July 15, 2020

Y2K won’t get you

If you enjoy worrying, the millennium doomsayers have plenty to offer you: power outages, planes crashing, etc. The whole fear is based upon “00,” the two-digit version of the year 2000. Some people fear that products containing electronic microchips (miniature integrated circuits) will think it is 1900 rather than 2000, and malfunction accordingly, or simply shut down because the date reads “00.”

Just for chuckles, I ran a Y2K test on my Casio Databank watch, an electronic marvel full of chips (it has 50 memory slots to store phone numbers, appointments, etc.). I set the date to 12-31-99 at 11:59 p.m., and let it tick down its last minute to doomsday. At the stroke of “midnight,” it continued to work flawlessly, displaying the correct time, date, day of the week, etc., and it kept all the phone numbers in its memory. I trust the power companies, airports and the military found the same thing with most of their electronics when they were similarly tested.

There may be some problems; there are on any given day as electronics malfunction, mechanical parts break and the faucet leaks. I am not worried about the equipment, but people could cause a problem by overreacting. If we all use the phone at midnight to see if it’s working, we might cause a normal overload, just like running the whole kitchen at once, and blowing a fuse. If you withdraw all your money from the bank, and stuff your life savings into your mattress, then make sure you don’t smoke in bed.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insures the bank, but it doesn’t insure your mattress. If you’re worried the bank will lose your money because you weren’t born in 1900, then keep last month’s statement. If you’re worried about running out of food and water, then keep some extra on hand, like you should anyway. It’s winter in Maine. Flashlights, batteries, candles, blankets and grandma’s hurricane lamp are all good things to keep handy. Relax and enjoy the holidays. Bruce Munger Sullivan

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