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Old 24th February 2016, 03:32 PM
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Default Y2K Revisited

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roybat said View Post
Just follow the Yanky lead as they did in 1999. Remember the 'millenium bug '? Cost Australia millions because nobody told our pollies that computers wouldn't understand 31/12/1999. They only know1010101011011011.
1010101011011011 = 43739, so I'm not sure what you mean there (I'm being pedantic, I do know what you meant).

Sometimes a date is held in binary as the number of days since the turn of the 20th century, in which case 31/12/1999 = 36524 (I think). Which would be 1000111010101100. In most cases at the time of Y2K 31/12/1999 would have been held as a packed and signed decimal field rather than binary. Each decimal character having a binary equivalent, of course.

Most of the problem was around formulas, calculations and comparisons being done with those dates, and all of those were at a base 10 level.

Y2K was very real, and the money we made out of it at the time was very real. It was, however, the beginning of the end for us COBOL programmers.

There was a lot of fear mongering, of course. Mostly stirred up by the agencies that were making a shedload of cash out of the issue. I remember being one of a large group of Aussies and Kiwis recruited to go and work in the UK at a major Credit Card processing company in 1998. The agent for the company that we were hired through would come and take us all out to lunch about once a month. He didn't know much but he wore a nice suit and he drove a new Ferrari.
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Old 24th February 2016, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: CSIRO cuts to measuring global warming

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1010101011011011 = 43739, so I'm not sure what you mean there (I'm being pedantic, I do know what you meant).

Sometimes a date is held in binary as the number of days since the turn of the 20th century, in which case 31/12/1999 = 36524 (I think). Which would be 1000111010101100. In most cases at the time of Y2K 31/12/1999 would have been held as a packed and signed decimal field rather than binary. Each decimal character having a binary equivalent, of course.

Most of the problem was around formulas, calculations and comparisons being done with those dates, and all of those were at a base 10 level.

Y2K was very real, and the money we made out of it at the time was very real. It was, however, the beginning of the end for us COBOL programmers.

There was a lot of fear mongering, of course. Mostly stirred up by the agencies that were making a shedload of cash out of the issue. I remember being one of a large group of Aussies and Kiwis recruited to go and work in the UK at a major Credit Card processing company in 1998. The agent for the company that we were hired through would come and take us all out to lunch about once a month. He didn't know much but he wore a nice suit and he drove a new Ferrari.
I made a couple of errors The date should have been 31/12/99 and my 010101010 was not meant to be an actual binary number. It was to illustrate that computers only read 0's or 1's I know they read hexadecimal too but pollies wouldn't know that either. At that time 1998 I had the ubiquitous Commodore 64 and a knowledge of 'BASIC' (long forgotten). I programmed many algorithms as they are now called. If I needed to calculate something then I wrote a program. I wrote games too. Binary became my second language (except a bit of school french ). Then one day Ch7 news spent ages on how computers will read 31/12/99 then click over to 01/01/00 which in fact was right but some bright spark (Bill Gates ????) said that that would represent 1900. I laughed as did others at the Commodore Club. Then later news said all the Ford cars would stop as the date in their computers rolled over to 01/01/00. Aeroplanes would fall from the sky. Govt. computers would fail to pay pensions because nobody was at retiring age in 1900. My video player would no longer work because it's timer would register 01/01/00. I tried it by setting the timer to 11:59 :31:12:99. It ticked over to 00:00:01:01:00 and worked perfectly. How many people were sucked in to buy new ones? So, mainly govts, banks and businesses paid 'Expert' (expert conmen) to reprogramme their mainstream computers. I called my brother in England, a competent programmer in machine code and he just wouldn't believe what I told him was going on here. He called me back a few weeks later to say the idiots there were sucked in. After the event with congratulations all round the world had been saved. My Commodore still worked on 00. didn't need 2000. That's my opinion anyway. If it's wrong I don't give a shit, YK2 never affected me
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Old 24th February 2016, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: CSIRO cuts to measuring global warming

Crikey Roybat, a Commodore 64 would have been an antique even in 1998.

Systems written in COBOL were the main ones affected by Y2K, and I was a COBOL programmer for more than 20 years. In many of the applications that people were stirring up panic about there was never going to be an issue. In financial systems, however, Y2K was a big deal, as many calculations involve dates, and because even though the year "00" is after the year "99", a computer system recognizes it as "00".

For example, if I were to try to calculate one week of interest from 1/1/16 to 7/1/16, no problems, I just subtract the dates from each other. If I try to calculate one week of interest from 28/12/99 to 2/1/00, then the program might actually calculate that there are -36517 days (or close enough) between those dates and I'm gonna get some funny results.

The problem was that the COBOL programs involved were often ancient and enormous (more than 100,000 lines of code) and in order to "fix" the problem you really had to go through and change all references to 2 digit year fields to 4 digit year fields, i.e. 99 becomes 1999 and 00 becomes 2000.

A car or a fridge, on the other hand, doesn't really give a fuck about Y2K.
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Old 24th February 2016, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: CSIRO cuts to measuring global warming

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I made a couple of errors The date should have been 31/12/99 and my 010101010 was not meant to be an actual binary number. It was to illustrate that computers only read 0's or 1's I know they read hexadecimal too but pollies wouldn't know that either. At that time 1998 I had the ubiquitous Commodore 64 and a knowledge of 'BASIC' (long forgotten). I programmed many algorithms as they are now called. If I needed to calculate something then I wrote a program. I wrote games too. Binary became my second language (except a bit of school french ). Then one day Ch7 news spent ages on how computers will read 31/12/99 then click over to 01/01/00 which in fact was right but some bright spark (Bill Gates ????) said that that would represent 1900. I laughed as did others at the Commodore Club. Then later news said all the Ford cars would stop as the date in their computers rolled over to 01/01/00. Aeroplanes would fall from the sky. Govt. computers would fail to pay pensions because nobody was at retiring age in 1900. My video player would no longer work because it's timer would register 01/01/00. I tried it by setting the timer to 11:59 :31:12:99. It ticked over to 00:00:01:01:00 and worked perfectly. How many people were sucked in to buy new ones? So, mainly govts, banks and businesses paid 'Expert' (expert conmen) to reprogramme their mainstream computers. I called my brother in England, a competent programmer in machine code and he just wouldn't believe what I told him was going on here. He called me back a few weeks later to say the idiots there were sucked in. After the event with congratulations all round the world had been saved. My Commodore still worked on 00. didn't need 2000. That's my opinion anyway. If it's wrong I don't give a shit, YK2 never affected me

Date problems are always tricky to determine the affect that they will have.


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A 2010 software bug has left millions of German debit and credit card holders unable to withdraw money or make payments in shops, and thousands stranded on holiday with no access to cash. About 30m chip and pin cards a quarter of those in circulation in Germany are thought to have been affected by the programming failure, which meant that microchips in cards could not recognise the year change to 2010.

This particular problem was because some systems thought that the year was 2016. I've written code to perform a month check (bash script), and it works fine until you enter 08 as the month, suddenly it thinks that you're talking in octal.


Y2K was a real problem, yes some people blew it out of proportion, but there were so many big complicated systems and we couldn't wind the clock forward to test, and so it was a lot of speculation. The reason why Y2K had no affect? because so much work was done to ensure that it wasn't a problem.


Just because the couple of small tests that you performed didn't cause any problems tells you nothing about other systems. It would be like trying to prove that tsunamis are impossible because you couldn't even flood your entire house by making waves in the bathtub.
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Old 24th February 2016, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: CSIRO cuts to measuring global warming

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...
Y2K was a real problem, yes some people blew it out of proportion, but there were so many big complicated systems and we couldn't wind the clock forward to test, and so it was a lot of speculation. The reason why Y2K had no affect? because so much work was done to ensure that it wasn't a problem.
...
Exactly!
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Old 24th February 2016, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: CSIRO cuts to measuring global warming

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Y2K was a real problem, yes some people blew it out of proportion, but there were so many big complicated systems and we couldn't wind the clock forward to test, and so it was a lot of speculation. The reason why Y2K had no affect? because so much work was done to ensure that it wasn't a problem.
Totally agree with your post. Except that actually in most cases we could wind the clock forward to test. Most financial institutions had multiple test environments even in the late 90s. So Commonwealth Bank or American Express could wind their clocks forward and test exactly what their systems would do when the clocks ticked over to "00". What was more difficult was testing the interactions between different systems at different organizations. IMO there was a massive overspend in getting the Y2K issue fixed properly, especially by places that thought it was a beat-up and left their run until the last minute.
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Old 24th February 2016, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Y2K Revisited

This thread was started by the removal of several posts from this thread.
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Old 24th February 2016, 06:50 PM
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Old 25th February 2016, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: CSIRO cuts to measuring global warming

[QUOTE=142857;550451]Crikey Roybat, a Commodore 64 would have been an antique even in 1998.
Maybe, but I never learnt to programme windows 97 and all later. I had no need. Internet provided anything I wanted. But I still kept the old 64 and used it on occasion with the dot matrix printer till 2010 when it finally shit itself. I had it from about 1988 with the tape loader and monitor was an old CR TV. later got the shoebox floppy drive. Even after upgrading to Atari 128 I still could only programme in basis.....long forgotten but was loading.....Load "$",8,1 ?. and fetch a string Get "A$" The good old days
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Old 25th February 2016, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Y2K Revisited

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This thread was started by the removal of several posts from this thread.
Ok. Wrong of me to put it in CSIRO thread. The trouble with my writing is mostly done on impulse and without explaining. It was meant to highlight how people (and govts ) get sucked into spending huge sums needlessly. Businesses installed computers and bought their software. Few would have employed a competent programmer. And so the 2 digit year became universal. Whether YK2 would have caused havoc we will never know because those steps were taken to fix a 4 digit year. But I bet there are a lot of small businesses out there that took no action and survived because as I said computers don't read 31/12/99.
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