Extrapolating the Obvious and Y2k

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We've noticed many, many glitches with websites reporting bad dates in the years 01/XX/100 to the problem with CNN's website which was reading the year as 01/XX/3900, etc.

Obviously, these problems are minor in magnitude and only impact what is viewed on the site. However, isn't writing code for a website somewhat less complicated that writing date logic for a mainframe system? Isn't it a little worrisome that these date issues do not result in the exact, same year information?

If errors in code such as these are showing their ugly heads so quickly then would it not suggest that errors in code for legacy systems would also contain data either corrupted by the incorrect year dates themselves or by the interaction of systems with improper dates? That is that if a system is returning a date in the year "100" and it is sharing data with a system in the year "3900" the data it could offer may be tainted?

If I extrapolate correctly, problems occuring on a website could well be occuring within a more complicated, large, mainframe, interconnected, global system. This seems only logical to me.

Unless, of course, javascript, etc. is a much more complicated language to code in. Somehow, I find this highly unlikely.

I'd like the pro's to help me out here. Bottom line is, if I follow this to a logical conclusion, my seeing errors in website year data MUST mean that similar problems ARE happening in more complex systems.

Yes, or no?




-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), January 03, 2000


Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

One Mike to another,

Folks don't care about cosmetic stuff that you find on websites. They do care about things critical to business. Any business worth a hoot made its risk assesments and remediation a top priority. They had the time, personnel and dough to do it. No one here can say they didn't.

My bank switched systems 2 years ago. I know this for a fact. My work upgraded their financial systems last year and their payroll last summer.

Don't believe the BS from this forum. The real world fixes itself.

Of course there will be glitches, mostly cosmetic, a few showstoppers too. They'll be fixed by those that are paid to fix them (this will not be the first 'showstopping' computer glitches).

And your logic is not quite complete, errors on the web site prove one thing: errors on the web site.

Rest easy, Mike

-- Mike (mike@noemail.net), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

From one Mike to another...why don't you actually answer my question?

Otherwise, you've got to be kidding, right? I'm looking for serious answers here regarding how date errors could be playing out in complex systems. These errors would NOT show up immediately.

Can someone offer a little more insight into the prospect of differing remediation techniques resulting in different date logic and how the sharing of that information can corrupt correct data?




-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

sorry but your post was basically you extrapolating what you saw on a web site to complex business systems. I responded by explaining that businesses know which systems are important and which ones aren't, so don't assume that because you see cosmetic errors on a businesses web site, that that can be a clue as to what may be happening in more critical systems.

I don't think your problem requires a programmer to solve (I do javascript and html, but make a living as a network admin, so I'm probably not exactly what you were looking for).

I think you're also making the assumption that businesses haven't done their risk assesments and remediation to the best of their abilities. Date functions on CNN's website are low on the list. Their financial systems and groupware stuff etc was higher on the list and (very likely) was fixed.

-- Mike (mike@noemail.net), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k


I am only using the problems seen on websites as an example that NOT all date errors were fixed correctly.

Personally, I think that it's fairly realistic to think that NOT ALL date errors HAVE been fixed correctly in complex systems.

You're position suggest that date logic "perfection" in complex systems is much easier to obtain because it's more important and a higher priority. Do you really think that we're currently living in a world absolutely free of Y2k data and date errors?



-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

If we are seeing bad dates on web pages there is little doubt that 
bad dates are also being stored in database fields where the real 
TimeBomb2000 is ticking.  The real problem occurs 
when a year such as "19100" is stored in a data field assuming that 
no trappable error occurs:

1. If field is character(4): "1910" 2. If field is numeric(4): **** (overflow) 3. If field is date: Depends on system

-- Slobby Don (slobbydon@hotmail.com), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

S.D., you GI. That is exactly what I was trying to suggest.



-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

An insidious little buggy?

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

Programmers of complicated systems have overwhelming stated that fixing y2k errors in systems is "easy but time-consuming".

You fix the most important stuff first. You get to the web site last.

There will be problems. I go with what I know. My bank upgraded their system like 2 years ago. My work finished their's last spring. And yes the data needs to match the software. If it's expecting a reasonable date in xxxx format and gets a 5 digit date or an incorrect date like 3900 or 1900 or 1980 it will produce garbage. But that's what folks have been dealing with for years. That's all.

-- Mike (mike@noemail.net), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k


I don't think you understand the difference between web-pages and mainframe programming. Htm is a simple small routine that controls what you see on a monitor. A programmer can create an operating system, write and complile programs which others use to process data.

Basically IT's will use these programs others have created to manipulate data-they are not programmers. Web writers are not even IT's, even though what they do is more complicated than what a lot of It's have to do. But all it is, as I said, is a tiny subroutine geared toward user friendly and user attractive eye candy. You can, and many people do learn html on the web. It is not all that easy, especially with the power stuggles going on between browser companies etc. Jave and Java-script is a perfect example, Sun created JAVA, Microsoft (in their attitude of thinking they have the right to control all things) decided to come up with Java-script.

tThis is just a small part of what a programmer can do, there are many other more difficult things required of them. Algorithms are a case in point. There is no need for them when writing a web-page.

So basically, what wep page writers do in no way reflects on what programmers do.

Look at it this way a programmer is the one who designs a car, web-page creater is the person who paints it. Two different animals. Programming takes a lot of training and work, writing webpages is not hard at all, especially today with all of the web-page creaters programs.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

Gawd... I should have never mentioned the friggin webpages...

THAT IS the "OBVIOUS" in the title of this thread...

Those bugs are essentially OBVIOUS... get it?

However... some Y2k bugs are NOT such as data corruption.

So, we see there ARE obvious problems such as those not only seen in websites but also spy sat systems and nuclear facilities, etc.

Is it really THAT far a leap to extrapolate from the existance of these obvious though minor problems (sans spy sat glitch) that the bugs ARE in the system and ONLY time will tell what the real damage is?

People are already claiming victory here when we haven't even reached what are the real problem areas such as end of week, end of month, end of quarter, end of year processing, etc.

We haven't had ONE real SSA check go out processed in the Year 2000.

We haven't had ONE real entitlement check go out in the Year 2000.

We haven't had ONE real welfare check go out in the Year 2000.

I want everything to go smoothly, mind you. But I think it's totally insane to claim "victory" when the majority of the systems have NOT even put through even a small percentage of their processing routines.

I'm not a friggin programmer. I didn't create this friggin problem in the first place. Maybe I'm asking the wrong friggin people for answers.



-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

Response to Extropolating the Obvious and Y2k

Hell, let me go further.

Has inventory been done yet? Say at your local Albertsons, Costco, RiteAid?

Has GM placed that order for additional widgets to their supplier yet? Has the order been filled properly?

Oh, nevermind... what the hell... all is fine and this is futile.

I'm going back to sleep... roll over and continue dreaming... sorry to bother you.

Mike who is outta here.


-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

Cherri said web page programmers are not IT people? hack, koff, koff! She is obviously sheltered. Back-end web page programming is true programming, complete with decision making, database access, DLL's, and subroutines. Mike is right to extend his thinking from visible web pages to legacy systems. Server generated web pages should have never been wrong in the first place. The technology is too new. Not enough time to do it right, but plenty of time to do it over?

-- Mikey (mikeylee@tampabay.rr.com), January 03, 2000.


As a graphics professional working with web programmers I can only conclude that they might be a little miffed if they read that they are NOT IT programmers.




-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

"Do you really think that we're currently living in a world absolutely free of Y2k data and date errors?" - Of course not.

-- Mike (mike@noemail.net), January 03, 2000.

"Hell, let me go further. Has inventory been done yet? Say at your local Albertsons, Costco, RiteAid? "

Yes. My local Radio Shack was doing their inventory on Sunday when I was in there. As I recall from the days many moons ago when my wife worked there, the entire chain does inventory on the same day. I'm sure others can confirm or deny this, but there is a major retail chain out there that is currently processing their inventory. If you want to watch them for their results, go right ahead.

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@ultranet.com), January 03, 2000.

MIKE, YOU are NOT ALONE! I concur with you; things ain't as peachy as they are being made out to be. Two Reasons I can think of right now: 1) National security concerns; if U.S. is a disrupted mess then folks like Iran calling for Israel to get wiped off the map (today) will be closer to possible. 2)MEET your and my countrymen! We are the arrogant, gullible folks who live in America, the LAND OF AMNESIA! How else can a few folks in suits and a few pics on CNN and 60 seconds as clocks change from 11:59-12:00 explain how many preppers have begun regretting, sobbing, being embarrassed, anger, betrayal, etc. ?????????????????

Sure Beats me!!!!!!!!

I am starting to notice train traffic, businesses I frequent, amd store shelves and gas prices, etc. THIS IS WHERE YOU WILL GET INFO. PERTINENT TO YOUR LIFE and FAMILY!

So, shake a leg.

I for one am VERY AMAZED that no one except you has brought up the fact our GOV. could be crippled and dead in the water. And to think this could not take our economy for a one-way ride to HELL? The Gov. would love to KILL the attention and concern and panic potential for y2k. THEN, since most Americans will not know or remember y2k in 30 days, we will get a most novel explanation for its inability to deliver checks, Medicare claims etc. They have 30 days to do this. I am waiting.

So, if you feel you are in the Twilight Zone on this, so am I.

Markets and banks never got cranked up; the U.K. and Japan are not trading Monday, yet everyone at 12:30 was already "embarrassed they were wrong"???

Keep watching and looking and apologize to NO ONE. This is not cataclysmic but rather DEGRADATION over time. In fact, Kosky said this Sat. ALSO, GTE sent me their final y2k status letter here half way through Dec. Among items they are ready to do is:"tracking post rollover degradation of services". SO, the propaganda we heard before (these past 2 years) rollover has merely changed form and has intensified.

I am not staking anything on good/bad news; I am simply being logical, like you. I am still ready to be...

-- (He Who) Rolls with Punches (JoeZi@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

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