Re: Year 2k

Arjen Kamphuis (
Fri, 27 Mar 1998 22:04:14 +0100 (CET)

At 14:03 27-03-98 -0500, you wrote:
>People are so busy looking at the Year 2000 problem, that they are
>ignoring the Year 1999 problem! Many computers and software programs
>mark the year as "99" as a special case to mean "infinity" or "not
>applicable" or some other flag. In many instances, the "99" won't
>correctly be processed as a valid year. I expect many programs to fail
>a year earlier than expected!

It gets even better:
Many Management Information Systens and logistical/inventory programs and
such use future dates for all kinds of operations. Depending on their (lack
of) Y2K readiness and the customizing done by users these programs will
start failing anytime now and some already have.
I posted a rather juicy example to the list in oktober:

>A few months ago a large European distributer lost several million dollars
>because their inventory system labeled product for destruction that had an
>experation date 2000 or later (the system interpreted this as 1900 so the
>product were several decades over-date). The labeled products were
>automatically moved from the warehouse to a container bound for a
>This company had received a letter warning them for this problem in 1988,
>the management just sat on it and now they are implementing a new system
>round-the-clock in 3 8-hour shifts. The company won't be making much profit
>this year, or next year.

But it's not just computers, all kinds of electronic appliances nowadays
have integrated circuits. Often these are bought from small subcontracting
companies and by now no-one knows the exact design of many of these
circuits. Is your VCR Y2K compliant? The hardware of your PC? The time-lock
of your bank (it stays closed on sundays)?

I also read somewhere (but have not been able to confirm it) that the
GPS-navigation satellites will 'run out of dates' by the end of _this_
year. It seems their calender is based on counting weeks since 1-1-1980 and
by next september or something they will run out of memory. Can anyone
confirm this story?

Greetings & don't worrie _too_ much ;-)

Arjen Kamphuis | "Here Be Dragons", read the ancient maps | in all the white spots that seemed large
enough to hold the fabled creatures.

let's go dragon hunting.

Transcedo, the Dutch Transhumanist site: