back to article Death and taxis: Windows has had enough of clinging to a cab rooftop in the London rain

Welcome to another instalment in The Register's irregular look at tech behaving badly in public. Today we present Bork on Wheels. A beloved sight on London's streets, the black cab has been through several iterations over the years and this incarnation has brought forth that very special Blue Screen of Death: the BSOD on the …

  1. Hans 1

    Driver problem

    cf title

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Driver problem

      Great minds think alike.

      (and idiots seldom differ)


      Steven R

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Driver problem

        Seems like a fair comment

    2. simonlb

      Re: Everything under control

      Was it the loose nut behind the wheel?

  2. Steven Raith


    That's a usually a driver fault if I recall, which seems quite apt, really.

    Steven R

    1. SVV


      This seems to be the fundamental error in nearly every one of these BSOD borks. Is it all that surprising that the code is error prone when the developers do not seem to have been aware of the logically equivalent and simpler concept of "greater than"?

      1. Halloween Jack


        This. The number of times I've seen code where a preprocessor token has a negative in it ('ndebug' being the obvious one, but things like "DONT_WANT_FOO" and "NO_BAR" have been common enough). The difference between grokking "#ifdef BAR" vs "#ifndef NO_BAR" (or even "#ifdef NO_BAR" for that matter), for me, is huge. I mean, it's not difficult - I can work it out easily enough, but because there's a little bit of 'tripping up' involved in the mental comprehension, I do need to stop and double-check that I definitely have it the right way around. That really does NOT help when scanning through code, because by the time you've convinced yourself that you got it right, your mental model of where you are in the code overall has been lost.

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge


      "That's a usually a driver fault if I recall, which seems quite apt, really."

      Should be apt-get. *coff*

      1. Steven Raith


        Kernel panics are so much more descriptive.

        Steven "Trying to make Vulkan work on a Radeon R280" Raith

  3. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

    Maybe don't put Windows on top of a taxi.

    Wouldn't that make it a sunroof?

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      If you stick your arse to it does that make it a moon roof?

    2. Adam 1

      If I'm honest, I can't really see the point in putting Windows under a taxi. On top makes perfect sense to me.

  4. Chris G Silver badge


    Manure in the cloud, a pint for that.

    Windows BSOD seem to be the gift that will never stop giving.

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: Manure in the cloud

      Wouldn't that lead to a shower of shit?

      1. ArrZarr

        Re: Manure in the cloud

        And "Singing in the rain" would become a right shitshow.

        1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

          Re: Manure in the cloud

          "Over The Rainbow" would lose some of the magic as well.

          1. MonkeyJuice

            Re: Manure in the cloud

            Chocolate Rain, duh.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    The real big joke

    The really big joke about advertising on everything everywhere is that increasingly nobody is taking any notice of it. It's become mere background noise that gets tuned out, and the more they fling at us the less we'll absorb. But the brokers will still make a bundle, and that's probably all that really matters.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: The real big joke

      Shhh ! Don't say that aloud. They might learn about it and we'll have to start paying for everything.

      1. DCFusor

        Re: The real big joke

        Rats, I only get one upvote. ;~}

        Hooray for ublock and similar. And for lazy sites that can't figure out how to host their own, making rejection by source address easy.

        1. Fred Dibnah

          Re: The real big joke

          I'd like UBlock for Eyeballs.

          1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

            Re: The real big joke

            >I'd like UBlock for Eyeballs.

            Yes, a pair of augmented reality eye glasses that just block out ads.

    2. Daedalus

      Re: The real big joke

      Sooner or later somebody will figure out that you can make some dosh flogging stolen displays on Ebaygum.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: The real big joke

      " everything everywhere is that increasingly nobody is taking any notice of it."

      Ahhh, but they do. The big boys make good use of plastering their logo all over creation. Pepsi and Coke are two biggies in the low-glow wars. Why do you think there is all of the signage in the football stadiums and on uniforms? Where would Chico's Bail Bonds be today without ads all over everything?

      1. Sanctimonious Prick
        IT Angle

        Re: The real big joke

        I remember watching something on teevee once (before the Internet) about how Coca-Cola was the most recognised brand in the world. But due to a massive advertising campaign by Pepsi in India, Pepsi took that spot away from Coca-Cola - but only for a brief time.


    4. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: The real big joke

      I gained a new exercise from a video add on my phone from some game. The one where you do a squat, rock forward onto your hands, shoot your feet out the back, do a pressup then bring feet back and stand up.

      Makes my morning exercises much shorter, instead of squats followed by pressups followed by crunches I do these. I can do them really dynamically now. Not bad for a codger of 54, but then I've been doing pressups and crunches for decades so it was no real sweat to do it, just get it smooth enough for proper dynamism.

      No idea what the add was punting, but ta for the suggestion guys.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: The real big joke

        This is a showpony/cut-down version of a burpie --designed as a shortcut display not exercise-- and hence a bit useless at generating fitness+strength. Suggest you try the proper burpie:

        * From standing position, drop to pushup/pressup position.

        * Do a PROPER pushup.

        * At the top of it, jump feet to hands (to a sort of squat position), then jump UP.

        * At top of jump, lift knees to chest, clap both hands beneath your knees/calves.

        * Land to stand on your feet. That's 1.

        The clapping keeps you honest about hiking your knees up fast. A much easier version is clapping straightarmed above your head. Depending on your fitness+strength, the initial drop to pushup position can be via handsonfloor crouch or just kick your feet back, rotate as you drop, and land nosetoground.

        As with all bodyweight exercise, you get dramatic benefits from maximum acceleration/speed. (First time I hit the gym after years of tae kwon do, I discovered I was benchpressing twice my bodyweight.) But that requires careful attention to form (!!), and requires careful attention to warming-/limbering-up and limbering-down (eg, 20mins warmup, 20mins exercise, 10mins warmdown).

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: The real big joke

          > dramatic benefits from maximum acceleration/speed

          High-school physics demonstrates one aspect of this.

          Work = Force x Distance

          Force = Mass x Acceleration

          Acceleration varies with the square of the velocity change.

          (Distance and Mass are "fixed" by your body size.)

          Hence: double the acceleration, quadruple the work done by your muscles.

    5. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: The real big joke

      I recently watched Blade Runner again.... I think you're right!

    6. Bruce Ordway

      Re: The real big joke

      >>mere background noise that gets tuned out

      Or in my case, I make note of industries with the most aggressive/pervasive advertisers.

      These are items I assume I'm paying way too much money for.

      In the US, I suspect the insurance industry is doing the most price gouging.

      No national health care in my future...

    7. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The real big joke

      I look forward to being able to obtain a black-market uBlock augment in our advertising-plastered dystopian future.

    8. VanguardG

      Re: The real big joke

      Alternatively, the ads are so abundant and crass that you begin to despise the product or service the ads are about. Vehicle insurance companies and political "vote for me!" ads are prime offenders in this area. Instead of tuning them out entirely, they become the opposite of what they're meant to be, because they push you toward opposing products and services (candidates) just so you're not paying extra in order to help fund the ads that annoy you so much.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Dear...

    Clearly a problem with some .cab files.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Oh Dear...

      I'm sure some consultant will fix it, for a hansom fee...

      1. Swiss Anton

        Re: Oh Dear...

        Or come up with the same old hackneyed excuses as to why it went wrong,

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Oh Dear...

        A handsome fee paid through his/her Romanian Ltd company.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This one is awesome! And the jokes about it are good! :D

  8. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    linux version

    "I had that Linux Torvalds in the back the other day. Strange geezer 'e was. Started out ever so nice but then 'e lorst it near the end. Still at least he committed it all before checking out."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: linux version

      One simple driver error and he goes round the bend.

  9. SGWilko

    "London's black cabs have sought to supplement their meagre income"

    Turn it in, black cabbying is a license to print money - ever seen a cabbies' tax return, one thing it wont iclude is the not inconsiderate amount of tips... Why do you think they can afford to buy decent houses and retire to Spain...?

    Really, my heart bleeds......

    1. M. Poolman

      I think you had your sarcasm filter turned up too high.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Seen a cabbies tax return

      Yes I have

      if your turnover is below 85k and your a sole trader, you dont need to file details of everything. Turnover, costs and a profit/loss figure is all you need. Its the same for everyone. Go have a look at a SA103S and the guidance notes.

      Of course, the accuracy of those figures is probably dubious at best. Same for any cash service trade like taxis, hairdressing and the like.

  10. DougMac

    I just wonder at what point that these software companies making signage think that a windows license is worth the cost of deploying these, and all the baggage that goes along with it.

    I'd have thought everyone would flock to a linux digital signage or something with loads less license fees; although looking at the digital signage market, the license fees are not cheap, and the ones I've seen in the wild haven't been any more stable than windows anyway. There was one by my car park that turned from a bulletin board to a digital sign, back to a bulletin board for like 6 months until they finally seemed able to fix it again. I'm sure they were glad that they paid all that $$ so we have a nice smooth screen to tape their paper printouts to again.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      A Raspberry Pi could be configured to be a proper message presenting system for a hell of a lot less money, headache, heartache, & labour than even the most basic of Windows "solutions".

      Give it wifi capability, point it to a central ad repository, & have it serve up those (filtered, vetted, security cleared, safe) ads for all & sundry.

      No embaressing BSOD's with which to make you a laughingstock & fodder for stories such as this one must surely be enough of an enticement for even the most pedestrian of primordial of life forms?

      Wait, we're talking about marketers, they haven't evolved up to primordial soup level yet...

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Samsung "Stumpy" Chromeboxes are pretty much a dime a dozen on Ebay now. Reflash the firmware courtesy of MrChromebox, install Linux (Gallium is designed for Chromebox), and you have yourself a nice little 1500 passmark linux box for anything from PiHole, basic PC, ad-flinging box, you name it.

      2. James Hughes 1

        We sell shitloads of Pi's in to the signage market.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Maybe they make sure only the top half of the screen appears on the sign so you can't see the unlicensed message in the bottom corner.

    3. herman Silver badge

      Philips signage screens all run Ubuntu Linux.

  11. Conundrum1885


    Bad memory can do this.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't like the rain hey

    Neither do any of my broadband lines, they're all much more likely to drop out when it's raining.

  13. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    "'Ere, I had that Boris Johnson on the roof of my cab once, telling some porkies about Brexit..."

  14. keith_w

    Digital signage fail

    I was in an elevator the other day with digital signage that proudly requested that it be reconnected to its boot disk. No idea what the failing OS was, it had been working a couple of hours earlier.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Digital signage fail

      it probably had become terribly frustrated with the mindless business of going up or down, experimented briefly with the notion of going sideways - as a sort of existential protest - demanded participation in the decision making process & finally, took to sulking in basements.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Digital signage fail

      Did you ask if all the diodes down its left hand side were still hurting?

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Digital signage fail

        That was probably lost in the intolerable air of smugness generated by the door as it was about to open.

  15. Conundrum1885

    RE. Re: Digital signage fail

    Incidentally I have an old moving display with terminal screen burn.

    Anyone have a fix? this is LED based and you can clearly see its been used extensively.

    1. Nolveys

      Re: RE. Digital signage fail

      Invert the image and run it long enough to make the burn uniform?

      1. Conundrum1885

        Re: RE. Digital signage fail

        Was thinking more drilling lots of small holes where the burn is particularly bad and dropping in a diode. Incidentally this is a lot easier than people think as blue LEDs in this form aren't that bulky.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, on the Kuala Lumpur LRT...

    The best non-BSOD I've seen on the irritating video show screens some of the trains on the Kelana Jaya line have is an insistent message about duplicate IP addresses scrolling across the bottom. This is slightly worrying when the entire line is automated. Hopefully it is being controlled using a network that wasn't set up by the same bunch of cowboys who did the video system.

    Although judging by what happened last year at KLIA[1], maybe I should consider walking to work...

    1) The entire network servicing KLIA & KLIA2 was down for more than 48 hours. Main router failed. Fail-over to the HA system didn't work because that was also broken. They had to ship in new hardware and re-build the network configuration from scratch.

  17. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

    A pedant writes

    Licensed taxi cabs. Or is this restricted to those painted black?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A pedant writes

      I saw a white electric one parked in Lee Sainsbury's the other day.

  18. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Keep the wins coming

    With the Brexit success now behind us, it's now time for Wexit !

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