Archive for the ‘Y2K’ Category

Y2Kx “bug”?

Apparently, our (the US’s) multi-billion dollar feet of space shuttles has a “bug” in the computer software (read here).

“A computer problem could force NASA to postpone next month’s launch of shuttle Discovery until 2007 to avoid having the spaceship in orbit when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve….’The shuttle computers were never envisioned to fly through a year-end changeover,’ space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale told a briefing….The problem, according to Hale, is that the shuttle’s computers do not reset to day one, as ground-based systems that support shuttle navigation do. Instead, after December 31, the 365th day of the year, shuttle computers figure January 1 is just day 366.”

Quite frankly this is unbelievable and unacceptable. How could this problem not have been addressed. Haven’t the software engineers at NASA learned anything from the Y2K “bug”? This just makes NASA in particular, and the United States in general, look like complete buffoons.

BTW, I put “bug” in quotes because I really have a problem with calling what happened at the turn of the millennium a bug. Usually bugs are introduced in software by accident. The Y2K mess was introduced knowingly. Don’t get me wrong, I was perpetrator in this crime as well. I began my programming career in 1987 and I distinctly remember hashing this over with my boss at the time. When I said to him, “isn’t this going to be a mess someday,” his response was, “what do you care. You probably won’t be here and neither will I.” For the next 13 years I knowingly sabotaged the programs I wrote. Perhaps sabotage is too strong a word, but what else would you call it?