Monthly Archives: December 2009

What Year Is It, Anyway?

Suddenly I’m hearing the following question come up:

“Is it Twenty-Ten or Two-Thousand and Ten?”

Is it just me or should the answer be obvious? It’s Twenty-Ten.

No one in the 1900’s described a year as “One Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine.” No, it was Nineteen plus the two digit year.

Of course, seeing a four digit number as two separate two digit numbers was one factor that led us to the whole Y2K mess.* That’s the power of perspective at work.

Is it too much to hope that we’ve since become wiser and more aware of how language and perspective are intertwined?

But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

[* For those of you who weren’t business programmers in the nineties and think Y2K was a non-issue, I assure you it was a mess. Not for my long-term clients so much, as my code was Y2K compliant beginning about 1991. But many companies didn’t even to begin to think about it until late in the decade, even though their every business transaction was about to go from nicely organized to a state of scattered disarray. Imagine if search engines like Google shuffled all of your 200,000 + search results. How useful would Google or the web be to you then? Worldwide, business programmers worked really hard to prevent that from happening to your companies, and they succeeded.]

posted to myspace and 2009.01.31