A Case Study in Problem Solving

How Linux Saved a Fast Food Giant

Anti-virus program breaks Windows XP at over 700 (maybe more?) Burger Kings.  Smart guy figures out how to fix it utilizing a small linux distro and gets a co-worker to work some script magic.

Good job, Edwin.

One thing that stood out to me was the mention of rural restaurants’ data connections running as low–or lower–than 56 kbs.

Using some of our clout, we contacted Microsoft to see if they had anything that could help us, and they gave us a WinPE image that we could customize to run a script that would automatically fix the situation. Great, but we have two problems. First of all, we can’t run Microsoft’s proprietary .wim on our existing PXE environment. Secondly, the file size? Huge! We would have to push out nearly a CD’s worth of data to a lot of restaurants that do not have a great data connection under the best of circumstances (thanks telco duopolies!). Some of our more rural restaurants had connections so bad, they were going slower than a 56k. We were at the mercy of a piss-poor national broadband system. We pretty much ended up having to save this as a last resort, because it was basically unfeasible to send that kind of data to all affected restaurants. Some restaurants had to resort to buying a USB thumb drive and driving to another restaurant to get the file. Their connections were so bad, it could not handle a 62 MB file. Just awful.

Edwin’s right.  It IS awful that even a large corporation has to rely on a substandard information infrastructure.  Widespread and affordable broadband is pretty much essential for any organization (be it small business or megacorp) to provide quality external and internal customer service.*  Happy customers + happy employees = a stronger organization, more profits, and a stronger economy.

*Yes, there are exceptions.


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