why not agree to call it 1900 until systems are ready for 2000?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

why not agree to use the 1900 series for 10 or 15 years until the world's systems are prepared to handle the 2000s? aside from data stored by historians, libraries,etc.,how vital is that data,and would this work,technically?

-- james jenks (ursa98@aol.com), April 22, 1998


How old is someone born in 1901?

-- George Valentine (georgevalentine@usa.net), April 22, 1998.


Here's a simple example of why that idea won't work. Computers are stupid; they only know to do what you tell them. However, they are very precise and methodical (usually:-). Let's say that your company has a policy that employees can retire at 60 years of age. You are currently 58 (having been born in 1940), and you can retire in 2000. In 2000 (or 1900, under your scenario), your company's computer software does a calculation to determine if you are eligible to retire. It calculates 1900 minus 1940, which makes you -40 years old. Therefore, you have 100 years before you'll be able to retire and receive retirement benefits, according to your company's computer system. This example is drastically oversimplified and not all that realistic, but hopefully it points out the major problems your suggestion would cause if it were even possible to implement it.

-- Nabi Davidson (nabi7@yahoo.com), April 22, 1998.

If my daughter was born in 1995 (and she was) and my great grandmother was born in 1899 (and she was), how do I tell which one is 5 years old in "1900" and which one is 101? More to the point, how does the computer system at the HMO which would disallow payment for a hysterectomy on a five year old but not for a 101 year old?

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@compuserve.com), April 22, 1998.

Many computer operating systems can't have their clocks set to 1900. Most Unix systems have a base date or "year zero" of 1970; MS-DOS has 1980 as (I think) does Windows.

Another problem is the calendar; 1900 starts on a different day of the week to 2000. Calendars repeat every 28 years.

Rolling the system clock back to 1972 - if possible - may be a viable fix or a work-around for some embedded-system problems especially if the system does not exchange datestamped data with the rest of the world. However, as a general solution this idea is a non-starter.

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), April 23, 1998.

There is another issue here: Trying to do away with "2000" and going back to "1900" would really screw those companies and systems that are already Y2K-ready! In effect, you would introduce a penalty for being prepared.

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@compuserve.com), April 23, 1998.

To J.J. and also to Paul,

One minor little note about "just calling it 1900". The entire problem with Y2K is that the computers will think it is 1900! Unless they are MS-DOS and decide it's 1980 or whatever. Expressed differently you're just saying, instead of having the computers think it is 1900 being a problem, let's just call that a solution.

Please don't suggest this any congresscritters, they'll take you seriously.

-- R. Watt (rkwatt@motmail.com), April 23, 1998.

There are two problems regarding the year 1900: The day of the week will be wrong, and 1900 was not a leap year whereas 2000 will be.

-- David Wallace (DavidCWallace@Hotmail.com), May 10, 1998.

My grandmother was born in 1894.

She doesn't want to go back into first grade again. Said she didn't like it the first time...

-- Robert a. Cook, P.E. (cook.r@csaatl.com), August 31, 1998.

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