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Unity08 Database Technology Fails Again

When Unity08 ran what it called its “first vote” to determine the set of urgent issues that would form its “American Agenda,” Unity08 servers maintaining its database crashed, a number of vote records were lost, and Unity08 decided to sample the remainder rather, resulting in a “vote” that counted a small majority of ballots cast. Unity08 Vice President for Online Marketing Bob Roth blamed the crash of Unity08 voting systems by claiming that “we are pushing the limits of existing technologies while also building things that will be entirely new.” Hogwash. Unity08 used Linescale marketing survey software that’s been used by corporations to measure consumer satisfaction with cruise, credit card and candy brands for years, and whatever server it used only had to manage 22,000 votes over the course of an entire month. A desktop computer bought for less than $500 at Best Buy can handle such small computational and storage demands, as long as it’s maintained properly.

But Unity08 isn’t very good at the implementation and maintenance of simple technology: during the month of September, Unity08’s e-mail system broke down, too. And now Unity08’s central database has crashed, again. Over the weekend, Unity08’s system for members to rate one another’s comments disappeared (members tellingly never had the ability to rate Unity08 corporate posts), members started noticing that all posts for the past few days had disappeared, and the system failed to sign up new members. Unity08 VP Bob Roth explained the problems this morning:

Working on recovery for a database crash that occurred late last week. Please bear with us. If you have created a second account, please notify me of the two account names and I will merge them, send email to comments@unity08.com.

I wouldn’t spend my time noting such technological foibles and avoidable glitches, except:

1. Unity08 claims it is going to run the first national secure online presidential nomination in June 2008, which is just seven months and one week away. There is no public accounting showing how Unity08 will move in that short time from a glitchy, crashy, vote-tossing operation to a trustworthy, iron-clad executor of a presidential nomination.

2. Unity08 is staffed by political public relations executives, is funded by wealthy venture capitalists and hedge fund managers, and continues to use its considerable connections to get media playtime in a variety of venues.

3. Unity08 is asking for your hard-earned money to keep itself going and paying its stable of consultants salaries and fees.

The media outlets that continue to air Unity08’s vague pronouncements about healing divisions, ending conflict, petting bunnies and kissing rainbows should start asking hard and specific questions about how this corporation plans to actually accomplish its goals. A year and a quarter of air kisses and puff pieces indicates that won’t happen any time soon. So it’s up to you as a potential donor to be aware of Unity08’s track record. Even if you agree with Unity08’s somewhat nebulous goals, you should be wary of indications that Unity08 is incapable as an organization of executing an election in a competent and trustworthy fashion. When you get a call from the telemarketing consultants Unity08 has hired to make fundraising appeals, ask the consultants about these problems. See what kind of answer you get — or don’t get. Act accordingly.

24 comments to Unity08 Database Technology Fails Again

  • Phil Wray

    Again, your reporting seems fixated on innuendo. Unity08’s upcoming website facelift development is ignored while you focus on being a leader in conspiracy theories.

    Why is there no call to media outlets to stop giving unrestricted airtime to the two parties? U08 airtime pales by comparison.

    Does Beta mean anything to you? When our founding fathers took years to nail down the details, would you have been one on the sidelines slamming them for every obstacle that got in the way?

    One would think you might want to tend your own garden and tell us why you advertise 2008 reasons for voting for a progressive candidate and yet are not half way there. I see no labeling here that says it is under development.

  • Jim

    It’s not innuendo. Innuendo is insinuation not based on fact. I’m reporting what’s actually happening. Unity08 says it’s going to run a presidential election. Unity08 wants your money. But Unity08 can’t maintain simple databases, either for forum software or for voting procedures. So why should you trust it to run an election for the most powerful person in the world?

    This website is what its title calls itself: irregular. This website is not running a presidential election. The moment we say we’re going to run a presidential election and start asking for your money to that end, I not only invite but expect you to start looking into our methodology. It would be stupid not to do so. And “Number of Reasons So Far: 701 (34.9 percent of target)” pretty well tells you how we’re progressing toward our clearly specified target, which is 2008 reasons by the end of the year.

    Don’t give me this “Beta” nonsense. Unity08 is on its third iteration for a website already.

    Carry your analogy through: You can bet I would have been slamming the Founding Fathers if they had been funded by a British Public Relations companies and financiers on the basis of huge loans with undisclosed terms.

    If you actually hung out around here, you’d know that we give the Democratic and Republican parties plenty of pain.

  • Joseph

    Okay, if you’re going to claim it’s not innuendo, you need to make accurate statements. You say it’s “actually happening”, then say that “Unity08 can’t maintain simple databases” and then you ask a leading question (implying failure of Unity08) by asking “why should you trust it…?” An ACCURATE statement would be to say Unity08 *has* had technical problems with databases, since you don’t KNOW that Unity08 is currently failing to keep up a database. Additionally, you have no idea whether or not it will be able to be trusted next year. Sure, it’s your right to state “I think Unity08 is a sham and is going to fail and I don’t think that their computer systems will be able to handle a gigantic online vote because of X, Y, and Z”, but once you start masking your opinion as psuedo-fact is when it becomes innuendo. Such as you’ve done above, and in most Unity08 posts.

    As for your claim you give the Republicans and Democratic parties plenty of pain, it’s clear that you tend to give the Republican party a lot more, while giving the Democratic party a relative pass. Sure, when the Republican party screws up, you point it out. But the majority of grief you give the Democratic party is about how the Democratic party isn’t standing up to the Republican party screw ups, not pointing out the inherent flaws in what the Democratic party is doing, such as planning to DISENFRANCHIZE ALL OF THE VOTERS IN FLORIDA in their PRIMARY ELECTION for PRESIDENT of the United States. You rant and rave about how Unity08’s computer systems aren’t working right, and imply that means they shouldn’t be trusted, but ignore the gigantic elephant in the room that actually matters. Unity08, for all of the screw ups, still seems to be seeking to have a big online election next year. All you have to say/imply about it is “Oh look, their computer systems don’t work right and you shouldn’t trust them”.

    Oh, and as a side note, your #2 and #3 from the post contradict. If they are funded/supported by wealthy hedge fund managers, then they would have very little need to pay to hire telemarketers simply to make themselves small amounts of money (since hedge fund managers, as far as I know, make millions very easily). Also, your statement “A year and a quarter of air kisses and puff pieces indicates that won’t happen any time soon.” also shows your logial fallacy. Just because something has NOT happened does not mean that it WONT happen. That statement’s just as valid as me stating “Since I haven’t died in the past 30 years, I won’t die tomorrow”.

  • Jim

    “Okay, if you’re going to claim it’s not innuendo, you need to make accurate statements. You say it’s “actually happening”, then say that “Unity08 can’t maintain simple databases” and then you ask a leading question (implying failure of Unity08) by asking “why should you trust it…?” An ACCURATE statement would be to say Unity08 *has* had technical problems with databases, since you don’t KNOW that Unity08 is currently failing to keep up a database.”

    Sorry, Joseph, but that’s bullcrap. Unity08 IS currently failing to keep up a database. Bob Roth said it. I cited and linked to that statement. Why are you writing this carelessly? What’s your aim?

  • Joseph

    If it’s failing to maintain a database, why do I still get Unity08 e-mails? Obviously the database wasn’t deleted/not maintained, cause then they would have NO ONE signed up, and I’m sure that would be announced on their website.

    Also I went to the link you quoted above, to the comment on September 13th, regarding how they ran a survey in a less secure version to handle the load on the servers. Nowhere in the post did he claim a CRASH of the UNITY08 VOTING SYSTEM. Neither “crash” nor “voting system” was used anywhere on the first page of that link (http://unity08.com/node/2076#). Now, I can’t find where your offset quote by Bob Roth came from (it’s not at http://unity08.com/node/2388), but I’m guessing your sensationalizing the failure that Unity08 is having, just as you did with your other quote.

    Of course, as I’ll keep bringing up, you continuously fail to mention the DNC’s planned failure (and I saw somewhere possibly the RNC is going to follow suit) to count millions of primary voters in Florida. But hey, I guess it’s not really worth writing about, since it can’t really be sensationalized much above what it already is. Oh, wait, if it was the RNC or Unity08 planning to ignore a state, the article title would be:

    “RNC/Unity08 hates Democracy, Plans to Ignore Florida Voters in Primary”

    Eh, but I’m sure if it’s ever reported on in regard to the DNC by the Irregular Times, it’ll be something much nicer, such as:

    “DNC punishes Florida voters for not following DNC Rules”

  • Jim

    Why haven’t you mentioned the plight of the gray whales? You must be a harpoonist.

    Why haven’t you discussed the entry of asteroids into the sun? You must hate astronomy.

    Why haven’t you written a website devoted to the price of tea in China? You must be a racist.

    There we have it: Joseph is a racist, anti-astronomy harpoonist! Or at least he is by his own standard of reasoning. Why don’t you explain your racist harpooning ways, Joseph?

  • Iroquois

    The unity08 email system is different from the user database. We know David Farrar continued to get emails asking for donations after he was told he was no longer welcome on the forum and his account deleted.

  • Joseph

    Ah, nice arguments, sort of like:

    “Why haven’t you stated that waterboarding is torture? You must be against the rule of law and the Constitution!”

    Yeah, that’s the one you just dismissed, and is being made and I’ve answered on another thread.

    Now, as for this thread, if you had made a big deal about Republicans passing a law that killed thousands of engangered species on the Atlantic coast, and then did not do the same in regard to a law that Democrats had passed, then it would show clear bias. The fact you don’t discuss an issue in isolation, means absolutely nothing and I would not make an argument against you based solely on that. But when you start writing posts about how UNITY08 fails to count every vote in a SURVEY, and you discuss how horrible this is for the election, you open yourself up to accusations of bias when you clearly reported on a group that effects less than 100,000 people, but you IGNORE reporting the fact that the Democratic Party is publicly affirming they will NOT COUNT millions of votes in Florida. That’s over 1,000,000 people, and you for some reason find that LESS noteworthy than Unity08’s online vote? Give me a break. The only two possibilities I see, and I’d love for anyone other than you to come up with another one is:

    1. You are so completely biased toward the DNC that you are reporting Unity08’s failure to count surveys while ignoring DNC plans to fail to count millions of votes in Florida.
    2. You are truly disgusted at what the DNC is going to do in Florida, but you are so stubborn that I’m bringing up the topic that you refuse to write about it until I drop it.

    I’d put the odds at 51/49 between option 1 and 2, simply because I hardly think that one person’s pride would ever be allowed to create such a disservice to readers of this site.

  • Jim

    It’s not my problem that you can only see two possibilities when there are more. You choose not open your eyes, that’s your choice. You have become a joke to me today, and I don’t take you seriously anymore. Try to come up with some accusations to be a funnier joke.

    Here’s a good one: I am a Soviet spy because I’m not supporting the anti-Soviet Unity08. Yes, a Soviet spy! Zdrazdvuitye, Gospadin! Kok dela? Ne ploxa?

  • Anonymous

    Uh, Joseph, this website has a diary feature where anyone can write a post about anything.

    If this Florida thing is such a big hairy deal, why haven’t YOU written about it?

  • Joseph

    That’s why I’m wondering if anyone else, other than you or I, could come up with any reasonable possibilities.

    And clearly, even your quite humorous suggestion of being a spy has absolutely nothing to do with explaining why you’d write a post criticizing a survey by Unity08 not counting, at most, 100,000 people while the DNC is publicly stating they are going to ignore millions of primary voters. Even if your statement was true, you’d either be a Soviet spy who is a DNC partisan hack or a stubborn soviet spy. One of the two.

    I’d rather believe stubborn over DNC partisan hack, but the fact you’d rather dismiss the issue instead of explaining why the DNC action is less important and significant than Unity08’s is making it look more and more biased. It’s sort of hard to try to justify giving attention to 100,000 people in Unity08 over MILLIONS of people in Florida, isn’t it? Maybe no one is trying to justify it because it’s unjustifyable?

  • Joseph

    Ah, missed anon’s comment. Other than the fact I’m not one of the blog writers here and that’s their job:

    1. Because I don’t feel as if having a diary will inform many people and it would be a waste of time.
    2. Because the much more effective, and philosophically consistent solution, would be for one of the front-page writers who love to point to Unity08’s failure and possible future failure to count all surveys/votes to actually focus on their darling bedfellow, the DNC, and point out how they are planning on disenfranchizing MILLIONS of people.

  • Jim

    You think just like a fuckin’ penguin. Take that from a Soviet spy. We know about penguins.

    The answer, herring breath, is that it’s all theater and the DNC is going to make a backroom deal after the Florida Democratic party gums things up with its intramural lawsuit. Just you wait. There’s no fucking way, you fucking bird, that the Democratic Party is going to risk pissing off Floridians before a presidential election. It’s just a game of chicken you’re talking about, and you don’t understand it because you’re a polar bird.

    You’re interested in the topic? YOU write about it. Anonymous called your avian bluff, and you’re apparently too afraid to actually follow through and do the work. YOU think it would be a waste of time for YOU to write about it, but because I’m not writing about it, I must be a DNC mole! Good one! Verrrrry good impersonation of undereducated American human thinking. But we both know you are not human.

    I’m not interested in the topic. And don’t cover me with any more of your guano by saying that even though I’ve written scores of articles critical of the Democratic Party, just because I haven’t written one that has occupied your topical fancy I must be a DNC operative.

    You’re either very young or very thick. I hope for your sake it’s young. Actually, let me be honest. I don’t really care which one it is. Penguins like you make me want to puke partially digested squid.

  • Anonymous

    Jim, you forgot “Nice Driveway”, which in Russian means “cheers”.

    Nice try, passing yourself off as a Communist spy–but we know you’re just trying to distract from your real membership in the Illuminati.

  • Joseph

    So let me try one: “There’s no fucking way, you fucking squid, that Unity08’s going to risk pissing off the whole nation in an election year. It’s a database they are going to fix you’re talking about, and you don’t understand it because you’re a squid.”

    WOW! My argument was *JUST* as good as yours.

    Ah, now, the rational side of my brain says:

    “Well, that makes sense. The DNC wouldn’t dare piss off Florida before a Presidential election.”

    But wait, you give the DNC the benefit of the doubt in acting intelligently, but you ASSUME that Unity08’s just going to fall to pieces. Where’s the consistency in that one? Not to mention, wouldn’t the threat itself piss off Florida voters? Oh no, of course not, Democratic voters in Florida all understand that it’s just a game of chicken.

    Then again, wait a second, the primary date was moved by the STATE LEGISLATURE. The state party reps SUPPORT it. How can you have a “backroom deal” when it’d be one sided. It’s pretty much either “The DNC backs down and counts the votes” or “The DNC looks like crap” because there isn’t any forseeable option where “The DNC gets Florida to move the primary date”.

    Lets just face it Jim, you may not be affiliated with the DNC, but you’re their little fanboy. The articles lambasting them are not nearly as strong as against Unity08 or RNC by design. Additionally, you’re pointing about a “Backroom deal” that MAY happen, when the “Deal” isn’t a deal at all. Lets make it clear for the readers:

    1. The DNC currently has stated they will NOT count Florida’s primary votes.
    2. DNC Presidential candidates will NOT campaign in Florida due to this before the primary election.
    3. The ONLY issue that’s contested is the date for the Florida primary. Florida Democrats CAN NOT move the date.
    4. The only way the DNC is going to count Florida’s votes is if the DNC decides “lets just count the votes, back down, and drop the issue”.

    Last I checked that’s not a DEAL. That’s you HOPING that the DNC will be intelligent and not piss off Florida primary voters even though all of the EVIDENCE states that the DNC is going to ignore the vote. Which will occur in UNDER 3 months. Now, even if we don’t go with the evidence, which is the current situation in which the votes are NOT going to be counted with NO indication that they will. And even if we IGNORE the fact that the THREAT itself is highly undemocratic (how pissed would you be if Unity08 said that X group of citizens would not have their votes counted?), it’s STILL a better theory that the DNC will just assume Florida democratic voters will no longer be pissed TEN MONTHS after the Primary, and will care more about the eventual nominee than their primary vote.

    Yeah Jim, you just hope that your favorite group becomes intelligent. Then when they don’t, you can just ignore the disenfranchizement of millions. After all, they are better than the other two, so lets just ignore the concepts of being informative and nonpartisan. After all, the Dems are better, so lets write (or not write) things to ensure that they don’t lose!

  • Jim

    I am not the DNC’s little fanboy. I despise the DNC and everything that they and the DCCC Rahm Emanuel pro-corporate Democratic Party insiders stand for. That would be why I’ve DONATED MONEY to Rahm Emanuel’s GREEN PARTY competitor for the 2008 ELECTIONS.

    But you probably don’t even know who Rahm Emanuel is.

    Somebody get a tissue for this Fuckwad.

  • Joseph

    Aww, how sweet, you donated money to the competitor of someone you didn’t like! That of course means that you aren’t a DNC fanboy……wait, not really. It means you donated money to someone not in the DNC. Big deal. If you despise what they stand for, then why the hell aren’t you jumping on the fact that they are CURRENTLY STANDING for ignoring MILLIONS of Florida voters in the upcoming Primary and getting their candidates NOT to campaign there? Because you think they’ll decide to play nice and let the votes be counted? Other than not having ANY basis in evidence or reality beyond your HOPE that they will, and your flawed assumption that people are intelligent (hell, if Bush was being intelligent, wouldn’t he be trying to piss off less people to try and get more votes for the Republican party?)?

    I have very little doubt you’d jump on Unity08 or the RNC for any such statement, and that’s the issue. You claim you despise what the pro-corporate Democratic Party insiders stand for, yet you refuse to attack them for doing, on a much larger and more significant scale, what you wrote a very long post about in regard to Unity08 and argued ad-nauseum.

    As an aside, the reason why I like Unity08 is because REGARDLESS of whether or not their leaders are corporate insiders/lobbyists/whatever else, there’s very little chance, if at all, that in this first year (assuming it even works) that they would be able to pull the same crap that the DNC is pulling. They’d lose ALL of their voters, as their public goal is to have an online vote by ALL Americans for a Presidential nominee. Do you think that the Americans who actually vote in an online primary, who probably have greater access to multiple sources of information, are going to vote for a pro-corporate political insider/lobbyist set up with special interests? I mean, damn it, Unity08 has a lot of problems right now, and it may not even work, but it’s COMPLETELY contradictory with your stated philosophy when you constantly and strongly attack Unity08 (“Unity08 watch”) while IGNORING the fact that the DNC, which you CLAIM to despise, is going to ignore MILLIONS of votes? Even if you’re right against all odds and it ends up being an empty threat, it’s still a MUCH bigger story than “Unity08 doesnt count all of its surveys”. Pfft, please.

  • Jim

    So you don’t know who Rahm Emanuel is. Look it up, fuckwad. Look up “DCCC.” He’s head of it.

    You’re only making yourself look more ignorant by the moment.

  • Carla

    Jim, stop swearing and calm down. He’s just pushing your buttons, and he seems to be enjoying it. He’ll keep playing with you like this, which seems to be the only reason he’s doing it, because he has no idea what he’s talking about. Joseph can’t be serious, because no serious person would say the things he’s saying. He’s a conservative troll who’s come on here to make your life difficult by finding your soft spots and digging the fork in. One day Joseph will grow up and learn to think independently. Until then, just wait for him to move on to another website on which he’ll spew his vomit. You’re only rewarding him by taking him literally.

  • Joseph

    Yes, because who Rahm Emanuel is completely shows how you aren’t a DNC fanboy. Please. So he’s chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and you don’t like him. Maybe because he quite possibly was involved with criminals? Maybe because you don’t like the way he votes?

    So what? It doesn’t explain why you like bashing Unity08 over a comparatively irrelevent story while the DNC is planning on disenfranchizing millions. It also doesn’t explain why you’re opposed to Unity08 when they are much less likely to elect a corporate and/or political insider than the DNC or RNC and are probably more likely to elect a progressive. And finally it doesn’t explain why you’d rather not write about the DNC’s heavy-handed tactics which exist that will disenfranchize voters, but would rather write about how you think Unity08 MIGHT fail at working NEXT YEAR. It SEEMS, especially to anyone reading all of this, that you are definitely partisan and a DNC fanboy.

    And to Carla, i’m not trying to push Jim’s buttons, I’m simply wanting him to realize how inconsistent he’s being. My last post explains it much better than this post. No serious person would ignore the DNC not counting millions of votes in Florida, but instead focus on Unity08, which is a small and currently insignificant organization that I’m going to love if it takes off the ground.

  • Jim

    Carla’s right. You’re a troll. You’re not serious. You shift like a sheet blown off the clothesline.

    You’re wrong about who I am. You’re a soul-sucking troll. I’m done talking to you.

  • Anonymous

    It looks like whoever is paying for Joseph’s internship to come on here with a concealed IP and provoke Jim is getting their money’s worth. Who is your enemy behind this sock puppet, Jim.

    The constitution never foresaw political parties, and there are no rules for them. There is nothing that says a party can’t choose its nominee in an election, in a closed-door caucus, in an on-line poll, in a smoke-filled room, or in an Iowa primary. Why Joseph would be shocked at one method of choosing a candidate over anther is beyond me, but until he decides to write his diary piece explaining it, we won’t know. And why he chooses to be shocked over something that has not even happened but is only something hypothetical in the future, well, I just hopes he gets it down in writing so we can follow all these wild predictions that are flying around.

    On the other hand, Unity08 has no candidate and no positions on issues. The only thing they are selling is their process. They are basically saying that leadership ability is not important, issues are not important, the only thing important is the process, and they have discovered the magic formula. They also do not have a track record so you can make a judgment of what they will do based on what they have done before in the last election. They are asking for trust.

    When someone asks for trust, you find out whether they do what they say they will do. Jim is not basing his analysis on some hypothetical thing that might happen in the future. He is going by two things. What does Unity08 say. What does Unity08 do.

    Joseph is basing his analysis on whether he believes in magic. Or perhaps the check he gets from whoever pays him to spend so much time here.

  • Anonymous

    Why would the Florida primary be such an RNC freak-out issue? What would be the difference between a Florida primary outcome and an Iowa primary outcome? What is Jeb up to down there now–opposing a change in the primary?

  • Joseph

    Okay, obviously political parties can pick their nominee however they want. But some methods are more democratic than others, and unless we’re going to start saying people should have their nominees picked by the power elite (which I disagree with), then the discussion on that ends.

    As for the rest of your post, lets just prove my point yet again with what a clearly blinded DNC supporter just said anonymously:

    “Jim is not basing his analysis on some hypothetical thing that might happen in the future. He is going by two things. What does Unity08 say. What does Unity08 do.”

    WOW. Okay, what does the DNC say? That they are going to NOT COUNT all of Florida’s votes in the Democratic primary. What does the DNC do? They voted to NOT COUNT Florida’s delegates in the Democratic primary. But hey, the DNC not counting them is all “hypothetical”, while Unity08 being a sham that won’t work is factual. Wait…no, it’s not.

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