Real-life example of system failure. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

OK, I just had a response to one of my earlier questions (5 long seconds) that goes like this:

"I discovered that the computer I was working on would crash when the rollover to 2000 took place. This was back in 1987. Guess what? Power companies are using that same model of computer."

That's proof kids. Wake up and smell the coffee...


-- shadow (, January 22, 1999


Specifics? What make and model? What's it being used for? What software is it running?

When I see these vague reports, it makes me want to scream because the report is denying the sort of data that's really needed.

This could be a real-live instance of a computer doomed to hardware failure, with no upwardly-compatible equivalent available, performing vital safety-critical control functions in a Nuke plant. Big news that urgently needs someone to blow the whistle.

Or it could be a wordprocessor in the customer relations department, which can be tossed out and replaced by a modern PC at a monents notice. Or even replaced, in a crisis, by a pen. Or just file all complaints in the bin because there are more important things to do.

Or it may be that someone has misunderstood the nature of the bug, and it's just another report that "the computer" will fail when what was originally stated was that "the software on *that* computer" will fail", perhaps stated by the man who was upgrading it to fix it. There's an awful lot of folks who don'tunderstand the difference between "the computer" and "the software [that it runs]".

Please ... details needed!

-- Nigel Arnot (, January 22, 1999.

FWIW, I would just like to encourage folks to take Nigel's points to heart, both in reports the they may give, and in reports that they may read. This will not make it easier to get the information that we would like to get, but it may help us to avoid "knowing" things that may not be so.


-- Jerry B (, January 22, 1999.


Thank you.

-- No Spam Please (, January 22, 1999.

Here's an older one:

-- Gayla Dunbar (, January 22, 1999.


that's a "classic" - one I saw reported months ago. It shows the importance of testing, this is definitely not something one would want to see happen for real on 1/1/2000. Provided it's caught in testing, it's a minor glitch - just one thing that someone forgot, which affected everything rather than just one program.

well worth reading, though!

-- Nigel Arnot (, January 22, 1999.

Nigel, Anyone that knows make and model will never give it or they open themselves to be sued by the manufacturer for libel. I do'nt agree with it thats just the way it is.

-- Steve Watson (, January 22, 1999.

So post as anon. - I would. And Nigel - I had to start using Rogaine because of tearing my hair out over incomplete reports. ;)

-- Paul Davis (, January 22, 1999.

You want a make and model? Back in 1987 while in the military, I tested a set of Systems Engineering Labs (SEL) Concept 32 computers for century rollover problems. Where there any? You Betcha!

The only was to restart the system was to replace the RTC ciruit boards in every cpu (remember this was the mid-eighties, multi-board cpu's were micro-computers) of a five-cpu system. Then we could set the clocks to the correct date and wonder what was so wierd about the year 2000 and our computers.

And like the first post's reference, these computers are in use in lots of scientific applications, energy production systems (power plants, SCADA and grid control & monitoring) and nuclear systems.

Extra annonymous this time.

-- really annonymous on this one (, January 22, 1999.

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