Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Zune dies for leap year

So one of the hot topics on Twitter just now has to do with all of Microsoft's Zune MP3 players unexplainedly bricking at midnight this morning. This should not come as much surprise to those of us who've been around Microsoft a while, though. Microsoft has had persistent problems with clock and calender math for most of their corporate existence. Back in 1988, virtually all applications that used the Microsoft C Runtime Library and had any sort of date or time calculation in it went absolutely bonkers on February 29th because of a bug in MSFT's leap day calculations. Most problems went away on March 1, although some remained. There have been a number of other such bugs in MSFT's history. I'm pretty certain that this particular one is due to the Zune system software simply being unable to cope with today being Day 366 of the calendar year.

If I'm right about this, Zunes should start working again (as if nothing was ever wrong) at midnight. But I'm just guessing that that's the problem.

You'd think after 20 years of making mistakes like this Bill would have learned to force his coders to quality-check calendaring code, but here we are...