As September draws to a close, and we start to think of pumpkins and apple cider, this week’s Glitch Watch mailbag put me more in mind of sandy beaches and waving palms.
First, from Christopher Columbus’ former private family estate Jamaica, comes the news that almost 29,000 incorrect income tax payment reminders were sent out, owing to a software error. A spokesperson for the Jamaican Tax Administration Services Department (TASD) explained that “The coding was set incorrectly and picked up information that should not have been picked up.” While you might expect them to send out corrected statements to all 29,000 recipients, in fact the TASD merely agreed to make statements available “on request.” I hope no-one gets confused about their liability; apparently Jamaican outstanding tax liabilities attract a penalty interest rate of 40%!
Meanwhile, in the neighboring Cayman Islands, a government watchdog is investigating whether Cayman Airways was guilty of price gouging for travelers attempting to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Dean in August. Cayman Airways CEO Patrick Strasburger claimed that the inflated prices were caused by a software glitch that temporarily caused ticket prices to go higher right before Hurricane Dean struck the island. Quite a coincidence!
Finally, a story that comes not from the sunny Caribbean, but the almost-as-exotic Saginaw, MI. A computer glitch at Saginaw’s Wendler Arena erroneously shut down one of the compressors that makes ice for the skating surface, and then the second compressor found it was working too hard and shut itself down for fear of overheating. I’m guessing that, for much of the year, Saginaw is not as hot as Jamaica. But it was hot enough last Saturday night, and the result, when the team showed up to practice on Monday, was a big puddle of water mixed with the paint used for the lines and logos set in the ice. So, not only did they have to re-freeze the water, but they had to repaint lines and logos as well. The work was expected to be finished by the end of the week.