Taking errors to new heights


We rely on computers for a lot in public — scoreboards, timetables, ATMs, etc. For the most part, it’s seamless. When it fails in a harmless way, it’s funny.
DSC00085.JPGDuring a vacation last summer, I saw two displays “crash” with Windows error messages in the space of a few hours in Salt Lake City.
One was a huge storefront display on Main Street across from the Gallivan Center TRAX station. It seemed like an elegant way to reuse a vacant storefront. However, that morning, there was a giant error window instead of pithy notes about upcoming events.
It appeared that the program driving the whole storefront display had crashed and needed attention. It probably got a decent amount of attention during that morning’s commute.
A little while later, I headed to the Clark Planetarium in the Gateway Center. While I’m learning about “our” sun, I notice _another_ error message — the screen saver apparently wouldn’t engage.
This error was probably less noticeable — it was a smaller monitor placed way above people’s heads. Nonetheless, I let the museum staff know in case they can fix the problem.
As someone who is a little oriented towards technology, I have the desire to try and fix the problem even if it’s none of my business — like at the Dave & Buster’s in San Jose.

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