Shifting the blame

When I see kiosks with Windows error messages, I usually love to blame Windows as I’m a life long (OK, I was 16 when I got my first Mac) Mac user so Windows is an easy target. Several weeks ago, I was at the San Diego airport picking up my wife and son when I saw an error on one of the displays. I realized that the displays were still running and the only problem was the crash message on the screen. I attribute this error to the person that setup the kiosk. Software is going to crash running most operating consumer operating systems (Mac OS and Windows primarily), so whoever sets up the kiosk needs to do whatever is possible to make sure the kiosk or display keeps running. This includes background processes to monitor the foreground processes and vice versa. In addition, all error messages need to be suppressed. Mac OS X has a command line option

defaults write DialogType server

to prevent the crash dialog from coming up. I can only imagine that Windows has something similar.

I’ve worked on a kiosk system before and setting them up is not trivial. It takes a lot of thinking and failure design to get it right.

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