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Doesn't seem possible that it has been 20 years since the great fear of what was going to happen to our computers when they rolled over to 2000. Nothing did of course. Many here will not even remember that. Happy New Year all.

Walt Conner
 

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Ya crazy huh! Well some things it did effect. I had gotten a nice handheld GPS for the boat a few years before, and after 2000 it became a brick... Software couldn't find the satellites after that, and no way to update.. Got nowhere with the company...
 

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Walt, not sure you were in the IT industry, but the reason nothing major happened is because everyone got serious about it and fixed most of the systems prior to the date. There were still some problems but not the Armageddon that had been predicted. The really funny thing was that none of the current programmers knew how to code the PASCAL and COBOL programs running their systems, they had to go out an hire "retired" programmers who had originally built and coded the systems to get the changes made. I remember one programmer that came back was making $300 per hour to code, and said he went from a "middle class retirement" to a "wealthy" retirement after 2 years of coding for Y2K! Heaven help them when they get to year 9999 though! ?
 

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Yeah, I remember it well! Our entire institutional IT team worked our butts off testing, and prepping contingency plans. I spent the day before Y2K draping all my computers in the lab I managed with poly in case of building system failure resulted in frozen, bursting pipes (a very real concern in the Frozen North here). Put all my other hardware into plastic garbage bags (I probably still have some of them)... But for those of you that say there were no Y2K related problems, I disagree! I had one... All our academic and admins staff were instructed to turn off their computers before Y2K. One of the Associate Deans I did support for came back after Y2K and his computer wouldn't start. Turns out he'd never shut his computer off before, and his clock battery was dead, causing the computer not to restart... :)

Think our total institutional expenses for Y2K was around 4.2 million dollars. Pretty small compared to some of the other institutions I'd heard of... One of them racked up 16 million dollars worth of Y2K expenses, but when you looked at what they did, they took Y2K as an opportunity to replace almost every desktop in their organization. Why? Because they were worried that one of the institution-wide management tools that ran in a terminal window (think, really old point of sale terminal stuff, VT100 sort of thing) wouldn't be Y2K compliant). So they bought all new machines to run the new institution-wide management tool that was being developed. But because they had to change out so many other machines, the development of the management tool fell behind and wasn't completed in time for Y2K. And, as it turns out, the old tool ran just fine in a new terminal emulator. Sigh.....
 

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I was called into work on the night before to shut down all the computers I could find. 4 of us were running though the entire factory shutting down computers from end of the building to the other. We had company security with us that had keys to everywhere in the building. I guess that we shut down around 800 computers and since the factory was on annual holiday shut down we just go through and make sure the computers were all shut down properly. I did not mind it at all I got there at 2:30 P.M. and the last computer I found was at 10:30 P.M. I got paid double time to walk around all over and shut down computers. Since I knew where every computer was it no issue. 2 days later I get hauled into the general managers office and asked why I shut down all the computers. I told him that the order came down from the IT folks to shut them all down until after midnight and then fire them back up because they also needed to shut down the network for the change over.
 

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Yes I remember it well and yes there was some problems but it was a real nothing in real time the news folks and politicians just kept on hyping it spreading fear that everything from cars to airplane would just stop at the stroke of midnight and that also services would end no service stations would be able to operate power plants would shut down and nothing happened.
 

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Oh, don't get me wrong... There were certainly things that would have been issues if we hadn't have fixed them. Give me a bit and I can likely find some concrete examples in all my email correspondence from the ramp-up to Y2K of systems that were marked for replacement/repair due to Y2K incompatibility (pretty sure I still have all that in my archives, I wandered past some of it just a few days ago). I was IT Support in our Health Sciences complex from 1998 to 2002 roughly. Offhand, I remember us having to scope out for replacement a number of laboratory control systems (freezer controls in Biochemistry labs sticks in my mind). Sure, at the micro level, that's not catastrophic, but you scale that up across an entire country, and take into account the number of interdependencies between systems that manage big things... Those of us that were "in the trenches" took the whole thing very seriously. Had those freezers in that lab above my computer lab failed, they would have dropped biohazardous thawed ick all over my computer lab... Yep, we took all the assessment and testing work we did very seriously, and we were depending on every other IT group managing their own systems to do the same. Did things get over-hyped by the media? Possibly. There was certainly a whole lot of people writing stuff that didn't really understand the problem (we got a lot of chuckles out of many of those). But they weren't there, and didn't see the same things I did, or actually work with the people firing up test instances of 10 year old servers running code that had been around since before I was born.
 
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