• Subject: MILLENNIAL MUSINGS
  • From: "Jeffrey M. Carey" <jeffreycarey@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 14:55:43 -0600
  • Organization: Trase Miller Solutions

Here is (I think) the Chicago Tribune article referred to in the recent
"Chicago/London" thread.  Gee, I wish my firm had the resources to just
buy a new system (hrdware and software) in 1999!

  
                      Perspective - The week in review


                  MILLENNIAL MUSINGS 

                  By Robert Davis. Robert Davis is a Tribune assistant
                  metropolitan editor 
                  Web-posted Sunday, January 4, 1998; 7:45 a.m. CST 

                  It is now 1998 and, like it or not, time to begin
                  considering the new millennium. Or is it The
Millennium?
                  Whatever you call it, it is less than two years away
and
                  no longer can be ignored.

                  The Year 2000, or Y2K as some Internet nerds and
                  others have taken to describing it, has been kind of
like a
                  big, strange dog that starts walking alongside you as
you
                  stroll through the park. You know you may have to deal
                  with it eventually, but, for the moment at least, it
seems
                  wise to ignore it and hope the problem resolves
itself.
                  Well, Y2K is not going to wander away and it won't
                  resolve itself.

                  Or will it?

                  There has been a lot of talk about how computers are
                  going to blow a gasket when the big moment comes. Just
                  when Dick Clark, looking much like he looked a
                  millennium ago, ushers in the year 2000 in Times
                  Square, millions of computers are expected to become
so
                  confused about the change in millennia that they will
                  cease to function properly.

                  Well, that computer purchased just a year ago somehow
                  seems to be able to change its own clock during the
two
                  yearly daylight-saving time shifts and then tell the
owner
                  that it has done it. This computer can do things even
its
                  owner doesn't know it can, so a layperson is
justifiably
                  skeptical that a mere change of a couple numbers in
the
                  year baffles it.

                  The way computers are changing so rapidly, it is
likely
                  that the Millennium Bug, as it has been dubbed, will
be
                  no problem if you just go out and buy a new computer
at
                  the end of 1999. OK, that problem is solved.

                  Checkbooks. Oh, there has been hand wringing about
                  how preprinted checks that have 19 blank-blank up in
the
                  corner will have to be thrown away. Well, a new box of
                  checks arrived last week, and there, in the upper
                  right-hand corner, were no numbers at all. So when
                  paying with a check, the presenter will have to write
out
                  all four digits of the year. Over the course of the
year,
                  that could add up to minutes. Another problem solved.

                  More magazines have been showing up in boxes recently
                  with the mailing labels indicating that the
subscription runs
                  through "01" or "02." This first came up in 1994 when,
in
                  a move designed to irritate other family members, a
                  10-year membership was self-obtained in the American
                  Association of Retired Persons. One of the AARP perks
                  was a 10-year subscription to Modern Maturity
magazine,
                  which bears a label saying the subscription is good
until
                  2004. Another perk is an AARP membership card that
                  bears the cryptic message "Expiration Oct 2004." Hmm.
                  A couple of problems solved there.

                  So then what is the big deal about Y2K anyway?

                  Well, to adequately prepare for the big day, one has
to
                  remember that a lot of people don't even consider it a
                  genuine big day. For one, there was no A.D. 0, so the
                  thousand-year period actually will have started 999
years
                  ago when the 2000 date is reached. The real
millennium,
                  purists will tell you, comes at the start of the year
2001,
                  but somehow that lacks the punch of the number 2000
                  unless you are a science-fiction movie buff.

                  Furthermore, although history is a bit unclear, Jesus
of
                  Nazareth actually was born in about 4 B.C., which
means
                  the millennium might have actually started in 1995 or
                  1996.

                  That is killjoy stuff, though.

                  The real spirit of Y2K, as everyone knows, is that it
is
                  going to provide the opportunity for a really good
party.
                  Maybe, too, some good reading.

                  First of all, the year leading up to New Year's Day
2000
                  will be filled with lots of news media lists--the 10
or even
                  the 1,000 best, worst, most influential, most evil,
most
                  important--and on and on and on. There will be lists
for
                  the decade, for the century, for the millennium.

                  Imagine. The Beatles will be battling with Beethoven,
                  Napoleon with Nehru, Henry the VIII with Bill the
                  Clinton, Al the Scarface with Attila the Hun, Martin
                  Luther with Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln
                  with ABBA, Bob Dylan with Dylan Thomas with
                  Thomas Aquinas. What a party if they all show up!

                  And then there will be the rest of us.

                  The year 2000 is going to be upon us before we know
it.
                  In about 726 days, it will be here--Y2K--a leap year,
                  even, so we can endure it for an extra day.

                  For some, it will be a natural time of closure. A time
to
                  retire or change jobs or reflect on the future or muse
                  about the past. It is impossible to get firsthand
advice
                  about how to welcome the new millennium because those
                  who were around when 999 became 1000 aren't
                  anymore. Even the living people who welcomed the 20th
                  Century were too young, presumably, to remember what
                  it was like.

                  Many of us can remember 1976, the country's big 200th
                  birthday, which brought a bunch of tall ships into
East
                  Coast harbors and saw a lot of fireworks displays and
a
                  lot of commemorative junk now stored in attics or
                  basements.

                  There always seems to be some anniversary going on
                  these days, marking the 10th or the 20th or even the
50th
                  or 100th of something.

                  But 1,000 years! This is truly a big one--the only
time
                  any of us will be involved in a moment when the Big
                  Odometer of Life changes all four numbers at the same
                  time.

                  So, it is 1998 and there is still time to prepare.
There are
                  nearly two years left to get your millennium shopping
                  done, to prepare that party list, to decide where you
want
                  to be and what you want to be doing when the 1900s
                  become the 2000s.

                  After all, a millennium comes only once in a lifetime.

                  Or less.


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                   1997 Chicago Tribune
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