Yes, some media outlets were actually calling it “Zunegate”, implying some sort of conspiracy, until the truth was revealed…

Owners of Microsoft’s Zune portable music player (specifically, the 30 GB model) were dismayed, to say the least, when their players ceased to function a day or two before this past New Years.

The Zune 30 was the only Zune model plagued by the Leap Year bug.

Now, we know why.

Simply put, the software built into the players to calculate the current date got into a never-ending loop.

As the Aeroexperience quality assurance blog explained this past weekend, the sofrware was, “designed to get the number of years from the number of days since 1980 as well as a remainder of days out of the current year. … If it’s a leap year, the number 366 will stay within the loop forever because 366 will never be greater than 366, but 366 will also always be greater than 365.”

Microsoft, at the Zune support site, simply suggested that users disconnect their players from charger and USB connections that might supply power, let batteries run down so that the internal memory would be flushed, and then turn them on again anytime after 7 a.m. Eastern / 4 a.m. Pacific time on New Year’s day

We assume a firmware upgrade fixing the problem is on the way even though the Leap Year issue won’t rear its ugly head again until late 2012.

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