back to article London 2012 Olympics: 17000 athletes, 11000 computers

Even if you don't care about people running quickly around in circles, it can't have escaped your notice that the Olympics is coming to London for 17 days in July 2012. As the world's biggest sports event of the year, it will involve 17,000 athletes, 20,000 members of the press, millions of spectators (10 million tickets sold - …


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  1. EddieD

    Heretic here...

    After a full patch cycle and a wee bit of optimisation, Vista will run cleanly and consistenly - but Win 7 came out very, very soon after they got Vista working, so most folk haven't seen it.

    Similar interface to 7, so it will be familiar, and, as speaking as a techy, if the support techs say it's for the best, I'll agree with them.

  2. TheOtherJola

    Running Vista ... not about the fancy specs

    I notice you wrote

    "that the vast majority of them are running Windows Vista. But it's not about the fancy specs"

    If they're running Vista it will *need* to be about the fancy specs!

    Anyway, nice article and nice pics. Thanks. A good read. :)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I don't think they went for the best here, considering the brand and Vista I think they went for "cheap". Or more correctly put: "they went for the optimal price range".

      Anyone who has been following the technical aspects of both OS's will tell you that for an optimal performance you're better of using Win7 than Vista. I've witnessed this myself with my (professional) audio equipment. Vista worked, but when the load went a little bit up then Vista could hardly copy anymore. Win7 (same hardware, same software, other OS)? It flies. In the previous example it took approx. a tenth of the load which Vista needed.

      Still, at least there's some new motivation to watch the olympics for me; checking up if all keeps on working or if we get some BSOD on one of the boards all of a sudden :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I installed Windows 7 on the same hardware as Vista and found it to be MUCH slower. Windows 7 is not an improvement on Windows Vista, It IS Windows Vista but with a slower (and ridiculous) UI. It is not the rewrite that it is claimed as can be proven very easily if you just look in the program files. Why have a Windows Mail folder in there if Windows 7 doesn't come with Windows Mail? And surprise, surprise, if you use the Windows Vista DLL for Windows Mail, it works.

        You are perpetuating the myth that Windows 7 is superior to Windows Vista when quite frankly, it isn't.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          "I installed Windows 7 on the same hardware as Vista and found it to be MUCH slower. "

          I don't doubt your experience, since I wasn't there, but I think you are the *only* person in the world with that experience.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            I've seen the same here.

            We've done a fair amount of testing on brand new Dell Latitudes.

            Out the box Vista with updates is quicker to start...


            Give it 4 months and Vista is on it's knees if you've so much as loaded a new calculator program on it.

            It takes about 6 months for 7 to get to the same point.

    2. C 2


      I dunno if I'd use the word 'run'...

      Then again if they had 11,000 techs and 11,000 computers I'm sure it would work out.

    3. Stupidscript


      Most likely, Acer saw an opportunity to dump all of those Vista systems they had lying around the warehouse. There's simply no other reason to use that particular OS when there are so many other, far better OSs available. Fortunately, in the article updates the plan looks a bit more sensible, running Win7.

  3. Piro
    Thumb Down

    Oh, goodness...

    Cheap Acers and Windows Vista.

    Sounds an awful recipe to me.

  4. TeeCee Gold badge

    I can see it now.....

    "Why aren't the times up on the results board?"

    "Just copying 'em across. According to the Vista copy dialogue they'll be there in a minute......5 minutes......23 days.........22 days........28 days........a year......"

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Yes but

      They have support on site who they can chuck it to and get a replacement.

      It won't be like the IT crowd with Moss (Windows Vista, We're all going to die!) and Roy (Have you turned it off and on again?)

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Acer support

        That's a huge improvement on standard Acer support so it might be just that if they pull out all the stops.

    2. Stevie Silver badge


      Didn't you hear? No-one on the web is allowed to tell the time any more on account of astrologers bought the sky.

      or something.

    3. Steve Evans


      Does sound a bit scary doesn't it, but on the bright side I think even an Acer machine can manage to work for 17 days... It's usually at about the 12-18 month point that the power supplies pack up.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sponsored... peddlers of sugar-water and obesity inducing foods; run by a fat, slow and insecure OS.

    They are consistent at least.

    Still, at least the property speculators got to buy loads of housing at way below market value, and the political class get to strut about; so who cares that this jumped-up sports jamboree will cost the taxpayer millions (if not billions) and is reducing access to sporting facilities for the poorest in the UK?

  6. Silverburn

    Vista and consistency

    They want to use vista to 'maintain consistency'?

    Consistently what? Consistently crap?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > by peddlers of sugar-water and obesity inducing foods

      I hear the Olympic site will play host to the world's biggest McDonald's. That is so wrong on so many levels.....

  7. David 39

    Ah HA!

    It's a true project, with an end date that cannot move," said Acer's Programme Manager Todd Olsen, "There is no flexibility; it has to work on the 27th of July."

    Damnit that's why I keep getting sacked, I always allow my projects to not work years after the deadline

  8. MacGuru

    only 50m pool??

    in SE England.. only other than the one which is in SE London, thats been there for quite a while and is 50m.

    here is a pic just in case:

    Could have saved a lot of money by using Crystal Palace National Sports centre for the games, but everything has to be built in East London...

  9. Tempest 3K


    So that's how they are dealing with the inventory backlog we heard about a while back!

    1. Richard Morris

      Me thinks he might be more used to working on Gvmt IT contracts!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Of course! How else could the MPs chums in the construction business make any money otherwise? You think these games are about the people, health or sport?

      2012 and 2014 - one impoverished nation and one subsidised nation putting on jumped-up sports day for the elite which national infrastructure crumbles.

      Trebles and company directorships all round!

    3. Elmer Phud Silver badge


      They are supposed to be Boris's games held in Boris's London with Boris's traffic schemes and Boris's bikes and Boris's public transport.

      There's still plenty of corporate-style tickets on sale and the corporates are now running competitions for the unwashed to win tickets.

      It's his big advert to get him the Mayor's job again.

      It also comes with promised Boris's high-scale traffic jams, Boris's demand for 30% less commuters (wtf?) and Boris's buggering up of East London as demonstrated by ensuring that Westfield sucks in customers from local shops.

      Still, as with Vista, as long as it looks pretty and looks as if it works who gives a toss?

    4. chris_b1

      or the 50m pool in Guildford-

    5. Bunker_Monkey

      err... 50m pool

      You forget about the Olympic pool in Coventry.. Yes Coventry!

    6. Jim Morrow
      Paris Hilton

      coulda saved several shitloads of money by not bidding for the games in the first place and letting paris host them. the olympics are another fucking waste of public money by bastard blair and his useless cronies.

      paris icon because she's obviously much more accommodating.

  10. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


    When the Olympics is over, who gets to buy the 'village' afterwards for £1 and funny handshake?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Well, lest any others mock you Sir, they need only look over here in Vancouver where they have had a great deal of difficult shifting the Olympic village units for any price....

      1. Darryl

        Didn't the Stanley Cup rioters mostly burn down the Olympic Village in Vancouver?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Didn't realise that. I was basing my observation on the Millenium Dome in London.

          I think it was eventually sold for a fiver (that's 5 of your Earth pounds) even though the cost to the UK Taxpayer was getting on for a billion (that's 1000000000 of your Earth pounds).

          Slight discrepancy.

  11. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Err? you have missed something????

    What about the Olympics part 2 then? The Paralympics? All you seem to talk about is the main event but for a lot of people that is the mere warmup act.

    A Number of other venues will be used for this. For example Brands Hatch.

    Come on ElReg.....

    Or are Acer and the rest of them going to pack up shop and take their toys home once the first closing cerempny has happened.

    Where's the Mega Fail icon when you need it?

  12. bitmap animal

    15" screens

    Won't the lucky recipients be excited about getting those. The only place I've seen one that small recently is in a server rack.

    I presume each PC has a specific duty so the small screen will actually be OK for it's job.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    We need...

    ... a follow up article after the event to see if everything was ok in the end, or if all the dire predictions I expect this column to be full of come true :)

  14. theblackhand


    "11,000 Acer boxes and 1,200 techies at the ready"

    My experience with Acer suggests it should be 1,200 Acer boxes and 11,000 techies at the ready....

    Although that maybe a little light on the techie side unless they have some fancy parts replacement machines....

    1. Manu T

      @ theblackhand

      They should have used Acorn Computers RISC OS machines. True UK technology.

      or at least

      They should have used either UK-assembled PC's from a UK company.

      Acer (aka yet another CCP or 'Cwappy Chinese Pwoduct') and yesteryears M$ Vista. Really 'innovative'. Perhaps this year there'll be a new discipline, count the BSOD's.

      Heey, perhaps this is great for gambling sites. Predict the BSODS on this years event. :-)

      1. mtdnelson

        Acorn ++

  15. Roger Varley


    Looking the side on shot of the swimming pool - am I the only one to be reminded of the building in the Italian Job where they're chased up onto the roof by the Italian cops?

  16. shaolin cookie

    My wife has Vista

    Most of the time I see her at the computer she's either waiting for it to respond to commands or rebooting since the (wifi/MS Word/input systems/...) don't work anymore.

    On the plus side, the athletes will get lots of exercise having to run the races many times given that the computers crashed again. :-)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The IT Crowd

    "What operating system do you have?"

    "Er, Vista I think"

    "We're gonna die Roy! We're gonna die!"

    1. Kirbini

      Erm, yes.

      It reminds me of a panty liner....

    2. rh587

      Part of the plan?

      The tour guide said people bringing cars wouldn't be able to park. They didn't say anything about not driving "around" the village...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You'll have to get through the vehicle checkpoints first...

        ...and then show your accreditation. And go through the x-ray machines. Have fun!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Yeah I saw the picture of the pool and I wondered how they were going to stop the water from just running off.

      Yeah, I dig the panty liner thing as well...I mean from pictures that I might have seen...some time back...erm

  18. Ian Stephenson Silver badge

    It looks like Acer have no experience of government contracts...

    They seem to be intent on delivering on time and in budget and maybe even to spec.

    Ah well, they'll learn.

  19. Doogie Howser MD
    Thumb Down

    Time for the obvious response

    Kapoor's Tower is a vertical pile of shit that just doesn't fit architecturally. Just sayin'.

    My 8 year old could have designed something 10 times as good for a fraction of the price. With his hands tied behind his back. And a blindfold on. And drugged. Holding a crayon with his toes.

    1. Red Bren

      Someone think of the child(ren)

      "My 8 year old could have designed something 10 times as good for a fraction of the price. With his hands tied behind his back. And a blindfold on. And drugged. Holding a crayon with his toes."

      I assume you have evidence to back up that claim. Just wait there while I call the authorities...

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge


      Kapoor's piss-poor 'Blackpool Tower come over all wobbly' cast iron eye sore might have been marginally less shite had it been remotely vertical.

      As for your 8-year old, does Guantanamo have a kindergarten now?

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      What does your kid's social worker think of your "gentle" methods of encouragement?! You don't have one yet? You will! You will!

  20. Velv Silver badge

    Nobody able to supply Acer with a secure working easy to use Linux desktop then?

    No Linux fanbois willing to put their money where their mouth is and offer a free solution?

    It would be a terribly good way to promote Linux if it were used to provide the services for such a prestigious event. Perhaps it's just not up to the job?

    I'm not really trolling here - I like Linux, but until someone puts up the money to use Linux desktops in a high profile high volume situation it's going to remain a caterpillar on the motorway of progress.

    1. goats in pajamas

      Not going to happen...

      ...whilst Parliament is full of people who think that the sun shines out of Bill Gates's rear end.

      They're really going to run the Olympics on Vista?

      We'll be the laughing stock of the world.

      Still, it might just be the death knell of Windows in Government IT when it all goes, rather inevitably, wrong.

      As to "linux people stepping up to the plate" - remember when the NHS IT contract was first mooted? Sun won the contract and were going to install linux across the entire NHS. A couple of phone calls later and the contract was reawarded to "Microsoft Gold Certified Partners" and we all know where that lead. Billions over budget and it never worked properly once.

      Until Microsoft are acknowledged for the mafia like cowboy operation that they are, and are acknowledged as such in the corridors of power - nothing will change and tax payer's money will be p*ssed up the wall year after year after year.


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