Windowing didn't take an 83-year-employee into accountgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I came across an amusing article on what can happen when windowing is used for remediation instead of expanding year fields from two to four digits. An 83-year-old city official was in danger of not receiving his paycheck. Here's a quote from it:
"Assuming the city would have no employees older than 80, the payroll processor used the year 1918 as a benchmark. If a person's birthdate is before "18," the computer thinks the person was born after 2000. Otherwise, the computer thinks the person was born between 1900 and 2000.
"Using that formula, the computer showed Chatlain would not be born until the year 2015 -- and certainly not eligible for a City Council member's paycheck.
"In this case, fixing the problem is a simple matter of changing the benchmark date, and in Merriam, which has spent $200,000 to replace phone, voice mail and accounting systems, the Y2K bug has been swatted."
Of course, the bigger problem will be when year data is exchanged between companies or agencies with different benchmarks.
This article also has a second part on Y2K and the automobile insurance industry. One insurance company said in its SEC filing that "...motor vehicle reports may become unavailable and claims could become delayed."
-- Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 1998
"Windowing" or "pivot date" hokum is the Microsoft "solution" to Y2K problems. Say that 70 is arbitrarily selected as a 2 digit pivot date year. Anything after is assumed 19xx; anything before is assumed 20xx.
What happens if different programs assume different pivot dates (e.g., 80) and rely on software to make the "epoch" decision?
Excel and Access are two common Microsoft sucky products that do that.
-- NoFanOfOffice97 (email@example.com), December 28, 1998.