• Spectre (cs)

    Heh, I was almost sure that Swampy's thread will be the next "best".

  • Tom Melly (unregistered)

    As you say, and I'm sure it's been said many, many times, Y2K was a non-event because of our work.

    In what other industry would strenuous efforts to prevent a problem be criticised because they succeeded?

  • Code Slave (cs)

    I dread the day when I have to meet with a junior-high principal when my child gets into a brawl over whether Y2K really was a problem or not.

    Imustresisttheurgetostrangleliberalartsmajorwithhisowntongue!!!*

  • wiregoat (unregistered) in reply to Tom Melly
    Tom Melly:
    As you say, and I'm sure it's been said many, many times, Y2K was a non-event because of our work.

    In what other industry would strenuous efforts to prevent a problem be criticised because they succeeded?

    I would say every industry, but, this instance was much more noticable

  • Dodg3r (unregistered)

    Texans....gotta love them

  • Nelle (unregistered) in reply to Spectre
    Spectre:
    Heh, I was almost sure that Swampy's thread will be the next "best".
    When I saw the title I thought that swampy made it to the front page ...
  • hunter9000 (cs) in reply to Tom Melly
    Tom Melly:
    As you say, and I'm sure it's been said many, many times, Y2K was a non-event because of our work.

    In what other industry would strenuous efforts to prevent a problem be criticised because they succeeded?

    When people say that y2k was overblown, it was because a) people expected it to be huge, and b) it turned out to be nothing. The criticism isn't due to part b, it's due to the media overhyping it, and making people think the world was going to end. If it hadn't been for all the nuts stocking their bomb shelters with canned food and ammunition, then the software engineers responsible for making it a non-event would get more of the credit they deserve.

  • Grovesy (cs)

    I remember being a poor Full Time Employee back in 1999, around me contractors milked the companies with rates heading up to £1000pd for some basic SQL work. I was more irate at the fact that some of the contractors had almost no previous work experience... I missed the gravy train

    I saw the future and went contracting, sadly the rate boom had ended and rates have since subsided down to normal levels.

    All those programmers who have written date time WTF’ery we’ve seen on this site are on to something, they are creating their own new ‘millennium bug’, so they can rake it in later. When it comes to 2011/12/31 I want to have enough money to retire in my bank. Let’s band together, programmers unite and create the 2012 bug, we have a whole three years to write crappy code to create world wide panic when we mention it to the world press early in 2011. We can then take those blue chip companies for all they have.

    Anyone with me?

  • KingNetSurfer (cs)
    I was bowling when Y2K hit, that was before I worked in IT, and I later found out when I took COBOL what the problem had really been.  I was aware that IT departments were more than aware of the problems, and that they had taken care of it, so I wasn't worried.
    
    It is very interesting though that because it was done successfully, it was made out to be nothing.
    
  • me (unregistered) in reply to Tom Melly
    Tom Melly:
    As you say, and I'm sure it's been said many, many times, Y2K was a non-event because of our work.
    No, it was non-event because the whole problem was totally blown out of proportion and over-hyped like hell. Come on, date overflows causing any of the catastrophes the media imagined (encouraged by people presumably like you, who made damn good business from the hysteria)?!
  • KingNetSurfer (cs) in reply to Grovesy
    Grovesy:
    I remember being a poor Full Time Employee back in 1999, around me contractors milked the companies with rates heading up to £1000pd for some basic SQL work. I was more irate at the fact that some of the contractors had almost no previous work experience... I missed the gravy train

    I saw the future and went contracting, sadly the rate boom had ended and rates have since subsided down to normal levels.

    All those programmers who have written date time WTF’ery we’ve seen on this site are on to something, they are creating their own new ‘millennium bug’, so they can rake it in later. When it comes to 2011/12/31 I want to have enough money to retire in my bank. Let’s band together, programmers unite and create the 2012 bug, we have a whole three years to write crappy code to create world wide panic when we mention it to the world press early in 2011. We can then take those blue chip companies for all they have.

    Anyone with me?

    how ironic would it be if your bank had the bug, and didn't get it fixed, so on 12/31 you'd have enough to reite, however 1/1 you'd have nothing.

  • FredSaw (cs) in reply to Dodg3r
    Dodg3r:
    Texans....gotta love them
    That's right, hoss. Who else do you know that wears six shooters in holsters on each leg, silver spurs on $800 boots, rides a horse to work and a mechanical bull to play, and speaks authentic Hollywood Texan?
  • Grovesy (cs) in reply to FredSaw
    FredSaw:
    Dodg3r:
    Texans....gotta love them
    That's right, hoss. Who else do you know that wears six shooters in holsters on each leg, silver spurs on $800 boots, rides a horse to work and a mechanical bull to play, and speaks authentic Hollywood Texan?

    or they wear powder blue leisure suits with cowboy boots

    http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Tales_from_the_Interview_0x3a__A_Perfect_Ten!.aspx

  • FredSaw (cs) in reply to Grovesy
    Grovesy:
    FredSaw:
    Dodg3r:
    Texans....gotta love them
    That's right, hoss. Who else do you know that wears six shooters in holsters on each leg, silver spurs on $800 boots, rides a horse to work and a mechanical bull to play, and speaks authentic Hollywood Texan?

    or they wear powder blue leisure suits with cowboy boots

    http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Tales_from_the_Interview_0x3a__A_Perfect_Ten!.aspx

    Hey, nothing beats a good first impression, eh?

  • dextron (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Alan (unregistered)

    Reminds me of the 1999 eclipse over England. The media went mental, the BBC hyped it up with special programmes and even modified TV storylines to include it.

    Only they did not get across that totality would only occur over Cornwall & Devon. Me being a total geek, thats where I was - and it was fantastic, a once-in a lifetime experience.

    Everyone else just thought they could look out thier window and see all the stuff that was being hyped in the media. So every time I mention that I saw the eclipse, the universal response is "Oh, that was crap - nothing happened"

  • Erick (cs)

    I think the worst Y2K problem I've seen was year values crossing over from 99 to 100. I think there's still a process on our unix box that's up to 108 now. It doesn't care what year it is. It just cares about what happened the day before.

  • bramster (unregistered) in reply to Erick

    That's not a problem. It's designed that way. For FTP, etc. And you'll notice that the time stamps are based on Zulu time.

    The head of the FAA, on December 31, 1999, to a flight which was to be airborne by 7:00 p.m EST, with was Midnight Zulu.

    This was to demonstrate her conviction that the Air Traffic Control System in the USA was fully ready for Y2K.

    And it was.

  • Pete (unregistered)

    About the time of Y2K hysteria, the stock market's Dow Jones Industrial Average was approaching 10,000. I wanted to start a rumor on the stock message boards that the stock market was not Dow10K compliant and when the market hit 10,000 everything would be worth zero and everyone would lose all of their money. But I was scared the SEC would not think it was as funny as I did. In hindsight, I should have done it.

  • FredSaw (cs) in reply to dextron
    dextron:
    Not to disturb you from your happy place, but this random gunfire is a tradition among the Spanish speaking residents of Dallas, not the gun slingers of your fantasy. I live in Dallas, and every year this happens.

    Here's a story from just this year where a two-year-old girl got hit by an bullet:

    linky-poo

    I assume you're speaking to me. I live in the metroplex and work in downtown Dallas. I might know a little bit about it.

    I thought if nothing else did, surely the expression, "authentic Hollywood Texan" would reveal the tongue crammed firmly in cheek; but maybe not.

    (Wait for it...)

  • brazzy (cs) in reply to wiregoat
    wiregoat:
    Tom Melly:
    As you say, and I'm sure it's been said many, many times, Y2K was a non-event because of our work.

    In what other industry would strenuous efforts to prevent a problem be criticised because they succeeded?

    I would say every industry, but, this instance was much more noticable

    It's worse in the software business because people cannot SEE with their own eyes where things could go wrong and how much was done to fix it. To most people, it cannot even be explained because it's too abstract.

    For the same reason, automobile engineers aren't asked "well, I can see that you're almost done, so we can start production next month, right?" when all they have is a mockup of the dashboard.

    And no other industry quite knows the utter failure that can happen in a badly managed SW project where dozens of people spend a year busily (real-busy, not pretend-busy) writing modules that are not remotely compatible, based on outdated requirements, and not even realize it until one month before the delivery date when they start integration testing.

  • dextron (unregistered) in reply to FredSaw

    Not directed at you at all, just the general assumption.

  • dextron (unregistered) in reply to FredSaw

    Not directed at you at all, just the general assumption.

  • DP (unregistered) in reply to Grovesy

    Someone pointed out that calling the problem "Y2K" was the kind of thinking that got us into the problem in the first place.

    The next major gotcha for years will be in 2100. I doubt I'll be programming then, but the problem is that 2100 will not be a leap year.

    There are 3 rules for leap years. (There may be more rules, but they are not going to be an issue for a long time.)

    Rule 1: A leap year must be evenly divisible by four. This would seem to include 1900, 2000, 2100, 2008, etc.

    Rule 2: If the year is evenly divisible by 100, it is not a leap year. Whoa! That seems to disallow 1900, 2000, and 2100.

    Rule 3: If the year is evenly divisible by 1000, then it IS a leap year. Thus, 1900 and 2100 are not leap years (by rules 1 and 2 but not by rule 3) but 2000 is a leap year because of rules 1, 2, and 3. So, if you only knew rule 1 (not an impossible idea given some of the WTF programmers around), you got away with bad code in 2000. This code will fail in 2100 because it will wrongly insert Feb 29. So, midnight on Feb 28, 2100 should be a night of nervousness as people wait to see if the next day is Feb 29, or March 1.

    DP

  • Alan (unregistered) in reply to DP
    DP:
    Rule 1: A leap year must be evenly divisible by four. This would seem to include 1900, 2000, 2100, 2008, etc.

    Rule 2: If the year is evenly divisible by 100, it is not a leap year. Whoa! That seems to disallow 1900, 2000, and 2100.

    Rule 3: If the year is evenly divisible by 1000, then it IS a leap year.

    Nope, its every year wholly divisible by 4, except when wholly divisible by 100, except when wholly divisible by 400.

  • Maurits (cs) in reply to DP
    DP:
    The next major gotcha for years will be in 2100.

    You are quite correct that 2100 is not a leap year, but there is a much more significant event coming up in a mere thirty years:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem

  • ThePants999 (cs) in reply to Alan
    Alan:
    Everyone else just thought they could look out thier window and see all the stuff that was being hyped in the media. So every time I mention that I saw the eclipse, the universal response is "Oh, that was crap - nothing happened"
    Well, it WAS crap - it was overcast and we couldn't see the sun! (I was near Plymouth.)
  • egrep (unregistered)

    I know of a hospital whose software crapped because of Y2K and all the medication stored was listed as "expired", since it was set to expire sometimes during 1902-1911 according to the database ... their luck was with the chief pharmacist who confiscated all the keys to the deposits, took charge and delivered the medication based on what was written on the boxes until the database was fixed.

    Indeed, the Y2K bug was not a big deal because almost everybody was well prepared.

  • Grovesy (cs) in reply to brazzy
    brazzy:
    wiregoat:
    Tom Melly:
    As you say, and I'm sure it's been said many, many times, Y2K was a non-event because of our work.

    In what other industry would strenuous efforts to prevent a problem be criticised because they succeeded?

    I would say every industry, but, this instance was much more noticable

    It's worse in the software business because people cannot SEE with their own eyes where things could go wrong and how much was done to fix it. To most people, it cannot even be explained because it's too abstract.

    For the same reason, automobile engineers aren't asked "well, I can see that you're almost done, so we can start production next month, right?" when all they have is a mockup of the dashboard.

    And no other industry quite knows the utter failure that can happen in a badly managed SW project where dozens of people spend a year busily (real-busy, not pretend-busy) writing modules that are not remotely compatible, based on outdated requirements, and not even realize it until one month before the delivery date when they start integration testing.

    Cleary you have not worked in construction, or had an extension on your house.

    Probably the most minor incident was spending a few weeks working on some floor plans, crammed all the desks into the space. We worked out all the offices, air con requirements, floor boxes, utilities, estimated the job presented the drawings and costing to be told 'ohh wait, we actually decided to move departments 'xyz' to this building so need another 250 desks.

    20 Story curtain walled, glass London building... all the curtain wall components were designed to be 'dead', (i.e. no movement) just what you need in a sheer glass 20 story wall... Parts were manufactured and delivered on site; I forget how many millions that 'missed' requirement cost, along with the sackings. (If I remember that screwup came around because the design was outsourced to an agency, who were only given the small picture on the project, and not told the scale of the building… otherwise they would have asked some questions.. they assumed the design was for a small 4 story building, so never questioned the requirements… QA should have caught this but didn’t)

    Yup, every industry is capable of colossal cockups

  • Grovesy (cs) in reply to Grovesy
    Grovesy:
    brazzy:
    wiregoat:
    Tom Melly:
    As you say, and I'm sure it's been said many, many times, Y2K was a non-event because of our work.

    In what other industry would strenuous efforts to prevent a problem be criticised because they succeeded?

    I would say every industry, but, this instance was much more noticable

    It's worse in the software business because people cannot SEE with their own eyes where things could go wrong and how much was done to fix it. To most people, it cannot even be explained because it's too abstract.

    For the same reason, automobile engineers aren't asked "well, I can see that you're almost done, so we can start production next month, right?" when all they have is a mockup of the dashboard.

    And no other industry quite knows the utter failure that can happen in a badly managed SW project where dozens of people spend a year busily (real-busy, not pretend-busy) writing modules that are not remotely compatible, based on outdated requirements, and not even realize it until one month before the delivery date when they start integration testing.

    Cleary you have not worked in construction, or had an extension on your house.

    Probably the most minor incident was spending a few weeks working on some floor plans, crammed all the desks into the space. We worked out all the offices, air con requirements, floor boxes, utilities, estimated the job presented the drawings and costing to be told 'ohh wait, we actually decided to move departments 'xyz' to this building so need another 250 desks.

    20 Story curtain walled, glass London building... all the curtain wall components were designed to be 'dead', (i.e. no movement) just what you need in a sheer glass 20 story wall... Parts were manufactured and delivered on site; I forget how many millions that 'missed' requirement cost, along with the sackings. (If I remember that screwup came around because the design was outsourced to an agency, who were only given the small picture on the project, and not told the scale of the building… otherwise they would have asked some questions.. they assumed the design was for a small 4 story building, so never questioned the requirements… QA should have caught this but didn’t)

    Yup, every industry is capable of colossal cockups

    Ohh and the 'air head' space planner who we tasked with designing the desk layout... Structural aspects of the building got in his way, so he moevd them on the drawing.. that took a few days to figure out on a 200,000 sq ft set of plans.

  • tacticus (unregistered) in reply to DP

    i thought the third rule was that if a year was also evenly divisible by 400 it is a leap year

    as 1600 was a leap year

  • Alan (unregistered) in reply to ThePants999
    ThePants999:
    Alan:
    Everyone else just thought they could look out thier window and see all the stuff that was being hyped in the media. So every time I mention that I saw the eclipse, the universal response is "Oh, that was crap - nothing happened"
    Well, it WAS crap - it was overcast and we couldn't see the sun! (I was near Plymouth.)

    Ah, I was up in torbay, it was overcast, but you could see the sun through the clouds. And you could see the shadow racing across the cloud cover.

  • A nonymous (unregistered) in reply to Code Slave

    I think there were two big factors that contributed to why the media made such a big deal about Y2K and then why they were surprised when nothing really happened.

    One is the standards of quality control the folks in the media (reporters, writers, editors) have. I am not saying that us folks in the engineering and software profession are perfect, but we are light years ahead of the folks in the media as far as quality.

    My experience with the media is that they get things about 80-90% right pretty much all the time. One example. I used to work for a place that rented plasma TV's to people. In an article in the newspaper that was written about us, they wrote that we MADE the TVs. It seems that they usually miss a couple facts like this, or misspell names, etc.

    Now when you are writing an article in the newspaper minor mistakes like this are sloppy, but do not cause real harm most of the time. But if you are designing an airplane and mess up 10% of the design its gonna crash. And if 10% of your code is buggy, the app will likely not even compile let alone run. So our quality standards are at a level that they can't even comprehend. They expected us to turn out stuff at the same crappy quality level they do, which means that everything would have fallen apart on Y2K.

    The other factor is that most folks in the media don't understand what makes computers work anyway, they think it is all magic and so they get confused when trying to explain the whole Y2K issue itself.

  • Izkata (unregistered) in reply to Grovesy

    [quote user="Grovesy"]All those programmers who have written date time WTF’ery we’ve seen on this site are on to something, they are creating their own new ‘millennium bug’, so they can rake it in later. When it comes to 2011/12/31 I want to have enough money to retire in my bank. Let’s band together, programmers unite and create the 2012 bug, we have a whole three years to write crappy code to create world wide panic when we mention it to the world press early in 2011. We can then take those blue chip companies for all they have.

    Anyone with me? [quote]

    Better yet, figure out some way to end it on 12/12/2012 - the day that the conspiracy theorists figure the world is going to end!

  • Charlie (unregistered) in reply to DP
    DP:
    Rule 3: If the year is evenly divisible by 1000, then it IS a leap year.

    Sheesh - I hope I am not using your software in 400 years time.

  • joe.edwards (cs)

    I live in Dallas, and I actually was affected by the power outage mentioned in the post. This was in my neighborhood. It made me (briefly) think that the Y2K catastrophe might really be happening, because the power went out right about when the new year hit.

  • Frank (unregistered) in reply to Pete

    I worked for a TV network that had done a project with a microprocessor manufacturer, where they provided software and hardware to put data into the vertical blanking interval of a television signal, which could be decoded by a TV card powered by their chips.

    One of the applications used a Dow Jones feed to provide 20(I think)-minute delayed stock information. It had exactly the problem you mention -- every time the Dow crossed the 10,000 mark it would "roll over". If the Dow started the day at 9999, and ended at 10,001, it would show up as a 9,998 point loss. Similarly, minor drops across the border showed up as absurd gains.

    We eventually retired the application by declaring it non-Y2K-compliant, because the vendor wouldn't release any audit data for the app.

  • Bob Holness (unregistered) in reply to Grovesy

    Why bother, the 2038 bug is just around the corner.

  • Niki (unregistered)

    I've already been in Y2K hoax arguments. It started with global warming denial with the denier citing a whole bunch of "hoaxes" that turned out to be nothing (including the Exxon Valdez, DDT, the 70s oil crisis' and of course Y2K). I shouldn't have gotten involved (I mean who thinks the Exxon Valdez was a hoax?) and I know better now.

  • b0b g0ats3 (unregistered)

    FIST!!!!!11!!11oneone!

  • emurphy (cs) in reply to Bob Holness
    Bob Holness:
    Why bother, the 2038 bug is just around the corner.

    More true than you may realize; there was already a crash way back in May 2006, plus any software dealing with 30-year mortgages is now (as of 2 days ago) potentially susceptible.

  • contractor (unregistered) in reply to Grovesy

    Eat it. I was one of those guys. Made tons of money.

  • Reader X (unregistered) in reply to dextron
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Barf 4 eva (unregistered) in reply to Grovesy

    oh hell yeah, I'm with you all the way! With the 'mayan bug' in full effect and the new age spiritualists at the mercy of our bug-mongering, we will be able to rake in a sizable chunk of cash. As long as such jobs aren't outsourced first... :P

  • Liquid Egg Product (cs) in reply to Alan
    Alan:
    Only they did not get across that totality would only occur over Cornwall & Devon.

    I'm not sure if it's so much they didn't get it across as much as people failing to read beyond 8 word headlines.

  • Choo-Choo Train (unregistered)

    There was one thing I didn't get about Y2K. So the computers think it's the year 99 and will hit a 3-digit number for the first time. So what? The number 100 doesn't mean anything special to a computer. Now, maybe in the year 2028 or 2156 these problems might start happening.

    The only reason I could see the year 2000 breaking things is if people were storing dates with 2-digit years as text, which is dumb. And maybe there would be some visual glitches with programs showing 1900, 19100 or 19:0, but they'd still work.

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    I work in Dallas and my company was hit by the same power outage. I elected to work the next morning instead of New Years eve, but the people in the building were cheering that nothing had gone wrong, then right at 12:01 the power went off. I heard that some of the family members that came to the office to be with their spouses assumed the worst and started crying... I'm really sorry I missed all that.

  • Jubbly (unregistered)

    I recall fixing over 20 show-stoppers just in our gas billing software. And then listening to the CEO give a speech about how resilient our systems were that Y2K hadn't been a problem.

    The urge to kill has never been stronger.

  • FredSaw (cs) in reply to Choo-Choo Train
    Choo-Choo Train:
    There was one thing I didn't get about Y2K. So the computers think it's the year 99 and will hit a 3-digit number for the first time. So what? The number 100 doesn't mean anything special to a computer. Now, maybe in the year 2028 or 2156 these problems might start happening.

    The only reason I could see the year 2000 breaking things is if people were storing dates with 2-digit years as text, which is dumb. And maybe there would be some visual glitches with programs showing 1900, 19100 or 19:0, but they'd still work.

    If you opened your bank account in the year 93 and it's now the year 00, your bank account may no longer exist. Would that qualify as glitch enough?

  • Henry Miller (unregistered)

    My car still isn't legal on the roads - my licence plate expired in december 1908! So far, in a rare exhibition of intelligence the police haven't bothered to enforce correct registration.

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