As the new millenium approaches the biggest fear everyone has is over the Y2K bug. Y2K stands for y=year 2K=two thousand. The fear is that on Dec. 31, 1999 at twelve o clock all computers around the world will go crazy.Every mechanical device that is computer controlled could go on the fritz. Social Security checks could be cancelled along with car payments, mortgages could read 100 years. Telephone conversations could be calculated mistakenly to have lasted for a 100 years.
What is causing this big computer scare? The big problem is when computers were first designed the makers only put a two-digit dating system instead of four. This is because the programmers did not have the money for a four-digit system. The two-digit system only reads the last two numbers in the year. For example 1999 reads 99. The four digits would interpret this as 1999. When the New Year approaches the computers will read 1900 instead of 2000. This is not computer industry hype, this problem affects everyone and it could have some dire consequences if its ignored(B. Hall Sun Sentinel pg.1).
If this bug is not corrected it could ruin the whole computer industry. The bug could effect everything from bank accounts to retirement funds. Air Travel could be shut down because the computer will think that the airplanes are a century old. Certain payments could be mis calculated for being a hundred years old.
People knew this problem existed but were too lazy to fix it (Sun Sentinel pg.2). There is no clear-cut way to solve this problem yet. Although our own computers will be effected certain software such as Windows 95, and Windows NT can deal with it. It can handle dates from 1980 to 2099. It will cost about $1.10 million per line of programming code, or an estimated $30 million per company, for most Fortune 1,000 companies (sun sentinel pg.2). Who will be the people who do fix this? Those who are familiar will the problem and are able to correct it are hot commodities. There is such a limited amount of adept programmer that their wages have sky rocketed. Maybe to reach as high as $150,000 by the end of the century. Many of the older programmerss from the 80s are being brought out of retirement to deal with this situation. Most have begun work with the federal government, who is conducting the largest millenium conversion. The social security administration has spent 100 person-years fixing its mainframe computers under a $30 million program (Kathleen Adams, agency spokeswomen)
Some people out there fail to belief in this problem. They dont believe in all this Y2K hype. They feel that the idea of this huge bomb waiting to explode is all hype. Sure this is a problem but is it really over hyped? If you take care of it early enough you have nothing to worry about they feel. But in fact it is a huge problem. It will take a lot of time to find every computer that is equipped with the two-digit time system. Another problem that they face is that fixing this can cause another problem now because there are 2,400 different programming languages have been added since the 1950s. Many of them are not around anymore and finding the software for them could be a big problem.
Many organizations will be looking for effective solutions to the Y2K problem. Some of the things that should be done are. We should take the problem seriously. Solving it isnt all that hard but should be taken seriously.Remember to take an account of all the things you may have that is computer operated. Take into account dates of purchase with your customers. Take advantage of software tools to reduce resource requirements. (International Business Machine Corps.)
The things that should not be done are not to underestimate the size of the problem. The clock is ticking so dont spend time looking for alternative solutions. Do not rely on your companies holding your money is Y2K ready. Make sure they are because you could be bankrupt for the new millenium. Because of the money it will cost most companies will not become Y2K compliant.
How will this problem be solved? The problem is finding where the problem exists in an application portfolio in your computer. The dates that appear and interact with the computers and programs differently and can vary from program to program. The portfolio may exist of millions of code lines. Finding the right ones then testing them is a huge feat. Other alternatives are that you could expand the size of the year fields across your applications or to develop software to assume the century number from the year number. The only thing is that some of the software in computers is not around anymore. So companies are buying software off the shelves to make up for this. Therefore causing a demand for software and for software programmers.
The cost to fix is enormous. The line of code that you need to help change the year program ranges from $.40 to $1.50. World wide the cost could reach up to $600 billion. Absorbing up to 50% of the worlds IT budget from now to the millenium. (Paul Taylor pg1) Because of legal statements companies will have to include the cost of this in their yearly statements.
Just how aware of this are the people. Most companies have not begun to prepare for this. Some people are not even aware of the problem. Some are even dismissing the problem all together. Organizations in retail and utilities are out of touch with the severity of the situation. Therefore causing the bills we have to pay overdue. By a HUNDREAD years! In fact some companies like banks and health services are recognizing the problem and should become Y2K compliant.
With just weeks left in the millenium the Y2K fever has risen again. Families are stocking up on food and water in preparation for when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 1999. What will happen? The fear is when the lights go out looting, rioting, and a wide spread panic will sweep across not only the U.S. but around the world. We can only wait and pray that all our fears and predictions will be wrong.
1. Paul, Taylor. Year 2000: A $600BN Headache Financial Times 8 Jan. 1997 SIRS, 28 Oct. 1999
2. Johnson, Dwayne. When The Clock Strikes 2000 Sun Sentenial 3 Nov. 1996 SIRS, 28 Oct. 1999