The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

User avatar
Swervin_Mervin
Posts: 1015
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:58 pm

The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by Swervin_Mervin » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:47 am

So, this was a thought that came to me as a spin off from some of the bullcrap opinions I've been reading about Yellowhammer.

Lots of comments about how the world was predicted to end with the Y2K bug and yet we were all hunky-dory, completely ignoring the huge amount of advance planning and mitigation that went on beforehand.

However, it got me thinking - has anyone ever quantified how much the lack of issues was down to preparedness, or whether it was largely a problem that wouldn't have been as big as predicted?

Genuinely intrigued to know, as a non-IT person that knows nothing about it. I remember at the time how much of a massive deal it was, and knew of family/friends that were specifically employed in Y2K planning, but it always seemed like everyone just cracked on as normal and forgot about it once the clock had ticked over and the world didn't end.

User avatar
NotoriousREV
Posts: 4173
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:14 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by NotoriousREV » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:56 am

I don’t recall it ever being quantified but yes, it was only a “non-event” because software and hardware vendors put out millions of patches and people tested the shit out of systems. Even small businesses actually did stuff.

I’ve seen the same argument a few times online, including the occasional bullshitter saying things like “I worked in IT at the time and I know it was all bollocks”. Fucking thick gammon cunts.
Mo’ money, mo’ tard.

User avatar
JLv3.0
Posts: 4656
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:42 am

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by JLv3.0 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:57 am

Try and be positive Dave

User avatar
Swervin_Mervin
Posts: 1015
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:58 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by Swervin_Mervin » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:00 am

It was one particular comment that got me thinking - it was from someone saying that they'd seen various systems tested beforehand by advancing the clock on, with some failing badly and some merrily unaffected.

I wonder if it happened now, whether there would be a huge forensic investigation demanded by "the public" after the event about spending £000bns on something that "seemingly" hadn't been as bad as anticipated. I think I know the answer to that

User avatar
NotoriousREV
Posts: 4173
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:14 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by NotoriousREV » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:00 am

Oh, and Y2K was a big driver for the industry making it much easier to get patches out (along with improved connectivity, of course). For example, the recent “issue” with GPS systems generally was a non-event because it was patched years ago instead of waiting until the last minute.
Mo’ money, mo’ tard.

User avatar
ZedLeg
Posts: 1460
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:19 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by ZedLeg » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:03 am

Same as GDPR imo. Loads of talk about it being a massive headache but it ended up being mostly fine because people put a lot of work in before the date.

We're doing it with Brexit as well. A big part of my job just now is trying to tighten up our companies import/export paperwork for the EU in case we end up having no trade agreement at all. The difference is no one has the slightest idea what's going to happen so we don't really know what to prepare for.
An absolute unit

User avatar
NotoriousREV
Posts: 4173
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:14 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by NotoriousREV » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:04 am

Swervin_Mervin wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:00 am
It was one particular comment that got me thinking - it was from someone saying that they'd seen various systems tested beforehand by advancing the clock on, with some failing badly and some merrily unaffected.

I wonder if it happened now, whether there would be a huge forensic investigation demanded by "the public" after the event about spending £000bns on something that "seemingly" hadn't been as bad as anticipated. I think I know the answer to that
But the whole point was the testing. For some systems they were already compliant (ie were using 4 digit dates anyway), some it had no real impact because they weren’t dealing with real dates from 1900 or weren’t using those dates to calculate things that would be impacted (eg figuring out what day of the week 01/01/01 is) or they failed and were patched.
Mo’ money, mo’ tard.

User avatar
NotoriousREV
Posts: 4173
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:14 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by NotoriousREV » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:04 am

Honestly, if as much work went into selling the positives of Brexit and they got people galvanised behind it, we’d be in a much better place than we are now.
Mo’ money, mo’ tard.

User avatar
Beany
Posts: 1192
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:27 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by Beany » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:08 am

What Dave said. The crux of the problem - in very brief - was that lots of systems had their dates tied up in a 2 digit format (ie, '95, '96, '97, etc) as no-one really expected, for example, the entire banking system to still be running on fifteen to twenty year old platforms (because it's banking, and it just works) and they never originally expected them to have to deal with a two-figure-to-four-figure date change.

Now extend that not just to banking, but aircraft control, stock management, SCADA (industrial control - like power plants), right through to smaller things like SMBs who supply larger outfits with parts, still using fifteen year old kit (or just cheap, poorly written kit) in their back office for their own ordering and invoicing process.

Now imagine all of that generating the wrong date, on everything, making it utterly useless in any reasonably legal respect, and then start applying that to the banking system, or SCADA systems that use dates and times to fire up power plant capacity, or aircraft control to manage flightpaths, or haulage systems trying to plan schedules, vehicle availability and asset management.

As Dave states, the work that went into fixing this problem up and down from replacing the timer on your heating system, to updating the control systems of nuclear power plants, was a modern software engineering marvel, nothing less.

Anyone who claims Y2K was bullshit is doing nothing more than signalling their astonishing ignorance and should be immediately and mercilessly ridiculed.

User avatar
Swervin_Mervin
Posts: 1015
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:58 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by Swervin_Mervin » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:18 am

Beany wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:08 am
Anyone who claims Y2K was bullshit is doing nothing more than signalling their astonishing ignorance and should be immediately and mercilessly ridiculed.
Oh absolutely, don't get me wrong on that one. I just wondered if it had ever been quantified. It's a sign of how far we've come* that I think if it happened today the response of the public could be markedly less understanding and appreciative.



* backwards obvs.

User avatar
dinny_g
Posts: 1058
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:31 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by dinny_g » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:23 am

ZedLeg wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:03 am
Same as GDPR imo. Loads of talk about it being a massive headache but it ended up being mostly fine because people put a lot of work in before the date.
This...

And yet I still get Daily Junk Mail to my house and telephone calls on a weekly basis about car accidents I have never had... :lol:
JLv3.0 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:26 pm
I say this rarely Dave, but listen to Dinny because he's right.

User avatar
mik
Posts: 2209
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:15 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by mik » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:34 am

NotoriousREV wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:04 am
Swervin_Mervin wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:00 am
It was one particular comment that got me thinking - it was from someone saying that they'd seen various systems tested beforehand by advancing the clock on, with some failing badly and some merrily unaffected.

I wonder if it happened now, whether there would be a huge forensic investigation demanded by "the public" after the event about spending £000bns on something that "seemingly" hadn't been as bad as anticipated. I think I know the answer to that
But the whole point was the testing. For some systems they were already compliant (ie were using 4 digit dates anyway), some it had no real impact because they weren’t dealing with real dates from 1900 or weren’t using those dates to calculate things that would be impacted (eg figuring out what day of the week 01/01/01 is) or they failed and were patched.
You can see Y2K in the text on the box on his chest. They planned the whole shitstorm whilst they were faking all this footage, and couldnt resist leaving an easter egg.....

Image

User avatar
Beany
Posts: 1192
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:27 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by Beany » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:52 am

Swervin_Mervin wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:18 am
Beany wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:08 am
Anyone who claims Y2K was bullshit is doing nothing more than signalling their astonishing ignorance and should be immediately and mercilessly ridiculed.
Oh absolutely, don't get me wrong on that one. I just wondered if it had ever been quantified. It's a sign of how far we've come* that I think if it happened today the response of the public could be markedly less understanding and appreciative.



* backwards obvs.
The long and short of it, is that it's quantifiable in the manner that we still functioned as a first world society after the date flipped over.

If those at the sharp end had slacked off, we'd have been (temporarily) likely been thrown back into something like Victorian times for at least a few weeks.

That's not even an exaggeration.

V8Granite
Posts: 665
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:57 am

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by V8Granite » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:17 pm

I remember working in Quality Audit whole all this was going on and people were genuinely worried. It was incredibly easy to lose your ISO rating (it was ISO9000 at the time) so we had a team going round all the departments making sure we were compliant. It was a massive money maker for people as all our kit was checked and got a little yellow sticker, even stuff with no date or programming ability.

I think it allowed people to take the piss because of the excitement over it but that excitement probably made people take it seriously enough that it turned into a non event.

I’ll ask a colleague why the marine industry was thinking as we had Dynamic Positioning oil rigs and vessels all over the world and if they had gone wrong there would be a big snafoo over it.

Dave!

User avatar
Richard
Posts: 774
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:03 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by Richard » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:44 pm

The next Y2K is the “Year 2038” problem

Here’s the wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem

Loosely the issue is that on some (a lot) of computer system, time is measured by the number of seconds since 1st Jan 1970. This number is stored in a 32-bit format, which has a maximum count that will run out on 19th Jan 2038

I guess then we hope to have moved to a 64-bit format?

User avatar
Beany
Posts: 1192
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:27 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by Beany » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:55 pm

Richard wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:44 pm
The next Y2K is the “Year 2038” problem

Here’s the wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem

Loosely the issue is that on some (a lot) of computer system, time is measured by the number of seconds since 1st Jan 1970. This number is stored in a 32-bit format, which has a maximum count that will run out on 19th Jan 2038

I guess then we hope to have moved to a 64-bit format?
I think most Unix-like systems (Linux, BSD, etc) are mostly ready for it at an operating system level - so presuming you can cleanly migrate services to that, that'll be fine.

It's embedded systems with extremely long system lifetimes that are going to be the ones that are a pain in the arse.

The experience from Y2K has informed the 2038 issue though, so people are working on it.

User avatar
Coaster1
Posts: 816
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:38 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by Coaster1 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:27 pm

Can you lot stop discussing about me on public forum? :evil:

Would rather you just pm me.

User avatar
mik
Posts: 2209
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:15 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by mik » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:24 pm

You're always bugging us YK!

User avatar
scotta
Posts: 1193
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by scotta » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:32 pm

I did a shit load of work on the Y2k stuff. I was at that point working in the SME arena and even the smallest companies took action for it. we had a load of investigation in to bios levels and did a load of bios upgrades. We had some testing tools to check systems for compliency that we ran on customers sites. Some of our bigger sites did complete hardware refreshes as their sites were that old. At one point i worked somthing like 5 or 6 weekends in a row doing site infrastructure upgrades for various clients across the country. We also certainly didn't close the doors a few weeks prior to Y2k to write a queens speach...

User avatar
DeskJockey
Posts: 832
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:58 am

Re: The Y2K Bug - Q for IT Guys

Post by DeskJockey » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:54 pm

I can't remember what we did (but loads was done, we had plenty of ancient systems creaking along), but I remember the silly standby money we were paid to stay sober and contactable over Christmas and New Year). That and getting a vibrating high capacity battery pack for my Nokia 6110.
---
Driving a Galaxy far far away

Post Reply