The TSA spent $1.4M on an app to tell it who gets a random search

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It’s not random then.

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$1.4? That’s cheap for an app! :slight_smile:
(“M” lacking in headline)


Is that a lot for app development? I’ve never ordered a custom app myself. I suppose it includes a certain level of service, not just raw code?

Someone should have just bought a few hundred thousand D10s or D20s and converted a D&D random encounter chart.

“Oh… 00. You know what that means…”

“Anal probe?”

“Anal probe.”

“Can I role a save against humiliation?”

“Hmm, technically it doesn’t say you can’t.”

–roll-- 1 “Fuck…”

“Save failed. You see ‘Fat Finger Tony’ approach you…”


not exactly service, but they still got off cheap:


It sounds like IBM was the lowest bidder, so does the price tag actually give us any information? Or is it just a Real Big Number and we should be outraged?

They got a bad deal. I would have sold them a nice roulette wheel for as little as $1.1 million.


If the deal was about a PRNG with a nice GUI* the price is way too high.

*) I did not try to find sources for an in-depth description of the functions and use-cases. If the price includes the hardware (this seems to be unclear) it may be fair.

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A roulette wheel sounds plenty fair, who knows depending on the outcomes it still might be better than driving. After we nominate the next president by Thunderdome we can go ahead and tidy up the court systems with this wheel…cause if you bust a deal you’ll face the wheel.


The agent taps the iPad, a large arrow points right or left, and you follow it into a given lane

IBM will make their real money selling the $2.99 consumer app that allows you to control the iPad, directing yourself to whichever line you’d like.


I’d be curious to see the app, and what it has to do. I assume (I hope) that it’s more than just a random number generator being sold at a spectacular price. If it has some features to reassure us that the randomly chosen people are actually chosen randomly, that would be both not cheap and worth something

Unfortunately there is a call to rand() with no seed, so it gives the same results every time it is restarted,

No, I don’t know this…I’ve just seen a lot of bad code in my time.


Nah, I almost never spend more than $0.99 on an app myself.

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Yeah, as have I. the standard C rand, even with a good seed, is still a pretty terrible RNG. I was thinking that if you wanted to prove that random searches were being done randomly, there’s some interesting data that you could collect and analyze - like looking at the ages, genders, or Xth letters of the name of the people selected, and see how that compares to what you would expect from a randomly selected pool of all flyers.



Buy a few dice.


Banks will love it as soon as it can be rolled thousands of times a second.

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This is exactly what I was thinking. That, or they could just take a bunch of the Sacagawea dollar coins that nobody wants and tell them to flip.


Going through customs into Mexico, they make you push a button—a fat rounded concave clicky button like on an arcade cabinet—that lights up an arrow telling you whether your stuff is going to get pawed through or not.

I guess that means Mexico is ahead of the States on border control?