The Year 2000 (Y2k)

Posted May 1997

The upcoming turn of the century has been getting a lot of attention lately in the press, and rightly so. Numerous computer systems and their software were designed with little or no preparation for this event. Worse yet, many of these systems no longer have the services of their original author, and contain thousands of lines of programming that may or may not be changeable by current day personnel.

Fortunately, your INFONETICS system does enjoy the services of its original programming team, and they’re way ahead of you. The basic problems are as follows;


Most date fields only have room for 2 digits for the year, and assume that all dates are for the 20th century (19??). INFONETICS application in fact made this same assumption; until just recently. As of Version 2.19, ALL dates within the INFONETICS accounting software application have been converted to an internal format as follows; CCYYMMDD.

Of course, for display purposes, the century part is left off, and the 2-digit year field is displayed as the rightmost two digits, as is common in the U.S. So it appears in familiar format; MM/DD/YY.

For data entry purposes, the system assumes a century beginning in 1950, and ending in 2049. This means that dates referencing years 50-99 are for the 20th century (19??), and 00-49 for the 21st century (20??).


Leap years are calculated as follows; If the year is divisible by 4, then it is a Leap Year. If the year is ALSO divisible by 100, then it is NOT a Leap Year. If the year is ALSO divisible by 400, then it IS a Leap Year. That means that while 1800, and 1900 were not Leap Years, 2000 WILL BE A LEAP YEAR.

So why don’t we all take off on February 29th, 2000, close up the shop and go fishing? The answer is simple, every date after that would be off by one day! In some operating systems, setting the date for March 5th, 2000 would be incorrectly interpreted as March 4th, 2000 and so on.

Furthermore, systems that incorrectly calculate Leap Year could get the wrong day of the week. March 1st, 2000 is a Wednesday, not Tuesday. And there are numerous Day-Of-Week and Days-Between-Dates calculations that could be wrong; disaster for some security systems, voice-mail, production and scheduling systems.

Unfortunately, that one caught the programmers of SCO-XENIX and SCO-UNIX, the operating system used by all INFONETICS customers. SCO has released patches for both operating systems that fix this anomaly, and we’ll be distributing and installing it with our Version 2.19 upgrade.


The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) clock on some, older computer motherboards make these same miscalculations, and might not allow the clock to be set for the next century. SCO-Unix fortunately appears to mask these deficiencies itself since it directly sets the clock, and doesn’t depend on the motherboard’s BIOS.


Other non-INFONETICS software may have Y2K problems that we’re unaware of. Some examples are Microsoft DOS, Windows-For-Workgroups, Office ’95 (known bug), Lotus 1-2-3 and other business critical PC/Workstation software. You may even have a wristwatch that has the problem!

Check out ALL your software, regardless of where it came from, by temporarily setting the system date to February 28th, 2000, and check it again after it switches to February 29th.


So, sometime between now and December 31, 1999, you’ll need to have our new software version Ver.2.19 (and other related operating system patches) installed on your system. Let’s not all wait to the last minute though, as we might be busy that night.