Contest - when did you first see "windowing" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Re: Mcdonnel Douglas's ridiculous patent on windowing. I can see encapsulation being patentable - also hard to use. But windowing? Maybe they patented the word.

I'll go first. First saw windowing in an Army supply system in 1980, that had a 1 digit year embedded in julian dates in the keys to each transaction.

-- ng (, November 02, 1999


dBase in the 1980s allowed you to enter dates with 2-digit years. And it would determine the "epoch" according to your setting, and so it was at least smart enough to store the date, for all future use, with 4 digits for years.

You could also "SET CENTURY ON" which forced you to enter all 4 digits and to display all 4 digits.

You could also "SET DATE ANSI" which made you enter and display dates as "YYYY.MM.DD" instead of the ridiculous convention m/d/yy or d/m/yy

A lot to be said for an old DOS program that Microsucks should have learned from. Were that Microsucks Windows products even half as "smart" as a 15+ year old DOS program regarding dates.

-- A (, November 02, 1999.

Since the dawn of computers. The current way of doing business is a form of windowing with 00 as the pivot or base year. It works for one hundred years and any number greater than 00 is assumed to be 19XX.

-- Maria (, November 02, 1999.

It is likely that the patent was on the "application" of windowing for the purpose of converting computers with 2 digits . . . . . etc.

Look at all the patents on mouse traps, or in my field, valves. You can have a many equal parts of x, but their use and application is what makes them patentable.

Look at digital devices. Would patenting the "0" and "1" be equal to inventing a digital device or all digital devices? Beta was patented and therefore, VHS evolved. Patents are often obtained by an improvement or specific solution as well as a new idea or product. Yet not all improvements are patentable.

I am now over my head and will go have lunch. Please don't shoot me, for you will not receive any points. I am not a lawyer.

I guess that is why attorneys specialize in patent law.

-- enough is (, November 02, 1999.

Did windowing with my programmer buddies back in the 70's. This is absurd, however they're pressing the issue. This is one Ed Y. should comment on because it could again change the way we do business and falls right in line with propriatary controls discussed on the HumptyDumptyY2y forum. God forbid this one isn't overturned.

-- Slammer (BillSlammer@Yahoo.Com), November 02, 1999.


You better hope that 00 isn't used as the standard business pivot date, or else all businesses have a y2k1 problem. That solution would be good for one year.


-- RB (R@AR.ST), November 02, 1999.

No, Maria makes an excellent point. This is always the example that I use to show that windowing is a temporary solution. The current "non Y2K" code is windowing - assuming that all years from 00-99 have the century as "19". If you change the pivot year from 00 to, say, 30, then you have a Y2030 problem just as big as Y2K.

-- Jim (x@x.x), November 02, 1999.


My point was that 00 isn't used by anyone as the pivot date. I've used 80 and have heard of several others, but not 00. We had no 'date of birth' type dates, so windowing will work fine in that situation. RB

-- RB (R@AR.ST), November 02, 1999.

RB, you idiot, I was answering the question "when did you first see windowing". My answer, since the dawn of computers. The remediation effort will not, obviously, use 00 but some other pivot year. I wasn't referring to remediation efforts.

-- Maria (, November 02, 1999.

. The current way of doing business is a form of windowing with 00 as the pivot or base year. It works for one hundred years and any number greater than 00 is assumed to be 19XX.

Now now Maria,

Don't type in a stupid statement like the above if you don't want to be corrected. Then you back it up with an equally stupid statement that you weren't you weren't talking about remediation. Why the hell would anyone be windowing if not in remediation. I think it's plain who the real idiot is. :-)

-- RB (R@AR.ST), November 02, 1999.

In about 1967, at Occidental Life Insurance Company...

(I think that this "patent" is a crock!)

-- Mad Monk (, November 02, 1999.

OK, let me see if I can explain this.

Today is not November 3, 99. That day was 1900 years ago, in the Roman era. Today is November 3, 1999. That's today. See, when we write a check at the local market for $43.72 and date it 11/3/99, we really mean 11/3/1999. But all of us humans know that and "window" the century of "19" in our heads, subconsciously. In a few years if we write 3/25/03, we'll also know that it's 2003, but if it's your great-grandmother's birthday, we'll know that it's 1903. Humans are smart like that.

Computers, on the other hand, are not. They don't know what comes after 99 in the decimal system when the field value is only two digits. They don't even assume that the century is '19', contrary to what the mass media would have you believe. They don't assume anything. To the computer, the year is 99. Period.

While the computer has not been technically windowing since the beginning of time, they typically have used only two digit years. Humans have done the windowing for them. Now (circa 1995) that humans have realized that they have been doing the windowing for them (the computers), we realize that we must "teach" the computers how to window for themselves (or even better, tell them 'hey it's not really 99, but it's 1999. Let's get with the program.')

What Maria said what kind of a joke, that the computers have always just dealt with two digit years, 00-99. That the implied pivot year was 00. All years from 00-99 are implied to have a century of '19'. This has nothing to do with the current Y2K remediation. The remediation is happening precisely because the long standing, assumed window is about to run out.

In his first post, I think RB was thinking Maria was talking about remediation efforts, a pivot year of 00, meaning 00 was '20' and 01-99 was '19'. Of course that would be idiotic, but that's not what she was talking about. Maybe we should have said 99 as the pivot date??

In the second post he make it even more clear. We are not talking about the current remediation, but the "subconscious windowing" (for lack of a better term) that has been in the IT industry and the human psyche since the beginning of time (or the Julian/Gregorian calendar - I'm no time historian either).

-- Jim (x@x.x), November 03, 1999.

Ignore the first link in the reply above - it was a test gone awry. If the second test is successful, scroll up.

-- Jim (x@x.x), November 03, 1999.

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