Jim’s WebLetter for 6/24/17

Hi-ya Web Survivors!

I use the term “survivor” because we survived what could have been a major catastrophe that could have happened when we began the new millennium 17 years ago.  

Do you remember Y2K?  

Google remembers the Y2K bug, also called Year 2000 bug or Millennium Bug, was thought to be a problem in the coding of computerized systems that was projected to create havoc in computers and computer networks around the world at the beginning of the year 2000 (in metric measurements K stands for thousand).  

There was a popular song from Prince we all played on the radio. In the hit “1999” the lyrics were “2000-0-0 party over, oops – out of time. So tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999”. https://youtu.be/iI2fRPmEZ6A

We all wondered when the ball dropped down on the new year if it was going to be a happy new year or not.

As it turned out, we survived. Everything worked as it was suppose to and all was right with the world.

But in the face of possible disaster, our government passed a bill that forced all government agencies to create a paper trail of everything it did just in case the computers didn’t work. Tons of paper were being used rather than being stored digitally.

Did you know that the practice of paper over computer storage continued until this year? Yep. Through the Obama Administration, the Bush Administration … all the way back to 2000, our government has been making paper backup of everything it does. Warehouses of boxes of paper have been stored all because no one thought that a new bill needed to be passed to stop it. Until the Trump administration. 

Donald Trump found out about this wasted cost of government and recently signed a bill into legislation cutting down on several paperwork requirements for federal agencies, including one that required them to document plans to deal with the dreaded Millennium Bug.

The problem that led to the Y2K scare was that many pieces of software were designed to represent the current year with just its last two digits, which meant that when we hit the year 2000, the computer would only register ’00’ and wouldn’t be able to distinguish between 1900 and 2000.

And while the media made a huge deal of it (Y2K even made Time magazine’s cover in January 1999), citing fears of airlines’ and banks’ operations going haywire, nothing really happened because the problem wasn’t remotely as serious as it was made out to be, and there was no “global meltdown”.

It is interesting to point out here that the news media has been the leader in pointless threats and innuendos since they switched from reporting the news to stating their opinions about the news. You’ll notice in most biased reports now you hear the words, “could” and “may be” as though it is solid fact. But I digress.

Today, the Y2K bug is regarded to have been nothing more than a big fat hoax. 

Thankfully, the White House is removing seven requirements in paperwork that relate to the ‘issue’, which, according to officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will save thousands of man-hours and thereby save tax payers millions of dollars.

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney was quoted as saying, “Many agencies have forgotten how to deregulate. It’s been so long since somebody asked them to look backwards.” 

He’s also planning a further review of requirements from previous presidential executive orders in order to spot more unnecessary requirements that can be shaved off.

Since the Y2K scare, much has been done to the dating of software. But we don’t seem to be out of the woods yet.  

A new bug is said coming in the year 2038. The Y2038 problem is caused by 32-bit processors and the limitations of the 32-bit systems they power. The processor is the central component that drives all computers and computing devices. It crunches the numbers and performs calculations that allow programs to run.

This means, when the year 2038 strikes 03:14:07 UTC on March 19, 2038, computers still using 32-bit systems to store and process the date and time won’t be able to cope with the date and time change. Like what was thought about 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.

But there is still plenty of time for computers to be upgraded to avoid a massive shutdown. Meanwhile, we can party like it’s 2037.  

Learn more about Y2K and the new bug Y2038. Just Google it.  

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Learn more about the new iPads and tablet computing in iTab Magazine. http://iTab.jimonline.com

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That’s it this week. Have a great weekend and may God bless you and keep you safe.
c-ya!
Jim

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