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Netscape to fix Navigator time bug

Netscape Communications says it will this month fix a Navigator bug that was triggered by daylight saving time.

Netscape Communications says it will this month fix a Navigator bug that was triggered by daylight saving time.

The bug, which has been reported by users in several Usenet newsgroups, gives Netscape Navigator trouble telling time and is preventing many users from seeing the most updated versions of Web pages. Users have complained that they are unwittingly viewing older versions of Web pages stored in their data caches instead of new ones even after they hit their "reload" buttons in version 2.0 and higher of Navigator for Windows, Unix, and Macintosh.

The company says it will post a correct version of its browser, Navigator 2.02, at its Web site by April 20. The bug will also be fixed in the future beta release of Atlas, a preview of Netscape's next major update of its browser.

Usually, when a user requests a Web page with Navigator, the browser checks to see when the page was last updated and retrieves the latest version. But because of the daylight saving time bug, Navigator misreads the time stamp on Web pages and cannot access new versions for an hour, users say.

Until the company releases the fixed version, there are a number of ways to work around the bug. One Web site, Instant Sports, has posted several suggestions, including disabling the browser's cache.

Nonetheless, sites that constantly update information, such as news providers, find the problem particularly annoying, said Kenneth Norton, vice president of technology at Web design firm T3 Incorporated. "From a design perspective, it's irritating because every change you make [to a Web page] isn't reflected," he added.

T3 has created a site that is offering up-to-the-minute coverage of the Boston Marathon today. "Our original fear was that people would be coming to the site and wouldn't see changes for an hour," Norton said. "It's a bigger issue than Netscape is making of it."