The Y2K Bug Is Upon Us

BY ERIK CAGLE

(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a year-long series of articles examining the Year 2000 problem as it applies to the commercial printing industry. The first installment is an introduction to the Y2K bug and its potential impact on the business community at large.)

It is February 1999. Do you know where your company’s Year 2000 (Y2K) initiative stands?

Like a Nostradamus prediction, the business world has been hearing bits and pieces of a terrible day of reckoning. But the Y2K bug, the nasty little pest that is as obvious as the clock in the upper right hand corner of your computer or as subtle as a chip embedded deep within your most critical mechanism, doesn’t come with the baggage of earthquake, fire, flood or any other natural or unnatural disaster stigma. It is not deadly in and of itself, incapable of producing anarchy and lawlessness. It is not a hydra of biblical proportions.

Ah, but the bad bug has a lot going in its favor. Its prophetic pronouncement strolls hand in hand with the coming of the new millennium unless, of course, you count the next millennium as starting with the year 2001. But that would ruin great theater. Prognosticators, from the staunchest religious sector to the immovable agnostic set, foresee great peril awaiting us all when the final seconds tick away on December 31, 1999. Some have gone as far as to construct bunkers in remote locales, fortified with ammunition and sustenance in preparation for this very day.

Is it the apocalypse? Consult your chosen deity for confirmation. But the Y2K bug, pardon the pun, could raise a lot of hell for those whose lives revolve around the digital age, including printers and trade shops.

The question on most minds is: Just what will happen at the stroke of midnight?

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