YEAR 2000 BUG
The turn of the millenium has a reputation historically for bringing out the Doomsayers. Even in my younger years I remember reading about the prophecies of Nostradomus, speculations from Revelations and other “End Times” stories. I thought I’d heard it all, but I never expected them to start blaming my computer!
Last week, I watched a television story about the Year 2000 bug (fondly nicknamed “Y2K”). This nationally televised news clip calmly described the Y2K bug and how it effects computers. At the end of the news brief, there was a “Y2K Preparation List” which included the following: 1) Make sure you have a working fireplace or woodburning stove; 2) Stock up on at least 3 months of wood; 3)Purchase at least 3 months worth of canned food and distilled water; 4) Have 3 months worth of cash on hand, etc, etc. “That’s it” I thought, “the end-times have reached prime time - and our computers have become The Demon.”
Perhaps the number 666 will be the processor speed of our computers on January 1st, 2000.
The FactsThe Year 2000 (Y2K) bug is a legitimate problem for larger businesses, public utilities and many branches of the government. It stems from the fact that many older systems were set up to handle the year as a 2 digit number. When the last two numbers become “00”, the computer’s hardware (and/or software) has been pre-programmed to parse those digits into a specific date. “Y2K” compliant computers recognize “00” as the year 2000. Non-compliant sytems may default to “1900” or a more recent year, like “1986”.
For the average computer user and business owner, the Y2K bug can be detected and diagnosed in a matter of hours. Solving the problem may mean upgrading older hardware and some software. For the most part, it qualifies as an inconvenience at best. Much larger organizations, such as utilities, financial institutions and branches of the government are at a higher risk, because of the enormous cost and time required to overhaul antiquated equipment. There is sufficient legitimate concern that there is now a Congressional Committee dedicated to the Y2K problem.
With tongue firmly planted in cheek, I predict the following for January 1st, 2000:
For most people, the Y2K bug can be diagnosed and resolved in short order. For news and information about the the Year 2000 problem, take a look at www.y2k.com. Personally, I think everything will be back to normal by April 1, 2000. That’s the day I plan on coming out of my bomb shelter to re-stock on Spam, Perrier and chord wood.
Questions or comments?
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