Mid-Michigan Computer Consultants, Inc.
509 Center
Bay City, Michigan

Sales (989) 892-9242                 Support (989) 686-8860

But we remember the panic and hype!
Everyone was aware that there was going to be a "computer problem" when the new century rolled around. Few people really understand the scope of the problem which lead to all the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that flooded the media in the final months of 1999.

As everyone now knows, the greatly feared "Y2K Bug" had little effect on the world as we know it.

At MMCC we were confident that Y2K would be, largely, a non-event. And we told our clients that. Having been in this business since the late 60's, we're among the people who created the "millennium bug" in the first place. Back then we were fully aware of the potential problem, but the economic realities dictated that saving those two bytes in every date was essential! Besides, nobody EVER thought those programs would still be around at the turn of the century!

Well, the new century is here, and there are still LOTS of those old programs hanging around and keeping our world running! And most of them are still working without change.

With our long experience, MMCC had opportunity to look at a lot of computers and programs during 1999. We found a few programs that required attention and many, many more that did not. We recommended a few upgrades, and we helped with a few that were forced on clients by outside organizations. But for the most part we found that our clients could sit tight and be just fine.

It's over now...

Like most software professionals, we stayed in town on New Year's evening. We didn't lose any sleep, but we knew that our clients would try things the next morning and might call... we wanted to be there just in case.

On January 1, 2000, the phones DID ring. For over ten years, all of our software has included a clock test routine designed to watch for PC clock failures. We wrote the routine after a client's battery died and they ran for a week without noticing their invoices were all dated wrong. This routine also detected the change from 99 to 00 and asked the users to just confirm that this was OK. That's why they called us.

In the vast majority of cases, our client's computers (even those that were five, six, even seven years old) rolled from 1999 to 2000 just fine. A few computers reset to 1982 or some such. In those cases, we had the client manually set the date to 1/1/2000 and it worked on every computer, even our "ancient" 386 test machine kept alive for just this reason.

We're several years into the 2000's now and things are still running just fine. We updated some of our date sensitive software to use 4 digit years but, for the most part, our software required no changes. Even today, some program are still merily running on with a two digit year. Humans have adjusted and know that "04" is "2004". As for the software, it just doesn't care.

Why did we have almost NO PROBLEM with Y2K?

At MMCC we brought three important elements to the table concerning Y2K.
EXPERIENCE: MMCC is one of those rare firms that has people who remember the way programs were done in years past. This is one area where we didn't put the kids to work; they didn't appreciate what it was all about. Our senior staff was there when the old code was being written and we remember how it was done.

Although MMCC works mostly with more current languages, we do continue to maintain COBOL systems and one of our associates deals with it full time. We knew how to find anything that might be a problem... and we found very little.

We've been around for a long time... we know FORTRAN and RPG and other traditional languages. We had some questions but nothing that required a a serious look. We've heard of NO problems from those clients.
TOOLS: For a number of years MMCC specialized in software conversion services. We built a software toolkit which allowed us to automate the process of converting software source code from one computer to another. Our most common conversion was to move non-IBM software to the IBM AS/400.

MMCC's INTELLIGENT CONVERSION TOOLS are actually language processors. Our toolkit includes a number of general analysis tools but much of the software is custom tailored to an individual client's needs. We use "quick analysis" routines to identify patterns and characteristics in the old source code then we write custom processors to convert the old code as appropriate.

We did write and run source code scanners for some of our own software. They found the few areas where we needed to check things. This made our job fast and accurate.

The Y2K crisis is now an old story and history. Y2K was an interesting exercise but we were happy to get back to the regular business of doing business.

Y2K did have one beneficial effect. It made the public aware of just how dependent our modern society is on technology. We hope that it also gave the public a new level of confidence in the professionals who make the technology work.

And for the future? Well, today almost all professionals program dates with a full four digit year. We do this NOT because we think our software will be around in 2100. We do it because technology has improved and massive amounts of storage are dirt cheap. It's just no longer necessary to save those precious 2 bytes of storage.
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Write to MMCC Technical Support at:
MMCC, Inc.
600 W. Midland
Bay City, MI 48708
(989) 686-8860
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