Burps of the Week

After a relatively quiet period, IS&T glitches popped up in several places.

In Japan, sales of some mobile phones made by Sony Ericsson were continued again after they had been stopped on 4 July because of software problems that could erase stored telephone numbers among other items.

A Target department store in San Diego, California saw its point-of-sales system fail for a few hours, which likely cost it tens of thousands of dollars.

A computer problem created headaches for motorists trying to renew their car registrations at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles across Indiana. It had to happen, of course, the day when many registrations expire.

A software error in cable boxes in Burbank, California shut down a cable television system for six hours which affected 35,000 customers.

A lawsuit was filed in West Virgina against telecommunication company FiberNet alleging "breach of contract, fraud and negligence, and seeks class-action status and unspecified punitive and compensatory damages." Seems that a computer problem stopped service for two days to about half of its 24,000 customers, which included hospitals, police, businesses, etc.

And my favorite, five hundred and eighty-seven patients at Northern Cochise Community Hospital in Wilcox, Arizona received inaccurate hospital bills. The new billing software decided to keep adding the bill of the previous patient onto to the next patient's bill. Someone received a bill for $49 million.

Hope that last one didn't put the person back into the hospital.


Risk Factor

IEEE Spectrum's risk analysis blog, featuring daily news, updates and analysis on computing and IT projects, software and systems failures, successes and innovations, security threats, and more.

Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City