back to article The future of signage is here, and it wants an update

As displays become ever more complex, one constant remains. Windows will need care and attention and is liable to let the world know if it doesn't get it. Welcome to another in The Register's pantheon of Bork. Today's victim of the curse of Windows is an innocent store in the heart of Reading, a town in the southern portion of …

  1. MarkET

    Just tap the OK button

    with a sledgehammer...

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Just tap the OK button

      Given the tag line, I though you would use an axe.

  2. styx-tdo

    so, how does that look

    from the other side? Did they finally activate real multi-layer-displays ;)?

  3. Updraft102 Silver badge

    When are active hours for a thing like a digital sign? All the time, you say?

    Well, too bad. Lord Microsoft says you can't set them to 24 hours. They're benevolent enough to allow you some "you" time on your own hardware, but you WILL set aside some Microsoft time too.

    Back in the GWX days, a woman was doing a weather forecast on live TV when an "upgrade to Windows 10" message popped up. Her reaction was priceless... she said, "Don't do it!"

    Now, five years later, evidently nothing has changed. Microsoft is still making demands of other people's hardware. You see Youtube videos of people doing things with their PCs and "Let's cross this off your list" update nag appears at an inopportune moment. I loathe that pseudo-familiar tone that MS takes these days. Whatever it was you wanted to do with my PC wasn't actually ever ON my list, Microsoft.

    Windows 10 needs to be crossed off the list.

    1. UCAP

      Microsoft makes absolutely no demand on my hardware - I run Linux!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        MA are on the list of active contributors to Linux. Back in 2011 they were in the top 5 contributors. More recently it's been suggested so many of their employees are involved with and/or contributing to open source, they may actually be the world biggest open source contributor by head count. Saying that does tend to stick in the throat a bit, but it does appear to be factually accurate from a cursory web search.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          This is true, but unfortunately it has little practical effect on anything being discussed in this thread.

    2. G2

      re:future of signage

      actually Windows 10 can stay on the list imho, but only if the user deploying it knows what they are doing... which in this case it's obvious they did not know and just used the cheapest plug-and-play thing off the nearest shelf.

      1st: NEVER use Win Home in a company - this thing is not even GDPR compliant, it can barely be used in a private home because it relies on the fact that household usage is excepted from GDPR rules. (quote: "by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity;").

      Any auditor worth its money will raise a major GDPR compliance stink if they find any Home edition in use by a company.

      2nd: do not use Win 10 Pro unless it is for a system that can be easily accessed AND managed. (note the "and" here, it's not an optional "or" !)

      3rd: for systems that must be deployed for unattended usage, make sure to use either an IoT or Enterprise edition of Win10 and also to deploy WSUS for proper and coordinated OS patch management. Only push patches to those systems groups when they have a maintenance window scheduled.

      No maintenance scheduled? then configure that machine (via gpedit) to never check automatically for updates. Maybe also configure http://127.0.0.1 as a dummy update server to use... this way it will only check for updates when told manually.

      1. Lusty

        Re: re:future of signage

        @G2 you seem to have misunderstood GDPR. There is zero requirement for a window sign to worry about GDPR. Zero. It has no inputs, how will it collect PII?

        1. G2

          Re: re:future of signage

          you seem to miss the fact that this is a digital window sign, not a plain paint and wood/plastic one.

          smart window signs are starting to be equipped with a built-in camera for analytics. They are deploying it for eye tracking, viewer demographics and other such statistics. Also, some of them can even do facial recognition and change what they display based on a central database with informations about what that person likes or dislikes or, as it is in China, data pulled from their official Social Credit System ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit_System )

          That's pretty much right up the alley of GDPR.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD3067JJujY

          https://www.wired.com/2007/06/eye-tracking-device-lets-billboards-know-when-you-look-at-them/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re:future of signage

            You're still missing the point entirely. If the company already has your PII to recognise you, then they have your consent to store and use that PII, yet it still doesn't need to be held on the display system, which can be a dumb display. The version of Windows is not relevant here, all SKUs can allow for the safe and secure storage of PII if designed properly.

            Regardless, the fact that you can imagine a far fetched scenario where a screen could hold PII doesn't alter the fact that this one clearly doesn't, and your GDPR jibber jabber just gets in the way of actual progress for the rest of us. The very idea that we shouldn't create a digital sign right now because some nut can imagine a scenario where in the future digital signage might possibly become subject to GDPR is ludicrous. Let's focus on things that actually are subject to GDPR and the things that aren't, leave them alone.

            1. DryBones
              Holmes

              Re: re:future of signage

              "Regardless, the fact that you can imagine a far fetched scenario where a screen could hold PII doesn't alter the fact that this one clearly doesn't," *snip*

              And you can tell that from a picture? Really?

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Windows 10 is an "app" not an operating system and apps crash occasionally, while it makes it easy for people to market signs it's not a professional class of software. I think that there's a potential opportunity here to design a signage system that works reliably and doesn't screw up from time to time - not something that you can do with a Microsoft product.

  4. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    I'm surprised Windows doesn't have an API call to prevent anything other than a particular application running on a particular display for cases like this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like Kiosk mode?

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        I don't know. Does Kiosk mode prevent warning messages such as "plz update" or "ww\o/ww^ww oh no! shark!" from popping up on the display?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          No, those are controlled by other mechanisms, but all are possible and very easy for anyone inclined to spend 5 minutes reading documentation.

          1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
            Holmes

            Ah.

            ...very easy for anyone inclined to spend 5 minutes reading documentation.

            Ah, I think I may see the problem here.

  5. DCFusor Silver badge

    Even Microsoft

    Has become a linux fan! Not only are they trying to emulate it internally, and make it easy to develop for, but they're obviously

    also giving users a not so gentle push to get off it for anything that matters.

    Now why you'd want to develop for and run software for a reliable opsys on windows, instead of natively on the reliable one, I dunno. But MS never did make too much sense. WSL seems to be an example of that, at least to me. Hard to see why that even exists except to temporarily keep people on windows enough to collect fees for office licences.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Even Microsoft Has become a linux fan

      You are delusional.

      Microsfoot are desperately trying to increase the chances that on adoption, Linux can be run on top of a Windows Licence.

      They have little interest in pushing users onto Linux on a nice stable non-licence paying base that doesn't want to restart a couple of times every time you want to do anything.

    2. FlippingGerman

      Re: Even Microsoft

      I use WSL because it gives me bash in Windows (cygwin is rubbish). I use Windows because it does the things I want an OS to do, and Linux does not (run games).

  6. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    Best example yet

    Best example yet of a windows blue screen (or update) SNAFU in signage. Well done!

    (In My Bombastic Opinion, at any rate)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Careful with that Patch, Eugene

    Thank you for the Pink Floyd reference there!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Careful with that Patch, Eugene

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8OE4gedQuc

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Careful with that Patch, Eugene

      Beat me to it.

      Seems the copywriter may be of my generation...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Careful with that Patch, Eugene

        More obscurely, could also be the line "Careful with that spliff, Eugene ... it causes condensation". Trumpton Riots by Half Man Half Biscuit.

  8. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Software as a service

    Suddenly it's obsolete so it stops working. Yet another example of why software as a service is a really bad idea - quite apart from the need to fork out constantly while it does (sort of) work.

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