Re: Year 2000

William Leininger (
Sun, 26 Jan 1997 21:24:41 -0600

At 2:22 PM -0005 1/25/97, John Corby wrote:
>There has been a lot of discussion recently about the impending "Year 2000
>problem" in which the system clocks of thousands of computers will become
>dazed and confused after December 31st 1999.
>The problem affects many older PC's and will make satellite tracking a trifle
>difficult if not corrected. One of the computers that I use at my station
>is an
>IBM PS2/50 (my main TLE processing computer). When I tested it for "Year
>2000-itis" it failed miserably.
>Fortunately there is a simple cure. The folks at RighTime have produced a
>of simple code which can be placed in your autoexec.bat file to correct the
>mis-interpretation of the time data produced by your system BIOS.

But that will not correct problems caused by representations of time
INTERNAL to programs.  I use a Macintosh, and our internal time format
starts at January 1, 1904, and runs through sometime in 2040, so anything
using the OS or Toolbox calls will survive handily into the 21st century.

Unfortunately, the application I use for satellite tracking, Bill Bard's
excellent Orbitrack, has a problem.  On an attempt to run MIR passes from
12/25/1999 to anytime in January, 2000, it shortens the requested period to
one day.  Told to do a batch from 12/31/1999 to four days from then, the
results come out labelled for 02/19/39.  Assuming that is 2039, this sounds
like the what would happen when a negatively signed result gets put into an
unsigned time field.

I'm not too worried about this, however, as there is no way current
elements can be considered valid that far out, and I'm certain that
Orbitrack will undergo a number of additional releases before this gets to
be a problem.

William H. Leininger, Macintosh Developer for hire
Help conserve bandwidth: shorten a .sig today!