Thursday, December 22, 2016

What Y2K Was Like at Microsoft

Kareem Anderson (via Hacker News):

However, in 1999, a large intersection of people were clearly preparing for the worst in the following year as the Y2K scare ran rampant across the globe. As the Y2K scare or otherwise known as the Millennium Bug, grew in myth banks, software providers, computer OEMs, and other electronic device manufacturers prepared for an estimated issue programmers were not taking into account when applying the Gregorian calendar rule to software.


Fortunately, nothing ever actually became of the Y2K pandemonium, but longtime Microsoft developer and semi-official Windows historian Raymon Chen discusses how the company prepared for a potential electronic catastrophe.

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When talking about Y2K, people always make it a point to note that "nothing serious actually happened". Well, nothing serious actually happened because everybody took this seriously, and lots of companies invested large sums of money to ensure that nothing serious would happen. Hundreds of thousands of bugs were fixed in a relatively short amount of time. I wish we'd apply the same kind of seriousness to other looming problems.

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