Songs for the New Millennium

Are we headed for data-processing disaster come New Year’s Eve, 1999? I think so. After all, it took me several seconds to adjust to a driver’s license that expires on 07-19-00, and I don’t get confused anywhere near as often as does Windows 95.

Feeling that I, a lowly journalist, could never awake the world to the coming catastrophe, I turned to some of today’s most gifted and wealthy songwriters to help me get the message across. Because if you won’t listen to them, the next person to tell you may be a programmer.

Bob Dylan

(Tune: The Times They Are A-Changin’)

Come gather ‘round people
From starboard and port,
I have brought you some news
Of a most scary sort
The machines you depend on
Are about to abort.
And ya know that I’m not
Just a ravin’
Soon your two-digit years
Will be two digits short
For the dates they are a-changin’.

Come gurus and pundits
Who prophesize in the press,
You better start singin’
Or we’ll soon have a mess.
These old-fashioned years
They no longer impress
It’s to nineteen-nine-nine
That they’re rangin’
And what happens then
I would not like to guess
For the dates they are a-changin’.

Come CEOs, programmers
Please join the throng
The technology’s yours
To kill off or prolong
Find a cure for what ails us
So you’ll right your great wrong
It’s your code and it needs
Rearrangin’.
So write a new program
Make it better than Pong
For the dates they are a-changin’.

The Ego Usually Known As Prince

(Tune: 1999)

I was clickin’ when I wrote this
Don’t mind if there’s not much to say
But I hear that come tomorrow
Programs all will think it’s yesterday

I.S. was turnin’ purple
There were systems crashin’ everywhere
Mainframes were all a-frozen
The code was in such bad repair

(Say say) two thousand zero zero turning over
Oops! Systems slimed
But we’re gonna have our data while it’s 1999

(Lemme tell ya somethin’)
If your company’s dependin’
That your records are all up to date
There’s a cent’ry you’ll be losin’
Your notices will all be late

(Yeah) Programmin’ on overtime
Workin’ all night and all day
Two digits ain’t enough now
And you all want me to go away.

(Say say) two thousand zero zero turning over
Oops! Systems slimed
But we’re gonna have our data while it’s 1999

Paul McCartney

(Tune: When I’m Sixty-Four)

When I get older losing my mind
Just four years from now.
Will you still be using Windows Ninety-Five?
Do the Redmond jump, huck, and jive.
If I step out in two-thousand and one
Would you be too slow,
Would you still find me, beep to remind me,
When it’s double-oh.

All the new software that I must run
To stay up to date,
Will your BIOS handle their four-digit years,
Or will you match all my worst fears?
Will you work fine when the time’s on the line,
Are you in the know?
Would you still find me, beep to remind me,
When it’s double-oh.

Every New Year we can run a check-up
If you know the date, and I hope you will.
It’s not too absur-ur-ur-ur-ur-ur-urd.
Programs on your hard drive
Norton, Notes, and Word.

Give me an error, drop me to DOS,
‘Fore the big two-oh.
Let me know if time has fin’ly got you beat
I’ll drop you when you’re obsolete.
Centuries changing, nothing the same,
Time for you to go
Would you still find me, beep to remind me,
When it’s double-oh.

Roberta Flack

(with a little help from Norman Gimbel, Charles Fox, and the Fugees)

(Tune: Killing Me Softly)

I heard they wanted coders, that was no fallacy
An overhaul they needed within this century
My resume I sent them, and so I got the job

Fixing the code with my fingers,
Looking for dates that go wrong,
Killing me slowly with COBOL,
Catching years so they won’t snowball,
Having a non-life for so long,
Killing me slowly with COBOL.

The code was pure spaghetti, date fields out of place
As if someone’s pet monkey designed the database
The years were all two digits, to make them four I sat there

Fixing the code with my fingers,
Looking for dates that go wrong,
Killing me slowly with COBOL,
Catching years so they won’t snowball,
Having a non-life for so long,
Killing me slowly with COBOL.

And if I miss a field, the worst of all our fears
The science of computers set back a hundred years
So at my lonely system, I can just sit and brawl

Fixing the code with my fingers,
Looking for dates that go wrong,
Killing me slowly with COBOL,
Catching years so they won’t snowball,
Having a non-life for so long,
Killing me slowly with COBOL.

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