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New Jaguar XJ Suffers Blue Screen of Death 301

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-meant-to-do-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNET UK is reporting that it crashed a £90,000 Jaguar XJ Super Sport — one of the most technologically advanced cars on the planet today. It's not the sort of crash you'd imagine, however — An unforseen glitch somewhere within the car's dozens of separate onboard computers, hundreds of millions of lines of code, or its internal vehicular network, led to the dramatic BSOD, which had to be resolved with the use of a web-connected laptop."
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New Jaguar XJ Suffers Blue Screen of Death

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  • by blankinthefill (665181) <blachanc@NosPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday August 14, 2010 @10:38AM (#33250576) Journal

    FTFA: "Over the minutes that followed, the software analysed every one of the car's digital systems in search of a problem. The culprit could have been any number of things -- the Bosch-supplied, Linux-based infotainment system, the Visteon-supplied virtual instrument display, a heat-ravaged processor, an errant mouse somewhere in one of the car's hundreds of miles of wiring, or the dodgy contents of a CNET UK memory key in one of the XJ's two USB ports."

    Lots of systems running together, in a very rugged environment (for a computer, anyways)... I don't think it's terribly surprising that this could happen. In fact, the only surprising fact here is that it doesn't happen MORE often than it does.

  • by wowbagger (69688) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @10:52AM (#33250646) Homepage Journal

    In fairness, the title is misleading: Blue Screen of Death implies Microsoft Windows, and there is no Microsoft Windows involved in this story (at least, not in the car). Indeed, the only OS mentioned in the story is Linux.

    I despise Microsoft and Windows, but I do so for REAL reasons, which this story IS NOT. The summary should be fixed to note this wasn't a BSOD, that Windows was not at fault, etc., just to be fair and consistent.

    As it stands, the summary is just prejudiced and misleading.

    (oh, sorry. forgot where I was for a moment.)

  • Re:Not a BSOD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by localman57 (1340533) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @10:53AM (#33250648)
    Exactly. A less sensational headline could have been "XJ Power button kinda flakey". This kinda stuff is what drives technical support people nuts. The technically ignorant public comandeers a technical term, such as BSOD, with a very specific meaning, then generalizes it until it's no more useful than the word "Crash". Less useful, actually, since it makes people familliar with the original meaning infer information that the ludide doesn't mean to imply. For people of this level of technical sophisticaiton (Toughbooks, OBD2 interfaces, etc) to do this is shameful.

    While I'm on this rant, can we please, please, stop using the word "Literally" as an intensity modifier for metaphorical descriptions? I swear, the next person who tells me they're "Literally on fire" gets sprayed with a fire-extinguisher as an object lesson. Power or CO2, I haven't decided yet. We'll just see what feels right at the time.
  • by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @11:05AM (#33250704) Journal

    It did fail safe. It didn't let the car even start. "Parked" is about as safe as you can get, for a car.

  • Re:Not a BSOD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @11:06AM (#33250720)

    calling a 'power button' problem is a bit surface-level, wouldn't you say?

    we all can be pretty sure it was NOT the button but the cpu systems and networks behind it.

    if you are going to be pedantic, get it right, at least. literally.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @11:09AM (#33250752) Homepage Journal
    A 2010 Toyota Camry gets 268 hp from a V6 engine while still getting 20 mpg around town. Let's see a 1982 model do that.
  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @11:24AM (#33250826)

    What?!

    "hundreds of millions of lines of code"

    I don't believe that number

    Just a bogoword from an illiterate.

    .

  • and to think... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WiglyWorm (1139035) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @11:39AM (#33250898) Homepage
    I got called crazy when I brought up this site's anti-MS pro-linux slant yesterday. The thing was running Linux and it's stillbeing blamed on Microsoft!
  • Re:Jaguar? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 14, 2010 @12:03PM (#33251028)

    No, sonofabitch, I'm an Indian programmer and I stay in Bangalore. I've seen plenty of American retards who call themselves 'programmers', and I'm better than most of them. So stop talking out of your ass - just because your fuckin' excellency hasn't seen any good code coming out of India does not mean there is none at all. The project that I'm currently working on has an asshole American who does not know the basics of database design, and he's making life hell for me, since I have to bloody double check everything he does. And he has '6 years experience in database programming'. Yeah, right - that's why he creates tables where all the fields are varchar2(500), irrespective of whether the incoming data is numeric, string, or date. And tables with no integrity constraints too.

    I conclude therefore, that all American programmers are shitty, and I wouldn't buy a car if I knew that the programming has been done in the USA. Fair enough?

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @12:05PM (#33251044)

    It dramatically reduces the cost and time to check a car for problems and unusual behaviour when you have very small very simple computers monitoring all the essential systems on your car.

    And yet repair shops still charge you $85 to plug a machine into the OBD port and tell you that you can pay them to fix it.... hmmmm.....

  • by Alien Being (18488) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @12:26PM (#33251182)

    It sounds like this cat needs a watchdog.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @01:19PM (#33251536)

    Why aren't thermostats the round Honeywell mechanical jobs anymore? They worked.
    Why are egg timers in your kitchen all electronic now? Mechanical timers worked.
    Why does your washing machine have electronic controls now instead of the big mechanical dial with 4 modes on it?
    Why is your electricity meter an electronic counter now instead of the mechanical spinning thing with 5 dials?
    Why does the tape deck in your car have an electronic tuner instead of a dial, variable capacitor and a string loop with a needle on it to indicate the station?
    Why are watches electronic (quartz) now instead of complex movements?

    The answer is the same in all cases. It's because software and electronics are cheaper and do the job better than the old mechanical device did. Your washing machine can have more flexible modes, like the ability to extend the rinse cycle in increments, or even add a 3rd rinse. Your thermostat can have a setback mode to save energy when you aren't there. Your egg timer can be set to beep 5 minutes before the timer expires. Your electricity meter can count daytime electricity different than nighttime electricity. Your tape deck's tuner can select stations more accurately, have simpler preset stations (ever see how the 5 preset buttons on a radio with a tuner know worked? very complex) and is much smaller. Quartz watches keep time more accurately than mechanical watches, last longer and can have chronographs and other functions without adding a lot of cost.

    And in the end, it's really the flexibility of software that wins out. Software can be programmed to do a lot more complex things and can be reprogrammed to do it slightly differently very cheaply, no need to change tooling as you would to change mechanical parts.

    Remember what mechanical adding machines and cash registers looked like? What they worked like? A mechanical cash register had to have far more buttons (10 for each digit) and was limited in what it could do. Want to put in 5 identical items? You had to pull the lever or push sum 5 times. Meanwhile electronic cash registers don't just add. Sure they can calculate different tax rates on different items, that's just the beginning! You don't just put prices of items into the cash register, you put it items. And the cash register knows the price of the item, knows whether it has a special tax rate (like groceries sometimes do) and knows if you get a discount for buying 5 of them. And it also does inventory control, it sends info back to the central computer at the store to indicate they've sold 10 widgets. At the end of the day, the system figures out you've sold over 80% of the widgets in stock and the system suggests you order more widgets from your supplier.

    That kind of "behind the scenes" stuff also takes place in cars. A modern car like this Jaguar emits fewer trace emissions in a year than your car does in a day and this is due to the tight engine control possible with a sensor package and control software.

    A modern car knows if you're in the car. It unlocks the door if you're outside and pull the handle, it just senses your key (which is more of a fob) in your pocket. It auto locks when you get out. When you're inside, all you have to do to start it is touch a button, since it knows the key is inside, you don't have to insert it into a lock (and mechanical locks wear out, as I'm sure you with a 30 year old car can attest). When you touch the button, it cranks the car until it starts, no less, no more. No need to hold down the button until the engine catches. And if the car is already running it doesn't try to start the car and make a screeching sound. While its running, if your turn on the A/C and it puts more idle load on the engine, it applies more idle throttle to the engine so that it doesn't stall. If you let out the clutch a little too fast, it applies throttle to prevent a stall there too. If you put the clutch in and the gas at the same time, it will cut the engine off at 4,000 rpm to prevent over rev damage. You have an electronic parking brak

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@chrBOHRom ... minus physicist> on Saturday August 14, 2010 @02:00PM (#33251766)
    Yeah, because 4 ton land yachts that require a honking great V8 to get 0-60 in 10-15 seconds, all the while getting a good 2-3mpg, are such a better investment...

    The days of 9' wide Buicks were 40 years ago, spud.

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KarmaMB84 (743001) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @02:10PM (#33251826)
    A 1982 model could move itself with just 70 hp and many could get 50 mpg on the highway compared to the Camry's 29. Sounds like we're advancing in the wrong direction to me.
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by winwar (114053) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @05:33PM (#33252828)

    "A 1982 model could move itself with just 70 hp and many could get 50 mpg on the highway compared to the Camry's 29. Sounds like we're advancing in the wrong direction to me."

    And the 1982 model would not be legal for sale today. In any case, you can buy an entry level Toyota which will get very good mileage and be superior in pretty much every way to that 1982 car (safety, emissions, reliability, performance). Or buy a Prius.

    What's your point again?

  • Re:Not a BSOD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Saturday August 14, 2010 @11:41PM (#33254766) Homepage Journal

    From TFA

    Over the minutes that followed, the software analysed every one of the car's digital systems in search of a problem. The culprit could have been any number of things -- the Bosch-supplied, Linux-based infotainment system, the Visteon-supplied virtual instrument display, a heat-ravaged processor, an errant mouse somewhere in one of the car's hundreds of miles of wiring, or the dodgy contents of a CNET UK memory key in one of the XJ's two USB ports.

    I know its just sensationalism on their part, but if putting a badly formatted USB stick into the in-dash USB port is enough to kill the car, there is something seriously fucking wrong with it.

  • Re:Not a BSOD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @04:46AM (#33255766)
    Literally is redundant. "I literally fell down the stairs." vs "I fell down the stairs." The word adds no meaning. "Really did" would work if you need a replacement. "I really did fall down the stairs."

    The only time "literally" had any meaning was when differentiating from a common hyperbole and literal truth. For instance, say someone was describing a horrible SCPA balloon accident were to say "it was raining cats and dogs" you used to be able to add "literally" to indicate that there were actually cats and dogs falling out of the sky. Now you have to choose different words.
  • Re:Not a BSOD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @05:20AM (#33255886)
    Terrific: causes excitement through fear became causes excitement. That's not that big of a change.
    Push the envelope: I don't know of any meaning other than the performance envelope of a plane being a technical term and pushing the envelope meaning operating at maximum physical limits (or finding ways to extend them). And that's the only meaning I've ever heard for its use, someone who thinks what they are doing is at or stretching the limits. Do you hear it used in any other meaning? Or are you arguing that some web designer doing something mundane and thinking that it's groundbreaking doesn't at least think that they are pushing the envelope?
    Drop the ball: every meaning I've heard for that is consistent with the football definition. Have you heard otherwise?
    Decimate: OK, I'll give you that one. No one ever knows about the Roman practice of killing 1/10th of the population (or was it just men?) as a punishment. Now it's used to mean 90%+ damage, not 10% damage.
    Evacuate: Draw off something (originally body fluids). Now it means draw off people or (mostly used by older people) expel something from ones body (I'm trying so hard to not picture my grandmother talking about "evacuating her bowels").
    Nauseous: Took me about three times to break my wife of this. "Oh, you are not nauseated, but instead are causing nausea in others?" Repeat twice, sleep on the couch once, and she's stopped. "I'm sick" is all I get now.

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