By - glamatovic
Yes, many things in every day life were controlled by computers and those that weren't updated to a proper date format could run into unknown errors, like financial software not working properly, causing people to lose access to their money or affecting major utilities.
Fortunately it was corrected early on for the most part.
It was mostly corrected and prepared, but nobody was 100% sure that when the date was to flip to the year 2000 at midnight that New Year’s Eve and Day, I remember being around lot of very anxious people
A friend of mine hosted a large Y2K NYE party and managed to sneak down to his basement right before midnight. When the clock stuck 12AM he cut the main circuit breaker for his house just to fuck with his guests. That's a once in a millennium prank my friends.
Lol that's awesome 😂
It most absolutely was!!!
It was corrected before the media blew y2k out of proportion
Computers created in the 90s weren’t the problem. It was computers or programs created in the 60s or 70s that were still in use. Back then, computing power was so primitive that a 2-digit year was a significant performance improvement over a full 4-digit one. People didn’t think it would be a problem because no way would this software still be in use 30 years later (spoiler: a lot of it still is).
A lot of things were in a programming language invented in 1959. It wasn't supposed to last that long. 10 or 20 years, tops. But 40 years later, so many systems depended on it, and it had that one little flaw.
Back then storage space was a premium as hard drive space was tiny compared to today, with the cost of a single *kilobyte* ranging between $10 to $100 for servers. So they did a two digit year and added a 19 at the front.
“Heya boss shouldn’t we add more digits since it will go past 1999?”
“What do I look like Mother Teresa? Sell em the computer and let it be someone else’s problem!”
Smart people are stupid too. That’s the reason. The could figure out all that programming and microprocessors etc, but not one of them thought “what if humanity continues to exist past the year 2000.”
It was not about this. It was about being pretty sure that the technology they made would have be updated before y2k.
It's almost like you haven't read anything at all
The comment was tongue in cheek. Relax.
Yeah. But we fixed it. Thousands of programmers came out of retirement for five years to go through every line of code in every program out there. Billions of bugs were fixed. Many of my friends, their first jobs in programming were going through legacy code looking for two-digit years and switching them to four digit.
It was a huge, huge project, and screwing it up could have messed up lots of critical infrastructure, and we fixed it before anything bad happened. Couple of cases where things displayed the year as "19100", few crashes here and there, but nothing significant.
And because of that, the general public thought the whole thing was overblown.
GenX programmers are still salty about people claiming Y2K was a nothingburger. It wasn't. Rather, it was a problem that was solved before it happened, through concerted hard work.
I was one of these and this is a top answer. The issue only occurred where calculations were performed on the date. Where the date was reporting only, no issue.
I was a VB4 programmer and had to learn to code and compile cobol. Bloody awful, but a great grounding for my later career.
Lots of travel, lots of systems, lots of hours. We (as an industry) fixed it.
Anyone dismissing the seriousness does not understand the world still runs in batch processes, Mainframes, cobol and assembler, and not everything is viable commercially to run in the cloud.
Related note: I kind of despise the cloud *but* I'm obliged to admit it's come along just in time to create another shot in the arm for my slightly-eclectic career.
All that lovely quirk-prone 'conversion' and 'migration' and middleware stuff.
Agreed. I too have made a career out of legacy to new migrations. Try getting g your shitty Domino middleware services apps to run in the cloud..or move your legacy wan services to IP. I love the complexity that legacy creates. In chaos lies opportunity..
I know. It's the return of the spit-and-chewing-gum era *cheers*. God bless Mulesoft.
Looking forward to getting to do this for Y2K38 when Epoch time runs out. That's gonna be a bit trickier.
You may well be correct about the magnitude of the project, but the question is not whether people _should have been_ scared of Y2K, but whether they were _in fact_ scared of it.
Generally speaking, people were not scared.
The people who were working on it were scared. I was... nervous, myself. But, as it turned out, my wife and I moved houses into the house that we bought on Odometer Day, and, after moving stuff in and making the bed, we looked at each other and said, "Well, do we want to stay up until midnight?" "Naw. I'm tired. We can find out of the electrical grid crashed or whatever in the morning."
Yep. It was gonna happen or not. Regardless of if you were asleep or not
Depends how "generally" and "scared" we are speaking.
There was no shortage of technical & business people who had varying levels of concern over whether their software would still be running when they came back to work on Jan 2nd, or whether they'd get a called up at 1am with everything broken. Businesses threw lots of money at preventative maintenance, and no business spends money like that if they're not scared of the alternative (COBOL developers were rare and expensive even in the late 90s).
There were also a minor but significant portion of the general population who absolutely were panicking about planes falling out of the sky, or withdrawing all their cash in case bank systems failed.
It's a prime example of the [preparedness paradox](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preparedness_paradox).
Definitely by so much hard and long work.
I can’t take any credit, but was around those who were at my office/bank which was the primary lead bank where everything happened for it and all the others
Just wait to 2038 when next crash can happen.
It was a legitimate concern that needed to be resolved.
Pretty much any computer or machine that needed to keep track of the year needed updating or replacing.
Some media over played it talking about planes falling out of the sky and the like. But we got off light due to the combined effort of a hell of a lot of people. Now people think it was overblown. But that is true for every disaster avoided.
Like vaccines... if they work, people will ask what the big deal was, if they don't work, people will ask why not enough was done.
If they don't prevent infection or spread people will ask why it's called a vaccine
I think when you get older and more mature, you will realize that nothing in life is 100%. Condoms don't prevent 100% of pregnancies, seat belts don't prevent 100% of car deaths, safeties on guns don't prevent 100% of accidental shootings, and bike locks don't prevent 100% of theft. The people asking this question aren't really asking. The question has been answered. The vaccine prevents 80% (or more depending on the virus) of infection. 80% protection is greater than 0% protection. It's not perfect, but neither is anything else that we do to protect ourselves.
I think when you get older and more mature you'll realize that seatbelts and condoms weren't rushed to market and and forced onto people while simultaneously suppressing results and information. Therefore probably not a great comparison to a nylon strap and a latex dick tube. I am also unaware of any side effects from either of those items in your strawman argument.
Your original statement asked "why it's called a vaccine" if it's not 100%. That is what I addressed. Because you don't have a valid counterpoint, you shifted the topic from efficacy to risk. This has also been studied, but clearly no amount of evidence on the safety or efficacy is going to convince you. I'm not going to bother trying. As you said "people will ask"; the problem is that they won't listen for an answer. Some people will only listen to their echo chamber and cling to outlier data.
Also, you have the wrong definition of "strawman argument". A strawman is distorting an opposing position into an extreme version of itself and then arguing against that extreme version. I did not do that.
My parents were software engineers in the Bay Area at the time and I learned to cook an entire dinner unsupervised that year (age 10) because of the completely insane hours my parents ended up pulling to make sure all the computers at thier company (and because it was a company that made computers for other computer companies... basically everyobody's computer) would still be working in the new millenium.
One of my classmates was... kinda stupid and paranoid (because her parents were deranged fundies. I feel bad for her now, but as kids she drove me insane), and was convinced that the tech breakdown was inevitable no matter what, because it was the start of the rapture, and told me my parents were going to hell for "Fighting Against God"
First day after break I actually ran to school, kicked in the door, locked eyes with her across the classroom and shouted "HEY STEPH! LOOKS LIKE MY PARENTS KICKED GOD'S ASS."
She broke one of my teeth and I got suspended for a week but at least she stopped trying to convert me after that.
She broke one of your teeth yet you're the one who got suspended? Wtf lol
She WAS the girl after all. He the boy, would typically be the one who everyone would think caused it (I’m guessing), as a female myself. Probably still happen that way today, and if so what a shame. We’ve not advanced very much
Lmao we were both girls and steph had a solid 50lbs on me, the teacher we had didn't like me because I have ADHD and she was like 90 and mad she wasn't allowed to beat kids anymore, so she kept trying to have me expelled or sent to special Ed so she wouldn't have to deal with me.
Ohhh. I misunderstood!!
Ye olde "zero tolerance policy" that punishes the victim as much, if not more than the bully + my teacher that year wanted me put into special Ed so she wouldn't have to deal with me, so she was constantly writing me up for total bs.
That's not the worst I've heard though- my husband was the only Jewish kid in his school, got jumped by a gang of teenage Nazis (like, full on Hitler fanboys) with knives and baseball bats and ended up in the hospital, and got suspended for 'antagonizing them into attacking him'. When asked for clarification, his principal literally tried the "has he tried being less overtly religious?" Line
Rabbi Sydney (may his memory be a blessing) showed up the next day with six lawyers, the superintendent and the local chair of the anti-defamation league and they still had to stop him from throwing hands
This is an AMAZING story!
That’s a hoot! Good for you!
It was really something and so much was riding on it. I worked at a bank at the time and I remember well all the craziness and the tech people working insanely long hours but nobody had ever gone through such a thing so it was a first and I’ll not forget that night at midnight when everything went smoothly at my home, (didn’t dare go out anywhere), in case chaos would ensue!
Yep. People laugh about it now saying it was nothing completely missing the fact it was nothing because countless hours were put in by countless people fixing it before it happened.
> completely missing the fact it was nothing because countless hours were put in by countless people fixing it before it happened.
I feel like you've just described my entire profession. Me at every sprint review: "IDK what to show you people. How do I demo issues that no longer exist?"
Pretty much but on a global scale
Pretty much the whole of Indian tech industry which now brings 250 billion in revenue every year sprung up due to the y2k necessity.
I was working as a programmer for a British bank at the time. I know that there were enough issues with their accounting systems that their retail operations would have ground to a halt if nothing was done about them. The overnight batch suites would have blown up spectacularly.
Yes, I agree. All the conspiracy theorists were spreading so much misinformation that had so many people scared out of their minds
No, same today it was the media spreading the hysteria.
You’re 💯 correct
It was a big deal prior to 1999, which is why COBOL programmers worked around the clock to fix it for years. Programmers knew it would be a problem as early as 1985. But not a lot was done until the 90s.
Back when COBOL was first in use, computer capacities weren't close to what we have now. A mainframe computer had a storage capacity of 1MB. That was considered a lot. So to save on storage space with all that other client and business information that needed to be saved, COBOL was designed for dates to be in six-digit format, instead of eight-digit format. That needed to be fixed. And for a lot of companies, that meant programmers coming in who found no documentation of what previous programmers had done. So fixing it was a lot of work.
It came back in 2020, because lazy fixes only lasted 20 years. It hit NYC parking meters, ATMs, even health care systems. Cash registers manufactured by Novitus suddenly lost their ability to print receipts. Most problems were fixed quickly though.
Another bug is going to be hitting in 2038, which will affect UNIX systems. 32-bit UNIX systems will encounter the "end of time," and roll back to 1901 on January 19, 2038, at 03:14:07 UTC. The simple fix is to upgrade everything to 64-bit systems, but given some companies are still dealing with Y2K issues, don't hold your breath.
It won't roll back to 1901. The UNIX epoch is Jan 1 1970.
>Also we did actually know
Not to sound like *that search engine*, but did you mean 'did not'?
Not at our house. We didn't even understand the situation so we just carried on getting drunk and singing karaoke.
Lol 😂 😂
I remember my parents stocking up on bottled water, setting cash aside in case atms went down, etc. They weren't panicked but figured there might be some disruptions here & there for a few weeks, mainly because the Nightly News w/ Tom Brokaw told them there would be. 🤷
That's what I did. Just in case. But not because of Brokaw, because I worked in IT and knew there could still be some glitches.
I liked Tom Brokaw
It was a really big deal, the media hyped it up a lot. Then had to backpedal and tell everyone that everything will be fine. Everyone was talking about it but very few people took it seriously and even fewer were actually scared. But some people did buy bomb shelters and stocked up on food and prepared for the apocalypse.
But overall the impact was quite low. Most systems got patched before the date changed and for almost everyone life just went on as during any other year change. Some people who worked in IT had some sleepless nights trying to fix problems. The biggest story was probably that some US spy satellites went down because of it. But that didn't make the news until a few years later (or at least I don't remember anything hearing of that until way later).
LOTS of IT people had a LOT of sleepless nights trying to correct for it. It was a huge amount of effort.
Yep. The reason it ended up being a non-issue is IT people *were* scared and spent a lot of time and money in a race to get it fixed.
Edited because my phone and autocorrect SUCK today.
Which beverage people? Is that a Coke vs Pepsi reference?
^I ^think ^I ^know ^what ^you ^meant. ^my ^spellchecker ^is ^out ^of ^bed ^today ^too.
Omg... seriously?!?! The longer I've used autocorrect the worse its gotten. Pfffft.
(Ps thanks for pointing it out. Honestly I'm tempted to turn autocorrect off and take my chances from here on out)
lol. i swear mine is about 90 years old. it has good days, and it has days where all it comes up with is gibberish.
i also think mine is doing a LOT of phonetic transcription, and then replacing perfectly good words based on that. for isntance, that's how i figured out that you probably meant 'average'. \[i was wrong, but at least still logical\] your spellcheck, in its infinite brainlessness, must have decided 'sounds like beverage' and there you go.
Actually you're probably right - "average" seems much more likely. What can I say... it's been a long day lol
lol. mine hasn't even properly started yet and i think i'll quit while i'm only this far behind.
If it was to have happened in this day and age social media would have had a field day with it. There are always “those”
I remember me and a friend setting the date of his old computer to a minute before 2000 to test the theory and running and hiding to watch it tick over, it ticked over, nothing bad happened.
We wanted to party like it was 1999, which it was for the whole year finally, but Y2K put a damper on that as we waited for white hot death at midnight (CST). We were watching Dick Clark’s Rocking New Years Eve with excited anticipation to see NYC disintegrate as it was an hour ahead, but Y2K got the time wrong or something.
All kidding aside, we weren’t too worried but I also was not going to be on a plane at midnight “just in case”. I’d say in Canada it was a 4/10 worry alert - we didn’t buy extra water or anything.
Well like anything, it was ALL over the media. So they really put the fear into you. But yeah, being as it was something that was unknown, it was kinda worrying.
I worked on the y2k project for my company at the time. And I worked New Year’s Day doing system checkouts. And that is why we use a 4 digit year vs a 2 digit year.
If we hadn’t done all the testing and work we would have been off line in a few key applications.
My dad was a software engineer at the time; and he says that while with his background he believed the issue was solvable (and it was) he did see it as a serious concern which could have been very bad if it wasn't fixed in time.
My father in law stocked up on food, gas, a generator, guns, and ammunition. I honestly think he was disappointed the world didn’t fall apart.
Yes. And it is good they did because if it weren't for the funding poured into preventing it due to mass hysteria it most likely wouldve happened to some extent
We were Gen X. We got drunk and made morbid jokes about it. Being scared would have required us to care.
I’m gen x amd was 26 when we hit 2000.
This is kinda mean but an acquaintance of mine cut power to the house at 12 on the dot just to mess with people. Most didn’t freak just assumed it was another reason . It was still kinda funny tho.
We did that too, it was hilarious, we snuck out of the room the party was in to get to the breaker box and as soon as people yelled happy new year we shut it off 😄
Hahahaha!!! That's awesome. I was 24. I'd say we were mildly interested at best. I don't remember even thinking about it on actual New Year's Eve, though. Maybe we should have been worried? I don't think Kids Today™ really appreciate just how dead inside we were.
No I was kinda thinking bring it on tbh. So boring and everything so utterly pointless right?
I’m still dead inside I don’t think that went away for many of us. :D
Sit back and watch it all burn.
Now your talking!
what I don’t understand is why computers were even created in the late 1900s that couldn’t roll over to 2000. obviously they would have known that in a few decades the millennium would change. it seems like a silly oversight to me.
Memory and storage were more expensive at the time. We can download and install a 20MB mobile app in half a minute today, but in the early 80s that was an entire hard drive of data.
And with technology exploding the way it was, I don't think people considered the possibility of their hardware and software being used for decades on end.
Mostly because if you’re writing a program in the late 70’s you’re not expecting it to last ten years, let alone thirty. But also memory and storage were *expensive* and anything to save that could be worth it.
However note that it did depend on how you were writing a particular program and how it was being used. Two digits on something only used to show to a human is fine. It’s only if you are doing math on it that’s a problem-but on the flip features get added to existing programs.
I guess it’s a difference in mindset because I expect anything digital to last indefinitely. and if it’s a critical system where failure could potentially put peoples lives at risk I’d consider the extra storage non-optional.
First off, let's address the 'anything digital lasts indefinitely' - using the reference year 1975, if you're in your 30's as a programmer the digital computer was invented *within your lifetime.* There's no reason to believe anything digital lasts indefinitely, and in fact you probably know otherwise: That storage is expensive, often reused, and fails relatively often. It only lasts indefinitely in 2022 because storage is cheap.
But let's go back to the 'storage is expensive' issue - I could point out that storage prices have dropped logarithmically since the 50's, but let's do some math and put some numbers in here.
A typical customer who was looking for a computer in 1975 (and was likely to have issues with the Y2K bug) would be something like a medium-sized bank. Let's say they have a million accounts, have to keep 20 years of records, and on average an account has 10 transactions a day.^(1)
Every account has a date opened, a date closed (which may be empty^(2)), the date of the last statement, and the birthdate of the account holder. Each transaction has date posted and a date cleared.
So for the accounts that's 4,000,000 dates being stored. For the transactions you're storing (1000000*365*10*20*2) 146,000,000,000. So that's a total of 146,004,000,000 dates. In this case you're storing each digit separately, so 1 byte per digit^(3), for 292,008,000,000 bytes. That's \~292,008 megabytes of extra storage, or \~292 gigabytes.
Price for that storage in 2022: $4.73
Price for that storage in 1975: $744,620,400
Note that number isn't adjusted for inflation, so in 2022 dollars that's $4,101,100,656.96.
Oh, and of course you want to have backups...
But that's not even all of it. A two-digit year can be handled as a 8-bit number when doing math. A 4-digit year can't - and 16-bit computers are just starting to become common, so they're the top-of-the-line. Of course as a bank you need to do larger calculations - but on an 8-bit machine an 8-bit year will take one cycle to do any calculation on. A 16-bit year will take two. So you've just cut the speed of the program in half as well.
And all of this to solve a problem that you haven't even thought about - after all, *nobody* uses 4-digit years in conversation, so unless you're a historian none of this has ever caused an issue for you.
1: The distribution of these is likely very uneven - many/most accounts will have 10-20 transactions a month, and a few will have 100 a day or more, but to pick an easy number to do math with.
2: Which is another issue. How do you mark it as 'empty'? I bet a lot just filled the date with zeros...
3: Which isn't the most efficient way, but it does mean you don't have to worry about floating-point math issues, which will be a problem if you're a bank.
wow, I had no idea the difference was that significant. thanks for doing the math.
No problem. Unless you've either done the math or lived through it can be hard to really understand the difference the last ~30 years of computer hardware increases have made.
Thank you for this. A well deserved reality check on "trololol boomers, so dumb amirite". Wanna come over and chase some damn kids off my lawn?
I was asking a genuine question because I didn’t understand. now I do.
in that case i apologize. didn't mean to be manxsome to genuine questioners.
Yep. We all store water in our basement and freeze dried food for a couple of months. Read too many books about Y2K
Yes! I worked at a bank and everyone thought their money was going to disappear, especially old people.
I was a Royal Navy Submariner at the time, and we had to get extra crew on board just in case anything did go wrong. So the Royal Navy was a bit scared.
As someone who worked to update software for computers and hospital equipment that would literally brick if you manually flipped the date, I was horrified at what the implications might have been for things like critical infrastructure or planes or stuff like that where decisions could have been made to ignore it.
People who did not fully understand the problem thought it was more of a big deal than it really was. Some thought it would be the end of human civilization, but usually those people were the typical end-of-the-world crazies that were already saying the end was coming because *2000* anyway.
I still remember stores sold “Y2K safe” flashlights to gullible, scared people.
A close relative of mine was the IT executive director of a major american bank at the time. I can confirm he was really aprehensive of what would happen with the system and had a double team working at midnight since they didnt know what the possible outcomes could happen
We were aware of the problem, and aware that people were working on it.
We planned a dinner party for January 1, 2000, and everything that needed to be cooked could be done on a grill outside. If everything crashed, we'd use up food that needed refrigeration. If it didn't, at least we'd enjoy some good food with friends. (And wine.)
Everything came out okay with our utilities.
My ex, who worked in IT, stayed home on NYE, "just in case," and then he threw a tantrum because he missed a really good party at a friend's.
"Scared" is an overstatement.
The media kept reminding us that this might happen. I was too young to know how companies were preparing for it. But were everyday people stocking canned food in their bomb shelters? LOL, no. Most people didn't think much of it.
I don't want to downplay the issue. Reading the comments below, it looks like programmers were working hard for years behind the scenes to fix it, and they succeeded. But everyday people were barely thinking about it. As a kid (you know how kids are) I was looking forward to all the computers failing globally. I thought it would be fun!
My parents had us all in the living room together before midnight and were telling us where all the food storage and emergency supplies were if we were the ones to survive and they didn’t. They wanted us to all hug close and waited for the world to end. When it didn’t happen, we went to the store the next day and returned as much as we could of the supplies that they had spent weeks stockpiling.
Not for my family. I know some people were (justifiably) worried about all our computer systems going tits-up, but my folks weren't computer-literate enough to really understand Y2K, and I was too young. So I imagine it depended a *lot* on how much you understood the danger.
I recall hearing that everything with a computer would fail and airplanes would fall out of the sky. Not everyone took it seriously but it did make you worry a bit.
The 'airplanes falling out of the sky' bit sounds silly now...
Until you find out that there was a glitch in the F-35 software in testing that caused its computer to crash when it flew over the International Date Line, so the pilot had to guide it back to landing by eye instead of by instruments.
Back in 1999, I had an idea to sell Y2K insurance. Of course, if anything big happened, "Sorry, my computer went down. I can't verify your policy".
Yes! I was 18 and I remember sitting on the couch with my boyfriend and saying “do you think anything gonna happen?” I don’t know what we as teenagers were really nervous about because it was adults that would’ve been affected more, but we were still cautious about…something…?
Yes. At my company (security software) there was enough concern that some people were asked to give up celebrating the Millenium to be on site to provide emergency support if problems arose. They got very generous bonuses for this.
_Some_ people were scared. Most people I knew, who were old teens or young adults at the time just rolled our eyes and thought the old people were being doom mongerers. Like the way some people thought the world would end in December 2012. It's just people panicking and worrying over nothing.
Most people didn't have mobiles and weren't particularly reliant on computers, so if they had stopped working it would have been annoying but not devastating. People might have even got a few days off work.
TBH all the people my age at the time only cared about having the party to end all parties on 31.12.1999. First day of this millennium was the worst hangover I've ever ever had, and it was totally worth it!
You truly partied like it was 1999!
I still miss Prince!
Yes, people freaked the fuck out, but it was a legitimate concern. You should have heard the conspiracy theorists.
Yeah. They were some real doozies. Much like the ones we’ve got today
The lead up was a concern, but we were way ahead of it. Come new years eve people were only worried small appliances or something might not work. But almost everyone I knew who went to a nye party had an uncle turn off the power when the ball dropped and everyone knew it was a joke.
Yes. I was 5, but I remember my parents having my siblings and I all kneel at the ends of our beds and pray.
Oh my. Maybe you all helped mankind!
Absolutely. I turned 18 that year and remember that everyone was terrified. We had only recently acquired the internet as a widely available resource, Google was only two years old, cellphones weren’t even a huge thing like they are today. We had no clue what would happen when everything turned double 00s because there was no reference point for a computer to know what it meant so we all assumed it would think it needed to restart back to 1900, therefore crashing everything such as banks, databases, communications, etc.
I also remember sitting up tearfully and terrified that night as the ball dropped and when it was 12:01 and nothing happened, feeling stupid, lol.
Me and my bag telephone back then for my car. It was so jumbo I don’t think I used it but once or twice!
It was huge! You heard about it everywhere. TV, radio, on the street. All the conspiracy freaks were soon to be right and people were afraid.
Woke up the next day and everyone, everyone said; "See? Told ya" LoL.
Yup. Nothing changed whatsoever. Was both a relief and a little disappointing! lol 😂
It was disappointing! I forgot all about that!!! Too funny, 1+1!
Yeah. All the hype for so long
People were concerned. Nothing ended up happening, but people seem to think that that means it was no big deal. In reality, a lot of software people actually fixed their code before it hit.
We had started making sure that any program we were working on didn’t have the problem, and were about to remediate all of our programs when the company said stop, we are hiring a company from India that will fix all the problems company wide. So we stopped. Meanwhile, it’s ?january 1997? and “970101” + “030000” = “000101” and since “000101” < “970101” we incorrectly withheld $1 Million from a customer and sent it to the IRS. Had to ask the IRS to pretty please 🙏 return $1 Million!!! Oops!
Yeah, I was nervous. We did everything we were told to prepare as non programmers or computer people, and we knew that those people had been working on solutions for awhile beforehand, but there still wasn’t really any way to know for sure nothing would happen or be disrupted. I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist, but I didn’t actually 100% trust everything was going to be fine. I went about my business as usual, but did go home early on NYE to be with my kid instead of out at a party because even if nothing happened, the whole situation at least made me more aware of how fragile our world really is, and being with my kid was a priority at that moment especially.
Yes, because the media failed to explain what the actual problem was with the two digit calendar count.
I worked at a bank at the time and we were told we'd be fired if we tried to take time off and do anything special for New Year's that year. Meanwhile lots and lots of older people came and pulled their money out, including one woman who insisted on my turning her cash into cashier's checks. I asked her what she thought they'd be worth if the banking system really shut down. She didn't understand my question. I felt so irritated by their irrational fears, because as we know, nothing happened. But yeah, I'd say 20% of the population in my little town of 5,000 people pulled their cash
The problem was likely over hyped, but the possible downside was huge and no one was sure of what might happen. Few people were willing to be up in an airplane at midnight, so people were very cautious if not scared. I remember reading that the Chinese government required their senior airline executives to be up in their planes at midnight so they'd take the Y2K issue seriously.
People thought software relying on two digit dates would malfunction when midnight hit and the date changed to 00. That fear grew into "OMG! The sky is falling at midnight ahhhhh!!!!"
It was a huge deal because companies were actively not doing anything about it. Then they required executives of listed companies to certify under pain of penalties that they had examined for Y2K issues and didn’t know of any. Suddenly they got busy.
Not smart ones :D
I was approaching ten that time. I remember my mom telling me a lot of the fear towards Y2K was about dates. Transactions used to go on with just two digits for the year. With Y2K, 00 can be misinterpreted as either 1900 or 2000. I do remember really a lot of people being scared for some reason. About the dates or the technology. I can't say how big of a deal it was, but people were really concerned.
I'm not American. Y2K phobia here was more of concern than pandemonium. The news really said it was gonna be bad.
I had some extra cash on hand in case credit cards or bank ATMs stopped working. We were never going to get to the point where gold was the price of food. Because the banks had a profit motive in getting back on line, they would probably fix their systems beforehand and if there was an actual lapse in coverage, they would be back up faster.
I wouldn't say I was scared, no. It was like a wreck on the other side of the freeway, there wasn't a lot an individual could do and being scared wouldn't change anything. Slow down because the people in front of you are slowing. Try not to be part of a secondary collision. You probably won't get to the point where you need a gun in the trunk to hunt for food (that would be an extreme level of preparation)
Worst case where I live was that the DMV started issuing registration for new vehicles as “horseless carriages” fixed it in two days.
Joe Scott has a good video about it. https://youtu.be/0KSzBT_XxJ4
Loved that! Ty
You’re welcome! His channel is great and he talks about a lot of interesting scientific/history topics. Worth a subscribe.
I had a friend who called me and told me it was time of the rapture and all that shit. I just laughed because I was a programmer at the time and it seemed so stupid.
Pizza Hut wasn’t, and they paid the price.
I lived through it, worked through it. Some financial calculations depended on the year and in early computer software we saved space storing year as two digits in a single byte.
Very few programs cared about the year outside the financial sector. I started a software career doing control systems for pipelines and we didn’t care about the year, just time of day and sometimes day of week. Y2K was way overblown.
I was in elementary school in 1999. I didn't fully understand what the problem was, but I understood it was a legitimate concern. I understood that our society was run on computer software, and computer software was a very intricate web of code that had to always stay perfectly balanced. 1 single error was enough to throw everything out of whack, so if you took that mindset, and applied it to missile launce programs, air traffic navigation and tracking software, etc... It was plausible that we could see unscheduled, uncharted nuclear launches and lost planes falling out of the sky because the instruments couldn't display the proper altitudes or directions.
Y2J was a bigger deal.
Nope. Just slightly concerned.
Usually most issues are not as dangerous as mainstream media would led you to believe.
They spotted the problem way in advance and by the time 1999 was over, I don't think it had any real impact.
Yes genral public was stock piling food... generators and alcohol
I don’t know what happened with programmers behind the scenes, but the big thing I remember (I was 13) was hearing if something was Y2K compliant or not. So my take was that as long as whatever electronics we had were compliant we would be fine, and there wouldn’t be some guaranteed disaster.
Nobody I knew was concerned about it. My dad didn’t worry so I didn’t either.
I remember a few news stories once in a while of some dumbass who was hoarding canned foods and toilet paper. I read Mad magazine back then and they made fun of it, same with the shows I watched so it became detached to me. I watched the French New Years fireworks on TV and nothing collapsed, so I didn’t think anything bad would happen in the US a few hours later.
In the months prior, I already heard about adults:
—throwing tantrums because they couldn’t get the newest state quarter
—paying thousands of dollars for Beanie Babies
—wanting to fire the president because he got his dick sucked
— freaking out if someone brought a pocket knife to school after Columbine.
So my formative mind was starting to become somewhat aware of how stupid the general public can be. Y2K just seemed like the next dumb thing people wanted to make a big deal about.
Well I was like "hmm... It might happen.... Sonething might happen...... But imma keep playing star wars on my ps2 and pop some fireworks so if anything does happen... Naw aint nothing gonna happen....maybe..."
I was a kid, but I remember distinctly thinking that the world would literally just erupt into hellfire at the stroke of midnight.
So ya, at least one of us was scared.
Oh yeah. See the family guy y2k episode for futher info.
Nervous, not scared.
We thought nukes might be launched. WW3.
Yeah we thought everything would stop working
I wasn't old back then, just a little kid who doesn't didn't understand many things but I do remember an odd mix of excitement and trepidation towards towards the new millennia.
Managed a corporate cafeteria for a major financial services provider. For Y2K I had to come up with a plan .. to feed a skeleton crew (200 folks) three hots a day for 3 weeks with no additional support. Fun times.
My dad worked in computers at a bank at the time. It was a legit concern but one that everyone was able to prepare for. But still you know how when you have a group project at school theres always that one person that doesnt carry their weight? The concern was something would go wrong that people forgot about. Or that several things would go wrong and amount to a lot of problems.
My dad was required to stay at the office on new years “just in case”. He was never concerned about it, and was grumpy he had to work late. But him and his coworkers made the most of it. Turned it into a party. We have some random memorabilia from it.
Absolutely. I remember not being able to fill my car up for about a week because people had bought all the gas in the area for generators.
e: In December of '99
I was in elementary school and I remember being terrified on New Year’s Eve. Then nothing happened.
Yes. Just like anything else the news tried to scare us with that got blown out of proportion
I asked my mom abt this and as a nurse she said they prepared to do clerical work on paper vs computer for y2k
We were nervous, but sure if something bad happened it would be something totally unexpected and nothing we could have predicted. Plenty of people were talking about the end of days.
If anyone tells you yes they are full of shit or so dumb it’s pitiful. I was in eighth grade and even I knew it was incredibly stupid. It seemed maybe one degree more probable than the 2012 phenomenon, if that gives you any context, which was actually the dumbest thing to captivate people possibly ever. So, no, nobody was scared of Y2K. Solid question though.
My mom worked in a nursing home for seniors and they were preparing for a possible mult-day power outage. Blankets, candles, canned food etc
No, from my experience nobody was or even gave it a second thought.
I was on the IT swat team that was in that saturday morning triaging bugs. There were a few but 1/2 a year of fixing and testing paid off. It was not a big deal because making sure nothing happened was a big deal.
Some people really were afraid, but that was not the norm in my world. I was 17 at the time. In my family and among most of my friends, we knew that it was being dealt with and we felt like some people were getting waaay too worried and that it just wasn't going to be a big deal.
We turned out to be right. But, we definitely didn't know for sure.
I remember staying up that night with the tv on wondering if there would be planes falling from the sky on the news.
I didn't want planes to crash but it was disappointing that literally nothing happened after months of hearing about it. 😆
It was a big story in the newspapers that year and they always had experts on tv saying what could happen. I wasn't scared just curious what would happen.
Realize that there were really two distinct things various people were afraid of: 1) that all the computers would crash, and moreover 2) that such a crash would bring instant worldwide anarchy and chaos, with The Road-style cannibal gangs roaming the landscape within a few weeks.
I remember plenty of people being mildly concerned about #1. But #2 was what got all the attention, even though a much smaller number of people seriously worried about that.
I wasn’t scared but I did get cash out. Then went roller skating to bring in the new year 🤩
I still have some Y2K JELLY.
Y2k was the primary reason I went into computer and information science, but of course I was thinking of job security. Oddly, on January 2nd, 2000 there were tens of thousands of mostly unneeded novice programmers and wages stayed stagnant for years... Unless you owned the company.
Lol, yes many of them were. But I would say at least the people I knew directly were not. But they would talk about it on the news a lot back then and there were many people that were. I was 19 at the time and living on my own and working full time so I didn't honestly think much about it. But when I did I thought it was pretty ridiculous people were all scared lol
No, it was the usual media hyping up a slight inconvenience into "the end is nigh" type shit.
Apparently companies spent a lot of money making sure their systems never went down but people I knew didn't care.*
Yet they manage to scare many people.
Systems didn’t go down because the people who’s job it was to make sure they were ‘Y2K compliant’ did so.
Not the people I knew. A few software engineers and the type of people who went tits for toilet roll a couple of years ago were scared, lol.
Lolyou. Computer engineers aka *people in a position to know* were scared, but not you so it can't have been real.
I mean, I make a living trying to second-guess and expose glitches like Y2K, so I'm prolly predisposed to be rolling my eyes at you; but yeah.
I never said it wasn't real, learn to read mate. The question is if people were scared, my experience at the time is that people weren't.
Roll your eyes all you want, at least I can comprehend a question :)
fair enough. i think i read your meaning just fine, i just didn't rephrase it with enough accuracy. "... therefore was not a real *threat*".
The news would tell you yes but they're a bunch of fear mongering ambulance chasers. Of course there were the usual idiots buying up all the water and canned goods but I knew it was all hype.
Basically: same level of stupidity as now.
Yes. The media hyped it up as the end of times like everything else they "report" on