When technology fails

I love computers and technology in general. Actually, I am an advocate of technology and I try to push high tech solution whenever that makes sense.

But, what happens when technology fails?

We have seen many movies with various apocalyptical scenarios where one or another technology fails on us: computer systems in nuclear power plants, satellites, ground or air traffic and so on.

The picture below were taken by me with the mobile’s phone camera in two airports in Europe.

The first three pictures show a not so horror scenario: computers displaying on which band the luggage coming from a certain flights are delivered were offline. Instead of chaos and panic, the officials of the airport wrote on a board exactly what the computers normally display.

Now, that wasn’t so bad, isn’t it ?

The last picture shows a Lufthansa quick checking booth being rebooted. The unpleasant part for me was that just a second before reboot I was preparing to checkin. I think that the computer was rebooted after an Windows update, but I can’t be 100% sure. It can be seen clearly that it is a Windows XP shutting down. Only that terminal was rebooted, because usually there are 4 or more terminals positioned in a circle. Of course, after seeing that the machine rebooted, I went directly to the checking counter were a human smiley face helped me checkin. I don’t want even to think what would have happened if all computer in the airport would have started to reboot because of that update (or for whatever reason).

Writing on a board or on a paper who checked in and where each luggage should go doesn’t seem to count as a possible solution.

As a conclusion: technology fails from time to time. This is a fact which doesn’t need a demonstration. Each entity which is dependent on technology should have plans to survive without it or to gracefully shut down without computers (yes, nuclear plants included!).

Sorin Mustaca
Data Security Expert