Healthcare.gov not working yet (duh)

I feel really bad for President Obama and I am still a big fan. But. As we all know now, this is a total disaster, on a lot of levels. For first hand experience, I tried to create an account on Healthcare.gov about the middle of October. After several tries I managed to do it. Yesterday I tried to log into the site to see how things were going, and after several tries and I managed to log in. But I didn’t get too far  before I got a 404 error.

Those of us who have worked on, or seen close up how a complex “web site” is built have a feeling of how complicated this is. And coupled with other factors and complications (like politics and buareaucratic ineptitude) we can’t say this is not a movie we’ve seen before. But that doesn’t begin to explain nor excuse it. Here’s a good behind the scenes article:

HealthCare.gov: How political fear was pitted against technical needs – The Washington Post:

“They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn’t have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business,” said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign, who was not the individual who provided the memo to The Washington Post but confirmed he was the author. “It’s very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at implementing it. They are a different set of skills.”

 

Fascinating article about the technology behind Healthcare.gov

Pretty amazing that the govt is actually placing all the code for healthcare.gov on github for all of us to inspect. There’s only one commit, and it’s 3 months old. Also there’s a reasonable amount of developer information available.

Somehow I suspect that it is not *all* there or how fast it will be updated, but still whatever’s there is a big step forward from the SOP of the past!

Open by design: Why the way the new Healthcare.gov was built matters | E Pluribus Unum:

The people building the new Healthcare.gov are unusual: instead of an obscure sub-contractor in a nameless office park in northern Virginia, a by a multidisciplinary team at HHS worked with Development Seed, a scrappy startup in a garage in the District of Columbia that made its mark in the DC tech scene deploying Drupal, an open source content management system that has become popular in the federal government over the past several years.

 

I wouldn’t put it past them

How much do you want to bet that somewhere someone in this country a malware or other attack is being launched against the new “Obamacare” Web site? 

I have great sympathy for the team(s) that put up that web site, back end and other support infrastructure for this site. And in the best of possible conditions there will be hiccups in deploying such a complex system. Add to that that at 8:00am today everyone on earth knew that the site was up and that they could start playing with it, and you are facing a real challenge. So don’t be surprised if there’s a small or big hiccup in the first few weeks and months.

But it occurred to me that over and above that, there are so many haters in this country (and probably around the world) that there almost certainly are concious and malicious attacks being waged to corrupt, disrupt, bring down, slow down, or steal data from this service, all in an effort to embarass us in front of all the world.

I really really hope this isn’t true, but, I wouldn’t put it past them.

Texting: Left and Right Hand of Government

Do you agree that prohibiting texting while driving is contradictory to texting as a way to deliver of major emergency messages?

“This week I noted a couple of different items that are a good example of the right hand of the Government not knowing what the left hand of the Government is doing, in the headlines this week. The first being that the Government is establishing a system to push Emergency Broadcast Alerts to our Cell Phones and other electronic widgets. The second is the banning of using Cell Phones while in a vehicle, so we could not get them while moving.” (from Software Safety Net)

I am all for prohibiting texting while driving. I admit that I rarely text anyway, but I do use my iPhone while behind the wheel, but never while the wheels are moving. I will pull over or do it at a red light. Oh yeah, if the phone rings while I am driving, I do answer it… Hmm. Need to rethink that part.

What I told my Congressman and Senators

“Dear Congressman,

I implore you to PLEASE do all you can to break the deadlock and the impasse. I am not saying what proposal I would like you to back. What I want is that you compromise and get others to compromise so that this thing is solved TODAY.

It’s way passed midnight and the spectacle that we are seeing in DC is embarrassing and shameful.

There are no good guys anymore. All of you are acting badly. Compromise already. It takes two to tango, so it’s not ‘the other guys’ it’s just us chickens.

Please I beg you ALL to get along!

Pito Salas”

Waiting for Superman

I recently saw the movie “Waiting for Superman” – yes I am late to the party. But in case you have not seen it let me recommend it to you as a highly revealing and disappointing view into the way the American school system runs, stuck in a system that feels so wrong in so many ways. Watch it. And visit the Waiting For Superman Web Site.

Here is the IMdb info for Waiting for Superman. Here is the Netflix link for the DVD.