2000 Problem

2000 Problem - Fiction Fantasy and Fact"The Mad Scramble...

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Fiction, Fantasy, and Fact: F "The Mad Scramble for the Elusive Silver Bullet . . . and the Clock Ticks Away." " Wayne Anderson November 7, 1996 The year 2000 is practically around the corner, promising a new era of greatness and wonder . . . as long as you don't own a computer or work with one. The year 2000 is bringing a Pandora's Box of gifts to the computer world, and the latch is slowly coming undone. The year 2000 bug is not really a "bug" or "virus," but is more a computer industry mistake. Many of the PC's, mainframes, and software out there are not designed or programmed to compute a future year ending in double zeros. This is going to be a costly "fix" for the industry to absorb. In fact, Mike Elgan who is the editor of Windows Magazine, says " . . . the problem could cost businesses a total of $600 billion to remedy." (p. 1) The fallacy that mainframes were the only machines to be affected was short lived as industry realized that 60 to 80 million home and small business users doing math or accounting etc. on Windows 3.1 or older software, are just as susceptible to this "bug." Can this be repaired in time? For some, it is already too late. A system that is devised to cut an annual federal deficit to 0 by the year 2002 is already in "hot water." Data will become erroneous as the numbers "just don't add up" anymore. Some PC owners can upgrade their computer's BIOS (or complete operating system) and upgrade the OS (operating system) to Windows 95, this will set them up for another 99 years. Older software however, may very well have to be replaced or at the very least, upgraded. The year 2000 has become a two-fold problem. One is the inability of the computer to adapt to the MM/DD/YY issue, while the second problem is the reluctance to which we seem to be willing to address the impact it will have. Most IS (information system) people are either unconcerned or unprepared. Let me give you a "short take" on the problem we all are facing. To save storage space -and perhaps reduce the amount of keystrokes necessary in order to enter the year to date-most IS groups have allocated two digits to represent the year. For example, "1996" is stored as "96" in data files and "2000" will be stored as "00." These two-digit dates will be on millions of files used as input for millions of applications. This two digit date affects data manipulation, primarily subtractions and comparisons. (Jager, p. 1) For instance, I was born in
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1957. If I ask the computer to calculate how old I am today, it subtracts 57 from 96 and announces that I'm 39. So far so good. In the year 2000 however, the computer will subtract 57 from 00 and say that I am -57 years old. This error will affect any calculation that produces or uses time spans, such as an interest calculation. Banker's beware!!! Bringing the problem closer to the home-front, let's examine how the CAPS
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This note was uploaded on 09/03/2011 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '09 term at Harvard.

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2000 Problem - Fiction Fantasy and Fact"The Mad Scramble...

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