Last week I travelled to Las Vegas with the whole family and my parents in law who were visiting us from France. Apart from the fact that our return flight was delayed 3 days because of the bad weather conditions in Seattle the trip was good.
On our way back, we had time to roam around and in McCarran airport. And I came across these panels displaying departures info. Note the popup in the lower right corner…
You are certainly familiar with this Windows XP popup. This is something you wouldn’t expect to display on a device such as these panels, right? This is exactly what Windows Embedded Standard and it’s Embedded Enabling Feature will help avoid. First of all Windows Embedded Standard is a modular OS, you select the features you need in your device and no more, which means that you will certainly not include the Windows Shell with it’s desktop, taskbar and start menu. Instead you will set your own application as the shell. Then you will be able to use the Embedded Enabling features such as the Messagebox and pop-up interceptor that will intercept any system message boxes or pop-ups and treat them silently. To learn more about Windows Embedded Standard and the Embedded Enabling Features, visit the MSDN Web Site: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms912903(WinEmbedded.5).aspx http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms376738.aspx
It's amazing to see how many devices out there are still running non-embedded versions of Windows. Another message you see quite often is the "event log is full" message or a message reporting network connection/disconnection.
This kind of display is not interactive, I suppose, and so closing that message is not easy. On an interactive device closing the message may be easier... but you can have even worse consequences from this kind of things. If the application crashes any user may get access to the desktop, and make the device unusable (if you are lucky...).
I think that Windows Embedded Standard and XPE aren't very well known on the market (at least here in Italy) and some people will jump on their chairs if they know that they can solve all those issues (having no shell, no error messages, no swap file, no stress for their compact flashes etc.) and also pay less for the OS license... :)
That also reminds me of an interesting anecdote: a big gaz company in UK deployed a new series of fuel pumps in all its stations. A specific day all the pumps became unusable: a modal pop-up message box was displaying a message about the fact that the time had automatically been change on the system (DST). This modal message box needed to be validated but you have no mouse or keyboard on a fuel pump! So they had to send maintenance people to physicaly plug a keyboard on each fuel pump...