Y2K problem

January 3, 2018

Question from E-mail

Being a computer pioneer, are you responsable in some way, great or small, for the Y2K problem?


I hope not. I’m very precise about many things and only want them done the correct way when there is a correct way. Many engineers notice such mistakes all the time, like the State of California using 2 rear license plates instead of one rear plate (with month and year sticker icons) and one front plate. But engineers can’t easily nail down everything in the future. Our Macintosh was never designed to address more than about 56 MB of RAM until we fixed it. In computers, a year is a long time, 2 years is almost too hard to predict what will happen, and 10 years is infinity. I hope that I’m better than others most of the time.

Also, all the software that has problems has managers that are more responsible than the engineers for quality and features. They are normal, non-technical people. Yet they let the 2K problems get by also. I guess there aren’t very many people that take care of such matters well. But even if we extend all dates in all software to 4 digits for the year, we’ll get nailed in the year 10000. And we aren’t necessarily wrong. It’s just amazing that so much software didn’t get corrected for Y2K much longer ago.