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Computer Glitch Halts Seattle New Year's Fireworks

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the probably-not-funny-for-seattle dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 202

supersat writes "At the stroke of midnight New Year's Eve, Seattle's fireworks show ground to a halt. The source of the problem is reported to be a corrupted file that wasn't checked until the last minute. After two reboots, the fireworks had to be detonated manually. And yes ... one blog commenter, claiming to have worked on prior shows, said that the shows run on Windows."

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202 comments

Real Story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873792)

Was actually running Linux, as detailed in this piece including screenshots [dwarfurl.com] [pyroblog.com]

Re:Real Story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873806)

MiniCity link. Avoid as usual.

Re:Real Story (5, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873894)

fuck those assholes.

Dear Taco,

I realize retirement is good but could you please come out of hiding, fix the code that shows the url a link points to in case it redirects...

And if not then please release the IPS of these clowns, I promise I won't leave any traces.

Happy new year

Re:Real Story (1)

eat here_get gas (907110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874036)

dunno why you got modded "troll", i thought it was funny.
the mods are smoking shitty crack i guess...

Re:Real Story (2, Informative)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21875202)

dunno why you got modded "troll", i thought it was funny.

the mods are smoking shitty crack i guess...
Because the losers who have minishitty sites get mod points every now and then too.... It balances out after a while, though......

Re:Real Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874362)

Due to the nature of the web, this is a hard problem. The web is not a broadcast medium. It is a mass-unicast-medium: What redirects your browser need not redirect another browser. Sure, you could find the actual URL in case a standard redirection service was used, but the spammers will just use cheap/free DNS- and hosting-services to create their own redirection which hides from automated testing. You'd need a dynamically distributed system to detect such evasive behavior (inverse honeypots, so to speak.) The moderation system takes care of abusive links, so don't fret.

Re:Real Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874584)

I doubt these minicity cunts are that intelligent/committed.

Re:Real Story (2, Insightful)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874660)

in support of your campaign i have put *.myminicity.com\* into my adblock filterset

Re:Real Story (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874712)

Might work better if you used / instead of \ ?

Runs on Windows? (5, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873796)

Well, unless it was an operating system problem and not bad data or bad programming, what's the point in mentioning that other than childish bashing?

Re:Runs on Windows? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873808)

You must be new here.

Re:Runs on Windows? (2, Funny)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873812)

Perhaps an analogy:

If you're a straight guy looking to masturbate, what's the difference between two chicks getting it on, and two dudes?

Re:Runs on Windows? (2, Insightful)

Daltin (1153533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873836)

Obviously, you go for what suits you best, and now you two choices:

1. You can either be a childish homophobe

2. You can say nothing.

Re:Runs on Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873882)

Woosh.

Re:Runs on Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874022)

Really? I didn't this it was that good either. A better analogy would be:

buggy code on linux == a guy and a girl
buggy code on windows == a guy and a guy

As your joke stands now, you invocation of the girl/girl paradigm is confusing.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874976)

"you invocation of the girl/girl paradigm is confusing."

You must be gay.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1, Insightful)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874228)

What is homophic in saying that a straight guy won't get excited seeing a vid of two guys masturbating? Come on! don't be so defensive, the world is not on a hunt for you, man!
I am not for discriminating against homos, pans, assexuals or whatever, but I can't either agree with extreme PC, it's a bit too much on the paranoid side for me.
Peace!

Re:Runs on Windows? (4, Funny)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21875088)

I am not for discriminating against homos, pans, assexuals or whatever...

Pardon me, but your Freudian slip is showing...

Re:Runs on Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873892)

So /. just takes the word from some blogger that "claims" to have worked on the show?

How much you want to bet if this blogger said it ran on Linux, /. would have demanded more proof or conveniently forgotten about that blog?

Credibility does matter (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873914)

if this blogger said it ran on Linux, /. would have demanded more proof


Of course, because everybody knows Linux has always been much more reliable than anything that comes from Microsoft.

Re:Credibility does matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873998)

"Of course, because everybody knows Linux has always been much more reliable than anything that comes from Microsoft."

If you going to try to be stupid just to get some mod points, then why bother replying? /. is a bastion of Windows bashing. They will also run defense for anything they see as reflecting negatively on Linux.

If this blogger had told them that the show was run with an open-source app, running on Ubuntu they, would not have even mentioned it. This story would not have been posted. And no that has nothing to do with some BS about "everybody knows Linux has always been much more reliable than anything that comes from Microsoft.".

Re:Runs on Windows? (0, Redundant)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873898)

My thoughts precisely. But hey, childish bashing is A-OK if Microsoft is the target round here...

Re:Runs on Windows? (0, Offtopic)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873928)

It says "BSOD" in several places in the article. Unless you are writing bad drivers, (which I'd admit may have been an issue, seeing as they are interacting with hardware, the fireworks squibbs) software or data problems should not be able to cause an OS crash unless your OS sucks. (though the squibb board was likely USB controlled)

Speculating wildly, it appears to be a case of where windows just randomly corrupts something on the HD and this time it just happened to nail something the OS needed, and was only discovered when they ran it live.

Really though, anything automated like this that cannot be repeated should be designed to be testable as completely as possible, and should be tested several times in advance. Fireworks shows should have a fully functional computer system that runs completely to the end live, tested. The squibb board should have LEDs, one for each squibb, that light up as the computer fires them, so you can dry run it as many times as you like, watching the LED board to make sure everything goes off as planned. A security key on the board provides power to the squibbs themselves, so you can do a complete live run through the entire computer controlled show as many times as needed before the showmaster inserts and turns the key to heat up the squibbs and they just press the "do it again" button on the computer. There is no excuse for this.

But can't say for sure that even THAT would have helped matters in this case. Windows is known to spontaneously corrupt its OS files, and this could have very easily happened during their final test at 11:40 pm. But for something as big as this I would expect no less than redundant computers. It's software for christ sakes. Put it on two machines. The squibb board was likely serial or usb anyway so you could even drag your laptop from home as a backup because the computer has no special hardware installed. Again there is no excuse for this failure, unless your squibb board catches on fire or something like that which you can't double up on.

Anyone quoting me for a big show that tried to tell me they were providing a single (windows or otherwise) computer the whole thing hinged on and there was no hot spare, would be promptly shown the DOOR.

Re:Runs on Windows? (2, Informative)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874012)

Seconded. If you're a PRO, and your Show Control is important, then you have duplicates in place for everything which would stop the show.

I wonder if you can have the manual-firing and show control up at the same time, so that, although it runs automatically, there's someone still hitting the contacts to fire them by hand. Once they see the show-control computer is running right, they can stop doing it manually, but still follow the cues in-case it goes down again...

Re:Runs on Windows? (1, Flamebait)

gregorio (520049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874032)

Windows is known to spontaneously corrupt its OS files
No, it is not. Next question.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

kbg (241421) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874156)

Maybe not OS files but it is known to spontaneously corrupt files:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946676 [microsoft.com]
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/943393 [microsoft.com]
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885936 [microsoft.com]

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874238)

Care to list all the ext2/ext3 file corruption bugs that have existed in Linux over the past 5 years?

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874720)

Would you care to list them? Apart from errors caused by people using old ext3 journals after they'd accidentally mounted a partition as ext2 and modified it, I'm aware of no recent reports of file corruption bugs. There was an invalid inode size problem about a year ago that could cause a system hang, but as I understood it ext2 and ext3 couldn't create that invalid size itself.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874304)

Don't we agree that if it DOES corrupt files, there's no reason we must believe it won't corrupt system files, like the registry?
Actually, it would be rather nasty if we found out that the "Periodical Windows File Corruption Routines" spared system files.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

someone300 (891284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874400)

Google this:
Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

That seems to happen quite randomly, not sure of the cause, but it's happened to me on three (of five) systems, after a clean shutdown and all that. One of those times it happened on holiday, when I didn't have time to fix it, and another time it happened just as I was about to leave to a LAN party. :D Lucky eh?

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

stuboogie (900470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21875218)

"That seems to happen quite randomly, not sure of the cause, but it's happened to me on three (of five) systems"

Really? If it happens "randomly" and it has affected 60% of your windows boxes, then I would think there would be a massive uproar throughout the corporate world over this issue.

I think it is more likely that it is not so "random" and more probable that it is linked to something YOU are doing on your windows boxes.
I have Googled this problem and it appears to happen after improper shutdowns contrary to what you state. If it occurs after a normal shutdown then it is hardware related and not Windows related.

Perhaps you need to check the hardware on your machines and quit posting FUD.

Where does it say "BSOD"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874082)

"It says "BSOD" in several places in the article"

The PI article makes no mention of this.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874112)

It says "BSOD" in several places in the article. Unless you are writing bad drivers, (which I'd admit may have been an issue, seeing as they are interacting with hardware, the fireworks squibbs) software or data problems should not be able to cause an OS crash unless your OS sucks. (though the squibb board was likely USB controlled)

I'm just curious... what drugs are you on? I just searched both articles and neither said anything about a BSOD except for a comment half way through one of the article. I mean, bashing windows and microsoft is easy. At least try to be accurate though.

-1 another insipid post moderated insightful?

Don't insult the fireworks team. (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874160)

Really though, anything automated like this that cannot be repeated should be designed to be testable as completely as possible, and should be tested several times in advance.

What makes you think they did not do this? They have been doing the same thing for years and you should expect they tested everything before hand this year too. You have to assume something changed between the last test and the actual firing.

for something as big as this I would expect no less than redundant computers. It's software for christ sakes.

The midnight timing makes this look like some kind of date roll over problem. Two identical computers would have the same problem. If it's really an OS issue, your laptop would have the same problem too.

The issue with Windoze is a lack of control. You don't know what changes when and can't ever be sure the system you qualify is the one you deploy. When things break, you never really know why and can't fix it even if you find the problem. Non free software is like that.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874280)

Who modded this insightful?

- The article doesn't mention BSODs once.
- Windows is not known to 'spontaneously corrupt' OS files any more than Linux is.

Parent is just a fucking liar posting for karma and the moronic sheep moderators fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Re:Runs on Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874696)

Anyone quoting me for a big show that tried to tell me they were providing a single (windows or otherwise) computer the whole thing hinged on and there was no hot spare, would be promptly shown the DOOR.


Ah. Wouldn't it be nice to have all that money for all that redundancy. I'm not a pyrotechnician (costs way too much in public liability insurance), but I do work alongside them from time to time as an entertainment/event lighting technician. And having worked on these big shows - there's not as much money for that sort of thing as you might think.

As with all things, it always costs more to put these things on than the promoter/joe public suspects - and when a fireworks show that only lasts a few minutes is already running in to the millions, the promoter generally is not looking at what redundancy etc is being spec-ed. They're typically more interested in how many bangs and colours there are going to be.

In the lighting world, high-end software tends to cost about $60,000. Considering most pyro jobs are still manually controlled, I reckon you could find any computerized control software for pyros costing upwards of $100,000.

Even in the lighting world, which in most show environments is more critical to the continuation of the show than the pyros, it is unheard of to have any redundancy except on the biggest touring shows. Even in those situations, the extent of the redundancy tends to be limited to two control desks with a physical switch that switches which console is connected to the data stream to the dimmers / motorized lights / video screen media servers / smoke machines / etc.
There is still no backup should a dimmer die, or a media server fall over, or someone cuts through the data cable.

I don't disagree that redundancy would be great - but those with the money are after getting as much spectacle for their buck - you're not going to get the gig if you quote a system with 2 controllers with automatic fall-back redundancy, a backup generator for the control booth, two data links to every launch position,... but only 80% the number of rockets as the other guy. So we quote the best system we can, usually with no or limited redundancy, and cross our fingers that it'll work - which 95% of the time it does. The other 5% of the time, we do our best to remain invisible to the promoter immediately after the gig. :-)

That said, if the problem here is that someone didn't test their show file, or made a last minute change to it without keeping a backup of the old stable one - well, they owe the rest of the crew a beer after the gig.

Re:Runs on Windows? (4, Funny)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873960)

nah. just good natured bashing..

Like when your co-worker drops his coffee on his lap.. you don't hate the co-worker, but you have lots of fun at his expense. "Coffee's hot, I bet."

Re:Runs on Windows? (3, Insightful)

dasOp (781405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873968)

To be honest, I'd much rather read stories in the line of

"The magnificent fireworks display in <insert city here> was actually controlled and detonated from a laptop running <insert favorite distro here> with a soon-to-be foss-application written in <insert programming language of choice here>. <online mag of choice> had a talk with the man responsible, <insert name here>."


Anders

Re:Runs on Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874170)

you mean like the childish bashing of novell in the other article?

Buellar, Buellar (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874178)

one blog commenter, claiming to have worked on prior shows, said that the shows run on Windows."

My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

supersat (639745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874232)

Well, frankly, that was the first thing EVERYONE wondered, even among the mildly computer-literate, especially since Seattle is Microsoft's backyard. It's easy (and fun) to make fun of Microsoft's legendary reliability, even if they don't deserve it.

Now, a comment on a blog is hardly trustworthy, so the second thing pointing this out does is put the claim out there for actual reporters to verify, if they choose to do so. It might even stir up some comments by Microsoft or the company hired to do the show.

More than likely, though, the OS had nothing to do with it.

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874278)

Never mind that an operating system which crashes is a common source of file corruption. But ok! Yeah, you're right! it's the fault of programmers! They corrupted their own little f*cking files. After all, who here among us has ever seen Windows crashing while it was flushing the fucking write-back cache?

Re:Runs on Windows? (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874960)

Well, I've been programming on Windows since 3.1, and UNIX since 1973, and I've seen as much file corruption on *nix as I have on Windows. Sorry to rain on your parade.

Lessons in reliability? (2, Insightful)

jhines (82154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874576)

A single, or more than one, file gets corrupted and the show doesn't go on.

Yes the underlying reasons for this happening are of interest to us, since many of us are charged with implementing or running systems, while not as showy, have to run to pay the bills.

Yes, the operating system in use is an issue, since it has part of the job of keeping files from being corrupted. It has the job of catching errors.

It was a flashy semi-failure in our collective business, we would be the stupid ones not to learn all we can about it.

Buggy software exhibits bugs when run on Windows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873834)

Is this some sort of newsflash? Why is Windows relevant to this story at all?

Re:Buggy software exhibits bugs when run on Window (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873932)

It's not. That snide comment was most likely made up, but that wont stop a site like this from running it anyway because they need to start the new year like they spent most of the last, bashing Microsoft.

I could have lied to these guys that it was running Vista on SP1, and I can guarantee that it would have been said by them.

Re:Buggy software exhibits bugs when run on Window (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873978)

Why is Windows relevant to this story at all?

Because of their past history [computerworld.com] . It's a common legal practice to take into account former violations [wikipedia.org] when accusing someone.

Re:Buggy software exhibits bugs when run on Window (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874838)

Three strikes applies to sentencing. Accusations are usually made on the basis of evidence as to a party's guilt in the case at hand, or by idiots with an ax to grind.

And since there doesn't appear to be any of the former...

Re:Buggy software exhibits bugs when run on Window (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874866)

That's not the case in every country though - I don't believe that to be the case in the UK. A case is judged on the evidence presented at the time, relevant to the specific alleged offence.

Re:Buggy software exhibits bugs when run on Window (1)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874858)

Because it's in good fun, just like when Microsoft showed that video with a spoof of the Matrix where the Agents have trouble with Neo/Ballmer because their copy of Linux needed the "kernel to be recompiled with a new device driver", or when all of us made fun of the Linux-sponsored car "crashing" in its first race. Ha ha Linux crashing, get it? It's not some evil propaganda trying to convince you that Windows is bad.

I hate explaining jokes but looking at the Wikipedia entry for Redmond [wikipedia.org] and the looking at which city had this trouble, it's not hard to smile at that.

terrible timing (1)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873846)

A friend of mine who was present at the event said people were booing/hissing hysterically. This was all over the local news in Seattle I am surprised it too so long to make /.

Re:terrible timing (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873902)

Yeah, a whole 7 hrs and 33 minutes after the event. Well, more like 7 hrs and 27 minutes since there was a six minute pause during the show. Wow, Slashdot posters/moderators are the worst for having to, you know, sleep!

Re:terrible timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874802)

Actually, only 4 hours and 33 or 27 minutes. The story post time is EST, but Seattle is on PST, so the incident happened at 3:00AM EST.

It's obvious what happened (5, Funny)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873878)

Someone wasn't there click "Allow" when the dialog popped up asking "Are you sure you want to proceed with the fireworks extravaganza?"

Re:It's obvious what happened (5, Funny)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873924)

I bet it was that &%^$&%^ talking paper clip that screwed things up. Or perhaps the "search dog" chose an untimely moment to go for a piss...

Re:It's obvious what happened (5, Funny)

kie (30381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874054)

it looks like you're trying to light a firework,
do you want help with that?

Obviously... (5, Funny)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873890)

Those fireworks were not vista Certified.

Re:Obviously... (1)

G33KDOTINFO (1210796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874940)

Lmao that was the funniest thing I read on this topic. I don't think that I was vista certified too, going back to xp as soon as I get back from my trip. I want to do it now, but backing up all files and reformatting is going to take too much time today.

Sounds Vaguely Familiar (3, Insightful)

sk999 (846068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873900)

From the article: "The source of the problem is reported to be a corrupted file ..."

Gee, who can guess which version of Windows they were running?

Microsoft's Windows Home Server corrupts files [computerworld.com] ?

Re:Sounds Vaguely Familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874018)

From the article: "The source of the problem is reported to be a corrupted file ..."


Gee, who can guess which version of Windows they were running?


Umm, all of them?

Last MS caused disaster... (3, Funny)

Hymer (856453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873906)

Is this 2007th's last Microsoft caused disaster...
...or 2008th first ?
The best part is that it happened in Microsofts backyard.
--
Just trying to get my first "Funny" tag in 2008 ;-)

and you believe a blog entry? (1)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873918)

Well, you really must be dumb enough to really believe the blogentry from the person who claims to have worked there.. Unless the company involved says otherwise I won't believe anything (especially since booting windows normally takes longer than 1 minute LOL)..

Negligence. (1, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873922)

Any company that puts the detonation of hundreds of pounds of explosives under the control of a windows machine is begging for a massive lawsuit.

-jcr

relevant enough to plagurize (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873970)

talk about a 'glitch' in yOUR history, being buswhacked etc... our apologies to the nytimes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

Looking at America

It was not the first time in recent years we've felt this horror, this sorrowful sense of estrangement, not nearly. This sort of lawless behavior has become standard practice since Sept. 11, 2001.

The country and much of the world was rightly and profoundly frightened by the single-minded hatred and ingenuity displayed by this new enemy. But there is no excuse for how President Bush and his advisers panicked -- how they forgot that it is their responsibility to protect American lives and American ideals, that there really is no safety for Americans or their country when those ideals are sacrificed.

Out of panic and ideology, President Bush squandered America's position of moral and political leadership, swept aside international institutions and treaties, sullied America's global image, and trampled on the constitutional pillars that have supported our democracy through the most terrifying and challenging times. These policies have fed the world's anger and alienation and have not made any of us safer.

In the years since 9/11, we have seen American soldiers abuse, sexually humiliate, torment and murder prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq. A few have been punished, but their leaders have never been called to account. We have seen mercenaries gun down Iraqi civilians with no fear of prosecution. We have seen the president, sworn to defend the Constitution, turn his powers on his own citizens, authorizing the intelligence agencies to spy on Americans, wiretapping phones and intercepting international e-mail messages without a warrant.

We have read accounts of how the government's top lawyers huddled in secret after the attacks in New York and Washington and plotted ways to circumvent the Geneva Conventions -- and both American and international law -- to hold anyone the president chose indefinitely without charges or judicial review.

Those same lawyers then twisted other laws beyond recognition to allow Mr. Bush to turn intelligence agents into torturers, to force doctors to abdicate their professional oaths and responsibilities to prepare prisoners for abuse, and then to monitor the torment to make sure it didn't go just a bit too far and actually kill them.

The White House used the fear of terrorism and the sense of national unity to ram laws through Congress that gave law-enforcement agencies far more power than they truly needed to respond to the threat -- and at the same time fulfilled the imperial fantasies of Vice President Dick Cheney and others determined to use the tragedy of 9/11 to arrogate as much power as they could.

Hundreds of men, swept up on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, were thrown into a prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, so that the White House could claim they were beyond the reach of American laws. Prisoners are held there with no hope of real justice, only the chance to face a kangaroo court where evidence and the names of their accusers are kept secret, and where they are not permitted to talk about the abuse they have suffered at the hands of American jailers.

In other foreign lands, the C.I.A. set up secret jails where "high-value detainees" were subjected to ever more barbaric acts, including simulated drowning. These crimes were videotaped, so that "experts" could watch them, and then the videotapes were destroyed, after consultation with the White House, in the hope that Americans would never know.

The C.I.A. contracted out its inhumanity to nations with no respect for life or law, sending prisoners -- some of them innocents kidnapped on street corners and in airports -- to be tortured into making false confessions, or until it was clear they had nothing to say and so were let go without any apology or hope of redress.

These are not the only shocking abuses of President Bush's two terms in office, made in the name of fighting terrorism. There is much more -- so much that the next president will have a full agenda simply discovering all the wrongs that have been done and then righting them.

We can only hope that this time, unlike 2004, American voters will have the wisdom to grant the awesome powers of the presidency to someone who has the integrity, principle and decency to use them honorably. Then when we look in the mirror as a nation, we will see, once again, the reflection of the United States of America.

Re:relevant enough to plagurize (-1, Flamebait)

pottymouth (61296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874856)

Typical of a spoiled hypocritical neo-crat nut job. You hate the country that through the sacrifice of many young lives and the work of agency's you love to hate, provides you with the safety and comfort to smugly sit back and spew this idiocy. You undermine the very system that allows you to exist. The fun part will come if our way of life does fall to it's enemies people like you will be the first to bend over and take it up the ass because you're made of jelly.

You should move to your favorite middle eastern country and try to do what you have the freedom to do here. In the words of one of my favorite celebs, "See you in Guantanamo...".

Figures, anonymous coward!! Sort of says it all doesn't it!!

Also happened in Cornwall (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874026)

It happened in Cornwall, England, but this time blamed on a programming bug [dwarfurl.com] [cornwalltimes.co.uk]

You need more data before you jump to conclusions (5, Insightful)

director_mr (1144369) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874040)

Unless you know what the file was stored on, what interactions with the computer caused the halting of the program and on what basis they decided to continue manually, you are jumping to conclusions. One guy even claimed there was BSOD mentioned in the article (nowhere was it mentioned I can see). After years of supporting computers and servers, I can confidently tell you there is no way of knowing what caused the glitches from the article. A corrupted file on which several pieces of hardware are going to coordinate something as complicated as a fireworks display is probably not caused by the operating system, as the operating system has no reason to modify the file at all, and will only be reading it. More likely is a malfunctioning hard drive, possibly bad media that was used to transfer the file from one location to another, Or possibly a bad connection between the file storing device and the computer running the program. If you look up corrupted file you will see that every operating system known to man has to deal with that. There is no operating system that can magically correct the corrupted file and cause a fireworks display to run correctly. That is just silly talk.

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (1)

crosstax (1206716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874276)

I have a 70 Gb software RAID in my basement on a headless Pentium 133 or 166 powered by Slackware 11.0 serving over Samba. If a hard drive goes, I replace it and no harm is done.

And I digress, there are algorithms to correct corrupted data streams though there are limits to the level of corruption they can correct.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forward_error_correction [wikipedia.org]

If the corrupted data file was the firing sequence data then I would have to say that this type of programming is best left to proper software engineers considering the danger to human lives. And if a software engineer didn't at least run a CRC check on the input file, I would suggest job displacement or at the very least some serious retraining.

Engineering isn't for fly-by-wire hackers. Innovation is great and all but there are certain times when a profession's tried and true practices should be strictly adhered to.

An unemployed man

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (2, Insightful)

Obsidian Butterfly (1133957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874406)

Everything you just said would've cost more money. I'm pretty sure that wasn't a priority.

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874434)

Everything you just said would've cost more money. I'm pretty sure that wasn't a priority.
I'm pretty sure getting contracts next year is a priority never mind actually doing what they were employed to do. This is a big priority for that reason.

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874628)

I'm pretty sure that wasn't a priority.

I'm pretty sure it is now.

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874722)

There are many ways to keep the risk of corruption low. Hell, if you know the CRC of the original, valid table and have a live backup of the file available in case the primary is damaged, you can avoid problems like this. A better approach is to CRC individual records in the file: if one is found to be corrupt as the firing sequence is proceeding, restore it from a backup file and continue. If that doesn't work, skip the corrupt record and continue with show.

Running a fireworks show is not a high availability application (I mean, it only has to run once for a few minutes) but it is a mission-critical app in that it damn well has to run successfully. In such an environment, you run a hot backup system with a watchdog timer and some kind of automatic switchover of the control outputs. The backup system constantly monitors the run state of the primary, so if the primary controller faults out the backup will take over seamlessly. For something as costly as a fireworks show, this would be a reasonable approach, and in fact is commonly used in industry.

Let's face it: when it comes to computers shit happens ... sometimes it's the hardware, sometimes the software, and in an environment such as this you have to account for both.

How about the reputation of the fireworks people? (2, Informative)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874284)

Pyro Spectaculars [wikipedia.org] . They have been in business for 30 years, have done multiple Olympic game shows and do other high profile shows every year. You can compare that to M$'s reputation for screwing everything up.

Re:How about the reputation of the fireworks peopl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874686)

And during those 30 years, they've been using Windows without problems. Your point?

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874346)

After years of supporting computers and servers, I can confidently tell you there is no way of knowing what caused the glitches from the article.
If you said, "after years dealing with kernel code" I would buy your argument.

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (1)

director_mr (1144369) | more than 6 years ago | (#21875304)

After years of dealing with people who deal with kernel code, I know how to spot a hardware problem when I see one. This kind of problem has a very high probability of being a hardware issue, mixed with an end user screw up. Probably because they didn't take all the precautions they should have, or possibly because it was unrealistic and too expensive to take all the precautions they would have liked to. If you think this was a kernel problem, you need to take a breath and realize other things besides kernel cause problems.

When you have a hammer, you start treating everything like it is a nail. Programmers treat everything like it is a programming issue. You don't know how many times I've replaced hardware on a server and repaired it after some hapless coder was trying to code around a hardware issue.

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (4, Interesting)

aethera (248722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874922)

From what little we have to go on in the article, it looks like there was a problem with syncing to time code. It's been a few years since I last did time as a tech at a major theme park, but our fireworks shows looked a little like this: There was a dedicated computer running the pyro controls, one running sound playback, one controlling the lasers, one controlling lights and fog, and one controlling some miscellany such as a 70mm film projector and the large water pumps that produced a screen the movie was rear-projected onto. All of these computers could be a little buggy given that this was in the days of windows 98 and getting device drivers to play nice was always a problem. But this stuff was worked out long before showtime. The biggest problem that could show up at the last minute would be the SMPTE time code that keeps it all synced up. One intermittent cabling problem somewhere in the system could cause a computer to get bad or no time code signal at all, causing at least that one element to not playback correctly. The best way to solve this problem was to notice it ASAP, usually in the few seconds of preroll before the show starts so that you can manually sync everything at a predetermined point. But there really is no ability to pause just one element or speed up others. Once you're off time code, you're going to have to go manual, and at least with pyro with all of the different fuse delays involved, manual just isn't going to be quite right. The only other last minute problem I could think of would be a corrupted file, or more than likely a revision that wasn't saved correctly or an outdated file being loaded automatically by the show control software and no one verifying that it was the proper version. These holiday shows are a one off, of course, so there is no dress rehearsel. You can run all the simulations you want, but you only get to fire off the pyro once.

Re:You need more data before you jump to conclusio (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#21875114)

If you look up corrupted file you will see that every operating system known to man has to deal with that. There is no operating system that can magically correct the corrupted file and cause a fireworks display to run correctly. That is just silly talk.
ZFS checksums everything, and mailing lists and blogs are full of people mentioning that it's detected and corrected corruption on their HD's. Sometimes it's corruption that's been happening unnoticed for years on other filesystems, aside from the odd mysterious crash, now reduced to a number in the CKSUM column of zpool status (provided there's a good alternative copy, which doesn't have to be on a different disk).

Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874354)

We waited such a long time for that real Y2K bug!

Re:Finally! (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874440)

the ghost of Jebus was obviously pissed off that we celebrated the wrong year as his 2000th birthday, and so decided to haunt our computers on the wrong year as revenge. Expect him to be haunting computers all through the year as an expression of his anger.

Hello 2008...just like 2007 (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874636)

And yes ... one blog commenter, claiming to have worked on prior shows, said that the shows run on Windows

And yes ... this has not one goddamned thing to do with the reported problem.

I see Slashdot is going to resort to low brow sensationalism just as much in 2008 as they did in 2007.

Windows in control of fireworks???? (0, Flamebait)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874826)

Who in their ripe minds would put Windows in control of launching fireworks at a big event??? A Linux system would work much better :) Using a Windows machine was just asking for a "Hundreds hurt in fireworks accident, Windows to blame" headline in all major US newspapers.

Microsoft Home Server? (0, Redundant)

CJSYVR (1210166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874986)

Were they running MS Home Server? That has had some file corruption issues as of late. ;)

No Substantiated Cause (1)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21875030)

Computer Glitch:ACCEPTED

OS: UNKNOWN

Slashdotters are 12 years old pretending to be thirteen.

Why Windows? (3, Insightful)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21875260)

I've seen so many instances of BSOD's on things like gas pumps, ATM's, etc. Windows sucks. Am I using it, yes I am. I'm well familiar with its eccentricities. Would I use it for mission critical projects, hell no.

At least they didn't use the Window's "time" stuff (5, Funny)

Craptastic Weasel (770572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21875264)

Yeah, it could have been worse, imagine if they used the algorithm from the program that determines how long a file will take to to transfer...

10... 9... 80.. 6430... 6... -3..

happy new years :)
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