Ocu­lus re­leases fix af­ter world­wide black­out

The good news is that it’s fix­able. But it prob­a­bly shouldn’t have hap­pened in the first place, re­ports HAY­DEN DINGMAN

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

If you want a hint of how frag­ile our tech-re­liant world is, look no fur­ther than the Ocu­lus Rift. Rift own­ers the world over re­cently dis­cov­ered that their £399 vir­tual re­al­ity head­set had be­come a pa­per­weight overnight – at least tem­po­rar­ily.

It seems as though Ocu­lus for­got (?) to is­sue an up­dated Win­dows cer­tifi­cate, the se­cu­rity fea­ture that

con­firms that, yes, Ocu­lus’s soft­ware is ac­tu­ally Ocu­lus’s soft­ware. As Mi­crosoft’s decade-old primer puts it, “Dig­i­tal cer­tifi­cates func­tion sim­i­larly to iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards such as pass­ports and driv­ers’ li­censes.” That’s a pretty good anal­ogy.

When the cer­tifi­cate ex­pired, Win­dows stopped rec­og­niz­ing Ocu­lus Run­time Ser­vice and thus stopped al­low­ing it to run – for good rea­son, I might add. As the end user though, this man­i­fests as a pretty opaque ‘Can’t reach Ocu­lus Run­time Ser­vice’ er­ror.

On the plus side, it’s a rel­a­tively easy fix. Ac­cord­ing to Ocu­lus: ”To patch your Ocu­lus soft­ware, you’ll need to down­load ‘Ocu­lusPatchMarch2018.exe’ at

fave.co/2HwSMxN. Run the ex­e­cutable, and se­lect ‘Re­pair’. When the up­date is fin­ished, launch the Ocu­lus desk­top app to con­tinue the up­date process. Once the up­date is com­plete, you’ll be able to use your Rift.”

On the other hand, this should not have hap­pened. Win­dows cer­tifi­cates are a ba­sic part of mod­ern soft­ware, and it’s em­bar­rass­ing for a com­pany as big as Ocu­lus – with the back­ing of Face­book – to let this hap­pen. It’s un­der­stand­able, and as Red­dit user Tre­foilHat pointed out, Ocu­lus’s cer­tifi­cate was gen­er­ated in 2015 prior to the Rift’s ac­tual pub­lic re­lease, when the com­pany was a lot more rough and tum­ble than it is now. But it’s still em­bar­rass­ing.

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