It occurred to me the other day that Jan. 1, 2020, is the 20th anniversary of the world not coming to a horrible end due to Y2K. This is originally from July 28, 2014.
Today, my wife and I went to Boston to meet up with an old friend of hers who’s in town on vacation with his 13-year-old niece.
He’s a funny guy, and she seemed like a really great kid. At one point, we were talking about various things she wouldn’t know about by virtue of being only 13 — after all, she was a newborn around the time of 9/11 — when I brought up Y2K.
Remember Y2K, the worry that because computers used “00” for the year, they would pretty much all stop working at the stroke of midnight Jan. 1, 2000, and therefore cause the entire world to descend into chaos?
I spent New Year’s Eve 1999 watching the amazing coverage on CNN, and that night I went to First Night in Albany with my brother and a bunch of his friends, still the only one I’ve ever been to. We watched a couple performers, walked around a bit in the cold and then watched a countdown on a giant screen set up on the outside of what was Pepsi Arena and is now the Times Union Center.
At midnight, I looked around to see if anything horrible had happened. It didn’t appear there were any issues, but then I heard a loud bang. Just when I started to wonder what it was, I turned around to see the fireworks going on behind me.
That was the noise. We all ran down the street to see the fireworks, called our ride to come get us and went back to one of my brother’s friends’ houses. I then went home and watched some more CNN.
So as I was explaining the Y2K hysteria to the 13-year-old sitting across the table from me, she looked at me a little like I was crazy.
And I have to admit, as I was telling her about it, it seemed pretty silly.
If it had even been built 20 years ago, the computer in this photo by Matthew M on Unsplash most likely did not have a horrible shutdown at the stroke of midnight Jan. 1, 2000. However, if you can still find one today, it’s most likely going to be a paperweight or doorstopper.