SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER: "When is a Y2K bug not a Y2K bug?" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

When is a Y2K bug not a Y2K bug?

By Matt Beer

Tuesday, January 4, 2000

Companies call their software "compliant' if fixes are coming

Y2K bug problem? Watch your mouth!

Both Microsoft and Intuit, the makers, respectively, of the best-selling Internet Explorer Web browser and Quicken financial software, say their products are il,6p6,1.5i having problems dealing with the year 2000 changeover.

But don't dare call it a Y2K problem.

According to Mountain View-based Intuit, the latest versions of Quicken are "Y2K compliant."

The "Y2K compliant" software, one might think, would apparently be free of the Y2K bug.

That bug makes computers read the 1999-2000 rollover as a 1999-1900 time warp. Worldwide havoc, including mislaunched nuclear missiles and power outages, was supposed to occur at the stroke of midnight last Friday because of this flaw.

It never happened. But the Y2K critter does seem to be lingering in some consumers' computers. Unless, of course, you accept a company's definition of a Y2K bug.

Which seems to be: If it's in our program, it isn't a Y2K bug.

For instance, if a Quicken 2000 user enters a year 2000 transaction into a checkbook using the mouse to move between fields, a New Year check will end up being recorded as written in the year 1900. (plenty of time to clear the bank).

Users have to manually enter the full year 2000 into the check registry, not the usual way of entering the last two digits of the year.

In the Mac version of the program, a calendar scrolls from the year 1999 to the year 1900.

A Quicken official said a "patch" for the problems soon would be posted on the company's Web site.

The Web site ( y2k) also lists other Y2K "issues" and "workarounds."

However, Intuit steadfastly maintains, the company's software is indeed Y2K compliant.

"It's a matter of semantics," said Intuit spokesperson Cecelia Denny.

According to Denny, there is no industry standard for the term "Y2K compliant."

"Each company is free to create their own definition of a Y2K bug problem," she added. In Intuit's opinion, therefore, a program is Y2K bug-free if there is a fix for a Y2K problem.

"Sure, that's a good enough definition," said Denny.

Monday, Microsoft announced there were some Y2K issues with some of its software, specifically its Hotmail free Web-based e-mail and its Explorer Web browsing software.

Explorer, for example, views some dated sites as being from the far-off future of 3900. Something to do with the "get date" command on some pages. Microsoft also pledges to put up patches to fix the problem (

However, said Microsoft spokesman Adam Sohn, "it's not a Y2K problem."

"Well, it does deal with a changeover to the year 2000, and it does deal with how it reads the changeover, so I guess you could, arguably, say its a Y2K problem,"Sohn said. "But we're calling it an implementation problem, not a Y2K problem."


-- John Whitley (, January 04, 2000


Thanks for posting this article, John,

Part of my theory is that if something is called a "Y2K" problem, the software company may open itself to a lawsuit.

On the other side of the coin, if the loss is declared by the user to be caused by "Y2k," then collecting any compensation for loss from an insurance company would be impossible.

So, everything is "A-OK" except for routine major and minor problems that continue to happen as they always have...nothing out of the ordinary.

-- No Polly (, January 04, 2000.

Those folks oughta work for the gubmint...

Civilian Kook

-- Y2Kook (, January 04, 2000.

*chuckle* Verra amusing. I half think the whole thing will just turn into an extended _Dilbert_ series at this rate. ;-)

-- Ned Raggett (, January 04, 2000.

I am a Quicken user, and with Quicken 99, you can update your software while running Quicken. I updated mine in December. I even have an old version (Quicken 5) that I downloaded a Y2K patch for. You cannot enter the date as 01/01/00 in Quicken 5. You must enter it as 01/01'0. If you click on the Calendar function, it does display correctly (January 1, 2000).

Companies are coming out with patches to their software, so do sign onto their websites and download those patches! I know that Quicken 5 would not have worked this year without it. Even though it IS a strange way to input the date! :)

-- Marie (, January 04, 2000.

Link please.... ...if available. Merci! :)

-- Bayou Boy (, January 05, 2000.

Hi! Does anyone have a link to this article? If so, please post. Thanks! :)

-- Quicken User (, January 08, 2000.

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