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1997-12-02 08:36:04


No Big Problem, Says Waikato Times



Honestly, I've never heard of Waikato or the TIMES. But this publication says (Nov. 25) that we need not worry about the following problems. And anyone who says differently is a doomsayer. "Some consultants and doomsayers have overstated the problem and the financial damage that it will cause but it is a real problem and it needs to be fixed."

Odd, isn't it? These doomsayers are never named. Well, almost never. Once in a while, there is a link to my Web site. But as for the plural, there is no evidence. It's as if the reporters were battling shadows -- shadows of panic to come.

My favorite answer to one of these myths is this one: "This is the kind of problem that software engineers solve regularly." Right. All the time engineers have to go through 30 years of legacy code, find all of the noncompliant dates, repair them, and test the system.

I repeat: nothing like this has ever been attempted, as those directing the repair efforts have said, such as the Chief Information Officer of the Internal Revenue Service. He calls the IRS's revision the largest software repair project in history: 63 million lines of code on 62 different systems. Then there is Citicorp: 400 million lines of code. But the newspaper reporters go on, refuting the "myths" and the "doomsayers."

Notice Myth Number 1: banks may fail. Let it never be! It can't be! Why not? Because corporate executives tell reporters not to worry. "Corporations and banks expect to have the critical portions of their systems repaired or replaced in time." That's good enough for reporters, from the Waikato TIMES to the Los Angeles TIMES.

That's not to say there won't be problems. There will be. What problems, exactly, we are never told. But problems. Just not really bad problems, which are apparently defined as problems that might lead to permanent unemployment for reporters.

* * * * * * * *


* Major computer systems (eg banking) will fail.

* You'll have to buy a new personal computer (PC).

* Your PC software won't work.

* Your home appliances won't work.

* There is no year 2000 bug.


* Corporations and banks expect to have the critical portions of their systems repaired or replaced in time.

* Most personal computers will have no problems at all with the new date.

* The latest versions of most software will be okay, but some older software programs will have problems with the year 2000.

* Your home appliances couldn't care less what year it is.

* This is the kind of problem that software engineers solve regularly.

* There's no way a single tool can solve all of the "Y2K" problems in any given system.


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