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Acela upgrades

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Acela upgrades
Posted by northernroute on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 2:27 PM

 I noted in the reports on the Acela replacements there will be no attempt to do anything with the current units but scrap them. One of the items pointed out is the systems run on Windows 98 so it's to old to upgrade. I'm running old computers on Linux Mint and they all ported over fine. By the way I did several hardware upgrades and Linux Mint again ported fine and Windows 10 took several days to get it running right. Even then I still get the spinning circle of death as Windows 10 is trying to install an update. I ride a 1986 Yamaha Maxim X and the dealers will not service it because it's "to old" and not computerized but I keep it running. My F-150 truck is 17 years old and it runs fine. There is still a lot of the Huey helicopters that I flew on in Vietnam in 1968 that are still flying. Someone needs to do a real cost study to see if it is worth it to do upgrades on the older units and keep them available for services that may be needed.

Tags: acela , retirement
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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 6:47 PM
Even if they could simply throw mint on them. It is very likely the software in question ONLY runs on DOS/Win98. And so it wouldn't even run in Windows 10. Or even Windows 2000. THAT is the problem. And Likely upgrading the computer hardware isn't this issue. the average RaspberryPi has more power than what they are running. The problem would be new versions of the software which would be bespoke to those units. Or, perhaps a major upgrade to make it work with COTS software systems and what the new locos are running. The cost/benefit starts to fall away.
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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 7:54 PM

YoHo1975
Even if they could simply throw mint on them. It is very likely the software in question ONLY runs on DOS/Win98. And so it wouldn't even run in Windows 10. Or even Windows 2000. THAT is the problem. And Likely upgrading the computer hardware isn't this issue. the average RaspberryPi has more power than what they are running. The problem would be new versions of the software which would be bespoke to those units. Or, perhaps a major upgrade to make it work with COTS software systems and what the new locos are running. The cost/benefit starts to fall away.

Anything can be upgraded - it just takes time, money and smarts + the DESIRE to get it done..

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 8:52 PM

19 of the 20 acela sets are leased by Amtrak.  Might limit what they can do with them?

see: Amtrak-Equipment-Asset-Line-Plan-FY20-24.pdf

 

 

   The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 11:11 PM

BaltACD

 

Anything can be upgraded - it just takes time, money and smarts + the DESIRE to get it done..

 

 

Time and Money usually have a really big influence on desire.

There's a reason that HP Enterprise maintains warehouses of ancient computer hardware to support the handful of hypercritical but extremely old systems out there. It's because the cost to do that is orders of magnitude less than implementing and upgrading the system.

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Posted by caldreamer on Monday, May 17, 2021 8:46 AM

There is a unix program called Wine, which stands for Windows Emulator.  It will run just about ANY windows program. 

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, May 17, 2021 9:07 AM

Didn't we just have a pipeline held hostage due to the use of outdated systems?

 

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Monday, May 17, 2021 12:25 PM

caldreamer

There is a unix program called Wine, which stands for Windows Emulator.  It will run just about ANY windows program. 

 

Yeah, wine is useless for something like this. Just building the conforming emulation and making sure it all works and then making sure it is sufficiently stable. This is not a solution any competant software or IT person would recommend.

 

Win98 had an embedded version specific to situations like this. It's not just a regular PC there and you can't do what your suggesting. Trust me, if there were a way to address this, it would be addressed already. And it wouldn't be through some hack that you can do from home.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Monday, May 17, 2021 11:53 PM

caldreamer

There is a unix program called Wine, which stands for Windows Emulator.  It will run just about ANY windows program. 

It actually stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator, in the way that GNU stands for Gnu is Not Unix, or MINCE stood for Mince Is Not Complete Emacs.

Codeweavers is the primary developer of WINE, where most of WINE is open source, but Codeweaver's "Crossover Office" has some propietary bits. Their website has a pretty lengthy list of what does work on Xover Off, along with a few packages that don't work.

What's probably an even better example of an emulator that works well is Apple's Rosetta 2 for the M1 Mac's. I had personal experience in seeing a rather complicated package, XEphem, run without a problem. It did help that Apple was making a push for 64 bit software for the last few years (last version of MacOS to run 32 bit software was Mojave), as the transition from AMD64 to ARM was a lot easier than getting x86 to translate to ARM. FWIW, the x86 architecture has elements that date back to the 8008 announced in 1971.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 3:38 AM
But almost no modern software runs x86 code. Even 32bit. It's all running in the modern add ons and executing Intel written abstractions. Code that is written to the actual x86 is almost universally dog slow.
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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 4:18 AM

The computer found in the EMD SD70ACe and M-2 runs some early/mid 2000s Windows operating system.  Still loads of those running around with no retirement in sight.  

You guys would love our pay system.  It is currently accessed through a 3270 emulator app on a modern touchscreen tablet.  

Our car tracking system isn't any newer........

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 5:22 AM

Erik_Mag
What's probably an even better example of an emulator that works well is Apple's Rosetta 2 for the M1 Macs.

You mean the Rosetta 2 that's apparently going to be deprecated in 11.3?  Who says history doesn't repeat itself at that company?

They should have paid developers $500 to do their code optimization for them.  And $200 'thank you'... in store credit... was another slap.

Why can't it just work and be kept working?

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 8:32 AM

Amtrak can sell the existing Acelas to a foreign national rail system where maintenance labor is not as well paid as Amtrak's

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 8:41 AM

daveklepper

Amtrak can sell the existing Acelas to a foreign national rail system where maintenance labor is not as well paid as Amtrak's

 

Maybe better maintenance performed more frequently.  If you were in Germany wouldn't hear anywhere near as many cars with flat-spot wheels as I hear on Metra/UP west. 

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 2:55 PM

...

 

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 12:06 AM

Overmod

You mean the Rosetta 2 that's apparently going to be deprecated in 11.3?  Who says history doesn't repeat itself at that company?

I'm running 11.3 on an M1 processor to type this and haven't seen any indication of Rosetta 2 being deprecated.

OTOH, the colossus of Cupertino is really bad about maintaining backwards compatibility (Public be damned???) - think they could take a few lessons from Sun on how to set up containers for older versions of MacOS.

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