Monday, February 04, 2008

Day care failures

This year, for the first time children in Sofia will apply for day care online. The system had to open at 9.00, i.e. 5 minutes ago. However, when I tried to open the site 30 minutes ago, it loaded only partially. I restarted everything and tried again. Then, the site failed to upload at all. A minute ago, it loaded partially, but when I tried to register, I saw just a message, "ERROR. Service unavailable. The requested service is unavailable. Try again later."
Not only I but also many other people had anticipated troubles with this site. They can be expected every time when a Bulgarian site is to be "attacked" by thousands of users simultaneously, especially if this is tried for the first time. But the Sofia Municipality and the site designer kept reassuring us that everything would be OK. Eh well, it isn't.
I was also afraid that I would have problem with my Internet - this happens sometimes. However, my ISP didn't fail me this time. The connection with Blogger is notoriously sensitive, and it is excellent now. So it must be the site's fault.
As I am writing this, I keep trying at another window to register, and the system is tossing me out again and again.
In a normal situation, I wouldn't have to be so upset. What, if the system is overloaded now, I could try in the afternoon or tomorrow. However, there are too few positions in day care. Thousands of children will inevitably be left out and I am afraid now that my toddler will be among them, because the positions will go to those registered first. This situation is very wrong because municipality day care centers are heavily subsidized. I always get mad when I am told that some taxpayer-sponsored facility has "insufficient" capacity. Do you know why? Because, when I have to pay my taxes, nobody ever asks me whether I have "sufficient" money to pay. So, if I always manage to find the money government asks from me, I feel entitled to expect something in return.
Bulgarian citizens and authorities always lament that too few Bulgarian babies are born. This is the definition of hypocrisy. I can tell first-hand why they are so few: because they are not welcome. You don't encourage parents to have more children by making them crazy about the children they already have.
My rant is ready for publishing now, and I still cannot register!
Update: It was almost 1 PM when the system let me in.
Update 2: In fact, I have been lucky. Other parents have failed to register all day and now demand the registrations of people like me to be cancelled. The system must send us e-mails confirming the registration but nothing of this kind comes to my Inbox. And nobody tells us what we must do if we do not receive the confirmation e-mail.
Update 3: I received the e-mail on Tuesday night. However, its Cyrillic text had been transformed into a string of meaningless "monkey" symbols, e.g. the first word was "Здравейте". I had to perform full-scale deciphering, it is good that Harold Jacobs's Mathematics: A Human Endeavor had taught me how to do that. The above cited word turned out to be "Здравейте", i.e. "Hello". For Bulgarian readers interested in deciphering, I have explained it on my Bulgarian blog.
The Web site designer blamed the Monday failure on hacker attacks. Nobody believes this too much. First, hackers have no special motivation concerning this particular site, and second, when you design a site, you keep in mind that not all people in cyberspace are nice, don't you? The Gyuvech Web portal today publishes the following joke on the subject:
"Police press center reports that the hackers who attacked the day care application site have been caught. The suspects I.P. (2.5) and B.B. (3) were motivated by their unwillingness to attend day care."

1 comment:

hazel said...

I am sorry to hear that you were involved in this nightmare!

I just hope that you and your kid will benefit from the daycare system, which, I believe, is still better than pre-school systems in many other countries.

Good luck!
(I wrote something in Bulgarian about daycare centers here )