Girl Clocks 14,500 Text Messages in One Month

By Mike on 10:01 pm

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I spotted this on The Register and thought it was an entertaining piece simply because of how mind boggling it is. Reina, the 13 year old daughter of Greg Hardesty of the Orange County Register clocked in a staggering 14,528 SMS text messaged between November 27th and December 26th of 2008. By my math, this works out to be 484.27 texts per day, or 30 per hour assuming she actually sleeps for 8hrs a day. Her 22 year old sister clocked in 7,101 messages sent (236.7 per day) during the same period while another sister had a "modest" 700 (23.3 per day). According to Hardesty, the family mobile bill was 23 pages long, with the unabbridged online PDF version sitting at 440 pages. The cost of Reina's messages alone was $2,905.60. According to provider AT&T, this was not a record but is still "a bit high". A Nielson survey found that teens between the ages of 13 and 17 send on average 1,742 texts a month. Most users send 357 on average. A certain blogger sends zero SMS messages on average.
Lets do some more math on Reina's texting. Assume that the average 8.5x11'' sheet of paper contains 500 words per page with standard margins. Assume the average text message is five words long. This is approximatley equivilant to 145 and a quarter pages worth of writing. My average university term papers were 10 pages long, and that was a struggle Essentially, she's written more in a month a university under graduate writes in a year. That is truly staggering. In all fairness, the 14,500 does include both outgoing AND incoming messages. (Yes, I'm being sensational, but unlike what some readers think, I can post whatever I damn well want.) Even still, it's a lot.

I've never really understood the texting craze to begin with. If I want to get a hold of someone, I usually fire off an email or use chat services like Facebook. Similar yes, but it doesn't cost me anything to send those messages, and it's a heck of a lot easier to type using my computer than it is on my phone. My phone package includes 50 "free" texts per month but I never use it. It just seems like an awkward way of trying to communicate when you could just phone them. It makes me feel really old saying all this. It's certainly is the new trend. I guess we should have just stuck with beepers since it appears the phone part of cell phones is now superfulous. As for the Hardesty case, I just feel sorry for whoever has to fork out the $2900 for this bill. I don't think I've ever spent that on anything. At least not all at once. As for Reina, she really needs to get a hobby, and a life outside of her phone.

Source: El Reg

Oops: Zunes Not Y2K9 Compatible

By Mike on 1:34 pm

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Remember Y2k when we all thought the world's computers would suffer a simultaneous melt down when the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2000? For Microsoft anyway, the Y2k bug suffered a nine year delayed reaction. At the stroke of midnight Pacific Standard Time on January 1st, 2009, 30gb Zune players world wide bit the dust. The affected Zunes rebooted themselves and froze on the loading screen, effectively bricking Microsoft's "iPod killer." The problem effects the 30gb model though some owners of the 80gb model also reported the same issue. The problem occurs with all 30gb Zunes with 3.0 firmware or later. This includes even the newest units. Some people who received a brand spanking new Zune for Christmas are undoubtedly upset.

So what went wrong and how do you fix it? Microsoft issued a press release stating the problem was in how the Zune handles leap years. They didn't elabourate as to why but it sounds an awful lot like what happened with Y2K. According to ArsTechnia and CNET, a Zune board user has identified the problem

"The Zune's real-time clock stores the time in terms of days and seconds since January 1st, 1980. The Zune frontend first accesses the clock toward the end of the boot sequence. Doing this triggers the code that reads the clock and converts it to a date and time." Under normal circumstances, this works just fine. The function keeps subtracting either 365 or 366 until it gets down to less than a year's worth of days, which it then turns into the month and day of month. Thing is, in the case of the last day of a leap year, it keeps going until it hits 366. Thanks to the if (days > 366), it stops subtracting anything if the loop happens to be on a leap year. But 366 is too large to break out of the main loop, meaning that the Zune keeps looping forever and doesn't do anything else."

Microsoft has developed a fix for it and suggests users take the following steps. Microsoft has suggested that users should follow these instructions and not those provided online by third parties.
1. Disconnect your Zune from USB and AC power sources.
2. Because the player is frozen, its battery will drain--this is good. Wait until the battery is empty and the screen goes black. If the battery was fully charged, this might take a couple of hours.
3. Wait until after noon GMT on January 1, 2009 (that's 7 a.m. Eastern or 4 a.m. Pacific time).
4. Connect your Zune to either a USB port on the back or your computer or to AC power using the Zune AC Adapter and let it charge.

One has to have a good laugh at Microsoft. For such a big company with near unlimited resources, they can't even do something as simple as get a clock to work properly on their MP3 player. The biggest problem with Microsoft is that they are not a hardware manufacturer and are in a market they have no business being in. They can do fine with simple things like keyboards and mice but their consumer electronics of recent years have had a notorious failure record. That said, the Zune has been a fairly reliable player thus far. However this incident does nothing to help it's poor reputation. Fortunately the problem has been fixed in a rather timely fashion so Zune users can go back to enjoying their players. Such an incident is rather inexcusable though. No other devices to my knowledge had issues with the date change.

Source: The Register, CNET