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February 23, 2004 12:56 AM

Broken: Madrid Metro TV screens

Mark Waters writes from Madrid:

The Madrid Metro (subway) TV channel runs on Windows 2000 Professional, that is, when it runs at all.

The attached picture shows an error message 'File Not Found', proclaimed proudly for all the world to see. This appears on screens at the subway stops and on the trains themselves.

I have also witnessed the following:

- 'It is now safe to shutdown your computer'
- Memory address errors
- 'Loose cable or connection' errors
- 'Cannot find Wireless Network'
- The Windows Desktop with Explorer open and the directory structure and files visible to the world.
- and of course the infamous 'CRTL-ALT-DEL' blue screen

I imagine that commuters who are computer users and are travelling home from the office after another day of struggling with Windows must feel they are living a waking nightmare. I can't imagine how those commuters who are not familiar with Windows digest all the warnings and alerts which the Metro TV is spewing at them.

I hope they're using something more robust for the signalling system.


I don't see how any of that is related to Windows. Sounds like idiot programmers/administrators. All the things mentioned are user faults, not problems generated by Windows. On the last point, Windows 2000 does not have a CTRL-ALT-DEL bluescreen. If you saw that, that means they are running Windows 9x/Me (and then maybe it's not all their fault). Or perhaps they bought hardware not on the HCL... At any rate, sounds like whoever is in charge of this IT operation should be replaced.

Posted by: Michael Giagnocavo at February 23, 2004 09:33 AM

I agree that Windows is not completely at fault here. As you say the faults seem more likely to be in the application running on Windows and/or bad configurations.

The blue screen is a bit of a mystery to me. I have seen it but I didn't get to photograph it. However I'm positive that the system is running on Windows 2000 Professional as when it reboots (a regular occurrence) it displays the splash screen.

Come to think of it I may have seen the blue screen on the screens that display the airplane departure times in the metro stations on the airport line. It's hard to keep track.

Posted by: Mark Waters at February 23, 2004 12:59 PM

A few more public Windows error messages here

Posted by: Tim Meadowcroft at February 25, 2004 04:05 AM

What is even worse than just having error messages up on the public information board is that fact that these are plasma displays that they are using. If the computer is hung up with a stupid Windows error, that static image will burn into the phospor in relatively short order. So, long after the error is cleared up, it will still be visible as a shadow on the screen.

Posted by: Steven Winner at July 1, 2004 09:58 PM

I agree with Michael Giagnocavo, he speaks of great wisdom.

Public Windows error messages always give me a laugh. I saw this one time while the high school chorus we performing... standing next to a TV that was, oddly enough, displaying the star field screen saver, then for no apparent reason displayed a blue screen of death. I had to laugh out.

Posted by: etM at July 14, 2004 12:40 PM

He, he, he, he, truuuue, I live in Madrid and I see every night the infamous messages from windows 2000, and this is not the only thing I saw. Resets, navigation, and the administrator inserting the password (bullets).

Sometimes you can see the desktop too...XDDD

Spain is different and Microsoft sucks...

Posted by: MacCano at November 12, 2004 03:14 AM

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