back to article Just the place you'd want to spot a BSOD: While waiting in line for a roller coaster that lifts you up 124ft

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 …

  1. A K Stiles

    confidence inspiring

    At least it's only the advertising / queue entertainment screen and not the solidly tested coaster control system, right? right...

    1. T-Unit

      Re: confidence inspiring

      Or the braking system. No one would be smiling then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: confidence inspiring

        It depends on the mortician.

      2. ridley

        Re: confidence inspiring

        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.

    2. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

      Re: confidence inspiring

      Nothing to worry about, every system has its ups and downs.

  2. Timmy B

    It'll just make it more exciting...

    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"!

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: It'll just make it more exciting...

      Er… I'll hope he was pretending. But it might be the only way to do that maintenance, as the structure flexes?

      It also sounds like it might go in a Scooby Doo episode, did he look familiar?

      1. TonyJ

        Re: It'll just make it more exciting...

        "...It also sounds like it might go in a Scooby Doo episode, did he look familiar?...

        Possibly, once the mask came off ;)

      2. vmistery

        Re: It'll just make it more exciting...

        And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: It'll just make it more exciting...

      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.

    3. Chairman of the Bored

      Re: It'll just make it more exciting...

      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!

  3. Aaiieeee

    I hear that IT technicians who ride this often develop PTSD..

    Perhaps the rollercoaster theming is inspired by working on the support desk?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: I hear that IT technicians who ride this often develop PTSD..

      As in "Yes, you can turn the switch back on now..."?

  4. Antonius_Prime

    "An employee clutching a large bolt, saying 'No, I don't know where it came from either...' "

    This is directly from the BOfHBBBoBB*, isn't it?

    Either way; top job!

    * Bastard Operator from Hell Big Bastarding Book of Bastard Bludges, for those suffering / recovering from TLA Poisoning...

    1. Psmo

      Re: "An employee clutching a large bolt, saying 'No, I don't know where it came from either...' "

      Too Long Acronyms?

  5. SVV

    computer controlled coaster perils

    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.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: computer controlled coaster perils

      Wasn't Wonder Womans oppo called Steve too?

  6. riffrafff

    But, did Steve go ahead and take the ride? Or did he quietly walk away?

    1. Montreal Sean

      Steve plugged in his trusty Linux live-USB with OpenRCT2 on it, rebooted and got on the ride.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Whereupon it refused to go anywhere because the rollbars were insufficiently 'free' and the wheels had a licence conflict.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Had the deployment security been tested by many 'eee's ?

  7. adam payne

    ...his attention was abruptly drawn to the second thing you really don't want to see before boarding something that does 0 to 100km/h in 2.5 second

    Hopefully it didn't control the breaking system.

    1. Montreal Sean

      I don't know, it's proven it does a good job of breaking...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd take issue with your post but I'm having a break from doing that kind of thing. I found it put the brakes on my relationships

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just extra thrills isn't it?

    The whole point of riding a coaster is to scare yourself so what better than to ride one who's control system could potentially be borked?

  9. Captain Scarlet

    Its better than spotting said device is running Windows Vista!

    Yes I did steal the joke from the IT Crowd!

  10. TRT Silver badge

    What do you mean...

    Windows 7 RC is a "Release Candidate" and not a dedicated OS for Roller Coasters?

    1. Mark 85

      Re: What do you mean...

      I thought RC stood for roller coasters. Well, that explains a lot.

  11. heyrick Silver badge


    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It doesn't mater how cheap the dongle, it shouldn't bring down the OS.

      1. John Sager


        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Yes, and my comment stands.

          I know drivers invariably have to have all sorts of kludges and workarounds to support supposed "generic" devices, but no driver should be written to assert a panic due to some dodgy removable device!

        2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge


          Reminds me of when the client brought in the XPEmbedded device and we found it had picked up a virus off a USB memory stick...because, like in Desktop XP, "autorun" is enabled by default on USB memory devices.

          Reaally? On an embedded OS, Microsoft?

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge


            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.

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


        There's a reason why it's called "Plug and Pray"

  12. Winkypop Silver badge


    Always full of ups and downs, often downs....

  13. MajDom

    Slow news day?

    "Butcher queue monitor shows BSOD. Meat must be off."

    A million clickbait articles a day, coming up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slow news day?

      You must be fun at partys.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slow news day?

      You must be new here...

    3. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Slow news day?

      Been here two years apparently, but only just noticing the BSOD articles....

    4. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Slow news day?

      More concerning is when are you going to post that story?

      I'm sure the meat eaters here would be grateful to know if their butcher is selling dodgy meat or not!

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Slow news day?

        That meat can't be dodgy, the critter didn't dodge that truck in time.

    5. Chairman of the Bored

      Re: Slow news day?

      What's wrong with butcher's kiosk displays? One in my town always cracks me up:

      "Be safety conscious... Always cover your meat"

      "Making flank steak? Make sure you beat your meat..."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shoddy drivers once AGAIN

    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)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shoddy drivers once AGAIN

      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"?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Shoddy drivers once AGAIN

        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.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  16. Bangem


    Total Inability To Stop Users Plummeting

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Scary stuff

    I don't need to go on a rollercoaster if I want to frighten myself. All I have to do is look at some of my earlier attempts at coding!

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