Fribble Friday, December 17, 1999

The Y10K Bug

By a Fool in Waiting

I was barely out of high school when I was bitten by one of the many computer bugs. In those days the industry was called "DP" (Data Processing), now it is "IT" (Information Technology). In those days you needed a college degree; now you only need Pokemon skills. I have been operating and programming mainframe computers since 1957. In fact, I am one of the people who designed data files and wrote programs using a two-digit year and helped create the Y2K bug. I am sorry. I apologize.

But I have trouble with today's computer experts who smugly ask thousands of dollars to fix the date-processing in all of our programs so that the year 2000 will not cause the planet to self-annihilate. They charge big money to do their job, yet they lack a sense of humility. They look down their noses at those of us who didn't quite get it right in the beginning.

Well, I am here to tell those experts that they are no better than I and all of my contemporaries. Governments and public companies are paying over $50,000,000,000 to exterminate the Y2K bug and they are getting shoddy workmanship. The Y2K experts still do not have it right.

In about 8,000 years (when we reach Y10K), the four-digit year will turn to a five-digit year and we will have to do this whole process over again. Imagine what it will cost in 9999 AD to fix what has not been done in 1999. So wipe that smug smile off of your face all you Y2K experts. If you were truly an expert you would have put in a five-digit year now -- and would save us from the Y10K bug.