Does February 29 Pose a ‘Y2Klet’ Problem?
Some Y2K-watchers worry that February 29 may pose a mini-Y2K threat – because computers may not be prepared to “read” the year 2000 as a Leap Year.
But wait. Leap Year comes every fourth year, right? So 2000 is no exception, right?
Well, yes . . . . and no.
Ira S. Tackel, who chaired the Y2K compliance task force, explains the “Y2Klet” issue.
“This quirk gets attention only every 100 years, so it’s understandable why it’s not at the top of everybody’s list,” he says. “Leap year occurs every fourth year, except in turn-of-century years NOT divisible by 400.
“This means 1900, 1800, 1700 were NOT leap years, but 1600 was. And the year 2000 is because it’s divisible by 400,” he explains.
Pointing out there was a mini-scare over 9/9/99 that did not materialize, Mr. Tackel predicts that February 29, 2000, will come and go as smoothly as January 1, 2000, did.
“We’ve done sufficient testing and preparation all around Y2K and its subsets, including Leap Year and other dates with potential failure modes. We’re confident we’ll have no problems,” Mr. Tackel says.
Easy rules of thumb if you’re counting: Leap Year comes every fourth year, as in 2000 and 2004, and every fourth century, as in 2000 and . . . 2400!