SouthernAngel's Y2K Center

How many of y'all think this is the new millennium?  Nope.  The new millennium will not begin until January 1, 2001!  Don't believe me?  Think of it this way: you need 100 pennies to make a dollar.  The pennies aren't number 0-99, because there is no such thing as 0 pennies.  The pennies must be 1-100, therefore, a century is the years 1-100. With that said, the twentieth century is 1901-2000, and the twenty-first century is 2001-2100.  Get it?  A millennium is 1000 years, meaning that our current millennium is 1001 to 2000, and the new millennium will be 2001-3000.  

But then, 99.9% of the media disagrees with me.

Before I go any further, let me explain why I might know more about this issue than the average bear.  I have a computer science degree and have been a programmer/analyst for over ten years.  Are you shocked to find out that I am one of those nerdy-types?  Nah.  It just explains why I'm so . . . 'special'.  Heh.

Anyway, my goal for this page is to educate you, my kind and faithful reader, and not scare you.  Read on.

Click here to skip to the jokes.  Click here to skip to my "Millennium Madness" article.

Click here to skip to my own December 31, 1999 notes.

Just In Case

By: Angela Gillaspie, December 31, 1999

It's December 31, 1999 and according to most of the people of this world, all heck's going to break loose tonight at midnight. Drug stores, grocery stores, and Wal-mart are selling out of water, batteries, canned goods, and other dry goods. Lines at the gasoline pumps are reminiscent of the long lines of the 1970s when there was a gas shortage. People everywhere are stocking up on items ... just in case.

This morning, I received a frantic phone call from my sister Traci telling me that Daddy had been preparing for Y2K. Breathing a deep sigh, I asked her to continue. She said that Daddy got a brand new generator and wanted to fire it up and test it, "Just in case," he said.

Momma was putting on her makeup up in her bedroom when Daddy decided to run his Y2K test. Daddy plugged in his generator and fired it up. A loud boom shocked the house, followed by dimming lights and then complete darkness. Silence and the thick smell of ozone descended upon the house. Then from the corner of the stairs Momma yelled, "Uh Leo ... ?"

Daddy answered with a stomp, stomp, stomp through the house, "I forgot to shut off the durned pare." "You WHAT?!" Momma answered. Daddy flipped a few circuit breakers and got the power back on ... somewhat. Mother raced first to her computer and found it totally dead. She found the fax machine, the large television in the den, and the refrigerator functional. A couple of cordless phones, the upstairs television, and a brand new stereo system were fried.

Traci said, "Obviously Daddy ain't Y2K compliant, I hope Momma don't pull an 'Uncle Booger' and shoot Daddy." "Nah, Momma's got more class than that, but I'm sure the thought has crossed her mind once or twice over the past 40-something years," I said.

"Hopefully there is some type of home owner's insurance coverage for this," I told Daddy later when I talked to him. "Naw, I don't reckon they have coverage for bein' stupid," he replied. He sounded like a hound dog that just got beat for eating the chickens. I didn't know what else to say to him but, "Well, I'll pray for y'all." Yes, here is another tragedy that can be claimed by Y2K. I don't know what could have been done to avoid this except maybe reading the instructions.

I tracked Momma down at her office and she told me that one of her clients asked her if she expected to have any trouble with Y2K. "I don't really expect any troubles with Y-2-K, the only problem I had was with L-E-O," she replied.

I'm amazed at the mania that I've seen today. I had to travel around town to pick up dry cleaning and perform my regular Friday errands and I just couldn't believe what all I saw. On the drive through town today, I expected to see people with their "The End is Near" placards as they paced the sidewalks in front of Piggly Wiggly. Nowadays in this age of commercialism, I bet the sign would say, "Repent now and save 50% on your next purchase of batteries at Revco." Just in case.

Wal-mart and Winn Dixie were packed as folks rushed in to buy all the canned peas, bottled water, and toilet paper that they could carry. It's amazing. The long lines at the bank and gas station would made me think that my town was going mad.

I imagine that Bubba first goes to the bank to withdraw his savings, and then visits the store to buy up his share of bottled water, cold beer, and beanie weanies. Next, he'll drive to the gas station and fill up several of his gas cans and the tank of his copper colored 1976 El Camino, and finally he'll head to the fireworks stand to get about five grocery bags full of explosives.

Just in case.

Yeah. Bubba can shoot off rockets, swill beer, and heat up beanie weanies over the grill because it is the Year 2000 -- don't ya know?

On the local news, they have announced that the National Guard is on alert and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) has called in all their people. Every person employed by law enforcement is on the job tonight looking for drunks and or terrorists. Just a bit ago, I sent my husband to the store to get steaks (we forgot to get them when we got groceries yesterday) and a six pack of beer (just in case). When he returned, he said that he got many odd looks when he was checking out with his bag of chips, Coors Light, and two sirloins. The cashier even asked him if he needed any batteries or water. Just in case.

My husband and I ate supper last night at an upscale restaurant, and I took with me my laptop and Hewlett Packard pocket calculator. Why? I chuckled as I explained to my husband, "Just in case there's a computer problem, I can whip out my HP calculator and tell everyone, 'Nobody panic! I'm a programmer!'" OK, it was funny to me.

Hopefully, things will keep on keeping on and this Y2K thing will be a total non-event. If not, I charged up my laptop, filled my bathtub, and have lots of peanut butter ... just in case.

Ah, levity.

Memo:   To all employees

Subject:  Increased productivity

Management has determined that there is no longer any need for network or software applications support.(See below)

The goal is to remove all computers from the desktop by December 31, 1999. Instead, everyone will be provided with an Etch-A-Sketch. There are many sound reasons for doing this:

1. No Y2K problems

2. No technical glitches keeping work from being done.

3. No more wasted time reading and writing emails.

Frequently Asked Questions for Etch-A-Sketch Technical Support :

Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has all of these funny little lines all over the screen. A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I turn my Etch-A-Sketch off?  A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What's the shortcut for Undo? A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I create a New Document window? A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I set the background and foreground to the same color? A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What is the proper procedure for rebooting my Etch-A-Sketch? A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I delete a document on my Etch-A-Sketch? A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I save my Etch-A-Sketch document? A: Don't shake it.

Top 33 Reasons why you can't ignore the Year 2000!

1. You honestly believe the year 2000 isn't a leap year

2. You're getting into Real Estate.

3. You like midnight phone calls from irate CEO's.

4. You want to surprise your stockholders.

5. You believe a crisis is good for organizations. It brings focus to your work and builds good, strong, team spirit.

6. You think the problem is exaggerated.

7. You've got lots of time, it's only August 1999.

8. It's a hardware problem.

9. Your Mission Critical Systems aren't.

10. The problem doesn't affect your applications.

11. It's not a problem....it's a 'challenge'.

12. You're afraid to deliver the news to your management.

13. You haven't been able to find your management.

14. You're waiting to see what happens before you react.

15. You believe that if you ignore the problem, it'll go away.

16. You'd rather drink coffee, than champagne on New Year's Eve.

17. You like paying COBOL programmers $240K/annum to implement10 year projects in an afternoon.

18. You believe that a year has 365 working days.

19. You enjoyed your grandparent's stories about the Great Depression and would like to experience them for yourself.

20. You're focused on IT strategies ... not day to day support issues

21. You're not the head of IT you only work here.

22. You are the head of IT and your people assure you there's no problem.

23. You wrote the legacy systems affected and are reluctant to admit the problem exists.

24. When the time comes you'll pay someone else to solve it for you.

25. You're already up to your neck in alligators.

26. You can afford to be without your Account Receivables for a year or two.

27. You're waiting for everyone else to go first.

28. The excitement of watching your systems fail is better than Bungee Jumping without a cord.

29. You're doing the monkey impersonation ... Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil.

30. You believe maintenance is for wimps, real managers create new systems.

31. You're scheduled to start working on this in 1999.

32. You bought a magic bullet from a software salesperson.

33. You believe this is all a plot by consultants to create a problem where none exists.

The Digital Hillbillies

(sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies)

Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed, A poor college kid, barely kept his family fed,

But then one day he was talking to a recruiter, Who said, "they pay big bucks if ya work on a computer..."

UNIX, that is... NT ... Workstations ...

Well, the first thing ya know ol' Jed's an Engineer.  The kinfolk said "Jed, move away from here".

They said "Arizona is the place ya oughta be", So he bought some donuts and he moved to Ahwatukee...

Intel, that is... dry heat... no amusement parks...

On his first day at work, they stuck him in a cube. Fed him more donuts and sat him at a tube.

They said "your project's late, but we know just what to do.  Instead of 40 hours, we'll work you 52!"

OT, that is... unpaid... mandatory...

The weeks rolled by and things were looking bad.  Schedules started slipping and some managers were mad.

They called another meeting and decided on a fix.  The answer was simple... "We'll work him sixty-six!"

Tired, that is... stressed out... no social life...

Months turned to years and his hair was turning grey.  Jed worked very hard while his life slipped away.

Waiting to retire when he turned 64, Instead he got a call and was escorted out the door.

Laid off, that is... de-briefed... unemployed...

Now the moral of the story is listen to what you're told, Companies will use you and discard you when you're old.

So gather up your friends and all and open your own firm, Beat the competition, watch the bosses squirm.

Millionaires, that is...

Y'all come back now... ya hear?

Author unknown

Here's my own Y2K Story:

Millennium Madness

By: Angela Gillaspie ©August 1999

1999 has arrived and Chicken Little has set up web sites and e-mail, faxes, post office boxes, and glossy full-page ads with the message that the year 2000 will be the end of civilization, as we know it. He claims we should withdraw all of our money from the bank, purchase gold bars, get a food dehydrator, store water, and move to Montana among other things. Come January of 2000, there will be no water, no power, no telephone service, and no Vienna sausages and squirt cheese.

The horror.

As you have heard, some programmers back in the seventies and eighties wanted to save space (disk space was expensive back then) by making the date two bytes instead of four bytes, totally ignoring the logic for the century portion of the date. The popular programmer credo being invoked is: "I won't be programming by the year 2000, so why bother?" (I can say this, because I'm guilty of the same.) Much to our dismay, the year 2000 is coming just as sure as your fax machine is going to jam and your toast will fall on the linoleum floor butter side down.

The bad news is that this little 'bug' is going to cause some interesting problems other than technology-related failures. Many people have already begun withdrawing their savings, cashing in their CDs, and cleaning out their checking accounts. The majority of banks are Y2K compliant technologically, but they are going to have a hard time keeping up with the demand of cold hard cash in the coming months.

It is predicted that the stockpiling of loads of cash in homes is going to result in the increase of home robberies. Mail order firms are already peddling hollowed out books in which consumers can stash their money. Think about it, most thieves read magazines just as you do and they know all about the places to stash cash.

There is a scam already happening where a caller claiming to be a government employee tells senior citizens they will not get their Social Security checks after the first of the year, and their paper money will be no good. The scammer tells senior citizens to turn all assets into paper money and mail it to him so he can convert it into gold and mail it back. Yeah, right; don't buy it folks. Don't let anyone know your social security number, credit card number, or checking/savings account number. Use common sense and contact the Better Business Bureau in your area.

Many companies have already dealt with the Y2K problem years ago and many others are currently implementing code changes and testing as I type this essay. Being a technical writer and programmer for the past ten years, I can truthfully say that I was coding on the Y2K glitch right when I graduated from college in 1990. There might be small chance that the telephone, power, gas, and water may stop. If they do, those services should be back on within HOURS not WEEKS allowing you to logon to the Internet in the wee hours of 1/1/2000 and post on message boards that you survived Y2K.

I'm sure you are wondering what I am personally going to do for my own family. I am going to prepare for January just as I always do. There will be extra wood for the fireplace, extra bread in the freezer, spare jars of jelly and peanut butter, a case of Vienna sausages, squirt cheese, and about four gallon jugs of water. Oh, and there will be a five-pound bag of M&Ms -- for emergencies only, of course.

It will be rougher for businesses than individuals during the transition between 1999 and 2000. Businesses are creating contingency plans that layout what to do when/if a Y2K failure occurs. As an author of a contingency plan for a very large manufacturing firm, I know that the failure worries are not about utilities ceasing, but the possibility of other smaller businesses failing to supply their services. Companies rely heavily on raw materials, advertisers, transportation, and communications to earn their revenue.

The bottom line is this: the sky won't fall. Businesses have to rely on the services of other businesses to survive, and we individuals only have to rely on our Creator and ourselves. The most important thing for surviving this Y2K bug is to not panic. What an exciting time to be alive! You are witnessing the beginning of the end of the twentieth century and the pre-dawn of the twenty-first century and new millennium (remember, the twenty-first century doesn't start until January 1, 2001).

Have faith in yourselves for making the right decisions and faith in your Creator for giving you the right decisions. You can do it! Now get out there and make me proud. Just don't buy all the cans of squirt cheese, though.

Copyright © 2000, Angela Gillaspie
Revised - 02/27/00
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