Ten more stupid uses for Windows

Blogger Richard Stiennon's worst uses for Windows continues.

My "Top Ten Worst uses for Windows" post last week caused somewhat of a firestorm of reaction. It is worth pointing out that for the most part I am not really criticizing Windows just the use of a bloated OS for simple or mission critical tasks.

From the many comments here and on Digg I have aggregated other stupid uses for Windows:

11. Air traffic control radar

Chris S. relates: I think I can top everyone's story here...The US Air Traffic Control system handles thousands of flights a day. Much of the technology is still 1970's radar scopes though the FAA has been upgrading them facility by facility within the past 10 years or so. Even the radio communications (while still RF) are controlled through computer switches so that they can be routed to other facilities etc.

So what's powering the radios of one of the busiest airspaces in the country? Windows...The server crashed in 2004 preventing air traffic controllers from communicating with the 800 aircraft in the area for 3 hours. Servers are typically rebooted every 50 days to prevent "data overload" but they had missed a cycle causing the downtime.

As a pilot and software engineer, this scares the crap out of me! Full story here....

12. Fork lift trucks

From Jorgen: I work in a storage facility, and we have 98 on our forklifts for order sheets. It crashes all the time, and there is nothing funnier than seeing a truck stand still with a BSOD.

13. In flight entertainment systems on Lufthansa and Air Canada

Anon comments: Oh, you haven't seen anything yet...imagine an ENTIRE plane filled with windose? Air Canada flights I have been on recently, the entertainment systems didn't work at all. On one flight, they shut down the movie halfway through the film, and it wouldn't restart! On a flight from Japan to Vancouver, the systems didn't work at all, and from Vancouver to Toronto, a different AC flight, they weren't working either! All Windoze based. In fact, it happens so often, that they give out cards for discounts on your next flight to attempt to appease customers. Why do I say that it happens often? Because the cards are PREPRINTED, stating that "We're sorry our entertainment systems weren't working today...etc."

14. British nuclear submarines

Marvel comments: British subs started running the windows based SMCS-NG in 2004 after all the people that opposed the use of such an unstable operating on NUCLEAR subs where kicked off the deciding committee.

15. PBX systems

Comment from Jeff: What is really scary is that now Microsoft is moving past just controlling legacy PBX's and positioning themselves as a complete Unified Communications solution with their OCS product. Try taking down corporate dial tone every Patch Tuesday!

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Richard Stiennon

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