The looming Year2000 computer problem will probably not result in a total collapse
of society, but it is likely to be bad enough to cause some people to begin hunting
for somebody or something to blame. In fact, Y2K bugs are already popping up all
over the place. Just last week our store had two Windows-using clients who suffered
from Y2K-related problems. One fellow was using a 10-year-old DOS database program
that only stored dates with two digits for the year; one lady was unable to print
checks from Quicken98 for Windows as soon as 1/1/99 had passed. (This is the "one-year
Now we who use OS/2 have to watch out for Y2K as well; not just because of the
problems our neighbors, our suppliers, and our customers will encounter, but because
of the wide range of applications we can run. But let us first examine the rogue's
gallery of likely scapegoats who will get roasted by the media in just a little
over ten months from now:
1. Mainframe programmers. The greatest myth about Y2K is that it will only strike mainframe PCs. As the examples above show, this just is not true. Any piece of hardware or software that is date-sensitive can suffer from Y2K problems, if it is not properly designed.Tom Nadeau
2. PC hardware. As soon as the businesswoman mentioned earlier realized that she had a Y2K problem, she immediately thought it was her "old" hardware. A 4-year-old computer is going to become a major scapegoat by the end of this year; I expect to see a steady stream of people buying new computers in a vain attempt to avoid Y2K before it happens.
3. Computer sellers. When a supposedly "new" computer suddenly cannot keep accounting data reliably, people will begin lining up at the stores to try to get their money back. The major computer stores and their poorly-trained clerks will make convenient scapegoats for the wrath of disappointed PC users.
All of which, of course, misses the point completely. Mainframe programs will probably get fixed first, because everybody knows they need fixing. PC clocks can be expected to work just fine if they were bought new in 1997 or later. And certainly computer store clerks and managers have almost no say in what they sell; it is usually the corporate offices who make all the decisions for them. The people taking the heat will often be those who have no way of fixing the problem anyway.
In part 2, I will take a look at some of the *real* culprits that will cause grief for the average PC user, and how OS/2 users can avoid them. In part 3, I will speculate on where the blame will likely be placed by the real nitwits as they "pass the buck."