Various news media reported yesterday that for about 12 hours on Tuesday, a system used by some 900 government agencies in 49 states did not provide real-time GPS and other electronic monitoring information on about 16,000 parolees, sex offenders, and others due to a database problem.

This APreport said that the company that runs the monitoring service, BI Incorporated of Boulder, Colorado, reported that the system reached its data threshold of more than 2.1 billion records Tuesday morning. The records include GPS location information as well as curfew and alcohol monitoring data. The tracking/monitoring devices were still sending out information; however, the agencies were unable to view the data.

Apparently, the company had underestimated how quickly their database was filling up with information.

In a bit of an understatement, a BI Incorporated spokesperson said that:

"In retrospect, we should have been able to catch this."

Without access to the tracking/monitoring information, law enforcement agencies in various states began detaining those wearing the tracking/monitoring devices until the monitoring system was working properly again.

BI Incorporated has added enough storage capacity to allow a trillion records to be stored, the AP reports. The company also said it would be developing an early warning system to tell it when the storage limit was at risk of being reached.

Those wearing the tracking devices never knew that the system wasn't working, the AP said.
 

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

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Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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