O (n^2) Canada! Code bugs knacker buses, TV, broadband, phone lines

Like their hockey teams, Canadian systems went down this week eh

Canadians have had a mildly frustrating week as a pair of IT problems derailed broadband connections, blacked out TVs, cut off phone lines, and halted buses in America's hat.

Nationwide telco provider Shaw said a botched software update was behind an outage that left thousands of customers across the country without home internet, phone, or television service for several hours on Thursday. "A significant number of Shaw customers across Western Canada [were] impacted," said the comms giant, which has more than two million subscribers and employs 15,000 people.

The meltdown, which began early in the afternoon, was fully remedied by about 7PM Mountain time.

"The outage began at 1:27pm MT [Thursday], as a result of a software failure during a routine upgrade to our network. We are further investigating the cause," Shaw's PR people said in a statement. "We sincerely apologize to our customers for this inconvenience."

At this point, it should be noted that less than five months ago Shaw laid off hundreds of technicians and support staff, claiming that "services have evolved, technology has gotten better" and the positions were no longer needed.

Surely the former Shaw workers took no pleasure whatsoever in seeing a technology blowout take down the entire network for several hours.

Meanwhile, Toronto's TTC bus service has had to ground all 153 of its extra-long bendy bus fleet due to a software problem that could cause the articulated coaches to accelerate without warning. Thankfully, TTC said, the problem was discovered by maintenance staff during a check-up and not while on the roads.

Understandably, TTC is pulling all of the wiggly buses and installing a software fix to address the issue. Because the patch takes roughly 20 minutes to install on each bus, however, TTC is warning that riders will see delays.

"TTC staff are in the process of developing a service plan for morning and afternoon peak service (if necessary), as there will be a significant service impact across the network with 153 articulated buses out of service while the fix is implemented," TTC said.

"The 40-foot bus fleet, which has not experienced this problem, is being reallocated across all seven TTC garages to ensure customer impacts tomorrow are limited. Nevertheless, customers will experience increased wait times as a result of this issue."

Nova, the company that makes the mega-buses and issued the code patch, has been asked for comment. There's no word yet on whether any other cities' buses are affected by the acceleration flaw. ®

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