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Y2K Computer Virus Disaster Waiting to Happen Back in the 1950s and 1960s when computers were just begging to emerge data storage space was expensive and in short supply By todays standards even the largest of the mainframe computers had insignificant hard memory storage abilities Computer programmers adopted a habit of using two digits 55 56 57 in their programming codes to indicate the year this is called COBOL Programmers knew this practice might cause problems with the data rolled over to 2000 at the end of the century However they decided to save thousands of bytes of hard disc storage space in the more complex banking and government software packages At the time the two-digit system was looked at as a creative and necessary method of stretching the limited data storage space on early electronic machines Early computer programmers believed the computers they installed the two-digit date coding in would be completely obsolete and replaced in the 1970s or 1980s long before the turn of the millennium Today as the year 2000 quickly approaches thousands of those early mainframe computers using COBOL are still in use and still incorporate the two-digit year scheme The problem that arises from the COBOL system in that the computers will interpret 00 as the year 1900 It is uncertain at this point how this will effect computers and other electronic equipment that control our daily lives No one is certain how the year 2000 will affect the transfer of data from computer to computer Because of this uncertainty it is important that precautionary steps are taken to avoid complete destruction on all scales When we go from 1999 to 2000 two-digit dates become ambiguous and the potential cause of big problems Richards 1 Individuals businesses and the government must prepare for the Y2K bug before January 1 2000 To begin individuals must prepare themselves for the possibility of Y2K havoc Nearly all
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