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Millennium Bug claims more victims

Soda fountains, mobile phones and jurors

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The first victim of the Millennium Bug was the Norwegian high speed train system. But over the last couple of days, other instances of computer systems toppling over have come to light.

The false Millennium Bug, you may remember, was first erroneously applied to the Year 2000 bug, which filled acres of newsprint, filled the pockets of consultants with loads of cash and then singularly failed to cause any particularly big problems when the year clicked over to the 1st of January 2000.

The real Millennium Bug happened early this week, and was presumably caused because sloppy programmers forgot that the year 2000 was a leap year.

Here are the fresh instances that we've logged so far.

This story on Cnet tells the tale of how 7-Eleven systems went belly up at the beginning of the week, with cash registers reading the new year as 1901.

7-Eleven has over 5000 stores in the US and spent over $8 million preparing its systems for the year 2000, and not 2001. Oops.

Our own Hermit at Hoodview, who manages flames on our news forum, pointed us to The Oregonian, which tells us that jurors have been summoned to appear in court in the year 1901.

And finally, reader Mike Hoffberg tells us that his cellphone showed the wrong date for the last seven days of December. He says: "It turns out it was a Y2K problem (leap year). I wonder what other phones/appliances used the same date/algorithm. My phone is now fine, until the next millennium.)."

With a bit of luck, we now won't need to write about the Millennium Bug until the next one starts, on the 1st of January 3001. ®

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