back to article Chicago: Why I just grin like a dork... It's my kind of Bork

Welcome to another entry in the digital signage corridor of despair, where cock-ups that would normally only trouble a user's screen are on public display for all to marvel at. Today's entry comes from Reg reader Anthony Remmers and concerns the displays atop Chicago's bus shelters. Things, it appears, do not seem to be going …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge

    My Kinda Town!

    When I was a student there, CTA = Chicago Transit Apathy. Lots of times the last run of the bus didn't run! (it used to be the Sheridan 151), forcing me to walk 15 Chicago blocks to catch an alternate bus to my hood!

    1. Herbert Meyer

      Re: My Kinda Town!

      When I was going to College in Chicago, I had a job next to the CTA bus garage at Foster and Kedzie, on the North Side, in the River North neighborhood . After the Morning Rush Hour, many buses would go back to the garage to wait for the Afternoon Rush Hour, and would put up (it was a paper roll, not an electronic sign) Foster and Kedzie on the destination sign on the front of the bus. But they would not stop and pickup passengers on the trip in. I would wave and shout "I want to goto Foster and Kedzie". No luck.

      1. chuckufarley Silver badge

        Re: My Kinda Town!

        Things have changed. Now they use LED signs on the buses and someone included a "Garage" selection in the route list.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          Re: My Kinda Town!

          Garage South! On Montrose avenue??

      2. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: My Kinda Town!

        College? CCC? Class of '90!

      3. Mike the FlyingRat Bronze badge

        Re: My Kinda Town!

        Foster/Kedzie is on the north size. It is not River North.

        Trust me, I lived in River North for 20 years and then in West Loop neighborhood for 10 years before that.

        Sorry but a bit of a Chicago neighborhood thing.

  2. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Bronze badge

    LED matrices

    "The display itself seems more or less OK; the CTA has opted to stick with the reassuring soft glow of an amber matrix rather than a migraine-inducing flatscreen."


    I prefer an amber LED "egg-crate" or medium-res matrix over non-high-enough-density full-color any day. Heck, any single color "eggcrate" matrix is better than those too-bright or usually-broken color panels. (Personal preferences: amber, tricolor*, red -- usually too dim, green -- usually too bright.)

    * Tricolor had red, yellow, and green in the same pixel that could be mixed into an orange (red/yellow) or chartreuse (yellow/green). Lots of fun transitions/hold animations with those, but I never got to play with one myself.

    I'm always on warpath about display tech because I used to run (design/program if you will) a giant roadside two-sided monochrome incandescent display, 80 x 16, for my high school during my senior year; the software ran on DOS. After that, I ran a small single-face red LED matrix, single line, dedicated plug-in keypad controller, for the college student government freshman year until the president graduated and took it with him (rightly so; it was his own).

    What I learned was that it's not so much about the tech as it is the design/programming. Most businesses/schools/churches don't pay attention to if the content is actually READABLE -- not just "viewable" -- and understandable while going at full traffic speeds when you only have a few seconds of a good view. You have to think like a newspaper headline writer: KISS, five W's, and leave them wanting more so they'll look into it / call later. And never let flashy transitions/animation get in the way of the real message.

    Sadly, when my own church wanted to go digital and retire the old moveable-plastic-letters sign, they didn't listen to me and went full color/full video anyway. The designs are okay, but there was a period of time when it had its own BORK -- not a good/helpful message to the community, sadly.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: LED matrices

      If they had run the display from an Amiga, then they might have ended up promoting Eastern Mysticism instead of Bible-belt Beelzebub's Fire and Brimstone.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: LED matrices

      I think the low res dot matrix displays on public transport are actually better during busy periods (such as the morning and evening rush hour). They tend to be easier to read, whether the commuter is full or partially sighted (depends on the cause of the partial sight obviously). Case in point. The newly refurbished London Bridge station has large amber dot matrix displays on all the platforms apart from the Thameslink platforms, where they have full colour high resolution displays that are the same size. They are very well done displays, that have a lot of good information, but tend not to be so easy to read if you can't get near the display (which is very much a probability in the rush hour at London Bridge).

  3. FBee

    CTA Band/Banned

    Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, calling themselves the Chicago Transit Authority in 1968 before shortening the name in 1969. After the release of their eponymous (debut) album, the band's name was shortened to Chicago to avoid legal action being threatened by the actual mass-transit company of the same name.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: CTA Band/Banned

      So... you’re saying that the CTA are humorless twats, like a certain Butt Head Astronomer?

  4. MGyrFalcon

    Jumped up quiche?

    A food dis from people who think black pudding is a food? Really? Apparently noone at Vulture Central has ever eaten one.

    1. nijam

      Re: Jumped up quiche?

      Quiche is just a pretentious name for a flan.

      1. Robert Forsyth

        Re: Jumped up quiche?

        We invent the egg and ham tart/torte.

        Flan is borrowed from French

        Quiche is borrowed by French from German (Kuchen)

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Jumped up quiche?

          Every culture invents pretty much every food you can make from the things available,

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Jumped up quiche?

            which makes you wonder how desperately hungry someone was, to eat snails,considering that without mountains of flavouring (and a lot of butter) they have a taste and texture not essentially different from "chewy snot with lumps in it"

      2. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Jumped up quiche?

        I would not be happy if i found bits of Loraine in my flan of a morning.

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Jumped up quiche?

        In the US they have flaaauns.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Jumped up quiche?

      Black pudding is a delicious food. Deep pan pizzas are just a way to increase profits by reducing the ratio of (expensive) topping to (cheap) dough.

      1. chuckufarley Silver badge

        Re: Jumped up quiche?

        Any you have never eaten one. If you had you would know that the main ingredient by volume and weight isn't dough. It is cheese.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Jumped up quiche?

          And the lack of egg mixture shows that it is clearly not a quiche

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Jumped up quiche?

          In the US is seems to be partly vulcanised latex. They dont seem to have cheese available to the general public there,

      2. MGyrFalcon

        Re: Jumped up quiche?

        A proper Chicago Style deep dish is ~0.0023+ Brontosaurus" thick with way more filling than crust. The top and bottom crusts are not that thick. (the two crusts is why it is sometimes referred to as a Pizza Pie)

        Oh and BTW, there are no eggs or custard inside so quiche is completely wrong.

        1. chuckufarley Silver badge

          Re: Jumped up quiche?

          I know, I know, everyone hates Empirical Evidence. That's why I brought some to the discussion:

          Now, as you all can see @MGyrFalcon has some very valid points. I hope you have learned a thing or two because like Robert Heinlein said: "You live and learn or you don't live long."

        2. Mike the FlyingRat Bronze badge

          @MGryFalcon Re: Jumped up quiche?

          Real Chicago men don't eat quiche.

          With respect to deep dish...

          You have a couple of options.

          I've always preferred Lou's over the others although Uno and Duo are ok.

          Then there's a place up in Lincoln Park (On Clarke I think) that had a good Calazone,

          Not sure what you mean by top crust. Its the sides and the bottom and the bottom is roughly 1/4-1/2" thick.

          That's the one thing I miss not being in Chicago. Decent Pizza. (And yes if you like NY Style there's a place near Hubbard and State, across from the Hertz Rent-a-Car center. )

          1. MGyrFalcon

            Re: @MGryFalcon Jumped up quiche?

            Ok, there isn’t really a top ‘crust’, however there is a second layer of pizza dough placed on top with a hole in the middle so the fillings can vent while cooking. That piece of dough is also topped with sauce and possibly a bit of cheese or fresh tomato slices depending on where you get your pie. The explanation is for clarification and as an explanation for those who haven’t been to Chicago and are wondering what we are going on so much about.

            I left Chicago many years ago, I miss the variety and quality of food, which is my opinion one of the best anywhere in the US. I also miss the architecture which just IS better than anywhere else state side.

            1. Mike the FlyingRat Bronze badge

              Re: @MGryFalcon Jumped up quiche?

              No idea what you're talking about.

              Get a Lou's Deep Dish or a Sausage w some garlic/onions/black olives on top.

              You have the pie, the large sausage patty that covers the whole pizza, then the cheese, sauce and then more toppings.

              Don't know what you were eating cause that sir, is a Chicago Deep Dish.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. RNixon

          Re: Jumped up quiche?

          Hate to break this to you, but any kind of pizza can be called a pizza pie.

          It's the typical term in New York. 'Gimmie a large cheese pie.'

          And that certainly doesn't have two crusts.

          1. J27 Silver badge

            Re: Jumped up quiche?

            "Pizza" is just the Italian word for pie.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Jumped up quiche?

              And "pide" is a pizza-like food from Turkey. Not sure if it pre-dates the Italian pizza or even the Spanish version "coca". The root of the word may even go back as far as "pitta", used to describe a flat bread all over the Middle East / Mediterranean region.

    3. IGnatius T Foobar ! Bronze badge

      Re: Jumped up quiche?

      It can only be called "pizza" if it is made within 50 miles of the Bronx. New York pizza is "real" pizza. I've eaten Chicago-style and even enjoyed it, but it's really more of a casserole (not a quiche) than a pizza.

      1. Aleph0

        Re: Jumped up quiche?

        Neapolitans beg to differ.

        Icon: wood-fired pizza is the only decent kind, according to some.

        1. Mike 16 Silver badge

          Re: wood fired

          Careful, you might get some pushback from the sort who take fuel (and by implication cooking temperature profile) very seriously. There is one restaurant in San Francisco that segments their menu that way. No, the choices do not include propane or styrene (side effect of a clueless roommate's reheating strategy), but do include coal-fired. I don't _think_ they included more specific choices, but I'd tend to go with the anthracite, not bituminous.

          My credentials? 1/2 Italian, but that half was from the north, so we tended toward Focaccia.

          More "crust" than "topping", but bread is a main food group, right?

          1. Mike the FlyingRat Bronze badge

            Re: wood fired

            Come to Chicago.

            You can get all sorts of different pizza types. Besides the main chains everyone knows. There one out on Chicago Ave. (West of Milwaukee Ave by about 1/2 to a mile.)

            Killer pizza and salads. (The same owner owns a bakery / breakfast cafe next door)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jumped up quiche?

        It can only be called "pizza" if it is made within 50 miles of the Bronx

        It was called pizza before your country was born!

    4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Jumped up quiche?

      I once observed an Italian (from Naples, too) who was confronted with the Chicago style deep pan pizza. An explosion resulted, not quite Trinity Test level, but getting there (hence icon).

      Granted, several Neapolitans I have met tended to explode at any pizza NOT from what they consider the only authentic pizzeria in Naples (and they tend not to agree on what the ONLY authentic place is), but this person really got incandescent.

      I tend not to be too bothered with what is authentic, food wise, just what tastes good. My preference is definitely with the Italian thinner base, but I refuse to get all religious about it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...or a simple mistype in the max_connections system variable"

    Nah, my bet is on connections were being opened but not closed. Didn't show up in the testing since they didn't run it long enough/enough times. Classic production only bug.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: "...or a simple mistype in the max_connections system variable"

      You mean, "didn't show up in the testing because everything else over-ran and QA was told to cut a week out of its schedule".

      "Production only error", my left foot.

    2. james_smith

      Re: "...or a simple mistype in the max_connections system variable"

      Running the tests without enough concurrent requests is the usual problem. So many times I've had to fix other people's code that works fine in a single thread with one request, but doesn't scale ...

  6. chuckufarley Silver badge

    As a current Chicago resident...

    ...Perhaps I can shed some light on what is happening here. I see these messages once a week or so and I am almost positive I know the cause. The very high tech people at CTA use the very low tech TC&S networking protocol. For those too young to remember TC&S stands for "Tin Cans And String." In order to create a DoS attack in such a network environment all a bad actor has to do is tie an extra bit a string into the system and attach that to a tin can, et viola! Too Many Connections!

  7. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    The Chcago Way

    Could be someone did not get their payoff and this is their way of striking back? This is home of Bugs Moran and Al Capone after all.

  8. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    So, when exactly ...

    ... does the next bus to SQL STATE arrive?

    1. chuckufarley Silver badge

      Re: So, when exactly ...

      It's actually 32 bits of a bus:

    2. SuperGeek Bronze badge

      Re: So, when exactly ...

      "... does the next bus to SQL STATE arrive?"

      [10.40] ?

  9. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "If it is the error we think it is, then it gets thrown when all available connections are in use"

    yeah, i thought that too

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      No its when all available connections are taken. I would put money on many of them being idle. I bet if they wrote some proper code that only allowed each sign one connection then it would all probably work a lot better.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021