The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 17, 1997, Page 3, Image 3

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    Programmers prepare
for 2000 coding issue
By Josh Funk
Staff Reporter
Though 2000 signals a wave of
new technology, it could make today’s
technology think it’s 1900.
Many of today’s computers are not
equipped to handle the change in cen
turies as the digits of years change
from 1999 to 2000.
The problem stems from a single
line of code that relates to dates in
computer programs. When the pro
grams were written, programmers
used a two-digit entry, the last two
digits of a year, for the date.
So at 12:01 a.m. in 2000 those two
digit counters will reset to 00 or 1900.
The University of Nebraska ad
dressed this problem in its Winter
1997 University of Nebraska Comput
ing Services Network newsletter.
Don Sand, a special assistant with
the University of Nebraska Comput
ing Systems Year 2000 task force, is
working to eliminate the problem in
all university computers before the
turn of the century.
“There is no silver bullet to fix the
problem,” he said.
Also, some older personal comput
ers have 1980 as the start number in
their BIOS chips, which are similar
to the memory function on a car ste
reo. It saves the system configuration
until the power is turned back on.
This glitch will affect systems with
ongoing databases such as health anc
personal records and systems that date
computations because computers
could generate negative ages.
The problem might not be limited
to computers. Other household appli
ances such as microwaves and wash
ers could be affected if they have a date
stored in their memory.
There is no quick fix for this prob
lem either. In software, every line of
code with the erroneous date in it must
be tediously corrected by program
All the information that is saved
in the two-digit format must be con
verted to a four-digit format, or pro
grammers must develop a program to
act as a bridge between the old system
and the new system.
Sand said most computer users
might be in for a shock.
“They don’t realize the inpact of
this, or they just don’t see a prob
lem,” Sand said.
He said the biggest problem is to
find all areas affected by the change,
and the university is working hard to
address the problem now before it be
comes too late.
UNL Vice Chancellor for Informa
tion Services Kent Hendrickson said
the issue was a concern for the entire
“We are trying to make sure that
we deal with it now because 2000 is
not far away,” he said.
UNL professors return
ALBANIA from page 1
night, just after Gupta had been noti
fied by the U.S. Embassy that he would
leave via airlift within two hours. Lee
said he later called back to the hotel
where Gupta was staying, but Gupta
had checked out.
At 9 ajn. Friday, Lee heard a re
port that the Albanian airlifts had been
suspended because of dangerous gun
fire on the planes.
“I was really a nervous wreck,” Lei
said. “I was worried about theii
For hours, Lee did not know if the
two professors had escaped success
fully or had fallen to the gunfire thai
had stopped the airlifts.
Relief came at noon, when Gupta
called from Italy to announce he and
Hambley were safe. Hambley plans tc
return to UNL after visiting family in
UNL boasts new lab
CENTER from page 1
its increased ability to help students
with disabilities feel at hone and ca
pable in the university, and its ability
to help all students learn better with
Randy May, a 1993 UNL gradu
ate, said he came to the university in
1987 from Springdale, Ark., when he
heard about Horn and UNL’s center
to assist students with disabilities.
May has cerebral palsy, which im
pairs his mobility and speech, but he
communicates well with the help of
adaptive technology, such as the spe
cial keyboard and joystick instead of
a typical mouse.
“If I needed to work on the com
puter, at night or on the weekend,
Qiristy (Horn) would come in and
open up the center just for me,” May
said. “If she knows you are trying, she
will go the extra mile.”
TTiat mile helped May complete his
bachelor’s degree in political science,
he said. May, 35, now works as a re
search analyst, and said he was happy
the center’s new facility will allow
Horn to assist more students with dis
Horn said May was a shining ex
ample of the type of student the
center’s new facilities could help. ,
Smart students with disabilities often
feel they cannot overcome obstacles tc
their contributing in academic sur
roundings, she said.
All students have a contribution,
she said, but without adaptive tech
nology, those with disabilities could
spend all their time to complete the
minimum requirement.
A few years ago, students who
could not type or write an assignment
because of mobility impairments
would have to dictate the assignment
to another person.
Now special keyboards and voice
recognition software help such stu
dents typewrite a class assignment on
a computer.
Unlike dictating assignments, stu
dents have freedom to change any part
of the assignment without absorbing
another’s time, she said.
The resulting independence is a
boost to students’ morale, as well as
the improved work output.
Horn said she hoped the center
:ould help all students learn better
hrough its research in teaching and
learning methods, and its wide range
3f adaptive equipment.
“I love my lab,” she said, and
vould like others — like May — to
jet the chance to love it, too.
The Daily Nebraskan is
fall semester. Any major field
are carrying at least six credit hours and have a 2.0 GPA 01
Managing Editor f Art Director
Associate News Editor f Photo Director
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{Copy Desk Chief Columnists
We are looking for a team of page designers to design and paginate its news,
rts, A&E and opinion pages. Designers should know QuarkXPress and be
to show solid design skills and familiarity with newspaper layout Designers
do not need to be journalism majors.
Pick up an application, job description and sign up for an interview at the Daily
Nebraskan, 34 Nebraska Union. Applications are due March 21. Interviews
will begin March 31. And don't forget, applications for current staff positions
are always accepted.
UNL does not discriminate in its academic, admission or employment programs
and abides by all federal regulations regarding the same.
~ ' ' "" ' ■" " '
Omaha police arrested a Lin
coln bank robbery suspect at a roller
skating rink in Omaha Saturday for
parole violations.
Edward Schrader, 27, is a sus
pect in the Friday robbery of the
Union Bank and Trust Company,
3643 S. 48th St.
On Friday at 9:30 am., a man
went into the Lincoln bank and
gave a note to the bank teller, who
gave him an unknown amount of
Omaha police got a call Satur
day from someone at a roller skat
ing rink in Omaha who recognized
Schrader, Lincoln Polite Capt.
Steve Ott said.
Schrader is being held in
Omaha for the parole violation. Ott
said they have not arrested
Schrader in connection with the
robbery, and the investigation is
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