Preparing for Y2K
Being Realistic about the Year 2000
What's going to happen on January 1st 2000 is unknown. There are many web sites and many Y2K experts making a lot of money predicting gloom and doom. Others predict the end of the world. Still others predict that nothing will happen. Something will happen and you should be prepared. But it isn't going to be the end of the world.
Because of all the hype I decided to add my opinion about Year 2000 to the debate. I am the voice of reason with a sense of humor. My predictions may be wrong, but they are more likely to be right than most everyone else's predictions. Here you will find good practical advice on how to prepare yourself for the new millenium. This is likely to be the most useful web site anywhere to prepare for Y2K in a realistic way.
What is Y2K*
Computer Problems *
Y2K and Litigation *
Y2K and Scams *
Y2K and Religion *
Preparing for Y2K*
Your computer and Y2K *
Y2K and the Stock Market *
Taking Cash out of the Bank *
December 31st 1999*
Turn Off Your Computer *
Waiting for the End of the World *
Y2K and Parties *
Y2K Sexual Fantasies*
Turning on your Computer *
Monday - January 3rd 2000 *
January 31st 2000 *
Leap Year - February 29th 2000 *
October 2000 Baby Boom *
Contacting the Author *
What is Y2K
Y2K is many things to many people depending on how you look at it. In reality, January 1st 2000 is just another day. The Earth will continue to rotate around the sun just like every other day. The sun will rise and the sun will set. However, human have a fascination with numbers that end in zeros as if you are crossing some magic line. When it comes to computer software you are crossing a magic line and there will be some problems. But most Year 2000 problems will be artificial problems. These include lawsuits, fraud, scams, panic, cults, and religion.
Y2K will create a number of computer problems because of software interpreting the year "00" as 1900 instead of 2000. Although a lot of effort has been expended to fix everything you have to believe that there will be things that weren't caught. These are going to cause a variety of problems. Some problems will cause computer to crash. Most problems will be inconveniences and annoyances. Most of these problems will be fixed quickly and I think that most of Y2K will be over within a week with everyone wondering where the big disaster was. I'm sure somewhere there will be stories of losses, but for the most part I think Y2K will be a non-event.
Y2K and Litigation
Armies of lawyers are gearing up to sue and are hoping for a big disaster. They are looking to make a quick trillion bucks off of programmers and the computer industry. I have written a legal defense brief for the computer industry to undermine most of these Y2K lawsuits. I posted it on the web at http://www.ctyme.com/y2k.brief.htm for anyone to download and use. I want to start the new millenium by screwing lawyers out of a trillion dollars.
Y2K and Scams
There are plenty of Y2K scams out there to sell you things to prepare for the collapse of civilization. I was thinking about marketing a cookbook on cannibalism under the theory that if society fails, within a week all the food will be gone and there will be two types of people left, cannibals and food. I just couldn't bring myself to write it. It sounds stupid, but if society really did collapse it would make more sense than a lot of products that are on the market now. How long is your generator or food supply going to last when the hordes of starving people break down your door and take your stuff?
Y2K and Religion
Some people are trying to take advantage of and extract money from those who think that crossing 2000 has some kind of significance. 2000 is just a number like any other number. The calendar starts on an arbitrary date based on estimates as to when Christ was born. The Year 2000 is 2000 because we use base ten numbers. The only reason we even use base ten numbers in the first place is because most of us have ten fingers and fingers was the first tool of mathematics. If we had 8 fingers it would be the year 3720.
Preparing for Y2K
There are a number of things you should do to prepare for the Year 2000. You need to prepare for the real issues as well as the social issues. I will cover both and with luck you will have everything you need before, during, and after the Y2K event.
Your computer and Y2K
There are a number of things you should do to prepare your computer for Y2K. Preparation involves two issues, upgrades and backups. The best way to make sure your programs still work is to get the latest and greatest version of the programs you run. Many older programs may not work and most of them have been fixed. All you have to do is get the new version and install it.
Programmers expect users to upgrade their programs on a regular basis. If you bought a program 10 years ago, the programmer might have decided he had 10 years to fix any Y2K issues and that you would get a new version before then. If you're running old programs, it's time to get new ones. Check the web sites of your software vendors for Y2K and upgrade information. Upgrades will make a lot of Y2K problems not happen.
Don't wait till the end of the year or the beginning of next year to upgrade. After your system crashes, there will be a lot of people all trying to get technical support all at once. You will have a much harder time upgrading after the first of the year than you'll have now. The upgrade may require some work and sometimes isn't an entirely smooth process. You should therefore do it now and beat the rush rather than getting caught and not be able to get help for several days.
Make sure the operating system is upgraded as well. Windows 95 and 98 upgrades are available from Microsoft and should be installed immediately. If you wait till the end of the year you might not be able to download these upgrades or it may take you forever to get in and connected. It may cause other programs to fail. Many upgrades may require that your operating system be upgraded first.
This is a good time to get a tape backup and use it. If you back up your data then if something wipes you out, you can restore. You need a backup to protect yourself from hard disk failures as well. Back up often and have at least 5 backup tapes with one off site, in case your home or office burns down. Make sure you run a backup on new year's eve so that in case anything happened, you can back up the clock, restore, and fix the problem. If you don't back up and you lose data, it's your fault.
Y2K and the Stock Market
The stock market is Y2K ready. However, people might panic and there might be a sell off this fall or winter from people who think the market might crash. Or they might sell off thinking that others will panic and sell off and take advantage of a fear driven dip. You might want to watch your stocks and take advantage of the dip if it happens.
For example, if you have extra cash the week after Christmas and the market is down 20% from a panic, it would be a good time to buy in. Buy in before the end of the year when the market is low. After the first few days that the market is open after the first of the year, everyone will realize the market didn't crash and it will go back up. If you are already in you may make a quick easy buck by being smarter than those who freaked are. Besides, if the market crashes and society fails, paper money isn't going to be worth any more than stock certificates.
Taking Cash out of the Bank
Should you take your money out of the bank? How much should you take? I think that most banks will cross into the new year just fine. I'd say that if you had a week's worth of extra cash on you then if your bank has a problem, it should be back up within a week. It will also give you a feeling that you are somewhat prepared so you don't have to worry on new years when your trying to party. If you are a little superstitious, it will make you feel more secure to have a week's extra supplies in the house just in case.
December 31st 1999
A day that will live in infamy. The last day of the millenium. The last day you have to be prepared. At the close of the business day it's time to make your final system backups. I think you should make two system backups just to be safe. If nothing else it will give you psychological security which is important. No sense in worrying. That way you have a backup and if bad things happen you can back the date up to 1999 and restore and recover.
If you run end of month reports and billing you should run them before the end of the year. That way they are done and you don't have to risk a Y2K bug that will delay your billing. That will give you 31 days before the first end of month cycle after the new year. If bugs are discovered you'll have 31 days to get and install the fix. That should be plenty of time before running the January 31st reports.
Turn Off Your Computer
Many Y2K problems only occur if your computer is running at midnight. If your computer doesn't need to be on right at midnight you might want to make sure it's off as the clock rolls over. That way you might avoid a problem by not being there when it happens. Many systems will work fine the next day.
Waiting for the End of the World
The entire planet doesn't cross the millenium at the same time. There are 24 time zones and countries like New Zealand and Australia will be first to hit the Y2K barrier. Here in the Midwest we'll have 18 hours to preview what's happening to the rest of the world. At 6:00am Central Standard Time I will be watching the news to see what happens to New Zealand as they cross the Y2K line. Will their power go out? If it does, will it be back on a few hours later. As Y2K sweeps the planet we will get to see what fails and what doesn't. America however is one of the most computerized nations so what happens elsewhere won't guarantee what happens to us here. But it will be an indicator.
If the rest of the world starts collapsing, there's going to be a panic. Let's hope New Zealand and Australia have their systems working. Actually, if I were living in New Zealand I would organize the population to secretly agree that everyone turn their lights off at midnight just to scare the rest of the world. But I'm a sick puppy, and that's how I think.
Y2K and Parties
New Years Day is going to be one of the biggest parties the planet has ever seen. This night might require more preparation than you thought of. If your not prepared you might have to wait another 1000 years to make up for it.
Reservations should be made early. Places are going to fill up fast and if you wait too long you might not get in. You don't want to show up just to find out the place is full.
You should stock up on alcohol because there may be last minute shortages. You might not find the liquor you want to get drunk on. Buy your party supplies early.
You never know when you're going to get lucky. If you do you want to be prepared so that you're not part of the October 2000 baby boom. Those who were conceived on the millenium. If you're with someone who want's to start out the new century with a bang, or a gang bang, you want to be ready.
If you're planning to get drunk or do other drugs you don't want to die on the streets. There will be a lot of crazy people driving that night and a lot of cops out. Even if you're sober, driving can be dangerous. Don't drive drunk. Find a sober person to take you home or plan to spend the night where you are. I predict the jails and hospitals will be busy on new years.
Don't party with people who are members of a suicide cult or believe in human sacrifices to the millenium gods. If your friends are planning strange things it's time to make new friends. Put the guns away and have a good time.
If you're ever going to make a new year's resolution and keep it, this is the biggest new year that you'll ever see. You might want to decide it's time to quit smoking and go out and get some patches. You might even want to start a quit smoking group based on the new millenium. Maybe it's time for me to give up DOS.
Y2K Sexual Fantasies
A once in a lifetime event. You're with that special someone at midnight and the lights go out (because you threw the breakers). There you are, civilization has collapsed. The end of the world has arrived. The furnace is off. The house is getting colder. Only by sharing body heat will you survive the night. What are you going to do? Screw! Better have those candles, condoms, and warm blankets ready.
It may be a new millenium, but it's just another day. If your party didn't go as planned then that too bad. Get over it. The first day isn't an indicator of how the next 1000 years is going to be. Try to look at 2000 as a new beginning.
It's fortunate that the millenium lands on a Saturday. That gives everyone an extra day to recover before going back to work on January 3rd. Of course if you're a programmer you may be very busy fixing bugs and testing computers. We all need to honor our nerd heroes who will be up all night keeping the world running so that reality doesn't collapse and we're all sucked into a giant black hole.
Turning on your Computer
Once you sober up from the all night party of the century you should turn on your computer and make sure it still works. You should already have made a backup before the end of the year in case you have to restore data. The first think to notice is if the clock is working properly. If it doesn't show the right time, try setting the clock. Some computers might not roll over the century correctly but may work fine once the clock is set. If you can't set the clock to the right time and date, don't run any accounting programs of dates sensitive software until you get it fixed. Get the operating system working first before running any applications.
If you're on the internet, access the web first before running any applications. You might want to check out the rest of the world and see what's happening in the news and if there are any last minute bug fixes you should install before running your favorite programs. Check your vendor sites often for Y2K alerts in case something was discovered. If you're running Windows, check Microsoft's site for emergency upgrades. Make sure the operating system is running first before running or testing your critical applications.
If you have a small company like I do you'll want to go down to the office and check out those computers and get them working. By working on the weekend you may beat the Monday morning rush that might occur. It may help make sure that on Monday morning you will be up and running and it will be business as usual. It's worth it just for the peace of mind.
Monday - January 3rd 2000
Although there will be systems affected at midnight, one of the big days for Y2K will be the Monday after. That's the day when people go back to work and find out their software doesn't work. If your program crashes it may take a while to get it fixed. Tech Support lines will be overloaded as well as the web sites as everyone desperately tries to download the latest upgrade or emergency patch. Some software companies will just discover for the first time their programs don't work and will be desperately be trying to fix the code and ship the patches.
Although we all hope that these things won't happen to us, we should all be prepared to spend the rest of the week getting our computers up and running. If you go in expecting to be fighting software for a week then you will more likely be in the right frame of mind. Most people will only have to fight it for a few days. Be prepared to do business on paper for a few days, just in case. And as I said earlier, if you already have the upgrades installed you're less likely to be in a panic the first week of the new century. The thing to remember is that it will all get fixed eventually and keep cool and be patient. Once it's fixed it will be over and you'll never have to deal with it again.
Even if Y2K doesn't affect you it may affect people who you do business with. Your customers might stop buying because they have problems or your suppliers might not be able to ship because they have problems. So expect some disruptions until things get back to normal.
January 31st 2000
The next wave of computer bugs will hit at the end of January. This is the first billing period of the new century. Your program may run fine until it come time to age your receivable and your program calculates negative 100 years worth of interest and send bills out for -$10,000,000 to you customers. Before you age your receivables, you should run a tape backup just in case things go wrong. That way you can restore if strange things happen. You might want to check your statements before putting them in the mail. I'm sure someone somewhere will make the news over strange bills they received. If your program fails, contact you vendor and get an upgrade.
Leap Year - February 29th 2000
Leap year is every four years except that it skips a leap year on the century except that the leap year is not skipped on the fourth century. 2000 is a leap year. 1900 was not. People are making a big deal out of this but I don't think it's going to be a problem. Generally, if programmers forget the leap year on the century rules then their software will still work fine this century but be wrong 100 year from now.
However, you might still want to watch out just in case. If you're a lawyer and you have 90 days to file an appeal and your software doesn't count leap year and you wait till the last day to file, you may be in trouble. It might calculate the 90 days wrong and your client gets the chair because you are one day too late.
October 2000 Baby Boom
Those of you who got lucky on new years may be paying the price in October when that baby you conceived is born. Be sure to have your Y2K condoms ready to avoid being part of the October baby boom. The planet is already overpopulated and we don't need to add to the problem.
Fortunately or unfortunately the world is not going to end at the end of 1999. There isn't going to be a nuclear war and Jesus isn't coming back. We're still going to be here facing all the problems we had. We're still going to have to clean up the environment, deal with changing technology, avoid World War III, solve the population problem, and deal with stupid people.
Back in the 60s we all know the world was going to end. By the end of the century for sure. George Orwell's 1984 was still in the future, and maybe still is. The United States and the Soviet Union were pointing their nuclear arsenals at each other like to angry drunks with guns. Christians were anticipating that Christ would return any day. The planets were going to line up and the world was going to end. All the science fiction writers predicted it. We had Star Trek and sci-fi movies that assumed a great war, or that the evil computers took over, or genetically engineered plagues, human mutants living underground, or a war with an alien species. But none of that happened, and we're all still here and the world is still here and we're stuck with it.
As we move into the 21st century we need to decide that the world isn't going to end and that we are going to progress and evolve into something far greater than we are today. We need to be careful about our choices that we make so that we don't end up paying for our mistakes. We are at the verge of an evolutionary jump and it is up to us what we become. Let's commit ourselves to doing better the next 1000 years than we did this 1000 years.
Copyright © 1999 by Marc Perkel, All rights reserved.
Contacting the Author
309 North Jefferson #220
Springfield Mo. 65802
Y2K home page: http://www.ctyme.com/y2k/index.htm
This Document: http://www.ctyme.com/y2k/prepare.htm
My Y2K Legal Defense Brief: http://www.ctyme.com/y2k/brief.htm
About Marc Perkel: http://www.perkel.com/marc.htm
Marc Perkel's Home Page: http://www.perkel.com
People before lawyers: http://www.perkel.com/pbl/index.htm
People's legal Front: http://www.plf.net
Computer Tyme: http://www.ctyme.com
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