Some fear today is Y2K Doomsday : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Published Friday, April 9, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News Some fear today is Y2K doomsday

Mercury News wire services Systems analysts are on alert today to see if some computers crash as the calendar rolls over to the 99th day of the 99th year of the 20th century. Some doomsayers have pointed to this date as one that could give a glimpse of what's to come when the clocks strike midnight New Year's Eve and trigger the so-called Y2K problem. Today's date, when written in what is sometimes (but incorrectly) referred to as the Julian date or Julian day number used in some computer programs, reads 9999 -- a code that was used to tell some mainframe computers it was the end of the program and to shut down. But Jay Holmstrom, director of professional services for Compuware Corp. of Farmington Hills, Mich., said Thursday he's not worried about any malfunctions today. ``This one, too, will probably fade away like all the other dates that were supposed to cause computers a lot of problems,'' Holmstrom said. Saturday night, the Federal Aviation Administration will try the first live test of its Year 2000 air-traffic computer fixes. Late Saturday and early Sunday, the agency plans to split the computers controlling air traffic around Denver International Airport and spin the clock ahead to Jan. 1, 2000, in half of the systems. The same time change will be made in flight computers aboard an FAA Lear jet flying over Grand Junction, in western Colorado; on a jet flying over Denver, on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, and on a jet over Colorado Springs to the south. Denver International was chosen for the test because its computers can be split and track flights on parallel systems. During the four-hour test, technicians will check computer software changes designed to solve the Y2K problem. Early computer programs used a two-digit format to read dates, and there has been widespread concern about problems when the year changes from ``99'' to ``00,'' which unrepaired computers may construe as 1900 instead of 2000. Research by International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass., indicates about 11 percent of the computer programs used worldwide use some Julian dates. Most are found in programs that do data calculations, such as how long an insurance policy has been in effect, said IDC Research Director Tom Oleson. One of the first trigger dates was April 1, 1999 because on that date some large computer systems started their fiscal years and began the two-digit source of the millennium bug: the year ``00.'' However, that date passed without much attention or reported problems nationwide. So did Jan. 1, 1999, a date that many predicted would cause problems because it was the first date with multiple nines in it. The next trigger date is Sept. 9, 1999. Whether April 9 causes computer glitches or not, all the hype surrounding it prompted utilities and other energy companies nationwide to hold a drill today aimed at keeping electricity flowing even if phone systems and computers fail next New Year's.

-- Norm (, April 09, 1999


"So did Jan. 1, 1999, a date that many predicted would cause problems because it was the first date with multiple nines in it."

Uh, excuse me, but that is NOT the reason people were worried about Jan. 1. Look-ahead systems were anticipated to have problems because they would in effect be looking ahead to 2000, and some systems did.


-- Scott Johnson (, April 09, 1999.

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