Linked by Kroc Camen on Wed 31st Dec 2008 17:12 UTC
Bugs & Viruses "Judgment day has arrived for owners of 30GB (and only 30GB) Zunes. The music player inexplicably entered a worldwide coma last night, and players are completely non responsive." [Kroc: I wonder if this is anything like the bug that caused Windows 98 to crash after 49 days when the tick-count exceeded 32-bits :P]
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I sense a disturbance in the force.
by theTSF on Wed 31st Dec 2008 18:47 UTC
theTSF
Member since:
2005-09-27

The feeling of a bunch of Apple Fanboys getting that much smugger.

Reply Score: 7

Bending Unit Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes but this time it is warranted. This is truly pathetic. Developers have been messing around with shutdown dates or best before dates.

This is obviously a mistake but there should never be such time limits coded in the first place, triggered or not!

Reply Score: 2

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Yes but this time it is warranted.


It is? Have we all forgotten Apple's practice of intentionally bricking iPhones / iPod Touches as a means of license enforcement? Or that iTunes update which had a tendency to rm -rf entire OS X systems?

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

The feeling of a bunch of Apple Fanboys getting that much smugger.

Not just Apple proponents. Anyone skeptical Microsoft's ability to run datacenters. Like servers, embedded devices are supposed to be reliable. Gotta love this:

"A Microsoft spokesperson tells Ars, "We are aware that customers with the Zune 30GB are experiencing issues with their Zune device."

Issues? Their hardware is dead due to Microsoft's carelessness and or negligence.

And why was this fiasco relegated to page 2? It is clearly page 1 news.

Reply Score: 8

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Not just Apple proponents. Anyone skeptical Microsoft's ability to run datacenters. Like servers, embedded devices are supposed to be reliable.


Nice projection. They're running completely different hardware, completely different OS, completely different client software. Keep the hate flowing ...

Reply Score: 2

Sabatoge?
by Noremacam on Wed 31st Dec 2008 21:07 UTC
Noremacam
Member since:
2006-03-08

Does anyone else think this is sabatoge? Why should it only affect 30GB zunes and not others? What particular code could possibly relate the disk size with the date? I can't think of any. Why should any code on a media player execute at a specific date if you have a particular disk size?

Does each size have different firmware? Different internal hardware(other than different SSD or HDD obviously)?

Edited 2008-12-31 21:08 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Sabatoge?
by Gryzor on Wed 31st Dec 2008 21:24 UTC in reply to "Sabatoge?"
Gryzor Member since:
2005-07-03

What kind of foolish paranoia is that; what makes you think that every Zune model has the very same software? Having different hardware, it means different chips. One might be defective. Inside a Zune there's not only software programmed by Microsoft, there's much more. Just like inside an iPhone, iPod, iDontKnowWhat…

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Sabatoge?
by Noremacam on Wed 31st Dec 2008 21:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Sabatoge?"
Noremacam Member since:
2006-03-08

I'm not paranoid. I don't own a zune or care. I just do not see any correlation between the date and storage size. What code could possibly need to run at 6 am on new years eve of 2008, just on zunes that have 30GB?

It's probably not sabatoge, It just doesn't make sense to me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Sabatoge?
by Gryzor on Wed 31st Dec 2008 21:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sabatoge?"
Gryzor Member since:
2005-07-03

Don't worry; Microsoft itself doesn't make sense most of the time ;)

Happy New Year.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Sabatoge?
by elsewhere on Wed 31st Dec 2008 22:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sabatoge?"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I'm not paranoid. I don't own a zune or care. I just do not see any correlation between the date and storage size. What code could possibly need to run at 6 am on new years eve of 2008, just on zunes that have 30GB?

It's probably not sabatoge, It just doesn't make sense to me.


It's likely that a developer somewhere in Redmond forgot to account for a leap year in some esoteric portion of firmware code, and the system choked upon discovering a 366th day in a 365-day year.

Not a nefarious conspiracy, just poor QA, and a clusterfsck overall. ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Sabatoge?
by Noremacam on Wed 31st Dec 2008 23:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Sabatoge?"
Noremacam Member since:
2006-03-08

It's likely that a developer somewhere in Redmond forgot to account for a leap year in some esoteric portion of firmware code, and the system choked upon discovering a 366th day in a 365-day year.

Not a nefarious conspiracy, just poor QA, and a clusterfsck overall. ;)


See that was my first assumption, but that still leaves the question open of why just the 30GB model?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Sabatoge?
by DigitalAxis on Fri 2nd Jan 2009 01:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Sabatoge?"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

The 30 GB Zune is the original Zune, and likely does have rather different hardware than subsequent Zunes.

I recall some amazement in DAP circles when Microsoft actually released firmware updates to bring their first-generation products all the bells and whistles of the second generation (unlike, for instance, Apple and pretty much all other manufacturers, other than Samsung and Cowon...)

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Sabatoge?
by Noremacam on Fri 2nd Jan 2009 01:19 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Sabatoge?"
Noremacam Member since:
2006-03-08

I mistakenly thought that the 30gb was released along with another hdd based zune, which made me think they contained identical hardware. So that really explains it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Sabatoge?
by WorknMan on Fri 2nd Jan 2009 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Sabatoge?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Yeah, I read somewhere that the 30GB Zune runs on different hardware and the drivers (or whatever) was developed by Toshiba, where as the latter ones were developed by Microsoft. Sure, it's a big screw-up and MS is ultimately to blame, but I wouldn't subscribe to any conspiracy theories.

Note: I bought a Zune for myself as a Christmas present, but returned it a day later. What a dreadful device that is.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Sabatoge?
by sbergman27 on Wed 31st Dec 2008 21:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Sabatoge?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Inside a Zune there's not only software programmed by Microsoft, there's much more.

And the search begins for someone else (other than Microsoft, whose name is on the hardware) to blame it all on.

When I was growing up we had a game item called "Hot Potato". It was in the form of a (plastic) potato and you wound up its timer and start passing it around. The one caught holding it when the buzzer went off was the loser.

There was also a similar game item called "Time Bomb", which was pretty much the same, except that it was black and spherical, with a fuse on top.

This fiasco is just starting to remind me of those games. I'll bet we'll see more of this.

Edited 2008-12-31 21:39 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by aaronb
by aaronb on Wed 31st Dec 2008 21:24 UTC
aaronb
Member since:
2005-07-06

From the forums it sounds like to Zune 30 has some sort of expiration date or the internal clock has hit some sort of bug.

Why would Microsoft program the player in this way?

Coming up... Vista users face endless re-activation on a arbitrary date.

Edited 2008-12-31 21:33 UTC

Reply Score: 4

straight out of the daily wtf
by google_ninja on Wed 31st Dec 2008 21:40 UTC
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

from todays daily wtf (http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Classic-WTF-The-Harbinger-of-the-Ep...)

January 19, 2038 is a date which will live in infamy. It is on that day that the 32-bit integer storing the number of seconds since the beginning of The Epoch will overflow, causing death and destruction unseen by the world since the Y2K Bug. As they did in 2000, software will spectacularly crash, hardware will explode, appliances will go haywire and attack their owners, and nuclear missiles will simultaneous launch and destroy the world. Casper Kvan was reminded of this impending doom when one of his systems suddenly went down.

The system that crashed was a vendor application and failed as a result of the database shutting down. Easy enough to fix, Casper restarted the database. It came back up, then went down again. He restarted it again, it came up, then went down. Up, down, up, down. The log files revealed the problem was in the vendor's startup script, which went something like this:



start oracle
sleep 1000000000
stop oracle
It was pretty clear why the script failed. Time passed 2^31-10^9 that weekend, so the sleep command was overflowing and terminating, and thus the database was shut down. No one, including the vendor, could explain why their startup script issued 30+ year sleep command and then a shutdown, but the fix was pretty simple: the vendor shaved a zero off the sleep command.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kb4932
by kb4932 on Thu 1st Jan 2009 07:34 UTC
kb4932
Member since:
2009-01-01

I do not believe that Microsoft is telling the truth. My Zune crashed and so did my sisters but my dad's did not. He got frustrated with it and has not used it in about 6 months. His has never been connected in this time. I think that someone uploaded a virus onto the Zune software that affected anyone who synced there Zune recently. They planned to have them fail as the new year changed but accidently put it at midnight last night instead of today.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kb4932
by sbergman27 on Thu 1st Jan 2009 07:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by kb4932"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

My Zune crashed and so did my sisters but my dad's did not.
...
I think that someone uploaded a virus...

This is strange. Your Zune crashed, but not your dad's. So far, so good. But what made your sisters crash? What did they crash? A party? A car? What caused it? A virus rarely causes sisters to crash parties. I could see maybe cars.

There is an old saying: He who's Zune dies... has a dead Zune.

Edited 2009-01-01 07:57 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by kb4932
by Delgarde on Fri 2nd Jan 2009 03:45 UTC in reply to "Comment by kb4932"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

I think that someone uploaded a virus onto the Zune software that affected anyone who synced there Zune recently.


As they say, never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Consensus elsewhere seems to be that it was a bad firmware update, so if you didn't have the update, you didn't have a problem.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by kb4932
by sbergman27 on Fri 2nd Jan 2009 03:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kb4932"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

As they say, never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Consensus elsewhere seems to be that it was a bad firmware update, so if you didn't have the update, you didn't have a problem.

Just security holes.

Reply Score: 2

Oh no!
by dreamlax on Thu 1st Jan 2009 09:17 UTC
dreamlax
Member since:
2007-01-04

The two Zune owners must be outraged.

Reply Score: 7

sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

Have a look at this post from the zune.net forum, far enough into the thread that the extent of the disaster was known, but someone thought they had a fix:

http://tinyurl.com/a8mxqe

Yes, I let the screen go black (all 4 times) and yes, the date on my computer is correct. I'm about ready to say the hell with it and save my money for the 80 gig or even the 16 gig. You may consider that a downgrade but even with 600+ songs, over 30 videos and the two games that came with the newest upgrade to the firmware, I used less than 3 gigs out of the 30 so I figure that 16 will be more than enough and it'll save me about 50 bucks in the process. If I go that route (either up to the 80 or down to the 16) I hope I can effect the transfer without losing what I have. Which brings up a question, will the software for the 30 work with either the 80 or the 16 so I can just transfer from my current software to the new device or will I have to install the software for the new device (and possibly have to repurchase my music from the Marketplace)?

Reply Score: 2

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Well, someone found the brute force solution to the problem. Someone who probably wanted to upgrade for a while...

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

He doesn't sound all *that* anxious to upgrade. A later post (from the same link) by the same disserviced Zune owner (who is planning on saving his money to "upgrade" from a 30GB Zune to a 16GB Zune):

Maybe leaving mine in the closet (put it there so I wouldn't keep getting frustrated at the brick it is now) for the next day or so will get mine to working again. Here's hoping... Fortunately I haven't been using mine much in the past couple weeks since I've been on vacation and I usually use it on those bus rides home so I guess I'm past the initial "withdrawal" stage. ;) Again here's hoping a couple days in a dark closet will get its act together and start working... Thanks for the advice. May not work but hey, it's better than nothing, right?

I'd be looking at any brand *but* that one if this had happened to me.

Edited 2009-01-02 01:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Firmware bug
by Delgarde on Fri 2nd Jan 2009 03:42 UTC
Delgarde
Member since:
2008-08-19

From looking around other forums discussing the issue, it sounds like some firmware upgrade in the last 6 months broke something to do with NTP syncing and leap years. So, if your Zune hasn't been updated in a while, or if you didn't hook it up to the computer on the day, you'd not have had a problem.

Reply Score: 1

Ian Christie
Member since:
2005-07-06

What is so special about the Zune that it would even worry about what the date is or if there is a leap year. I don't see why an MP3/Video player with a couple of games on it would care what the date is, unless it has PDA functions or is keeping track of how old some purchased songs are for some reason.

Honestly though, it is a sad state of affairs if an error in the firmware regarding dates or leap years can bring a portable media player to its knees and leave the user a useless brick.

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

FWIW, the story out of Microsoft is that the brickification^W"issue" was temporary, and started clearing itself starting yesterday, the first day of the new year, when the user fully charges their unit, and that everything is now just fine.

But... there are still plenty of reports in the zune.net forums from people who still have bricks. And a few complaining that the aggravation is made worse by the fact that the (outsourced?) people MS has answering the phones at Zune tech support can barely speak English.

Some Zune owners are reporting that their units will not even charge today.

Edited 2009-01-02 19:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

mallard
Member since:
2006-01-06

The issue was a Freescale-written routine failing (going into an infinite loop) on the 366th day of a leap year.

Bad testing perhaps, but no conspiracy. Those that were unaffected either had their dates set incorrectly or are a different Zune model.

Affected Zunes should fix themselves when they are "rebooted" however one achieves that on a Zune. (I don't own one).

The offending code is shown here: http://www.zuneboards.com/forums/zune-news/38143-cause-zune-30-leap...

Edited 2009-01-03 02:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2