05 12:28
    Bappi:
    mizchief:
    We must meet our arbitrary deadline at all cost! Why to business types have to have a strict deadline on every project? I understand if you have a limited budget and can only pay your staff for so long before making sales, but when you have $300 million to throw at the problem in the end, why not just monitor the project's progress then move the estimated completion date and adjust resources on a weekly basis?

    Because then the project will never finish (work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion). The proper way to handle this is to adjust scope.

    I'm not saying you should never move a go-live date, just that making it elastic is not the answer either. In a project of sufficient size, there are a lot of parties involved that need some degree of certainty as to when they'll need to perform certain things. You can't keep calling them up every week to tell them the go-live date has been moved again. You adjust scope, and if that doesn't work, you move the go-live date.


    And to add to that, when dealing with non-technical managers/directors you can easily use technical terms to create confusion about why something is not working (the rear discombobulator is out of alignment, the magic Java beans were defective from the factory, etc). And non-technical types can't really argue because they wouldn't know what they are talking about. But everyone understands a date/time deadline.
    So if you are the project manager your choice is usually this:
    1) "Complete" on time no matter what and get a fat bonus and deflect blame (and move on).
    2) Don't complete on time and get yelled at with no bonus and get fired.
  • matti 2008-08-05 12:29
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampo
    Sampo, in Finnish mythology and in some of it's many forms, could be compared to alchemist's stone as some mystic thing that can produce gold or other goods from almost nothing.
  • akatherder 2008-08-05 12:33
    jbrecken:
    A Nonny Mouse:
    Danske opted to expand its integration project team to a whopping 2,500 employees and the budget to more than $300 million


    with enough resources, it could have been built in a day!


    Get nine women pregnant, and you can make a baby in a month.
    (Phrase it that way and even a manager can understand.)


    So you're saying there's no point in having more than one person on the project team? Thanks for volunteering!
  • some guy 2008-08-05 12:37
    A Nonny Mouse:
    Danske opted to expand its integration project team to a whopping 2,500 employees and the budget to more than $300 million


    with enough resources, it could have been built in a day!


    Just like development shops everywhere, the managers here routinely ask if adding more resources would help get a project done faster. The DBA always responds "Can 9 women have a baby in 1 month?"
  • Mitch 2008-08-05 12:40
    yet another Matt:
    After buying the other bank why did they want to throw away so much money?

    If you buy a product in a real world, like a PC, you don't throw away it's brand new, high speed hard disk and replace it with one that you have lieing around in a draw.

    Someone really should have pointed that the other product was better, and replaced their own.

    I actually feel sad for Sampo.


    You're obviously not upper-management material. Not with that kind of thinking...
  • Mitch 2008-08-05 12:46
    jbrecken:
    A Nonny Mouse:
    Danske opted to expand its integration project team to a whopping 2,500 employees and the budget to more than $300 million


    with enough resources, it could have been built in a day!


    Get nine women pregnant, and you can make a baby in a month.
    (Phrase it that way and even a manager can understand.)


    Hmmm... not so sure I'd use that one during a meeting...
  • Ken B 2008-08-05 12:54
    biziclop:
    TRWTF is that only 20000 customers left. In a proper world all the big customers would've jumped ship plus at least 10% of the smaller ones and the ensuing barrage of lawsuits should've forced the bank to fold.
    They tried, but the new computer system wouldn't let them take their money out or close their accounts.
  • Flash 2008-08-05 13:03
    Anonymous Cowardly Lion:
    yet another Matt:
    If you buy a product in a real world, like a PC, you don't throw away it's brand new, high speed hard disk and replace it with one that you have lieing around in a draw.

    Someone really should have pointed that the other product was better, and replaced their own.


    They're [correct] not so much buying the bank's [correct] infrastructure as it's [wrong] customer base. Bank's [wrong] make money by spending other people's [correct] money (generally,) and the more clients they have, the more money they have to spend.

    Your analysis is correct, even if your use of apostrophes is hit and miss.

    I've been through several technology/business acquisitions. What is best for the business or the customers often takes a back seat to the requirements of political forces within the merged companies.
  • Buzer 2008-08-05 13:05
    Ken B:
    biziclop:
    TRWTF is that only 20000 customers left. In a proper world all the big customers would've jumped ship plus at least 10% of the smaller ones and the ensuing barrage of lawsuits should've forced the bank to fold.
    They tried, but the new computer system wouldn't let them take their money out or close their accounts.

    Actually yes for the second part. I have heard of some people that decided to switch bank and told Sampo to close their account. A month or so later they get their account statement again (or if they really do want to close it, they attempt to login on the e-banking site sometime later to confrim it's closed). I'm sure there's quite a bit of people that just wouldn't bother after that and just leave it open.
  • snoofle 2008-08-05 13:14
    mizchief:

    We figured out why software projects fail in the 90's and it's time to learn from our mistakes.

    "We" being the operative word. WE software developers and low level (read: tech-savvy) managers get it. It's the higher level managers that don't get it, and they are not us.

    Alex:
    expand its integration project team to a whopping 2,500 employees


    Project Manager: we need to make a baby in one month
    Worker: But we only have one woman
    PM: Then hire eight more women!


    Addendum (2008-08-05 13:23):
    Rats, someone beat me to the 9-women analogy....
  • FooMan 2008-08-05 13:22
    "One disgruntled customer took an axe to a wooden desk"

    That was so typically Finnish behavior. :)
  • imaami 2008-08-05 13:24
    It's nice to finally see an article about this fiasco on The Daily WTF, although I must say that it doesn't really do justice to the actual events. This was big news here in Finland for quite a while.

    The way Sampo Pankki handled the situation was a disaster on all fronts, and their stunts had me laughing for a straight week. The customers weren't amused at all, though.

    Every day new XSS vulnerabilities were discovered and taken advantage of by hackers out to humiliate the corporation for its childish PR games. The single most ridiculed statement came from Director of Group Communications, Hannu Vuola when the first reports of an XSS vulnerability hit the news: "It's not a hole before we can confirm it's a hole."

    Here are a few screenshots from that time:

    http://www.cs.uta.fi/~a445063/sampopankki_20080327-1142.png
    The quoted text is the famous statement by Hannu Vuola.

    http://www.cs.uta.fi/~a445063/sampopankki_20080326-2257.png]
    WinCapita was an online Ponzi scam which was under police investigation at the time. The text reads: "WinCapita has implemented a new security solution!1!"

    http://www.cs.uta.fi/~a445063/sampopankki_20080326-2255.png
    Rick Astley promoting Sampo Pankki.

    Ah, the fun times I had grabbing those. :)
  • snoofle 2008-08-05 13:26
    FooMan:
    "One disgruntled customer took an axe to a wooden desk"

    That was so typically Finnish behavior. :)
    Not at all. When I first started working, Grumman in Long Island, used to hire 1-2000 people in anticipation of getting big military contract, then wouldn't get it, and fire them all. Then repeat it every few months or so. Finally, someone got PO'd at being jerked around, got a GUN, went into the plant, and shot his boss.

    An axe in a desk? Meh.
  • FooMan 2008-08-05 13:36
    Sure, gun is worse, but my comment still stands. Shooting someone is American behavior... Axe is the Finnish way!
  • Calli Arcale 2008-08-05 13:40
    *boggles*

    They couldn't accept embedded images with their copy of Lotus???

    We were using Lotus Notes for our e-mail here when I was hired ten years ago. It supported inline images just fine. How freakin' old was their copy of Lotus???
  • CynicalTyler 2008-08-05 13:40
    public static final int RandomCommentNotEnoughRandom = 0;
  • blah 2008-08-05 13:46
    Calli Arcale:
    *boggles*

    They couldn't accept embedded images with their copy of Lotus???

    We were using Lotus Notes for our e-mail here when I was hired ten years ago. It supported inline images just fine. How freakin' old was their copy of Lotus???
    It must have been one of those cheap imitation lotuses. Adhesive paste wouldn't hold a photo well enough, so you had to affix a paper clip instead.
  • RYan 2008-08-05 13:48
    What I find amazing is when managers decide that they know more about technological realities than the very highly educated and highly paid employees that they oversee.

    When you have an entire TEAM of developers that you are paying 6 figures a year telling you "There is no possible way that this can be done in 6 months" why do you still think that they can? Are you a programmer? Do you WORK on the programming team?

    I blame it on computers becoming more user friendly. When only the super ultra mega nerds had or understood them, people listened, but now any jackass that listens to Kim Commando! on AM talk radio thinks that they're fit to make decisions about things that they know nothing about.

    I hate it, people need to understand that you cannot treat mental work in the same way that you can treat physical work. For example: if i have a giant pile of dogshit that I need moved from one end of my dog shit storage facility to the other end of my dog shit storage facility, it makes sense that if I need it done in a day, i can just hire a few hundred laborers, maybe buy some heavy equipment, and get the job finished in the time required.
    Dumbasses with a bachelors in Computer information systems don't get this. You cannot just yell at your developers louder and louder and make bigger and bigger threats until they get it done. It doesn't work like that.

    Same thing goes for creative people. Its not a goddamned faucet that you can just turn on and have brilliant designs and ideas spill forth onto your desk. Its something that you might get in the middle of the night, or when you're watching a movie, or walking the dog.
  • Mark 2008-08-05 14:01
    jbrecken:
    A Nonny Mouse:
    Danske opted to expand its integration project team to a whopping 2,500 employees and the budget to more than $300 million


    with enough resources, it could have been built in a day!


    Get nine women pregnant, and you can make a baby in a month.
    (Phrase it that way and even a manager can understand.)


    That's awesome! I've never heard that one before.

    akatherder:


    So you're saying there's no point in having more than one person on the project team? Thanks for volunteering!


    No, that's not what he's saying. There is a common misconception that time and resources are mathematically divisible. So if you tell a manager that a project will take 9 months, they assume that means 9 people can do it in a month, or 18 people in 2 weeks. But in reality, it might take 9 people 10 or 12 months to do. (Note: These numbers are a bit arbitrary just to make a point.) So it takes longer having more resources. Why? Because the communication and coordination work increases. As a simple example, think about how much more communications is involved in planning a weekend getaway with two friends than is needed to do the same with one friend.

    This is the main point of Fred Brooks' The Mythical Man-Month essay. In it, he sites actual case studies and research to back up the point.

    And this doesn't even deal with the the idea of dependencies... you need to pour the foundation before you do the framing; and you need to frame before you run the plumbing... etc. It amazes me that otherwise very intelligent people can so easily overlook this point. For some reason, it is thought that in software development, every thing can be done concurrently.

    IMHO, The Mythical Man-Month should be required reading for anyone involved in a software project; developer or project manager.
  • Ben4jammin 2008-08-05 14:05
    What I find amazing is when managers decide that they know more about technological realities than the very highly educated and highly paid employees that they oversee.


    Am I amazed? Yes. Surprised? Not so much.

    There are some good managers out there, and I happen to work for one. Example:

    We were preparing to upgrade our campus management software (we run several for-profit 2 year colleges). EVERYONE uses this app. If it is down for even a few minutes there is hell to pay. So, long story short our providers gave us incomplete specs as to the requirements (hardware and OS) that we didn't figure out until 2 weeks before go-live (we were woefully short in some areas) and several components were as yet untested because there was so much added to the app. Our manager listened to what our main software person said, what I said (I run the citrix farm that serves the app) which was basically "we are headed for disaster". His response? Move the go-live out 30 days, berate the provider for better specs and testing in our virtual environment, and HE explained (apparently successfully) to Exec management why we were going to take an extra 30 days. End result? Go-live went off without a hitch. My only disappointment was to be denied my possible WTF story :)
  • Tom Servo 2008-08-05 14:23
    Joel Robinson:
    Tom Servo, what is a SAMPO?


    I think a Sampo is a strapless evening gown.
  • stx 2008-08-05 14:31
    Most stuff are still slightly broken, especially cards. It's a running joke in finland, and I personally pity anyone who cannot switch banks (or hasn't done so, which is worse).

    But think of this. Modern bank is in the service industry, and practically all they do is providing IT service. They screwed up their only real core business.
  • Håvard Pedersen 2008-08-05 14:34
    I'm a customer of Fokus Bank, a norwegian bank also bought up by Danske Bank. We are forced to use the same online banking system, and it truly sucks. :(

    I'm on a Mac, and there are NO browsers on the Mac platform that actually works. They claim to support Safari, but it refuses to even log me in. I have to start VMWare every time I need to pay my bills.

    Unfortunately, I have a loan in the bank, and one of the terms for said loan is that I use Fokus Bank for my daily banking needs. The minute that loan is down to zero, I'm switching bank...
  • danixdefcon5 2008-08-05 14:37
    I'd say that TRWTF is having a Finnish bank that doesn't support Linux. I men, its part of their national pride!

    Nokia should've given 'em the "roll back or I'll dump you" stance. Whatever they rolled out, it seems to deserve it.
  • anon 2008-08-05 14:38
    Daniel:
    I just hope someone very high up in management got fired for this.



    I guarentee someone very high in management got a BONUS for making the Easter deadline...
  • Franz Kafka 2008-08-05 14:40
    mizchief:

    There is simply no excuse for a failure this large involving something as important as people's money. Especially any project taking place in this century. We figured out why software projects fail in the 90's and it's time to learn from our mistakes.


    Are you kidding? We learned why software projects fail in the 60s.
  • RYan 2008-08-05 14:44
    I guarentee someone very high in management got a BONUS for making the Easter deadline...


    The people telling them that it wouldn't work, and then the people that "caused" it not to work, are probably the one[s] who got fired.
  • Manic Mailman 2008-08-05 14:58
    Mark:

    akatherder:


    So you're saying there's no point in having more than one person on the project team? Thanks for volunteering!

    No, that's not what he's saying. There is a common misconception that time and resources are mathematically divisible. So if you tell a manager that a project will take 9 months, they assume ...blah, blah... 9 people can do it ...blah, blah, blah... in 2 weeks. But in reality, ...blah, blah... a weekend ...blah, blah... is needed to do the same ...blahblahblah.

    So, you'll have that baby on Monday, right?
  • Tama 2008-08-05 15:02
    Mark:

    akatherder:


    So you're saying there's no point in having more than one person on the project team? Thanks for volunteering!


    No, that's not what he's saying. There is a common misconception that time and resources are mathematically divisible. So if you tell a manager that a project will take 9 months, they assume that means 9 people can do it in a month, or 18 people in 2 weeks. But in reality, it might take 9 people 10 or 12 months to do. (Note: These numbers are a bit arbitrary just to make a point.) So it takes longer having more resources. Why? Because the communication and coordination work increases. As a simple example, think about how much more communications is involved in planning a weekend getaway with two friends than is needed to do the same with one friend.

    This is the main point of Fred Brooks' The Mythical Man-Month essay. In it, he sites actual case studies and research to back up the point.

    And this doesn't even deal with the the idea of dependencies... you need to pour the foundation before you do the framing; and you need to frame before you run the plumbing... etc. It amazes me that otherwise very intelligent people can so easily overlook this point. For some reason, it is thought that in software development, every thing can be done concurrently.

    IMHO, The Mythical Man-Month should be required reading for anyone involved in a software project; developer or project manager.


    Amen to that. I was actually going to make that point myself. Also one should point out that there is a limit to how much you can parallelize tasks; past this point, throwing more resources is just going to slow down the project, because you just increase the overhead of communication without actually increasing the throughput.

    Loved the comparison with the 9 women and the baby.
  • jimicus 2008-08-05 15:03
    Nokia should've given 'em the "roll back or I'll dump you" stance. Whatever they rolled out, it seems to deserve it.


    It's not quite as simple as that for any business of any appreciable size. Nokia would need to deal with any systems which interact with their bank accounts (which therefore implies setting up new accounts with other banks and testing everything works as intended), advise all their customers, pay back any debt (just because a business is making a profit doesn't mean it doesn't have debt) - dumping the bank would probably be a several-month project, not a quick & easy "Right, we're off, see you!".
  • Jeff Rife 2008-08-05 15:21
    moltonel:
    About a year ago my previous company had (probably still has) Danske Bank as a client, and would send them automated emails containing embeded images.

    * How was the mater resolved ? I was tasked to send images as file attachment, of course :)
    So, you were basically your own WTF.

    E-mail is text only, and the only 100% reliable way to make sure something non-text gets through is to attach it via MIME encoding. Any other way is at the mercy of the MUAs at each end to agree on how to do it.

    If you send me an e-mail using standard MIME with some rich format like HTML, my text-only MUA has no problem with it as long as your MUA correctly included a plain-text format and included images as attachments and referenced them from the HTML. Otherwise, I'll have no way to see the images you sent, as it's not worth my time to figure out what proprietary way your MUA included them in the e-mail.
  • IV 2008-08-05 15:24
    Tama:
    Mark:

    akatherder:


    So you're saying there's no point in having more than one person on the project team? Thanks for volunteering!


    No, that's not what he's saying. ...snip ...

    IMHO, The Mythical Man-Month should be required reading for anyone involved in a software project; developer or project manager.


    Amen to that. ...snip...

    Loved the comparison with the 9 women and the baby.


    Looks like we have a couple of people on the wrong side of the sarchasm. How do you get stuck across the rift on something as obvious as that?
  • X.B. 2008-08-05 15:38
    Oh, so _that's_ why in the bank I currently develop for Sampo's money transfers are explicitly monitored. Shame on me missing such a story. But, on the other hand, we've been busy rolling out a new system! =D
  • frustrati 2008-08-05 15:47
    yet another Matt:
    After buying the other bank why did they want to throw away so much money?

    If you buy a product in a real world, like a PC, you don't throw away it's brand new, high speed hard disk and replace it with one that you have lieing around in a draw.

    Someone really should have pointed that the other product was better, and replaced their own.

    I actually feel sad for Sampo.

    An important fact needed to (try to) understand Danske Bank's decision to rewrite all systems is that this strategy is one that has worked extremely well for them in previous mergers. I think the major difference here is that in previous instances, the bank that was taken over had less automatic processes, whereas in the Sampo Pankki case, their systems were probably superior to those of Danske Bank.

    Is it time for a WTF detailing how Danske Bank managed to be offline (as in "no transactions in any part of the bank, not even for traders") for a week due to bad decision making when a power supply needed to be changed...?
  • Mark 2008-08-05 15:49
    IV:
    Tama:
    Mark:

    akatherder:


    So you're saying there's no point in having more than one person on the project team? Thanks for volunteering!


    No, that's not what he's saying. ...snip ...

    IMHO, The Mythical Man-Month should be required reading for anyone involved in a software project; developer or project manager.


    Amen to that. ...snip...

    Loved the comparison with the 9 women and the baby.


    Looks like we have a couple of people on the wrong side of the sarchasm. How do you get stuck across the rift on something as obvious as that?


    Sorry, in regards to the comment:

    "So you're saying there's no point in having more than one person on the project team? Thanks for volunteering!"

    I just saw the sarcasm in the comment more as a wise guy rebuttal (for the lack of a better term) rather than a simple general sarcastic comment in order to make a joke. The dangers of forum comments I guess. No harm, no foul. :)
  • frustrati 2008-08-05 15:54
    Jeff Rife:
    moltonel:
    About a year ago my previous company had (probably still has) Danske Bank as a client, and would send them automated emails containing embeded images.

    * How was the mater resolved ? I was tasked to send images as file attachment, of course :)
    So, you were basically your own WTF.

    E-mail is text only, and the only 100% reliable way to make sure something non-text gets through is to attach it via MIME encoding. Any other way is at the mercy of the MUAs at each end to agree on how to do it.

    If you send me an e-mail using standard MIME with some rich format like HTML, my text-only MUA has no problem with it as long as your MUA correctly included a plain-text format and included images as attachments and referenced them from the HTML. Otherwise, I'll have no way to see the images you sent, as it's not worth my time to figure out what proprietary way your MUA included them in the e-mail.

    Thank you, sir. I hate when people put important textual information in images, whether it be in Web pagers or e-mails. Why do you think I want to download your large images to see what link to click?

    What moltonel failed to provide was why those images were in the e-mails in the first place...
  • sirthomas 2008-08-05 15:59
    hmm ...


    Nov 16, 2006
    ITC Infotech India Limited, a global IT services company, today inaugurated a dedicated Development Centre India (DCI) for one of its key customers, Danske Bank.


    from http://www.itcportal.com/newsroom/press_releases_13nov06.htm
  • Rob 2008-08-05 16:31
    I just quit working for American Express. They Still use IBM Lotus 5.0 and Sametime Instant Messenger 2.0.1.

    I cant fault them much, they are currently upgrading to Lotus 6 and the new sametimeIM, but knowing that company the way I do. I would be surprised if they ever finish the upgrade.
  • real_aardvark 2008-08-05 16:33
    stx:
    Most stuff are still slightly broken, especially cards. It's a running joke in finland, and I personally pity anyone who cannot switch banks (or hasn't done so, which is worse).

    But think of this. Modern bank is in the service industry, and practically all they do is providing IT service. They screwed up their only real core business.
    I believe you're missing something called "Marketing."

    Seriously.

    Check out the commercials during something like, say, the Super Bowl.

    50% of credit-card/electronic banking is Marketing. I've been there. It's unpalatable, but it's the truth.
  • real_aardvark 2008-08-05 16:41
    FooMan:
    "One disgruntled customer took an axe to a wooden desk"

    That was so typically Finnish behavior. :)
    Well, they're all ignorant drunkards, really.

    Anybody who is anybody knows that a wooden desk is where you place your credit/ATM card, take a photo, print the photo, scan the photo next to the receipt for your purchase, and email the scan to your local Sampo branch.

    Anybody who has ever used Sampo's services since that Easter has probably found this to be the most effective way of banking with them.

    Axes are best saved for winnowing out middle management and VPs, of whom there are far too many in the wanking borld.

    On a different note, does anybody know where this interesting little meme of "encrypting" something in Base64, and then "re-encrypting" it using the same "technology," comes from? It's not quite the silliest goddamn piece of crap that the Internet has foisted on us, but it's getting pretty close.
  • moz 2008-08-05 17:00
    silent d:
    If only we could find a way to outsource management...

    Sampo Bank found a way to outsource theirs.

    Unfortunately, the only people you can let manage a company without it turning them into managers are politicians.
  • multifail 2008-08-05 17:21
    frustrati:
    I think the major difference here is that in previous instances, the bank that was taken over had less automatic processes, whereas in the Sampo Pankki case, their systems were probably superior to those of Danske Bank.


    This is exactly the case. I used Sampo's web service for over ten years and already at the very beginning it was easily better, more stable, compatible and user friendly than this "new" one. This is not because the old system was anything special (there are much better alternatives available), but the Danske's system is absolutely the most amateurish piece of code I have ever seen.

    The backend system runs on z/OS + CISC + DB2 and stuff, and the notorious error message 404 multifail has become a meme here.


  • Fedaykin 2008-08-05 17:46
    TFA says why; they used a bunch of JNI (Java Native Interface) calls which effectively destroys the platform agnosticism of Java.
  • Mithrandir 2008-08-05 19:08
    Tom Servo:
    Joel Robinson:
    Tom Servo, what is a SAMPO?


    I think a Sampo is a strapless evening gown.


    Tom, you think everything is a strapless evening gown.
  • VGR 2008-08-05 19:25
    Outlaw Programmer:

    Yeah, I read that part, but what does that have to do with browser dependency? I can understand the DLLs causing a platform dependency, but my understanding is the Java plug-in for both browsers is pretty straightforward.

    It's possible the applet was developed so long ago that it was done using J++, which somewhat clandestinely placed in the code hooks which invoked Windows libraries. (Well, clandestine to those who don't look at the javadoc generated in their own source, which sadly is not an insignificant number.)

    This is in fact the practice for which Sun originally sued Microsoft, as Microsoft was claiming J++ produced "Java" but the result was not compliant with the Java specification.

    This old article has some details.
  • Joel 2008-08-05 20:11
    Mithrandir:
    Tom Servo:
    Joel Robinson:
    Tom Servo, what is a SAMPO?

    I think a Sampo is a strapless evening gown.

    Tom, you think everything is a strapless evening gown.

    Kids come running for the rich taste of Sampo!
  • idiot 2008-08-05 20:25
    Sampo is a "thing" in a finnish lore that will make you a fortune of all a kind. Please refer a Kalevala.
  • tin 2008-08-05 20:57
    The most obvious oddity in the Danske applet was that it made extensive use of platform-specific native DLLs -- such as non-Java code -- for no apparent reason, thereby effectively undoing the platform-independence of the Java applet.


    The good old Australian Tax Office did a similar trick. To allow for easy cross platform use (at the time they meant Win9x, WinNT and MacOS Classic) they chose to use Java. Unfortunately the reason behind using Java was lost and they chose to forge ahead with Microsoft Nearly-Java, thus losing the ability to run it on anything but a Windows box.

    They broke this little problem when MS was forced to stop distributing their not-java stuff. Now the tools really are cross platform... Well, as long as you use Windows 98-XP or MacOSX. Anything else you have to get the Windows installer, install on Windows, and pull the 4 or so custom files from the Java install they provide.
  • Duchess Parmesian 2008-08-05 21:04
    That's the nice about working at a bank, as opposed to say, an online Sudoku site. You don't need to do any rigorous testing or a have a back-out plan. Just put it what you got on the deadline and work out the issues over time. Years, if needed.
  • Zaippa 2008-08-05 22:00
    yay! Finally a wtf 50% from my country!
    I even know one or two people who i remember said they worked on a new system for Danske Bank a couple of months ago. Maybe i can dig up some dirt...
  • Smithwick 2008-08-05 22:10
    This little comment caught my attention and I think there's a reasonable explanation:
    And then there was this curious snippet of code:

    public static final int RandomErrorNotEnoughRandom = 1;

    If you're familiar with how many leading operating system handle entropy this isn't so strange:

    In Linux it's usually /dev/random and in Windows it's HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Cryptography\RNG\Seed which are used to provide truly random numbers. These random streams are kept filled from input sources that the operating system considers random(e.g. keyboard, microphone, network traffic).

    If you have a program that is a voracious eater of random values it can actually use up all the values stored on the computer. Hence you can have not enough random numbers. I've witnessed a Java Tomcat server hang until someone randomly typed on the server keyboard because there was not enough random numbers.

    You tell me if /dev/random and it's ilk are wtfs but they are the current way of doing truly random

  • robbak 2008-08-05 22:30
    Smithwick:
    This little comment caught my attention and I think there's a reasonable explanation:
    And then there was this curious snippet of code:

    public static final int RandomErrorNotEnoughRandom = 1;

    If you're familiar with how many leading operating system handle entropy this isn't so strange:

    In Linux it's usually /dev/random and in Windows it's HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Cryptography\RNG\Seed which are used to provide truly random numbers. These random streams are kept filled from input sources that the operating system considers random(e.g. keyboard, microphone, network traffic).

    If you have a program that is a voracious eater of random values it can actually use up all the values stored on the computer. Hence you can have not enough random numbers. I've witnessed a Java Tomcat server hang until someone randomly typed on the server keyboard because there was not enough random numbers.

    You tell me if /dev/random and it's ilk are wtfs but they are the current way of doing truly random



    That probably was the explanation for the variable: I would not place any money on it being implemented _at_all_, let alone sanely.

    Thankfully, most current /dev/random implementations silently switch to well-seeded pseudo-random when they run out of real entropy.
    On FreeBSD boxes, there used to be separate /dev/random and /dev/urandom, but now the two are are links for the same device
  • Hugo 2008-08-05 22:33
    Here in Helsinki I'm still seeing from time to time handwritten signs on shop windows and cafe counters apologising that Sampo cards aren't working.
  • Krzysztof 2008-08-06 00:57
    I see hand of my current company here. I can only hope that they built native Sampo Bank infrastructure :)
  • dogac 2008-08-06 01:42
    yet another Matt:
    Someone really should have pointed that the other product was better, and replaced their own.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of business where the decisions are made by clueless people and are not even based on reports that state expert opinions suggesting otherwise.
  • Count 2008-08-06 01:47
    biziclop:
    TRWTF is that only 20000 customers left.


    Not everyone needed to leave. I hadn't used my Sampo account in about 1,5 years (and previously used it only to cash in some Google checks and some random stuff) and when I finally decided to try out the online banking I found out that my account was no longer there.

    I contacted the customer department who kindly notified me that they had just axed all the accounts with zero balance and "no use for a long time". Boggles my mind, that I still have an account in another bank which I haven't touched in almost 20 years and they're still happy to have me. I guess they have bigger harddrives than "Kanske Bank" to store my account information.

    One thing not mentioned in the article which did make the national newspapers was that (someone I actually know IRL) managed to get a *recurring* monthly 352000EUR mortgage payment to show up in the online banking system, and they had only been discussing on getting that loan and had not actually signed any paperwork about it either. And as icing on the cake, their actual mortgage payment (the one they had signed up for) was deducted three times instead of just once.

    I don't know how well off other TDWTF readers are, but I would be hard pressed to pay 352000EUR (or about 545000USD) a month with my current salary...
  • mr. monkey 2008-08-06 01:51
    Perhaps they wanted all their employees globally to work with the same system to lower their support costs? It's granted that the start up costs may be expensive (e.g. loss of customers, employees, training and equipment) but in the longer run you only have one system to support and maintain (for better or worse).
  • mr. monkey 2008-08-06 01:52
    mr. monkey:
    Perhaps they wanted all their employees globally to work with the same system to lower their support costs? It's granted that the start up costs may be expensive (e.g. loss of customers, employees, training and equipment) but in the longer run you only have one system to support and maintain (for better or worse).


    ... and that note was of course for the guy who wrote "why would you throw the old sampo system away"
  • mr. monkey 2008-08-06 01:58
    MBV:
    Try reading a Dutch article on some page, I'm curious if it works the other way around :)


    A dane who is able to read and understand german and english is also able to understand most dutch texts :-)
  • codehead 2008-08-06 02:15
    moltonel:
    About a year ago my previous company had (probably still has) Danske Bank as a client, and would send them automated emails containing embeded images.


    Cursed be embedded images and all that other fancy-shmancy in emails!
  • Brunkeberg 2008-08-06 03:22
    Hugo:
    Here in Helsinki I'm still seeing from time to time handwritten signs on shop windows and cafe counters apologising that Sampo cards aren't working.


    This reminds me of a sign I saw taped to a cash register in Finland in 1997, saying "Cheques are not accepted because no-one uses them." Which was true, of course.
  • Tourist 2008-08-06 03:28
    Martin:
    Suddenly I'm embarresed being a Dane and a developer.

    Not that I need to defend Danske Bank (I actually switched away form that bank 10 years ago). Sometimes it seems company names are anonymized like "a certain fairly large california based bank" - at other times they are not like in this case. Is there any good explaination to this (risk of lawsuits or whatever)?

    By the way - the bank's danish motto is "Gør det du er bedst til - det gør vi". Which translates to: "Do what You are best at - We do"


    This just confirms my suspicions that the Danes can't program, at least not since Bjarne moved to the US.

    Yes, I am a Swede, how did you know? :)
  • LoeZ 2008-08-06 03:51
    real_aardvark:
    Axes are best saved for winnowing out middle management and VPs, of whom there are far too many in the wanking borld.

    Wut?
  • Richard M 2008-08-06 04:02
    My bank is owned by Danske, I can't authorise any transactions on my Linux machine, it pops up a box to put the code into, but this only works properly (for me) when I'm running Windows. On linux one of two things happen:
    Firefox - Box never pops up at all
    Opera - Box pops up but not the text entry field or 'OK' Button

    Really frustrating when I have to borrow someone's machine anytime I want to do anything more than look

    Also, my old Windows PC at work always used to get an invalid character error when I used to try to log in. Other PC's with same OS and version of IE worked though, so probably more to do with the piece of crap PC I was forced to use there
  • SenTree 2008-08-06 04:21
    LoeZ:
    real_aardvark:
    Axes are best saved for winnowing out middle management and VPs, of whom there are far too many in the wanking borld.
    Wut?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoonerism

    Not sure if this is a form of humour peculiar to the English language, but it's quite popular in the UK. The schoolboy's favourite being Robin Hood's sidekick, Friar Tuck ;)
  • name 2008-08-06 04:24
    I should remind the most important thing from Sampo story:

    There was a fight over its ownership, during which Sampo fell overboard into the sea, broke and was lost.
  • chaos 2008-08-06 04:37
    Julius:
    [...](two tries, the first one gave an error saying "multifail" and the second try worked). Using Mac OS X / Safari.

    If you refresh fast enough on a multifail, you get a

    Mo Mo Mo Mo Mo Mo Monsterfail fail fail
  • Ren 2008-08-06 04:52
    One disgruntled customer took an axe to a wooden desk at a Sampo branch after learning his account was supposedly empty.


    Ah, Finns.

    What this article forgot to mention that every now and then (yes, even now), for a few hours at a time, the Sampo cards go offline. During the first disastrous week, there was a day when no payment was sent. That's right, not a single corporate client was able to pay bills or salaries -- what payday? Then there is the Finnish governmental railway system (VR) which had to extend monthly pass tickets by two weeks since clients from Sampo Bank were unable to send their scheduled or direct-billed money.

    Needless to say, these caused a massive spike in people changing banks. Tens of thousands of people fled during the first few weeks, and every time there's a system failure (about 1/month, now), there's a spike. The people who haven't changed generally have loans there, which are expensive to move. Now, however, other banks have started to offer reasonably-priced loan-transfer settlements. Quietly, though ;)
  • Tom_fan_63 2008-08-06 05:09
    MBV:
    Peter:
    ...
    I know, it's in danish, and only a very select few can read that, ...

    I guess all Scandinavians can read it, and in The Netherlands too (although it requires some effort). So not as select as you might think...

    Try reading a Dutch article on some page, I'm curious if it works the other way around :)


    Det gør det! :-)
  • Torajirou 2008-08-06 06:00
    Because Java code can so easily be decompiled, many developers chose to use an obfuscator to make reverse engineering-compiled Java virtually impossible. While the Danske developers actually did include an obfuscator in the applet, they apparently forgot to use it. This oversight allowed anyone with the freely available Java SDK to see the code behind their "secure" applet.


    Since when is an obfuscated application more "secure" than a non-obfuscated one ? Security-aware coders should ALWAYS assume the source code is public to enforce real security.
  • EvanED 2008-08-06 06:23
    Torajirou:
    Because Java code can so easily be decompiled, many developers chose to use an obfuscator to make reverse engineering-compiled Java virtually impossible. While the Danske developers actually did include an obfuscator in the applet, they apparently forgot to use it. This oversight allowed anyone with the freely available Java SDK to see the code behind their "secure" applet.


    Since when is an obfuscated application more "secure" than a non-obfuscated one ? Security-aware coders should ALWAYS assume the source code is public to enforce real security.
    1) Who said it was done for security reasons? Could just be that they wanted to protect IP or something like that. (Okay, the 'behind their "secure" applet' bit does a little, but I think that could as easily refer to other problems with it or be artistic license as refer to the fact that it's "secure" because it was obfuscated.)

    2) Just because you develop it assuming that the source code is or will be public doesn't mean you can't add additional obstacles. You can obfuscate code to make it harder to figure out what's going on, you can release the source either just for viewing or as open source, or you can keep it closed but not obfuscate. If you're talking something that gets byte-compiled, the latter option is probably the worst of the three. You can have your own opinion of whether the first or second is better in a particular scenario.
  • 35% Genius 2008-08-06 06:59
    [quote user="Walleye"][quote user="Ilyak"If it works, don't touch it"[/quote]

    So, do you wait until the jet's engines break down in flight before doing preventative maintenance?[/quote]

    Programs don't wear out from running, they wear out from "maintenance" programming.
  • LarsL 2008-08-06 07:02
    Peter:
    I've always thought that Danske Bank would be a great place for developers that care about quality and such stuff ... now I'm not so sure ...

    However, the article explains this job-add for Danske Bank:
    http://www.danskebank.com/da-dk/Job/soeg-job/ledige-job/it/Pages/JOB391974364583333299386890.aspx
    [snip]
    There are NO requirements for technology-experience, no mentions of platform (mainframe, Java, VB??) nothing ...


    Who cares if a candidate has experience with a specific programming language, as long as he or she has general experience and a solid educational background in e.g. Computer Science? I don't!

    Captcha: Illum (a Danish store)
  • Steele 2008-08-06 07:19
    This is just another case in a long line of screw-ups by Danske Bank, even though my experience is more on the customer service side of things. My favourite was when I *specifically* requested to be transferred to another bank rep. because my current one kept screwing up my automated transfer setups. 'No problem', said Danske, and transferred me to another rep. When I called in 1 month later to talk to my rep. I found I had been transferred back to the one who kept screwing up my account. I changed banks immediately and got a whopping 5% interest rate reduction on my loan to boot. Don't use this bank.
  • T $ 2008-08-06 07:43
    bar:
    The whole site seems to be a customized SharePoint app


    I know it makes ME feel completely comfortable when I see lines like this in the code for a bank (snipped the end):

    var __wpmExportWarning='This Web Part Page has been personalized. As a result, one or more Web Part properties may contain confidential information...
  • Jasu 2008-08-06 07:50
    Also, when some payments appeared as double, they said in public "It's not a bug, it's a feature."

    And then the "feature" made the TV license payment system crash.
  • El Dorko 2008-08-06 07:59
    Before this episode, there actually were a number of studies about the new systems and their (in)compatibility with what was used before. I know a person who was involved in one part of the evaluations, and he said there were numerous reports pointing out exactly the very problems that in deed did hit the fan. All of it was not a surprise to management; or, couldn't have been, if they only read the reports. Maybe they didn't, or maybe (more likely) they just ignored them.

    Which brings me to another point: I've personally been involved in two fairly large "take overs" in Finland, and it seems to go almost exactly like the Sampo case, every time. I think there is something in the beginnings. Finland being a very small country, and we're generally not the ones that make a lot of noise about ourselves and our systems, so maybe we're thought to be backwards, or even a bit, eh, "less advanced" in these matters. Then a decision is made to bring those poor Finns a new system so that they'll get up to par with the rest of the world - and the fact that we actually have pretty advanced systems in many places already, is completely overlooked.

    What's most puzzling about the Sampo/Danske Bank case is the elementary-ness of the problems. For example, we use a reference code for pretty much all payments, so that the payments can be automatically matched against invoices in financial systems. The new and improved Danske Bank didn't handle those at all. My company has several hundred rental agreements which are invoiced on a monthly basis, and many of the sums are the same. So now we get a bank statement, some 15 pages of printouts of sums, in a row, and no frickin' way to identify them.

    My 5-year old girl could've spotted that one out, and fixed it in about 10 minutes before going live. But no, not Danske/Sampo... And their system is still riddled with idiotic, simple-to-fix UI problems which piss off people to no end, but they just won't get them fixed.
  • tdittmar 2008-08-06 08:11
    Rob:
    I cant fault them much, they are currently upgrading to Lotus 6 and the new sametimeIM, but knowing that company the way I do.(<--) I would be surprised if they ever finish the upgrade.

    SpectateSwamp, is that you? Must. Be.
  • Da' Man 2008-08-06 08:11
    I'm one of the Sampo customers. Luckily, it is not my primary account (any more), so I didn't have any problems.

    Still. It is sad to see one of the world's best banks (at least technology-wise) gone down the drain.

    At least I got an apology letter afterwards. Probably the same that every customer got. But still more than most other banks would care to do.

    Captcha: "suscipere" - now, what is this trying to tell me?
  • Synchronos 2008-08-06 08:14
    Ren:
    [..] since clients from Sampo Bank were unable to send their scheduled or direct-billed money.


    Hey, there are many U.S. citizens reading here! They cannot understand the concept of direct-billing, i.e. company automatically charging your account. "WTF, somebody can pay bills without snailmailing checks?! Even by doing nothing at all?!"

    I wonder how many people there are nowadays in the U.S. who really cannot believe bills can be paid via the Internet. Yep, my friend visiting the US told he was met with disbelief telling here in Finland we really do that. And have been for more than 20 years (at first via direct modem connections and national networks). They thought he was BS'ing them. I believe the practice back there still is to mail checks, and salary paid directly to your account is considered something revolutionary.
  • Machine Head 2008-08-06 09:03
    Synchronos:
    I wonder how many people there are nowadays in the U.S. who really cannot believe bills can be paid via the Internet. Yep, my friend visiting the US told he was met with disbelief telling here in Finland we really do that. And have been for more than 20 years (at first via direct modem connections and national networks). They thought he was BS'ing them. I believe the practice back there still is to mail checks, and salary paid directly to your account is considered something revolutionary.


    Having lived there (in Finland) for 5 years, I must say that this country has one of the most advanced banking systems in the world. Money transfers are usually completed within a few seconds (!) - my maximum was 20 minutes, but that was only because several technical problems came together :-)

    Oh, and I just love these barcode-reading machines that make transfers really, really easy. It's in fact even faster to quickly drop into your local bank, swipe your bills through the machine, than entering the data in your home-banking application (which is easy, too)

    Best of all - things just work. Really.

    Should really finally go around to close this SAMPO account, though. Wanted to do that for years.
  • K&T 2008-08-06 09:08

    I wonder how many people there are nowadays in the U.S. who really cannot believe bills can be paid via the Internet. Yep, my friend visiting the US told he was met with disbelief telling here in Finland we really do that. And have been for more than 20 years (at first via direct modem connections and national networks). They thought he was BS'ing them. I believe the practice back there still is to mail checks, and salary paid directly to your account is considered something revolutionary.


    I can't tell if you're being serious or not. At any rate, unless your friend visited back in the 50s, this isn't the case. It's actually fairly difficult to find a job that doesn't do direct deposit (the name given to the process where your employer pays directly into your bank account). Small start ups and contracting, jobs targeted to students will still do paychecks but most places have direct deposit.

    As for paying bills online, the only bill i can't pay online is my rent. Heck, I can even pay traffic tickets online.
  • icelava 2008-08-06 09:35
    Looks like keeping my money in a rusty tin can and hiding it under a rock is more advanced and secure.
  • KenW 2008-08-06 09:43
    Count:
    I don't know how well off other TDWTF readers are, but I would be hard pressed to pay 352000EUR (or about 545000USD) a month with my current salary...


    Yeah, I'd have to give up both coffee and beer to take on a mortgage that size... :-)
  • KenW 2008-08-06 09:44
    mr. monkey:
    ... and that note was of course for the guy who wrote "why would you throw the old sampo system away"


    Tip of the day: Use the "Quote" button instead of the "Reply" button and people will know what you're referring to without you making a second post to explain.
  • KenW 2008-08-06 09:57
    Synchronos:
    Hey, there are many U.S. citizens reading here! They cannot understand the concept of direct-billing, i.e. company automatically charging your account. "WTF, somebody can pay bills without snailmailing checks?! Even by doing nothing at all?!"

    I wonder how many people there are nowadays in the U.S. who really cannot believe bills can be paid via the Internet. Yep, my friend visiting the US told he was met with disbelief telling here in Finland we really do that. And have been for more than 20 years (at first via direct modem connections and national networks). They thought he was BS'ing them. I believe the practice back there still is to mail checks, and salary paid directly to your account is considered something revolutionary.


    I think you're misinformed. We've had direct deposit of payroll here in the US for decades now, and can auto-pay bills at almost any of the larger businesses. (However, a lot of people, myself included, are very careful about who we allow to auto-deduct from our accounts, as it can be somewhat difficult to get them to stop even when you stop doing business with them. AOL is one of the major offenders in this regard - not that they have a lot of business any more.)

    I suggest perhaps you need to upgrade to smarter friends. Or at least ones who aren't full of crap.
  • SenTree 2008-08-06 10:43
    icelava:
    Looks like keeping my money in a rusty tin can and hiding it under a rock is more advanced and secure.
    But - you're still relying on metal oxides and silicon !
  • Rhialto 2008-08-06 11:28
    K&T:
    As for paying bills online, the only bill i can't pay online is my rent. Heck, I can even pay traffic tickets online.

    But that should just be a function of your bank, right? You're telling your bank to transfer X amount of money from your account to account number 987654321, which belongs to the traffic ticket department.
  • K&T 2008-08-06 11:42

    But that should just be a function of your bank, right? You're telling your bank to transfer X amount of money from your account to account number 987654321, which belongs to the traffic ticket department.


    When you break it all down that's all online transactions are. I'm telling my bank to transfer monies to their bank.
    The trick is making sure that city hall knows why they got 100 bucks from me and actually sees that i'm paying for parking tickets. I think that falls well out of the range of a bank's responsibilities.
  • jdpressley 2008-08-06 12:47
    Someone should send each member of the management team for this project a copy of The Mythical Man-Month and tell them the 2nd edition was published way back in 1995.
  • IllVes 2008-08-06 13:01
    This is the part of the story that made me the most leery, especially considering that strong program obfuscation is a theoretical impossibility. Doing any form of security by obscurity is the inherent WTF, not doing it badly.
  • thom 2008-08-06 13:18
    K&T:

    But that should just be a function of your bank, right? You're telling your bank to transfer X amount of money from your account to account number 987654321, which belongs to the traffic ticket department.


    When you break it all down that's all online transactions are. I'm telling my bank to transfer monies to their bank.
    The trick is making sure that city hall knows why they got 100 bucks from me and actually sees that i'm paying for parking tickets. I think that falls well out of the range of a bank's responsibilities.


    Basically what the bank does in online banking is transferring bytes of data that represent money. At the same time they can transfer bytes that represent a message or a reference number. The recipient then sees the message or the number. In case of the ref number (which usually is the ID of the bill and a check digit) they see immediately what was paid by checking the reference number against the numbers of the sent bills. This kind of system even allows your mom to pay your rent.

    That's how it works in Finland.

    We can argue about what belongs to the bank's responsibilities till dawn, but this is one model that works, even if it is some extra "work" for the bank in your opinion.
  • danixdefcon5 2008-08-06 13:31
    frustrati:

    An important fact needed to (try to) understand Danske Bank's decision to rewrite all systems is that this strategy is one that has worked extremely well for them in previous mergers. I think the major difference here is that in previous instances, the bank that was taken over had less automatic processes, whereas in the Sampo Pankki case, their systems were probably superior to those of Danske Bank.

    Is it time for a WTF detailing how Danske Bank managed to be offline (as in "no transactions in any part of the bank, not even for traders") for a week due to bad decision making when a power supply needed to be changed...?
    I remember when Citigroup "ate" Banamex over here in Mexico. Surprisingly enough, it seems like most of the code was left untouched.

    However, years later, a teacher who had been working in said bank during the "merger" told us that Citibank was about to do the "dump & rewrite" approach. Banamex countered with the argument that their own software even exceeded the crappy stuff Citibank was using... and they succeded! Sad thing was, while Banamex develops everything in-house, some stuff like the credit card processing systems used by Citibank were actually outsourced to Asia. One good thing that came out of this is that, in fact, Citibank started using the in-house software.

    I think this case is the only one where I can safely say it was anything but a WTF. Sampo, however, got reamed.
  • danixdefcon5 2008-08-06 13:37
    multifail:
    The backend system runs on z/OS + CICS + DB2 and stuff, and the notorious error message 404 multifail has become a meme here.


    FTFY.
    By the way, isn't z/OS, CICS and DB2 basically standard for most banks anyway?? I kind of miss those 31337-looking 3270 screens... though most stuff is now run from Java frontends (web or Swing apps) with WebSphere & MQSeries for CICS calls.

    Guess what was my last workplace.
  • danixdefcon5 2008-08-06 13:52
    thom:
    Basically what the bank does in online banking is transferring bytes of data that represent money. At the same time they can transfer bytes that represent a message or a reference number. The recipient then sees the message or the number. In case of the ref number (which usually is the ID of the bill and a check digit) they see immediately what was paid by checking the reference number against the numbers of the sent bills. This kind of system even allows your mom to pay your rent.

    That's how it works in Finland.

    We can argue about what belongs to the bank's responsibilities till dawn, but this is one model that works, even if it is some extra "work" for the bank in your opinion.
    That's how it works over here in Mexico. Oh, and by the way ... we also have same-day, almost instant interbanking funds transfer: the SPEI (Sistema de Pagos Electronicos Interbancarios, or Interbanking Electronic Payments System), which I've seen taking from 30 minutes to 45 seconds!

    The equivalent to direct-debit would be "domiciliacion", and that's managed by the bank; so if I want to cancel those payments, I ask the bank to do so, no hassle with companies like AOL. (Which crashed and burned over here, by the way.)
  • Mikko 2008-08-06 17:10

    My bank is owned by Danske, I can't authorise any transactions on my Linux machine, it pops up a box to put the code into, but this only works properly (for me) when I'm running Windows. On linux one of two things happen:
    Firefox - Box never pops up at all
    Opera - Box pops up but not the text entry field or 'OK' Button

    Really frustrating when I have to borrow someone's machine anytime I want to do anything more than look

    Also, my old Windows PC at work always used to get an invalid character error when I used to try to log in. Other PC's with same OS and version of IE worked though, so probably more to do with the piece of crap PC I was forced to use there


    I'm a Finnish Sampo customer. At least here these problems show up when using Java 1.6. It works with 1.5 (I'm using Firefox 3 on Linux). Try downgrading your Java plugin.

    This is, by the way, one of the many hard to understand WTFs about the situation. How hard is it to port one sad applet from 1.5 to 1.6? Or at least detect 1.6 and tell the user that it won't work. The way it is now, you can log into the app, enter a payment and then nothing happens when you try to confirm the transaction. This has been known by everyone since Easter, and probably longer by the poor souls who were Danske system users before then.

    I only realized the full extent of the brilliance of the applet after reading these comments. Maybe that pile of crap cannot be made to bugde by any number developers, even if they are all pregnant women.

    Java 1.6 is not exactly new and Murphy's law states that the more desperate your need to use online banking, the more likely it is that the nearest available computer has 1.6 and you don't have sufficient access to downgrade it.

    To the people who were wondering why only 20000 customers left: I think this is the number published by Danske. The real number is much larger. A lot of Finns have accounts in several banks and they just started to use a different one and left the Danske one open but empty. I saw some estimates of well over 100000 de-facto lost 'daily use' accounts. This is pretty substantial given the size of the Finnish market.

    To the Danes: go home and stick to sausage-making.

    To self: go change banks (I don't have a loan and I didn't have major problems with Sampo, but that applet is not suitable for banking).

    P.S. 'Kanske Bank' is probably an old joke, but it was new to me and I laughed (kanske = swedish for 'maybe').
  • Richard 2008-08-06 19:48
    The question is, was that the richest 20,000 of their customers or just the ones who were most annoyed by the new interface?
  • Plorg 2008-08-06 21:02
    Richard:
    The question is, was that the richest 20,000 of their customers or just the ones who were most annoyed by the new interface?


    It wasn't just the interface that went FUBAR. Insanely complicated and rarely-used features like paying for stuff with your Visa Electron, getting money out of ATMs and so on were (and still are, from time to time) completely impossible. Not to mention the oddities with bank account balances. I was lucky since I gained 90€ after the clusterfu... erm, Danske Bank web banking system went live, but I know people who really got reamed (althought they did manage to get their money back eventually.)

    The new craptacular web banking UI was just icing on the turd.
  • Kasper 2008-08-07 03:26
    I was a customer of Danske Bank since some time in the eighties. At some point some transactionfees would be ten times as much if you did them in the bank rather than through netbanking. That was what got me to finally get netbanking access.

    At that time the netbank worked on Linux as long as your browser was Netscape 4.7x and you had write access to "/", as some key files had to be stored in "/DanskeBank". The official advice from the bank was to have the system administrator create that directory and make it writable to the user who needed to do netbanking.

    During the next few years, they managed to make the system behave worse and worse. There were times where logins would fail half the time. At some point there was a period of more than a month, where I was unable to log in at all.

    When the second period of several months where I was unable to log in came, and I could see that there would soon come a period where I would absolutely need netbanking access, I finally decided to switch to Jyske Bank in early 2004.

    Before that I had told Danske Bank on several occasions, that I could not wait any longer for a solution. The only advice they had given me, was to use a mulator to run Windows on top of Linux. That was not an option for me.

    A year later the problems were supposedly fixed. You just have to tell the Danske Bank that you were using a Macintosh, and they would give you access to a platform independent version, that worked on Linux.

    That was just too late for me. It requires more than just a working netbank to make me switch back to Danske Bank.
  • joutsa 2008-08-07 03:33
    Today's breaking news: 28000 customers have left the bank (in Finnish, notice how the newspaper makes 28000 into 30000 for better headline). Still more than a million customers (i.e. 20% of Finnish citizens) left.
  • Joona 2008-08-07 03:47
    So they did pretty much all the typical mistakes you can make when running a software project:
    - adding more developers to an already late project will only make it later (2500 person integration team!)
    - fixed deadline doesn't work with fixed scope and fixed quality (banking systems)
    - don't fix it if it already works (Sampo's existing web service was excellent)
    - having a SW release gate which does not notice when the software is shipped with a security feature disabled (Java obfuscator)
    - writing web services with platform-independent technologies, but ending with an implementation that uses platform-specific services and is restricted to be used in a specific browser and specific operating system
    - creating slow UI, which means bad experience, which often means no product
    - releasing software that only works in use cases that follow 'the happy path'
  • H Finn 2008-08-07 04:34
    Let me just point out that the strict deadline was probably caused by the long easter weekend. As they needed to close down their systems for migration, it was best done during a holiday.

    That doesn't make the fiasco any more acceptable though.
  • Zyrppa 2008-08-07 05:30
    I was customer of Sampo. Not anymore.
    It was veeery nice when you realized that "oh, i've to go to atm to get some money, my wallet is empty".
    "Enter you pin numer"
    "beeb beeb beeb beeb beeb"
    "please wait....."
    "Can't connect to bank, please try again later"
    "damned!"
    walks to another atm and same thing.
    and another.
    Goes to shop and tries to buy thing (like food!) with Visa Electron -> card doesn't work, because theres some problems within that god damn fucking bank!.
  • java.lang.Chris; 2008-08-07 06:45
    MBV:
    Peter:
    ...
    I know, it's in danish, and only a very select few can read that, ...

    I guess all Scandinavians can read it, and in The Netherlands too (although it requires some effort). So not as select as you might think...

    Try reading a Dutch article on some page, I'm curious if it works the other way around :)


    Depends on your definition of Scandinavians. To Finnish speakers, Danish is as impenetrable as Dutch is to, well anyone who is not Dutch ;-) Finns aren't really Scandinavians although they are often regarded as such - they are from the Finno-Ugrian group of peoples that include Estonians and Hungarians, and geographically Finland is more a part of European Russia than Scandinavia.
  • RF 2008-08-07 06:58
    Maybe they were planning on developing the site for 33 years, having it go down the Friday before, then come back up on THAT Easter.

    Either way, it'd be a miracle if they'd managed to keep all their customers happy.
  • joutsa 2008-08-07 08:46
    java.lang.Chris;:

    Depends on your definition of Scandinavians. To Finnish speakers, Danish is as impenetrable as Dutch is to, well anyone who is not Dutch ;-)


    Technically you are right, but it happens that almost every Finn understands basics of Swedish, which is the second official language of Finland and mandatory subject in schools. On the other hand, Finno-Ugric languages other than Estonian are so different from Finnish that it is hard to recognize that they belong to same group.
  • grumpy 2008-08-07 14:31

    I don't know about Sambo but Danske Bank's online system still only works in Windows using Internet Explorer

    Nah, they've got a cross-browser version too (but of course they don't use that one for IE ;))

    Tourist:

    This just confirms my suspicions that the Danes can't program, at least not since Bjarne moved to the US.

    Harhar, very funny. ;)

    Are you saying the guy who invented C++ is making us look *good*? :p
    You might as well name the guy who made PHP (Rasmus something). Sure, it's popular as hell, but it doesn't prove that he (or any other Danish developer) could code.
    I feel better about Anders Hejlsberg being Danish. C# is a hell of a lot easier to defend than C++.

    Why is it we have our greasy fingers in the creation of so many programming languages anyway?

    K&T:

    I wonder how many people there are nowadays in the U.S. who really cannot believe bills can be paid via the Internet. Yep, my friend visiting the US told he was met with disbelief telling here in Finland we really do that. And have been for more than 20 years (at first via direct modem connections and national networks). They thought he was BS'ing them. I believe the practice back there still is to mail checks, and salary paid directly to your account is considered something revolutionary.


    I can't tell if you're being serious or not. At any rate, unless your friend visited back in the 50s, this isn't the case. It's actually fairly difficult to find a job that doesn't do direct deposit (the name given to the process where your employer pays directly into your bank account). Small start ups and contracting, jobs targeted to students will still do paychecks but most places have direct deposit.

    He didn't say direct deposits (which *everyone* does in Europe. Startups, contracting and anything else included. I haven't seen a cheque for a decade or so)
    He said direct *billing*.
    I don't need to pay the rent. I've authorized it on my netbank, so the money gets debited automatically. I don't have to send cheques, and I don't have to log in to my netbank to transfer the money.

    As for paying bills online, the only bill i can't pay online is my rent. Heck, I can even pay traffic tickets online.

    Why can't you pay the rent? In the rest of the world, the bank lets you pay any bill, and transfer any amount of money to any other bank account online. Unless you're required to bury the money under a tree in a park somewhere at 3am on the last saturday each month, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to pay it online.
    Otherwise, I think you've proven his point. The simple fact that there are bills you can't pay online is pretty incredible.

    Oh, and I'm actually a customer of Danske Bank. And I haven't had any trouble with them, except that for a long time they did refuse to supply a netbanking client for non-IE browsers. They have one now, but now I can't be bothered switching. I've just got the IETab extension in Firefox to automatically switch to IE whenever I go to the bank's website.

    I should also mention that they've actually got a hell of a lot of development staff. They keep telling us CS students that they're the biggest IT employer in the country. (And yes, they're constantly trying to recruit us, so at least it's not like they only want to hire cheap incompetent PHP or VB coders, or outsource everything).
    I'm not sure what they *use* all these computer scientists for though.

    They've had a few really big system crashes over the last years, but supposedly they were caused by IBM screwing up, not the bank.

    And no, not trying to defend them. Just saying that I haven't had any problems, and their netbanking *does* work with non-IE and has for a couple of years now.

    But that doesn't mean they haven't screwed up with Sampo. And they've probably got plenty of other shortcomings that I just haven't encountered.
  • Scandinavian 2008-08-07 15:41
    java.lang.Chris;:

    Depends on your definition of Scandinavians.


    I guess the definition also depends on which country you live in. I'm from a Scandinavian country (won't say which to avoid any bad feelings) and Finland is part of the Nordic countries, but Finland is not considered a part of Scandinavia.

    The Scandinavian countries (in alphabetical order) are Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Mostly because we have similar languages and history I guess (There weren't many Vikings in Finland)
  • Mr. 2008-08-07 15:45
    LarsL:

    Who cares if a candidate has experience with a specific programming language, as long as he or she has general experience and a solid educational background in e.g. Computer Science? I don't!


    I agree. If you have a solid education, you should be able to learn any programming language quite quickly. Most fresh graduates only know the syntax of Java/C# anyway and can perhaps make a simple CD database or something. Most of the real "education" happens when they get into the real world. Universities are just supposed to teach the basic theory, and those applies to most languages
  • Mr. 2008-08-07 15:45
    LarsL:

    Who cares if a candidate has experience with a specific programming language, as long as he or she has general experience and a solid educational background in e.g. Computer Science? I don't!


    I agree. If you have a solid education, you should be able to learn any programming language quite quickly. Most fresh graduates only know the syntax of Java/C# anyway and can perhaps make a simple CD database or something. Most of the real "education" happens when they get into the real world. Universities are just supposed to teach the basic theory, and those applies to most languages
  • Scandinavian 2008-08-07 15:57
    Machine Head:

    Having lived there (in Finland) for 5 years, I must say that this country has one of the most advanced banking systems in the world. Money transfers are usually completed within a few seconds (!) - my maximum was 20 minutes, but that was only because several technical problems came together :-)


    I think the situation is the same in other Nordic countries as well. In my country we even have electronic invoices that can be approved with a click of a button or with SMS :-) When I get an electronic invoice, I get an SMS message from my bank, and I can just send a message back accepting the invoice. It will be paid on the due date automatically.

    In fact, I can transfer money from my account to another account with a simple SMS message. The accounts have to first be verified in the web application, so that nobody can steal the phone and transfer money to their own bank. I can also set a fixed limit on the amounts. The electronic invoices is already verified since you need to activly accept electronic invoices from a sender the first time.

    We could also pay our bills with a standard phone 15-20 years ago. And before that, the paper invoices often contained an id-code (with checksum of course). We just gave it to the bank personell and they ran it through a computer that read the number automatically. The companies could use that for automatic bill handling
  • www.varuste.net 2008-08-07 16:38
    There's not many people or companies left who has Sampo as their primary account. That's what counts.

    Most companies still must have an account in Sampo. Two of the companies I work for ( http://www.varuste.net and http://www.mooble.fi ) have a Sampo account because of web payments. Or just to get invoice payments a little bit faster from other Sampo using customers. I have also an Sampo account for the guarantee for my rent but I never actually do anything with them.

    When the times were worst there were several model girls at the Helsinki main Sampo bank office. They flirted to the customers trying to have them not to change the bank. Is that cheap or what?
  • Zambo 2008-08-07 16:43
    ... cheap as the previous TDWTF comic strip:
    http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/213-The-Demo.aspx
  • Vanadium 2008-08-08 00:55
    http://www.danskebank.com/en-uk/ir/Documents/2008/Q2/In terim-report-first-half-2008.pdf

    "Because of the problems, Sampo Bank has lost
    around 28,000 (net) of its retail customers. A net
    2,200 Finnish corporate customers have left, the
    vast majority of them small businesses. The outflow
    corresponds to 2% of the total number of customers
    in Finland."
  • Greippi1 2008-08-08 06:34
    And remember, 20,000 customers might not be much in a country like UK, Germany or USA, but Finland only has 5 million inhabitants, so over 20,000 customers and few thousand business customers won't be easy to just ignore. Luckily I am a customer for another bank...
  • Jari 2008-08-08 12:58
    If it only were trouble with online userinterface I could have lived with it. Unfortunately problems go way deeper than that.

    This summer Sampo sent me a bill of over 2700 euros for my student loan interests. Student loan intrests are about 5% of which only 1% is to be paid while still studying.

    Maximum annual loan is also 2700 euros. Now you can quite easily calculate how many years I must have spent with my Bachelors degree...

    Obviously I use Sampo no longer for anything money related.
  • Jean 2008-08-08 15:07
    Synchronos:
    Ren:
    [..] since clients from Sampo Bank were unable to send their scheduled or direct-billed money.


    Hey, there are many U.S. citizens reading here! They cannot understand the concept of direct-billing, i.e. company automatically charging your account. "WTF, somebody can pay bills without snailmailing checks?! Even by doing nothing at all?!"

    I wonder how many people there are nowadays in the U.S. who really cannot believe bills can be paid via the Internet. Yep, my friend visiting the US told he was met with disbelief telling here in Finland we really do that. And have been for more than 20 years (at first via direct modem connections and national networks). They thought he was BS'ing them. I believe the practice back there still is to mail checks, and salary paid directly to your account is considered something revolutionary.

    To be blunt, your friend is full of it.

    I haven't snailed off a check to pay a bill in years. I first got direct deposit for my paychecks in 1983. My 83-year-old mother pays her bills online, for frack's sake. And yes, I am an American. An ordinary, middle-aged, run-of-the mill American.

    If there's anyone in this country who doesn't know you can pay bills online, it's because they live in a cave. Everyone who bills you nags you about it. Everywhere you look there are ads from every bank touting how much better their online banking services are than every other bank. I still get dead-tree bills from a couple of utility companies (mostly because I'm too lazy to tell them to knock it off) that always have a big notice to remind their customers how much faster and easier online payment, either manual or scheduled, is. This implies that there are people who don't use online payment, but they certainly know it's an option.

    CAPTCHA: abbas
    WTF? The Daily WTF is a Fatah front?
  • Kuba 2008-08-09 02:43
    Jean:
    Synchronos:
    Ren:
    [..] since clients from Sampo Bank were unable to send their scheduled or direct-billed money.


    Hey, there are many U.S. citizens reading here! They cannot understand the concept of direct-billing, i.e. company automatically charging your account. "WTF, somebody can pay bills without snailmailing checks?! Even by doing nothing at all?!"
    To be blunt, your friend is full of it.

    I haven't snailed off a check to pay a bill in years. I first got direct deposit for my paychecks in 1983. My 83-year-old mother pays her bills online, for frack's sake. And yes, I am an American. An ordinary, middle-aged, run-of-the mill American.

    If there's anyone in this country who doesn't know you can pay bills online, it's because they live in a cave.


    Yeah, very soon after I started studying here (in the U.S.), I've got automatic billing set up on everything one gets bills for (gas, electric, phone, cable tv). I never did rent electronically, because most small real estate management companies simply don't/won't process them like that, but everything else is paid automatically.

    I opt to get dead-tree bills (which say "DO NOT PAY") just for the convenience of archiving them, many sites will only provide a history of 6 or 12 months of prior bills. Instead of remembering to print them out every once in a while, I just receive them in the mail, but I have nothing to do with them besides putting them in a folder.

    And these days I only have to pay for cable service (phone/tv/internet) and electricity anyway.

    Naturally, credit card / loan payments are either done online at my leisure, or they can be set up to be automatic. Same goes for various pay deduct payments (student health insurance, parking, ...), savings, car/life/renters insurance, blahblah.

    Heck, car insurance quotes are done online too -- their system checks your driving record and whatnot while you wait :)

    So, here in the U.S. we're not quite as back-asswards as you make us.

    As for what passes for a "well built" house -- let's just say I'll leave it for another day. [small print: wooden shacks where you routinely get -10C in winters -- yay!]
  • Kuba 2008-08-09 02:49
    Synchronos:

    Hey, there are many U.S. citizens reading here! They cannot understand the concept of direct-billing, i.e. company automatically charging your account. "WTF, somebody can pay bills without snailmailing checks?! Even by doing nothing at all?!"


    Re U.S.: I have to agree that people who are 40+ are quite likely not only sending checks (dozens!) to pay their bills each month, but they indulge themselves in balancing their checkbook (WTF?!) and so on. So, while you're out of line saying that automatic/electronic/on-line bill payments are unheard of (not at all!), they are likely mostly used by "younger" people. I pay my rent (and only rent) by check each month, and I have not ever balanced my checkbook, thank $DEITY.
  • multifail 2008-08-10 05:43
    Kuba:
    So, while you're out of line saying that automatic/electronic/on-line bill payments are unheard of (not at all!), they are likely mostly used by "younger" people. I pay my rent (and only rent) by check each month, and I have not ever balanced my checkbook, thank $DEITY.


    Balance a checkbook? WTF is that?

    I remember my dad had a checkbook when I was a kid, but I haven't seen such thing for at least 25 years here in Finland.
  • Michael 2008-08-11 06:29
    Thats not quite true - Danske supports Mac OS X. You just need a code generator taht the bank provides.
  • thorYorak 2008-08-11 11:35
    The whole site is done in Sharepoint.
  • jd 2008-08-12 04:54
    The article states that the numbers are given by Danske Bank. Considering what I've heard about the amounts of incoming Sampo customers from the other banks I suppose that is the amount of the actually closed accounts. The amount of for example the monthly salaries paid to the private persons' accounts in Sampo Pankki has probably decreased a lot more. They aren't exactly lying but sure know how to count the amount of lost customers for press release, other figures stay in the cabinets.
  • jd 2008-08-12 05:01
    jd:
    The article states ...


    oops. forgot to quote ... was referring to
    article about 30 000 customers who have left of course.
  • digiyesterday 2008-08-16 11:43
    Buzer:
    Also, their communication director kept saying "It's not a hole before we have confirmed it's a hole" in public when the XSS holes were being released and only accepting that they "might" have been holes when finally fixed.
    As a matter of fact, this very same communications director got enough of this and resigned.

    Other finnish banks are now estimating to have about 50 000 new customers since this Easter day. Same kind of problems can be expected to hit Sampo,s branches in Baltic states, when the same "integration" will be executed over there...

    I myself had to acquire one more card to wallet from other bank (yes, I am also a Sampo,s customer)
  • Ville 2008-08-16 22:44
    Håvard Pedersen:
    Unfortunately, I have a loan in the bank, and one of the terms for said loan is that I use Fokus Bank for my daily banking needs. The minute that loan is down to zero, I'm switching bank...
    I changed banks even though I have a loan in Sampo Pankki. When they found out they said that loan was on terms that I use Sampo Pankki for my daily banking needs. Well, I told them that there's no such term in my loan contract but they said it's "naturally assumed" even though not written anywhere.

    I told them that I don't care what they assume and also that their service level has been totally different what I should "naturally assume". That kind of ended the conversation. :D
  • digiyesterday 2008-09-26 06:37
    Now it seems that Danske has learned something from this failure and they canceled the plans to integrate Sampo's branches in Baltic states into Danske's system...
  • Customer in Denmark 2008-09-28 18:13
    Oh, in Denmark Danske Bank is great - I resently got a loan issued with property as collateral that I had just sold! :-)

    If the local people in the branches just push the right buttons you receive the documents from Head Office without them questioning ANYTHING!

    They are dilletantes ...
  • BadAmigo 2008-11-18 09:05
    I think I would not care whether my bank uses outdated Lotus or even Pine mailer unless it does not impact my service. Probably guys wanted to save on upgrade and transition ;)
  • Allan 2008-11-18 18:09
    Yes, that's a classic idea.

    I think it was the book "Mythical Man Month" that has the best disproof of that idea. Paraphrasing: If it normally takes a woman 9 months to have a baby, we ought to be able to hire 9 women, thereby having the baby in one month!
  • Anone 2008-11-27 20:26
    That's the worst analogy ever. All 9 women are working on _different_ babies. Hiring 9 women to have babies as opposed to one woman is only applicable to the case where you NEED nine+ babies, and the vast majority of the time they will get that done a lot quicker than one woman on their own.
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    hi! im Frank a college student from chicago university, we were assigned to create a college essay about banking system, And i choose Sampo Bank for my essay. And i hve know more about the this bank. thanks for this forum.
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