The UK Y2K June 1998 Report on natural time progressiongreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
The following report was issued to both UK and USA government administrations. It is advisable first to run the reports benchmark test prior to joining in deep discussion. The report basical proves that most of your editorials and books on the Y2K problem may need re-addressing?
Visionaries IT Research site http://internet2000-Plc.com Simple solutions for complex problems - encryption, data, MCDC, platform application, consultants. 21 St Hilda Road, Cheriton, Kent, CT19 4BU. Telephone +44 (0) 1303 276099 Email VisionariesIT@csi.com
(This document is a British English draft - USA readers please note)
30th June 1998.
Another simple solutions from visionaries IT Research, based on researched facts.
Report on BIOS Date Retention Millennium Rollover 31st December 1999 to 1 January 2000
Note This document can be copied and circulate and orally related as long as full acknowledgment is made to the originators Visionaries IT Research, remembering that our research is completely independent.
The Brief. *One of the main problems concerning not only PC Computer Systems but also Embedded Systems is the date retention problem. Visionaries IT has carried out tests on a varied range computer systems that are prone to the date retention problem.
Considering present thought concerning PC Server and Embedded system that are tasked for specific purposes such as public safety or banking transaction and trading. These systems are normally left on line by requirement and need. Visionaries IT has found there is no real requirement to apply any software fix or upgrade.
The Reason: The simple fact is that the date retention problem only lasts for 24 hours.
Whilst on line, computer system or embedded system troubled by the retention problem will register the correct system date and time but when switched off will not retain the date.
At midnight 1st January 2000 the daily rollover to the following day 2nd January 2000 will eradicate the problem in an instant. If the system is taken of line a switched off the date will be saved and registered in the correct manner.
The DOS Bench Test. Any 8086, 386, 486 or Pentium with a non date retention problem. Set the time and date to 23:59:59 31/12/1999 wait a few seconds then set the time to 23:59:59, then wait a few seconds. Close the system down (Windows 95, 98) and finally switch off.
Wait for a couple of minutes then switch the system on again, Once booted ,view the system date, the date will read 2nd January 2000 . Natural Time Progression (NTP) will solve the problem.
Summary: There is no real need to purchase and Millennium fix software application as the normal date progression will eradicate the problem completely.
Workstations and servers that have the retention problem are switch off at night will need only the date enter on the first day of operation.
They will be fully functional it is only that the date will initially read 4th January 1980. In any case most workstation will be relating to the servers network date when directed and connected to the Network, giving plenty of time for the individual dates to be adjusted (these factors should be analysed by system managers.).
This natural safeguard will in fact be relevant to any system using BIOS technology to include Embedded Systems what ever the customisation it is believed that 99% of BIOS ROMs purchased after 1983 will react safely after 24 hour Millennium NTP period passes by.
*Photocopiers, Fax Machines and VCR react exactly the same as PC Systems and can be tested in the same manner. But unfortunately Visionaries IT do not have the resources to confirm that all Embedded System strictly obey the rule , so can only state logic theory on that this should be so.
We suggest that UK Government Departments arranges for an establishment to independently check out Visionaries ITs Embedded System theories and facts.
Lifts, Fax Machines and other equipment such as VCRs will possible function well without any foreseeable problems. There maybe problems that is of course a power cut or failure which could require direct attention within the Millennium NTP period, it is suggested that companies may find the best protection would be to ensure computer systems managers are on duty or call over the Millennium NTP period. This could also be a precaution, to ensure that business and security systems can be checked or taken off line if data errors occur, to prevent any further corruption or costly mistakes.
1. All benchmark tests are carried out three times, to be sure that the test results are correct. 2. Visionaries IT are not making any statement that Computerised equipment should not be tested, only that great consideration should be made that upgrading or renewing should be the last option and not the first. 3. We are actually stating that establishment and experts should take care to manually benchmark test equipment prior to making bold statements that could backfire into a legal risk. 4. The problem with Information Technology is that the Consultants and Specialist behave like academics and make even the simple technologies seem like an Einstein equation. When their reasoning is attacked they use the wizardry of the trade more Einstein equations to protect their livery hoods. This is becoming very expensive to the Consumer and the Tax payer. 5. In the case of governments and the politicians it has become a very sour apple and will lead to much embarrassment if the present trend continues. 6. A question for the those experts and manufacturers that no the truth of the issue. What happens when the old second hand equipment is sold within the 21st Century? Do you think the Brokers will miss a trick?
*Amendment made 20th November 1998 to include further test data from further investigation and benchmark tests.
**Prior to any test being carried out it maybe best to backup all PC system data as few applications have a date achieving of delete old file option, they do normally prompt yes or no but human error could result in a minor calamity. This was brought to our attention by several readers of the first draft we thank them for their sensible input and fair criticism. We value criticism from any outside source, from free thinking Analyst and solution providers.
*** These note have been added to the report due to queries and criticism made by manufacturers, journalist and fortune seekers.
)Visionaries IT 1998 for free distribution.
Distribution List. - Redistributed 20th November 1998 to include the amendments
UK Government UK Government Departments: CITU The Cabinet Office, DTI, Action 2000, Dr David Clark USA House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee, Whitehouse Robin Gurnier Taskforce 2000 Peter De Jager Year 2000 Canada 52 Overseas Government Authorities British Banking Association Association of British Insurers British Stock Exchange, Wall Street. The Consumer Association CSSA, BCS, Law Society DISC committee BSI Business Link UK UK National Press Manufacturers Journalist Consultant IT Specialists Solicitors Accountants Trade and Industry
Further research findings since the June 1998 Report:-
Analysis of BIOS Software Hex Decimal (Machine Code) source code:
BIOS ROMs manufactured after 1983 to 1995 contain two software date loops the first a 20th Century loop that finishes at Midnight 31/12/99 the second 21st Century loop that begins at midnight 01/01/2000. There is 24 hour period that causes an error to occur, on an error the BIOS date refers to the floor of 04/01/80 the very beginning of the 20th century loop. OEM manufacturer is irrelevant to the problem as the accepted date and time BIOS program code has been copied and thought to be a set standard any amendment to the software has been an additive to the original code with no amendments to standard format.
Unfortunately many publications and policies on the Millennium Century date problem need to be reviewed and amended, any think short will lead to high risks of legal address by many consumers. Policies should not be built on un-researched theories the Millennium Century Date Change scenario gives good proof to this fact, with many organisation being embarrassed by the facts. The UK pledge is thought to stop most of the litigation problems but what happens when this report becomes common knowledge.
At present I am in private conversation with Peter De Jager giving him the chance to fully test the benchmark, prior to joining in debate on the Worldbank y2k forum or on my own forum at http://Internet2000-Plc.com
Our legal advisors believe that the benchmark could be used within a court of law by any company company that so wished in a litigation suite against any of the experts, government or organisation or service providers that supplied incorrect advice and services. I truly believe that they may well be right.
Could you please give me your views on this issue remembering that without testing the benchmark you will not be qualified to answer correctly!
This report has also been posted at http://visit.Internet2000-Plc.com plus all main Y2K forum groups as I personally wish critism on the contents.
Bob Johnson-Perkins IT Reseach Analyst Visionaries IT Research at Internet2000 UK
-- Bob Johnson-Perkins (bob@Internet2000-Plc.com), December 03, 1998
I believe that the focus of your post is to say that natural time progression will take care of the BIOS/RTC rollover problem if the computers are allowed to remain on and online.
Some operating systems correct the BIOS/RTC problem as well. The patch for the flash BIOS is free and easy to install. You are correct. This is essentially a very small part of the Y2K problem.
Please consider other views of the computer - not only the hardware, but logical devices, data storage, communication, and business process engines. The latter three views of the computer provide the most challenging aspects of the Y2K problem.
By correcting the BIOS/RTC problem, or declaring it to be so trivial that it is a non problem, you have eliminated a very small percentage of the entire issue. The real challenge lies in the potential social distruption, and management of change.
-- Sharon Schultz (email@example.com), December 03, 1998.
Do Visionaries IT Research and you recognize that the BIOS date retention rollover problem is only a small part of the suite of calendar-related problems commonly referred to by "Y2K"?
> The report basical proves that most of your editorials and books on the Y2K problem may need re-addressing?
This sweeping claim is entirely inappropriate, since the report covers only a small slice of the Y2K problem.
"Most" of the Y2K postings I've seen are about non-BIOS aspects of the problem. Your report proves nothing, not one single thing, about them.
Please amend your claims to be more appropriately modest.
> Could you please give me your views on this issue remembering that without testing the benchmark you will not be qualified to answer correctly!
Since your benchmark covers only the small BIOS-date sliver of the Y2K problem and your other comments give the impression that you may be ignorant of a great deal of the scope of the Y2K problem, could you please remember that without knowing what you are talking about you will not be qualified to make grandiose claims about your report?
-- No Spam Please (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 03, 1998.
Here are two simple examples of non-BIOS-related Y2K problems:
1. Sorting on a YYMMDD date field
2. Use of the value zero in a two-digit year field as a special value signalling a missing or invalid date or end-of-file.
Neither's covered by your report.
Please adjust your claim, about your report's proving a need to re-address, to a more modest appropriate scale.
-- No Spam Please (email@example.com), December 03, 1998.
To No Spam - anon@
The Software problem is not covered with in this report, there we suggest that you look at our software and the software information files. Milcheck IT Specialist can be downloaded and opened for free most of your answers can be answered. Please note we have advised that the report benchmark be run prior to debating the subject and we must add we still feel that hardware and software testing should be carried out but no needless waste of money of upgrading for upgrading sake.
It is time that the Analyst looked more deeply into the Y2K problem then get rid of the simple problems prior tackling the less numerous complicated issues. This has all ways made sense concerning other life problems and things just seem to go haywire when IT (Computer Related) is involved.
-- Bob Johnson-Perkins (Bob@Internet2000-Plc.com), December 03, 1998.
In response to the message below from Sharon Shaltz I have marked each of sharons remarks with > prior to answering each section.
>Sharon Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) responded to a message you left >in the TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) bboard:
Dear Sharon, Thanks for joining me in this debate.
>Subject: Response to The UK Y2K June 1998 Report on natural time >progression
>I believe that the focus of your post is to say that natural time >progression will take care of the BIOS/RTC rollover problem if the >computers are allowed to remain on and online.
Yes in most cases concerning IBM Clones and equipment containing Embedded systems such as VCR's, Fax Machines, Photo Copiers, etc. This feature has always been present and has by no means appeared overnight. I conclude that you have not run the benchmark test yet?
>Some operating systems correct the BIOS/RTC problem as well. The >patch for the flash BIOS is free and easy to install. You are >correct. This is essentially a very small part of the Y2K problem.
As soon as manufacturers were aware of the problem 1996? the date non retention fault was eradicated. This in fact seems to be a very small problem but Millennium Ready hardware testing should still take place using software applications or manual methods.
>Please consider other views of the computer - not only the hardware, >but logical devices, data storage, communication, and business >process engines. The latter three views of the computer provide the >most challenging aspects of the Y2K problem.
We have not as yet found any real communication problems and have simply place the system date forward and sent Emails, Faxes between other research Analyst, using old and new software applications, how ever we agree that this area requires further research. But remember all these are software and not realy hardware related. Software testing was the subject of the report.
>By correcting the BIOS/RTC problem, or declaring it to be so trivial >that it is a non problem, you have eliminated a very small >percentage of the entire issue.
No we have address 50% of the Y2K bug finding problem, that is a saving of many Billions of Pounds or Dollars. Many Billions may have been wasted already.
>The real challenge lies in the >potential social distruption, and >management of change.
I can not for the life of me! see any social distruption or any real changes here other than bad management and bad advice from the IT, Law and Accounts Sectors? The problem is very simple the solutions are just as simple when not dressed up in techno and consultancy double speak. The to many professional parties have caused the worst social distruptions so far not the problems but if the present path is taken yes there will be further social disruption but caused by those whom make it so. The whole Millennium Century Date Change was for some a way to make a few extra bucks, the problems have been stretched over estimated and lack the backing of benchmarks of good research. The point about computerised equipment and software it is very simple to turn the clock forward and test, once this fact has become very clear many companies that offer unrequired services will find that the Y2K pavement is not paved with gold.
-- Bob Johnson-Perkins (bob@internet2000-Plc.com), December 03, 1998.
Does this mean I can unpack the canned Spam?
Would some nice geek explain this one to Grandma? I understand the initial point, about the bios and all (I think) but: a) if this man is correct, does it mean we don't have to worry any more? b) how come someone hasn't thought of this before; and c) they have (?) and "so what," it is really all the other aspects of the software code changes and the embedded chips problems that is causing the government and businesses to spend all that money, and finally d) they are running out of time to fix and test the codes.
So does this Grandma believe the Englishman, or does she believe Gary North's recent "reliable source" that says the power plants will shut down, or Koskien who has said "In a crisis and emergency situation the free market may not be the best way to distribute resources," a clear reference to martial law.
-- Mary L. Gonzales (email@example.com), December 03, 1998.
In Answer to Mary L. Gonzales (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Mary, Thanks for joining in the debate.
>Does this mean I can unpack the canned Spam? No need to pack Spam! >Would some nice geek explain this one to Grandma? I understand the >initial point, about the bios and all (I think) but: a) if this man >is correct, does it mean we don't have to worry any more? b) how >come someone hasn't thought of this before; and c) they have (?) and >."so what," it is really all the other aspects of the software code >changes and the embedded chips problems that is causing the >government and businesses to spend all that money, and finally d) >they are running out of time to fix and test the codes.
Governments make money out of local taxes! Governments waste money all the time. There however is still a need to check hardware and software but Software should take preference.
>So does this Grandma believe the Englishman, or does she believe >Gary North's recent "reliable source" that says the power plants >will shut down, or Koskien who has said "In a crisis and emergency >situation the free market may not be the best way to distribute >resources," a clear reference to martial law.
Its not believing that counts it running the Reports Benchmark test that gives solid proof to any doubts. As for Gary North please do not judge me against this doom and gloom merchant the false prophet of the un-insane the Saint of Mispresentation all so a man without any real IT experience or qualification.
There are very few real xperts in the field one of the best being Peter De Jager and he is admiting to faults in his prior Analysis. At present we are writing within the forum of another.
Answered by Mary L. Gonzales (email@example.com) on December 03, 1998.
-- Bob Johnson-Perkins (Bob@Internet2000-Plc.com), December 04, 1998.
From my viewpoint as a nice graying-haired "geek" (term not invented until the latter part of my career AFAIK):
>Does this mean I can unpack the canned Spam?
No. (I presume you mean the fine food product, not the e-mail/'Net type of "spam" to which my middle name refers :-)
>a) if this man is correct, does it mean we don't have to worry any more?
As far as I can determine from examining the above report and their site at http://Internet2000-Plc.com their Year 2000 products are PC-oriented only. So far I've found no indication that they address mainframe software, but I haven't yet examined every page of theirs.
>b) how come someone hasn't thought of this before;
Possibly this Visionaries IT has some new wrinkle (here I give them the benefit of the doubt); it's a bit hard for me to tell from their description.
But supposing they do have something new, how come someone hasn't thought of this before? 1) Maybe someone has, but it's described differently and/or not marketed as well. 2) The suite of calendar-related computer problems commonly referred-to as "Y2K" is large and complex -- there have been a series of discoveries of new aspects all along.
>and c) they have (?)
Maybe they have. Hard to tell. I'm skeptical, but bending over backwards to be fair to them in this response.
>and "so what," it is really all the other aspects
Yes, my biggest concern is that they seem not to acknowledge that the scope of Y2K covers lots of stuff that they don't mention.
>of the software code changes and the embedded chips problems
Just to try to be really fair, I note that they mention embedded systems on their web site.
>that is causing the government and businesses to spend all that money,
Let me stress again that a lot of the business and government effort is for mainframe applications, which seem not to be addressed by this company.
>So does this Grandma believe the Englishman, or does she believe Gary North's recent "reliable source" that says the power plants will shut down, or Koskien who has said "In a crisis and emergency situation the free market may not be the best way to distribute resources," a clear reference to martial law.
Grandma, as you should well know by now with that appellation, _no one_ has all the truth about anything as complicated as Y2K. Each of the folks you mention has _some_ of the Y2K truth, but must be evaluated in his own context.
-- No Spam Please (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 1998.