What happens when you combine technology and politics?

This is not a normal political post, because it really has nothing to do with the political beliefs of either Romney or Obama.  But as the writer of a technology blog who followed the 2012 election very closely (I will admit to making myself feel physically sick the day of the election because of nervousness over the results), I found reading about the technology supporting both campaigns particularly fascinating. First, a summary of the "Orca" program built by the Romney campaign (in part by a large corporation - Microsoft) is here.  In a nutshell, Romney built a massive application that was hosted on servers physically located in Boston's TD Garden Arena, but unfortunately failed miserably in doing adequate stress testing, basic configurations (such as forwarding  http requests to https), and distributing passwords/instructions/training effectively to the thousands of users.  The night of the election was the first time it had been used, and it failed dismally.  My favorite quote from the article:

The end result,” Ekdahl wrote, “was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of [get out the vote] efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.

Now for the Obama campaign, which was summarized here.   There are not nearly as many details, but it sounds like he built a tool for his grass roots movement to effectively organize where they invested their efforts.  The technology supporting this was using modern web architecture: cloud based services supported by Amazon.

Clearly, Obama and team had a lot more time to build and deploy this than Romney, but I do think this is yet another interesting difference between the two campaigns.