“Even in the future, nothing works!”

"Blue Screen of Death" at Sheetz in Fishersville, VirginiaI just find it quite amusing when things go awry. In the case of the picture at right, the computer running this ordering screen has crashed, bringing the famed “Blue Screen of Death” to the forefront. And the question is, what do we do? That’s what makes things going wrong amusing. What do we do when our gadgets go down? In the case of this order terminal, there are like eight or nine more of them outside, plus five more inside. So it can wait. Still, when something mechanical breaks, the problem is usually something visible if you look in the right places. And until you get the person in to fix it, you work around it. When something electronic breaks, in this case, it’s not necessarily so obvious. It could be a few lines of code that are buried deeply in a file somewhere that are not executing the way the person intended that’s causing problems. Still, though, you work around it. So often, when a computer system goes down, people improvise. I remember the time at JMU that the system that controlled building access at Potomac Hall went down. What did we do? We went to mechanical means. We checked people manually, and let them in. That was an interesting situation. I’m just glad that when everyone expected a giant disaster in 2000 with the whole Y2K thing, that we didn’t have the disaster some people were expecting, and that life went on. But I truly believe that if things had gone down, we would have adapted until things were fixed. Things would have run well enough until we got things online again. Paper is a wonderful thing, and so is the human brain. Now, mind you, it would have been sheer torture for the people charged with catching the systems up after they went back online, having to manually enter in whatever was generated during an outage, but we would live. Still, the whole Blue Screen of Death reminds us that we aren’t perfect by any means, and that sometimes our best laid plans can go awry, and need to be fixed.

Date posted: January 7, 2005

Notes: This quote ended up being the final new quote article before the feature was discontinued. A repeat quote article followed this one on the Main Page, and then was replaced by the Photo Feature on March 12, 2005.