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posted by martyb on Friday January 10 2020, @05:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the Zombies-from-another-century dept.

Thought the Y2K bug was over and done with? Read the New Scientist article A lazy fix 20 years ago means the Y2K bug is taking down computers now and think again!

Parking meters, cash registers and a professional wrestling video game have fallen foul of a computer glitch related to the Y2K bug.

The Y2020 bug, which has taken many payment and computer systems offline, is a long-lingering side effect of attempts to fix the Y2K, or millennium bug.

Both stem from the way computers store dates. Many older systems express years using two numbers – 98, for instance, for 1998 – in an effort to save memory. The Y2K bug was a fear that computers would treat 00 as 1900, rather than 2000.

Programmers wanting to avoid the Y2K bug had two broad options: entirely rewrite their code, or adopt a quick fix called "windowing", which would treat all dates from 00 to 20, as from the 2000s, rather than the 1900s. An estimated 80 per cent of computers fixed in 1999 used the quicker, cheaper option.

"Windowing, even during Y2K, was the worst of all possible solutions because it kicked the problem down the road," says Dylan Mulvin at the London School of Economics.

I seem to remember that credit card companies instead kicked the can on to 2050.

-- hendrik

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by driverless on Friday January 10 2020, @11:38AM (4 children)

    by driverless (4770) on Friday January 10 2020, @11:38AM (#941829)

    Pet peeve:

    in an effort to save memory

    In most cases it had nothing to do with saving memory, it was just convenience, dates are written DD/MM/YY because it's quick and simple (except in the US where they're written M/DD/Y/H/27/MY just because it's the US). I've seen dates recorded in the 1700's and 1800's with two-digit years, and they sure weren't trying to save memory back then.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10 2020, @02:44PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10 2020, @02:44PM (#941879)

    Consider that the ñ was invented as a way to write two "n"s in one place thus saving paper, I think you might be wrong.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10 2020, @06:07PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10 2020, @06:07PM (#941975)

      The purpose of shorthand isn't to save paper but to make writing faster. Two digits is easier and faster to write than four.

      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Friday January 10 2020, @07:48PM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 10 2020, @07:48PM (#942005) Journal

        I wouldn't be too sure of that. There's also making reading faster, by cramming more text on a page. Also happens to save paper.

        I do not know, but I surmise that all the wide and short letters were rotated 90 degrees to make them tall and narrow, so they could get more text on a line. 'A' and 'B' were originally written what we would consider sideways: 𐤀 𓉐

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11 2020, @04:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11 2020, @04:24AM (#942164)

    Writing two digit years is a common human written convention for noting a date (since generally it is clear from surrounding context which century is meant).

    Two digit years in computer programs was just lazy programmers copying the written convention (and obviously not thinking about the implications of that copying).