For those of born before the 1990's we remember the year 2000. Businesses were in a scramble concerned about the Y2K Bug.
A computer flaw, also known as the "Millennium Bug," led to anxiety and the Y2K (Year 2000) scare. The issue was that complex computer programs were first written in the 1960s, engineers used a two-digit code for the year, leaving out the "19." As the year 2000 approached, many believed that the systems would not interpret the "00" correctly, therefore causing a major glitch in the system. Others feared that when computers rolled their date stamp to "00" it would rewind them back to the year 1900.
Banks, which calculate interest rates on a daily basis, faced real problems. Interest rates are the amount of money a lender, such as a bank, charges a customer, such as an individual or business, for a loan. Instead of the rate of interest for one day, the computer would calculate a rate of interest for minus almost 100 years!
Centers of technology, such as power plants, were also threatened by the Y2K bug. Power plants depend on routine computer maintenance for safety checks, such as water pressure or radiation levels. Not having the correct date would throw off these calculations and possibly put nearby residents at risk.
Transportation also depends on the correct time and date. Airlines in particular were put at risk, as computers with records of all scheduled flights would be threatened after all, there were very few airline flights in 1900.
Y2K was both a software and hardware problem. Software refers to the electronic programs used to tell the computer what to do. Hardware is the machinery of the computer itself. Software and hardware companies raced to fix the bug and provided "Y2K compliant" programs to help. The simplest solution was the best: The date was simply expanded to a four-digit number. Governments, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, worked to address the problem.
In the end, there were very few problems. A nuclear energy facility in Ishikawa, Japan, had some of its radiation equipment fail, but backup facilities ensured there was no threat to the public. The U.S. detected missile launches in Russia and attributed that to the Y2K bug. But the missile launches were planned ahead of time as part of Russias conflict in its republic of Chechnya. There was no computer malfunction.
Luckily New Years Eve went off without hitch, the ball dropped in New York City taking its cue from Dick Clark as it has since 1972.
In honor of the new year and another decade coming to an end I thought it would be appropriate to pay an ode to that time computer techs told their customers to turn their computers off before midnight.
At Bringing Your Tech to Life we'd like to wish all our clients a Happy and Blessed New Year!
Cya in 2020!