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I like being the first graduating class of the new Millennium. Which sort of goes to your point on preferred names— I care that we win.

Hope to visit that this weekend— with my kids. Now to finish getting them dressed to go out and BE America. Simple, one upon a time, storage space for data was expensive so it made sense at the time to use two digit years. Later on, nobody wanted to pay the money to change the year to four digits. But it did take a different way of looking at code to re-write it into object oriented programming. I got in on the very end of card based programming.

John Holt | Melanie P. Smith

The running joke was: how can you tell the difference between Fortran and Cobol programmers? Easy, Fortran guy carries his card deck in his shirt pocket, Cobol girl carries hers in a shoe box. When I was a young airman, one of my first duties was at the end of the duty day to take the boxes of punch cards over to Data Processing for them to run during the night. Only took one time dropping a box and having the cards go everywhere, and then spending 3 hours more putting them all back into order for me to make sure they were very securely fastened before going out the door.

And yes, we missed the run time that night. Boss was NOT a happy camper. I thought Hollerith cards had a sorting number field so automatic sorters could put them back in order. Or was that a gadget only the few had? Data cards? Or not. There were only 80 columns, and quite often they needed all the space for data. If a card deck was output from the machine, it was fairly easy to add a counter in memory and instructions to output that to the field in the card, then increment it — but it did have to be programmed.

When the cards were produced by typing — and all programs were, and nearly all data began as something typed onto cards — setting up the sorting number was some extra work on a job that was difficult enough to start with.

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This template card was wrapped around a cylinder and mounted in a chamber inside the keypunch. So you had to type a starting number on the first card. If you erred and had to throw out a card, you had to do something to re-start the numbering. If you had to add cards in the middle, it was likely to turn into a mess keeping the numbers in order, even if you incremented by 5 or 10 to leave a few spaces open.

In the one I used, the program was entered by pushing pins into a punch board. And then, the cards had to go through once for each column for numbers twice for letters or alphanumeric , and so running it to sort, say, cards was probably more trouble than a hand sort. The biggest unfixed bug from Y2K that I encountered were some forms dated January OTOH, there was a fair amount of work to eliminate the more horrible ones.

Calais Cable Calais had a telephone company as well in Lafourche and Terrebone Parishes had their date as as well.

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That was about it. So the computer thinks its First, you seldom have a computer running alone. If it has to talk to another, it can get tricky. Sector command: Add 19 prefix to GHQ.. Now, picture this in a real time, critical application. Flight control systems should I think use time stamps and such for location information. Or, what if all? It would have blown up in as well as , except that there were no computers so these calculations were done by hand, hopefully by a human with a little sense.

When there are things that may run over years, like a human lifespan, that can cause problems in any year, not just magic ones. Am I going to kindergarten or drawing social security? Moss, is Mark your son or your great-grandfather? So programmers struggled to find reasonable assumptions, which varied according to the domain. The census the very first users of punch cards for data processing actually does not care if you are 5 or , only where and if you live. But other calculations work with future dates. You have to understand what range of dates is likely for each different situation.

And of course, sometimes it cannot be done by automation. Regular Social Security only pays off for people over 58 or so, and no one has reached so far, so you can fit birth dates for current recipients into a bracket. But SSI may be paid to preschoolers and to centenarians — it has to handle ages from 0 to nearly , so data with 2 year birth dates is going to have to be manually updated from other sources…. How many episodes of Star Trek depended on their forcing a logical contradiction on a computer, forcing it to freeze?

It is so I do not yet exist. But I do exist, therefore it cannot be But it is , so I do not exist. Does not compute.

A Killing In The City (Tom Kendall, Private Detective)

They fixed it before the next edition came out. There was a site where it was I have some pink and silver mylar tape from a minicomputer. The paranoid ones used the comment field for line numbers, though I think that needed some magic from an IBM electromechanical accounting machine. Very vague memory says the AM could be linked to a slave keypunch. Some of the grad students were pushing lines.

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  7. They were run on vacuum tubes. God alone knows what language the used. The prime use was for a Navy radiolocation project.

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    An excellent example of leadership. Who cares? Yeah, the basics are simple, but the edge cases will drive you insane. Take something simple, like the change from Julian to Gregorian calendars. Gregory XIII changed some details of the calendar system and issued an edict; Christendom changed to the new system. Most of it. And some countries, like the Russian Empire, stayed with the old system for a while. Tell me about it.

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    Back when I was chasing Y2K issues, I could a lot of routines that were a little shaky about leap years. I fixed the routines I found, but I am sure there are more still lurking out there.

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    If divisible by 4, leap year. BUT if divisible by , not leap year. BUT if divisible by , still a leap year. The next year ending in two zeroes that will be a leap year will be Rather than redefine the second, the leap second came into play. Been awhile, but Robin Munn has the math I remember. I was dealing with leap year century and 2 digit Y2K issues my first 4 months of a new job, , COBOL, of coarse because annual growth models timber for the next 10 years were over due.

    World ending … no. You want it reported that way, fine, your neck. But data will be stored 4 digit. Clearly drastic action is needed before it slows to a stop! At the very least, we must all face West and run in place until the Earth returns to its anointed speed!

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    You may possibly be thinking of the modification added by the Soviet Union when they finally converted to Gregorian. Apparently their rules yield a calendar more accurate than ours. Especially those big stone ones, like that one in Wiltshire, England. My favorite example of calendar weirdness could be turned into a nifty science fiction short story of sorts:. You make sure your universal translator is working, and that your clothing looks like theirs, and start walking towards the town you can see.

    The question is, what country are you in, and what year is it? So in in Sweden, February 28th was followed by March 1st. Then in , they forgot to skip a leap year again. So now they were just one day behind the Julian calendar, but their project of slowly transitioning to the Gregorian calendar was a day further off-track than when they started… and so they gave up the slow-transition project. So in Sweden in , February 29th was followed by February 30th.