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Windows OS failure during a show


bwaldrep
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This is really just a rant but I wanted to at least share this with others.

So last night I had a complete failure/crash of Windows. I'm not a windows guy at all, I use Mac's, and the only windows machine I have is strictly for LOR.

However around 6:30pm last night I noticed my show was no longer running (It had started at 5, and was still running at 6), and upon looking at the show computer I saw a blue screen with an error: "KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED" After trying to reboot a few times, They computer could not find a bootable drive.

So to be safe I used different hard drive, and started the process to reinstall Windows.

I have all my LOR files on a flash USB drive, and backed up on 2 other hard drives, so I knew once I got windows back up, I would have no issue with LOR.

All in all, I was able to get the show running in about 3-3.5 hours later. Had I been a windows guy, it may have been a bit quicker, as I ran into some driver issues with the sound card and other junk (Did I mention I'm not a fan of Windows, and have been a Mac user since the 80's)

Anyway... During this I played an audio voice over via a different computer to the outside speakers, and FM transmitter stating we could not run the show due to the weather (I didn't have a technical difficulty VO) and also posted updates on our facebook page of the problem, and the ETR. As I ran around the house, from computer to computer to do everything I could to get the show back running ASAP, and glancing out the windows watching hundreds of cars pull up, and drive away through out the night, I felt bad.

But what really made me upset, was some of the rude comments that visitors decided to leave on our facebook page, and even a few who decided to come to our door to yell at us.

"We drove 1.5 hours to see your show, and you don't even have it running..."

"My mom flew in from Reno, 2 hours on a plane just to see your show, and it isn't on..."

Although I'm sure this is a small percentage. It amazed me how some people didn't understand why we do a show like we do. These people acted like they payed for a ticket, and are attending a rock show, and are entitled to get a good show. I'm sorry, It wasn't like I felt like being a jerk, and turned the show off for the night. It was a computer crash, and I busted my ass to get it back up and running quickly.

It just made me wonder why I was busting my butt to get the show back up and running that night, or why I even spend the money or time to do a show like this at all.

Again, I know most visitors don't have that attitude, but it still hurts when some do.

So I have run the show this morning, and last night after the repair, and things are good, so I will be set the rest of the year.

And I will, as of tomorrow, have a 2 Hard drive, ready to go, with windows pre-nstalled, which can be hot swapped into the show machine, if another failure occurs.

So that was my Wednesday evening.

If anyone does have a generic VO of technical difficulty, please post it. A quick Google search last night didn't find anything, but I didn't spend much time looking.

Brent

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That is a windows 2000 error. I haven't seen that one in years!

the MCSE in me says - buy a new computer with win7 and all silly problems go away.

The Christmas guy in me feels for you! I would have been so f'n angry!

But then again, I always have a back up PC...

I have read there are a few MAC guys that run VM's that run their show.

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Thanks. It was Windows 2000, which was installed on an old Dell edge server I bought used years ago. I didn't even have any disc for it, so I just used a windows XP install I had laying around.

I do have XP loaded on one of our Mac's via VM, but the problem with that, was I have the SC485 - RJ45 Serial Adapter, not the USB one, so I needed a computer with a serial port, so my options were limited.

I'll be ordering the USB converting with my next LOR order (Feb sale).

So in other words I have made a few notes to have a better back-up plan for the future.

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1st, I'm glad you had good backups of everything.. That is a key step right there, especially with this being your only windows PC.

2nd, a cheap netbook may be a good fallback plan in the case of a serious hardware failure.. Under $300 should get you running, and you typically have 30 days to upgrade the windows starter, to windows.. Yes, it adds an extra hidden cost in there, but it gets you going.. I know that a 1,000 channel sequence was written on a Lenovo netbook with external monitor, so if it can sequence it, it should play it fine. (as long as we are talking LOR networks, future directly connected DMX may not do so well)

As for the complaints, there is a part of me that would be tempted to private message back that next year you would try to plan your hardware failures around their schedule, but that due to the attitude of entitlement that some people have shown, you aren't running a show next year. You might get lucky, and they might never realize that you really are. After all, they obviously aren't the people you are running your show for.

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