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Y2K Bug Ten Years (Plus Six) Late

Australian Point-of-Sale Systems Think It Is 2016

2 min read
Y2K Bug Ten Years (Plus Six) Late

News stories have been coming out of Australia about a computer date problem affecting the Bank of Queensland's electronic point-of-sale (Eftpos) transactions. On January 1st, the Bank's Eftpos terminals across Australia skipped ahead six years to 2016. As a result, many retail businesses were unable to process sales transaction, and had to revert back to manual methods of writing out receipts.

The Bank has created a work around, but the latest news reports imply that it still hasn't figured out the cause of the problem as of yet.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald  says that while the Bank of Queensland's Eftpos transactions are now being processed "normally", the transaction date is still being shown as 2016.

In addition, the SMH says other Australian banks have suffered the same problem with their Eftpos terminals. Commonwealth Bank-owned BankWest has had a 2016 date problem, as have merchant customers of Cuscal which supports credit unions in Australia.

Furthermore, cell phones using Windows Mobile seem to have a 2016 date problem as well, according to Wired. Incoming text messages are being date stamped 2016.

Telecoms Korea for instance, says that the, "Seventy-three kinds of LG Electronics mobile phones that [use Windows Mobile] have been sold since June 2005 in the domestic market are showing the wrong date [i.e., 2016] on incoming SMS (short message service) texts, according to the company."

Weird co-incidence, though. It will be interesting to see why the same year -  2016  - popped up in both Eftpos and Windows Mobile software.

There is also a report in ZDNet UK that Symantec is dealing with a date-stamp problem of its own. Apparently, Symantec's automatic security updates that are dated 2010 are being rejected.

Symantec's enterprise Endpoint Protection Manager, Endpoint Protection v11.x and Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition v12.x are affected. A work around has been developed.

A similar data-stamp problem hit Symantec's Norton Internet Security, Norton 360, Norton AntiVirus, Symantec AntiVirus, and Symantec Client Security on the 1st of January, but it was resolved a day later.

Not quite the meltdowns predicted for Y2K, but there do seem to be more than the usual number of end-of-year computer date problems this year.

The Conversation (0)

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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