Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Passage of Time Solves PS3 Glitch

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the if-only-they-were-all-so-easy dept.

Bug 147

An anonymous reader writes "A quick update on the widespread PlayStation 3 glitch we discussed recently: as of last night (Monday, March 1st) the problem has resolved itself. I powered up my PS3 to find the clock was set to April 29th, 2020, but once I went into the system menu and set the date and time via the internet I got an accurate date. That seems to be the test of whether your PS3 is 'fixed' or not; Sony says you should be all set."

cancel ×

147 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sony's Official Announcement (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31332998)

Here is the official press release I received in an e-mail this morning:

First Quadrennial Childhood Obesity Awareness Day Goes Off Without a Hitch!

We'd like to thank all our gamers for observing our compulsory First Quadrennial Childhood Obesity Awareness Day that we had planned many years in advance back when we made our first consoles. We hope all the children took the time to get outside and exercise. As always, Sony endorses moderation in game play and we feel that this surprise holiday away from the Playstation Network will help today's youth become more healthy and social.

Should we decide to surprise you with a second Quadrennial Childhood Obesity Awareness Day, it could happen March 1st of 2012. See you in 2012 (maybe)! Until then, remember to get plenty of fresh air and exercise!

Totally in control of the situation,

Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf
Chief Sony Public Think of the Children Relations Officer

2012 should be 2014 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333104)

if it's quadrennial

Re:2012 should be 2014 (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333340)

if it's quadrennial

Good observation. That's (part of) the joke.

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333256)

The problem yesterday was that the servers thought it was the 29th, but the consoles refused to accept such nonsense. In 2012 it really is a leap year. I guess the reverse could happen, but then you'd just change the date to something else and you'd be alright.

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333952)

The problem yesterday was that the servers thought it was the 29th, but the consoles refused to accept such nonsense. In 2012 it really is a leap year. I guess the reverse could happen, but then you'd just change the date to something else and you'd be alright.

Actually it was the exact opposite. The servers thought it was March 1st. Some older consoles (with a bug in their hardware clock chips that have a leap-year programmed every 2 years instead of every 4 years) thought it was Feb 29. Newer PS3 Slim consoles were not affected. Not all "fat" PS3's were affected either as they did not all contain the faulty chips.

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (1)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334582)

Some older consoles (with a bug in their hardware clock chips that have a leap-year programmed every 2 years instead of every 4 years)

That is not the nature of the bug. (If so this would have happened on March 1, 2006 as well). The older consoles thought it was a leap year because they interpreted the date as a binary number instead of a binary coded decimal number. Essentially, they know which years are leap years, but they thought this was 2016.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem#Year_2010_problem [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334600)

Since the PS3 was released 11 November, 2006, how do we know this bug did not happen 01 Mar, 2006?

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (1)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334712)

Touche'.

Regardless, the bug is not as trivial as someone getting the basic rules for when a leap year occurs wrong, but a result of the date being stored in one format by one module, and interpreted as a different format by another module, where the formats happen to be identical for values less than 10.

In the end, a bug is a bug, and the result is the same, but everyone seems to be assuming that Sony's programmers just don't know when leap years occur, and I think they deserve a *little* more credit than that.

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31335192)

So instead, you are suggesting that they think 0x10 is the same as 10?

I don't think that is much credit. Also, the older PS3's did not have the PSN acting as a moderator on the system and potentially blocking things, so they could have easily just not noticed the issue at all.

Regardless, Sony is probably safe until at least 2014, when the next even, non-leap year occurs. We've seen that leap years work (2008), and I find it hard to believe that many people are comparing years as a hexidecimal number. Besides, why would anyone need to compare a year with 0x10? Nothing special happens related to 10, nor 0b0001_0000 (0x10 = 16) in terms of year. A more legitimate mistake would be an improper binary comparison to determine if it is even:

if ( year & 0x1 == 0 )

and neglecting to check if it's divisible by 4.

I'm waiting for the Y2.1K bug, when all of the non-standard date-time code expects 2100 to be a leap year (it's not; years divisible by 100 must also be divisible by 400 to be leap years).

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31335496)

By the way, I do remember that the banks had done the math recently, confusing 2010 with 2016, but I meant to suggest that it does not make sense to have a lot of people doing that (let alone them).

This was mainly meant to refute the idea that someone is passing around this year value and, in one function, comparing using hex. It's possible, but just so odd it seems unlikely.

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (3, Insightful)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335622)

So instead, you are suggesting that they think 0x10 is the same as 10?

No, I am suggesting that person or group A developed a hardware clock that stores a set of values as binary-coded decimals, and person or group B, probably at an entirely different company, wrote firmware to read those values as binary numbers without verifying whether that was the correct format. Either someone didn't document it, or someone else didn't read the documentation.

I don't think that is much credit.

Hence my emphasis of the word little. It is certainly a more understandable path to failure than "Durrrr, leep yeers every 2 years i am a pogrammer, Yay!"

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (1)

Trisha-Beth (9231) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335466)

Not all "fat" PS3's were affected either as they did not all contain the faulty chips.

More likely they have the faulty chip, but the internal clock is wrong. This would be more or less the same "fix" as removing the RTC battery for a while.

I would expect a small number of owners to have the problem for 24 hours at some random time. There have probably been some PS3s that have done this before March 1st.

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334114)

Other way around, it was the consoles that thought it was the 29th.

Re:Sony's Official Announcement (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334732)

Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf
Chief Sony Public Think of the Children Relations Officer

And I was wondering just yesterday where he ended up... Well, I guess in times like these, with economic problems, even honest people have to bend over and take any job they can get.

I can't wait for April Fool's Day... (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333042)

Is SONY going to make my PS3 explode?

Re:I can't wait for April Fool's Day... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333094)

Yes. And then April 2nd they'll provide instructions for reassembly via their PS3 online network.

No problem, right?

Re:I can't wait for April Fool's Day... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333278)

This post reminds me of those finallyfast.com commercials. "Is your computer fucked? Just go to finallyfast.com to fix these problems and more!"

yeah...because if your computer is fucked, you can really get to their site. ::coulda had a V8::

Re:I can't wait for April Fool's Day... (2, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333804)

    I like that as much as Verizon and Brighthouse/Roadrunner's voice attendants. "Thank you for holding. You can also get help on the web by visiting our site com"

    Every time I've been stuck on hold hearing that, it's been because the Internet connection was down. After hearing it every 30 seconds, for 45 minutes, I've been as polite as possible to the person who answers the phone and then asks

"Is your computer turned on?"
"Are there any lights on the front of the modem?"
"Are you sure?"
"Reboot your computer, and call back in 15 minutes if there are more problems."
"Well, reboot the modem and call back in 15 minutes if there are more problems."
"Well, it seems we're having an outage in ... where are you at? .. Yes, right there. It should be fixed soon. Give us a call back in a few hours if you're still having problems."

I'm pretty sure that's their full script, except for "Sir, please don't curse at us, we're doing our best." :)

Re:I can't wait for April Fool's Day... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334780)

Don't tell me your ISP never told you that you could simply download the drivers for your NIC/modem...

Re:I can't wait for April Fool's Day... (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333788)

Is SONY going to make my PS3 explode?

No, that's July 4th not April Fools Day.

Re:I can't wait for April Fool's Day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334844)

no silly it doesn't contain any flammables, gases under pressure, or lithium batteries, but be aware like other Japanese products you may experience sudden acceleration problems, so while it will not explode; it may crash into your tv causing it to explode (likely caused by improper floor-mats, even if located in the trunk.)

the question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333062)

The question is whether or not this will happen on March 1 of any other even non-leap years (next one would be 2014).

Re:the question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333210)

PS3 will be an ancient relic by that time.

Re:the question is (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333328)

Not according to their planned 10-year lifespan.

PS2s are still in wide use almost 10 years later.

Re:the question is (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334956)

PS2s are still in wide use almost 10 years later.

Yes, and I'm sure Sony (and game makers for their consoles) ain't happy about that. After all, they could sell all those PS2 titles again for the PS3.

Slashdot has programmers (0, Troll)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333070)

Probably many of them will feel superior for never having made a logic bug in something as clear-cut as leap years (it's not even the year 2000 leap year problem). Just because they feel superior doesn't mean that they aren't actually superior, though!

I think we should all use TAI and stop messing around with both leap years and leap seconds.

Re:Slashdot has programmers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333228)

Ok, there are logic bugs, then there are extremely stupid bugs. 2010 is 2 years away from a leap year. That's ridiculous.

Re:Slashdot has programmers (1)

bn557 (183935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333338)

Unless it was a decimalhex bug... 10 hex = 16 dec , 2016 IS a leap year.

Re:Slashdot has programmers (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333624)

This is also the first even-numbered year since the PS3 release that is not a leap year. It's possible their leap-year code is completely broken...

Re:Slashdot has programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333776)

duh, 2006 wasn't a leap year either

Re:Slashdot has programmers (1)

tenton (181778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334120)

duh, 2006 wasn't a leap year either

True, but the PS3 wasn't released until well after February of that year (November).

Re:Slashdot has programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334740)

wasn't released to the public.
the development kits, which were also affected by yesterday's outage were released in 2005.

Re:Slashdot has programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334526)

It is likely a mod bug of something like ((2010 % 10) % 4) == 0 So, 2020 is the next time this is likely to occur. 2014 is possible, but I doubt they were that stupied

Re:Slashdot has programmers (1)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334758)

It is likely a mod bug of something like ((2010 % 10) % 4) == 0 So, 2020 is the next time this is likely to occur. 2014 is possible, but I doubt they were that stupied

Ah, but 2020 is a leap year so by this reasoning 2030 is the next time we have to worry. Doubt anyone cares by then

Re:Slashdot has programmers (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334074)

Amateurs, the lot of you.

I once created a bug where the fix involved -- and I am serious here -- shooting a tiger.

Re:Slashdot has programmers (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334832)

Thats nothing, due to budget constraints a quick workaround to our watchdog has never been properly redone, so we are stuck with sacrificing a goat every month or the watchdog kills the databases.

Re:Slashdot has programmers (2, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335916)

I was being literal.

I used to work for a GPS tracking company, and the | was in packing the GPS stream into a byte for VHF transmission. It turned out that the tenths digit of longitude was always 0. It was part of an update to reduce the footprint. (This reduced the footprint from 98% to 92%, IIRC, which was a pretty big deal.)

It made it out through my tests, production's tests, and the test customer happened to be in a spot where the tenths digit was supposed to be zero. The reason was a formatting bug in the legacy parsing code that let you download the data. It would not put in the leading 0. Damnably, there is a highway in Rhode Island that is on a 0ths longitude place. We thought the problem was with reception, and the cleared highway had a good view of the GPS constellation. That was a good thought, but it didn't explain why the coyotes were swimming in a straight line in the harbour.

I had put the new code into the library, and we sent out hundreds of collars. One of the customers was the government of India, who wanted to put some collars on tigers to track their positions and look for poachers. The tigers all got faulty collars, and so several of them had to be tracked down and re-tranquilized.

I never realized (1)

vekrander (1400525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333162)

that the PS3 was powered by the Zune...

Here's a patch (0)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333170)

bool isLeapYear = (((year % 4 == 0) && (year % 100 != 0)) || (year % 400 == 0));

Here is an example. (-1, Flamebait)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333208)

Slashdot has programmers who will feel superior. This one, Rik Sweeney, used this code directly to signal coding superiority. I had commented on this just awhile ago, and it came true!

FUCK YOU, Singularity42 (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333370)

Stop attempting to belittle your fellow slashdotters to signal your "moral superiority".

you're NOT

once again, FUCK YOU

Re:FUCK YOU, Singularity42 (1)

GoodNicksAreTaken (1140859) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333914)

Stop attempting to belittle your fellow slashdotters to signal your "moral superiority".

I had not realized that properly coding leap year algorithms was a moral issue. On slashdot is everything a moral issue? I must be new here.

Re:FUCK YOU, Singularity42 (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334852)

This is /. Proper coding is a moral issue. By definition.

You can dump your geek card in the recycler at the exit. Thank you.

Pot, meet kettle (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334300)

...That's pretty much what ALL of you so-called Slashdotters do. Belittle anyone who doesn't agree with you ("you, sir, are an idiot, anybody who does X is an idiot", etc). I also see that so-called Slashdotters have a tendency to assume that anybody who doesn't have in-depth knowledge about the topics discussed is also an idot.

A bunch of armchair experts, who supposedly know everything from world politics to enterprise-level corporate management, but still SOMEHOW find the time through all of their corporate, financial and world-wide political success to post asinine comments on /.

Hence, the topic of my post.

And, who gives a fuck that I'm anon; stop waving your pseudonyms around, or leaving some silly signature as if your real name has any bearing on the validity of your posts.

Re:Here is an example. (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333388)

Did you write the firmware or something?

*Any* programmer should feel superior because this is an extremely trivial bug that should've never been allowed to see the light of day. This only serves to highlight what must've been a breakneck release schedule as Sony was bringing the original PS3 to market (the newer slim PS3s were unaffected).

I'd bet money that Sony caught this firmware bug too late in their production cycle to fix it (i.e. the firmware chips were already burned). An issue that might come up every two years? That would hardly warrant a "stop the presses" to Sony.

Re:Here is an example. (1)

tenton (181778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334146)

An issue that might come up every two years? That would hardly warrant a "stop the presses" to Sony.

Actually, the bug would only manifest itself every 4 years. 2012 is a leap year and Feb 29 does exist, so the bug *shouldn't* occur. In 2014, though, we'll see.

Re:Here is an example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333510)

Slashdot has programmers who will feel superior. This one, Rik Sweeney, used this code directly to signal coding superiority. I had commented on this just awhile ago, and it came true!

Look! Look! Over here! I'm counter-culture! Validate me!

Re:Here is an example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333704)

I'm not exactly sure why you're wasting time participating in a discussion whose members you belittle. From here it looks rather much like you do so to feel superior -- and not to be intentionally ironic, either.

Your recent post history does nothing to help me give you the benefit of the doubt. Denigrating nursing-home workers? Really? Why do you feel the need to attack people like this? Just because the Internet Fuckwad Theory exists doesn't mean you have to fulfill it.

Re:Here is an example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333998)

x = Now()

If x = Now() and consolebrand Is sony Then

Head Asplode()

EndIf

Re:Here's a patch (1, Interesting)

smaddox (928261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333606)

Your using an extra 'mod', 'compare' and 'or' to avoid a branch, yet those 'compare's are probably going to be compiled into branches anyway, thus defeating the point.

Really, you should either break down and write it as a simple branch, or write branch free assembly for each target platform. I would suggest the former. Simplicity and readability are much more important in this day and age than a few clock cycles.

Re:Here's a patch (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333862)

Your first word betrays your grasp of syntactical structure.

Re:Here's a patch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334328)

date = new Date();

if( date.isLeapYear() ) { //...
}

I mean, doesn't every platform has a proper time library by now? Does the IT sector at least have the VERY BASICS in order?

Re:Here's a patch (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334748)

Protip, PS3s firmware doesn't work like that.
They MADE the "isLeapYear" functionality, and obviously screwed it up somehow.
They won't just pile on a bunch of mostly useless libraries that they won't need just "because", they have limited space on the internal memory remember.

Since it won't happen again for a while, it will probably be fixed in the next update.

Re:Here's a patch (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334818)

(year % 4) is enough. Next leap year exception is 2100, I will no longer be in office by then.

Before someone complains and compares it to Y2K: We're talking about a game console here with an expected lifetime of less than a decade. Not a supercomputer whose programs might outlive its makers.

Re:Here's a patch (2, Insightful)

dominious (1077089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335296)

WTF dude? how long does it take you to type the rest of the logical statement?

unless you are considering limited processing power and you want to avoid extra checks. And I don't think this is the case here.

Parable (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333190)

Time heals all wounds, and so do health potions.

BUG! (1)

6350' (936630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333222)

Bug bug bug BUG "bug" "BUG"!

I know I have pretty much become an old man at this point in my life, but how did we let Warcraft users slowly replace the word "bug" with "glitch" ?! It's a bug!

However, I have to feely admit one point: replacing the word with 'glitch' makes it easier to use as a verb, as in "that instance is glitched" vs "that instance is bugged" - in the sense that the latter use could mean "we put that bug in the bug DB already." Ah well, back to feeding ferrite core beads to pigeons...

Re:BUG! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333276)

I view it as the 'bug' being the problem, and the 'glitch' being the manifestation of that problem.

Re:BUG! (1)

6350' (936630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333538)

Pithily put.

More generally, I guess the new term arose from having a huge mass of people suddenly wodged together - many of whom were/are not terribly computer-ey - creating terms themselves to describe what they experience (ie, sixty zillion Warcraft users interacting daily). A king of eternal September in a way.

Re:BUG! (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334298)

Says the guy with the high UID.

Re:BUG! (2, Insightful)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334368)

how did we let Warcraft users slowly replace the word "bug" with "glitch" ?! It's a bug!

A bug is a logic problem in the code; a glitch is misbehavior by the program. Glitches are normally associated with bugs, but faulty hardware or cosmic rays can also cause glitches. On the other hand, it is quite possible for a bug to exist without ever triggering a glitch, if the conditions that would trigger the bug are sufficiently remote, or if other code in the system corrects for the behavior of the bug (the latter is actually quite common).

In this case, I don't believe they've fixed the bug, but the glitch that is the manifestation of the bug is solved for now. If my understanding of what happened is correct, they should have nearly four years to ship a fix to the bug before the glitch reappears, so the fix will probably be bundled with the next system update.

If the headline had read "passage of time fixes bug", as you suggest, I would have had to call it an outright lie. As it is, however, I think the headline is exactly correct.

Re:BUG! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334710)

Because you are using the wrong form of bug.

the correct use is....

"That instance is completely buggered!" and yes the UK use of buggered is 100% correct in any sense of the term bug.

linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333378)

still for fags, fag.

BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333394)

BS. Just like Microsoft, Sony is patching more than just the problems they state. We will never know the real number of software patches applied. In this case the patch was applied while getting "the date and time via the internet". In other words the PS3 has software built-in to automatically update itself. It sure as hell didn't just "fix itself" or for that matter "magically break itself". In fact this patch is just a patch for their failed patch which nearly bricked everyone's system. Telling people "Oh it was simply a miscalculation in the leap year" is a lot better than saying "We didn't fully test our last DRM update and almost bricked everyone's PS3".

Re:BS (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333580)

If that were really the case why didn't it effect the PS3 Slim? Also why didn't this manifest itself for people playing games without trophies? Oh yeah, because you're spewing bullshit.

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333794)

Or more importantly, why are the machines that aren't even connected to the network now fixed?

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31335234)

Did you miss the ninjas Sony sent to fix it!?

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334944)

Anon cause I'm locked down right now.
The PS3 Slim is unaffected because they had to use different hw to fit the same things inside. Much like they did with the PS2 Slim.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/ps3-playstation-cell-chip-45nm,8497.html [tomshardware.com] Is one example. I do not have time to look for the others, but I've seen them. Anyone else here with more time to back this up with tangible info?

Sony Timer (1)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333484)

I have a theory there's an unseen clock running inside the PS3. Since the passage of time solved the problem, shouldn't too have setting the system time forward a day? I tried that, yet the system was still bugged. It would make sense if there was a hidden clock not able to be directly set by the end user for things like DRM. Since Sony has downloadable movie rentals, which can only be viewed for 48 hours after payment. It would follow that there's an extra timer which one can't over-ride to get more time with the rental. It also makes sense to tie this to game DRM, and trophy acquisition so users couldn't forge earlier time stamps. The other observation I made is that when I manually set the clock the system would keep time as long as it was on. But shutting down and restarting would cause the displayed time to revert to the time I had previously set. So the system clock wasn't being updated by the hidden clock, while it was in the buggy 29th day of February.

Re:Sony Timer (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333680)

I tried that, yet the system was still bugged. It would make sense if there was a hidden clock not able to be directly set by the end user for things like DRM. Since Sony has downloadable movie rentals, which can only be viewed for 48 hours after payment. It would follow that there's an extra timer which one can't over-ride to get more time with the rental.

Yeah, but even so, it shouldn't care about leap years. In fact, it shouldn't care about human time at all. All such a clock really needs to do is continually increment some value every unit of time. Then, it just needs three pieces of information to determine if it's in the rental period:

1. The time the rental period start, in "clock units."
2. How long the rental period lasts, in "clock units."
3. The current clock time.

Is "start time" + "rental period" less than "current time?" Then it's still in the rental period. Absolutely no knowledge of the Gregorian calendar required.

Re:Sony Timer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333708)

The RTC is not a theory or a myth! The RTC exists. Take the battery out of your PS3 for ten minutes if you want to reset the RTC.

Re:Sony Timer (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333770)

There are errors in your post. First of all when you download a movie from PSN ,you have 2 WEEKS to first watch it. After you first push play, you have up to 24 hours to watch it again before it expires.

Re:Sony Timer (1)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333874)

The problems seemed to specifically affect the PSN system along with the older PS3s (I don't have one so I haven't followed the issue that much). I'm going to guess that the date and time is sent from PSN as a single integer in seconds from an epoch time, likely Unix/POSIX time counting from Jan 1, 1970, which is then used by the hardware to figure out the actual date/time for talking to the network, and not your system entered "local" time.
    The system must have been translating the epoch time it to February 29th, which was probably causing an error in some other date checking code.

What I'd be curious to know is if the affected systems now think its March 1 and not March 2.

Re:Sony Timer (1)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334026)

It wasn't a PSN problem, I know someone with a PS3 which has never been online, yet she couldn't play a trophy-enabled disc game on Sunday.

The affected systems now think it is January 2, 2000--unless the user has corrected the time. When the bug hit they all reset to December 31, 1999 (which is a year one can't manually enter).

Re:Sony Timer (1)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335624)

So it sounds like they're running on epoch time where Jan 1, 2000 = 1, and the bug forced the time/date value to 0 or null. Ultimately it still sounds like that version of the hardware is trying to treat all even years as leap years and the bug handling code is not very graceful about it.

Re:Sony Timer (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333918)

What I don't understand is my system played fine Sun night and Monday night. At least, it synced trophies and Bioshock played. I have one of the newer fat models though, maybe that's the difference.

Re:Sony Timer (1)

Juanvaldes (544895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335822)

Some trophy enabled games failed to init properly (Heavy Rain is one such game) and would quit. While others would load and play fine. I played Fallout 3 sunday evening but the catch was it zero'd out my local trophy data, as if I had never played the game. Not sure what would have happened if I earned one during my playtime that night. If anyone is curious now that everything working again I restored my trophies by launching the game (init to 0%) then quit and re-synced my trophy data with the PSN servers. This restored all the missing data.

Also there were reports of some fat PS3's that were not effected by the bug at all. Just like the new slim models.

I'm still pissed, though (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333570)

As one of the owners of a console that got bit by this bug (and the last revision to support PS2 backwards-compatibility), I'm still rather pissed off by this bug.

First off, it's ridiculously stupid. I'd love to hear an explanation from Sony about how, exactly, they managed to have this bug exist in the first place. First off, I'd love to know why the internal clock considers 2010 a leap year [playstation.com] but what I'd also like to know is 1) why this "internal clock" is different from the PS3 clock, which knows 2010 isn't a leap year, and 2) why this "internal clock" works on dates in the first place and not on "units of time offset from a known date."

I mean, it's apparently an internal hardware clock, right? It's not user visible. So why, exactly, is it storing dates and not just being a clock?

I'm sure someone's going to say that I should "just get over it, it's just a video game console" which is true. And honestly, I never really was angry at being locked out of my PS3 for 24 hours. What I'm still pissed about is Sony's piss-poor handling of the entire incident. Which, I suppose, given their track record, I really shouldn't be that surprised about.

So what were they supposed to do? (4, Informative)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334152)

I'd love to hear an explanation from Sony about how, exactly, they managed to have this bug exist in the first place.

Well, apparently, it wasn't a Sony bug per se, it was a bug in one of the support chips [wikipedia.org] .

Sony decided to be paranoid about time because of pirates. If you can hack the PS3 and change the date, then you can avoid expiration times and so forth. So if the hardware clock and software clock get out of sync, their DRM and such stops working. Considering the PS3 is the only major console that has not been hacked to the point of widespread piracy, keeping to this level of paranoia seems to have paid off for Sony's purposes.

As to Sony's "piss-poor handling of the entire incident", I'd like to know what, exactly, you think they should have done about it?

Seriously, I've just appointed you, _xeno_, to be CEO of Sony, and you just got a phone call. "Oh, crap, it's midnight GMT on March 1st, 2010, and all the older PS3 consoles can't play downloaded content or games with trophies or sign into the PSN!". What are you going to do? What orders do you give?

Re:So what were they supposed to do? (3, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334722)

You may not be aware of this, but they have a Twitter account devoted to the PlayStation [twitter.com] and a blog [playstation.com] . Sadly, the blog doesn't record the time when the entries were posted, but you may notice the 13-hour stretch between "slim consoles still work" and - well, actually, if you follow the link, it basically reiterates that slim consoles are working.

Then complete silence until the 24-hour period ended, followed by a brief announcement that "hey, it works again!" and then completely ignoring that it ever happened. Instead they've posted several blog entries that conveniently knock the PSN outage way down the page.

Do they intend to fix this issue with a patch? Can they? Does it even matter? Who knows, they certainly aren't saying. All they've said is "oops, sorry" and, well, that's it. Not even a "we're still looking into this matter."

Of course, based on the vague "if we get new information we'll keep you posted," I get the impression that this isn't the fault of the people running the blog, it's that the PlayStation group themselves are simply not bothering to communicate. Maybe they're still looking into it, maybe they aren't, but the community managers apparently have no idea based on the weasel-wording on the blog. And that would be a problem that Sony should address.

But in any case, I still have to wonder: why in the hell does a reduced instruction set computer have a buggy leap-year function? Why the hell does it care what the human-readable date is? All it needs to do is keep track of "units of time since a known start point." Let the OS worry about what the human time is.

Re:So what were they supposed to do? (1)

robmv (855035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335132)

If you know something will "temporarily fix" by itself in 24 hours, for something not earth shattering like playing video games (no lives at risk, no mayor issue than your image and a few lost PSN network sales). Will you risk a rushed firmware patch than can cause more problems without proper testing? I don't. I will wait the 24 hours, then later issue a proper fix if it is needed, after testing if there is a possibility of that happening again another year, if 2010 is the only year that could happen, I will not publish a patch until another error must be fixed. To rush a patch that is not needed (no security related) is not welcome in production environment

Re:So what were they supposed to do? (3, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335358)

Then complete silence until the 24-hour period ended, followed by a brief announcement that "hey, it works again!" and then completely ignoring that it ever happened. Instead they've posted several blog entries that conveniently knock the PSN outage way down the page.

A major bug knocks out significant functionality in a console with an installed base in the tens of millions. Remember, you're the CEO of Sony, and you have to protect the value of your company. It would be criminally irresponsible if you were to rush out an untested fix. If that broke anything you'd be subject to lawsuits. Firmware updates are risky at the best of times.

Meanwhile, your engineers are telling you, "We've got a problem with the date that's screwing up DRM. On our special development consoles, it looks like once the date rolls over in less than 24 hours, the problem will go away. We've tested it on a handful of our customer-style consoles, and from what we can see it appears to be the case there, too. But there are seven 'Fat' models [wikipedia.org] out there and in these few hours we can't test 'em all. Even once that's fixed, we can't absolutely guarantee all will be working after that."

So, you're careful about what you say, and you proceed with deliberate speed. The problem hasn't even been resolved for 24 hours yet! I strongly suspect that they are working on adding a fix to the next firmware upgrade - but that means they'll need to delay the next upgrade, add new tests to the regression tests and QA process, evaluate the fix on all nine models of PS3 (plus the two new slim models in the pipe [n4g.com] ), and then finally roll it out.

Every company with a substantial codebase and millions of customers is this slow, by necessity. It took Microsoft a week to get the Live network stable after the flood of new users back in December, 2008 [gamestooge.com] . A week later (i.e. seven times 24 hours), they gave away a free downloadable game as a further apology [gamestooge.com] . And they still got sued over it [mtv.com] .

I strongly suspect that Sony will release more information soon, and may offer a downloadable trinket as a further apology, too. But expecting a giant company to share technical information (that might be used in a lawsuit) in real-time is a bit much.

Re:So what were they supposed to do? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335338)

>>As to Sony's "piss-poor handling of the entire incident", I'd like to know what, exactly, you think they should have done about it?

Well, they said they'd have a fix within 24 hours, and here we are!

I actually laughed when I read that yesterday, since I knew exactly what their fix would be: doing nothing.

Re:So what were they supposed to do? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335696)

Make me CEO for the day.

Issue apology for the bug. Give free premium theme of choice to all affected PS3 users. Then get me a limo and six hot hookers.

This CEO shit rocks!

Re:I'm still pissed, though (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334532)

I mean, it's apparently an internal hardware clock, right? It's not user visible. So why, exactly, is it storing dates and not just being a clock?
Many off the shelf hardware RTCs do use human style date and time, I guess because they expect people to use them in systems where that is the most convenient format. PCs also traditionally use a human style format for thier RTC so if that part of their system is a derivative of a PC design that could also explain it.

Re:I'm still pissed, though (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334782)

Shut up, if you anger them they will start putting root-kits on CD's and DVD's again!

Sony is very lucky... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31333634)

That this particular bug "fixes" itself in a relatively short span of time.

According to the documentation [kernel.org] provided for PS3 linux, the clock that is embedded in the PS3 cannot actually be manipulated from under the hypervisor:

"Similar to a PC, a built-in real time clock (RTC) keeps the wall clock time for the PS3. The RTC is backed up by a battery and so ticks even if external power is removed. The RTC value can be read by a hypervisor call, but it can not be written. The RTC value monotonically increases and never rolls back. The PS3 Linux platform support uses the standard RTC userland interface /dev/rtc, The standard hwclock command can be used to manage the RTC. Since the RTC is read only, the PS3 Linux platform support maintaines a value in system flash memory that represents the difference between the hardware RTC value and the Linux RTC value."

I'm assuming that this read-only clock "feature" is in some way related to DRM, to keep people from playing tricks with expiration dates. Worst case scenario, it is impossible to modify the RTC without hardware tinkering. Had this not been a transient bug, that would have meant massive physical recalls. More likely, it is possible for sony-blessed firmware updates to modify the clock. However, Sony can only push those either through the internet, or on physical disks. Since the bug was preventing PSN logins, the internet option wouldn't have been automatically available(though, since the issue is transient, it now is again). They would either have to mail out upgrade disks to affected users, bundle the upgrade with future game releases, or make their customers go to some support site and burn their own upgrade disks. Gigantic pain in the ass.

Re:Sony is very lucky... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333888)

except you could update your firmware via the internet, or USB stick. Sony makes updated FW, users DL and install. take off yer tinfoil hat kid
(you dont log into psn to update FW)

They seriously want us to believe this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31333784)

Fix the problem, don't wait for it to magically fix itself by getting past the error date. What about next year, or the next? Do they think the product won't hold up until then and we'll be forced to buy a new one. The bug didn't "fix" it self it just got passed the errored timespan and continued on. The problem still exists.

And who do they think they are telling us how to use our time? I went to watch a netflix online movie with my lady and was unable to due to not being able to authenticate to the PSN. Those are our big nights together to just sit back and relax.

Re:They seriously want us to believe this? (2, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334430)

While I agree they should fix the problem I don't think there is any point in pushing an emergency fix at this point. The correct thing to do (assuming this is a periodic problem) is to release a properly QA'd fix as part of a normal firmware update cycle.

Re:They seriously want us to believe this? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335262)

IF that is possible.

I somehow doubt it. IIRC, and please someone correct me if they know more about the inner workings of the PS3 than I do, you have two "clocks" inside the PS3. One that resides uncerneath all the hypervisor and other DRM protection, shielded by it against tampering, which is used most likely for rentals and the like when Sony wants to make dead sure they know just how much time has passed and you have no chance to tamper with it. How this clock is initialized is still a mystery to me, but it cannot be set, at least to my knowledge. There is certainly no way to "rewind" it, that much has to be certain to securely lock rentals away from tampering. The other clock is the "external" clock which you get displayed, which you can set to whatever you like and so on.

Now, the PS3 "bug" hit us here locally around 2am local time. Which leads me to a certain assumption: That the "external" clock is little more than a "show" clock, to display the time, but handled and guided relative to the internal, "official" clock, so you don't set it to 6:30 but to "+2 hours 50 minutes 28 seconds", relative to the internal, official and shielded clock.

I could envision something like this happening:

The "low level" clock seems to have a Feb 29th bug. When the date rolled over to March 1st in mainland Europe, nothing happened. Why? Because it was still Feb 28th for the internal clock. Because the "external" clock got from the internal "display Feb 28th, 22:00 plus the 2 hours adjustment", which the external clock did: March 1st, 00:00 am.

At 2am, though, the internal clock signaled "display Feb 29th 2010, 00:00 + 2 hours" to which the (correct) external said "Impossible, no 29th of Feb in 2010", which probably prompted the internal one to assume tampering and thus it simply sent the general shutdown command, assuming the user tried to breach its protection.

Expect a repeat performance in 2014 (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334160)

These sorts of bugs have a tendency to repeat themselves. I fully expect this to happen in 2014. After all, 2010 was the first even non-leap year since the PS3's release.

Re:Expect a repeat performance in 2014 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334626)

I wouldn't expect this again till 2020. I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they don't think every even year is a leap year, but not extend the same curtsy about knowing that 0 % 4 == 0. Someone pointed this out earlier while we were all posting patches for the fix but ( Year % 10 ) % 4 might seem correct at a glance if you ignore all the exceptions, but it fails for any year ending in zero Now that I think about it 2020 is a leap year so 2030. I think were all good

Re:Expect a repeat performance in 2014 (1)

casings (257363) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334992)

wow, whoever thought Year % 10 and Year were congruent mod 4 needs to go back to undergrad.

Re:Expect a repeat performance in 2014 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31334860)

You mean to tell me that they didn't hard code a leap year bug for 2010? And that since they didn't issue a fix the bug will not fix itself for future dates as well?

Thanks for the help, Captain Obvious.

Clock begins again (1)

smd75 (1551583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334578)

Sony has a little less than 4 years to figure out how to solve this. I pray they can do it in time. Meanwhile, my PS2 worked just fine.

Bravo Dev Team! (2, Funny)

Warhawke (1312723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335556)

I love how sony said that they would "fix" this in the next 24 hours yesterday. I'm glad they worked so hard and diligently to apply this fix. One might even say they moved the earth for it.

Re:Bravo Dev Team! (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335646)

...One might even say they moved the earth for it.

Sony caused the Chilean earthquake?

All the people complaining about DRM... (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31335888)

This clock verification exists to figure out whether the console is compromised. Avoiding being compromised serves both DRM and anti-cheating. I don't want people with hacked consoles getting every trophy in every game instantaneously. I don't want people getting instant headshots in MW2. This is one of the reasons I stopped playing on the PC.

I realize cheating is still possible, but I applaud having a system which is difficult to hack, even if it means things like this can happen. Do they get to use it for DRM? Yeah, they do. Tradeoff. And if this had been some sort of permanent problem I would take my business elsewhere.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>