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Reports suggest 29 Feb clock trouble

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Early reports from around the world suggest that 29 February has caused several problems with computer systems with inadequate programming mainly to blame. A number of Japanese sites collectively fell over after failing to correctly recognise that the year 2000 is a leap year and today is the 29th of February. Outfits such as Action 2000 had suggested there could be problems because some programmers had thought this year is not a leap year. The latest reports, reported to us by engineers which use the OS but so far unconfirmed by the company itself , are that SGI's operating system, Irix version 6.5.5, is losing two minutes an hour because of date problems. We are still awaiting a response from SGI at press time. Readers are reporting no problems with later versions of the operating system. Said Dag Lundervold, MD of SGI in the UK: "We have investigated this and found no problems outside the UK. In the UK we've had one query relating to one system so far, and we're investigating this." The problem may be less isolated than Lundervold suggests, however. Another reader has reported a problem with Irix version 6.5.7, which doesn't display a slowdown of the clock but is a leap year problem. The European end user, who declined to be named, said the problem was irritating -- and ran on an SGI box. Reports have also emerged about a minor bug in Lotus EasySync 3.0a (which synchronises Palms and Lotus Notes), which is easily fixable. Japan was rather more badly affected than the rest of the world when the clock ticked over into the year 2000, and it seems that once again it has had more problems than other nations. Action 2000 suggested on BBC Radio 4 yesterday that people should carefully examine bank and credit card statements for a month or two after today, just to check that everything was hunky-dory. ®

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