I'm curious. How would changing the time on a clock result in "frozen customers"? Surely any problem an incorrect clock could cause could be fixed long before anyone got chilly. I mean, clocks do break, even when it's not 31 December 1999.
Still, it makes me wonder. Suppose you went into a power plant, or a network of power plants and the associated distribution network, and changed the date on all the clocks to something incorrect. What would happen? Would people's bills be calculated incorrectly? Would that really be apocalyptic? Would the time change affect settings that affect usage estimates because it assumed the weather would be different? Could this happen by changing the year but not the month and the day of the month?
Software problems can certainly cause catastrophes. They may also be mere nuisances. That's all the Y2K problem ever was.
There were claims that the Y2K bug would be apocalyptic if they weren't fixed (or, in the case of the echatological types, there would be an apocalypse whether or not the fix was in, for other reasons).
But has anyone found a Y2K bug that, if it had not been fixed, would have resulted in anything like the Ariane 5 crash in 1996 or the Yahoo data breach in 2017, much less an electrical grid failure or planes crashing or banking financial networks collapsing?
Sure, there were nuisances. Even with the fixes, there were nuisances. But since not a single failure worthy of screaming headlines slipped through, either:
There were serious Y2K bugs and programmers caught every single one of them, fixed them and didn't tell anyone they'd prevented the sky from falling.
Lots of smoke here, from such a small fire! Guess I should check in more often...
It was a bug. It was a real bug that caused problems and would have caused a lot more problems had not a lot of instances of it been fixed. A lot of people spent a lot of time fixing it (as they do for all kinds of bugs) and kudos to them. It's not denigration of their programming chops to notice that, as bugs go, it was mundane, rather than apocalyptic. Apologize if I can't get around to responding to everybody's posts, but I hope this article from Nature magazine helps. GPS glitch threatens thousands of scientific instruments
quote:Researchers worldwide are racing to get ahead of a bug in the US Global Positioning System (GPS) that could cause data loggers, including thousands of scientific instruments, to malfunction starting on 6 April. The glitch, known as the ‘week number rollover’, could trigger GPS receivers — which enable devices used throughout research to keep highly accurate time — to reset their clocks and spit out corrupted data.
Scientists in fields from seismology to particle physics are checking whether their instruments — which might be portable, or anchored in bedrock or polar ice — are susceptible. For those that are, researchers are updating them to pre-empt the issue, using instructions from manufacturers.
“The rollover is a serious issue,” says Christian Haberland, a seismologist at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. “It means a big additional effort and work. In some cases, field equipment has to be replaced.”
The issue affects many scientific instruments, such as seismometers, that depend on GPS receivers to time-stamp their data, as well as global arrays of instruments such as radio-telescope that use GPS time to stay in sync. They do this using time signals from GPS satellites’ ultra-precise atomic clocks.
Many consumer devices such as satnavs are immune to the issue because the rollover doesn’t affect positioning accuracy or because new devices have been built to deal with the problem; people can check and update their models on manufacturers’ websites.
The glitch arises because of how the satellites broadcast the timestamp. Their signals include a binary ten-digit ‘week number’ in GPS time, which began on 6 January 1980. Receivers use the number to calculate the exact date and time. But 10 digits covers only 1,024 weeks, or 19.7 years. That limit will be reached for the second time at midnight on 6 April universal time, when the week number broadcast by the satellites will roll back to 0 (the first rollover happened in 1999 when there were far fewer GPS receivers in use around the world). Susceptible devices risk reading the 0 as being in the past and could start generating incorrectly timestamped data.
The upcoming glitch is likely to mainly affect mostly older GPS receivers or those lacking recent updates to their ‘firmware’ — software programmed into a device’s permanent memory — that ensure devices are not confused by the rollover. Vulnerable GPS receivers won’t necessarily stop working at the stroke of midnight — some may fail in weeks, months or years depending on how they were configured.
Instrument manufacturers, such as Nanometrics, Topcon and Güralp, have created web pages where users can check whether their models are vulnerable, and download firmware updates to safeguard their instruments or buy newer models.
Instruments that rely on Russia’s GLONASS system, the European Union’s Galileo network or China’s Beidou system won’t be affected by the rollover.
Field specifics The field of geoscience is particularly affected because it uses GPS time extensively. Operators of large instrument networks in the United States, Canada and Germany have been testing and updating affected receivers for months, says Haberland.
UNAVCO, a global consortium of 230 universities and research organizations based in Boulder, Colorado, has arrays of GPS instruments deployed globally — including in polar regions — that continually measure Earth’s shape and the motion of its crust. This infrastructure is important to many fields in the Earth and atmospheric sciences.
Despite the updates, “some instruments will produce corrupt data that may be lost, or recovered only by tedious data corrections”, says Frederick Blume, a project manager at UNAVCO.
The Canadian Geodetic Survey has updated its receivers’ firmware, but “we will still be on the edge of our seat during the rollover”, says Brian Donahue, a senior geodetic engineer at Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa.
GFZ-Potsdam researchers have begun testing their pool of 934 seismic recorders. So far, they have fixed 13 of 22 field recorders dotted around the Alps that require urgent attention, and they will replace or update hundreds of receivers expected to be affected before the end of 2022. It’s arduous, says Haberland, because many recorders can’t be updated online and must be brought back to the lab.
The organization is also one of several trying to raise awareness of the rollover to individual researchers, Haberland adds.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Tokai to Kamioka (T2K) experiment — which studies neutrino particles by firing them hundreds of kilometres — uses GPS receivers to synchronize its particle beams and distant detectors. T2K is well prepared for the 6 April rollover, says Hans Berns, an engineer at the University of California at Davis who helped to design T2K’s synchronization process.
In the 1999 rollover, some high-end devices failed, but a bunch of low-cost back-up receivers saved the day, he recalls. The expensive ones “started spitting out funky date numbers”, he says.
This wasn't a story about the Y2K bug. It was an article published 3 April 2019. Software has bugs in it. Lots of bugs. The Y2K bug was just one of many and rather more pedestrian than most. It got publicity because it was scheduled to happen at the beginning of a year ending in a lot of zeroes, so it coincided with THE YEAR OF THE APOCALYPSE, unlike the similar bug in the article above. Also the description of the Y2K bug fit easily in a sound bite that the TV newsreaders can read in their short breaks between commercials. The last paragraph of the article is interesting too...
I suppose the Y2K panic falls into the same category as the story of the $400 hammer the Defense Dept supposedly bought. It didn't really happen (The extra cost was an artifact of flawed government accounting for overhead costs). Or the story of President Obama's birthplace being in Africa (Something about an erroneous listing in the Harvard Law Review about him being "born in Kenya and raised in Hawaii and Indonesia". Or maybe it was the multiculti hype in a press release issued to sell one of the books he wrote). That didn't happen either, but some people still purport to believe it, after all the publicity that fastened onto a snippet of "evidence" in the story.
If social media is how you keep yourself "informed"...
If anyone is claiming I'm "wishing away" global warming, they simply haven't been reading my posts. I'm looking forward to the day when cars are all electric, and that electricity is produced by renewables. Or maybe nuclear fusion, if it turns out to actually be nonpolluting. If they actually get it past the break-even point. Of course, they've been predicting they could make nuclear fusion feasible even longer than global warming has been predicted (See Another Ice Age? for example)
But those predictions of fusion power bringing electricity too cheap to meter don't matter as much as the predictions made in the 1980s the Maldives would be underwater within 30 years or predictions in the 1980s that New York City's West Side Highway would be submerged within 30 years or predictions at the turn of the century that within a few years children in the UK wouldn't know what snow is....
It's no longer a scientific question. It's a political problem. Like vaccination. The fact that so many are skittish about vaccination is a sign of political failure. So is the debate over Global Warming.
Where did I get that idea? From reading your posts:
In an earlier post, I wrote, "... no wonder I only check in here every month or so!" Meaning I didn't check this particular social media site (evcforum.net) very often. You replied, "That's one way to avoid learning anything," indicating that this particular social media site (evcforum.net) provides you with learning.
If you're not going to read my posts, why do you bother to respond to them?