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The Biggest Tech Mishap of 2013? 162

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the anything-involving-a-marketing-department dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Some high-profile tech initiatives really crashed-and-burned this year. Did BlackBerry executives really think that BlackBerry 10 would spark a miraculous turnaround, or were they simply going through the motions of promoting it? That's the key question as BlackBerry 10 devices fail to sell. Then there's Facebook's misbegotten attempt at 'skinning' the Android OS with its Home app. Or maybe Healthcare.gov counts as 2013's biggest debacle, with its repeated crashes and glitches and inability to carry out core functions. What do you think was the biggest software or hardware (or both) mishap of the past twelve months?"
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The Biggest Tech Mishap of 2013?

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  • NSA leaking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:19AM (#45826807)

    NSA leak was the most damagind and biggest tech fail.
    They still don't know what was taken.

  • Slash!dot Beta (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:19AM (#45826809)

    taco must be turning in his grave

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:20AM (#45826819)

    They lost credit card numbers... pin codes!? and the c v v codes?!?!?!? what. the. fuck.

    Why were they even storing those. at all. thats some world class fuckup that's going to cost many thousands of people real money. Theres no writeoff for regular people unlike businesses. People are Fucked...

    Altho it's slightly more than a "mishap".

    It's either that or the obamacare fuckup. But really who expected a goverment website to work right... Thats like a normal fuckup for us.

    Or maybe the NSA being such treasonous completely useless wastes of space and money who should all be swinging at the end of a rope.
    But that goes beyond just this year too. They've been shitheads for a long time. We just now know about it for sure.

  • My vote is for (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:23AM (#45826835)

    The NSA's exfiltration detection system...

  • by Onuma (947856) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:54AM (#45826969)
    Arguably, the mistakes RIM made with Blackberry go back about 7 years or so. When they didn't react smartly to the advent of the iPhone and Android devices, they started hammering the nails into their own coffin.
  • I nominate: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xeno man (1614779) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:56AM (#45826983)
    I'm gona throw in a nomination for EA and the launch of Sim City. While probably not the largest screw up, I would say they had the most warning. With security breaches or even building a new Health care website, there are unknowns. You can't predict when someone is going to steal your data or how they are going to do it outside of a few tech guys that know how their systems work and whos warnings go unheard. EA had everyone screaming at them to not use DRM but they did anyway. They were warned that if they did use DRM that servers would be maxed out on launch day. They claimed that they were prepared for it but obviously they were not. They were warned and people begged for them to listen but they didn't and come launch day, everything they were warned about happened. It wasn't a minor hiccup either as it took a month for everything to be sorted out.

    If that's not a screw up, I don't know what is.
  • Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbernardo (1014507) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:57AM (#45826991)
    I know, it's a slow motion train wreck that started in 2011, but the death by Elop was consummated only in 2013, with the fire sale to Microsoft.
  • Website makeover (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:15AM (#45827059) Journal

    Without a doubt, the biggest tech failure of the year is slashdot's new mobile site, and the horendous beta desktop site. I can't imagine the motivation behind the flashy, slow, non-functional mess. If classic.slashdot.org ever goes away, so too will I.

  • Re:Windows 8.1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dubdays (410710) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:15AM (#45827069)
    The implementation of which (if you can call it that) is just as useless as not having one at all. MSFT basically said "fuck you" and gave us a useless little button that doesn't do anything new.
  • iOS 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Powercntrl (458442) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:24AM (#45827091)

    Apple basically threw away everything that made iOS look approachable and polished.

  • Re:I nominate: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:49AM (#45827157)

    The Sim City 4 screwup is even larger than DRM servers.

    They claimed the need the servers to simulate a total lot of the cities and that this was too much for the average PC. So the need to simulate the cities on the server. That was a lie. Sim City 4 is not really a good simulation, it works with very simplified models which create all kinds of odd occurances in the cities (which are totally unrealistic). For example? They simulate Sims in packs of 1000s, so skyscrapers are empty when one "sim pack" leaves. Every Sim drives the shortest route to the closest(!) place of work and also from there to the closest (!) free house. That leads to jammed roades even if a bypass freeway is near (and empty), this leads to entire regions where people cannot find work even if there's a lot of shops, these simplified simulations lead to all kinds of stupidity in a game that claims to be a "simulation".

    Everyone said their maps are too small. They ignored it and now people complain the maps are too small.

    People did want to build their city, but now are forced to build several small ones in their "regions", I guess the developers and publishers had the wet dream to create a large, buzzing online environment where ten people each build their small, specialised city in their own region and happily working together. But totally neglected that their audience wants to build their own megacity, not ten small pieces or one small piece and work with someone else.

    Sim City 4 is acutally a bigger screwup than you make it out to be and what sets this apart from other "bad" games are two things: First the lies and the deliberate deception of game magazines and customers before the release who much the game would actually simulate. Second, the screwups are not issues of bad implementation or limited budget of a small developer who planned and wanted too much. Many of the really big, bad issues of this games are actually working as designed. They are not bad code, incompetence of a few coders, bad planning what you can do, but fundamentally wrong strategy, misunderstanding what the franchise is, the attempt to turn it into something that cannot work with the franchise and planning from the very core by the publisher and game designers.

    So yes, I do say Sim City 4 fully counts and EA/Maxis screwed up much more and on a much deeper level than parent is giving them credit for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @08:10AM (#45827677)

    2013 is notable for being the year the technology industry did not learn from its mistakes. There's no one single worst mistake. It's like the year Time magazine put a mirror on the cover - the entire industry is to blame!

    Windows 8. Gnome 3. Unity. iOS 7. What is the lesson? Users do not want gratuitous change that destroys workflow patterns and muscle memory, and yet technology companies keep cramming them down our throats. In 2013, Windows 8.1 came out and it was just more of the same. iOS 7 destroyed everything we knew about Apple's "it just works" usability, and threw in a snow-blindness photo browser with a white background just to put salt in the wounds. The only thing we can look forward to is more change for the sake of change.

    Healthcare.gov is just a symptom of a dysfunctional system of outsourcing to contractors who skim their money off the top, and then hire technology experts with whatever is left, insuring any technology project is going to fail. No one seems to care about quality. That's why software projects fail. Until structural changes are made in how technology is created, nothing will change.

    Lessons were there to be learned from, but in 2013, forget it - no one cared.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @08:44AM (#45827823) Homepage

    And does everyone know that in 2014, the health plan tax kicks in? I don't mean the "Cadillac plan" tax, or the tax if you don't have insurance. I mean the 2% tax on every health plan. Yes, in order to make health insurance more "affordable," they are taxing health insurance! Words fail.

    Well, I'm assuming the goal is to use that money to provide health plans to those who can't afford them, obviously if more people get coverage than before and the costs per person don't go down the total will go up. Here in Norway it's a tax for employers when they pay me income, essentially for every 100 NOK I get they must pay 7.80 NOK to the government. If there's a street bum with no income, get still gets the same healthcare as me and obviously that's coming out of the pockets of everyone else. If we took away the tax and let everyone get their own insurance I'd be paying for just me, right? And the bum would probably die, but let's leave morality out it for a second.

    By making sure everyone is in good health and vaccinated, we reduce the spread of disease and infection. If some of the uncovered people could get back into taxable work they could become an asset or at least less of a tax burden. Desperate people who need money for surgery can lead to crime and exploitation. And most of all, we don't throw hot potatoes around in the system trying to deny or revoke their coverage. The overhead is far less. I'm also fairly confident I will get an appropriate treatment based on medical needs, of course our doctors and nurses are just as human as anyone else but at least I'm not fighting a giant insurance company who want my treatment to be cheap as possible without getting sued and lose.

    If you want to take non-tech mishaps then Obamacare is taking on all the challenges and costs of socialized medicine while providing little to none of the benefits other countries have. The Democrats sacrificed the soul of the system, while the Republicans have poisoned the apple so it's set up to fail. In a few years it'll be a disaster and everyone in the US will agree socialized medicine can't work, despite all the pointing to what happens in pinko commie land.

  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:06AM (#45827925)

    What's funny is that the person you are quoting barely even mentions the TECH mishap - he sums it up as "numerous huge IT errors" but then goes on a rant about things that have NOTHING to do with the fucked up launch of healthcare.gov, but you want to claim that other people can't seem to separate their politics from their ability to assess the success or failure of a tech project. What the ever loving fuck does someone saying there will be doctor shortages, or a 2% tax, have to do with the website sucking? Nothing. Stop projecting your partisanship onto other people.

    Personally I hate the ACA because it isn't single payer and all it will wind up doing is delaying actual healthcare reform in this country by decades while simultaneously keeping a useless industry alive. In any case, this story isn't about politics, it's about tech fuckups in 2013. So:

    As an IT project, Healthcare.gov was an abortion. You had project management that was behaving in a fairly schizophrenic fashion (namely, political leadership who were battling over the ACA trying to repeal/defend it) leading to delays in starting implementation, you had incompetent contractors hired to put it out, you had incompetent developers building it (my god, the amount of pointless data streaming up and down was staggering, the front end code we could see was incompetent at best, the whole mess was completely non-performant) and then to top it off, as a post-mortem it seems that most were trying to assign blame and score political gotcha points and throwing up all kinds of irrelevant shit rather than just dealing with reality and trying to do a solid job implementing the law of the land.

    I do agree there can be no doubt that Healthcare.gov is the absolute biggest fuck-up of the year.

    Though my vote for worst tech issue of the year definitely goes to the NSA stuff - I'll take a thousand shitty websites over big brother any day.

  • ObamaCare website (Score:5, Insightful)

    by enharmonix (988983) <enharmonix+slashdot@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:31AM (#45828473)

    Whether you agree w/ the Affordable Care Act or not, it is legally required that everybody have insurance. When you've got a government mandate to use a website* and that website doesn't work, that's a pretty big problem.

    * Yes, I am aware there are other ways to sign up. But a) have you ever had to wait for service at any office run by the government? and b) isn't this 2013? almost 2014?

  • Re:Slash!dot Beta (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:12AM (#45828809)

    Why are you using that gawdoffal interface? Just use the classic interface. I tried the beta for all of two minutes, UGH!

    It's telling, though, that the beta interface is so horrible that an offtopic comment that only mentions how horrible the beta is gets moderated 4, insightful. Slashdot staff, are you listening to your users?

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