Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

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Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:46 am UTC

<nelson>ha ha!</nelson>
Do you have a Zune 30? If so, does the thing look something like the above? That is to say, stuck at a loading bar and completely non-functional? If so, you are not alone. We've been flooded with tips about users whose 30GB players started locking up at midnight last night, essentially bricking themselves without any help from their owners. The failures are coming 24-hours ahead of the big '09 changeover, but that hasn't stopped Zune aficionados from dubbing this unfortunate flaw "Z2K." No official word yet from Microsoft, but we're guessing a made-for-TV doomsday movie staring Louis Gossett Jr. can't be too far off. Trailer after the break.

Update: Jim wrote in to let us know that someone at Microsoft has apparently finally woken up and checked their e-mail (yikes, imagine that inbox). The official Zune site now has a message stating that Redmond's best are aware of the problem and "are working to correct it." We'll keep you posted.

Update 2: Major Nelson just tweeted that anyone with an issue "should be good to go." Exactly what that means, however, remains to be seen, as there's still no word of an official fix on the Zune site.

Update 3: Oops, sorry for getting your hopes up. Seems the Major was wrong and is now indicating the team of Zune developers is working like mad to figure it out. Somebody had better order in lunch for those guys -- it's going to be a long day.
Of course, since it's a leap year bug, they'll all be working again come 2009.
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby LeopoldBloom » Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:57 am UTC

Looking at google trends is hilarious.
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Xeio » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:44 am UTC

It's one hella strange bug, that's for sure. Though I am kinda curious how their drivers were written that a leap year broke it, but not on the leap day, noooo, on the last day of the year? Did some idiot write in a line that counts how many days are in a year, and breaks if there's an extra one? :shock:

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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Vulcanis » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:59 am UTC

Planned obsolescence. *nodnod*
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Seraph » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:53 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:It's one hella strange bug, that's for sure. Though I am kinda curious how their drivers were written that a leap year broke it, but not on the leap day, noooo, on the last day of the year? Did some idiot write in a line that counts how many days are in a year, and breaks if there's an extra one? :shock:

You couldn't have been that curious given the fact that the answer has been available on the Zune boards since yesterday.
http://www.zuneboards.com/forums/zune-n ... lated.html

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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Jan 01, 2009 6:19 pm UTC

Seraph wrote:
Xeio wrote:It's one hella strange bug, that's for sure. Though I am kinda curious how their drivers were written that a leap year broke it, but not on the leap day, noooo, on the last day of the year? Did some idiot write in a line that counts how many days are in a year, and breaks if there's an extra one? :shock:

You couldn't have been that curious given the fact that the answer has been available on the Zune boards since yesterday.
http://www.zuneboards.com/forums/zune-n ... lated.html

But you could have been a LOT less of a dick about pointing it out, since we're on the xkcd boards here, which has literally nothing to do with Zune, so there's no real reason to expect someone to know the ins and outs of this situation. Jerk.
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby SirHoundalot » Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:20 pm UTC

Wow that's a pretty epic fail. You would have thought someone would have bothered to write a unit test for it.
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby wst » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

When my Dad commented on how empty the roads were yesterday I said it was because the Car ECU's all died from the new year. I was only joking. I thought we were beyond this sort of failure these days.

Why does a media player need to know the date to operate? It plays fucking music and videos. It's not illegal to play 'Free Bird' on an equinox now is it?
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Emu* » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:22 pm UTC

Probably needs date/time for DRM, and for library statistics...
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:57 pm UTC

wst wrote:Why does a media player need to know the date to operate? It plays fucking music and videos. It's not illegal to play 'Free Bird' on an equinox now is it?


No, and nothing about the article indicates anything of the sort...
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby wst » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:02 pm UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:
wst wrote:Why does a media player need to know the date to operate? It plays fucking music and videos. It's not illegal to play 'Free Bird' on an equinox now is it?
No, and nothing about the article indicates anything of the sort...
The failure was something to do with the date and a leap year... my point is, what's the date got to do with whether you can Crank Dat Soulja Boy or not? What has the date got to do with music? Nothing. Why does an MP3 player need to know?

My generic mp3 player seems to work fine with DRM and non-DRM without needing to know the date, can't be that. (@Emu*)
If I knew what library statistics were I reckon I could come up with an idea for a better alternative that doesn't utilise the date.
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Amnesiasoft » Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:30 am UTC

Check an iPod. It has the date on it. Check a cell phone, it has the date on it. Why? Because it's a useful function. Even if there wasn't such a thing as DRM this bug STILL would have happened. The problem was when they calculated out the year, it got stuck on an infinite loop because of a missing = sign. DRM is an insignificant point in this whole issue.

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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby EmptySet » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:54 am UTC

I think the question was intended more along the lines of "Why does a screwed up date prevent the player working entirely, rather than just making the displayed date the -62384187th of Sektober?"

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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Xeio » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:12 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:I think the question was intended more along the lines of "Why does a screwed up date prevent the player working entirely, rather than just making the displayed date the -62384187th of Sektober?"
Because it went into an infinite loop. You can't really do anything else while you're doing nothing over and over forever.

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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby wst » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:51 am UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:Check an iPod. It has the date on it. Check a cell phone, it has the date on it. Why? Because it's a useful function. Even if there wasn't such a thing as DRM this bug STILL would have happened. The problem was when they calculated out the year, it got stuck on an infinite loop because of a missing = sign. DRM is an insignificant point in this whole issue.
It is indeed a useful feature, but it's not actually necessary to the operation of an mp3 player. I was asking why something so trivial could kill the entire thing. (Besides, phones and mp3 player, etc, should really get beyond the 'system clock' and sync with the atomic clocks nestled around the world, if they want to display the time/date, but that's another story...)
Anything I said pre-2014 that you want to quote me on, just run it past me to check I still agree with myself.

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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:14 pm UTC

wst wrote:
Amnesiasoft wrote:Check an iPod. It has the date on it. Check a cell phone, it has the date on it. Why? Because it's a useful function. Even if there wasn't such a thing as DRM this bug STILL would have happened. The problem was when they calculated out the year, it got stuck on an infinite loop because of a missing = sign. DRM is an insignificant point in this whole issue.
It is indeed a useful feature, but it's not actually necessary to the operation of an mp3 player. I was asking why something so trivial could kill the entire thing. (Besides, phones and mp3 player, etc, should really get beyond the 'system clock' and sync with the atomic clocks nestled around the world, if they want to display the time/date, but that's another story...)

Your question was answered in the post you quoted.

The Zune doesn't fuck up getting the date and decide "Well, I can't get the correct date, guess I can't operate!" It gets stuck in an infinite loop. The date itself is not crucial to the operation of an mp3 player, but if a player is stuck in an infinite loop, it doesn't matter how much what it's doing matters. It's still bloody stuck.
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Re: Synchronized failure of all 30GB Zunes

Postby Emu* » Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:05 pm UTC

Library stats: a bit like what last.fm does, giving you stats about your most played songs/albums/artist/genres in the last week/month/etc.

Useful for doing quasi-random playlists, and shits and giggles.

Dunno if Zune does this, but it's useful.


Also, I know iPod classics have alarm functions, and you can get bedside-clock style docks so you can wake up to a playlist instead of some radio station or beeping.

I read yesterday that the bug was in the chip rather than MS's ZuneOS, cos some other PMPs were affected.
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