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The Y2K Disaster That Never Was



In 1999, everyone was anticipating the arrival of the new millennium. January 1, 2000 was the day that our entire lives were going to be changed. The fear was that all of the computers that everyone depended on would malfunction. People also feared that our luxuries would be destroyed and that we would revert back to living like the olden days without any electricity, heat or running water. They called this the great Y2K scare. The scare consisted of the fear that the entire computer systems were going to fail on New Year's Eve 1999. This is because computer memory space was pricey then and memory was saved by using two digits for the date instead four. For example, a date representing 1995 would be saved as "95." Therefore, when the year changed to 2000, the disaster that was anticipated by so many was that the computers would not be able to tell if "00" meant 2000 or 1900. Some problems with the dates were already occurring before the millennium. Therefore, people assumed that all of the world's computers would fail to function. In other words, people saw the new millennium as the apocalypse. They feared that the end of the world was near. A family in Ohio took it to such an extreme that they bought gas-powered generators and a year's supply of dry food because they were so convinced that the end was near. There was complete chaos occurring around the world.

Moreover, before the date changed, government systems prepared themselves for this change. Many websites provided information on how to prepare and businesses attempted to get help beforehand. The economy blossomed for all computer programmers, those specializing in data recovery, and any other computer savvy people. Companies that had the solution to "fixing" the Y2K problem sold products quite quickly.

When the clocks and calendars did actually change to the year 2000, computers barely had any problems. Although there were some reports of minor problems, the majority of computers did alright. Only three government agencies were barely influenced by this "disaster" and all of the problems occurred in personal computers rather than business ones. A few problems were reported. Some of Japan's most popularly sold cell phones were deleting new messages instead of older ones as the memory filled up. Two bus ticket-validation machines failed to work in Australia. Also, 150 slot machines in Delaware's race tracks stopped working in 2000. Furthermore, the total global cost to resolve the "Y2K disaster" is estimated to cost an outstanding amount of $300-$600 billion. Although some people suggested that the attempts to prepare for the disaster are what saved humanity, others argue that the whole thing was blown out of proportion and that the next time a real catastrophe might happen, people will ignore it because they think it's a false alarm. The next talked about "disaster" to come is supposed to be in 2012 and people are terrified about the New Year's arrival. However, some are ignoring it because they think it's another false alarm.






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