Uncle Ralph
and the
Y2K Problem

by David N. Muxo

During 1999 I worked for Walt Disney World on the Y2K project, preparing computer programs for the millemium. One day Uncle Ralf asked me what the problem was, exactly. I explained that older computer systems had stored the year in dates as only two digits, and that because of the turn of the century in the year 2000, many programs would not know what century the dates that they were using would belong to. Ralf thought for a few minutes, and finally said, "Well, how do you fix that?" I explained that we would add two digits to the date so that the programs stored the year as four digits, "1985" for instance instead of "85". Again he thought, and being an engineer with an engineer's mentality, his next question was, "When will this problem occur again?" I answered, "In the year 10,000." He didn't ask why. He understood the problem perfectly. Instead he asked, "Well, why not add three digits and fix it now?" That is the way he thought. Measure twice, cut once. Plan ahead. If it is worth fixing, fix it right the first time. He didn't see why we wouldn't fix it now, instead of eight thousand years in the future. He was that kind of guy.