TL;DR: the railroad system in Dalian, China went down because it supposedly was running on Flash, which was formally shut down in December of 2020
Now this might seem like a real easy layup to clown on the Chinese, like my Korean self occasionally likes to do, but frankly, I’m more on the frame of mind that understands the situation and can very easily relate in the sense that something similar, but not nearly as detrimental kind of happened at my place of employment.
Despite the fact that I work for a Fortune 50 company, the clock punch platform that we use still runs on Flash. And in spite of the common knowledge that Flash was going kaput at the end of 2020, you’d think something would be done about the platform, so that the legions of hourly associates that work for the company wouldn’t be boned when inevitably Flash stops working, and nobody can access the system to punch in, punch out or any other time-related administrative functions.
December passes, and there’s no real news, and when January rolls around, I start getting emails, my peers within the company who also have reports are getting messages, and there’s a lot of people wondering why they can’t log in and punch in to work. Naturally, there was nothing done to prepare for the long-reminded demise of Flash, and a scramble ensued, and basically some hackneyed band-aid is in place to hold shit together in the interim.
So I can understand how even an essential service like railroads, can fall victim to negligence of the end of Flash, because my multi-billion dollar company that I work for did the same thing, and they typically pay obscene amounts of money for people to be smart to prevent such things from happening.
I like to think of this really as a case of reminding too early, as bullshit as it seems. Adobe did nothing wrong at all, they can’t be pinned for any of it, because they really have let the entire world and all industries know that Flash had a timeline, but because it happened so far in advance, nobody really paid any attention to it. It’s like there really is such a thing as too advance notice.
But the best part about the whole story in Dalian was, how casual the article was about how the problem was fixed by installing a pirated version of Flash. Because of course in the land of counterfeit everything, are they so cavalier about using bootleg software to solve their problems because of course they are. But honestly, it’s probably no better or worse than the solve my company utilized to mitigate the need for Flash, but it’s just ironically sad and funny at once, all the same.