The Secret Service is Still Struggling With a Vintage 1980s IBM Mainframe



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... I bet it's a ploy to make the enemies of the state to underestimate the Secrete Service.

$190M is chump-change for the US Government... Good grand strategy.



Not the NSA or DIA or those other acronyms who get funded to the tune of billions.  The SS guys are probably using thinkpads and Google with a few shared DOJ databases these days.  Heck, give an agent a subscription and NewEgg gift card and he could probably get the job done in no time.



Quote:   A classified review of the aging computer system has revealed that the
system is now only operational about 60 percent of the time

So, how is this classified if its in Maximum PC?

 Do you people Violate National Security on a regular basis or what?



Its down because its also a make shift porn torrent server


Keith E. Whisman

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh Don't tell anyone. Lets just keep this secret between us nerds. Non Nerds never even venture at this website anyhow so it's Secret is probably safe. 



I'm pretty sure if it was still classified, it wouldn't be here on MaxPC. I've worked for the gov't for over 21 years. Most likely what happened is that picture and the info was suddenly declassified so that the Director could show lots of people the old ass crap they're dealing with. Through embarrassment and sympathy, the funds will suddenly be approved to replace it. Can't have the Chinese and the Russians laughing at us.

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Does MPC violate National Security on a regular basis? Anything is possible but not nearly as much as the Gov'ment violates themselves.



It's funny how people think the government is supposed to have all this super advanced equipment from tv and movies.  They don't have any money to pay for those things, people.  Lots of organizations are running of equipment 30+ years old, they upgrade eventually, get over it.


Keith E. Whisman

You've got a point. When I was in the US Army when I was younger (I'm now 38) We used a computer that dated back to the 1950's and it used teletype tape. And a computer that had an 6 character single line LCD display for the main computer that output single and dual digit codes that we used a Field Manual to decipher. It actually had vacuum tubes in it.



Funny how this coincides with the release of the Power7 systems just out this year.   

Why didn't they talk about their old HP, Sun and Dell systems? Heck, come to think of it, in computer years, any 5 year old system is dinosaurian.

"Cloud" is the buzzword these days. I think this all it has to do with.   

First, I'd take this ABC news report with a grain of salt. On top of that, the $187 is only an estimated figure not the actual figure. ABC doesn't even tell us exactly what is running on those IBM mainframes. Thank you for the in-depth news reporting ABC. I'll just go over and ask Jimmy Kimmel for more info.  

Second, the Secret Service is not the type of agency that will give out it's cost of operation figures to the public. I doubt they'll even go out to say what exactly is running on those old (but apparently reliable since they're still running) IBM.

Third, even if you have the latest, fastest, hardest, strongest mainframe on the market, it still won't make you a better secret service. People make the difference regardless if you're running IBM z or VAX or whatever.


Keith E. Whisman

I agree to a point. Listen secret service agents can get some practice by simulating combat by playing a round of COD Modern Warfare 2 and they just can't practice that way with this old computer. No more dead secret service agents. Lets send them XBOXS and PS3's. Perhaps something like Folding @home will help the secret service predict terrorist activities as well. 

The article did say that the Mainframe isn't even available half the time because of crashes and down time do to the playing of text based adventures.

I'm also positive that our secret service can benefit by requiring all agents drink Dr. Pepper because it's great.

Government is just so damn insane right now that the only thing the government will take seriously is insane ramblings.  



My guess is the Service wants one of them "super-computers". If they have to be one step ahead of the bad guys, they need hardware and software that's two degrees above whats out there. 

It all seems fishy, because my understanding is that the Secret Service has more power and authority than the CIA and the FBI placed together.Would have thought they had a better computer. Hell, that thing they have is like over 30 years old!



Here today, gone tomorrow. Live life.



probably meant 18.7 mill



oooh no, he said it wouldn't play crysis, he needs to be banned according to certain visitors!


I still need to buy that sarcasm font ;-) 



People who ask "Can x play/run Crysis" should be banned.



I wonder what this things 3dmarks vantage score is? 

sudo apt-get install windows 7



6. it's 6



 Probably in the negatives. Lol


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Keith E. Whisman

Well I believe ISA was the card interface back then so you would have to find an Nvidia Geforce or AMD ATI Radeon ISA card. 



I would assume the IBM Monochrome Display Adapter, or even the Color Graphics Adapter/Hercules Graphics Card.

Edit: There seems to be such thing as the ATI "Small Wonder" ISA card. Pre-Radeon, though.

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Keith E. Whisman

Really? That is so so very funny.... LOL.... I didn't even bother to do a google search. LOL.. Upgrade my old 8086 graphics from simply green to 24bit. I assume that because the old ATI cards I have used along time ago were 24bit and to think about it ATI cards just recently bumped things up to 32bit. I never noticed any difference though. 



$187 million? They can spend $300 on a netbook that has more power than that thing.



I hear that WOPR is available. Just don't play games on it. The last time just about wasn't so nice.


Keith E. Whisman

I would bet they meant to say $187,000.00 dollars with a budget of $33,000,000.00 dollars. With the cost of computing ever dropping it's logical to assume these numbers. A 187million dollar computer ought to be able to compute god. Should be able to simulate God. 187million dollars of computer is a whole hell of a lot of computer. Nuclear bombs are being simulated for less money than that. 

Now for the image. I think there should be more, many more flashing square lights. Lots of flashing different colored lights that do something interesting. Like the mainframe that Oscar Goldman had in his office on the Bionic Man series. Thats a cool pic though. You know this is about the same type computer system that was at Rambo's disposal during Rambo First Blood Part 2.  



 I don't think it's the hardware that's the problem, as said a $250 netbook could do the work and have 20x the capacity the main problem is converting legacy, what 8 bit?, probrams to a 32 bit os

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Assuming that the line isn't sarcasm, 187 million is more than 33 million

 It is probably like this because it is supposed to be 33 billion

 Or, it is supposed to be 33 million less than 187 million 

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