The End of the World, was Re: Comments on Tokana Reference Grammar
|From:||Padraic Brown <pbrown@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, December 13, 1998, 20:08|
Nos adiuua Sancte Transistos!
> I am not a Y2K Chicken Little, but there have been a number of reports
> of DOS based programs causing serious problems with the date rollover.
> The reports I have heard are scanty and should be taken with a grain of
> salt but seem to indicate that they basically scramble your hard drive
> irretrievably. Our C&DP dept on campus is advising everyone to get rid
> of ALL DOS programs ASAP. You might want to convert, difficulty or
Perhaps you didn't _start out_ being a Chicken Little; but this is perhaps
a wee bit excessive? "Everyone get rid of ALL DOS programs ASAP"? Will
our boot disks violently explode on 1/1/00? I think _at best_ this is
advice from the crowd that most wants to cover all bases and tends to
prophesy worst case scenarios. Note that I'm not saying that your CD&P
Dept are the worst of these folks: there _are_ even direr and gloomier
prognosticators out there. It's just that this is perhaps an unnecessary
and unnecessarily frightening suggestion.
I tried all the date and time change business on my old DOS machines years
ago and absolutely no programme ever crashed, no computer exploded,
Ragnarok did not come to pass, the Gods did not decend from the heavens
(claws extended) to herald the End of the World as We Know It. What did
happen is that the date rolled over very smoothly, one second following
the previous, chopping up eternity into bite sized nibbles; the fan
continued to whirr, the programmes continued to function, and there were
_no_ detectable anomalies.
These experiments were tried several times on various machines of various
age and make: from an 8088 IBM PC (the "real thing": greenscreen, two 180K
floppies, DOS 2.x and 3.x) to a 486 Gateway 2000 with all the bells and
whistles on board (DOS 6.1 and Windoze 3.1). The only problem encountered
was on the PC, whose date can not go past 12/12/2057 or some such. But by
then I'll be over 90; the average pencil eraser will have more computing
power than any 586 windoze machine; and that old 8088 will be a fond, if
dim, memory of the Good Ole Days, when it took 5 minutes just to boot the
thing, you had to tell it the date and time, it didn't walk and talk, and
you actually interfaced with the machine by means of typing Arcane and
Obfuscatory Commands by means of an alphanumeric keyboard.