OK, I know I've been writing a lot about the Railway Ministry's upgraded ticket sales site, 12306.cn, but this is just too crazy not to share. According to the National Business Daily, the upgraded site -- you know, the one that's broken and is forcing customers to wait in lines before rejecting their orders -- cost a whopping 329 million RMB ($52 million). Let's all say it together now: WTF? The new system was created by two outside companies chosen as the result of a bidding process. The eventual winners were Taiji Computing, with a bid of 199 million RMB, and Tsinghua Tongfang, with a bid of 130 million RMB. Moreover, these are apparently just the winning bids from the first phase of the process; the ultimate cost of the site might be even higher. It's a real shame, then, that it doesn't work. The new site was barely up before users began reporting that the new system forced them to wait in virtual lines of thirty minutes or more, and then informed them that their purchase had failed and made them restart from the beginning. Yesterday I wrote a piece begging the Railway Ministry to put its tech in the hands of an e-commerce company that actually knows what it's doing (like Alibaba). I'm sure that an e-commerce company would charge a pretty penny to develop a ticket sales platform, too -- especially one that needs to handle such heavy traffic loads -- but at least after the money had been shelled out the thing would work. [NBD via Sina Tech]
Twelve people were killed in the Philippines on Saturday as troops clashed with a militant group blamed for the country's deadliest terror attacks, the military said.