Monday, May 30, 2005

A Look Back: Y2K

All around the united states, there are companies that are still wondering why Y2K didn’t come with 2 tubes of KY. I am a computer programmer and this may have been the biggest scam in U.S. history. Forget the Great Train Heist, the Lastanza robbery, the Italian Job, anything. This little piece of ridiculousness cost BILLIONS of dollars for tax payers and companies. BILLIONS!

First and foremost, the entire idea behind was brilliant and preposterous all at the same time. It took “experts” to convince millions that using a 2-digit date would cause catastrophic problems for the entire world possibly throwing us into a dark age. In all reality, I could write a program – in about 10 minutes – that could have updated 99% of all software from using 2-digit dates to 4-digit dates. The other 1%, we could work out in testing of the new programs. We are talking a DAY maybe TWO DAYS to update programs. At last relevant count that I saw, the U.S. spent OVER $300 BILLION on Y2K compliance. That’s 300 BILLION DOLLARS!

To put this in perspective, let’s do an apples to apples comparison. I worked on the #1 precision farming software in the world. The software utilized a programmer at $80,000 per year, two support people at $120,000 per year, an agronomist and a programming supervisor splitting time between projects at (we’ll guess) about $50,000 per year. That’s ¼ of a million dollars on a software that supported MILLIONS of farm acreage which in turn fed millions of people. Had we taken the money for Y2K and invested it into software we are talking about the creation of 4.8 million high paying jobs (in dollar cost estimates) for an entire year. Instead we threw money out the window to high paid “consultants” whose ENTIRE JOB was changing code that a trained chimp could figure out.

Seriously, let’s forget that code is a very simple thing to write for a professional. Let’s say we had rank amateurs to do this. How hard would it be to teach a person to look for ONE thing and change it. I mean, I don’t read Chinese, but if you showed me the symbols to look for and then said “add these symbols to it”, I think I could figure it out after the first five or six times you showed me. We are talking about a date not rocket science. Hell, it’s not even computer science.

The moral of this story:
1) You are all too stupid to use a computer if you can’t change a date.
2) And, never trust geeks.

Coming soon ... The Shortest Blogs Ever


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