Elevating bork to a new level (if the touchscreen worked)

Who needs pesky buttons when the Internet of Bork is here?


Bork!Bork!Bork! There are times when a bork is elevated from amusing to downright sinister. What code is lurking behind the scenes on your elevator?

Register reader Rob Dyke spotted today's example of messages you don't want to see in an elevator while traversing the floors of London's Walkie Talkie building (or 20 Fenchurch Street).

The structure, nicknamed "Walkie Talkie" on account of its curious appearance (sounds better than "Projector Of The Death Ray"), has 34 floors of office space and is topped off with eateries and a watering hole above.

Elevator screen error

Click to enlarge

There's no word on whether Dyke was heading for a well-earned beverage at the top. Certainly, if we'd seen this error on the elevator screen, a stiff drink would have been second most on our minds after wondering how it is that a touchscreen is needed to operate machinery like this.

While we might be befuddled by printers that now insist on making a clean shutdown (and displaying a terse message on startup if the power is rudely yanked) or computer games that seem to require patching on a daily basis compared to the Atari VCS cartridges of old, we'd have to say the benefits of dispensing with buttons in favour of a touchscreen are marginal at best.

The words "Temporary Network Problem..." scream "You Had ONE Job" to us. Presumably the clever control panel can detect the card issued to the user and ensure only the relevant floors are selectable. Assuming the network is present.

As for why the network is not available, well – hopefully nobody cut the wrong cable (and let's face it – the words "cut", "cable", and "elevator" are rarely happy bedfellows). But at least the problem is temporary.

Unlike the Walkie Talkie building itself, which was the recipient of Building Design's Carbuncle Cup in 2015 and looks set to squat on the London skyline for a good few years to come. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Google sours on legacy G Suite freeloaders, demands fee or flee

    Free incarnation of online app package, which became Workplace, is going away

    Google has served eviction notices to its legacy G Suite squatters: the free service will no longer be available in four months and existing users can either pay for a Google Workspace subscription or export their data and take their not particularly valuable businesses elsewhere.

    "If you have the G Suite legacy free edition, you need to upgrade to a paid Google Workspace subscription to keep your services," the company said in a recently revised support document. "The G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available starting May 1, 2022."

    Continue reading
  • SpaceX Starlink sat streaks now present in nearly a fifth of all astronomical images snapped by Caltech telescope

    Annoying, maybe – but totally ruining this science, maybe not

    SpaceX’s Starlink satellites appear in about a fifth of all images snapped by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a camera attached to the Samuel Oschin Telescope in California, which is used by astronomers to study supernovae, gamma ray bursts, asteroids, and suchlike.

    A study led by Przemek Mróz, a former postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and now a researcher at the University of Warsaw in Poland, analysed the current and future effects of Starlink satellites on the ZTF. The telescope and camera are housed at the Palomar Observatory, which is operated by Caltech.

    The team of astronomers found 5,301 streaks leftover from the moving satellites in images taken by the instrument between November 2019 and September 2021, according to their paper on the subject, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters this week.

    Continue reading
  • AI tool finds hundreds of genes related to human motor neuron disease

    Breakthrough could lead to development of drugs to target illness

    A machine-learning algorithm has helped scientists find 690 human genes associated with a higher risk of developing motor neuron disease, according to research published in Cell this week.

    Neuronal cells in the central nervous system and brain break down and die in people with motor neuron disease, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the baseball player who developed it. They lose control over their bodies, and as the disease progresses patients become completely paralyzed. There is currently no verified cure for ALS.

    Motor neuron disease typically affects people in old age and its causes are unknown. Johnathan Cooper-Knock, a clinical lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England and leader of Project MinE, an ambitious effort to perform whole genome sequencing of ALS, believes that understanding how genes affect cellular function could help scientists develop new drugs to treat the disease.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022