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+ - The Long Shadow of Y2K

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Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "It seems like it was only yesterday when the entire world was abuzz about the looming catastrophe of Y2K that had us both panicked and prepared. Ten Years ago there were doomsday predictions that planes would fall from the sky and electric grids would go black, forced into obsolescence by the inability of computers to recognize the precise moment that 1999 rolled over to 2000 and for many it was a time to feel anxious about getting money out of bank accounts and fuel out of gas pumps. "Nobody really understood what impact it was going to have, when that clock rolled over and those digits went to zero. There was a lot of speculation they would reset back to 1900," says IT professional. Jake DeWoskin. The Y2K bug may have been IT's moment in the sun, but it also cast a long shadow in its wake as the years and months leading up to it were a hard slog for virtually everyone in IT, from project managers to programmers. "People were scared for their jobs and their reputations," says CIO Dick Hudson, Staffers feared that if they were fired for failing to remedy Y2K problems, the stigma would prevent them from ever getting a job in IT again. "Then there was the fear that someone like Computerworld would report it, and it would be on the front page," Hudson adds. Although IT executives across the globe were confident that they had the problem licked, a nagging fear followed them right up until New Year's Eve. While most people were out celebrating the turn of the century, IT executives and their staffs were either monitoring events in the office or standing by at home. Afterwards came the recriminations and backlash as an estimated $100 billion was spent nationwide for problems that turned out to be minimal. Others says the nonevent was evidence the Y2K effort was done right. "It was a no-win situation," says Paul Ingevaldson. "People said, 'You IT guys made this big deal about Y2K, and it was no big deal. You oversold this. You cried wolf.' ""
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The Long Shadow of Y2K

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