Saturday, January 3, 2009

Shades of Y2K - The ZY2K9, or New Years Zunicide

Most of the world remembers the worries around Y2K and the potential (and real) bugs that were expected to shut down or harm information processing systems that night as we entered the new millennium. In the end, very little happened, much to the relief of the world.

The end of 2008, however, had a surprise in store for Zune owners. 30 GB Zunes worldwide stopped working due to a year end bug. Microsoft's response doesn't promise a bug fix - rather, users were asked to wait until the 1st, and to reboot their Zunes using the following process:

  1. Disconnect your Zune from USB and AC power sources.
  2. Because the player is frozen, its battery will drain—this is good. Wait until the battery is empty and the screen goes black. If the battery was fully charged, this might take a couple of hours.
  3. Wait until after noon GMT on January 1, 2009 (that's 7 a.m. Eastern or 4 a.m. Pacific time).
  4. Connect your Zune to either a USB port on the back or your computer or to AC power using the Zune AC Adapter and let it charge.
If the Zunes were a critical medical device, or Internet infrastructure systems, this would have been a huge issue. As it is, Zune owners are upset, and may be questioning what happens at the next 4 year changeover if they're still using their players.

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