year 2000 complaince evaluation : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Its easy to change the time and date on most computers. By simply changing the date and time on ones computer one can readily simulate the occurence of the new century. Is such an obvious evaluation technique being utilized to identify software needing correction?

Simple testing can eliminate much of the hysteria present in the industry. Is it professionally irresponsible to wildly speculate when simple evaluations can be performed?

-- David Lightstone (david.lightstone@internetMCI.COM), January 14, 1998


David, it's not as easy as you think it is. Just changing the date on a PC will not check out the internal clock. Most clocks on non complient computers will work when the date is set to 2000. The problem is that once you turn it off, and then back on it will read 1980 or 1984 or something like that. I tested over 250 PCs at work, most of them are a year old or older, and none of them will work properly. I think someone must get wildly ticked off, or you will soon be eating beans that you warmed with a candle. Take it from me, Y2K is real, and all hell is going to break loose if people dont get real! The problem is not finding out if there is a problem, that a no brainer. The problem is having enough time to fix it all. If thats wild speculation, than so be it! we are almost out of time - Dennis DeLaurier

-- Dennis DeLaurier (, January 14, 1998.

Mr. Lightstone, Please read Mr. Yourdan's fine book to which this forum refers. With all due respect, it doesn't sound as if you are fully up to speed on this problem.

-- P.Larson (, January 15, 1998.

reply to P.Larson ( from D Lightstone (david.lightstone@internetMCI.COM)

You are correct in infering that I have not taken the time to read Mr Yourdon's book. You are correct on infering that I am not "up to speed" on the "problem".

Normally I only work on computers which only measure relative time, rather than absolute time. That is real-time applications.

This issue which I observe is that it is possible to identify the applications which will be subject to year 2000 problems. It consequently is possible to identify the consequences of these problems on an application by application basis. It thereby is possible for a corporation or government to triage their software in need of correction. Hence it is possible to inform the public in advance when and where the problems will occur.

The hysteria and fear-mongering which I observe is entirely unacceptable. To contend as you do the ignorance (not being up-to-speed) is a disqualification for intelligent discussion is both arrogant and in this case insulting. I'm certain if and when I take time to scan Mr Yourdon's book that I will find absolutely no reference to usage of a clock adjustment as a means of identifying whether a particular computer or particular application is subject to the year 2000 problem. Were it otherwise you would that choosen a far more diplomatic way of stating that the strategy has previously been discussed!!!!!

Fear has its origins in the uncertainty which confront individuals. This general fear can be isolated and eliminated by proper management. To choose to not do so is unacceptable

-- David Lightstone (david.lightstone@internetMCI.COM), January 15, 1998.

Four axioms that I use to guide me in thinking thru any complex situation are: 1) No matter how weirdly complex you may think the situation is, it is moreso. 2) Life confronts us, not with problems for which there are solutions (except in lower level math), but with dilemmas for which there are only difficult to weigh trade-offs. 3)Any new field of concern will be characterized by a weak data base which creates a vacuum which will be initially filled with denial, wish fullfillment fantasies, analogy bridges from personal experience and ideology/theology. The spectrum of ever changing positions will range from panglossian to paranoic, the more unknowns involved. 4) Premature prescriptions are usually worse than insufficient diagnosis. Correllary: No one has both the time and resurces to do a sufficient diagnosis.

Any correctives or refinements suggested, before we continue the thread at hand?

-- Victor Porlier (, January 15, 1998.

Most operating systems permit device drivers to be installed. Certainly MS-DOS did. Year 2000k device drivers for the clock can be implemented. Setting the clock would amount to setting the hardware to a fixed date and time, and storing an offset into a system configuration file. Reading the time and date would amount to examining the hardware and adding in the file stored time offset.

The question is whether the operating system implementers will make this option available to the consumer, or whether they will assist the hardware vendors push out some iron

-- David Lightstone (david.lightstone@internetMCI.COM), January 15, 1998.

I responded to Mr. Lightstone's posting via email, so as to not clog the forum. However, since the y2k problem exists across PC, mainfram, and embedded systems and his inference that a simple silver bullett fix exists (as described), my original comment stands. Lets not get into a flaming match.

-- P.Larson (, January 15, 1998.

To what silver bullet are you refering? Establishing that a piece of hardwre or software has a problem, does not and can not correct it.

-- David Lightstone (david.lightstone@internetMCI.COM), January 16, 1998.

Perhaps some cautions should be added e.g. 1. Make sure you have a backup of all data. 2. Make sure you know what the system is going to do on the date change. Two men in a large local company decided to use a procedure similar to yours without any backup of data and without knowing that the system would prepare year-end reports, summarize data and discard the details. I don't know if they or their replacements got to rebuild the system.

-- Art Scott (, January 21, 1998.

Caution is most certainly appropriate.

Consider trial software which has a limited authorization period, anything which automatically deletes files or data

-- David Lightstone (david.lightstone@internetMCI.COM), January 23, 1998.

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