The Y2K Challenge: We’ve been there before

Things break. Systems crash. People forget to do things that are very important to the health and well-being of others. In modern times, many of these breakdowns are related in some way or another to the performance of a computer. This is an important thing to remember come January 1, when some breakdowns that are completely unrelated to Y2K are bound to occur.

“Every day things go wrong, and nobody pays much attention to them, nobody thinks twice about it,” says John Koskinen, U.S. President Bill Clinton’s top Y2K adviser. “But any of those things that happen on January 1 will immediately be presumed to be the indication of a Y2K problem.”

Winter storms are just one example of something that can go wrong and have a major, non-Y2K related effect on out lives. Anyone in Ontario or Quebec who experienced the great ice storm of 1998 knows the effect that weather can have on daily life, an effect that can’t be remedied with some quick computer programming.

The odds of a major ice or snowstorm striking during the New Year’s weekend, are, let’s face it, 50/50. We survive these things, with some hardship and sometimes destruction. As a society, we are quite well-prepad to deal with disaster. In the worse possible scenario, Y2K will be a familiar situation.