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Press Release: Invalid Date Bug


Free Software Released

February 29th, 2008

Contact Information:

Raenell Dawn
+1-503-393-1949 (Oregon)

Peter Brouwer

The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies, the world's largest Internet birthday club, has released free software that web designers can use to avoid the dreaded “Invalid birth date” bug. The software determines if any year is a leap year, and can be used for birth date verification. People born on February 29th may encounter the bug whenever they enter their birth date on a website registration screen. The software can also be used in automated birth date response systems that usually ignore people born on February 29th.

Peter Brouwer, a spokesman for the Honor Society, says he's not surprised by the Invalid birth date bug, “Many Americans don't understand leap year – so why should the Internet?” Brouwer doesn't want to see a repeat of the leap year bug, which has taken over 20 years to correct. “In that bug, 1900 was counted as a leap year, even though it was not a leap year. Only recently has there been an agreement to fix the bug, when an international standards organization got involved. Brouwer says “We would be very proud if everyone used our software to fix their leap year bugs.“

Raenell Dawn, co-founder of the Honor Society, said the free software determines if a year is a leap year or not. “This is not rocket science, programmers only need to know about division and remainders to understand the code,” she explained. The software is posted on the organization's website. Dawn, a steadfast activist for 'Leap Year Day' awareness for over twenty years, says “the enduring bug in software and on the Internet, is symbolic of the enduring negligence suffered by people born on 'Leap Year Day'. Many software programs fail to recognize February 29th as a possible date of birth. It is time for programmers to understand that the concept of leap year is simple enough that they should be able to figure it out.”

Dawn said “These bugs are mostly just a nuisance, and as adults we can cope. But, for example, how do you explain to a five-year-old, that they won't receive a birthday card from Geoffrey over at the mall toy store this year because the toy store’s computer has no way to recognize their birthday? These are modern times, and for children born on 'Leap Year Day', lessons about the imaginary world of computers, where February 29th often doesn't exist, start at an early age.”

The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies, founded in 1997, has over 6000 members from all over the world. Their website,, is devoted to 'Leap Year Day' education, advocacy and celebration.


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If you would like more information about this topic, or wish to schedule an interview with Raenell or Peter, please use the contact information above.

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