Time Dilation

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

On Aug 27, 1997, Jace Crouch reported a strange result from PC testing to the c.s.y2k newsgroup. Basically, Crouch rolled his machine ahead, into 2000, and let it run for a couple of weeks. Hed turn it on in the morning, off at noon, back on after lunch, and shut it down when he went home. After 2 weeks, the machine had advanced nearly a full year.

Mike Echelin picked up the research on this problem, and has worked it. It is now being investigated by Digital Equipment Corp (DEC), who confirm the existence of the problem. This is something PC owners should be aware of, especially if youre also a small busness owner, or if you have networked computers at your place of business.

Jaces initial post, copied from the reference below and edited for brevity, is: >>>>>> I did a backup, set the clock to 12-31-99, 11:55:00 and watched. The date rolled over to 00, and various WP and Microsoft applications showed a date of January 1, 2000. Files were saved to the HD with a year date of 00. The win 3.1 file manager read a year date of :0 on these files. I let the system run for two weeks, and used it from time to time to make overheads, handouts, or handle e-mail. No files were uploaded or downloaded to our UNIX server, although I did keep using the SLIP connection to run Procomm as a terminal emulator. I'd leave the machine on all day, turn it off on nights and weekends. Normal stuff. Here's what happened:

1. The system clock "ran" extremely rapidly. After two weeks, the system date was mid-December 2000. The date reported in CMOS and reported by various WP and Microsoft applications was identical. Whatever date the RTC reported, the applications displayed. Files were saved with a 00 year date, but win 3.1 file manager displayed a :0 date. These files were readable, writable, and seemed otherwise normal.

2. After about ten days, the system would not recognize that I had two serial ports. For whatever reason, every system test that I ran reported only one serial port. This was the case with Norton Utilities 7, MSD, and an old WP utility. Nothing else started shutting down, but I figured that if a serial port went down, anything could be next, maybe trash the hard drive in some strange time-warp way.

3. Once I set the system clock back to the correct 1997 date, both serial ports were recognized, and they worked fine.

I have no idea why the clock "ran" so fast in y2k, nor why the system stopped recognizing the second serial port. This was enough to convince me that even on a simple PC, the y2k problem can cause hardware failures. Fortunately, I was running a word processor to prepare a few handouts and overheads for a history class, not administering the power grid for a three county area. >>>>>>>>>>

Mike Echelin verified Jaces work. It is known as Time Dilation or the Crouch/Echelin Effect. An extensive history of the initial reporting of TD is maintained by Dave Esterbrook at


Mike Echelin has the following website:

http://www.intranet.ca/~mike.echlin/bestif/index.htm Check it out.

A quote from DEC, contained on this site is: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From Barry Pardee Americas Year 2000 Expertise Center Manager Digital Equipment Corporation

"We at Digital have confirmed that TD is real and is a serious threat to PCs, servers, and embedded systems.

Mike Echlin and/or Mark Slotnick can fill you in on some of the technical information.

We are working with Mike on a diagnostic which will determine if a PC potentially has TD problems, or not.

An automated fix for TD will be coming out in the near future." >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

-- Rocky Knolls (rknolls@hotmail.com), August 11, 1998


My, my, could this mean that there might be something to this so-called Year 2000 Problem after all?

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), August 11, 1998.

I mentioned in another thread that I set an older PC (1993) ahead to 2000 and the date reset at 1980. About two months ago it quit working altogether. I'm not sure if this was Y2K related or it just gave up the ghost from old age. Never had a problem with that machine till I set the date ahead.

-- Dave (dave22@concentric.net), August 12, 1998.

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