• Adrian (unregistered)

    Frist flag

  • GettinSadda (cs)

    Should have done this story next Friday!

  • me (unregistered)

    That's why we useless people love working in 'da guvmint' (how do spell it like a redneck, anyway?) - they hire you first and then they look for something for you to do - if theres nothing, then your free to do shit like that

  • R (unregistered)
    Ramon said. “What can I do you for?”
    "I'm not that kind of guy..."
  • JustSomeGuy (unregistered) in reply to me
    me:
    That's why we useless people love working in 'da guvmint' (how do spell it like a redneck, anyway?) - they hire you first and then they look for something for you to do - if theres nothing, then your free to do shit like that

    I believe it's spelt gubment.

  • Maciej (unregistered)

    Automation shmautomation. All the Government needs is a bunch of people with magnetized needles and steady hands.

  • ObiWayneKenobi (cs)

    Why exactly IS the government so clueless with everything? Just a result of being so huge and unwieldy? Every single gov IT story I've seen has the same kind of stuff in it which usually results in some drone being given a menial job that they can work until they die.

    THIS is why we need smaller government, folks.

  • eViLegion (cs) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi

    Because if you're in charge of someone else's money, when that someone else is a huge group of people who have no individual say about it, then there is very little motivation to spend it wisely.

    If you're in charge of your own money, or in charge of someone elses money when that someone else is a rich dude (or small group of rich dudes) who have got rich by paying attention to what they do and don't spend, then there is suddenly lots of motivation to make sure that as little of it is spent as possible.

  • Simon Jester (unregistered)

    What happens when Ramon is out (ill/vacation)?

  • George Nacht (unregistered) in reply to R
    R:
    Ramon said. “What can I do you for?”
    "I'm not that kind of guy..."

    Sorry, as my mother language is a Slavic one, can someone tell me, whether "what can I do you for" is still considered an innuendo, or did it already became a regular expression?

  • chrisjfinlay (unregistered) in reply to Adrian
    Adrian:
    Frist flag

    Frist flag

    <error>

    Captcha: ullamcorper. I....I don't even.

  • Medinoc (cs) in reply to eViLegion
    eViLegion:
    Because if you're in charge of someone else's money, when that someone else is a huge group of people who have no individual say about it, then there is very little motivation to spend it wisely.
    More like there is big motivation to spend it all, lest they give you less next year.
  • trololo (unregistered)

    Burgers... I see burgers everywhere ç_ç

  • Anonymous Paranoiac (unregistered) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    Why exactly IS the government so clueless with everything? Just a result of being so huge and unwieldy? Every single gov IT story I've seen has the same kind of stuff in it which usually results in some drone being given a menial job that they can work until they die.

    THIS is why we need smaller government, folks.

    Because, as eViLegion pointed out, they have zero motivation to be efficient or effective. When you have a self-granted monopoly on anything you might feel like doing that's imposed with guns and prisons, your purpose stops being to solve problems but to aggregate as much power and influence as possible. On a departmental level, this partly comes from gathering as many resources as you can. If you somehow have a piece of your budget left over, you better find some way of spending it (or, better yet, exceeding it) so you can prove you need an even larger budget. It also shows up in the various internal power plays which invariably end up creating new levels of bureaucracy and even more waste.

  • Dr Horrible (unregistered) in reply to George Nacht
    George Nacht:
    R:
    Ramon said. “What can I do you for?”
    "I'm not that kind of guy..."

    Sorry, as my mother language is a Slavic one, can someone tell me, whether "what can I do you for" is still considered an innuendo, or did it already became a regular expression?

    It's not really an innuendo (well, everything is an innuendo in the right context) and it's a slang way of saying "What can I do for you?". The way you normally parse it is "What (kind of task) can I do <referencing the work> [for] you <referencing the person>?"

  • Mr XKCD (unregistered) in reply to chrisjfinlay

    You realise, that when we post comments on here, there is actually a worker somewhere hard-coding our comments into the page, but they do it so fast we all just assume that this site uses a db system

  • Thanatos Complex (unregistered) in reply to Mr XKCD
    Mr XKCD:
    You realise, that when we post comments on here, there is actually a worker somewhere hard-coding our comments into the page, but they do it so fast we all just assume that this site uses a db system

    No wonder it blows goats.

  • Jin (unregistered) in reply to Mr XKCD

    And people thought Akismet was a software...

  • VictorSierraGolf (unregistered) in reply to Jin
    Jin:
    And people thought Akismet was a software...

    Well, I always thought Akismet was some Indian "senior developer"...

  • moz (unregistered) in reply to eViLegion
    eViLegion:
    If you're in charge of your own money, or in charge of someone elses money when that someone else is a rich dude (or small group of rich dudes) who have got rich by paying attention to what they do and don't spend, then there is suddenly lots of motivation to make sure that as little of it is spent as possible.
    Large companies are pretty inefficient, too. The difference is that, in a large company, someone would eventually ask why we hadn't outsourced or sold the flag-selling thing to someone who specialises in selling stuff like that, and there wouldn't be a good answer to that.

    The FLAG CO-ORDINATOR would fight tooth and nail against any hint of outsourcing in this case, and no individual would gain enough from cost-cutting for it to be worth the aggro.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous Paranoiac
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    Why exactly IS the government so clueless with everything? Just a result of being so huge and unwieldy? Every single gov IT story I've seen has the same kind of stuff in it which usually results in some drone being given a menial job that they can work until they die.

    THIS is why we need smaller government, folks.

    Because, as eViLegion pointed out, they have zero motivation to be efficient or effective. When you have a self-granted monopoly on anything you might feel like doing that's imposed with guns and prisons, your purpose stops being to solve problems but to aggregate as much power and influence as possible. On a departmental level, this partly comes from gathering as many resources as you can. If you somehow have a piece of your budget left over, you better find some way of spending it (or, better yet, exceeding it) so you can prove you need an even larger budget. It also shows up in the various internal power plays which invariably end up creating new levels of bureaucracy and even more waste.

    Since 99.9% of the WTFs here are NGOs, who, exactly, is filled with more waste?

    CAPTCHA: erat - Cause of the ePlague

  • TGV (cs) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    Why exactly IS the government so clueless with everything? Just a result of being so huge and unwieldy? Every single gov IT story I've seen has the same kind of stuff in it which usually results in some drone being given a menial job that they can work until they die.

    THIS is why we need smaller government, folks.

    You've just written: we need smaller government in order to prevent some drone being given a menial job that they can work until they die. Are you a) a salon socialist, who considers that everyone should get a worthy job? b) a tech utopist, who thinks every menial job can be automated and what could possibly go wrong? c) a closet libertarian, who thinks that such tasks should just not be performed, resulting in anarchy? d) a proud tea partier, who terminates every discussion with the phrase "THIS is why we need smaller government, folks."?

  • Sasquatch (unregistered) in reply to JustSomeGuy
    JustSomeGuy:
    me:
    That's why we useless people love working in 'da guvmint' (how do spell it like a redneck, anyway?) - they hire you first and then they look for something for you to do - if theres nothing, then your free to do shit like that

    I believe it's spelt gubment.

    Gummint

  • Anonymous Paranoiac (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    Since 99.9% of the WTFs here are NGOs, who, exactly, is filled with more waste?

    There are two key differences:

    1. NGOs (who don't have a monopoly and aren't subsidized by the government) must eventually perform a service or get squashed by a competitor.
    2. If I think the NGO is a huge waste (and they don't have a monopoly and aren't subsidized by the government) I can safely ignore them and keep my money far away from them without having property seized or going to jail.
  • Anonymous Paranoiac (unregistered) in reply to TGV
    TGV:
    c) a closet libertarian, who thinks that such tasks should just not be performed, resulting in anarchy?

    How does "government not selling flags" (or alternately, "government selling flags efficiently") directly lead to anarchy?

  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL (unregistered) in reply to Simon Jester
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Anon Ymous (unregistered)

    For the first time, a WTF that I can actually sympathize with. Because in this case, I'm Ramon, although due to different reasons than just "government work, nobody tried to automate it".

    The file I have to manually push every week is generated by code I wrote every week. Every week, new export file created. Every week, tries to copy it to a remote server. Every week, it fails.

    I haven't been able to figure out why it fails, because it logs as though it saved, and a regular "sudo cp <file1> <file2>" works fine (my regular user account doesn't have permissions to access file2 regularly, but the httpd user does, I've checked).

    We're scheduled to replace the whole system of carting data between systems with CSV files with direct SQL connections, but in the meantime, I have to copy that file manually every week (it's my code that's broken, so it's my responsibility to make up for it).

    On the bright side, the other end of the connection is a manual process by design, so at least we tried to do it right.

  • synp (unregistered) in reply to ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Zylon (cs)

    Well, someone whose job literally could be replaced by a very small shell script.

  • CK (unregistered) in reply to TGV
    TGV:
    c) a closet libertarian, who thinks that such tasks should just not be performed, resulting in anarchy?

    I am a variation of (c): a libertarian, who thinks that such tasks should just not be performed, and I really don't think not performing this task would result in anarchy.

  • pscs (cs) in reply to synp
    synp:
    The article said nothing about anyone buying the flags, just "ordering". My guess is that some institutions like schools, courts, city halls and such are required to show a state flag, and they can order them through state government.

    Still, they must get enough orders to warrant employing at least a Flag Coordinator and a Flag Automaton.

    Or, maybe the Flag Coordinator felt that his job might be threatened if he didn't have at least one order a day to 'coordinate', so that's why he spoke in capitals.

    Personally, I'd sack the Flag Coordinator and let Ramon collect the orders and place the orders direct with the flag manufacturer himself. He could do the job; the Flag Coordinator is obviously too up himself to venture into the mailroom to collect the orders

  • radarbob (unregistered) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    Why exactly IS the government so clueless with everything? Just a result of being so huge and unwieldy? Every single gov IT story I've seen has the same kind of stuff in it which usually results in some drone being given a menial job that they can work until they die.

    THIS is why we need smaller government, folks.

    There are many forces at work that make gumment seem imbecilic to the outsider and It's funny how things seem rational from the inside...

    In summary: Does the DMV need to attract and keep loyal customers? Of course not. Nonetheless, I disagree with Anonymous Paranoiac; they do have motivation. Budget and self-preservation. Improving efficiency, customer service, etc. do not happen due to the interplay of budgets, management ineptitude and in the end, the ironclad monopoly of gumment.

    I.T. is often seen as overhead not a profit center. New tools, better qualified staff, etc. is simply not a priority. In a certain shop I was in, coding tools were "whatever you can find for free on the internet." I kid you not.

    Management Inbreeding Program. Mid & upper IT management started out as jr. programmers at that same gumment dept., they do what they know; what they did 15 years earlier. My boss's boss was brilliant with the home-made accounting system but our whole "tech perspective" was early-1980's. Got an idea? He just ignored you - quite literally. "The black hole" I called him. They are unable to innovate, but they can say "best practices" and put posters on the wall.

    Success is: not failing. Incompetent management can't fail if they do nothing. Thus they do nothing beyond what is absolutely necessary for the status quo. Suddenly hiring truly "hungry" talent dangerous, not to mention expensive. Management's quest for avoiding failure fosters a Payton Place ensuring no "nails sticking up" in an ambiance of benign neglect and/or tyranny.

  • Kuba (cs) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    Why exactly IS the government so clueless with everything?
    Because everything is someone else's job, so eventually you get deep rooted incompetence. People who wouldn't be able to count out change are holding positions of power. I'm not saying everyone needs to have deep IT technical knowledge, but there are some basics that require nothing besides elementary-school-level kind of understanding. People with such understanding avoid the government like the plague since it's about the last place you really want to work in, lest the last vestiges of your soul be crushed.
  • Steve (unregistered)

    On the other hand I've seen millions of dollars spent by large companies to automate something that can be done manually by two full time employees.

    How long does it take to recoup $12 million from two people making maybe $45k/year?

  • Steve (unregistered)

    I have to say, the people making comments about how wasteful government is and just how much better corporations are clearly have not been reading The Daily WTF for long, and quite clearly have never had a job in a large company.

  • Paul Neumann (unregistered) in reply to TGV
    TGV:
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    Why exactly IS the government so clueless with everything? Just a result of being so huge and unwieldy? Every single gov IT story I've seen has the same kind of stuff in it which usually results in some drone being given a menial job that they can work until they die.

    THIS is why we need smaller government, folks.

    You've just written: we need smaller government in order to prevent some drone being given a menial job that they can work until they die. Are you a) a salon socialist, who considers that everyone should get a worthy job? b) a tech utopist, who thinks every menial job can be automated and what could possibly go wrong? c) a closet libertarian, who thinks that such tasks should just not be performed, resulting in anarchy? d) a proud tea partier, who terminates every discussion with the phrase "THIS is why we need smaller government, folks."?
    SRSLY wot?

    THIS is why we need smaller government, folks.

  • Steven Rumbalski (unregistered) in reply to me

    I've seen this kind of inefficiency plenty in the private sector.

  • Paul Neumann (unregistered)
    TFA:
    ...Steve noticed that flag_order_6612.pdf had somehow been written twice...

    ...“And then I rename the file, move it to a folder named FLAG_ORDERS..."

    So, what file system running on "an old, yellowed Pentium desktop" allows one to save two different files to the same place, with the same name and DOES NOT simply overwrite the first?

    I call shenanigans!

  • neminem (unregistered) in reply to Steve
    Steve:
    On the other hand I've seen millions of dollars spent by large companies to automate something that can be done manually by two full time employees.

    How long does it take to recoup $12 million from two people making maybe $45k/year?

    A long time - but if not done WTFishly, I can't imagine it would really have cost them millions of dollars to automate anything that could have been done manually by two full time employees. So that would still be a WTF, just, an implementation one, not a management one. How do you spend 12 million dollars on automating such a simple process except through major clusterfuckery?
  • Ken in NH (unregistered) in reply to ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL
    Comment held for moderation.
  • eViLegion (cs) in reply to Steve
    Steve:
    I have to say, the people making comments about how wasteful government is and just how much better corporations are clearly have not been reading The Daily WTF for long, and quite clearly have never had a job in a large company.

    Clearly? Or, just clearly within the sweeping generalisation that is your opinion?

  • DCRoss (cs) in reply to ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL
    ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL:
    TRWTF is ordering state flags through the state government, and not through, say, an actual company that makes flags?

    That's so that you can be sure they are coming from the right suppliers and avoid being featured in any embarrassing pie charts which might foil someone's reelection plans.

  • Joe (unregistered) in reply to me

    "gubmint"

  • Loyal reader (unregistered) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:

    THIS is why we need smaller government, folks.

    This is not why you need smaller government - that would just make the problem worse.

    You need to respect your government, so that it can be self-respecting.

    You need to allow your government to invest in good people and proper IT infrastructure (notice that word: "invest") to avoid this sort of thing.

    You need to invest in retraining to lift people from this kind of manual work.

  • DaveK (cs) in reply to Dr Horrible
    Dr Horrible:
    George Nacht:
    R:
    Ramon said. “What can I do you for?”
    "I'm not that kind of guy..."

    Sorry, as my mother language is a Slavic one, can someone tell me, whether "what can I do you for" is still considered an innuendo, or did it already became a regular expression?

    It's not really an innuendo

    Therefore now you have two problems.
  • C-Derb (unregistered) in reply to pscs
    pscs:
    Still, they must get enough orders to warrant employing at least a Flag Coordinator and a Flag Automaton.
    if(flagOrders > 1)
    {
      HireFlagCoordinator();
      HireFlagAutomaton();
    }
  • Anonymous Patriot (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous Paranoiac
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    TGV:
    c) a closet libertarian, who thinks that such tasks should just not be performed, resulting in anarchy?

    How does "government not selling flags" (or alternately, "government selling flags efficiently") directly lead to anarchy?

    Only an anarchist could ask such a question!

  • Akismet (unregistered) in reply to Jin
    Jin:
    And people thought Akismet was a software...
    Let me tell you, it sure beats flipping burgers!
  • foo (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous Paranoiac
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    Anon:
    Since 99.9% of the WTFs here are NGOs, who, exactly, is filled with more waste?

    There are two key differences:

    1. NGOs (who don't have a monopoly and aren't subsidized by the government) must eventually perform a service or get squashed by a competitor.
    2. If I think the NGO is a huge waste (and they don't have a monopoly and aren't subsidized by the government) I can safely ignore them and keep my money far away from them without having property seized or going to jail.
    To finish your fine argument, name me one large organization that doesn't have a monopoly (e.g. patents) and isn't subsidized (grants, or orders from the government which are a license to charge at least twice as much as was originally agreed).
  • Steve The Cynic (cs) in reply to synp
    synp:
    ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL:
    TRWTF is ordering state flags through the state government, and not through, say, an actual company that makes flags? The state probably orders them in bulk from a flag manufacturer anyhow, so that they can waste taxpayer money on storage space until someone buys them.

    The article said nothing about anyone buying the flags, just "ordering". My guess is that some institutions like schools, courts, city halls and such are required to show a state flag, and they can order them through state government.

    I'm not sure which institutions (aside from e.g. the state's own Capitol building or equivalent) that might be. Certainly when I was in high school(*), the only flags in the school were US flags, and the NY flag was nowhere to be seen.

    (*) Yes, I know I'm an Englishman who lives in France, but I spent three years in a high school in upstate New York. It was an interesting experience, especially the spring when the Susquehanna flooded the football (not soccer) field deep enough that the goal post cross-bars were level with the surface, and the three Easters in a row where we had a foot and a half of snow in one storm.

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