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The Y2K Problem

The Y2K Problem

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The Y2K Problem

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  1. The Y2K Problem By: Derrick Lee and Megan Stoneberg ITEC 1001-17 Sonal Dekhane November 29, 2007

  2. Year 2000 Problem “Never before in history have we been able to predict the date of a catastrophe…until now.” - Y2K Web site

  3. Areas of Focus • Name • Overview • Programming • The Y2K Bug • Potential Problems • Citizen’s Views • Government Response • The Scare • Gary North • Preparation • Outcome • Promotion

  4. Name • Abbreviation for the Year 2000 software problem • Acronym accredited by Massachusetts programmer David Eddy • Y = year, k = kilo or 1000 (2k = 2000) • Also known as the millennium bug or Y2K bug • Millennium bug references millennium roll-over

  5. Overview • “The Y2K problem is the electronic equivalent of the El Nino and there will be surprises around the globe.” - John Hamre, Deputy Secretary of Defense • Widespread concern • Failure of critical industries • Failure of government functions • Media hearsay/Press coverage fueled public’s fear

  6. Programming • Early program design represented years with two digit placeholders instead of four • MM/DD/YY format, i.e. 08/30/99 • Widespread practice from early 1960’s to late 1980’s • Cheaper • Saved memory space • Unexpected longevity

  7. The Y2K Bug • Hit at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999 • Most programs could only handle 20th-century dates • When dates turned to ‘00’, computer would default to 1900 • Produce erroneous results • Affected dates and times on and after January 1, 2000

  8. The Y2K Bug • Inaccuracy of date and time functions • Person’s age calculated by difference between two dates within the same century • Y2K’s calculated difference of 1 Jan 2000 and 31 Dec 1999 = 100 years • Caused incorrect date-related processing • Failure of computer systems • Software, firmware, hardware, embedded systems-->domino effect

  9. Potential Problems • Affect multitude of software programs, mainly accounting and databases • U.S. Social Security Administration • Near total system failure of Health, Corrections, and Welfare departments • Birth dates and records, incorrect prison sentence expirations, payment delays • Critical industries would be hit • Electricity, finance, utilities, banking, manufacturing, telecom, and airlines

  10. Citizens’ Views • The public was divided about the effect Y2K would have on computers • Many believed it to be a hoax • Some were ignorant of the technology and oblivious to the hype of the millennium • Others feared the worst, believing all computers worldwide would crash

  11. Government Response • U.S. government spent $300+ billion dollars • Three step approach: • Outreach and Advocacy • Monitoring and Assessment • Contingency Planning and Regulation • Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) set Y2K schedules • Commonwealth Agencies • Correction goal of 7/1/98 • 9/30/97, 29 agencies were 3 months ahead

  12. Government Response • Special committees monitored progress • Installed backup of critical files • Schedules, tests, and critical evaluations performed • U.S. Government worked alongside FEMA and Red Cross • Fully staffed/prepared for events of Y2K

  13. Government Response

  14. The Scare • Computer media professionals aided hysteria • Made warnings/predictions of what was to come • Economic catastrophe • Full-blown Depression • In 1997, The Gartner Group estimated, “the year 2000 problem could cost U.S. business $240 billion dollars…as many as 10 percent of all businesses won’t survive.” • By 1999, the figure spiked to $600 billion

  15. The Scare • Book publishers jumped to advertise • Michael Hyatt, wrote The Millennium Bug: How to Survive the Coming Chaos • Marketed mass hysteria • Book detailed three scenarios of Y2K: Brownout, Blackout, Meltdown • “In Meltdown, I predict starvation. Without electricity, telecommunications, and banking…the public will live in a state of terror.”

  16. Gary North • Worst Y2K offender • Ran Y2K Forum “The Year 2000 Problem: The Year the Earth Stands Still” • Continuous Y2K promotion • “The exodus of computer programmers will begin no later than 1999” • “Months before January 1, 2000, the world’s stock markets will have crashed” • Wrote of “gloom and doom” of the 21st century • Predicted Armageddon

  17. Preparations • Public was advised to prepare for disaster • By mid-1999, should be prepared with: • Two to three months of cash withdrawals • Hard copies of bank statement • In case of banking failure • Secure residence from intruders • Mass chaos was to ensue • Article in Forbes magazine recommended rural areas “build hidden rooms to avoid thugs”

  18. Preparations • Stockpile essentials: • Generator • Nonperishable food • Gallons of water • Medical supplies

  19. Outcome • No major failures were reported in the United States or Russia • No confirmation that preparation prevented Y2K bug • The U.S. created the “Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act,” to limit liability of Y2K-ready businesses • Attorney’s prepared for numerous class action lawsuits, but none followed

  20. Promotion • Apple used the Y2K scare for marketing • Macintosh is capable of rendering dates to 2020 • Later upgraded date calculation through next 60 millennia • "We may not have got everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end.” - Science fiction author Douglas Adams, advertising for Mac

  21. Activity Log • Nov. 13, Chose topic • Nov. 20, Discussed main points of our presentation • Nov. 29, Derrick e-mailed me his section • Nov. 30, Megan put the presentation together

  22. References • http://computer.howstuffworks.com/y2k.htm • http://lbfc.legis.state.pa.us/factsheets/Y2K.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem • http://www.fmew.com/archive/y2k/ • http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/ • http://www.co-intelligence.org/y2k_isitreal.html • http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/Y/Year_2000_problem.html • http://www.borderlands.com/y2k/y2khyste.htm • http://www.countdown.org/y2k/prepare_2000.htm