Y2K was real: was Major Intel Memory Vulnerability

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Author: Steve Litt
To: plug-discuss
Old-Topics: Re: Major Intel Memory Vulnerability
Subject: Y2K was real: was Major Intel Memory Vulnerability
On Fri, 05 Jan 2018 11:27:38 -0700
Eric Oyen <> wrote:

> oh boy. This sounds like another Y2K problem, only this one has some
> reality about it and real consequences.

Y2K was completely real, and would have had real consequences if our
society hadn't taken three years to fix most of it. We were fortunate
that in those days society was willing to put in hard work to fix a
future problem, rather than "kicking the can down the road."

Between 1984 and 1991 I wrote plenty of software using 2 digit years.
So did everyone else. Much of the Cobol from the 1960's onward used 2
digit dates to save memory, which was very precious back then. Much of
that software was still used in 1999, and some is still used today. It
got fixed.

It's speculation what would have happened if our entire society hadn't
pitched in and fixed most software in 1997-1999, but it's my opinion
that if we'd done then what we'd surely do now (call it somebody else's
problem, keep prioritizing our own little lives and those of our
corporations, and do nothing), we'd be bartering gold for tuna and water
for bullets.

None of this is to imply that Meltdown and Spectre aren't a very big
deal. Just don't think Y2K was no big deal because we did the necessary
work to fix it proactively.


Steve Litt
December 2017 featured book: Thriving in Tough Times
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