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Roller Coaster Data Center

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the can't-let-you-do-that-dave dept.

Toys 207

stienman writes "The Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point Amusement Park may have more technology than your data center. From the article: "The parameters within which the Dragster has to operate are so finely tuned that variable load weights from people, wind speed and out-side temperature affect its performance. ... After every third launch, the data are averaged and compared with historic launch data in an effort to create that perfect ride - the roller coaster must go fast enough to clear the top of the tower, but slow to between 7 and 15 mph in order to give riders the maximum lift effect at the top."

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In other words... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038655)

It's a better ride than your MOM!

First post bitches

Try Getting... (0, Offtopic)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038658)

...frist post on a roller coaster!

Oblig. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038659)

Re:Oblig. (0, Offtopic)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038687)

Thanks, dude, you have totally ruined my workday :) I'll be fired within a week and it will all be your fault!

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038946)

Why, is it a trojan?

but... (0, Offtopic)

qaxzar (892099) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038673)

does it run linux?

YEAH MOTHA FUCKA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038680)

I declare a SLASHDOT RIOT!

By the first glance.. (1, Interesting)

lordsilence (682367) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038682)

It looks like those guys use specialized equipment to be able to provide high security. Not really using the top of the line computers.

Re:By the first glance.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038816)

how is this offtopic? the guy posted visual observation about their datacentre.

Re:By the first glance.. (1)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038896)

Let's say it records 20 variables per ride and rides 400 times in a day... that's not a significant amount of data to process and store. Sure it may make for a better ride. However, you can hardly compare it to a data center in the context of modern technology.

It would be interesting to see the technology applied to coasters that have already proven to be great rides. Nothing wrong with a little tweaking :)

"Don't get to proud of this technological terror you've constructed..."

Re:By the first glance.. (1)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039125)

Akkk... I'm dumb. 20 was a type-o of 200 which I fudged from the article's said 300.

400 was intended even though it'd be ludicrous to think they could load and fire off the coaster that many times in a day.

Still not a significant amount of data.

Hmm... (4, Interesting)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038688)

Explains why TTD always closes at the WORST possible times ;-)

FWIW, I actually know someone for whom the Dragster didn't launch QUITE quickly enough - it only hit 112MPH...

When I rode it the one time, it was DAMN smooth, DAMN fast, and that was one DAMN steep descent. However, it was over WAY too quickly, and WAS actually boring. Besides, I'm not going to wait 1.5 to 3 hours in line for something that boring. I'd rather have a 2 minute wait (the time it takes to get from the exit to onboard a coaster) for something like Gemini - more fun, BECAUSE it's less smooth, and runs for plenty of time.

Re:Hmm... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038725)

Stop SHOUTING at RANDOM interVALS!

*mumbles* whippersnappers these days...

Thunderstorms, other problems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038689)

I wonder how well shielded this system is against lightning strikes, and other storm-related problems that often knock out the systems of conventional roller coasters. What kind of downtime could a sophisticated system like this have if such a problem arises?

Re: Thunderstorms, other problems... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038704)

Cedar Point closes down all sorts of coasters if there's a storm in the area, usually in this order (this is all IIRC, because it was last year's Cedar Point trip where storms came in the area - at least it was 30 min before closing...):

Top Thrill Dragster (being the tallest coaster in the world, it's also the most susceptible to lightning strikes)
Millenium Force
Magnum
Coasters surrounded by trees (e.g., Iron Dragon, which is only good for aerial surveilance of the TTD line)
Coasters not surrounded by trees

Re: Thunderstorms, other problems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038935)

Yes, but have you ever been there when they closed down the indoor coaster because of weather. I forget the name of it now (and I'm too lazy to look it up), but it's theme was delivering packages through space and being attacked. From people I've talked to many don't know it even exists, its in the corner behind the Demon Drop near the needle and dolphins.

I guess they had a leak in one of the tubes or something, but any ways I love Cedar Point.

Re: Thunderstorms, other problems... (2, Informative)

posidian (705749) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039217)

Top Thrill Dragster isn't the tallest in the world anymore. At 456 feet, Kingda-Ka is:

http://www.sixflags.com/parks/greatadventure/Rides /KingdaKa.html [sixflags.com]

At 128 mph, it is also the fastest (though it has been shut down for the last couple of weeks.)

Re: Thunderstorms, other problems... (4, Informative)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038713)

It's fail safe. In the event of a system failure, it can only fail to launch. Once started, it can stop even if it loses power completely, according to this article [machinedesign.com] .

Re: Thunderstorms, other problems... (1)

gui_tarzan2000 (625775) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038838)

We were there the second week of June when it was stormy/windy/raining/hot sun/ for two days and they didn't run it at all after the first morning because of the weather.

Proprietary Software (1)

UCFFool (832674) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038692)

...are collected on every ride and analyzed using proprietary software developed for Cedar Point

Ah... but the ultimate question remains, does proprietary software run on Linux?
+1 Funny, -1 Redundant :)

GA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038696)

Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ has the same ride...looks like a copy cat

Re:GA (2, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038724)

KK is the copy cat (never been in NJ, FWIW). It was built a year after TTD.

TTD specs: 120 MPH, 420 ft.
KK specs: 130 MPH (IIRC), 450 ft., with a rise and fall on the return that TTD doesn't have, but otherwise identical layout

If you've ridden TTD, you've pretty much ridden KK, even if you've never been there. IMO, TTD is a waste of time - KK would be about as much of a waste.

FWIW, go here [blogspot.com] to see why (roller coaster) overclocking is bad ;-)

Re:GA (1)

Approaching.sanity (889047) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038821)

In other news, nerds love acronyms.

Re:GA (2, Funny)

maddskillz (207500) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038822)

TMA (too many acronyms!)

Re:GA (3, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038841)

For all of those that hate acronyms:
Kingda Ka is the copy cat (never been in New Jersey, for what it's worth). It was built a year after Top Thrill Dragster.

Top Thrill Dragster specifications: 120 miles per hour, 420 feet
Kingda Ka specifications: 130 miles per hour (if I recall correctly), 450 feet, with a rise and fall on the return that Top Thrill Dragster doesn't have, but otherwise identical layout

If you've ridden Top Thrill Dragster, you've pretty much ridden Kingda Ka, even if you've never been there. In my opinion, Top Thrill Dragster is a waste of time - Kingda Ka would be about as much of a waste.

For what it's worth, go here [blogspot.com] to see why (roller coaster) overclocking is bad ;-)
Happy now?

Re:GA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038874)

NO,

I think you suck big ass dick.

NERD!

Re:GA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038919)

i agree with the parent

Does anyone know how this software .. (1, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038708)

.. was developed? I mean, this is the sort of software that cannot fail. This is not where you use C. Even Ada might not be up to the task. People could very well die, if not become severely maimed, if this software were to fail. And the financial cost of failure to the park would be astronomical. Has each and every line of the software source code been mathematically verified, as is done with the software systems controlling and monitoring nuclear power plants?

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (4, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038748)

Define 'fail'. The software is not perfect, the ride still occasionally fails to reach optimal velocity and the riders are shot to the top only to ride backwards down the ascent hill, a rather harrowing experience for riders and obervers who are not aware that its a perfectly normal mode of operation. More importantly, it spends a lot of the time completely disabled, hurting the parks reputation and incidentally costing them lots of money.

The acceleration and braking systems all contain many mechanical fail-safes, the sort that do NOT fail EVER, thanks to superb engineering. Its the same old story, hardware runs forever, if they could only get the dang software right.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (0)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038763)

"Fail" in the sense that the riders are killed or maimed, or the ride itself is damaged or destroyed. They took into account the situation you described, so I wouldn't consider that a "failure".

And I agree, the hardware itself is probably very well engineered, with a very high degree of redundancy. It is the software I am worried about, knowing that software in general normally lacks such engineering. That is why I was wondering what techniques they used, such as line-by-line mathematical verification, to ensure the software would not be the cause of death or destruction.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038845)

Due to the mechanical safeguards on coasters, a software failure will not in any way compromise the ride's safety.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (5, Informative)

altstadt (125250) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039011)

Just out of curiosity, what makes you think you "know" anything about embedded software engineering? Judging from your statements you clearly have no experience with the matter, and you have never spoken with anybody with any experience in the matter.

Most embedded systems are written in either C or assembler and they do just fine. Most real-time OSs are written in either C or assembler and they do just fine. For both of these statements I am including everything from the systems that run on space and planetary probes down to the processor running in the keyboard you were just typing on. I just saw a job posting today for a medical device software engineer requiring experience with WinCE, C++, and C#. Guess what language(s) WinCE was written in. It sure wasn't Pascal, PerfectScript, Perl, PHP, Pict, Pike, Pilot, PL/C, PL/I, Postscript, Prolog, or Python.

Embedded systems don't normally need the absurd amounts of error checking that user level programs do. Thermocouples aren't normally in the habit of randomly generating buffer overflows. Physics is sufficient to deal with most situations, and I'm not just talking about the physics of the real, such as the expected temperature variation over time that said thermocouple would be experiencing. The physics involved in a thermocouple wire breaking will also not overwrite the stack into the code space. I have never heard of a network buffer overflow problem in VxWorks, and that was written in C.

What language would you suggest for embedded systems? Something that will randomly shut down randomly for milliseconds at a time to do garbage collection? Something where the first pass through a section of code takes a radically different different amount of time than the second pass, or the third? Even ladder logic is unsuited to many tasks because the PLCs that are normally used to run it often have loop times dependent on the input states.

C was designed for system level work. It is predictable, which is the single greatest criterion for embedded and real-time systems. It is really quite adequate for the task as long as the people working with it are used to designing embedded systems. Or else they have their work reviewed by those who do have the experience. Any real engineering office would be run this way.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13039058)

Guess what language(s) WinCE was written in. It sure wasn't...Postscript...

You sure about that one? :-P

Though on second thought, it might explain a lot...

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (2, Interesting)

radish (98371) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039177)

Of course C is used for much embedded software, but most embedded software is not safety critical (e.g., potentially fatal). It has been shown that C (along with many other languages) is inherently unprovable - and many engineers on safety critical systems rely on being able to prove the correctness of a program using something like Z. From what I remember of classes on the subject, there are (very small) subsets of C which can be reasoned about, and those are often used. The kind of things they typically take out are pointers & address arithmetic.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038757)

What the hell do you mean cannot use C? Are not the databases of the worlds most important financial institutions written in C? Shit, 30% (not really, but a good amount) of oracle is in Java! At that usually needs slow, unresponsive, memory hogging daemons. (Remember kids, if you need to kill -9 a proc before it dies, it's not properly written.) I could bring up a thousand more examples, but right now I'm so dumbfounded, I can't seem to think straight.
There are a large amount of applications written in C that run systems that don't kill people.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (2, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038794)

A database failure at a financial instituion won't lead to the deaths of numerous people. The financial losses will be massive, of course. So you know what, write such software in C or Java. Don't mathematically verify it.

C is not a safe language to write mission critical software in. That's just a fact of the language. Look at many of the flaws in existing software, for instance. It is too inherently vulnerable to make mistakes that could, in systems such as this coaster, result in death and severe injury. Even a language like Ada, which was designed to be used in such circumstances, may not provide adequate protection. Not that C shouldn't be used, but it shouldn't be used when people can die.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038811)

FREAK. What is your facination with ADA? Are you one of the poor folks that was told by the govt that this WAS what the future held... until you left the military? ADA goes up there with RPG and.... COBOL. Languages of ages ago, that have NO GOOD PURPOSE today.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (2, Informative)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039226)

Talk to anyone who's done software on expensive medical devices, avionics, or military equipment, and you'll find plenty of examples of C being used in the most critical of situations. It just means the code and design has to be scrutinized much more than it would be at an average code house.

Right now, I'm writing some code which controls primary airplane functions - in C++ compiled with GCC 2.95. Don't worry - it's perfectly approved by the FAA bloodhounds. We just can't use things like STL or compiler-provided exception-handling, for instance.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (1)

Rihahn (879725) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038762)

I doubt this is actually 'soft'ware, it's probably ladder logic running on PGAs or some other mechanical control system.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (1)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038765)

monitoring nuclear power plants

It's not just nuclear power plants.

The space shuttle has an amazing software development group as well.

Fast Company [fastcompany.com] did an article on the team a while back. It was pretty cool reading.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038807)

My nephew is an operator at a major park here in Texas I took a look see one time in their DC and one was running smalltalk [smalltalk.org] and another was running f77 [gershwin.ens.fr] .
The system is important but not as critical as you would think. If there is anything outside of range the system doesn't launch. For that matter sometimes when everything is within normal ranges it doesn't launch :)

You mean it has to be more reliable than airliners (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038842)

Those are all run by software too and I would think that they have higher failure standards than a rollercoaster.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (1)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038901)

If this software fails, the ride doesn't crash. The design of the track and its mechanical fail-safes keep the ride on the track. If the software freezes or produces bad output, the worst that would happen is that the ride isn't "optimal". The software is like icing on the cake, it's not really needed to keep the people on the ride from falling out. Standard roller coaster safety, completely independent from this software, keeps the ride safe.

Re:Does anyone know how this software .. (2, Informative)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038932)

Has each and every line of the software source code been mathematically verified, as is done with the software systems controlling and monitoring nuclear power plants?

The half-size prototype for this ride was installed at Knott's Berry Farm a year or so before this ride was installed at Cedar Point. I got a tour of the Knott's ride and it uses Allen Bradley control equipment to operate the ride. Allen Bradley is one of the major Distributed Control System (DCS) manufacturers out there and their gear (and software) runs all sorts of potentially dangerous and life critical systems (such as nuclear power and other industrial systems) all over the world. My assumption is that the Cedar Point ride uses the same gear.

If you are not familiar with DCS systems (computers), they are highly redundant control systems that are specifically engineered to be robust from both a hardware and software point of view. They have their own (fairly) high-level programming language that is used to map the various sensor inputs to the appropriate mechanical outputs. The low level code (that executes the high level code) embedded into the DCS by the vendor and is heavily verified.

All modern (and most older) coasters use these types of industrial standard control systems.

I have ridden Top Thrill Dragster a dozen or so times and it definitely worth the trip out to Cedar Point.

wow (2, Funny)

hazzey (679052) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038716)

fast enough to clear the top of the tower

Now that is a thrill ride!

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038759)

Taking sentences out of context is always a good way to make fun of them :)

Ah (0)

1310nm (687270) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038717)

I thought they were talking about The Planet.

Ah yes, but... (3, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038718)

Does it run 24/7 with automatic backups and rollbacks if the system is overloaded by users?

Re:Ah yes, but... (2, Funny)

TheGilmanator (745322) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039193)

No, but it does happen to roll back when loaded with riders... does that count?

Re:Ah yes, but... (1)

zaxus (105404) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039218)

No, it runs off a 5 1/2 inch floppy on a 486 DX/33 with 16MB of RAM and a Soundblaster 16 for sensor input.

That ride is crap (0)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038719)

It broke down _very_ often when I tried to go, where they had several hours at a time that it wasn't running. I really don't intend to go to that amusement park again though.

Re:That ride is crap (4, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038770)

I really don't intend to go to that amusement park again though.

Got on the Saturday or Sunday before Labor Day. The park is nearly empty on the Saturday and only a little more crowded on the Sunday.

We would go every year on that weekend and not have any wait over 20 minutes.

Cedar Point, while being the best amusement park in the world, has ruined me for the rest of my life... I cannot go to any other amusement park and enjoy myself like I would at Cedar Point. I have been to several other Cedar Fair parks (Valleyfair, Dorney Park, Michigan's Adventure, etc) but none are even close.

I miss Cedar Point, lines or not. It's their ingenuity in rides that make it amazing. They don't worry about themes and characters and instead worry about thrilling you!

Re:That ride is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13039078)

Thanks for the information which will slashdot the park every weekend before labor day...

It still fails! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038720)

I was at Cedar Point with my wife and kids maybe two weeks ago or so and it didn't make it. People were pointing and talking about it. It launches fast and is supposed to make it over the top at a very slow speed. It was quite an odd view to see that thing come back down. Of course it's something that's anticipated by the designers so it's not like it was a breathtaking failure with the crowd gasping, but it was unexpected nonetheless.

I have yet to actually get to ride the top thrill dragster. I always go on the Millenium Force instead.

Bah. (5, Insightful)

ScaryMonkey (886119) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038729)

How am I supposed to enjoy a roller coaster if I know that sophisticated computers are monitoring the experience and ensuring my safety? That's just being fed stimulus. Now, the Cyclone in Coney Island... that's a roller coaster! You experience a genuine fear of death, not because the ride is particularly scary, but because the roller coaster is about a hundred years old and feels like it is going to collapse at any moment! Woo!

You'd be surprised (2, Interesting)

vandoravp (709954) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038795)

Actually, there were several times when I was at Cedar Point where it did not clear the hill and (though they claim in such an event it will return slowly to the station) it rocketed back down the hill as fast as it went up, not slowing until it reached the magnetic brakes along the acceleration section. Those were only test launches though, it was temporarily closed.

We were lucky and managed to get at the queue entrance right as it opened again so the line was fairly short, most people having left the line. It closed again, even more people leaving, but only for 10 minutes. Total waiting time, 45 min. In the back of my mind I knew it was perfectly safe (if only to protect from lawsuits) but the wait in line (which goes right under the acceleration section) is very nervewracking. I'm not usually a nervous person when it comes to rides but I was really starting to get freaked out. The ride was incredible and not at all scary-it was all the suspense in line that was. 0-127 mph in 4 seconds, pause just long enough at the top to enjoy the view then zip back down to earth.

I look like a retard on the pictures.

The Jack Rabbit at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh is quite rickety itself, jumping off the track and slamming back down, shaking all the supports very visibly. Now that gets your adrenaline running.

OT: Everybody does... (1)

ender- (42944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038836)

I look like a retard on the pictures.


Don't worry. Everybody looks like a retard in rollercoaster pictures... :)

Re:Bah. (3, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038851)

Amen...

When I went to Magic Mountain many (many!) years ago, the rides were just a bit more thrilling just because the place didn't seem very well maintained. I particularly recall a ride where the operator pulled back with significant force on a couple levers about three feet long to brake the cars into the loading/unloading area. One of these levers had broken and been (sloppily) brazed back on at the bottom (and they hadn't even bothered to paint over the repair). I suspected that even if the operator did nothing, the car should have slowed down enough before the end of the track. However, I also suspected that the "failsafe" mechanism (and every other part of the ride) had probably been maintained by Mr. Brazing - which made the whole thing a bit more interesting.

Lawyers, insurance companies, engineers, lawmakers, public inspectors, and zero-tolerance drug policies in the workplace have made amusement park rides a bit less thrilling than they once were :)

Re:Yes indeed (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039140)


One of my favorites was Mister Twister at Elitch Gardens in Denver. It was a wooden coaster, so it had this "give" as it rounded the tracks, and it was VERY bumpy, such that you could swear it would bounce off the tracks any moment. As if this wasn't enough, you'd plunge into a few seconds of complete darkness just before the end of the ride. It was quite fun.

Recent visitor... (2, Interesting)

Konowl (223655) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038735)

As a recent visitor to the park for the first time, I have to say it's *THE* most thrilling ride I've ever gone on. I don't think anything less of skydiving will give me a rush like I experienced on this ride. Fantastic.

As a side note, while my buddies and I were waiting in line, we saw a sign to the effect "This ride doesn't always make it over the hill the first time.". If it hadn't, I'm not sure I could have gotten on it again LOL.

Re:Recent visitor... (1)

vandoravp (709954) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038858)

As a side note, while my buddies and I were waiting in line, we saw a sign to the effect "This ride doesn't always make it over the hill the first time.". If it hadn't, I'm not sure I could have gotten on it again LOL. What was even funnier was the part that said "it will return slowly to the station." Well, it does do that, AFTER coming back down as fast as it was launched. Now that's kind of scary to see even if you know it's not a real problem. Once we saw a launch (with riders) that didn't put the magnetic brakes down. They were shot off and immediately slammed to a halt after reaching probably 30 or so. That must've been really rough. 30-0 in less than a second. Ouch.

Yeah but in the end (2, Insightful)

Approaching.sanity (889047) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038737)

I prefer the old wooden roller coasters. The artificial elation that accompanies the new ones just can't compete with the real fear that one of the old wooden ones will fall apart while I am riding it.

Re:Yeah but in the end (1)

swimin (828756) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038823)

Re:Yeah but in the end (1)

qzulla (600807) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038911)

How about one built in 1924? The Giant Dipper [beachboardwalk.com]

The beach is a plus. You know, with the usual...

q

Crashes all the time (2, Informative)

timmerk15 (753792) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038743)

I've been there 4 times since the ride has opened, and each time the ride is closed for most of the day due to computer glitches. It's interesting to note they have to tighten the bolts every few weeks as well. On a side note, you have the be very skinny to ride this ride. I don't know why they don't make it a little bigger. I had to take off my belt and suck in my stomack to get the chest bar down.

Re:Crashes all the time (2, Funny)

JeiFuRi (888436) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038766)

Yeah, even the Cedar Point Site [cedarpoint.com] says "May not accommodate Guests of Exceptional Size."...exceptional lol

Re:Crashes all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038787)

On a side note, you have the be very skinny to ride this ride. I don't know why they don't make it a little bigger. I had to take off my belt and suck in my stomack to get the chest bar down.

You had to take your belt off? How thick is your belt?

Re:Crashes all the time (1)

mesach (191869) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039228)

more like,

How fat is your ass?

doesn't take much... (2, Funny)

peter1 (796360) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038756)

..to outdue my datacenter. At the moment it is made up of one P100 OpenBSD Apache server, a P3/933 Windoze box, a P3/550 Win 2k3 test server and another P3/550 that I haven't decided what to do with...

Ok, so this is a home "datacenter" but at least its mine... :-)

Re:doesn't take much... (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038918)

i previously hosted my site on a p100. now it's on a p200 with 84mb of edo/fpm :) and it runs apache (mod_php, mod_ssl, all static modules), mysql, qmail, samba, and ssh all on top of slack 10.1 with a 2.4.31 kernel. faster than i expected too

how well does 2k3 run on a p3/550?

Re:doesn't take much... (1)

peter1 (796360) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038991)

Suprisingly well, but then again it only has to support two users. Currently it has 384M of RAM and an 80G IDE hard drive and a few months ago I threw an older SCSI card into it and connected an external 35G DLT backup drive. I primarly use it for authentication for the Windows clients (two desktops and two laptops), printer sharing and data storage.

With such a light load it actually works extremely well. The interface is snappy, resource usage is light and other than running out of space on my data drive I am quite happy with it.

interesting failure mode (3, Insightful)

menscher (597856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038758)

From TFA:

..."the cars on the Dragster sometimes fall below the minimum speed needed, and drop backwards down the same 42-story building"...

Roller Coasters and I.T. (5, Funny)

gooman (709147) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038764)

For a moment I thought it was an article about my career.

Induction != super conducting! (0)

psyconaut (228947) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038772)

"which can achieve higher speeds than linear induction motors (superconducting magnets)"
Yeah, we've all seen those "super conducting" rollercoasters. Nice fact checking for the article, guys.
-psy

Re:Induction != super conducting! (1)

bucky0 (229117) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038789)

The magnets are made of superconducting material to reduce the resistive losses in their wires.... The rollercoasters themselves aren't superconducting.

It's not really all that exciting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038778)

This 'rollercoaster' only has two trains and pretty much just goes straight up and straight back down.

What about other rollercoasters with vastly more interesting circuits - like 'Dueling Dragons' at Islands of Adventure for instance. It has two inverted rollercoasters racing against each other at the same time.

Thought the writer to herself... (2, Funny)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038783)

How can I get the company to pay for my summer vacation to Cedar Point?

Re:Thought the writer to herself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038904)

Go work there. Not only can you get them to pay for your "vacation" to Cedar Point you can also live in their dorms and party w/the rest of the staff.

Bonfires on the shores of Lake Erie with tons of beer and sex is awesome. Especially when you get paid for it.

A long, long time ago... (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038791)

One of my friends took two pictures of a roller coaster ride that had a loop. The first picture showed someone throwing up (actually down) from the top of the loop. The second picture showed someone being hit by the vomit at the bottom of the loop. We could never figured out if it was the same person who hurled was on the receiving end. This why I stay on the water rides.

Re:A long, long time ago... (2, Funny)

menscher (597856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038938)

Reminds me of a time I was in a centrifuge, along with about 30 other people. You know, the things that spin the room around really fast so you feel the G forces? Everyone stands lining the walls of a circular room, which is then spun (operator stays in the center, where he can keep an eye on everyone). Anyway, while we were spinning at around 3 or 4 G's, a girl sneezed. About 1/2 second later, I heard about 20 people go "ewwww...".

Re:A long, long time ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038958)

This why I stay on the water rides


You mean the ones full of urine, saliva, and hurl?

That's disgusting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13039073)

Did you scan them?

Re:That's disgusting. (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039135)

This was in the early 80's before home PCs and scanning equipment wore affordable. (Hence... a long, long time ago.) My friend's pictures got confiscated by his mom when his annoying little puke of a kid sister squealed on him.

Re:A long, long time ago... (1)

radish (98371) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039162)

I'm no physicist, but that doesn't seem quite right. The vomit leaving the first person would be travelling at roughly their velocity, which is in a fast circle. Given that the centripetal force at that point is enough to keep the riders in their seats, I'm pretty sure the vomit would travel outwards (e.g. upwards) and end up in the guys lap. It's like swinging a bucket of water over your head - if you spill some it goes outwards, not towards you.

Whats so special? (1)

payback451 (867372) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038809)

Am I the only one that doesnt see anything to special? Sure, they have about 300 sensors to record misc data, and some spiffy software, but IMO that doesnt even come close to whats in a modern day data center.

Video of the ride (3, Informative)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038843)

I was trying to figure out wtf the ride is, and found this:

http://70.85.70.32/cp_website_media/ttd/cp_website _ttd_InOperation1_320_high_videofile.mov [70.85.70.32]

Re:Video of the ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038987)

WTF is that yo?

And my Palmpilot can land the Space Shuttle (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038857)

Though I'm not sure what that means in the big scheme of things either.

Oh, look, it's Clippy on the roller coaster! (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038870)

>> Do you want to run off the rails?

NO NO NO NO NO NO

>> Do you want to turn before you run off the rails?

NO NO NO NO NO

almost as much fun as Clippy at the nuke plant....

Stupid article (-1, Flamebait)

rejecting (824821) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038881)

I dont give a fuck. This article is retarded.

Psh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13038884)

That's nice and all, but that's nothing compared to the Jaws ride at Universal Orlando. The queue video and all island sound effects are on laser disc, all of the effects and boats were programmed in 1990, and the control tower screens have almost 4 colors! Check it out: http://www.amityboattours.com/ [amityboattours.com]

From what I remember... (1)

JrbM689 (896692) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038929)

In Soviet Russia, Roller Coaster rides YOU!

Data relayed after every thrid launch (1)

scourfish (573542) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038968)

Given this ride's reliability, that would mean that the system log has a total of 3 entries.

personal experience (1)

cyberbob2010 (312049) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038990)

i live about 45 min. away from cedar point in northern ohio (lorain county) and was actually there yesterday.

pretty crazy ride. don't think i'll ever have a chance to get launched up to 120 mph in that short of a time anywhere else. several times ive seen it not quite clear the top and the people come down backwards to relaunch. one of the only rides there to dry out your lips in less than 20 seconds

the millenium force is pretty sweet to

imperfections make a ride. (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#13038999)

The imperfections can help make a ride great. The Revolution at Great America in San Jose, a spinning boat ride that goes over the top, sometimes goes over forwards, and sometimes goes over backwards. You really don't know when it will, or why. Compare that to Superman, the Escape at Magic Mountain, which does exactly the same thing every time, and Superman just seems less interesting.

I must admit, my favorite rides skew to the less predictable. At the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, there is (was) a ferris wheel which consisted of little egg-shaped cages. The rider was given a bar they could pull on to lock the cages in relationship to the wheel, so that they would very slowly spin over the top. No seat belt, mind you, or safety bar or anything, just a little egg-shaped cage with a small bench and a rider flipping around inside, holding their head off the metal with a well-placed, frequently panicked arm. Drop Zone at Great America has a random timer, to ensure that nobody will know when it is about to fall. It's surprisingly good at catching you when you're not expecting it, no matter how many times you ride it. Even The Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland has people concurrently going through lengthy looped scenes, so that certain boats see the beginning of the loop, others see the middle, and others the end. The rides at California Adventure seemed too controlled and soulless to be a lot of fun, even if they did do so with a bit of showmanship. The best ride there is the white water raft, because it combines the freeform risk of most raft rides with a lot of little technical controlling tricks (like artificially spinning you up).

Personally, I would want to go on the ride when it fell back. That sounds like a lot more fun than just going forwards for 20 seconds. That sounds really, really thrilling. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was left in on purpose, and I'm sure it helps the ride's reputation.

hardcore! (0)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039049)

i mean, this is far more hardcore than the space shuttle. it is. at least when coding software for the space shuttle you have a massive budget with no profit objective and the people involved are all aware of the risks and willing to die and all (astronauts, at least)... and, worst case, hell, its rocket science, its supposed to be hard.

but coding for the roller coaster? an improper pointer reference at the wrong time and you just killed people only looking for a good laugh.

talk about stress. ha.

Dueling Dragons uses something similar (1)

cprincipe (100684) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039098)

The Dueling Dragons ride is designed to have three "near misses" where two trains that leave the station at the same time pass within six feet of each other. Perhaps the best "near miss" is two outside loops opposite each other - there's nothing more fun than looking down and seeing the feet of the people on the OTHER train whizzing by.

The trains are supposedly weighed upon departure so that the three misses are timed perfectly. As with the other rides, a failure doesn't kill the ride, just diminishes the effect.

TTD Rocks (2, Informative)

Fornoth (569470) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039105)

For those of you wondering how it doesn't crash, it is all pretty much logic control. Also, in the event of any kind of failure (on any roller coaster), all the brakes default to the on position (stopping the ride as fast as possible). The best part about TTD would be a rollback (I've never gotten one, in 30+ rides), or the ultimate (when a train got stuck at the top for 20 mins loaded). For more info check www.pointbuzz.com

technology didn't help Kingda-Ka (1)

posidian (705749) | more than 9 years ago | (#13039192)

The newest record holder, Kingda-Ka in New Jersey (128 mph, 450+ ft tall), was shut down just weeks after it opened with little explanation. We visited there last week and it is expected to be down weeks still. Maybe we should have gone to Cedar Point!
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