Zune
Peter Hull

Did you hear about the Death of the Zunes?
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/12/31/1428254
Weird story, seems to be true. Has this happened to anyone?

Pete

bamccaig

Initially I was going to ask if those are made in the same factories as Xbox 360s, but after reading the article it sounds more like a firmware bug. :P

CGamesPlay

Uh oh, I hope not. I just got a 30GB Zune in my Bag of Crap from Woot, which my girlfriend laid claim to. Hope I didn't give her a defective product :P

'Course, I can't check, (though she says she didn't) she left it running all night or something, so the battery is dead. Maybe that's part of the problem? It seems to be charging, at least.

Hey, maybe they will recall these and I can get a shiny new one.

Thomas Harte
Slashdot said:

There are multiple reports springing up all over the internet of a mass suicide of Microsoft 30Mb Zune players globally

I thought they'd still yet to launch outside the USA and Canada? And let's be honest, it's not exactly the sort of device you'd bother importing — second rate MP3 players are available globally. I'm definitely a "dump the hardware, incorporate the software into the smartphone platform" advocate...

EDIT: incidentally, what is considered the market leading MP3 player at the minute? I love the games and browser on my iPod Touch, but I did buy it purely for the development opportunities and I rate it very poorly as an MP3 player for the simple reason that it's impossible to control the playback without looking at the screen, with the effect that you can't skip tracks/etc without taking the thing out of your pocket and staring intently at it, which I find to be a major design flaw. I have the 1st generation device (that being what was in the Apple refurbished store), so I don't even have physical volume buttons.

ReyBrujo

Hehehehe, this is what happens when you use octals to save a few bits in the year field :P

Roy Underthump

What? The Y2.009K problem? Naturally it's "user error", since MicroSoft makes flawless products.

Thomas Harte

I appreciate it's a joke, but wouldn't octal digits have broken at the start of 2008?

Roy Underthump

I tried Googling to see if the Zune came out in 2001, but all I could find were posts about how Microsoft didn't invent it :-X

[EDIT]
This seems to "announce" a new product called Zune in 2006

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105x5629333

Thomas Harte

The Zune definitely didn't come out in 2001. That's when the iPod first came out, and the desktop OS rules of "Apple consolidates existing ideas into a best-in-class user interface, subsequently Microsoft do the same thing but worse, Apple put a whole bunch of people off with some notable mistakes and their stink of arrogance" seem to have applied without Microsoft being competitive on price.

ReyBrujo

Oh, yup, you are right :P

Was reading the forum thread at Zune Boards and just now they cut it down for maintenance.

(Edited: This one is fun ;D)

(Edited 2: It was the leap year!)

Goalie Ca

y2k-8!!

HardTranceFan

How the hell can a leap year freeze up a MP3 player? It must have been a big load of programmed crap to elicit that type of behaviour.

bamccaig
HardTranceFan said:

How the hell can a leap year freeze up a MP3 player?

You don't read The Daily WTF, do you? :P

kazzmir
Evert
Quote:

incidentally, what is considered the market leading MP3 player at the minute?

I don't know, but I can say that I'm quite happy with the Cowon iAudio I bought less than a year ago after doing some research. The firmware is a bit quirky, but other than that I have no complaints.

Thomas Harte

And is there any truth (or value) to the reports that the Zune is date obsessed (ie, enough to not allow the user to set the time or date and to run its calculation as a blocking event immediately upon boot) as a side effect of its time limited DRM?

The BBC have gone with the headline "Microsoft Zune affected by 'bug'". So maybe 2008 was the year that, per the BBC, the software meaning of bug stopped being recognised by mainstream society?

EDIT: I'm confident it's not some idiotic sub-editor who doesn't know the difference between single and double quotes, as the opening paragraph states crippled software as a fact, not an attributed charge.

bamccaig
Thomas Harte said:

The BBC have gone with the headline "Microsoft Zune affected by 'bug'". So maybe 2008 was the year that, per the BBC, the software meaning of bug stopped being recognised by mainstream society?

What? ??? Mainstream society doesn't really know what a software bug is... They just know the software doesn't work the way it's supposed to... Maybe I don't get what you're saying because I haven't checked yet what the Zune's problem is...? :-/

Roy Underthump

A curious similarity here from bygone days

http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Classic-WTF-The-Bug-That-Shut-Down-Computers-WorldWide.aspx

[EDIT]
I always wanted a big Wang ;D

Thomas Harte
Quote:

What? Mainstream society doesn't really know what a software bug is...

I think they do, at least to the extent that single quotes in a heading like that just look like someone meant to use double quotes and messed up.

The Zune's problem is that someone who is scared about number theory wrote an extremely odd division routine that simply doesn't work on day 366 of a leap year. All the Zunes should be back to normal by now (especially as the relevant routine allegedly runs in GMT irrespective of the user's timezone), though they'll need a power cycle.

EDIT: per Kazzmir's link:

1year = ORIGINYEAR; /* = 1980 */
2 
3while (days > 365)
4{
5 if (IsLeapYear(year))
6 {
7 if (days > 366)
8 {
9 days -= 366;
10 year += 1;
11 }
12 }
13 else
14 {
15 days -= 365;
16 year += 1;
17 }
18}

ReyBrujo

Microsoft keeps using that days since 1980s in new hardware... discouraging. They could have used the seconds since 1970 :P

They could have just used three variables instead of a single one. Memory should not be a problem nowadays.

Thomas Harte
Quote:

They could have just used three variables instead of a single one. Memory should not be a problem nowadays.

I think possibly that code grabs the value from the RTC and decodes it into three variables. As inspection of the code reveals, on day 366 of a leap year it loops infinitely, making a device appear completely broken since this code is performed immediately after power-on and no other code may run until it is complete.

HardTranceFan
kazzmir said:

Supposedly, this is the reason for the lockup [zuneboards.com].

So I was right in my assertion:

I said:

It must have been a big load of programmed crap to elicit that type of behaviour.

Either that, or they rushed system testing. But then, one would be worried if Microsoft released anything that didn't require a patch later on.

TestSubject
if(days > (365+(year%4==0)))
{
    days = 1;
    year++;
}

Would that work or am I missing something?

Thomas Harte
Quote:

Would that work or am I missing something?

I don't think it would, since it would surely only ever give 1980 or 1981? Also, whether it's a leap year is a tiny bit more complicated than just every four years — though I expect you've noticed that it isn't actually any more complicated than that over the expected lifespan of a Zune?

Roy Underthump

Here's a c proggie to play with based on the code snippet

TestSubject

I was just assuming that year was going to be the year listed on the Zune, not the thing about origin year. And leap years are every four years...aren't they?

Roy Underthump

Leap years are every 4 years, except when the last two digits are 00, except for the years evenly divisible by 400. So 1900 was not a leap year (since it was divisible by 100 but not 400) and 2000 was a leap year.

TestSubject

Seriously? That seems really weird. Is that because there is like 0.24 extra days per year so some leap years need to be skipped?

Wait so are all years divisible by 400 not leap years, or years ending in 00 that are divisible be zero are leap years?

So:
1980 - Y
1981 - N
1996 - Y
2000 - Y(?)
2008 - Y
2100 - N(?)
2200 - N(?)
2400 - Y(?)

Matthew Leverton

Edit. Beaten and not 100% correct. :P

Every four years, except on the 100th year, except on the 400th year.

1896 yes, 4th year
1900 no, 100th year
2000 yes, 400th year

Roy Underthump
TestSubject

Wow, two posts while I was writing my one. That's pretty interesting. Too bad I probably won't live to see a non-leap-divisible-by-four-year. Although I guess that actually wouldn't be interesting at all...

Future me said:

Hey wow, there's no February 29!

Future descendants said:

Shut up, why the hell would anyone care about that at all

bamccaig
Thomas Harte said:

I think they do, at least to the extent that single quotes in a heading like that just look like someone meant to use double quotes and messed up.

I regularly see single and double quotes used interchangeably and think nothing of it. :-/ I still fail to see your point. I generally prefer to use double-quotes for things like actual quotes or irony, and use single-quotes for things that don't justify double-quotes.

TestSubject said:

And leap years are every four years...aren't they?

The Wikipedia article explains the rules correctly and easily (the algorithm part has pseudocode).

Thomas Harte
Quote:

I regularly see single and double quotes used interchangeably and think nothing of it. I still fair to see your point. I generally prefer to use double-quotes for things like actual quotes or irony, and use single-quotes for things that don't justify double-quotes.

The fact that you use quotes incorrectly (at least as per British English, where the BBC is located) isn't really relevant — the BBC News site is written by actual, trained journalists with subeditors and editors, so you can expect them to use quotes correctly. I'm not even really sure why you think it is relevant. So my point is exactly what I've said it is, even though you disagree, i.e.:

Thomas Harte said:

maybe 2008 was the year that, per the BBC, the software meaning of bug stopped being recognised by mainstream society?
...
I think [mainstream society does know what a software bug is], at least to the extent that single quotes in a heading like that just look like someone meant to use double quotes and messed up.

Again: I think mainstream society knows what a bug is. I am therefore surprised that the BBC suddenly think they do not. Given the wide knowledge of the meaning of the term, I'd go so far as to say that the BBC's use of single quotes looks almost like they meant it to be a quote but for the fact that single quotes aren't used for direct quotes like that. However, as I've previously said, it is obvious from the article itself that they have used single quotes correctly and simply believe that people do not know what a bug is.

Roy Underthump

I seen a post in techdirt that mentioned that an MP3 player shouldn't need the date at all, so it must be some sort of DRM that needed to know what the date is.

TestSubject

The sharing thing has a deadline of three days, so that might be why it needs the date. I read that it connects to the super Microsoft hivemind in the sky, and attempting to tamper with the date yourself is certain death.

CGamesPlay

It also might be because the device has a clock.

Evert
Quote:

I seen a post in techdirt that mentioned that an MP3 player shouldn't need the date at all, so it must be some sort of DRM that needed to know what the date is.

I can't think of any good reason why a fridge needs to know the time either, but I've seen them come with clocks anyway. For that matter, your microwave doesn't need to know the time either. Nor does my mom's oven.

My Cowon has a built-in calendar. Not that I use it, but it wants to know the date and time because of that.

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