Final Draft - Y2K report to governmentgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
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)
12th December 1998. (Draft amends 30th Jun 1998 report)
Another simple solution from Visionaries IT Research, based on researched facts.
Report on BIOS Date Non Retention Millennium Rollover 31st December 1999 to 1 January 2000 and Natural Time Progression.
Note: This document can be copied and circulated and orally related as long as full acknowledgment is made to the originators, Visionaries IT Research.
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 of computer systems that are prone to the date retention problem and have the following facts to report.
Visionaries IT have considered present thoughts and theories concerning PC Servers and time-date related Embedded systems and those systems that are tasked for specific purposes such as public safety or banking transaction and trading. After thorough research and benchmark testing, Visionaries IT have found that 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 (permanently switched on) prior to midnight 1st January 2000, 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. The systems relate only to the system time processed and stored in RAM memory. Whilst on line natural time progression leads to natural date progression and the normal system functions will not be interrupted in any way through out the 24 hour Real Time Clock non date retention period.
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 off line, i.e.: switched off, the date will be saved and registered in the correct manner.
(Prior to running any benchmark test ensure that important data is backed up)
The DOS Bench Test. Any 8086, 386, 486 or Pentium with a non date retention problem:
Set the Date to the last day of the 20th Century and the time to the last second.
At the DOS prompt type:
"Date 31/12/1999" (Set the Date) - Press the Enter Key
" Time 23:59:59" (Set the Time) - Press the Enter Key
Then leave the Computer System running for 24 Hours plus 1 Minute
Then 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.
At the DOS prompt type:
"Date" - Press the Enter Key
The date will read 2nd January 2000. This proves that Natural Time Progression (NTP) will solve the problem.
What have we learnt:
1. That System Time does naturally progress and the System date progresses at each 24 Hour interval.
1. That Personal Computer systems that are up and running prior to the non retention period will have no problem concerning loss of data or transactions whilst on line.
1. That if there is a time correction that there would be non date retention problem there after.
1. On the process of debate open to experts on the electronic highway, we have found that there are to many experts and professionals within all professional bodies to include the IT industry have a lack of Knowledge on the real problems they are offering services for. The IT specialists listed on the DTI Action 2000 web site would seem to have forgotten the Basic Computer Science studied within the first year at university or college concerning the BUS operations, BIOS software procedures, CMOS memory allocation and the Real Time Clock operations. Many wrongly suggest that the non BIOS date retention problem is hardware related. The Y2K Software and OS problems have been confused with the BIOS software problem. We recommend that a test is taken by technicians prior to being recommended or seen as being recomended by the CSSA, Action 2000, DTI or its Agencies or any such organisation.
1. That there is a need for some form of ombudsman to police the IT Industries efforts on eradicating the Millennium Century Date Change problem. The present system and administration is not really seen to be a responsible and professional way to handle a problem that could effect United Kingdom trade, export, imports and day to day business transaction.
6. Any problems that effects Trade and Industry will cause a recession and high Y2K expences will lead to many companies down sizing and a rise in unemployment. As the present non administrated system is producing a set of future problems due to unregulated software tools and methologies and lack of real skills that will certainly cause more problems than any Millennium bug. Many of these extra problem will of all ready been introduced to PC systems causing future timebomb's that will certainly be the cause for concern.
The our earlier advice related to government and the Parliamentary Select Science Committee was not fully implemented. Standards not set and our proposed Millennium Act was not treated seriously to protect consumers to give more control to the authorities and the methods used to ensure that the IT companies carried out a more responsible approach to provide solutions. It is thought that greater concern should be taken by government to ensure that the governments responsiblity to the well being of the British public is upheld that it is very obvious that more control plus the earlier suggested Milennium Certification is imposed prior to any further step forward is taken.
So what secondary safeguard are there left to consider.
1. That system net works link to a time server would be instantly rid of the non date retention problem.
1. That systems linked to a Internet time update service will be instantly rid of the non date retention problem.
1. That systems using an in house time server be instantly rid of the non date retention problem.
1. That Personal Computer Systems running the Milsafe Millennium Ready Alarm Clock will also have no problem with non retention date problem. This application updates the system date through out the day at 60 second intervals. Demonstrations and software applications can be downloaded from http://internet2000-Plc.com or supplied on CD ROM at request. All products are supplied the Millennium Ready Alarm Clock Safeguards for LAN servers and PC workstations. Information about Time Servers can be found at http://Visit.Internet2000-Plc.com
If these safe guards are imposed then Time Zone Servers could be set up at the Greenwich Millennium Dome with visual log displays to show the public how such a simple safeguard has been used to safeguard against world recession etc. (good PR)?
This report is still open to debate and will always remain so until Year 2001.
Notes: Of course, those that prefer to use the Windows Control Panel Time and Date settings can still do so, do not forget to close Windows 95 or 98 down before switching off the PC System.
Computerised Equipment (containing Embedded Systems) can also be tested in a similar manner by using the appropriate key entries (Read the Operations Manuals). Summary: There is no real need to purchase BIOS ROM fix software applications, as the normal date progression will eradicate the problem completely.
We have found no proof that any PC system purchased after 1990 has will show the system date as being recorded as a 2-digit year after the 31st December 1999. However, we wish to be informed of the brand, model number, the BIOS ROM, make and serial number of such beasts if they do really exist. It seems to be a application problem only.
Workstations and servers that have the retention problem and are switched off at night, will need only the date entered 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 workstations 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. Whatever the customisation, it is believed that 99% of BIOS ROM's purchased after 1983 will react safely after the 24-hour Millennium NTP period passes by.
*Photocopiers, Fax Machines and VCR's react exactly the same as PC Systems and can be tested in the same manner. Unfortunately, Visionaries IT does not have the resources to confirm that all Embedded System strictly obey the rule, so we can only state logical theory that this should be so.
These factors however should be taken in to account:
That many Embedded Systems are only used as counters and do not relate to the time or date, once the computerised equipment is turned off the date resets to the BIOS ROM floor 4th January 1980. They are not backed up by battery.
Many Embedded systems relate to Sunday to Monday and the time only. Once the computerised equipment is turned off the date resets to the BIOS ROM floor of 4th January 1980. E.g. VCRs, Alarm Systems and Lawn Sprinklers etc. They are not backed up by battery.
Many Embedded Systems relate only to the time, once the computerised equipment is turned off, the date resets to the BIOS ROM floor 4th January 1980. E.g. Cookers, Microwaves etc. They are not backed up by battery.
*Those that do use the Time and Date functions, normally function the same as PC Systems and the testing procedure should be based on the same principles.
*We suggest that UK Government Departments arrange for an establishment to independently check out Visionaries IT's Embedded System Benchmark as we only relate to those that are purely built around the Intel type /DOS BIOS ROM. It would be a good Idea to set up a sensible related Internet Forum specifically for Analysts and Engineers to swap Test results and actual Embedded System Facts. Internet2000 UK can not afford the resources to and time to administrate a debate forum at present and have no expertise within this field, however we would setup a forum if required if a Embedded System specialist with research facilities requested to administrate such a service.
Lifts, Fax Machines and other equipment such as VCR's will function well without any foreseeable problems. There may be 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 out during 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.
This report is not a statement that computerised equipment should not be tested, but that upgrading and renewal should always take lower priority to ensure that budgets are kept low and the consumer is aware of all options.
Our findings are a clear statement that the mild BIOS ROM software fault will not be the cause to civil unrest, national disaster, planes falling from the sky, atomic disaster or the second coming of Christ. USA Senator's and United Kingdom MP's, etc. are already booking flights on the 1st January 2000.
All benchmark tests are carried out three times, to be sure that the test results are correct. 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. We are actually stating that establishments and experts should take great care to manually benchmark test equipment before making bold statements that could backfire into a legal risk. The problem with Information Technology is that the Consultants and Specialists 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 livelihoods. This is becoming very expensive to the Consumer and the Taxpayer. A question for the experts and manufacturers that know 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?
Prior to any test being carried out it may be best to backup all PC system data as a few applications have a way of retrieving the delete old file option from the date. They do normally prompt yes or no, but human error could result in a minor calamity. Several readers of the first draft brought this to our attention. 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, academics, engineers, scientist, accountants and solicitors, we thank everyone of them for their help and common sense.
(c)Visionaries IT 1998 for free distribution.
Distribution List. - Redistributed 12th November 1998 to includes 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 Hexadecimal (Machine Code) source code:
BIOS ROM's manufactured between 1983 and 1995 contain two software date loops. The first is a 20th Century loop that finishes at Midnight 31/12/99. The second 21st Century loop begins at midnight 01/01/2000. This 24-hour period causes an error to occur. On an error, the BIOS date reverts to the floor of 04/01/80, the very beginning of the 20th century loop. OEM manufacturers are oblivious to the problem as the accepted date and time BIOS program code has been copied, used 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, anything less will lead to high risks of legal address by many consumers. Policies should not be built on non-researched theories. The Millennium Century Date Change scenario gives good proof to this fact, with many organisations 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?
-NOTE ACADEMICS -THIS IS A DRAFT-YOUR GRAMMAR CORRECTION WILL BE APPREACIATED We thank everybody within the Internet2000 UK group and those IT analyst that have introduced fresh debate to this Y2K scenario. The next subject under debate will be software, remember each debate leads to a fresh report and a fresh out look.
-- Bob Johnson-Perkins (Bob@Internet2000-Plc.com), December 11, 1998
Fer th' lova Mike, did ye hafta prin' it three times, lad??
An' cud ya be leavin' tha back o' th' busniss card version som'ere??
-- Chuck a night driver (email@example.com), December 11, 1998.
Read "How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less" by Milo O. Frank. ISBN0-671-52492-5
-- Uncle Deedah (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 12, 1998.
You still won't listen will you? You say, and I quote,
"The DOS Bench Test. Any 8086, 386, 486 or Pentium with a non date retention problem:" blah, blah, blah...
Note the word ANY. Your assertion is blatently untrue as you know. I have already informed you that ANY Award BIOS manufactured between April, 1994 and June, 1995 CANNOT be reset under ANY condition. This is the statement of the manufacturer. Why do you persist? Why are you spreading disinformation? I warn you. You can be held legally liable in the United States (and probably Britain) for making technical statements which you KNOW to be untrue and which results in damages to either private individuals or public companies. I am retaining records of these posts as proof if a legal action occurs.
-- RD. ->H (email@example.com), December 12, 1998.