Zero to Kafka in five minutes, or no money back

OK, whippin' up the ol' Business Activity Statement for the first quarter of this year, tum te tum, run the special government BAS-management software and... it tells me I'd better renew my AUSkey certificate before it expires at the end of July.

Bit of an early warning, but OK, fair enough, off we go to the AUSkey site, which I leave open for a while as I enter stuff for my next BAS in the other special software that apparently a few other governments inflict upon their populace. (As is traditional with such things, this program likes to pop up dialog boxes telling you to enter a date for something, when you've entered data in some other field first, and then click on the date field intending to do the thing it is haughtily preventing you from doing until you click "OK".)

A few minutes later, I come back to the AUSkey site and click "login", whereupon it tells me my session has timed out and I have to go back to the home page, which is exactly where I already was.

What session? I don't have a session yet! I haven't logged in!

OK, argh, whatever, I log in again and it tells me I don't have the special AUSkey software which I thought I had but OK, again whatever, click the thing to download the software and... back I go to the home page again.

Go through that loop again until I realise that the site is attempting to tell me via mental telepathy that it does not support Chrome. Try Firefox instead, which to the government's credit does actually work and lo, now I do have the software that I installed whenever I went through this palaver the last time, and it doesn't even seem to need 283 updates since I last used it!

Righto, off we go, let's renew our certificate...

Hang on - there doesn't seem to be an option to do that anywhere.

Gee, could that perhaps be because the AUSkey does not, in fact, ever actually expire?

Why yes, that is the case.

Did the other program really tell me to update my AUSkey?

I quit it and run it again, and it doesn't say shit this time. I could have sworn it said I had to renew my AUSkey certificate but... now I... I just don't know.

You know, part of the reason why I wish Australia didn't have any submarines is that I'm not sure anyone's ever clearly explained what purpose they're expected to serve. (They apparently performed quite well in war games against the USA, which I'm sure will make all the difference if we decide to go to war with America. Or, marginally less crazily, with China, whose attack subs only outnumber ours 59 to six, not counting their entirely insignificant five nuclear ballistic missile submarines.)

Most of the reason, though, is that I don't think an institution that can create a system like this should be be allowed anywhere near explosives.

3 Responses to “Zero to Kafka in five minutes, or no money back”

  1. glaurung-quena Says:

    Possibly the act of reinstalling the software while using Chrome caused it to update the expiring key?

    • dan Says:

      No, I never even saw a software-installer page. The AUSkey... thing... is some sort of Java application that hooks into a browser, but not Chrome, somehow.

      And, per that government page, all you have to do to prevent it from "expiring" is to use it at least once a year.

      • Mlurp Says:

        After now spending about 20 minutes poking around I still have absolutely no idea what an AUSkey actually is. Are you sure it's Java-based? implies that it uses JS, not Java (despite the misleadingly worded Java error message). OTOH further down it talks about issues due to Java not being installed on newer OS X releases.

        On the other hand on yet another page it tells you "Check the boxes next to Enable Plug-ins, Enable Java and Enable JavaScript". In other words to use their high-security software you need to open up pretty much every browser security hole you can.

        Perhaps the Australian submarines were actually frigates until the idiots who did the AUSkey got to them.

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