• Enjoy the freedom to innovate and grow your business

    [ad] With Microsoft Azure you have hybrid cloud flexibility, allowing your platform to span your cloud and on premise data centre. Learn more at microsoftcloud.com.

  • IT Admin: No Time to Save Time?

    [ad] Do you spend too much time patching machines or cleaning up after virus attacks? With automation controlled from a central IT management console accessible anytime, anywhere – you can save time for bigger tasks. Try simple IT management from GFI Cloud and start saving time today!

  • Free Forrester analysis of CRM solutions

    [ad] In this 25 page report, independent analyst house Forrester evaluates 18 significant products in the customer relationship management space from a broad range of vendors, detailing its findings on how CRM suites measure up and plotting where they stand in relation to each other. Download it for free now.

  • Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • Reader giveaway: Google Nexus 5

    We’re big fans of Google’s Nexus line-up in general at Delimiter towers. Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 … we love pretty much anything Nexus. Because of this we've kicked off a new competition to give away one of Google’s new Nexus 5 smartphones to a lucky reader. Click here to enter.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Written by on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 17:21 - 10 Comments

    Leap year outages: Nostalgia for Y2K?

    blog Call us nostalgic, but today’s news that the Health Industry Claims and Payments Service (HICAPS) system owned by the National Australia bank was taken down by faulty programming associated with today’s leap year date takes us back to the good old days of Year 2000 bugs. There’s a statement on the matter on the HICAPS website, but the Sydney Morning Herald probably has the best story on the issue:

    Today’s extra day in February has caused the payment system used by the health industry to crash, preventing 150,000 customers from using private health care cards for medical transactions.

    Delimiter had been told by an anonymous tipster that Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s ATM and EFTPOS outage (the Herald Sun has a most amusing story on the issue this morning, quoting “furious customers”) was due to a leap year bug as well, but the bank has now denied this.

    Does anyone else fondly recall the frenzy of coding which was going on in the dying days of 1999, as developers all around the world frantically tried to apply patches to stop their systems going down? The global panic that was predicted? And the complete lack of any actual problems when the new year ticked over? Well, it’s good to know that weird dates still cause programmers problems. Even major Australian banks don’t appear to have that one nailed down just yet ;)

    submit to reddit


    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. Jazzhunt
      Posted 29/02/2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink |

      I do get a little irritated about Y2K deniers. I remember very well how many smart and dedicated people spent thosands of man hours working hard to prevent any problem when the clock ticked over, pretty much throughout the ’90′s. And when the time came and there were (almost) no problems did those smart and dedicated people get any praise for a job well done? No. Essentially everyone said “Well, if nothing happened there was no risk in the first place and you just ripped us off.”
      A good mechanic services your car to prevent unexpected problems and people understand that but when IT professionals do the equivalent they get derided as panic-merchants.
      Even now, more than a decade later, I still get annoyed on behalf of those who did a damn fine job.

      • Y2k survivor
        Posted 29/02/2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink |

        +1. No praise for avoiding disaster

        • Ben Zemm
          Posted 01/03/2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink |

          Plenty of minor issues were apparent, such as 192000 or 19100 being displayed instead of 2000, so it’s not impossible that many showstopper bugs were squashed by competent people! I even saw one thing stop working on 9/9/99. I probably won’t live to be 120 and see what happens on 01/03/2100 as 2100 is not a leap year, despite 2096 and 2104 being one.

      • Yem
        Posted 01/03/2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink |

        So much work went into stopping Y2K issues. Only beacuse there were only minor issues, people think it was a non issue. It was through hard work that there were no major outages. Hard to have recognition when no disaster happens because many people worked to prevent it happening.

    2. Gav
      Posted 29/02/2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink |

      Dates are a real pain to code for, and very easy to stuff up. Just when you think you’ve done everything right, there’s an edge case that screws you.

      • Ben Zemm
        Posted 01/03/2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink |

        In almost all cases your language/framework should take all of the hard work out of date calculations. Many front page stories on “the daily wtf” are from programmers rolling their own version of what is available – less work to not reinvent the wheel. Feb 29 isn’t really an edge case anyway! I know a lot of my code will have issues getting close to 2038 if still running on 32 bit int machines, but 64 bit is getting very common.

    3. David
      Posted 01/03/2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink |

      I use Filemaker’s oBento database quite frequently and tried to enter the date yesterday. I typed 29-02-12 and it decided I had entered an impossible date, so converted it to February 12, 2029.


    4. Posted 02/03/2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink |

      Whilst the Y2K was mostly an irritation I know of one company with over 300 workers who could not process their payroll for three weeks, esp. bad in that most of the staff where on holiday an expecting direct deposits in their bank and could not drive to work to pick up cash, some were overseas, some in remote areas.

      If you had been at that site and called the y2k bug trivial (“the complete lack of any actual problems) you would have been lynched, as its was there were threats of violence and there were some very rough customers in that workforce!

      It all came down to the payroll manager who refused to have his laptop & software audited for y2k probs, every other computer in the company was audited.

    5. Mike
      Posted 02/03/2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink |

      As a green IT recruit in a large hospital (back in ’99) it was a great first hand experience to see what was done to remove potential risks. A lot of money was spent auditing server and client machines but the reality of that was we knew what needed to be done prior to the event. It was great to hear people say that Y2K was a non event – it meant we had done a good job.

      I’ve moved on from desktop support in to application development and project management, and it really did amaze me yesterday how many (off the shelf) systems we have that did not factor in the leap year. Lots of missed reports and mission critical maintenance systems that did not run (until manually kicked off).

    6. Brian
      Posted 05/03/2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink |

      At the time I was working on a legacy DOS manufacturing system in a number of sites, that should have been EOL’d a long time before but customers were too tight to upgrade. A huge amount of time and resources thrown at ensuring a system originally designed to run from floppies in the mid 80s kept going.

      Long since moved on, but apparently a handful of sites are STILL running this system today…

    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:

  • Most Popular Content

  • Six smart secrets for nurturing customer relationships
    [ad] Today, we are experiencing a world where behind every app, every device, and every connection, is a customer. Your customers will demand you to be where they and managing customer relationship is the key to your business’s growth. The question is where do you start? Click here to download six free whitepapers to help you connect with your customers in a whole new way.
  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Greens claim NSW LMBR project turning into a disaster sydney

      The NSW Greens late last week claimed to have obtained documents showing that the NSW Department of Education and Communities’ wide-ranging Learning Management and Business Reform program, which involves a number of rolling upgrades of business administration software, was deployed before it was ready, with “appalling consequences for administrative staff, principals, teachers and students”.

    • NSW Govt trials inter-truck safety devices trucks-cohda

      The New South Wales Government has inked a contract with connected vehicle technology supplier Cohda Wireless, as part of a trial of so-called Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) which allow heavy vehicles to communicate directly with each other about their position on the road to help reduce road accidents.

    • Victoria finally kills $180m Ultranet disaster thumbsdown1

      The Victorian Government has reportedly terminated its disastrous Ultranet schools portal, which ballooned in cost to $180 million over the past seven years but ended up being barely used by the education stakeholders it was supposed to serve.

    • NetSuite in whole of business TurboSmart deal turbosmart

      Business-focused software as a service giant NetSuite has unveiled yet another win with a mid-sized Australian company, revealing a deal with automotive performance products manufacturer Turbosmart that has seen the company deploy a comprehensive suite of NetSuite products across its business.

    • WA Health told: Hire a goddamn CIO already doctor

      A state parliamentary committee has told Western Australia’s Department of Health to end four years of acting appointments and hire a permanent CIO, in the wake of news that the lack of such an executive role in the department contributed directly to the fiasco at the state’s new Fiona Stanley Hospital, much of which has revolved around poorly delivered IT systems.

    • Former whole of Qld Govt CIO Grant resigns petergrant

      High-flying IT executive Peter Grant has left his senior position in the Queensland State Government, a year after the state demoted him from the whole of government chief information officer role he had held for the second time.

    • Hills dumped $18m ERP/CRM rollout for Salesforce.com hills

      According to a blog post published by Salesforce.com today, one of Ted Pretty’s first moves upon taking up managing director role at iconic Australian brand Hills in 2012 was to halt an expensive traditional business software project and call Salesforce.com instead.

    • Dropbox opens Sydney office koalabox

      Cloud computing storage player Dropbox has announced it is opening an office in Sydney, as competition in the local enterprise cloud storage market accelerates.

    • Heartbleed, internal outages: CBA’s horror 24 hours commbankatm

      The Commonwealth Bank’s IT division has suffered something of a nightmare 24 hours, with a catastrophic internal IT outage taking down multiple systems and resulting in physical branches being offline, and the bank separately suffering public opprobrium stemming from contradictory statements it made with respect to potential vulnerabilities stemming from the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug.

    • Android in the enterprise: Three Aussie examples from Samsung androidapple

      Forget iOS and Windows. Today we present three decently sized deployments of Android in the Australian market on Samsung’s hardware, which the Korean vendor has dug up from its archives over the past several years for us after a little prompting :)

  • Enterprise IT, News - Apr 23, 2014 15:58 - 0 Comments

    Greens claim NSW LMBR project turning into a disaster

    More In Enterprise IT

    Analysis, Telecommunications - Apr 23, 2014 12:04 - 6 Comments

    Neither AT&T nor Turnbull are telling the whole truth

    More In Telecommunications

    Featured, Industry, News - Apr 17, 2014 9:28 - 1 Comment

    Campaign Monitor takes US$250m from US VC

    More In Industry

    Blog, Digital Rights - Apr 23, 2014 12:57 - 22 Comments

    Cinema execs blame piracy for $20 ticket prices

    More In Digital Rights