At least it's only the advertising / queue entertainment screen and not the solidly tested coaster control system, right? right...
There are two things one doesn't want to see before boarding a roller coaster. The first, an employee clutching a large bolt, saying "No, I don't know where it came from either..." The second begins with B. Today's entry in the Bible of Borkage comes from Register reader Steve and was snapped at Germany's Europa park a couple …
Most coasters do not have an active braking system anymore, for just this sort of reason.
They usually rely on a metal plate under the carriages passing through magnets attached on the side of the track. When they do this large amount of eddy currents/electricity is generated, the energy to do this is taken from the motion of the carriages.
No moving parts, no computers just physics.
I remember going on a tired old wooden roller coaster in Weymouth some 30 years ago. It felt like it was going to fall apart on every corner. At the bottom of the final uphill bit the bloke managing the queue was stood there tightening bolts with a great big spanner as we went past! Most exciting fairground ride I've ever been on as there were actual thoughts of "I might actually die here"!
Not a roller coaster, but I remember when our local Docklands Light Railway line opened (London based computer-driven light railway system). A year or so after it opened, I got on the train, in one of the underground sections, sat down next to a technician, who had a laptop connected to the on-board computer. All very re-assuring until he said the words "Oh Fuck" just as the train drove off.
Look at the bright side of this... At least they still cared enough to bother with the maintenance! It's when the maintainers are so dispirited that they no longer bother that you have to start wondering... Kind of like a couple networks I've had to use!
If you want to see an in depth exploration of the potential hazards of computer controlled rollercoasters, I can recommend the episode "Phantom of the Rollercoaster" of the 70s TV series Wonder Woman, which combines daring superhero exploits in a hi-tech theme park with a plot blatantly stolen from Scooby Doo.
I see that on XP when using a lame-ass clone USB serial dongle.
Please tell me a roller coaster is not like industrial machinery and isn't controlled by a serial link...connected to an eBay quality USB interface...with a driver flakier than puff pastry.
Remind me, that was zero to holy shit in how many seconds?
You do know the driver runs with kernel privileges, and full BSODicity. And in Windoze, the driver is often written (cheaply) by some arm of the hardware maker. Linux drivers for rubbish serial dongles have been written by someone who understands this stuff, with a ton of fixups for hardware deficiencies. Just try perusing one and see how bad this can often be.
Autorun should never have been enabled on any OS for anything. It's a perfect example of a UX misfeature.
Non-technical users already understood that when they used a CD player, they'd press a "Play" button after inserting a disk. It's not a hard concept for users to grasp, and applying it to other sorts of content on removable media is intuitive.
I do think it is overly unfair to always blame Microsoft, in this case shoddy drivers caused the BSOD, so 3rd parties are the problem.
At least Microsoft is letting less devices/software run with kernel privileges now so this stuff happens very seldom, cant remember last time I seen a BSOD on Windows 10 and Server 2019 (they run rock solid)
3rd party drivers may cause a given BSOD, but if the OS is designed in a way that allows a seemingly insignificant piece to knock the whole system over, doesn't the OS deserve some blame?
Put another way, instead of a BSOD, wouldn't it be nice to get a message like "the dodgyDriver has malfunctioned, go ahead and keep working, but dodgyHardware isn't going to respond"?
Indeed, this is why UDF (like other user-mode driver designs in other OSes) exists: to get crap drivers out of the kernel. Code that's running in kernel mode can always crash things; the kernel can't protect itself from itself, because it all runs at a single privilege level.1
It's been in Windows since Vista, and I think was back-ported to XP. The real problem is that Microsoft introduced it relatively late (they should have provided it in NT4) and didn't lean hard enough on hardware vendors to replace kernel-mode drivers with user-mode ones.
1Well, it could make it harder for broken (rather than malicious) code to break things, by messing about with page permissions and such. But there would be a performance hit, and performance is why Windows dropped the HAL and other isolation techniques in the first place.
In Europa Park's (and Windoze) defence; I have pictures from Oblivion:The Black Hole at Gardaland of a Linux kernel panic being used on one of the SFX screens.
Stating the freaking obvious; the ride systems themselves have nothing whatsoever to do with these units. Modern rides from reputable manufacturers (i.e. not cloned crap from China - if you want to scare yourself look up Golden Horse Rides on youtube regarding their atrocious industrial espionage of European and American theme park hardware) use high quality PLCs with multiple redundancies, and very simple logic, therefore testable logic covering every possible input and output combo into the system. Consign AG of Switzerland are one of the better examples of such companies that provide that kind of system; and they are extremely proud of their reputation of having absolutely zero incidents in amusement parks associated with their work for a very, very long time.
As with most forms of quality industrial automation, things tend to go wrong when humans poke their noses into systems to interfere. See the Smiler for reference.
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