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Y1X July 13, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox.
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From 1999

The calendar has changed yet again, and I realized two things:

1) We are approaching the end of the century

2) I have not written a new SoapBox in quite some time.

With these realizations, I decided it was time for me to get on the bandwagon and talk about the big year change that has the potential for causing so much mischief with all things technological. First, let me say that you need not fear, Andy’s SoapBox is Y2K compliant. Once you are through partying with the Aritst, you can come and re-read the ramblings of the Andy (assuming you can log on).

Enough has been discussed about everything that may go wrong on that fateful day, so I feel no need to get on my SoapBox about it. Instead, I want to look at another important calendrical milestone. This was January 1, 10. That’s right, the big Year One X disaster (YIX).

Of course the technology was quite less advanced in those days. Computers did not run as fast, have as much memory (both kinds), play as many cool games, and were made of stone. Also computer programmers of that day were not quite as advanced as those today who wear that hat (snicker). All through the first decade of the first millenium, they wrote their programs with nary a thought about what would happen when the year suddenly had twice as many digits. All programs only reserved one digit of memory for the year, by the time this problem was realized, it was almost too late.

The solution though was not to come from the computer people. Instead, it came from the number people, specifically from a young number engineer named Johnny Aught. It was young Johnny who invented something that not only saved the technology, but had a drastic impact even into modern day. He invented the zero. Before Johnny had his break through, there were only 9 numbers. But with Johnny’s new invention came the ability to go past nine, right into ten!

The idea caught on like wild fire (which was something since fire had yet to be invented). Factories worked 9 hours a day producing zeros, and they shipped them to programmers around the world who were able to fix all their software, and everyone lived happily ever after (at least until Y1C)

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