When I was working at the Millstone Hill Radar, we had a room that got the atomic time. The Haystack Observatory used it, along with our tracking equipment. One of 3 at that time. The main one was in NORAD, despite the Naval Observatory having one first. All three talked to each other, with the rule that if one of them started to get off the other 2 would overrule it. Every once in a while the government would mandate adding a leap second, which a few knew how to do (not me).
Anyway, when the Y2K issue came up, I insisted on an isolated subnetwork running copies of all our software (some 30 programs running 24/7/365.2422 and still connected by the equivalent of an overgrown 2-rut dirt road from Westford, Mass., to the Colorado mountain). Loud complaints. But I persisted and then got higher ups to come to my side. We set up a subnetwork, unconnected to the outside real world, and tested the "Do Nothing" alternative (the so-called "East Timor" option) to see if anything broke. Wow was there disaster after disaster. My immediate supervisor was put in charge of rounding up all these new suspects and delegating fixers to fix each one. Some wanted the 3-digit fix, which was worse, but then we recalled that the original computer was a Harris 1000 Vulcan OS, which was a 24-bit cpu. Fortunately we went with the 4 digits and then soon after we upgraded the 24-bit machine to a 32-bit Concurrent Harris. We all finished on time (our bosses had loudly repeated periodically "This is a Deadline that CANNOT be pushed forward!") and felt quite proud of the ~3 month effort.
So then the news mediots all came on January 1st TV and cackled to each other,
".......................well, I guess that was way overblown, huh?"
Edited by xongsmith, : put East Timor in quotes. At the time the Pacific Island was having political upheaval and the eastern side was out of power.
Well, after 21 years, it's no use worrying about them now.
I guess Sarah Bellum didn't read. My post about fixing the software at Millstone Hill meant that we could continue to provide satellite location data to the global network and that GPS could continue to provide locations.
I have no idea how many lives that impacted. But to dismiss it so casually shows a lot of ignorance. No serious worries???
As for 21 years later, well - we still have the Unix 2038 bug galloping down the road.
I suppose the Y2K panic falls into the same category as the story of the $400 hammer the Defense Dept supposedly bought.
No, it doesn't. Our colleagues continued employment didn't depend on a $400 accounting error. There were jobs at stake in many places around the globe. Your hammer story never put anyone's job at risk.