Thursday, January 03, 2008

Highways Agency lost in time ether

A rather amusing tale from The Register about how the Highways Agency website can only forecast last year's traffic because the drop down menu doesn't include 2008.

However, it's actually even more confused than originally thought. If you try and and select the dates it offers it says,

So it doesn't think 2008 exists, but at the same time it does know that it can't tell you anything from the past but wants you to enter dates that are in the past!?! What fool wrote that bit of code then?


Shug Niggurath said...

The fool who'll be asked back to 'upgrade' the thing at double bubble?

anthonynorth said...

At least, regarding computers, I know I'm an idiot. As for civil servants, I've worked with many in the past, and most don't know they're idiots, full stop!

David Bodden said...

Only forecast years in the past! I wonder how accurate they are. Not very, I’ll wager.

This is what you get if you outsource.

Elby the Beserk said...

Dizzy - what sort of programmer ends up working for the Department of Anything? It is no wonder all the public service systems are not fit for purpose; half-written by programmers who can't get a job in the private sector, and half written by outsourced programmers who know jack shit about what they are coding.

Result - rubbish systems.

Memory, working at Somerset County Council in 1987, installing a new library system and machine there. Come in one morning, and there had been a power failure. Our machine came back up, recovered what could be recovered, and rolled back any incomplete transactions. System back online by 9am.

Leave there at 6pm. Local council systems still not working, backups being restored, total chaos.

Say no more.

Shug Niggurath said...

For some reason that site now says:

Traffic Forecaster is temporarily unavailable due to technical difficulties. We are currently working to put this right and expect normal service to be resumed shortly.

We apologise for the disruption to this service and any inconvenience it may have caused.

...but they haven't explained exactly what that technical difficulty is.

Mrs Smallprint said...

I use the Somerset online library book ordering system, which I have to say is very good. I can search for a book from a consortium of county libraries and have it delivered to my local branch for collection. I even had one book which they borrowed from the British library for me - 50p a time.

Strangely though when I went to pick up some books a couple of weeks ago at my local branch,I noticed they had replaced their antiquated computers, when I asked how the new system was I was told "fine, we're still getting used to it, the trouble is we had the training back in February".

It's a topsy turvy world they inhabit in local government.

dreamingspire said...

Burning Our Money regularly reports on the Highways Agency, e.g. see
The message that shug reported is still there...
Roll on applying formal quality management to govt (and with the ability to close down groups that fail to comply).