Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I don’t want to alarm you.
After all, you’re likely still struggling with the idea of brighter evenings.
There is, though, something curious about to happen and you might find it wonderfully frightening.
Last week saw San Francisco populated by strange, shifty people bearing painful news.
They were here, you see, for the RSA Security Conference, a gathering of those whose portents of doom are clearer than a model’s face in the after-part of an acne ad.
I’m used to some of the security people’s revelations and prognostications.
I am, however, grateful to Tom’s Guide for offering me something so gripping that I immediately checked my flight schedules.
It seems so ridiculous at first glance, so very simple that you wonder why no one ever thought of it.
In essence, it seems that many GPS systems will run out of time on one single day: April 6. They were programed to count for 19.7 years and, as it were, time’s up. So they go back to zero.
You’ll think this sounds a little like Y2K,a wonderful night when nothing really happened, other than quite a lot of drinking, dancing and laughing about Y2K.
Here’s an adorable quote from one information security expert:
I’m not going to be flying on April 6.
Apparently, this sudden reversion of GPS systems from today’s date to zero happened once before, August 21 1999.
Nothing happened then. Why the alleged panic now? Hark another security expert who says he won’t fly on April 6, Bill Malik, vice president of Trend Micro:
The effects would be more widespread [today] because so many more systems have integrated GPS into their operations.
Naturally, Tom’s Guide presented some experts who said there’s nothing to worry about, it’s all going to be fine, business as usual.
The Department of Homeland Security, too, gave fair warning about this last April.
But just as I found myself relieved I have no flights booked for April 6, up popped Malik again with some more fun facts:
Public-safety systems incorporate GPS systems, as do traffic-monitoring systems for bridges. Twenty years ago these links were primitive. Now they are embedded. So any impact now will be substantially greater.
Note to self: Stay at home April 6.
There’s some suggestion that some older planes might be vulnerable.
And now, I’m feeling unwanted frissons again.
It’s bad enough that mechanics at Southwest and American Airlines are warning passengers these airlines’ planes might not be quite as airworthy as they should be.
The mere thought that there could be other issues — at least in some older planes — in a few weeks’ time, may deliver chills to one or two more sensitive nerve-endings.
That’s the thing about the world of technology. We don’t really know what goes on in it most of the time.
Still, security experts are just natural worriers, surely.
This April 6 thing is nothing, right?