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Y2K Problem

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    Y2K Problem

    So no body care about Y2K Problem...Right

    Dear guest,
    Quite a good question. Actually I am personally unaware of how organizations in Pakistan are approaching the Y2K problem. I'm sure that private companies are already making way towards implementing technology for business continuity as the year 2000 approaches.
    Personally I am involved with the Year 2000 program for the City of Toronto, where our objective is : Business Continuity of the City of Toronto Departments, Agencies, Boards & Commissions. Identification of Critical Systems & Severity Assessment of Critical Systems is a starting point for any organization (Govt. or other). Setting Project milestones is the next. Well, I'm working on meeting these milestones for my dept. through Testing, Re-implementing and Production scheduling.
    Hmmm... I do wonder what Govt. depts. in Pakistan are doing in this area. If anyone has any insight, please share it with guest and myself.

    I hope this was a little information, and if you wanna discuss this more, I'm here.

    For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining - and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction - Khalil Gibran






        First of all the intoduction:


        We approach the coming millennium as a period of unparalleled prosperity. Advances in technology promise a brave, new world of instant communications. Travel will get cheaper and safer. The Internet will bring the world to our desktop. It seems as if space travel is just around the corner. All we have to do is get motivated, and we will build it. The global economy continues to hum, and, thanks to technology, we have even remained isolated from the financial chaos in Japan. Good ship America is more than ready to ride the waves of the coming Millennium. Onward and upward, riding high on Microsoft stocks and bright hopes for the future.
        But, a little known feature built in to the computers that will power all this future prosperity may well be a logic bomb, set to go off at midnight, January 1, 2000. A bomb so terrible it may bounce us right back into the Industrial Age. A bomb so powerful that it could blow the global economy right out of the water. This logic bomb could do to our civilization what the iceberg did to the Titanic. And, like the Titanicís passengers, we wonít know the extent of the damage until itís too late.

        Later on I will copy some more articles about that Y2K problem here.Anyone else knows about this,please post.


          Hedayat, here is the answer for your question:

          The computers that run our society have a fatal flaw. Every time you access a computer for any reason, it records the time and date of the transaction. These dates are replicated and saved for future reference. Times and dates give computers a reference point, as well as being important components in the command structure of programs. When computers were in development, space was limited. Eliminating the first two digits of the year in the date stamp saved enormous amounts of memory. Computers read dates as DD MM YY. For example, January 1, 1998 is read by a computer as 01-01-98. Two years later, the date will be January 1, 2000, which computers will read as 01-01-00. Thatís where the trouble starts. Everything the computer reads for reference from that point on, will be one hundred years in the future, from the computerís point of view. Simply stated, the millennium bug is the result of forgetting the 20th century would ever end. Thatís from the programmerís point of view. From the computerís perspective, it will be as if the 20th century never happened. And as youíll see, that one little detail could unravel civilization, as we know it.


            The problem originated in the 60's and 70's when structured programming came into being. Back then, memory was so expensive that the programmers had to allocate just two characters for the date. For example: 98 for 1998. Well, now as you know, technology has allowed memory chips to as cheap as a pizza!

            The ASCII coders and fathers of structured programming should have had insight into this problem but they didnt...too bad...

            Guess after all the fireworks and partues of new year's eve 1999, there isnt gonna be any electricity for the next night!

            incidently: did anyone here manage to watch last night's (friday) episode of Millenium? It put the Y2K in a different perspective...

            Hedayat: so yes, its a hardware AND a software problem...The software problem is easy, as all the new coding that is now done is Y2K compliant, AND year 10,000 compliant...(thank god they have enough insight THERE...)
            but the REAL problem is making all the software that aggencies and govt.'s use NOW Y2K compliant...those programms were coded in the earlier structured programming format, is thus much harder to change...

            As far as I know, the stock market HAS started using MM DD YYYY we're okay there...(but I KNOW that they're not out of the woods yet, as it just passed the priminary tests...)




              Frisky eventhough if some one makes his computer Y2k compliant,problem still remains,
              the Millennium Bug is nothing less than a logic bomb. Like any other bomb, it will damage anything that is close to ground zero. That means that even computers that are already Y2K compliant may not operate if they are connected to one that is still vulnerable.
              If You Arenít Worried, You Donít Understand the Problem.

              One of the foremost authorities on the Y2K Bug is Peter de Yager. He is the founder of the Year 2000 Information Center Ė a think tank focussed on the problem. De Yager quoted the chairman of the Congressional Year 2000 Panel, Senator Robert Bennett at a conference recently. The name of the conference was ominous. It was called "The Y2K Crisis: Ė A Global Ticking Time Bomb?" This was not a conspiracist conference. Bennett was the keynote speaker.

              "If today were December 31, 1999, and our systems were in the current state they are in today, tomorrow our economy worldwide would stop. It wouldn't grind to a halt. It would snap to a halt. You would not have dial tone tomorrow if tomorrow were January 1st, year 2000. You would not have air travel. You would not have Federal Express. You would not have the Postal Service. You would not have water. You would not have power. Because the systems are broken."

              My friend this is a serious problem.
              Even if we fixed all the computers in the world by December, 1999, there would still be massive systems failures. All of the systems have to be tested one against the other. And we have glued the global computer network together over a 40 year period. The glue that holds the systems together is the COBOL programming language that computing is based on. That glue will come unstuck at exactly midnight. There are two different ways that programming can fail as a result of Y2K. The first is that it will just shut down. Actually, that is the best case scenario for computer failure. Programmers will be able to quickly diagnose the failure and zero in on the cause. The second, and by far worse, scenario, is that the program will continue to run, generating false information. That would be the functional equivalent to a computer virus.

              By this you can imagine where these westerners are,now question is?what about Pakistan and other Muslim countries,what they are doing about that,as we all know we rely totally on western world anyway.

              May ALLAH Save us.


                guest: I do understand the problem and I do know that its not as much as you make it.... The military simulated Jan 01, 2000 yesterday and they found out that all missile systems and aircraft were working were all the emergency medical service comuters...
                so the test was a success...
                (or so they reported, for all we know, they could be lying to keep us from panicing...)

                as far as computer systems of pakistan, yep! old as they all are, they are sure to fail...sending pakistan into further chaos...

                I dunno if allah is gonna save pakistan, but it sure DOES need help!!!



                  Let me give you some facts here:

                  Globally, Japan and Germany are at least 12 months behind the United States, Holland, and Belgium in Y2K fixes. Other countries disruptions, are Argentina, Venezuela, and all the Middle East, except Israel. Fifty percent of companies in the oil, electrical, also at a significant risk of facing major and gas utility industry around the world expect mission critical systems to fail because of the Year 2000 technology problem.

                  I already pointed out in one of my last post.All computers are linked to each other,and here is the example of a testing: The Smith-Barney brokerage house thought they had their computers fixed. Their programmers tried to expand the date formula to eight digits by putting a nineteen in front. It worked on several dry runs. So then they tried a live test. They fired up their computer systems, and everything was humming just fine. Then some of their customers called to thank them for the good job they were doing handling their investments. They checked and found the computer had added nineteen million dollars to each of their customer's accounts. Smith-Barney has five hundred and twenty five thousand accounts. The total error exceeded ten trillion dollars. That's more than twice the national debt. Now, that is just one investment banking firm. Multiply that times the number of investment firms on Wall Street, and you have a small picture of the potential damage. In the Smith Barney case, they were lucky. Had their computers connected with outside computers on the network, the problem could have cascaded to them. That would have brought on the Millennium catastrophe early. It also shows how vulnerable the whole economic system is.

                  Bringing this Y2K topic here is not to discuss here,this is a serious issue,and it has some links to what our Ulemas(the right ulemas) are saying these days.


                    Dear Frisky-

                    *** " Back then, memory was so expensive that ..."

                    May be you mean disk or other external storage devices rather than memory.

                    so long...


                      ts-dude....I said memory because that was the main reason why they didnt alot 4 characters to the year string. Maybe I should have said computer chips intead...

                      same thing...



                        Dear Frisky-

                        Clear your misconception about the background of why programmers used 2 digits rather than 4 digits for the year field, read carefully:

                        Frugality was the rule when such programs (i.e. applications) were first written and every byte of SAVED storage was important, and human nature seems to dictate that writing and keyboard entry of two digits is more practical than four digits. Saving even a small amount of space in a DATA BASE was more important in the 1960's and 1970's than it is today, and most programmers never expected such code to still be in use 20 or 30 years later. This short-sighted programming practice has only recently surfaced as a problem, and only a rare program provided for four digits for the Year2000.

                        Guest: My driver license expiration date is 4-4-00. Check your credit cards and you will still see 2 digit year on most of them. Thats how simple it is.

                        so long...




                          I spoke to my brother in Law in Pakistan and he told me that most MNC and other lagre companies are investing hundreds of thousands of Dollars and in software and hardware. But I am concerned about small businesses who can not affored to spare capital for such things. Now I have two questions

                          1) What can a small company with a LAN should do. ( Please explin in a laymans term)

                          2) And what about the information from the outside vendors feeding into your computer (how can you stop the others bad Software to destroy your LAN).