Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2019 22:44:50 +0000
From: Moderator <email@example.com>
Subject: Pieces of the Past: Residents prepared for Y2K mania,
Pieces of the Past is a weekly history column that takes a look at previous
stories covered by the Bristol Herald Courier.
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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.
Telecom Digest Moderator
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,
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.
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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
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,
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.
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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
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!"
(Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)
End of telecom Digest Mon, 30 Dec 2019