Random leap-day events. – Tales from the Crypto

Random leap-day events.

A semi-hobby of mine is that of date- and time-related issues with computers. Something that we all take for granted, and assume to be easy, is actually incredibly complex, with rules that depend on where you are, when you are, which laws you follow, which religion you believe in, and any number of other steps.

I knew there’d be one or two events for leap day to comment on – here’s a selection for your amusement:

Software Snafu delays United’s Leap Day check-ins” – a spokesman “says United didn’t have any such problems with the software on Leap Day four years ago.” – not much thought given, I suppose, as to whether there might have been an update or patch in those four years.

Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 – two days after the product launch in Los Angeles:

“We have recently discovered an issue with SQL Server 2008 CTPs that result
in SQL Server 2008 not starting on Feb 29 GMT only. We recommend that you do
not run or install this CTP on Feb 29 GMT to minimize any impact in your
environment. You can install starting on March 1 GMT. If you have already
encountered issues, contact sqlbeta@microsoft.com before taking any further

Microsoft’s Windows Small Business Server can’t issue itself a certificate today, because when it creates the certificate, it makes it valid until today’s date, five years from now. That would be 2/29/2013, which isn’t a valid date. Splat.

South Carolina’s DMV brought down because of “a bug in one of the programs that calculates the date”.

Electronic Arts give their employees a day off for Leap Day – I was going to make some weak joke about “an EA spokesman said that as the following day was a Saturday, they expected everyone in the office as normal” – but then I read the spokesman’s comments from the article: “The next leap year isn’t until 2012, but the company is trying to come with a reason to give its employees another day off in 2009.” So there you are, if you work at EA, you get another day off work next year. Write down family members’ names and addresses so you can contact them again when next you get to leave the office and go out into the “big blue room”.

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