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Twenty years on from the millennium bug, now mark a new date: January 19, 2038

Twenty years to the day from the millennium bug, the dreaded bug of the millennium that he would have to crash the planet, there is already a new date to keep i

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Twenty years on from the millennium bug, now mark a new date: January 19, 2038
Twenty years to the day from the millennium bug, the dreaded bug of the millennium that he would have to crash the planet, there is already a new date to keep in mind: January 19, 2038. Mark it in your agenda, because that day - to 03:14:07 splits - many computer systems, if not properly updated, it may stop working, making crazy instruments, satellite navigation, alarm, home, the connected world. Exactly as was feared would happen at the stroke of midnight, 31 December 1999, when, in fact, spun almost all smooth. The world with bated breath Were months of feverish, those that preceded the dinner of twenty years ago, passed into history as the new year's eve of the millennium bug. The bug of the millennium, the code name for Y2K — Y stands for year, and 2K for two thousand — was hidden in the way that the computer systems developed from the 1960s to 1980s were the years: took into account only the last two digits, assuming that the number 80, for example, to indicate 1980. A trick in order not to overload the memory of the computer, the time is even more valuable today, but it was intended to work without problems up to 99. 00, with its intrinsic ambiguity, could be interpreted as 2000 but as 1900, causing the malfunctioning of software and hardware in all over the world. A problem that was tackled, with investment in nine zeros. It is estimated that were three hundred of the billions of dollars allocated to address the bug, half of which was released in the United States alone. But also Italy, in a small way, was no less. Inps, for example, set up an emergency plan and cost 7 billion lire, only for what concerns the update of the operating systems. Prepare required a marathon in over a year. Months where it worked continuously. The testimony of the computer at work Marco, who was then the 31-year-old, says she has conducted for weeks, a "monastic life" touring Italy as a top to upgrade the computer systems of many major Italian companies, where there was no lack of choices risky. "One of them, a colossus of which I can't reveal the name, he decided to move the hands of watches of some old machines, at that time irreplaceable, back to ten years to gain time". It worked, but it was a period so stressful that the January 31, 1999, Marco went up a fever of 40. "The new year's eve I spent in bed. Still today, if I think about it, I have to laugh: he had come to me the millennium bug". But in many that evening organized principals to monitor the computers in your company. The bottles of sparkling wine were placed on the desks, ready to be uncorked only if every thing had gone in the right way, remember Corrado Giustozzi , computer scientist and journalist with a long-standing career to tell about the technology in our country. Even the press agencies, which would have been among the first to suffer the effects of the millennium bug, were in atrial fibrillation. In the data processing centre of the Loop, after endless seconds of waiting, he pulled a long sigh of relief when it passed midnight, the first news began to appear on the screen: it's a sign that everything was working to perfection. The stroke of midnight, A collective hysteria that can be understood by reading the newspapers of the time. To precede that day was an atmosphere of Apocalypse Now. "The millennium bug is one of the most serious problems that is facing not only the business of the british, but also the global economy," said Tony Blair , the then prime minister of the United Kingdom. The european Commission, however, drew up a report in which it judged insufficient the efforts made by many countries of the Union to resolve the Y2K problem. In spite of any report and the declaration of a pessimist, or catastrophic, to the encounter with the bug you came prepared. The night of the 31st finally passed and the nightmare of the millennium bug was driven away, like an insect annoying that it ruins the sleep. Among the facts worthy of note, the chronicles of the Bbc and Cnn of the time report only some malfunctions in the monitoring systems of three japanese nuclear power plants. Little, if not nothing else to report, so much so that even now someone thinks that the millennium bug was a colossal structure: a myth from the end of the world. Of course, it is not the exaggeration of the media, and people who have speculated above, but it was a fake news (the expression now in vogue), specify the computer: the risk was real. And if we can laugh about it, delighted in the chronicle of a disaster never happened, it is thanks to the work done prior to December 31, 1999. To prepare for the 2038 Today, which marks the anniversary is a special date because we are almost mid-way between the danger averted and potential. Useless to create alarmism, "but it is good to start thinking that will serve a further upgrade of the it systems," explains Stefano Zanero , professor of security informatics of Politecnico di Milano. The problem that will occur in 2038 is very similar to that of twenty years ago." In practice, Unix a very popular operating system, the foundation of many other) marks time by counting the seconds since January 1, 1970, and the 32-bit operating systems are capable of calculating a maximum value of 2,147,483,647 seconds: the threshold that will run out on 19 January 2038. Now there are many 64-bit ones, that move the issue in the next billion years, but in 32 bit there are still millions, that you will need to update. "Also, given that starting from Unix have been developed, many Network protocols, those protocols that allow the smart devices that surround us to communicate with each other, going to have to work on those". The challenges of the near future, But without having to look too far, next year we are to be the challenges of information technology are equally as important. We have tried to compile a top 3 of the end of the year, in tribute to the top 5 of Rob Gordon, the protagonist of High fidelity Nick Hornby . "The first is the security of our data continues Zanero -. The data leak online, that is, the exposure of our sensitive information, are repeated on a daily basis, this will continue in the future and will become more and more imposing. It is urgent to understand how to keep these data in a secure manner, and how, in the future, it will gradually be possible to delete so that any leak can not be used against us". The second open item, the ransomware, in their infinite variants: viruses that are blocking the data of the infected devices, requesting the payment of a ransom for ripristinali, and that no longer point only to individuals but also to companies, to entire organizations, and even cities. In the past months have brought to my knees many metropolis in the us, blocking the offices, while a few days ago to undergo damage states of the systems of the coast guard, the stars and stripes.

The third concerns the social network and the potential impact they have on our way of behaving and thinking. An influence that, in spite of the accusations which were thrown in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump , is still difficult to study, and then understand. The data are deficient, and we know very little, indeed almost nothing, of the social networks. The algorithms that govern them, by deciding which posts we see and with whom we make friendship, are in private hands. Outside, no one is able to accurately assess the possible effectiveness of social strategies aimed at influencing, for example, the results of the elections. Everything that we can to get models are approximate. The inability to analyze Facebook is what should scare us more than Facebook.

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