Saturday, June 21, 2014

Accident-Free Since 2014!

Whimsy's little steam train is popular; visitors sometimes ride it four or five times around its circuitous route.

In the interest of safety, the left side of the engine's cab bears a notice one usually sees in the workplace-- Accident-Free Since ___. It's at the bottom, below the instructions no one ever reads.

Every year, as December draws to a close, I update the sign for the upcoming year. Thus, the train proclaims it has been accident-free since... whatever year it happens to be.

This year has been the exception. Last fall I updated my desktop from Windows XP to Windows 7 and my ancient version of Quark Xpress stopped working (although it would run on the XP emulator were I to get around to configuring it). And so the engine has until now read Accident-Free Since 2013. That was technically true, since the the train is extremely reliable-- although perhaps that is debatable, since every train trip ends with a pre-planned train wreck. I leave it to you, gentle reader, to decide for yourself whether a deliberate crash is an accident. I would say no, but go with your conscience.

So anyway, today, at the end of the route the carriages, instead of jumping home, flew to a nearby piece of scripted track which was nearby on the land as decoration. Why they malfunctioned today after having performed faultlessly since 2008, I can't say.

The carriages wouldn't obey by command to jump home, and neither would the engine, which was smart enough to stay around and attempt to recover the carriages. I deleted the track-as-decor prim and moved the carriages back into an approximately correct position. I sat in the engine and started it and the train promptly began to function perfectly-- that it, it crashed just as it was supposed to.

Why the carriages got confused after so many years remains one of those mysteries of Second Life.

Considering what had just happened, I felt compelled to update the sign on the engine. I could have recreated it with the free graphics program GIMP, or I could have configured the XP emulator built into Windows 7 Professional, but I decided a patch was good enough.

So now the train accurately lists its last accident-free year: 2014, and I no longer feel guilty.

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