Was The Y2k Bug A Hoax? Essay, Research Paper
Was the Y2K Bug a Hoax?
Perhaps the biggest news story of the 1999 was the Y2K bug. Many believers in the Y2K bug panicked and took many precautions, such as stocking up food and water before the New Year. While their non-believer counterparts just look at it as a regular New Year and planned to do what they would normally do on New Year s eve.
There was a lot of hoopla regarding the change of millennium. Just as there was when the year changed from 999 to 1000. Many people were expecting something big to happen, like judgement day or the return of Christ. Just as people were expecting something big to happen on New Year s 2000.
The Y2K bug came about when the people who built computers were programming them they didn t have a lot of memory to work with so to save space they shortened the date. For example December 31, 1999 would be 123199 in the computer. Experts said that the problem with this method is that computers can t distinguish 1900 from 2000. So when the date changed from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000 it was said that computers would recognize 2000 as 1900, thus thinking that some files were 100 years old. When the date changed to 2000 many experts thought that computers would malfunction or shut down completely.
Some other problems that were predicted to go wrong with the millennium bug were communication devices that fail, motor controllers for heat, cooling, and ventilation fail, scientific equipment fails, programmable devices such as VCRs, microwave ovens, and fax machines fail. It was also thought that vendors upon whom we rely on to support products and services would be unable to do so. It was furthermore feared that paychecks would not be distributed.
Some people prepared for the millennium bug and took it very seriously while others thought the whole thing to be a hoax just made up to create more jobs. On one particular website (www.novia.net/ todd/rap66.html) a guy brings up some very interesting points. One point that really caught my attention was that many computers were already using the year 2000 way before 2000 got here. Some things that were using the year 2000 before it came were insurance policies, bonds, product expiration dates, budget outlays, repair schedules, driver licenses, credit cards and a host of planning programs.
Another point that says the millennium bug was made up is that many businesses changed fiscal years from 1999 to 2000 during 1999 and there wasn t any news about any big computer meltdowns.
There was also media talk about embedded microchips in many appliances failing. There are microchips in just about every electrical appliance and the idea of them failing would be horrendous, but that wouldn t happen since the vast majority of embedded chips have nothing at all to do with time and dates.
I found it odd that the only major thing that happened worldwide that could have been attributed to the Y2K bug was an odd power outage in Russia. If the Y2K bug was supposed to be this huge problem that a lot of countries were not doing anything about or didn t have the resources to fix in time for the year 2000. If that were the case wouldn t there have been more problems with the Y2K bug?
There is evidence to support both sides of this argument. If the millennium bug was fabricated then it was a big success because it created lots of jobs, was highly publicized and it made lots of money. Whether or not the Y2K bug was a hoax we may never truly find out.
http://www.novia.net/ todd/rapp66.html (January 27th, 2000)
http://www.wbn.com/y2ktimebomb/whatis97.htm (January 27th, 2000)