Starbucks Holiday Surprise

Starbucks Inadvertently Charges Twice for its Coffee

2 min read
Starbucks Holiday Surprise

Apparently, if you bought a Starbucks coffee in the one of the 7,800 company stores in the US and Canada over the US Memorial Day weekend last month (22 - 23 of May) using a debit or credit card, you were charged twice, according to a story in today's USA Today.

Starbucks discovered the problem by Sunday, the 24th of May, but because of the extended holiday weekend, couldn't begin to correct customer accounts until Tuesday the 26th. Starbucks said that it had straightened out all the charges by Friday, the 29th of May. Starbucks refused to say how the problem happened (in fact, there is nothing about it on its website interestingly) although it said it "sincerely apologized" to the 1 million or so customers affected.

Now, was that apology made before or after the USA Today was going to run a story about it?

Well, it could have been worse.

You could have tried to purchase a StenaLine ferry ticket from Belfast, Northern Ireland to Stranraer, Scotland using StenaLine's special web-only fare discount promotional code a few weeks ago. The ticket would have only cost you £10,823,000,335,693,400.

I would have hated to see what the full priced fare was.

The story in the BBC reported that StenaLine "blamed a glitch in the system caused when a promotional code produced a decimal point in a price."

I'm still trying to figure out which decimal point was out of place, given that a standard fare two adults and one child and their car is reportedly around £150.

StenaLine said the problem had existed for at least a week at the time of the BBC report, and that a "fix is being developed for the problem and will be put in place as soon as it is suitable."

Hmm, must be some pretty complex website code.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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