Bork!Bork!Bork! "What does digital signage show when humans aren't around?"
It's a question that has vexed the remote-working borkdesk at Vulture Central (or a at least its virtual incarnation) for some time. Thanks to one of our very own Vultures, out for permitted exercise last week, we think we have an answer.
And the answer is, of course, BSODs.
Today's BSOD in the mist comes from Blackheath Railway station in southeast London. Normally a pulsating hub for commuters, the station is currently seeing far fewer customers through its barriers.
Those who can swap the delights of the UK rail transport network for a desk at home, sitting in their undergarments, selecting ever more amusing Zoom or Teams backgrounds and becoming slightly deranged, appear to be doing so.
Your hardworking Register hacks, of course, remain immaculately turned out at all times and are not at all unhinged.
"The station," our Vulture remarked, "was all shut up." Meaning there were no staffers to ponder on the significance of the
atikmpag.sys message or deal with the video driver that probably caused it. A bit of sleuthing points to what is perhaps a failure with software for some AMD hardware.
Having a crack at it with the default drivers might restore the screen to life, although ultimately perhaps the Windows stack is a little overkill for simple digital signage. Then again, if the station illuminated by the soft hue of a screen of blue is free of footfall, did a BSOD really ever happen at all?
The screen is apparently normally used for showing travel information, so an abrupt shut down message seems somehow strangely appropriate in these trying times. STOP, indeed.
With no humans around to tend to them, BSODS and borkages have begun to run wild in our streets. Freed from its natural habitat of McDonald's touchscreens and ATMs, the bleating of Windows is spreading throughout the urban landscape, as noted by cybersecurity writer Catalin Cimpanu.
Nature, healing itself in the absence of man pic.twitter.com/saiWgUt2t5— Catalin Cimpanu (@campuscodi) April 20, 2020
Rather than healing, we fear that nature, like the abandoned computers still pinned to walls, may be having a blue-screen moment of its very own. ®