Department of The Interior Letter : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I'm in charge of the Y2k "program" at our small company. I received a letter today from a department within the Dept. of Interior. Its workaround solution is called the "41" approach. I forget the exact details, but in essense, if a company such as ours reports to them, and uses the code 41, it means the year is =>2000. If we use a 40, the century is 1900. I thought it was fairly ingenious (sp?) for a federal agency. I know THIS is a stupid question, but why not use a similar workaround everywhere?

-- zerad (, May 27, 1998


Finding every point of data interchange, adding a database field to hold your 40/41 code, and adding the if/then/else logic to determine the code to send or modify incoming dates based on the incoming code would basically take just as long as changing the date field in the first place.

Yes, the 40/41 solution would work, but it would provide little to no time savings over the real programming problems: finding every date transaction, hacking or fixing the transaction, and testing-testing-testing the result.

Not a stupid question, but it and every other conceivable "silver bullet" quick-fix have already been considered, tested, and in some cases implemented by the major players. None of them do much to change the fact that it took 10-30 years to develop most of these legacy systems, and they cannot-cannot-cannot be reviewed, debugged, tested, and redeployed in 18 months.

Of fortune and of hope at once forlorn. --Spenser.

-- Mark Zieg (, May 28, 1998.

I think that the programming technique you're referring to is called "windowing". It would assume that any date read from '00' to '40' would have a 20 in front of it, and '41' to '99' would have a 19.

The problem is that there is no standard among companies or agencies as to what year to use for its 'window'. For instance, if a state government agency that has to share data with the Dep't of Interior has decided to use 30-31 for its window, the two computer systems won't be able to share data unless there are conversion routines in place. And what would you do to exchange data from a totally compliant system that used the four-digit year? These aren't impossible problems to overcome, but they're definitely time-consuming, and there isn't a lot of time left...

-- Melinda Gierisch (, May 28, 1998.

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