Friday Five: Microsoft issues fix for Y2K22 email bug

Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. Microsoft issues fix for Y2K22 email bug

Microsoft has issued a fix for a programming flaw which saw some customers’ Exchange servers stop processing emails just as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. System administrators dubbed the bug Y2K22 — in the style of the Y2K bug which affected some computers at exactly the same time 22 years earlier.

The technical issue was due to how Microsoft named updates for its malware-scanning engine, putting the year, month and day (220101) at the front of a four-digit number (0001). As soon as the clock ticked over to 2022, this naming system exceeded the maximum value that could be represented in 31 binary symbols.

2. BlackBerry pulls plug on its iconic handsets

BlackBerry phones — once the pinnacle of a mobile handset with their trademark physical keyboard — effectively died on Tuesday as the Canadian company behind them pulled its support. The company said the iconic devices — which it has not made since 2016 — “will no longer reliably function”, including for calls and texts.

The fall of the once ubiquitous boardroom device has been a long time coming. By 2013, as the mobile world changed with iOS and Android, BlackBerry was posting billion-dollar losses. The company itself had completed its transition to a security software business by 2016, which is when it stopped making its own smartphones.

3. Mafia boss caught after Google Maps sighting

An Italian mafia boss who has been on the run for decades has been arrested in Galapagar, Spain, after he was spotted on Google Maps. A Google Street View shot showing a man resembling Gioacchino Gammino, 61, standing in front of a grocery shop was key to tracking the fugitive, investigators say.

Gammino’s identity was confirmed when police found a Facebook page of a now-closed restaurant, Cocina de Manu, which was located nearby. It had posted photos of Gammino — who was calling himself Manuel — wearing chef’s clothes and he was identified by a scar on his chin. The restaurant had Sicilian dishes on the menu.

4. Content optimisation or content catastrophe?

Content is integral to how the customer experience is shaped, and brands will win by creating superior experiences for both their employees and for their target audiences. The foundation of such experiences will be relevant, engaging content optimised for effectiveness by use of data-driven insights and technology.

In this special Zone report, we assess how fit for purpose current approaches and organisational structures are for delivering content-based experiences across a range of sectors, including findings from a research poll of 100 decision-makers in marketing and commercial roles that support our observations.

5. Wordle creator says game will stay ad-free

A free and simple online word game that has gone viral will never become attention-grabbing or ad-laden, its creator has promised. Wordle challenges people to find a five-letter word in six guesses, with a new puzzle published every day. It has amassed a following of 300,000 people in three months.

The game is available online through a free website — but does not have a smartphone app. Creator Josh Wardle, a software engineer for Reddit, says he initially designed the game for just himself and his partner, and thinks it has blown up because people can share their grids (without spoilers) on social media.

We write about customer experience, employee experience, design, content & technology to share our knowledge with the wider community.