Friday, March 29, 2013

Nerds Worst Nightmare - BSOD Pretty Serious Review

I'm not going to lie - when I saw that Pretty Serious had a shade of nail polish called BSOD, named after the infamous Blue Screen of Death, I was ALWAYS going to buy it regardless of how good or bad it actually was. I am an enormous sucker for crossover between my nerd half and my beauty obsessed half - but as it turns out, I would have loved this polish no matter what it was called.
It's a deep blue jelly, crammed full of teeeny tiny blue sparkles, and looks absolutely amazing on. Pretty Serious have a great formula for their polishes, and this went on much more smoothly than I was expecting for something crammed full of sparkle. It also dries gloriously smooth and shiny - so much so you could get away without a topcoat on this if you wanted.

I was completely blown away when I took this baby outside - the sparkles just jump right out, and your nails appear to glow from the inside.

It's an older colour in the Pretty Serious  collection, and I was pretty tickled to find out that a  superstition has sprung up around it in the customers. According to the folktales, just wearing this polish can cause your computer to crash into the dreaded BSOD - Pretty Serious have addressed this by putting up a tongue in cheek disclaimer on their site.

Screencap from the Pretty Serious website
For the record, my computer is fine.

If you're not as much of a nerd as me, you might need some context on why I find this superstition so amusing. The Blue Screen of Death is a mysterious, infuriating, error screen that is displayed when your computer hits an error it can't recover from - when something inside goes SO wrong, your computer has to throw it's hands in the air and say, "Everyone out, we're going to need a minute here."
The sheer number of things it can be caused by makes it seem to appear randomly, and perhaps almost maliciously, if you're of a paranoid mindset like myself; moreover there is very little you can do to make it appear less often. And once it comes up, if you didn't save whatever you were working on beforehand, you are SCREWED. This error has been a feature of every Windows operating system released since the very first, and because it's such a devastating error, it's become quite a fixture of nerd culture. There are meme's, t-shirts, and one guy who even got it tattoed on his arm.

There was one question about it though that had never occurred to me until I saw it referenced in a nail polish - why is it a blue svreen? And why THAT particular blue? Here's where it's about to get really nerdy in here folks, so feel free to jump off if you don't give a damn about the history of colour display in computing.

There doesn't seem to be any particular cut and dried explaination as to why this error message is blue specifically. It was most likely a decision a coder made in the middle of the night while hustling to get the damn thing operational way back in the way back times, so chances are there will never be an official reason. However, there are some factors that influenced what colours it could have been.
To be an effective error screen, it had to be a different colour to the standard operating screen, which way back in the way back times was black. Hands up who remembers DOS? No-one? Just me? Alright, moving along. So it couldn't be black.

It also had to be a colour that could be rendered without using any of the graphical interface functions offered by the operating system - in fact, it couldn't use much of anything offered by the upper operating system, because it could be any part of that system that was causing the error. So it had to be a colour that could be rendered by the most deep down, basic parts of the computer. You know the part that makes that hideous high pitched tone when something is horribly wrong? Yeah, that part.

So it couldn't be black, it had to be a colour that any system could render, and it had to be a colour that could be rendered by the most basic parts of the computer without accessing any additional software or higher graphics adapters. According to this guy there are only 16 colours that can be created at this most deep down level, so I went back and found the very first colour palette available for computer monitors, figuring those are probably the 16 colours in question. It's almost laughably limited by today's standards, but at the time it was revolutionary.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Remember kids, at once stage, this was  ALL THERE WAS. You wanted colour on your computer? You got 16 to choose from!! Although in the case of the BSOD, apparently there were only 8 that could be rendered as a background to text without accessing any of the higher parts of the operating system. So now our possible candidates for BSOD background colours are blue, green, cyan, red, magenta, and brown. I'm guessing at some stage someone just went, "Brown is gross, magenta is tacky as all hell, red hurts my eyes...Whatever, blue is fine." And why that particular blue? Because that was the very first blue, the original, totally cross compatible Standard Blue for computer displays.

But enough of that - back to the polish! I put this up today so you could take advantage of a great sale that Pretty Serious are running all this weekend. They've taken 20 per cent off all their polish, and they also reduced the price of their loose eyeshadows - if you're a fan of matching like me, you'll be pleased to know they actually have a matching eyeshadow for BSOD! Pretty Serious also ship internationally, so for once all my lovely international readers can get their hands on the amazing indie polishes we Australians make. You can check out BSOD and all their other great shades at their site.


  1. Wow that polish is just gorgeous! And yes, I remember DOS. ;-)

  2. It is so very, very pretty. I think it's actually my favourite blue now! And thank goodness I'm not the only one who remembers DOS :D

  3. Geeky cosmetic names! <3

    Of course I remember DOS! I also remember when 4-bit colour was the MS Paint palette. If you wanted orange you had to checker red and yellow pixels. :3

    1. Oh man, those were the days...

      No, wait, that sucked :D


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