E Voting machines to be scrapped

GJG

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A Fianna Fáil-connected company was paid €5,000 each in 2002 for PCs running Windows 98 and and MS Office 97, plus touchscreens. These systems were already grossly out of date at the time, and even €200 would have been a charitable valuation of the computers at the time. Access '97 was utterly unsuitable, because of inherent errors in the way that it calculates large numbers.

It is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that the entire project was driven by some crony acquiring a job lot of scrap computers and casting around for some way to get rid of them at a good price.
 


Dan_Murphy

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A Fianna Fáil-connected company was paid €5,000 each in 2002 for PCs running Windows 98 and and MS Office 97, plus touchscreens. These systems were already grossly out of date at the time, and even €200 would have been a charitable valuation of the computers at the time. Access '97 was utterly unsuitable, because of inherent errors in the way that it calculates large numbers.

It is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that the entire project was driven by some crony acquiring a job lot of scrap computers and casting around for some way to get rid of them at a good price.
What?

The E-voting machines used MS ACCESS 97? O_O

Is there any source I read about the construction of the things actually? I don't doubt what you are saying, but I have a morbid curiosity now.
 

mayoonmymind

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Dept Environment kept four of the machines in Custom House, I believe - just in case the central heating ever breaks down.[/QUOTEI

I understand that it is an expensive business trying to dispose of the E voting machines.
As a means of saving money, why not give Bertie Ahern and Martin Cullen two hammers and give them three days to smash up these machines. No food or drinks to be served until they have done the job.
The government could then sell them for scrap, the machines, I mean, ( the pair of idiots would be worthless) and make a little money to heat the Dail offices.
 

RainyDay

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A Fianna Fáil-connected company was paid €5,000 each in 2002 for PCs running Windows 98 and and MS Office 97, plus touchscreens. These systems were already grossly out of date at the time, and even €200 would have been a charitable valuation of the computers at the time. Access '97 was utterly unsuitable, because of inherent errors in the way that it calculates large numbers.

It is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that the entire project was driven by some crony acquiring a job lot of scrap computers and casting around for some way to get rid of them at a good price.
I really, really don't want to defend this project in any way, but I don't think you have a clear grip on the facts.

1) There has been no proven connection between FF and NEDAP, the suppliers of the equipment. If you know different, please post details of the connection.
2) The system did not consist of 'PCs running Windows 98 and and MS Office 97, plus touchscreens'. There were a small number of count PCs, running Windows. The count software did use the MS Access database engine, though the count software was not written in MS Access. There were no touchscreens involved in any way.
3) Access 97 was indeed utterly unsuitable, but this was nothing to do with 'errors in the way that it calculates large numbers'
4) There were no 'scrap computers' involved at any stage.

We don't need to exaggerate the truth to highlight how bad this project was.
 

GJG

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What?

The E-voting machines used MS ACCESS 97? O_O

Is there any source I read about the construction of the things actually? I don't doubt what you are saying, but I have a morbid curiosity now.
Yes. And Windows 2000, not 98 as I said above. This fact alone is enough to convince me that it was a supply-driven project.

1) There has been no proven connection between FF and NEDAP, the suppliers of the equipment. If you know different, please post details of the connection.
NEDAP was a Dutch company, but the way Fianna Fáilers awarded the contract, via another highly dodgy contract, was less than satisfactory.

2) The system did not consist of 'PCs running Windows 98 and and MS Office 97, plus touchscreens'. There were a small number of count PCs, running Windows. The count software did use the MS Access database engine, though the count software was not written in MS Access. There were no touchscreens involved in any way.
It was Windows 2000, but otherwise I think I am correct on this. The voting machines were cheap, outdated PCs with a metal screen unit built around a touchscreen, and the voting system itself built in MS Access 97. Even at the time, these were hilariously obsolete. Windows xp (2001) was already several years published by this point.

It should be noted that support by Microsoft for Access 97 has been withdrawn since 2001. The IES system therefore is relying on unsupported and out-of-date software.
Source

3) Access 97 was indeed utterly unsuitable, but this was nothing to do with 'errors in the way that it calculates large numbers'
I would think that was one relevant factor.

4) There were no 'scrap computers' involved at any stage.
I'm not suggesting that they were used computers, but because of the speed at which computers depreciate, they were essentially worthless. At the time, vastly more powerful computers were being sold for €309 - I checked. You could make an allowance for the touchscreen and metal housing, but charging €5,000 each was robbery. The idea that this was the best price available on the open market is laughable.
 

Orbit v2

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I really, really don't want to defend this project in any way, but I don't think you have a clear grip on the facts.

1) There has been no proven connection between FF and NEDAP, the suppliers of the equipment. If you know different, please post details of the connection.
2) The system did not consist of 'PCs running Windows 98 and and MS Office 97, plus touchscreens'. There were a small number of count PCs, running Windows. The count software did use the MS Access database engine, though the count software was not written in MS Access. There were no touchscreens involved in any way.
3) Access 97 was indeed utterly unsuitable, but this was nothing to do with 'errors in the way that it calculates large numbers'
4) There were no 'scrap computers' involved at any stage.

We don't need to exaggerate the truth to highlight how bad this project was.
True. It misses the point also to point fingers at specific software products. The problem was plainly and simply that the system required everyone to trust it. There was no way to verify independently that it was working correctly. If it had that independent verification then maybe it would have worked fine using windows 2000 and Access 97. I'm sure there's plenty of organisations/businesses out there still using those products without any problem.

GJG said:
It was Windows 2000, but otherwise I think I am correct on this. The voting machines were cheap, outdated PCs with a metal screen unit built around a touchscreen, and the voting system itself built in MS Access 97. Even at the time, these were hilariously obsolete. Windows xp (2001) was already several years published by this point.
No, the voting machines weren't PCs and they didn't have touchscreens. I used them myself. Their innards have been fairly well analysed by a group in Holland.
 
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GJG

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True. It misses the point also to point fingers at specific software products. The problem was plainly and simply that the system required everyone to trust it. There was no way to verify independently that it was working correctly. If it had that independent verification then maybe it would have worked fine using windows 2000 and Access 97. I'm sure there's plenty of organisations/businesses out there still using those products without any problem.
I'm sure there are, but the issue was that paying €5k per machine that even then was hopelessly out of date demonstrated the corrupt nature of the process. I'm not saying anything inherent about Access 97.

No, the voting machines weren't PCs and they didn't have touchscreens. I used them myself. Their innards have been fairly well analysed by a group in Holland.
I quoted a source on this, do you have one? Remember, there may have been two versions of them, including the trials in 2002.
 

Orbit v2

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I quoted a source on this, do you have one? Remember, there may have been two versions of them, including the trials in 2002.
Is that your source link above? I'm pretty sure that document doesn't say the voting machines were PCs or that they had touchscreens.

For a laugh though, you can check the link below out. It's the one part of the electronic voting system that hasn't been de-commissioned yet (the government's e-voting information web-site). It's like one of these space-probes that was launched into the unknown, and nobody is able to stop it. They've probably lost the password to it, or have forgotten where the server is located. It's still faithfully providing the same information since 2004.

Electronic Voting

The demos and specifications all make it clear the machines have an extremely primitive user interface, ie. just a row of buttons and a basic LCD display
 

RainyDay

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You seem to be confused between the contract for the voting machines and software (awarded to NEDAP) and the contract for PR (awarded to ex-FFers Q4). There is no connection between FF and NEDAP. If you know otherwise, I'd be very interested in hearing about it - but no connection has ever emerged.


I'm sure there are, but the issue was that paying €5k per machine that even then was hopelessly out of date demonstrated the corrupt nature of the process. I'm not saying anything inherent about Access 97.
It doesn't demonstrate 'the corrupt nature of the process'. It demonstrates that we payed way too much and got way too little. It demonstrates incompetence, not corruption.

It was Windows 2000, but otherwise I think I am correct on this. The voting machines were cheap, outdated PCs with a metal screen unit built around a touchscreen, and the voting system itself built in MS Access 97. Even at the time, these were hilariously obsolete. Windows xp (2001) was already several years published by this point.
I quoted a source on this, do you have one? Remember, there may have been two versions of them, including the trials in 2002.
Utterly and completely wrong. The voting machines weren't PCs. They didn't run Windows or Access. They didn't have touchscreens. You are way, way off base here.
 

jmcc

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They've probably lost the password to it, or have forgotten where the server is located. It's still faithfully providing the same information since 2004.
It is on the Local Government IP range.

Regards...jmcc
 


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