Chicago: Why I just grin like a dork... It's my kind of Bork

Even the bus shelters of the windy city cannot escape the borkage

Bork!Bork!Bork! Welcome to another entry in the digital signage corridor of despair, where cock-ups that would normally only trouble a user's screen are on public display for all to marvel at.

Today's entry comes from Reg reader Anthony Remmers and concerns the displays atop Chicago's bus shelters. Things, it appears, do not seem to be going well at all for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

The display itself seems more or less OK; the CTA has opted to stick with the reassuring soft glow of an amber matrix rather than a migraine-inducing flatscreen. However, whatever is driving it is clearly having a bad day with a message that looks dreadfully familiar.

Certainly, we've seen a SQLSTATE[HY000][1040] Too many connections error vomited up by MySQL in the dim and distant past owing to what was, frankly, a shonky bit of programming on our part and an equally shonky bit of server configuration by an administrator who should have known better.

If it is the error we think it is, then it gets thrown when all available connections are in use. "This error," said Anthony, "seems to be systemwide, as I saw it at all of my transfers." So not just caused by switching on one bus-stop too many then.

Alternatively, it might have a more straightforward meaning. When using the UK's public transport booking tools, we've often found ourselves remarking "too many connections" when the system spews up a recipe for travel so complex that even wizard of gastronomy Heston Blumenthal might say "steady on…"

Indeed, those who have attempted multi-connection journeys will have frequently scoffed at connection times that bear no resemblance to when trains actually arrive (yes, Govia, we're looking at you.)

We're sure Chicago is not similarly afflicted. However, having seen the jumped-up quiche that the city insists on calling "deep-pan pizza", we're not too sure about its competency in other areas, such as IT.

So, we'll put this one down to a good, old fashioned signage bork caused by a sickly server, whiffy code, or a simple mistype in the max_connections system variable.

Unless you know better? ®

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