Posted on Tue - June 30, 2009

iCal's Year 2000 Bug

Change pre-1940 dates on your Macintosh and iCal moves them to after 2000

I hadn't really noticed this up until last week.

Although iCal (and for that matter, Palm OS 5) automatically insert birthdays, I hardly use them because you can't edit the birthday entries. So I put in my own custom entries for the birthdays and other Address Book events I track. I started doing this because my uncle and his oldest son share the same first name, which is what my cousin goes by now (but not when we were growing up). Palm doesn't track middle names unless you put them after a space in the first name field. I also like to use PhoneMagic in the Palm to look up the information.

The default birthday shows me something like John Smith's Birthday. My revised ends up showing Cousin Tom <John Smith>'s Birthday 1961.

All this was well and good. I had gotten used to working around some things. My (step) paternal grandfather was born in 1896, but since we've passed 1996, that wasn't an issue.

Address Book insists on a four digit year, but iCal only allows two digit years. This wasn't an issue until I updated my maternal grandmother's 1923 birthday with a location, and iCal moved it to 2023. Then I noticed it had done the same with some other pre-1940 dates that I modified on my Macintosh instead of my Palm.


I can understand this happening for a date like 1896, which is already more than a century in the past. But I am not going to wait until 2023 to start tracking my grandmother's birthday again. Or 2039 to start tracking her wedding anniversary again, even if both she and my grandfather are deceased.

I guess the solution is to make sure my earliest dates in iCal are not any earlier than 1940.

I shouldn't have to work around iCal to get the program to do what I want.

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