38 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
Copyright © 2019 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.

The Telecom Digest for Mon, 30 Dec 2019
Volume 38 : Issue 364 : "text" format

Table of contents
Pieces of the Past: Residents prepared for Y2K mania, survived Moderator
Re: Pieces of the Past: Residents prepared for Y2K mania, survivedBill Horne
Please send posts to telecom-digest.org, with userid set to telecomdigestsubmissions, or via Usenet to comp.dcom.telecom
The Telecom Digest is made possible by generous supporters like John Levine
---------------------------------------------------------------------- Message-ID: <20191228224450.GA18019@telecom.csail.mit.edu> Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2019 22:44:50 +0000 From: Moderator <telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org> Subject: Pieces of the Past: Residents prepared for Y2K mania, survived Editor's Note Pieces of the Past is a weekly history column that takes a look at previous stories covered by the Bristol Herald Courier. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - When the calendar flips over to January, there are high hopes for the New Year and in 2020, uncertainty over threats of nuclear war and strong political division. Roll back 20 years and those readying for the big switch from 1999 to 2000 faced a far different uncertainty - the possible repercussions of the "vicious" Y2K bug. https://www.heraldcourier.com/news/pieces-of-the-past-residents-prepared-for-y-k-mania/article_adeecf5c-0fc1-5055-a046-36b024d28cf0.html -- Bill Horne Telecom Digest Moderator ------------------------------ Message-ID: <20191229034913.GA19954@telecom.csail.mit.edu> Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2019 03:49:13 +0000 From: Bill Horne <malQassimRilatMion@gmail.com> Subject: Re: Pieces of the Past: Residents prepared for Y2K mania, survived On Sat, Dec 28, 2019 at 10:44:50PM +0000, Moderator wrote: > Roll back 20 years and those readying for the big switch from 1999 to > 2000 faced a far different uncertainty - the possible > repercussions of the "vicious" Y2K bug. I've been telling a story about Y2K for many years, but I can't find it online and I don't claim authoriship. It's one of those stories that programmers make up during Friday night meetings at the watering hole, while deciding whether to let the 6:15 train go by and wait for the 7:30. If you know who created it, please pass the word back. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The Best Y2K Expert In The World There was a really sharp Systems Analyst - let's call him Jim - who was at the top of his game in 1995, and getting better. Jim was an ambitious guy, and had been climbing the corporate ladder for a while: Junior and Senior Programmer, Data-Base Administrator, IMS, DBASE2, and finally, Systems Administrator for an application that billed several billion dollars a year. One day, Jim was doing some forecasting for his stock options, and he realized that his spreadsheet wasn't able to project results for years after 1999, and it hit him that there were going to be big problems with all of the programs in his application, which used two-digit years - you know the story as well as I - and it occurs to him that he can make a lot of money in a short time if he's the one to come up with the solution. Jim, who is no dummy, realizes that he can develop solutions for every common platform and language, and sell them to every company that uses them. He decides that this is the chance of a lifetime, and makes the jump. A year or two later, Jim is the most famous Y2K expert in the world: so busy that he has to do radio interviews from his private jet, and TV interviews from the nearest network affiliate with a studio to rent. He measures his spare time in minutes, and his success in Swiss Franks. It's a constant, never-ending grind, selling, coding, testing, demonstrating, interviewing, promoting, and rinse, lather, repeat. And, as if by magic, one day he wakes up in another anonymous luxury suite, and it's 1999. He gets a text message from his significant other, saying that she has decided to leave him and marry an IBM salesman with steadier habits and a retirement plan, and a voice mail from his lawyer telling him that he's being sued for patent infringement - a tort which will, his lawyer says, most likely succeed, along with a paternity suit filed by a long-legged sister of a graveyard-shift tape-ape from Boise whom he had forgotten a few thousand miles back. Jim is a pretty tough guy: anyone who is on a first-name basis with the majority of people at CODASYL has to be able to pivot and adapt. But, as sometimes happens when so many important things go wrong at once, Jim can't break a black gloom that descends on him like a 3 AM Christmas morning call from an operations supervisor who tells you your program has abended and demands instructions. After a couple of days, Jim decides that he has reached the end. He opens the phone book, finds a place called the "New Age Cryogenic Life Center," and heads toward his destiny. "I don't care," he tells the NACLC, "I'll sign any release, whatever you want, I might as well be dead, I just want to sleep until 2002 and start a new life!" The wire transfers come in from Zurich, the theoretical limits go out the window, and then they wrap Jim in plastic and dip him in nitrogen. Jim's last thought as he loses consciousness is a wistful moment wondering whether androids really do dream of electric sheep. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Interlude - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A sudden rush of sensation, and of pain mixed with light and heat and strange smells and a crowd of bizarrely-dressed people of many races and clothing styles, who all somehow project a feeling of power and importance. There are medical folks, too, taking out IV lines and testing his vision and memory and reflexes, and then political folks asking him questions about the forms and norms of governments he is used to and the entertainments he prefers: everything that could be imagined on the earth, and a few which would require orbital velocity. "I didn't expect this kind of a welcome," says Jim, happy to be, at last, free of the never-ending grind he had left behind and the people and life that had gone with it. "Did my investments do really well? Is today my birthday? Who's in charge here?" So, after a nice meal of single-cell protein analog and a really nice drink of Napolean Brandy, the most important- looking of the powerful people comes up and shakes his hand, and tells him ... "We're really glad you're back! You don't have a thing to worry about, and you've got plenty of money and you're going to be even more famous than ever and I am the President and we are overjoyed to have you here! Please, relax," his new-found friend croons, "and set all your worries aside! You're our hero!" "Well, I appreciate all the good wishes," says Jim, "but I need to get my bearings! I told them 2002, but I left it at that - what's today's date?" "Oh, well, there was a slight anomaly with all that," says the President, who pauses for a few seconds, and takes Jim by the arm as he sits down next to him. "The computer in the New Age Cryogenic Life Center had a problem with something called compliancey2k, and you've been asleep a little bit longer than you may have planned, but don't worry about a thing, James, you just leave those details to me," he hears the President say, "you see, your file says you know an old computer code named cobol, ... ... and we're coming up on the year ten thousand!" -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly) ------------------------------ ********************************************* End of telecom Digest Mon, 30 Dec 2019
Helpful Links
Telecom Digest Archives The Telecom Digest FAQ