At least our doctors aren't still using leeches for our annual blood lettings. But North Dakota's Unemployment Insurance Program is running on a platform so old that we have to go to the medieval heart of Eastern Europe to find druids that are learned in it's ancient ways. We're talking about mainframe computers that are so old, a Commodore 64 can probably process circles around it. (Please note, if you get that reference, than you too are "so old").

Governor Doug Burgum made his fortune on riding the tide of technology. This is more like a mud puddle of machines. For years now, and at a considerable cost, the state has been able to maintain the system. The Grand Forks Herald reports that according to Duane Schell, chief technology officer for the North Dakota Information Technology Department, much of that considerable cost is maintaining the service of Latvian scientists that are familiar with it's outdated mainframe.

This particular skill set has been diminishing in popularity for quite some time and doesn't have a whole lot of skilled workforce in the United States in this space," Schell said. "Ironically, Europe still uses this. They've got a little bit more of this (technology) in use in this era, specifically Latvia.

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Hopefully there's more money on the way as Governor Burgum has submitted a $105 million allotment for technology upgrades in the this years budget.  We'll see if the legislature will agree that it's about time we dragged our technologies out of the 1980's and maybe into some more like Windows XP.

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Watch out for that blue ring of death y'all.


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