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Y2K - simplified solution

Y2K - simplified solution

It sounds too good to be true. A sure-fire, simple solution to the Y2K problem. In fact, it is too good to be true because it only addresses one of the problems, but as far as it goes, it's quite clever, and I'm going to let you in on the secret.

I'm sure some of you have thought of this yourselves, or at least gone partway towards working it out. This Y2K "simplified solution" or Y2KSS, is being promoted by one Max Barker, at no charge. It's more of a workaround than a fix, but it might just get you out of trouble with some of your applications. Y2KSS is for systems that store and manipulate dates in a two-digit year format. That is, those that store the year 1998 as 98.

Put in its simplest form, Y2KSS says store all years with 28 subtracted from them. So, 1998 would be stored as 1970, and so on. Then, when dates are displayed or printed, they will need to have 28 years added. Any software that inputs or outputs dates will have to make this adjustment, in the relevant direction.

The principle behind this is easy - calendars work in 28 year cycles, so we could be using a 1970 calendar this year and all the days of the week would be on the same dates. (The exceptions don't concern us here, but they're explained on theY2KSS Web site.)Barker says the first step is to process all existing data, transaction and history files so the new date format is stored. Then change all the I/O software so the conversion is made on all future data, as it goes to file and comes back out again. All sorting and calculations should work perfectly with the "converted" dates.

The main problem I can see is that the system doesn't cure the problem, but simply time-shifts it. That is, at the moment you can store dates from 1900 to 1999 as two-digits, and perform calculations based on these dates. Anything outside these limits can give false answers. For instance, a person born in 1899 could appear to have not been born yet, as 99 would appear to most systems as 1999. Y2KSS simply moves this window so acceptable dates range from 1928 to 2027. That means it can't automatically store birth years of people over 72 years old, or calculate mortgages 30 years into the future. But, it might just work for some of the systems you maintain. I'll let you be the judge.

The Y2KSS Web site is home.earthlink.net/~ mpbarker02/ and it explains things in detail.


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