So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM! 
Author Message
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!

There is a front page story about Y2K in today's _The New
York Times_ featuring, in large part, the Y2K goings-on at
Public Service Electric and Gas of New Jersey.

Here is a pertinent excerpt:

        One of those lines contained the name of a 25-
     digit serial number.  Suspicious, Mrs. Zavlyanova zeroed
     in on this segment and there it was: a millennium bug!
     Six of the digits in the serial number referred to a date:
     two for the month, two for the day, and only two for the
     year.

     [The next paragraph, snipped, goes on to detail the
     logistical problems of expanding the serial number to 27
     digits to accommodate two more digits for the century, with
     no mention being made of the probability of a monumental
     file conversion.]

        Before she undertook this task, however, Mrs. Zavlyanova
     checked and found that another programmer who had encoun-
     tered the serial number in another part of the program
     had already expanded it.  But that programmer apparently
     made an error, so more work would be needed.

        "Y2K work isn't easy as a lot of people think," said
     Mr. Zavlyanova, who has on her desk a certificate praising
     her as a top performer.

Guffaw!  Guffaw!  Guffaw!

First of all, the discovery of a two digit year does *not*
equate to the discovery of the dreaded millennium bug.

If the date is part of a serial number, then it is probably
just a date stamp, and as such, if it doesn't go through a
date comparison nor date calculation, it is harmless.  (This
is why I laugh when people are concerned about chips in
toasters malfunctioning.  In all probability, the dates
of those chips, if they do in fact exist, never go through
a date comparison nor date calculation which will cause
problems.)  As a matter of fact, even certain date calculations
are harmless.  Say you have date 12/15/99 and you want to
add 390 days to it.  If the program handles the rollover to
the next century by properly and logically lopping off the high
order digit(s) of the year coming out of the date calculation
resulting in "01" for the year of the final answer, then
there is no problem here (otherwise, of course, remedial action
is warranted!)

So here we have a company that foolishly delayed high
priority work seeking to fix that which may not need to be
fixed at all!  And if they expand the 25-digit serial
number to a 27-digit serial number, then they must be
asking for an onerous file conversion because what serial
number exists in main storage like an intermediate
result of a calculation without hitting a disk file some-
where?

The above, of course, is based on some supposition, but
what sane programming project allows more than one
programmer to work on the same program at the same time.
It's bad enough when one programmer is assigned to one
thing while other programmers are handling drivers and
subroutines and such upon which the first programmer is
relying, but to have two programmers monkeying around with
the same program is total stupidity!

Now here's the best stupidity:

        To save time, PSE&G is not expanding years to four
     digits in most programs, but is instead using a technique
     called windowing.  Years are left as two digits, but the
     computer is instructed to interpret 00 to 49 as being 2000
     to 2049 and 50 to 99 as 1950 to 1999.  Of course, if the
     program is still in use in 2050, it will have to be fixed
     again.

"To save time???"  "TO SAVE TIME!?!?!"

Don't those bozos know that there are windowing techniques that
will last indefinitely and which don't involve more than a
tiny bit of extra effort??

And by the way, remedial action may have to be taken again
earlier than 2050 depending on the nature of future dates
that come into the system.

And no wonder no one from PSE&G reads this newsgroup.
Apparently all the programmers there these days speak
Russian!  Read the article in the newspaper!



Thu, 14 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!
Why don't youbog off Mr Anonymous, until you can be bothered to put your
name in with your drivel.
Quote:

>There is a front page story about Y2K in today's _The New
>York Times_ featuring, in large part, the Y2K goings-on at
>Public Service Electric and Gas of New Jersey.

>Here is a pertinent excerpt:

>        One of those lines contained the name of a 25-
>     digit serial number.  Suspicious, Mrs. Zavlyanova zeroed
>     in on this segment and there it was: a millennium bug!
>     Six of the digits in the serial number referred to a date:
>     two for the month, two for the day, and only two for the
>     year.

>     [The next paragraph, snipped, goes on to detail the
>     logistical problems of expanding the serial number to 27
>     digits to accommodate two more digits for the century, with
>     no mention being made of the probability of a monumental
>     file conversion.]

>        Before she undertook this task, however, Mrs. Zavlyanova
>     checked and found that another programmer who had encoun-
>     tered the serial number in another part of the program
>     had already expanded it.  But that programmer apparently
>     made an error, so more work would be needed.

>        "Y2K work isn't easy as a lot of people think," said
>     Mr. Zavlyanova, who has on her desk a certificate praising
>     her as a top performer.

>Guffaw!  Guffaw!  Guffaw!

>First of all, the discovery of a two digit year does *not*
>equate to the discovery of the dreaded millennium bug.

>If the date is part of a serial number, then it is probably
>just a date stamp, and as such, if it doesn't go through a
>date comparison nor date calculation, it is harmless.  (This
>is why I laugh when people are concerned about chips in
>toasters malfunctioning.  In all probability, the dates
>of those chips, if they do in fact exist, never go through
>a date comparison nor date calculation which will cause
>problems.)  As a matter of fact, even certain date calculations
>are harmless.  Say you have date 12/15/99 and you want to
>add 390 days to it.  If the program handles the rollover to
>the next century by properly and logically lopping off the high
>order digit(s) of the year coming out of the date calculation
>resulting in "01" for the year of the final answer, then
>there is no problem here (otherwise, of course, remedial action
>is warranted!)

>So here we have a company that foolishly delayed high
>priority work seeking to fix that which may not need to be
>fixed at all!  And if they expand the 25-digit serial
>number to a 27-digit serial number, then they must be
>asking for an onerous file conversion because what serial
>number exists in main storage like an intermediate
>result of a calculation without hitting a disk file some-
>where?

>The above, of course, is based on some supposition, but
>what sane programming project allows more than one
>programmer to work on the same program at the same time.
>It's bad enough when one programmer is assigned to one
>thing while other programmers are handling drivers and
>subroutines and such upon which the first programmer is
>relying, but to have two programmers monkeying around with
>the same program is total stupidity!

>Now here's the best stupidity:

>        To save time, PSE&G is not expanding years to four
>     digits in most programs, but is instead using a technique
>     called windowing.  Years are left as two digits, but the
>     computer is instructed to interpret 00 to 49 as being 2000
>     to 2049 and 50 to 99 as 1950 to 1999.  Of course, if the
>     program is still in use in 2050, it will have to be fixed
>     again.

>"To save time???"  "TO SAVE TIME!?!?!"

>Don't those bozos know that there are windowing techniques that
>will last indefinitely and which don't involve more than a
>tiny bit of extra effort??

>And by the way, remedial action may have to be taken again
>earlier than 2050 depending on the nature of future dates
>that come into the system.

>And no wonder no one from PSE&G reads this newsgroup.
>Apparently all the programmers there these days speak
>Russian!  Read the article in the newspaper!



Thu, 14 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!
http://pages.prodigy.net/bershinger/y2k.htm
Quote:

>There is a front page story about Y2K in today's _The New
>York Times_ featuring, in large part, the Y2K goings-on at
>Public Service Electric and Gas of New Jersey.

>Here is a pertinent excerpt:

>        One of those lines contained the name of a 25-
>     digit serial number.  Suspicious, Mrs. Zavlyanova zeroed
>     in on this segment and there it was: a millennium bug!
>     Six of the digits in the serial number referred to a date:
>     two for the month, two for the day, and only two for the
>     year.



Thu, 14 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!
'Twas Sun, 27 Dec 1998 22:08:40 -0800, when "Bill Bershinger"

Quote:
>http://pages.prodigy.net/bershinger/y2k.htm

The number of factual errors on that page is staggering.  Let me quote
enough to point out five.

Quote:
>Well, first a few facts. Fact 1. Even PC's do not use the commonly know
>DDMMYY format for date storage.

The common storrage format for dates on a PC is not MMDDYY, but the Real
Time Clock (a major source of Y2K issues) stores CC, YY, MM, DD, hh, mm
and ss, each in its own two digit byte.

Quote:
>Really? What do PC's use?
>PC's use 2 bytes, or 16 bits to store the number of days since January 1,
>1980. Now these two bytes, can have any value from 0 to 65,535 i.e. 2 to
>the 16th power.

The standard PC date storage format uses four bits for MM, five bits for
DD, and seven bits for YYYY-1980.

Quote:
>Compare that with what you are told, namely that 6 bytes are not enough
>for more than 100 years.

That's not what you are being told, except by the loonies.  6 bytes can
hold a lot, but it's all in how it's encoded.  Some data encoding schemes
compress the data better than others.  Using 48 bits to represent a period
of only 100 years is a very low data content per bit, but that was the
encoding that was human readable, so it could be used without translation
of the data, and in the old days shuffling those bits around took a lot of
processor power.  Those data formats got entrenched, and it is always
traumatic to change data formats, so formats from the 1960s (and earlier)
are still in use.

Quote:
>It is only application level software, written by programmers of varying
>degrees of talent, that have given us this problem to the extent that it
>exists.

That's quite a big "only", but even there you are wrong.  There are
computer operating systems with serious Y2K problems.  There are models of
computers which IBM made only 15 years ago for which no Y2K compliant
operating system is available. And it's not just IBM, most most computers
from the 1970s (and there are many thousands still around) have no Y2K
compliant operating system.

Quote:
>Ya see, in order to follow the PC example and use 2 bytes to represent 179
>years, you also need a program to convert the 2 bytes into DDMMYY.

Most programmers would get a chuckle out of this use of the word
"program", but it's not entirely incorrect.

Quote:
>That takes work, is best written in Assembler for performance reasons, and
>Assembler is a foreign language to most programmers.

Well of course it takes work, but going into Assembler just to shuffle
some bits around was rarely necessary.  Most code that I have written to
fiddle with dates is in Cobol.  The "program" to convert the 48 bit date
to the PC date format is:

   COMPUTE PC-DATE = (YYYY - 1980) * 512 + MM * 32 + DD

Going the other way is

   COMPUTE YYYY = 1980 + (PC-DATE / 512)
   COMPUTE MM = FUNCTION MOD (PC-DATE 512) / 32
   COMPUTE DD = FUNCTION MOD (PC-DATE 32)

No foreign Assembly language required.

It is really odd about this page that after starting out saying Y2K is a
hoax, he then starts saying there is a lot of work to be done, and that a
lot of the money being spent is being squandered.

--
R B |\  Randall Bart

n r |\  1-310-542-6013      Please reply without spam       I Love You
d t ||\ Greatest Unisys A Series Programmer Available is Now Available
a    |/                 http://members.aol.com/PanicYr00/RBResume.html
l    |\ The Year 2000 Bugs:           http://members.aol.com/PanicYr00
l    |/ MS^7=6/28/107   http://members.aol.com/PanicYr00/Sequence.html



Fri, 15 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!

Quote:

>It's bad enough when one programmer is assigned to one
>thing while other programmers are handling drivers and
>subroutines and such upon which the first programmer is
>relying, but to have two programmers monkeying around with
>the same program is total stupidity!

It may very well be "total stupidity", but it is a common practice (in my
experience) for two or more programmers to be "monkeying around" with the
same program at the same time. In certain (unenviable) situations, it is
unfortunately necessary.

See also http://users.sgi.net/~elcore/quandary.htm

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

I welcome e-mail replies. :) But I have no time for e-mail debates. :(
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for
all other causes combined". Frederick P. Brooks, _The Mythical Man-Month_



Fri, 15 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!

Quote:

>Why don't youbog off Mr Anonymous, until you can be bothered to put your
>name in with your drivel.

Mr Maher, two small points:

1)

The tyrant asks: 'What have you got to hide?!?'
The free man replies: 'I have no reason to choose to tell you.'

Muse over that at your leisure.  As for the second point:

2)  If it was such drivel, Mr Maher... might you be so kind as to grant us
the logical processes which lead up to your concluding that it was a Good
Idea to repost the whole thing, sans snippage?

DD



Fri, 15 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!

Quote:

>There is a front page story about Y2K in today's _The New
>York Times_ featuring, in large part, the Y2K goings-on at
>Public Service Electric and Gas of New Jersey.

I have been reading this NG for over a year now, and for
some reason PSE and G seems to be the only company
that gets this kind of treatment here.  I was rather astounded,
frankly, that anybody would be so unprofessional as to talk
about a client's business in a public forum.  Regardless
of who they are, or how they treat programmers, that kind
of thing is a firing offence in any shop I know, including mine.

Do you guys all have you shorts in a knot over something
specific, or are you just blabbing out of school?  If it is
something specific, why not hire a good lawyer, and do
something about it?  Why air it here?  In here you are just
proving yourselves to be foolish and rather amateurish.



Fri, 15 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!
The header information for this post is different from the previous
posts. I think we are dealing with two different Anonymouses (or is
that Anonymousi). If that is the case, this poster does not deserve
your acrimony.
-------------------------------
Rick Smith


Quote:
>Why don't youbog off Mr Anonymous, until you can be bothered to put your
>name in with your drivel.


>>There is a front page story about Y2K in today's _The New
>>York Times_ featuring, in large part, the Y2K goings-on at
>>Public Service Electric and Gas of New Jersey.

[...]


Fri, 15 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!
Bill,

For details on how commercial jet aircraft react to Y2K see:

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_03/sy/sy01/

Steve  (unofficial air transport industry geek watchdog of csy2k)

Quote:

> http://pages.prodigy.net/bershinger/y2k.htm


> >There is a front page story about Y2K in today's _The New
> >York Times_ featuring, in large part, the Y2K goings-on at
> >Public Service Electric and Gas of New Jersey.

> >Here is a pertinent excerpt:

> >        One of those lines contained the name of a 25-
> >     digit serial number.  Suspicious, Mrs. Zavlyanova zeroed
> >     in on this segment and there it was: a millennium bug!
> >     Six of the digits in the serial number referred to a date:
> >     two for the month, two for the day, and only two for the
> >     year.



Fri, 15 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!
Sorry, folks, I meant this to go to email and clicked ng instead.

Steve

Quote:

> Bill,

> For details on how commercial jet aircraft react to Y2K see:

> http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_03/sy/sy01/

> Steve  (unofficial air transport industry geek watchdog of csy2k)

---snip


Fri, 15 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 So, Here's What's Happening at PSE&G: MORONISM!

Quote:

>>Why don't youbog off Mr Anonymous, until you can be bothered to put
>>your name in with your drivel.

>1)

>The tyrant asks: 'What have you got to hide?!?'
>The free man replies: 'I have no reason to choose to tell you.'

You are mistaking a person requesting newsgroup courtesy for a tyrant.
You are also mistaking a rude man for a free one.  Better luck next
time.


Fri, 15 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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