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email sent (from 1969) plagues some iPhone 4 users

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posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 04:39 PM
reply to post by scraze

I would think that after the hysteria over the Y2K the industry would have made more of an effort to remove this type glitch. If these errors can appear in a variety of software types on their own as well as being forced through a simple line of code then is there not a glaring weakness in our systems?

How many more 'glitches' like this are floating around?

I have no concern over the type of issues (or non-issues as it turned out) people were worried with over with Y2K, however how wide spread is this flaw? Thanks to the line of code you provided we can see that systems far more powerful and complex than an iPhone can be easily affected.

Thank you for the attitude though.

posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 03:07 PM
reply to post by [davinci]

Sorry for the delay, my network interface broke down (talk about 'glitches' :p had to buy a new one!).

I fear I've been quite unclear about the details of the phenomenon (it's not always a bug/glitch). The system that uses single integers (timestamps) to represent time internally is actually very robust, more so than our fragmented notation. There are less mistakes to be made when a developer only uses one number for the date before converting it to be displayed.

The line of code I supplied does not change anything in your system, but only demonstrates such a conversion; it's a normal function. When you execute it by putting it in the address bar, it just displays the result of the conversion with a timestamp of 0. You can enter any timestamp you want without problems, even negative timestamps to represent dates before January 1st, 1970.

The anticipated problem with Y2K was that certain software may've stored only the latter 2 digits of the year internally, prefixing it with 19 when converting to a date. Any software with that representation would have conversions of dates to 1900 instead of 2000, with various consequences. However, most software already used more robust systems, like UNIX timestamps.

So the date/time system itself is quite robust. The glitches we're seeing only arise when the conversion function receives an "empty" timestamp, i.e. 0. The conversion of the timestamp 0 to Jan. 1, 1970 is correct, but the timestamp shouldn't have been 0 in the first place, at least in the case of the iPhone, Chadwickus' ATS link, and your installation of Ad-Aware. The bugs that cause those glitches are all separately in all software mentioned above: the iPhone tries to display an non-existent email, ATS ran into an empty date-field, and Ad-Aware probably tries to read its timestamp from a non-existent file.

The logical error made by developers can be of many different kinds, and sometimes it's not even their fault - for instance, when a file containing a timestamp has been removed by an different application, or by the user. When it is indeed a bug, it could be anything that causes a discrepancy between storing and reading data, such as different versions of software or faulty handling of incomplete input. Usually, those are small mistakes without a lot of consequences; the date of 1969 mainly looks weird, but there is little chance it will do anything else in any of the examples.

I hope this helps to understand how those glitches arise; there is no weakness of the system involved, only mistakes in the applications using it.

posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 03:27 PM

Originally posted by airspoon
Apparently, it's a UNIX glitch. On UNIX systems (which is most servers), time is counted starting from Jan 1, 1970 (that's when times begins according to UNIX). IMO, these dates are too close to be mere coincidence (< 1 hour, could be time zone differences or even daylight savings). I'm not sure if OS4 is based on UNIX but I know that the flagship Apple operating system, OS X, definitely is. Regardless, the servers that process the emails are most likely run on UNIX. Again, this is probably due to a glitch with UNIX, seeing how the UNIX clock begins with that date.

As far as Apple being glitch free with their ground-breaking gadgets, I wouldn't go that far, though they are usually very good at getting them fixed, quickly.


[edit on 21-7-2010 by airspoon]

This is true, and this so happens to be counted as the start of time because that is when the first operational system was first put online. That is where the date comes from. Also I beleive Cern had something to do with these operating systems, could account for the time zone thing.(WWW)

In 1945 Vannevar Bush wrote an article on memex (memory extension), a photo-electrical-mechanical device that could make and follow links between documents on microfiche. This later led to CERN working on a project on networked information.

This is from my paper on the World Wide Web.
here's the resource:
World Wide Web

[edit on 22-7-2010 by ldyserenity]

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