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July 18, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Global weather simulation model

Brian D. submits a picture taken in Boston, Massachusetts:

I found this global weather simulation with an error message at the Museum of Science in Boston.


Didn't you read about that in the news? Microsoft now owns the atmosphere. Todays weather is running Microsoft XP with a 75% chance of illegal operation errors.

Posted by: Fayth at July 18, 2006 09:10 AM


Posted by: rick at July 18, 2006 09:19 AM

Today's forecast: cloudy with scattered software.

Posted by: McWatters at July 18, 2006 09:49 AM

i've seen that often.

Posted by: bob at July 18, 2006 09:54 AM

i've seen that often.

Posted by: bob at July 18, 2006 09:54 AM

The sphere display is cool though (except for the giant error message I mean)

Makes me want to stand above it cackling evilly about the foolish mortals below...

...but then, I do have a bit of a maniacal streak...

...time to smite them all with a ctr-alt-del...bwahahaha!!

Posted by: SillyGirl at July 18, 2006 10:18 AM

I've seen this problem a number of times in different places. What I don't understand is why they don't use a dual display system! The secondary display is the one that displays the desired output, while the main display is the one that displays those infamous Windows error messages. That way, when the system crashes, or whatever, the customer will not see the error message! The error messages will only be displayed on the primary monitor which is hidden away from public view.

Posted by: Gary Edstrom at July 18, 2006 10:34 AM

The joys of microsoft.

Posted by: joe at July 18, 2006 10:55 AM

Take cover! We're being attacked by the error messages of death!

Posted by: stargate525 at July 18, 2006 11:50 AM

From the uppercase "String", I believe it's .NET using a MessageBox to handle an Exception that happened there. Definitely an (unacceptable) error, and Broken by a mile.

Posted by: gamekid at July 18, 2006 12:16 PM

More specifically, the guys who made this Earth program simply wrote it to show a MessageBox like that if a download of the current weather timed out (judging from the "operation has timed out" part). It should, instead, be tripping a silent alarm of some sort to the admins.

Posted by: gamekid at July 18, 2006 12:19 PM

No wonder we've been having such freaky weather!

Posted by: Jeff at July 18, 2006 01:56 PM

Can't believe I'm going to have to point this out - what you have there is the famous "blue sky of death"

Posted by: Pat at July 18, 2006 02:55 PM

This isn't broken!

...Oh wait, of course it is. I'm an idiot.

Posted by: Sigh at July 18, 2006 03:35 PM

Error. Atmosphere has timed out. Illegal exception in sky32.dll. Clouds.exe is not responding.

Posted by: Fuzzy at July 18, 2006 04:06 PM

does this show real time weather from off a network? I'm no expert, but couldn't 'operation has timed out' simply mean that it was unable to get a response from whatever server it connects to, and thus is not necessarily a windoze error, but an error that happened to occur on a computer running windoze.

Not that I'm any sort of fan of M$, but it isn't proper to jump to any sort of conclusion.

It's still broke as hell. if a museum cannot keep their network working, someone must be screwing up.

Posted by: Yuravian at July 18, 2006 04:11 PM

I'll tell you what's broken, is the blurry photo. Was this picture taken during a high-speed car chase?

Posted by: MattyMatt at July 18, 2006 04:36 PM

This isn't broken at all, the world is one big error after all :)

Posted by: Echo35 at July 18, 2006 05:01 PM

Today forecast is partly cloudy skys, with highs in the upper 80s. Latter in the day we may also have a giant error message float by.

Posted by: Aux10 at July 18, 2006 06:00 PM

2 things,

1- never use windows for public viewing, of maps. times, etc. Always use the extremely stable Linux

2 Yes the error message was network related, probably the weather server crashed- a result of windows.

Posted by: wiggleworm at July 18, 2006 06:59 PM

Not broken. It's a big piece of paper covering the hole in the ozone layer.

Posted by: Paul at July 18, 2006 08:05 PM

oooh! Ive been there before... Did you see the smoke tornado malfunction?

Posted by: sean at July 18, 2006 08:16 PM

That might explain the lack of rain, at least by my place. Rain32.dll has got a bug, not because it's summer.

Or question reality, it's an error in the Matrix.

Attention h4x0rs: Please replace buggy rain32.dll with something a little more X-citing, please!

Need ideas/suggestions? Head over to

heh heh couldn't help it. Rain is so last millenium. It's time 4 someting new.

Posted by: splatman at July 18, 2006 08:48 PM

Is that the biggest error message (spelling?) in the world? ROFL!

BROKEN like never before!

Posted by: Another guy named Alex B at July 18, 2006 11:09 PM


Yes, of course, I forgot, Windoze is the root of all evil and causes all servers to crash. It is *never* a human error or hardware issue. I completely forgot. Also there has never, ever been a bug on a mac or on Linux.

Windoze is far from the best operating system, it is possibly the worst. But that hardly means that it is at fault every time an error message comes on the screen. I lose my network connectivity from time to time. Is it windoze's fault? no. I have a cheap router, that works horribly. Put simply, the museum's network admin or similar has most likely:

1) failed to use a dual display, to at least hide the error message whenever it appears.

2) failed to properly set up the network.

3) failed to insure that the server that the weather data is hosted on is stable.

4) Maybe they just forgot to turn off the globe during some sort of network maintenance.

Still broken. It just doesn't necessarily relate to Windoze.

Posted by: Yuravian at July 19, 2006 02:06 PM

Sure, it doesn't relate to Windows. But it's still a good idea to run public display systems with something other than Windows. When's the last time you saw a public Linux crash / kernel panic here? (No, the airplane entertainment system booting up doesn't count)

Otherwise, no one would notice, but by having an error message pop up in the middle of the world, it's apparent that that system runs Windows XP/2003/variants.

(If you have a cheap router, go to the computer recycling depot and ask for a 486. Install 3 network cards, and IPcop. There, highly stable router.)

Posted by: Trent Chernecki at July 20, 2006 03:51 PM

Hopefully Vista will be as buggy as its forefathers, so there will still be laughs to be had at the expense of people who think Windows IS computing.

Posted by: Ducky at July 20, 2006 08:23 PM

man, i love that muesiem, i'll have to go chech that ball out, it's new since ive been there.

Posted by: schwal at July 21, 2006 06:12 AM

The largest Windows Error on the Earth! Agh!!!!

Posted by: Demache at July 25, 2006 10:39 AM

That is a sneak peek into the apocalypse.

Posted by: wafflecannon at July 31, 2006 07:45 PM

>>I'll tell you what's broken, is the blurry photo. Was this picture taken during a high-speed car chase?

>>Posted by: MattyMatt at Jul 18, 2006 4:36:00 PM


The globe is in a glass enclosure, which would reflect flash from a camera. The photographer turned flash off, so the camera set the exp. time longer. This guy didn't have a tripod, so the camera shook when exposing, resulting in a blurry image.


The Window has an error message! (I need to open it to see the world.)

P.S. I'm not Sean.P or sean. I'm Sean, with a capital "S".

Posted by: Sean at August 6, 2006 08:33 AM

Micrsoft Windows error messages now in 3D!

Posted by: Sean at August 6, 2006 09:51 AM

lol another peril of using windows as a weather map etc. and where else have we seen humorous windows screw ups.

also where can i get one of those sphere shaped screens ;)

the system must use a monitor splitter cable the globe and a regular monitor is hooked into the same output. if it was dual monitor the mouse pointer and error message wouldn't be there. also with the dual monitors all the gory behind the scenes stuff for that PC will be on the standard monitor in wherever the PC box is stored and the map -at worst- will just sit there like a rock or go black while the PC reboots. and wont get covered by unsightly blemishes of windows like that error.

Posted by: PC_nut at May 3, 2007 05:15 AM

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