Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Microsoft vs. the leap second

You may have already heard the news but 2008 is going to be slightly longer than you might have expected, one second longer to be exact. To account for the gradually slowing rotation of the Earth, scientists occasionally tack on an additional "leap second" to bring atomic clocks and other time pieces in line with the slow-down. While largely unnoticed by we fallible humans, there is always the chance that the leap second would prove the adage, "To err is human, to really screw things up you need a computer."

It looks like we might be seeing evidence of this. Microsoft's Zune players are crashing as we get closer to midnight on New Year's Eve and you just have to wonder if they are falling prey to the leap second in the same way that Y2K was supposed to wreak havoc among computers in general. While Silicon Alley confirms that Apple systems are good to go for the leap second, they also point out that Microsoft's position is, well, largely unintelligible. Go figure.

Of course, it's also more proof that the writers on "Chuck" truly have their fingers on the pulse of geek chic.

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