MrDave's (David Yack) WebLog

August 2004 - Posts

199 million reasons large projects fail...

My wife was nice enough to share this link to the Gazette’s article about Colorado’s welfare system development effort.

This is a must read and classic example of what not to do.  I’m absolutely amazed that a project like this could float under the radar of scrutiny and not get canceled, or the people working on it canceled.

Reading the following link will make you feel much better about ANY project slip or over budget project you have had in a while a long while.

Executive Summary

·        Project started in 1995 to replace Colorado’s welfare software used by 64 counties

·        The project costs an estimated $199 million dollars

·        $3.3 million were set aside to train workers Gov. Owens via executive order granted an additional $2 million

·        Gov. Owens must be aware of the project then since he granted more money.

·        As of now there are 84 workarounds for the systems problems including entering invalid data just to get it to work

·        My Favorite: one of the workarounds is 300 pages….

·        It was scheduled to go live in 2003 and two delays had pushed the start date

·        While its going on 10 years since start of project the damn thing was planned to last 8

After getting over my first reaction that this is just pure insanity – my next rational response is no wonder we can’t seem to find money to pay for things like more technology in education, or no wonder we need a welfare program in the first place.

If I were Gov. Owens what would I do?  (Remind me to post my top 10 reasons I’m not in politics sometime!)  I would give the project 1 month to resolve workarounds to a manageable set and clearly 300 pages is unbearable and the person who wrote it should be fired on the spot.  If reasonable proof that the system is viable let them implement otherwise cancel the project and disband the team except for retain 6-12 domain experts. Simply put if this is a 10 year project, and requires a $200 million dollar budget the problem is not with the software but with the “process” and clearly could be optimized or made more efficient. While I’m far from a domain expert in the welfare process – I can’t imagine the complexity of a realistic welfare system being over a few million dollars to develop.  Go outside the government resources and bid the project to be completed in 12 months, with modern tools and techniques this is not impossible. 

Do I not understand the complexities?

Any volunteers to bid for the project?

Should state governments have better IT oversight to provide “real world” feedback on their projects?




Keith Brown @ Denver User Group Monday Night

I’m heading up Seattle for the MS Healthcare Tech Forum ( but if you are in the Denver area Monday night August 23rd I would recommend stopping by and listening to Keith’s security talk!

You can find more info at the User Groups Web site

A full meeting devoted to SECURITY-- Come prepared with questions you have about application security in Windows and .NET, and Keith will craft his talk around your questions. Here are some topics Keith expects to touch on, but audience questions will ultimately determine our direction







          Writing secure code (SQL injection, XSS)


          Code Access Security


          Authentication techniques such as Kerberos, ASP.NET Forms authentication


          Delegation vs. Trusted Subsystems


          Upcoming security features in .NET 2.0


VPN and Windows XP SP2

Apparently when reading Peter’s  [Geek Noise] write-up with issues on Cisco VPN, it didn’t hit home that other vendors might have the same issue. 


You should check with your VPN vendors if you are dependent on them for anything. 


One of our clients uses FirePass and apparently buried in their support database you can find the following:

Solution ID: SOL3289

Should I use Windows XP Service Pack 2 with the FirePass Controller?


Product: FirePass
Version: FirePass 4.1.1 through 5.0
Updated: 08/11/2004


With the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft has changed the behavior of Windows networking components that FirePass uses on the remote workstation side. These undocumented changes will cause SSL VPN/Network Access, Terminal Services and AppTunnels to fail to initialize. FirePass users should delay installation of SP2 for XP client systems. F5 Product Development is currently developing fixes to address this new issue. Windows 2000, NT, 9X, Mac OS, and Linux Network Access, Terminal Service, and AppTunnel users connecting to FirePass 5.0 controllers are not affected.


Sql2005 Managed Stored Proc Error

Ok – so I created a new class library project – I referenced sqlaccess.dll

I added my new class which looks like this :

namespace testsqlclr.SProcTest1
    public class GetIssueSummaryTable
        public static void GetIssues()
            SqlPipe pipe = SqlContext.GetPipe();
            SqlCommand cmd = SqlContext.GetCommand();
            cmd.CommandText = "Select issueid,issuetitle from issue";
            SqlDataReader reader = cmd.ExecuteReader();

From SQL Studio in SQL 2005 I try this:

create assembly dytest1 from 'c:\testapp\testsqlclr\testsqlclr\bin\debug\testsqlclr.dll'

The result is :

Msg 6212, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
CREATE ASSEMBLY failed because method 'get_Value' on type 'testsqlclr.Properties.Settings'  in safe assembly 'testsqlclr' is storing to a static field. Storing to a static field is not allowed in safe assemblies.

Anyone else run into this and find a work around?

I was so excited to actually see it work!

Class1.cs - Anyone really use it?

Is it just me or does it drive everyone else crazy that when you create a new project the first thing it does for you is create class1.cs or create webform1.aspx.

If I only had a dollar for each of those I had to delete.

I have to admit I was hoping that in VS2005 that would be gone as the default and they would realize that you really don’t need it to create that for you.  But sure enough I created a library class from scratch tonight and look what got created for me …my very own class1.cs

So is it just me or does this drive you crazy too?

SouthColorado.NET User Group Meeting Tonight!

Tonight is the SouthColorado.NET User group meeting – If you are in Colorado please join us for a good evening of discussion on .NET

For more information about the meeting please visit the User Group website at

Tablet PC and the .NET Platform
Join David Yack and Aaron Prenot as they explore the Tablet PC platform. Learn what is different about the Tablet PC from a regular Windows XP machine. They will explore the Tablet PC SDK and give an overview of how easy it is to do Tablet PC development. You will learn some of the key Tablet PC development buzz words like gestures and others that you can go back to the office and amaze your co-workers. They will demonstrate a couple of sample Tablet PC Applications and discuss behind the scenes how they work. Don’t have a Tablet? They will cover how you can develop Tablet Enabled applications without owning a Tablet PC

Exploring Visual Studio 2005 - Team System
Join Ashwin Karuhatty as he explores Microsoft’s newly announced Visual Studio 2005 Team System. From the MS Web site “Team system is an extensible life-cycle tools platform that helps software teams collaborate to reduce complexity of delivering modern service-oriented solutions and ensure their applications are “Designed for Operations”.” Ashwin will cut to the chase and give us the need to know information on what this is and how it will impact our day to day life once 2005 is released.


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