Hey, let’s face it: As IT professionals, we’ve heard all the horror stories about the year 2000 problem. The following are just a few of the scary scenarios rumoured to result from the millennium bug: airplanes will drop out of the sky; power and plumbing around the globe will be cut off; and civilization will come crashing to a halt.
Of course, as cooler heads, we’ve also assured ourselves that we’ve got — or will have — the situation well in hand.
Still, some of us will take sensible precautions (a little canned food, some cash, backups for our hard drives) to prepare for a rocky week or two.
Some companies are planning to hold alcohol-free New Year’s Eve parties at their data centres for their year 2000 remediation teams.
That way, the teams will be sober, on-site and ready to swing into action in the event of a glitch. And if the power’s out, they’ll be unable to go home until they fix whatever’s gone wrong.
Most year 2000 teams won’t be in such unenviable situations, though. Computerworld (U.S.) asked a few year 2000 pros what they plan to be doing on Jan. 1, 2000.
“Personally, I’ll be at home, celebrating in an immense drunken stupor … Of course, in 2038, I’m hiding under the bed.”– Alex Williams, technical support engineer, Compaq Computer Corp., Atlanta
“If you haven’t solved your problem by that night, no amount of time on the phone will fix it.”– Andy Diamondstein, associate analyst, Giga Information Group Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
“I’m not saying I want bad things to happen, but I’ll be looking to see whether a lot of lawsuits have been filed so I can sell a few copies of our Y2K Legal Guide.”– Bruce S. Brumberg, publisher, Brumberg Publications, Brookline, Mass.
“Most of the world will be in the year 2000 before it reaches California. They drop the ball in New York at 9 p.m. our time. If there are problems, we’ll see them before midnight.”– Bill Braasch, consultant, San Francisco
“I expect to have already moved out of the big city for reasons other than Y2K. However, I’ll probably be at my in-laws’ place, since they have geosolar heating, with a little extra gasoline, a few hundred dollars in cash and some food put away for a few days, just in case.”– Jason Smith, consultant, Quantum Solutions, Toronto
“I plan to have US$1,000 in cash, a full tank plus a five-gallon can of gas and some batteries for my shortwave radio. If the power goes off … I’ll wait two days for it to come back on. If it doesn’t, I’ll grab the cat and immediately drive south to hang out with my parents.”– Stefan Kozlowski, consultant, Belmont, Massachusetts.
“I’m expecting … a tough start to the year. The chances of a terrible doomsday scenario are the same as the chances that absolutely nothing will happen, which is to say, zero, so I think that means we’ll have stutters and spurts. A lot of the things we think will work, won’t, and a lot of the things we think won’t work, will … I’ll be at home with my wife, and we’ll probably have some guests over.– Sean Baenen, director of consulting, Global Business Network, Emeryville, Calif.
“I’ll be standing in my backyard waiting to see if an airplane drops out of the sky. I live near O’Hare, and they keep telling me that’s what’s going to happen.”– Justin Cherry, consultant, Y2K Solutions, Chicago
Fitter is a freelance writer in Boston.