It's easy to forget that just a few short
years ago, many people happily predicted the end of
the world would take place at the turn of the century.
all started decades ago, when computer programmers chose
not to include the "19" digits in every date.
In those days, memory was rare and expensive (and expected
to stay that way), so it was a perfectly reasonable
As the millenium approached, the number
and variety of computer programmes had increased exponentially,
and many everyday activities were controlled by computer
programs; everything from life support machines to national
electricity grids had digital controls, which included
timing and calendar controls.
It started to occur
to people that they did not know what would happen as
1999 flipped over to 2000; would computers know what
Year 00 was, or would they assume it's 1900 or worse
- would they just get confused and shut down?