back to article Behold Schrödinger's Y2K, when software went all quantum

Welcome to Y2K, The Register's collection of ramblings from readers tasked with dealing with what almost happened - but didn't - during those halcyon days of two decades past. Today's remembrance comes from a reader the Reg Y2K pseudoriser has elected to name "Clive". Clive had the thankless task of managing a software …

  1. jake Silver badge

    Helpful hint.

    "That said... "I do confess that I had pulled a few hundred dollars out of the ATM in advance, just in case.""

    I have had a couple of hundred dollars in cash available to me "just in case" since the late 1960s (a trifle more these days). It has saved me more times than I can count. Recommended.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: "I do confess that I had pulled a few hundred dollars out of the ATM in advance, just in case."

      That fateful night I was on duty, after a year and a half working on that project, for a large bank.

      At around 1AM I went to the nearest ATM and checked my balance and latest account movements (not an account from the bank I was working for). There was an interest credit of around the equivalent of 3000€. Resisting the urge to spend it there and then, I went back, showed the slip to my co-workers and pondered on what would happen from there on. At 8 AM, after an uneventful night on the job, I went down and checked my balance again. Without a trace of that earlier payment, it now showed the correct and, unfortunately, much smaller interest deposit...

      Someone's night was indeed a lot more eventful than mine ;)

    2. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Helpful hint.

      Ahh the "Oh shit it's all gone horribly wrong" fund.

      I also keep a "oh shit" stash about the place and another on my person. Just in case I need a Taxi Uber Lyft Bus

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: Helpful hint.

        Just in case I need a Taxi Uber Lyft Bus

        How much does it cost to buy a bus?

        1. Long John Brass Silver badge

          Re: Helpful hint.

          How much does it cost to buy a bus?

          About $4000 second hand. That may vary from place to place. If you wan't a cheapish RV they are one place to start :)

  2. LDS Silver badge

    But did they know what older version were vulnerable or not?

    So they could publish/send a notice saying "version before x.y are not Y2K compliant!"?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: But did they know what older version were vulnerable or not?

      I suspect the problem was, that although they could send an notice to their customer's last registered addresses, and probably fax it to them as well, if the customer doesn't respond you're left in the dark.

      Maybe they never got the letter/fax. Maybe they received it but it was ignored, or went to the wrong people. Maybe it was read but not understood. Maybe they actually did the upgrade, maybe they didn't.

      Without ringing up each customer (assuming you still have a working contact number, email wasn't very universal in those days), you had no way of knowing if they'd acted upon the warning notice.

      The only solution would be to sit by the phone on the 1st (and 2nd etc.) and wait for the panicked phone call, as an oblivious customer found out their widget processing software wasn't 2k compliant.

  3. MiguelC Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Just hope I won't get TITSUP* tonight...

    *Total Inability To Stay Up(right) Partying

    (-:)>*

    Happy New Year to all of you!!

  4. cortland

    Some computers still work

    My Tandy model 100 "laptop" still works; it's got about 29 kilobytes of storage, too!

    1. Aussie Doc
      Pint

      Re: Some computers still work

      "...it's got about 29 kilobytes of storage..."

      Clearly more than enough storage, I'm sure.

  5. harmjschoonhoven
    Black Helicopters

    Tuesday Jan 19 03:14:08 2038

    Another thing Greta can worry about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tuesday Jan 19 03:14:08 2038

      Fuck the kids, it's not like they're our future or anything, right?

      1. 's water music Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Tuesday Jan 19 03:14:08 2038

        Fuck the kids, it's not like they're our future or anything, right?

        I believe they are actually

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Tuesday Jan 19 03:14:08 2038

          Because they don't know a George Benson hit when they hear it?

  6. EarthDog

    I found a Y2K bug a few years ago

    I was working as a QA on a project for a tech company a few years ago, who will remain unnamed as I don't want to embarrass Bill and Dave, which used a calendar widget from an unnamed open source software hub which was built around Git. Well I was doing my routine testing, using some manual exploratory testing to augment automated regression testing, when I put in a date in the future. The date the calendar then showed a date in the early 1900s. Imagine my amusement when I got to title the defect report "Y2K bug detected in calendar widget". Imagine the disbelief and amusement when I mentioned it at our next standup.

    Which is one of many reasons I don't trust or have a high opinion of programmers.

    Which is also why I sometimes feel like weeping.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I found a Y2K bug a few years ago

      Y2k and we were sick to death of management whining about the costs of "Millennium proofing" that we booted up a very old Wang word-processor (circa 1986) and dutifully photod the startup screen showing Jan 01 1900 00:00:00. Nobody ever questioned if we had replaced the BIOS battery.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I found a Y2K bug a few years ago

      "Imagine the disbelief and amusement when I mentioned it at our next standup."

      You do comedy as well as IT?

      1. EarthDog

        Re: I found a Y2K bug a few years ago

        the alternative is ECT. So yes, when ever possible.

      2. Alan Newbury
        Devil

        Re: I found a Y2K bug a few years ago

        In my (very extensive) experience, IT and comedy are frequently the same thing.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I found a Y2K bug a few years ago

          Not comedy, tragedy. Easy mistake to make.

          1. baud Bronze badge

            Re: I found a Y2K bug a few years ago

            First time it's a comedy, when it's repeated it turns into a tragedy

  7. whitepines Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Could be worse...Y2K / 2038 bug on a spacecraft!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Impact_(spacecraft)#Contact_lost_and_end_of_mission

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Ferry Michael

    Coming back to the present day Y2K20

    If you were a company called "Y2K Games" with a WWE games franchise and you brought out a version called "WWE 2K20" what could go wrong? https://www.thesixthaxis.com/2020/01/01/wwe-2k20-crash-2020-temporary-fix/

    or your company is too young to remember Y2K:

    https://docs.splunk.com/Documentation/Splunk/8.0.1/ReleaseNotes/FixDatetimexml2020

    or you are a major bank (who patched the problem to be a addressed later?):

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50965339

  10. druck Silver badge
    Coat

    RISC OS Y2K no time soon

    It's going to be a while before RISC OS's 40bit centiseconds since 1900 rolls over, so I'm afraid I wont be around to fix that one.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: RISC OS Y2K no time soon

      I worked that one out at the time, and surprised a few people. It also turned out that the Psions were pretty good - not quite as far in the distant future as RISC OS, but far better than certain other systems.

      M.

  11. TwoSheds30619

    OpenVMS Y10K

    OpenVMS will be okay until 31-JUL-31086 02:48:05.47 however it will have an issue when 9999 ends and 10000 starts (going from 4 digit year to 5).

    https://www.slac.stanford.edu/~rkj/crazytime.txt

  12. Dropper

    Huh?

    After emigrating to the US in 1999 I was besieged by weirdos asking me why I wasn't snapped up by companies panicked about the approaching apocalypse.

    I remember being incredibly confused.. because while everyone in the UK had long since worked out that the worst that could happen was some obsolete kit (mostly VCRs) might get the time wrong and fail to record (or actually record) a few TV shows. Oh I think someone mentioned shop/bank doors on timers might need to be manually opened.

    I tried to explain to everyone who asked that a few vcrs telling the time wrong would not cause buildings to explode, economies to collapse or planes to fall out of the sky, but they remained unconvinced. Eventually I did find employment and spent New Years Eve on-call, silently laughing inside at the huge amount of nothing I was doing while earning massive amounts of cash.

    1. whitepines Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Huh?

      Not sure that says anything other than that the US may have been a more high tech reliant society at the time than the UK?

      A power cut in 1910 isn't a big deal. A power cut to a hyper advanced sci fi civilization could result in the deaths of millions for an opener. Not sure your argument says what you want it to say. <grin>

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