Friday, March 29, 2019

Brexit Now or Y2038?

exit seems similar to Year 2000 to me - a do or die scenario.  Except with Year 2000 we knew we what to do to fix it. We weren't sure how well we would cover everything.  It was a new playing field - dates were 'sprinkled' everywhere in hardware and software.

The conclusion today is that it was a better safe than sorry story.  Most at risk areas were transportation (falling planes), nuclear (war) and power facilities (survival kits).  The National Geographic says that Russia, Italy and South Korea had done little to prepare.  Australia and the U.S. prepared a lot.  The estimate was that $400 billion was spent - almost half in the U.S. to upgrade hardware and software.  National Geographic says the question remains open on whether it was warranted or might have been an exaggeration - a 'hoax'.  

Since then there have been smaller issues:  In 2012, the addition of an extra second between Saturday and Sunday to account for the slowing rotation of the Earth affected flight check-ins in Australia, and hit popular websites including Yelp and Foursquare.

There's one on the horizon:  It is Y2038 - the next Y2K kind of issue. 
The year 2038 problem is called the end of UNIX time - it is caused by 32-bit processors and the limitations of the 32-bit systems they power. When the year 2038 strikes 03:14:07 UTC on 19 March, computers still using 32-bit systems to store and process the date and time will run out of space.  Like the Y2K bug, the computers won’t be able to tell the difference between the year 2038 and 1970 – the year after which all current computer systems measure time.  Most computers are now 64-bit systems so this issue lies with older systems.  Like Y2K, the biggest concern is transportation, power and nuclear systems.  

Don't these seem so simple in comparison to Britain's "Day of reckoning"?   The Guardian has a live feed that goes 5 minutes ago, 14 minutes ago, 54 minutes ago, etc. It looks like a Y2K countdown.  

Should we take the advice on this coffee cup?


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