Windows Crash Causes Havoc Over California

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by thatwendigo, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. thatwendigo macrumors 6502a

    thatwendigo

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    #1
    Story

    A failure to reset the system every thirty days lead to the shutdown of the air traffic radio system. Microsoft had been chosen to replace the older UNIX infrastructure, but the flaw - which was known at installation - was not fixed.

    Come fly the friendly skies, as long as you trust Gates and company!
     
  2. dotnina macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    This was a few days ago, and I'm surprised there hasn't been more of a hubbub over this. They're saying nobody was at risk, but I find that hard to believe.

    And I'm concerned that we're trusting air travel with Microsoft software. :rolleyes:
     
  3. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #3
    Apparently some MS VP mistook Apple's "AirPort" for something else..
     
  4. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

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  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #5
    Woah... so basically, MS not only doesn't know how to write quality software for a desktop user, but they are unable to grasp the fundamentals of designing zero-tolerance systems.

    Actually, in fairness, that article didn't make it clear if MS actually designed the system, or if it was just Microsoft based... in which case, whoever designed it deserves several lawsuits and being run out of business for the combination of stupidity it would take to base a critical system on any Microsoft product, and to build one that had such an obvious flaw and inadequate fallbacks.

    So not only did this glitch cause at least one pilot to have to take out-of-the-ordinary measures to avoid hitting another plane, but their solution is to have the system give a warning before it shuts down? Meaning that they knew about this glitch and nobody thought to have it warn you before it shuts down until now?

    I design systems that control hardware far less likely to cause vast economic and physical damage in the case of failure, and even I wouldn't design a system with failsafes that poor.
     
  6. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a

    NusuniAdmin

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  7. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

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    #7
    I even know better that that, and I only know some Visual Basic .NET (which, BTW, is great for making prank viruses.....and real ones I hear but I can't do that yet.)

    My aunt was caught in that. Spent 4 hours in a plane. Not fun. Then, a 6 hour flight to Hawaii. Really not fun.
     
  8. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #8
    From the article mention of an "internal clock," I take it that they ran into
    this old bug in Win9x.
     
  9. friarbayliff macrumors regular

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    #9
    Great, good to know our safety is in good hands.
     
  10. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

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    #10
    There's a great fix! :rolleyes:


    Why do idiots put up with sh*t from MS and accept it as the gold standard?!? :mad:
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    haha, that's funny. A warning that pops up when the system is about to be shut down. Why would that even be necessary if the system worked properly? I say its more important to fix the system rather have a warning that pops up before the system goes down. ;)
     
  12. continuum macrumors 6502

    continuum

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    #12
    i am so familiar with that pop-up window saying the system will shutdown. at work we are on an XP network and through our N. American intranet they do routine maintenance. i'll be typing away with multiple windows open and all the sudden the countdown of doom starts. it gives us something like 40 seconds until shutdown/reboot. i scramble to save everything and close all the applications - it say that the user must close everything or data will be lost.

    they do this sometimes to install virus patches/updates. it's loads of fun.
     
  13. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #13
    Actually, believe it or not, it may not have been Microsoft's fault. From what I hear, it was a bug that was patched in Windows 95. When the FAA adapted the system for their uses, the patch did not work because of the FAA's changes. The FAA needed the software quick so they used this "restart patch" so to speak. The FAA had plans to fix the bug but never got around to it.

    I wish I had a link or something from you guys, but this is from a professor I spoke to who specializes in aviation engineering. He said he had no hard facts, is was just speculation based what little knowledge he had.
     
  14. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

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    #14
    I wouldn't blame Microsoft. They airports said they were aware of the problem, but the technician didn't reset it. Sure Microsoft may have developed flawed software, but they knew the risk and didn't take action and sufferred. Instead of pointing fingers they should just fire the guy who forgot to reset.

    iJon
     
  15. AmigoMac macrumors 68020

    AmigoMac

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    #15
    You took the fun of this thread off ... :rolleyes:



    :p

    Some people here would like to blame MS for everything, even the weather! :eek: ... btw, MS sucks! :D
     
  16. thatwendigo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thatwendigo

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    #16
    You've got to love the apologists showing up and trying to absolve Microsoft of their culpabilitiy. The system was Windows 2000, not 95, and it still has the bug from a decade ago, yet the vendor had no issues with putting out a mission critical system that they knew would have this problem. That doesn't clear the FAA and LAX from any responsibility, and the people who purchased the system in that state ought to be fired, along with the engineer that didn't reset it, but the fact that people just let Microsoft wash their hands of a huge mistake like this when it could have killed people is just terrifying.

    Are you going to excuse them when one of the military MS implementations accidentally kills someone, too?

    Because, you know, the programmer didn't have anything to do with the bug existing, and Microsoft couldn't have written a patch for it anyway. :rolleyes:
     
  17. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

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    #17
    True, but then you have to think. Does every airport in the world use this software. It's not everday the airlines are going into havoc mode with ATC's going out. If there is other software out there then use it. Yes Microsoft developed something bad but they still decided to use it. Only reason I defend this is because I feel if this were Apple's fault (just hypothetically speaking) we would all blame the technicians because of our unconditional love for Apple and Macs.

    iJon
     
  18. relimw macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    1) The FAA may need things quickly, but they rarely do anything quickly. A system they roll out today, was most likely designed and speced 5-7 years ago. They do not do incremental OS updates unless a major flaw is found.

    2) Considering the most likely things that could happen to cause this sort of failure, I'd guess it was prolly a piece of software that had a minor memory leak. (Not that Win95 had any of those on its own :) A crashed system would take out the radios controlled thru a single AFSS for awhile, depending on how long the system takes to reload the OS and related software(s).
     
  19. relimw macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Don't blame the techs :p We can't help it that the government doesn't listen to us :D

    Every airport doesn't use it. It's only used in AFSSs, and other locations that use remote access radios.
     
  20. AmigoMac macrumors 68020

    AmigoMac

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    #20
    I hope it doesn't have to do with THIS (in German) but there was something similar in Frankfurt airport ... just look the pic :eek:
     
  21. zv470 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    :rolleyes: so... Everyone sleep easy because Cat Stevens isn't allowed in America, but this kind of thing is. I'm glad they're getting rid of the real threats =] heh :D
     
  22. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #22
    Have you ever listened to his music? That man is evil! ;)
     
  23. zv470 macrumors 6502

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    New Zealand
    #23
    Yeah, like yea?... whats with "Moonlight Shadow"? Pure unadulterated satanic filth, i mean Satanists worship the moon and the prince of shadow, well prince of darkness but who cares about finer details. ;) and what's with Cat? Didn't the Egyptians worship cats? and Stevens almost rhymes with Satans. jeepers creepers. ;)

    I wonder if there were any protests in the states about Cat Stevens deportation, It's pretty crazy and sad.
     
  24. Shum macrumors newbie

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    Sep 26, 2004
    #24
    I think somewhere in the Mac OS license agreement it says that Mac OS must not be used for zero-tolerance stuff, like airports or other places where failure could cause death.
     
  25. slughead macrumors 68030

    slughead

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