Since the Internet has made instant communication possible between the furthest reaches of the globe, rumours and innuendo have spread faster than a sneeze on a crowded bus. For reasons incomprehensible to me, the computer monitor has assumed the role of the TV screen where everything seen, is blindly accepted as truth and fact. If a news station proudly states "we don't just report the news, we MAKE the news", they tell the despicable truth: it is only news because they say so or create an incident by advertising it before it might happen, so that it does happen. Diseases are created daily by inventing a name for an old malady. With a name, it can be investigated, researched, donations and grants can be solicited and because there is no more to learn than your grandmother knew, the quest for a "cure" can be unending. (What does the P in PMS stand for? Is it Post or Pre or Permanent and have you donated to that cause lately?)
Is there such a thing as "the millennium bug"? Of course not. Are there stupid people, incapable hardware and software designers and outdated equipment? Of course there are.
Most persons must have heard at least one of the countless doom-scenarios forecast for the last turn of the millennium. Apparently the parallel has gone unnoticed. I have yet to hear of one actual "bug" type problem.
All you and I have ever heard are:
- The problem is: We DON'T KNOW what the problem is! (This one was first told to me by a computer weenie who was gearing up with some entrepreneurial lawyers, to look for computer companies to sue for malpractice or something.)
- In days of old, computer programmers used only 2 digits for the year.
- 50 year-old computers used 99 as an end-of-file code. (How old is YOUR computer. How old is your office computer?)
- Patients could drop like flies because the hospital equipment may not dispense their medicine before rigor mortis sets in. (Do you really check into a hospital and get plugged into a machine, that some trainee programmed 50 years ago, until you're well or dead?)
- When you take your car for service, you may be unable to order a muffler because "the computer" can't find one for a 1901 Beetle and then your car will explode.
- A time clock in the air-conditioning of a nuclear power plant may affect the lowering of the control rods and cause a melt-down.
- A company bought 2 scales in Belgium. One passed and one failed a test of millennium compliance. (exactly what does a scale have to do in 2000 that it can't do now? What IS Y2k compliance?)
- The toilet may not flush and the company can't operate.
Betcha you've heard some good ones yourself, but have you ever heard of a real, actual problem?
I have an ACTUAL first hand example of the problem:The government of British Columbia started its own insurance company to whack the voters with another form of tax. This Insurance Corporation of BC decided that they would do it right, fair, and profitable and start from scratch, ignoring totally anything available in the form of statistics, software and business experience. They bought property, built buildings, bought computers, hired programmers and thousands of other employees to take over a job that had been done very capably by existing companies at no additional expense.
One of the thousands of errors that their computer would not accept was payments. It took them 2 years to figure out that one reason for this was that the driver had been born before 1900 and the computer decided the payment was a pre-payment for an infant, not yet born. Did they fix the program? Of course not! Government institutions don't work like that. They hired another few hundred people, rented 2 floors in another office building to "force" these mistakes into the computer. It kept hundreds of people employed for many years. That work-force may still exist today for all I know. I'll betcha they've hired a few dozen more people to investigate the "millennium bug".
The Millennium Bug is not a "bug" and has nothing to do with the millennium. Anyone that I can imagine who is involved with calculations has the capability to count more than 100 years. Probably more companies than not, have always considered dates prior to 1900 in their calculations. What do 2 digits have to do with a millennium? If it was a millennium problem, it would be the incapability to go past 3 digits.
Many simple programs for time clocks, ventilating systems, lawn sprinklers, VCRs, what have you, don't take leap years, some (or any) holidays into consideration. This again is no news, as any building maintenance engineer will tell you, or your wife, when you forgot to change the clock on the VCR and the news, instead of her Soap was taped. They all occasionally have to be adjusted manually, this millennium or next.
Is there a millennium bug? Of course not!
Will some programs have to be fixed? Of course, as always, unless you are a government and can afford to hire people to perpetuate the work-arounds.
Will countless parasites try to exploit this non-existent millennium bug? I'm afraid so, because Barnum had it right, there is no end of suckers.
Will it hurt the economy of the world? Most definitely! With so much time being wasted on a problem that has been blown out of all proportion, productivity must decrease and who do you think is going to pay for all this activity, the baseless lawsuits, the fruitless searches and the confusion?
In the next millennium people will laugh at our stupidity, just as we now laugh at the silliness during the turn of the last one.
Got any good ones for me?
Will Chicken Little be right for the first time?
Think about it!
- Less than 40 days to go, till we all go to hell in a handbasket.
- PBS just mentioned the cost of proving Y2k compliance has exceeded 600 Billion dollars and was likely to exceed estimates. I wonder what the estimate was. There was no mention if this figure was world-wide or just in the USA. Somebody tell me I'm wrong, but I have a feeling that neither WWI nor WWII did that much damage. Did anyone ever predict that the "Y2k bug" would cause over 600 Billion dollars in damage? Well, it already has, and no one has seen it yet.
- No one has yet sent me an example of a real Y2k problem. I guess everyone is on the "Must be something to it, look who's talking about it" Bus.
- Some programmer is planning on being a billionaire because he says he patented the quick check that everyone is using.
- Word is: Travel in the US should be safe but you can never tell about those dumb foreign countries.