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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

No_Silver_Bullet

Date: 

1998-04-07 14:07:41

Subject: 

But There Really Is a Silver Bullet. Contact This Man

Comment: 

This man says there's a silver bullet. If you're interested, contact him.

I'm not interested.

* * * * * * *

Gary North:

There truly is a silver bullet and it is more than thirty years old.

In 1967, a TRW government contract for inventorying helicopter parts contained a continuity date requirement that could not be met with Cobol date conventions. Dick Pick who headed that program devised a very simple solution. He "flipped" the procedure. Because dates have no value perse, only a relative value, relative to another date, programs use a date algorithm to convert the date, like 032798, to a number upon which the "relative" calculations are performed. By performing the algorithm first and writing the resulting number to disk, the system is Y2K compliant.

This methodology is incorporated into about 3 million computer seats that use the Pick Multi Dimensional Database (MDD) or licensee or clone.

When I started the process of computerizing my company in 1978 the date methodology was one of the unique features that attracted me to that system. Because I am Dutch I was more aware than most Americans of the different methods of writing dates. I wanted my company to use a format 27MAR98 that was universally understood. However, Pick did not have that as a standard conversion so we modified the Pick assembler code to do so. However, when all this Y2K stuff came up I was concerned that our dates might be perceived as indicative of Y2K non-compliance so our programmer took about 30 minutes and modified the code and when we implement that all our dates that are on the systems - since 15 April 1974, will show the date as 27MAR1998. One change in a single program changes the date FORMAT globally. Note it does not change the dates. Those are the numbers that are written to disk with each transaction.

Note that the terminology for this is a "function" . When I reach a point in a date entry program for which the dictionary for that entry says that it is a date, it calls that program and it also does the reverse, to display a date in a format that I can understand its relative position on my calendar.

There is only one problem with implementing this date system. The Pick date is "anchored" with day 1 as 01 January 1967. I believe that this universal day 1 should be day one of the Gregorian calendar which would make this day 729486 or thereabouts. The "conversion" from that date can show a Jewish date, a Chinese date or whatever, but all the computer in China, in the US in Israel ever would see would be 729486.

Please call write email or fax me for more info. I am glad that you are attacking this problem from the bottom up, with the people who need to be prepared for all the disruptions that undoubtedly will occur.

If you email me or call or fax me with a location, I will find you a Pick "expert" in your area who can show you

Dick .

Dick While normally comp to disk like 032798, then do a "conversion" using a date algorithm to compare dates

Henry Keultjes keultjes@sprintmail.com


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