Sure, it’s 2020, but it seems the bug is back: Y2K. In fact, you might just be able to chalk up that inexplicable credit card rejection or parking meter fail to something that’s so 2000. 

Twenty years ago, you may recall, there was a race against the calendar to update computer systems to correct what was deemed the Y2K or millennium bug. During the advent of computers, they were coded to store dates counting the years by the last two digits instead of all four, so when the year 2000 arrived requiring a full four-number shift, many systems would have jumped back to the year 1900, which many feared would wreak havoc across industries that had become dependent on the burgeoning network of interconnected computers. 

 (Photo: Getty Images)

So, to keep the global network of computers from bringing all of plugged-in humanity to a screeching halt – or as the most doomsayers suggested – developers had two options: either rewrite the code to use four-digit years or use a temporary fix coined “windowing,” according to New Scientist,

Windowing allowed programmers to refer to dates from 00 to 20 as the 2000s instead of the 1900s. It’s estimated that 80% of computers in 1999 were repaired with this method. 

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Now, in the year 2020, the bug is back. The glitch has affected both parking meters and wrestling video games. 

Credit cards and pre-paid parking cards were reported to be rejected by parking meters around New York City. The issue was linked to a software glitch that had an “established end date” of Jan. 1, 2020, and was never updated.

The Department of Transportation announced on Jan. 7 that all of NYC’s 14,000 parking meters were repaired. 

Wrestling game, WWE 2K20 reported crashes shortly after midnight upon the New Year. Gamers on social media noted a date bug that involved switching the system date to 2019 and then 2020 to repair the game. 

2K, the publisher behind the game, announced an official downloadable fix within the same day. 

So, why is this happening all over again? 

The quick-fix was never supposed to last forever. It was believed that 2020 would be the year many windowed systems would become outmoded. As it stands, it’s still unclear how many other systems may be affected or if we will be seeing this bug again in the near future. 

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