Published Works,  Technology Column

Tech 33

Tech #9801
December 31, 1997

Note: for some unknown reason I decided to change the heading from “Tech 31, Tech 32, etc. to Tech 9801, Tech 9802, and so on. I am keeping the old heading style for the remainder of these 1998 posts. 

Here we are in a brand new year! What will the future hold? Total computer melt down. (I don’t think so.)

There really has been a lot of hype in other media about the problem with how your computer figures out what day it is. With just over 700 days until the dreaded January 1, 2000, technology writers are throwing lots of doom-and-gloom predictions in the air. Will your computer stop working? Mortgage check bounce? Will all your credit cards automatically cancel, and post service cease? Naaah.  Reading dates from software, and internally, is a basic part of operating systems like Windows or Mac’s OS-8. These initial codes were written when the use of computers was limited to programmers, and yes, believe it or not no one thought to take the turn of the century into account.   According to giant Microsoft and it’s new kissing cousin Apple, main operating systems won’t be a problem. So what’s the rub? Individual programs.

The bottom line is that if you are in love with some old DOS based dinosaur, AND calculating dates is an integral part of it’s function, be prepared to update your software.  Consider yourself forewarned. I believe two years is a long enough time to find a modern piece of software to fill your current needs. Really. Otherwise, you may almost ignore all the drama CNN Technology Week is apt to throw your way. Start paying attention next summer. Happy New Year!