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Politician trapped in BMW and unwarranted Microsoft-bashing

Some of you may have already seen this story about how a Thai politician and his driver were trapped in their BMW 520 limo after the car's onboard computer crashed. The computer controlled the doors, the windows, and the A/C, so the car was heating up rapidly until they got the attention of a guard, who smashed a window with a sledgehammer. All around amusing story. [Update Jan-28-2007: In response to the comment below, I can see how this would be totally unfunny when you're actually in the situation, however easy it is to express schadenfreude as an outsider. In my defense, I think this was mainly funny because it happened to a politician; it's funny when unfortunate things happen to those in power. I probably would not have found it nearly as amusing if it was a story about an ordinary person. I apologize to the commenter for being insensitive, and I hope she's able to get some resolution.] Hardware backups, people! Not having a way to manually unlock the doors just seems negligent. But then the article says:

BMW's more up-market 7-series range uses a computer system called i-drive which has Microsoft's WindowsCE at its core.

Did Mr Jaovisidha narrowly miss being killed by the blue windscreen of death?

And that, I had a problem with. It gives the impression that WindowsCE was responsible, when in fact it was not (as far as I know). I've seen another article on the subject that doesn't even have the word "up-market"; it just said that it was a BMW 520, and then later mentions that the BMW 7-series uses WindowsCE. I mean, look, Windows has already disabled the USS Yorktown. Do we really need to invent blame when it was not responsible?

Comments (9)

The same thing happened to me Wednesday. I suggest before you post that this is an "all around amusing story" you consider how harrowing an experience like this is. I was trapped for over one hour, and I am experiencing, I believe, very real post traumatic stress. BMW USA refuses to help because my car is "too old." I'd like to know how this Thai finance minister was compensated for his loss, since BMW refuses to assist me, an ordinary American. I've been in tears since Wednesday. I thought I'd never get out. The one blessing, beyond the fact that someone did finally break the glass, is that my 6 and 9 year old were not with me.

I'm sorry. Please see my update to the post above.

okay i have one *liiiitle* question?.... Okay why didnt they just oohhh i dont know... break it from inside? are the windows half unbreakable glass? only on the inside?... this is stupidity.... the only person i know that would not think to break the window from the inside is the same guy i found in a video call "firecracker vest"

What are you going to break the window with? See the attempting to break the window section of this Mythbuster's episode summary. They could not break a car window even with a set of keys. They only managed it break it using specialized car window breaking tools.

In other words, yes, car windows ARE made of "half unbreakable glass".

Thanks for the apology. As for the 'stupidity' question, there was nothing in the car to break the window. I tried with all my might to break the glass with my foot and leg. German engineering I found is stronger, as the Thai Government Finance Minister learned as well. (See Reuters News Agency story). I now carry a "Life Hammer" and I highly recommend it, esp. if you live near water, or, are ever trapped inside your vehicle because of an accident. I tried to (calmly) read the Owner's Manual while trapped inside and for your knowledge BMW's Owners Manual reads, [When the double lock anti-theft system software is engaged]"There is POSITIVELY no way to exit the vehicle from the inside or the outside. The only way to exit is with the Master Key lock inserted into the drivers door key lock on the outside." This key was in my hand inside the vehicle, of course, and of course, I didn't expect a software glitch. I also tried to manually override the power needed to open the sunroof, however, the hexagonal allen wrench necessary is located in the tool box in the vehicle's trunk. Hopefully, you will never have to experience this stupidity.

HAPPENED TO ME TO I CALLED THE LOCAL MEDIA I HAD AN ASMTHA ATTACK SITTINGIN MY 5 SERIES BMW I WAS LOCKED IN FOR OVER AN HOUR AND THE LOCAL FIRE DEPT TOOK TWENTY MINUTES TO PRY ME OUT OVER THE EVENT ALSO THEY COULDNT GET IN WITHOUT ME PUTTING THE KEY THROUGH THE WEDGE THEY CREATED. THIS WAS NOT FUNNY SEEING AS THOUGH MY CHILDREN COULD HAVE BEEN IN THERE WITH ME.

I thought I was crazy when my BMW became possessed and locked me in recently. It is a 2000 330 i. I was lucky. After pushing and holding random key buttons I escaped.

I decided to carry a "special key" in the back seat, i.e., a sledge hammer. I thought this was kind of a joke. Now I know it is not.

This warning needs to be posted. I am going to suggest my local BMW store do so.

Wayne Phillips
Boulder, Colorado

My wife Rosemary in 1991 was trapped for 45 minutes till I Broke the Window (B.rake M.y W.indow.
BMW threaten to sue us for telling people about. " their". ("Dead Bolt Locking System") we took them to Court in Redwood City,San Mateo, California and made them change. " their".
locking system 3 times,... we insisted they take the word (DEAD) out of their owners manual,.......(page 10 owners manual 1988 to around 1998,.....now a Colectors idem ). We won the battle and lost the war.
The "Honorable" Judge Sheldon (a black man) shielded BMW & struck just about everything from the record. We have much more incriminating evidence against BMW,..... We will see if this gets thru, before we unload.
Dennis O'Keefe
O'Keefe's Welding Fab.
www.dennyokeefehorrods.com
WORLD ART 2009
Email okpoppa@msn.com
X

Mum is 90 years old. I drove her to the super market in her car and stopped at the letter box on return. When I parked the car in the car port, I unlocked her house and took her groceries in, came back to the car where she was reading her mail with the passenger door ajar. I locked the drivers door and went inside. My mother shut the passenger door while she finnished reading her letter. Although she had a spare key in her purse she was locked in the car with no way of unlocking the car or useing the horn or opening a window to get fresh air. I can understand a car being designed to prevent anyone getting in but in my opinion there is no reason to design it so it's impossible to get out of. What if it was on fire? What if she froze or over heated or suffocated. It never occured to me that she was locked in a car that is impossible to get out of without outside help. Never in her 90 years has she ever before had reason to believe that a car could be impossible to get out of. I have asked BMW in Auckland to provide a "fix" for this problem to make sure it can never happen again. Their response is they are not going to do anything about it, not even to report the problem to the manufacturer who have just given away a new car for the publicity value, yet refuses to investigate or remedy a potentially fatal, frightening design fault of their 20 year old models.

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LEAVE THIS FIELD BLANK. IT IS HERE TO TRAP ROBOTS.

LEAVE THIS FIELD BLANK. IT IS HERE TO TRAP ROBOTS.

LEAVE THIS FIELD BLANK. IT IS HERE TO TRAP ROBOTS.

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