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Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:47 AM

Obama's campaign used 500 AWS instances at peak usage

So, not only does his campaign machine actually "get" data mining, they clearly "get" cloud computing too. If the Democratic party as a whole doesn't outright adopt their software and data infrastructure wholesale to use as support for every Democratic campaign in the country, they are fucking idiots.

Here’s an interesting Ars Technica piece on the Obama campaign’s technology initiatives. The main one was called “Narwhal” (I’m guessing there are some Redditors on the Obama team, and that it baconed at midnight.)

One telling comparison: the Obama campaign says that at the peak of their operation, they used a good percentage of the capacity at Amazon’s east coast data center, with up to 500 AWS instances (sort-of like a small server) doing the work. The Romney campaign’s Orca system had a single application server hosted at their own site, behind a Comcast business Internet connection, and at one point on election day, Comcast shut them down because they thought there was a denial-of-service attack in progress.

It’s common for winning campaigns to look like, well, winners, and the losing campaigns to look incompetent in hindsight, but this is a pretty clear-cut case of gross incompetence on the part of the Romney campaign.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/11/15/more-aquatic-creatures/

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Obama's campaign used 500 AWS instances at peak usage (Original post)
phantom power Nov 2012 OP
NYC_SKP Nov 2012 #1
Berlum Nov 2012 #5
BumRushDaShow Nov 2012 #2
hootinholler Nov 2012 #4
BumRushDaShow Nov 2012 #13
BlueToTheBone Nov 2012 #26
htuttle Nov 2012 #3
phantom power Nov 2012 #7
Myrina Nov 2012 #6
progressoid Nov 2012 #21
freshwest Nov 2012 #22
yardwork Nov 2012 #8
phantom power Nov 2012 #9
yardwork Nov 2012 #11
DLnyc Nov 2012 #15
yardwork Nov 2012 #18
phantom power Nov 2012 #16
yardwork Nov 2012 #19
freshwest Nov 2012 #23
yardwork Nov 2012 #24
Brickbat Nov 2012 #10
Lochloosa Nov 2012 #12
MineralMan Nov 2012 #14
hootinholler Nov 2012 #17
Ikonoklast Nov 2012 #25
Myrina Nov 2012 #27
Sivart Nov 2012 #20

Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:58 AM

1. Narwhal...

Fuck Yeah!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:18 AM

5. Orca (R)! Fuck No.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:58 AM

2. "behind a Comcast business Internet connection"



How fucking cheap ass can they get?

This is an organization that brought in over a billion dollars and they were running their "grassroots" election-reporting app over a consumer-grade small business cable connection, apparently on a single VM.

I keep saying over and over - their campaign was one big Ponzi scheme.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:10 AM

4. No wonder the electronic vote counters didn't work for them



A single app server (probably tomcat) wasn't even clustered. I bet they were running the DB on the same box.



Then Comcast thinks it's being hit with a DDOS attack and pulls the plug!




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Response to hootinholler (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:03 AM

13. And Comcast DOES throttle

and apparently they did so before shutting the damn thing down.

And then they sent out a 60+ page user guide the night before the election. People couldn't login with given usernames/passwords, and on and on.

I wouldn't be surprised if their webserver's config file was still mostly in a default configuration.

EPIC FAIL.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:36 PM

26. You have to remember they killed off their tech guru

in a small plane crash. It's hard to find a number 2 guy with that kind of incentive.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:01 AM

3. That wasn't a Nawhal. That was a Kraken!

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Response to htuttle (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:23 AM

7. Kraken + Honey Badger

A Kraken Badger!

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:22 AM

6. Wow, that made absolutely no sense to me.

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Response to Myrina (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:51 AM

21. Maybe this will help...

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Response to progressoid (Reply #21)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:22 PM

22. Whatever you do, folks, don't start that video!!!

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:25 AM

8. I don't understand most of the words in this thread, but

it sounds like Romney's team was totally incompetent in the technological realm, just as they were in every other realm.

What worries me is that future Republican campaigns will be better run.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:42 AM

9. Probably, but I think the Conservatives will always have trouble keeping up

For one thing, they're -- well, conservative. So they'll always be the last to adopt anything new. Secondly, their entire world view is (by their own admission) not "reality based." They have a deep core of being against science, against math. As long as that's true, throwing a bunch of technology at their campaigns won't really help that much.

Nate Silver released all of his data and all of his source code. So the GOP literally had free access to all of the same good data and software as the Dems did. But they didn't want to hear what it was saying, and not as many people in their camp even believe in all that egghead book learnin.

Live by fighting the Enlightenment, die by fighting the Enlightenment.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:47 AM

11. Those are very good points, but I suspect that the hedge fund billionaires use math.

Maybe not. I could be wrong about that. It could all be a very low-tech con game that they are playing. I have always assumed that the people taking all the money off the top are adept at math but maybe it's easier to steal than I thought.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:16 AM

15. Yes, hedge fund billionaires use math.

They use pretty much only math, in my not utterly limited experience. Their are many bits of mathematics that I am aware of that allow savvy players with large amount of capital to basically lock in profit on large complex financial instruments. Any hedge-fund billionaire support of the Republican party is almost certainly entirely based on a relatively straight-forward piece of mathematics: under a Republican president they are confident they can continue paying only 15% federal tax on (personal) earnings in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars per year; under a Democratic president they risk paying more like 35 or more percent on that income. I don't think any hedge-fund manager gives a flying fuck about abortion, gay marriage, confidence fairy, global warming denying or any other Republican mythology; they mostly just care about using mathematics to rig the system and make 10s or 100s of millions of dollars per year while paying a ridiculously low tax rate thanks to a loop-hole that Democrats are slightly more likely to remove than Republicans are. IMHO.

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Response to DLnyc (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:33 AM

18. That's exactly what I think, too.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:21 AM

16. I'm sure they can do math, but...

The whole problem with the modern conservative movement is that they've sold Joe Sixpack on the myth that they're all rich because They're The Smartest Guys In The Room(tm). But, as we all like to point out, the reality has been different for decades: these days, they're rich because they are all playing a game that they've spent the last 40 years deliberately rigging so that they're the ones who win it. And it has now been working so well, for so long, that they've all made the classic mistake of starting to believe their own bullshit.

They're just out of practice adjusting themselves to reality. Their entire party is deeply dependent on convincing masses of people of things that aren't true, so I don't know if it's very easy to just start working with reality again. It would undermine most of what they currently do.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:34 AM

19. I agree. They are the ones who "want stuff."

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Response to yardwork (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:27 PM

23. And everytime something's privatized, their followers steal our tax money.

Repeat with same tone of voice as:

*Everytime a bell rings, an angel gets its wings!*

Sorry, mine doesn't rhyme.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:37 PM

24. That is their entire plan. Privatize to get our money.

The neo-cons look around and see money on the table. Medicare? Think of the profits to be made if everybody has to buy private insurance. The U.S. postal system? Make them all use Fed-Ex! The National Weather Service? Take that tax money and let the Weather Channel's owners make a profit on it. Public education? Make people give that money to for-profit charter chains and online diploma mills.

And the biggest prize of all = social security. Wall Street is salivating at the thought of getting their hands on all that money.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:46 AM

10. Ain't no hooves on that bitch.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:59 AM

12. There's a phrase in the construction business for what Rmoney's campain did.

"Use the lowest bidder and beat them up on their price".

You get what you pay for.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:10 AM

14. A Comcast business connection and one server?

WTF were they thinking? Clearly, they didn't hire someone who knew much about the business. Rather, they probably used some cheap or unpaid volunteer with a recent CS degree who had no comprehension of the massive data requirements of a national campaign and GOTV effort. Utter folly!

Romney adviser: "Yeah, Mitt, my son is a real Internet whiz. He just graduated Summa cum laude from Kansas State and can go right to work on this."

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:26 AM

17. Well to be fair the last time the Rs had someone who understood this shit

His airplane crashed instead of the servers.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:18 PM

25. He knew exactly how Blackwell stole Ohio.

He told his wife that he knew.

He was a liability.

He was dealt with.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:38 PM

27. Silly! His IT director got an ONLINE degree!

10 weeks, learn at your own pace!

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:45 AM

20. This is not so suprising to me....

When you are the crooked assed salesperson type, you tend to hang around and befriend other crooked assed salesperson types.

I would imagine Mitt has a ton of friends and cronies that, just like him, have never had to be good at much, because their pedigree is all they really need.

So, in this case, I can totally see Mitt being sold a pile of shit by some of his smooth talking pals.

I mean, come on......we ALL know these types......they always give the jobs and contracts to their buddies first. Competance is not required. You just have to be a card carrying member of the club.














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