LGR Tech Tales – Y2K: The Year 2000 Problem

LGR Tech Tales – Y2K: The Year 2000 Problem

[eerie ambience] 1999. A once-distant year that still sounded like
science fiction was rapidly coming to a close as the year 2000 approached, with massive
“millennium celebrations” planned to greet the 2000s with excessive partying. But looking beyond the street festivals and
boundless optimism, there was an undercurrent of pessimism and anxiety surrounding a computer
glitch known as The Millennium Bug, The Year 2000 Problem, or simply: Y2K. Set to occur at the stroke of midnight, capable
of instigating all manner of disruptions, ranging from the mundane to the apocalyptic. And yet, once the new year arrived with few
newsworthy problems occurring, many assumed the Y2K threat had been exaggerated, or was
even an outright hoax. What happened? With the millennium only hours away, many
people are working down to the last minute to fend off the Y2K Bug. It’s been called the world’s most important
extermination job eliminating the Year 2000 computer bug. The federal government now has ten response centers across the country staffed ’round the clock. The chance of major dislocation in our economy,
the major dislocation in our standard lives is very low. I would certainly agree that it’s below 10
percent. When agencies are saying they’re making good
progress, they’re 99% compliant, they’re gonna be there, they have every assurance that they’ll
be ready in time. Lemme translate that to one phrase: they’re
not ready yet. These global issues are the direct result
of an equally real human oversight many people now refer to as the Y2K, or Year 2000, problem. This is a problem. Things are gonna be broken, the electricity
may be broken. We will have to be patient while it’s being
fixed. And y’know what? While it’s being fixed, we might actually
enjoy some family time. This is LGR Tech Tales, where we take a look
at noteworthy stories of technological inspiration, failure, and everything in-between. This episode tells the tale of the infamous
Y2K Bug and the crescendo of panic that ensued. So what was the Year 2000 Problem to begin
with? Well Y2K, or Century Date Change as it was
known for a while, can be most easily described as a calendar problem. For decades, computer programmers abbreviated
the four digits of each calendar year down to the last two digits. So the year 1965 would be
truncated to ‘65’ for example. While humans had the common sense and context
to understand a two digit year, the actual computers might take this at face value. Meaning that the year 2000 could instead be
misinterpreted by a computer as the year 1900, deeming 01/01/00 to be an earlier date than
12/31/99. In hindsight, this seems like an easily avoidable
problem, but when this shortcut was first implemented it didn’t pose any immediate
threat. In fact, it made complete sense! Some of the first widely-used computers in
the United States, like the IBM 1401 introduced in 1959, were programmed using paper punch
cards. These punch cards were a holdover from the
electro-mechanical tabulating and accounting machines computers replaced, and operators
of those had often punched in 6-digit date codes in the interest of saving time and space. So when it came time to start using computer
programs instead of accounting machines, the same 6-digit date code carried over as well. Then once the venerable IBM System/360 came
along in 1964, its operating system continued using 6-digit dates to maintain backwards
compatibility when emulating IBM 1400 programs. These abbreviated dates also had the welcome
effect of saving a couple bits of data per punch card, slightly decreasing the number
of cards per program and lowering memory requirements. Consider that a single two kilobyte board
of core memory could cost a couple thousand dollars, around 1 US dollar per bit. And a 5 megabyte hard disk cost tens of thousands
more, so it made sense to truncate programs any way possible. Sure, 6-digit years were a tad vague but big
deal! No way anyone would be running 1960s computer
programs forty years later! But that’s exactly what happened, especially
in the realms of government, finance, and infrastructure, where bureaucracy was high
and change was slow. And it’s not that computer programmers didn’t
think ahead, this “Century Date Change” or “CDC” problem as it was called, was
noticed early on. All the way back in 1958, computing pioneer
Bob Bemer was one of the first to address the issue publicly while he was an employee
at IBM. He was working on a genealogy program in conjunction
with the Mormon Church, and their researchers needed to distinguish between the years 1900,
1800, 1700, and so on. Two-digit years made this impossible, so Mr.
Bemer came up with a way of programming full 4-digit year references in COBOL. Logically, this could become a problem in
the future once the year 2000 arrived, but despite Mr. Bemer repeatedly voicing his concerns for years, the practice of two-digit year entry continued. It was considered such a non-issue that on
November 1, 1968, the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 4, “The
Standard For Calendar Date,” was introduced. This outlined how all information exchange
between US government agencies would use the now-standard 6-digit date, ensuring its usage
far into the future. And again, this didn’t go unnoticed. Another IBM employee, Peter de Jager, came
to his own realization about the Year 2000 Problem in 1977 while testing a new banking
system. He recognized the looming glitch, persistently
voiced concern to his bosses, and like those before him was very much ignored. It simply wasn’t a big enough deal yet,
and fixing so much code would be costly and time-consuming and nobody wanted to do that. A bit more credence was finally given to the
idea in 1984, with the release of “Computers in Crisis” by Jerome and Marilyn Murray. In this book, the Murrays laid out the history
of the problem, what might happen if it’s left unresolved, and how to address the flaws
in 6-digit date programming, complete with hundreds of pages showing examples of corrected
computer code. Still, even as recognition of the problem
rose among programmers and computer users heading into the 1990s, it wasn’t until
the rise of fledgling internet services that the Century Date Change problem truly gained
traction. Arguably, a contributing factor is the term
“Y2K” itself, something far more catchy than “Century Date Change.” The coining of the term is usually attributed
to a programmer by the name of David Eddy, who first used “Y2K” to refer to the problem
in an email sent on June 12, 1995, spreading virally from there. But beyond the catchy name, what finally made
governments, companies, and the public sit up and take notice of Y2K in the mid-90s? The answer is simple: panic. Never underestimate the power of public panic! “Power outages, water outages.” My main worry is the energy grid. And if we can’t get power, we can’t get water. So it’s something that is totally unpredictable. I think there are individual banks that will
probably go bankrupt. There are individual credit unions that will
disappear over this issue. Some people will die. “The sooner you start your preparations, the better your opportunity to get the supplies” “you need at reasonable prices.” News reports, websites, TV specials, radio
shows, newspaper opinion pieces. The Y2K coverage grew exponentially starting
in 1996 as the new millennium drew ever closer, and IT professionals warned with increasing
volume of the impending problems that would occur. By 1997, many experts were declaring a point
of no return “time bomb” was approaching, and who knew what chaos might ensue if things
weren’t soon addressed. Especially when it came to computers that
were now a couple of decades old, like those used in electrical grids, air traffic control,
social security, emergency response systems, banking and financial institutions, hospitals
and hospice centers, oil refineries and gas processing, and of course, all those scary-looking
nuclear power plants and missile silos. The more the news coverage increased, the
more people started wondering: what if everything turned off, all at once, on January 1st? Or worse, what if the glitch made systems
go haywire, dropping planes from the sky and launching nukes at random? Soon, Century Date Change bills were enacted
at state and local levels, bringing in tech firms to assist in rewriting old code. Former COBOL programmers were brought out
of retirement to help fix their own programs from the 60s and 70s. Individual contractors were hired by countless institutions and businesses starting at $1500 a day in 1997. Governments, corporations, and small businesses
around the globe were finally taking Y2K dead seriously in 1998, with an estimated 300 billion
to half a trillion dollars spent globally once it was all said and done. Of course, that was just the response on an
official level: all those large institutions still using decades-old hardware and software. You’ll note that personal computers haven’t
really been brought up as a major concern, and with good reason: a sizable margin of
home computers were never going to be that affected by Y2K, relative to minicomputers
and mainframes. Even going back to the early Macintosh and
IBM PC systems from the 1980s, those accepted the full 4-digit year 2000, no problem. Granted, there were countless PC clones, many
of which used two-digit years in the BIOS, as well as the bigger problem where your computer and OS was compatible but your older software wasn’t. A good number of applications still only recognized
the last two digits, but by the late 90s there were very few of those programs still in use, and what remained likely wasn’t controlling anything *vital* to society. Windows, Mac OS, UNIX, even MS-DOS: none of
these systems were ever at much risk, especially by the mid-to-late ‘90s when the public
finally started caring. And larger companies like Microsoft made sure
to let users know there were updates for any of their outdated software, even offering
a free Year 2000 Resource CD-ROM to help users better understand the situation regarding
PCs. Still, overarching Y2K anxieties led tons
of folks to get the wrong idea anyway. The prevalence of “Y2K Compliant” labels
all over the place probably didn’t help, leading to a misguided idea that anything
remotely computer-related could stop working. Computers themselves were of course labeled
this way, but also software that was never at risk in the first place. Bicycle Rummy? Oh sure that’s Y2K compatible, why not? If an item used a microchip, or heck, used
electricity in some way, slap a Y2K sticker on it! Cash registers, KVM switches, otoscopes, digital
scales. Of course, remember to turn your computers
off before midnight too, because reasons. Thanks, Best Buy. Despite the responsibility falling largely
on the shoulders of governments and corporations, rather than individuals, this didn’t stop
the onslaught of folks capitalizing on the hysteria by peddling personal preparedness. There were countless Y2K books, many of them
centered around post-apocalyptic survivalism and off-the-grid living. Seminars were held that pitched the need for
prepping at work and at home. Y2K News Magazine got printed for a couple
years, detailing Y2K-related facts and rumors on a bi-weekly basis. Outdoor and military supply stores bundled
food, stoves, and lanterns together and sold them as “Y2K Survival Kits.” Cleverly named online stores popped up, like Y2Kmart, billing themselves as “one-stop disaster shops.” Folks extra-worried about personal safety
went into stores asking retailers for quote, “Y2K guns,” leading to a spike in US weapons
sales. Amish Mennonite business owners saw a notable rise in sales due to their offerings of analog technology. People began stocking up underground bunkers
and fallout shelters in numbers not seen since the height of the Cold War. Cookbooks were released focusing on food preparation
in the absence of electricity and clean water. Collectibles were sold cute-ifying the Millennium
Bug as a soft, plushie insect. Y2K Survival Shows were hosted on county fairgrounds,
providing a kind of end-times family event. Computer hardware makers sold add-on cards
promising to make your BIOS Y2K compatible. Software developers released applications
for analyzing and updating PCs for potential glitches. Certain religious leaders and churches were
hailing the new millennium as the beginning of the end times as written in the book of
Revelation. Mock movie posters were sold that combined mid-century horror movie tropes and Y2K apocalypse fears. Actual Y2K movies got made, like Y2K: The
Movie, a 1999 made-for-TV disaster flick. Somehow Leonard Nimoy got roped into hosting an hour-long Y2K scare-a-thon released to VHS. Even musicians couldn’t resist making Y2K-themed
songs, like “The Millennium Bug” by Terry Breen. And naturally, comedians, comic strips, and
TV shows all joined in poking fun at the whole shebang. Happy new — whaa? Oh no, it’s happening!
[electrical zapping] [tires squealing, cars crashing] So with all the years of Millennium Bug silliness
and scare tactics, it’s no surprise that many folks were still expecting the worst. But once the day finally arrived and 1999
turned to 2000, Y2K was more or less a no-show. Power kept flowing. Planes kept flying. Cars kept driving. Banks kept banking. Even computers that weren’t turned off before
midnight did just fine! There were a number of issues though, even
if largely limited to brief, localized interruptions. A building in South Korea lost its heating
for a few hours. Several people in the UK were given incorrect
medical test results due to age miscalculation. Three dialysis machines in Egypt needed to
be reset at midnight. And some credit and debit card terminals delayed
transactions by a few days. Not to mention a few more lighthearted blunders,
like a guy who returned a rental videotape to the store only to be met with a $91,250
late fee for being 100 years late. But the vast majority of Y2K bugs were incredibly
minor, mostly just digital clocks and calendars showing 1900 instead of 2000 before being
promptly fixed. According to the US Senate Y2K Aftermath report,
despite all those incidents, there were quote “no major problems were experienced in the
U.S. or worldwide during the millennium date change.” So, hooray! Job well done, crisis averted! Everyone thanked all those skilled programmers,
right? Eh, not quite. The skeptics and the defenders alike began
sounding off immediately, as exemplified by the January 1st comments section from the BBC’s Talking Point page: This discourse only grew over the coming years, with retrospectives analyzing all the warnings and preparation, wondering if it was all overblown. Make no mistake though, Y2K was a real problem that needed to be fixed, and people put in countless hours to fix it. But the problem with thoroughly fixing something is that, to an outsider, it looks like nothing was fixed at all. So on the one hand, the Millennium Bug was
an unquestionably big problem, with a massive quantity of unseen work happening that resulted
in a disaster dodged. On the other hand, it’s clear that an unwarranted
amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt was being sown and reaped by those looking to
make a quick buck. To quote tech journalist Robert Cringely:
“I believe a terrific amount of Y2K fraud took place.” “There was a lot of money that was spent and it wasn’t visible.” “The question is whether the right work was done” “and my guess is probably about half that money was just wasted.” Indeed, no one knows precisely how much of
the prepwork was truly necessary, and how much was at best an honest overreaction, or
at worst a cynical cash-grab. And unfortunately, those bad actors often
received the spotlight instead of the workers grinding away fixing the actual problems. And thus Y2K ended up being more of a punchline,
a cliché “end of the world” trope that the public was all too happy to move on from. But it wasn’t an all-out hoax either. The Calendar Date Change problem was real
and a lot of the fixes were necessary. Additionally, computer hardware and national
infrastructure updates made to prevent Y2K chaos ended up having benefits beyond The
Year 2000 Problem. As just one example, New York City’s infrastructure
overhaul for Y2K has been credited as helping deal with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The enhancements and failsafes installed to
prepare for Y2K ended up being invaluable in helping first responders in 2001 when power,
communication, and rail lines were destroyed. On the flip side, some of the Y2K fixes caused
issues that only arose decades later, in what became known as The Y2020 Bug. Turns out up to 80% of Millennium Bug fixes
relied on a method called “the pivot year” or “windowing,” making computers see years
between ‘00’ to ‘20’ as the 2000s. Once the year 2020 came about, anything relying
on this temporary fix immediately broke, including parking meters, point of sale terminals, and
even the pro wrestling video game, WWE 2K20. So sure, Y2K is easy to look back on and joke
about, with all the laughable products and absurd apocalyptic predictions. But it shouldn’t be dismissed entirely as
a scam either, even with all the scamming and poor decision-making that occurred. “The public perception perpetrated by the
media that this was a hoax” “has done a great disservice to the industry,” said Peter de Jager in 2010. “Organizations did not spend $300 billion
worldwide because someone said” “there was a problem. Nobody is that gullible.” “They spent $300 billion because they tested their systems with ‘00’ dates” “and the systems stopped working.” Let’s hope the media, the industry, and
the public alike have learned their lessons then, because calendar-based computer problems
continue to crop up, and there’s no telling what kind of technological silliness lies
over the horizon. [LGR-made synth beats commence] If you liked this episode of LGR Tech Tales,
or if you’ve got some particularly pertinent Y2K memories to share, feel free to lemme
know in the comments! Seeing that kinda thing really helps encourage
more stuff like this in the future. And as always, thank you very much for watching!



  • LGR

    Special thanks to my friends and colleagues who brought to life those 20-year-old Y2K comments! In order of appearance:

    Gaming Historian | https://www.youtube.com/mcfrosticles
    Pixelmusement | https://www.youtube.com/Pixelmusement
    Retro Man Cave | https://www.youtube.com/RetroManCave
    The 8-Bit Guy | https://www.youtube.com/adric22
    PushingUpRoses | https://www.youtube.com/pushinguproses
    Brutalmoose | https://www.youtube.com/brutalmoose
    Modern Vintage Gamer | https://www.youtube.com/jimako123
    Nostalgia Nerd | https://www.youtube.com/nostalgianerdvideos

  • TheHikerDad

    I spent many an hour tracking down, testing and fixing this bug. It was no hoax. Fortunately, I was using Red Hat Linux at that time for our deployed OS, so most of my work focused on in-house programs. We had to provide reports to corporate that we were Y2K compliant for all code we were responsible for.

  • Nicola Redmond

    The only thing I remember is what you did. I changed the date on my work computer to 2000 without hassle. Although I kept 3 containers if water in my car. Just in case.

  • TheOffenderBlog

    I remember the hype. In the end it amounted to nothing. Kind of like 2012.

  • Useless Duck Company

    I think there is an audio problem, one of the comment voice overs sounded all 8 bit

  • Corey Halliwell

    But it was smooth sailing after the year 2000 right?


  • Charles DeLiberis

    all this was mass hysteria that nothing really happened

  • Super Smash Dolls

    There's also a "Y2037" caused by Unix's 32-bit seconds count overflowing, which has the potential to cause almost double the amount of slightly confusing date-related mishaps as Y2K!

    (For the record, the solve is 64-bit time_t, which gives you enough range to cover the entire age of the universe.)

  • Andrew Finley

    Great video! Love your content, thank you!

  • Menace312

    I'm from Denmark, so I have no idea what you are talking about concerning Y2K?

    We heard about it here, but there was zero panic… Guess we are just a smarter people…

  • breakyerface

    HA! I actually went to that church at 11:36. Yeah, they were all over the Y2K bug in the year leading up to it. There were members who were getting rifles for their sons and buying wheat in bulk so that they could grind their own flour. Then of course new years day hit and nothing happened.

  • Hikari Tsumi

    despite I started using computer wheb I was 3, but in 2000 I wasn't quite that old yet.

  • BobTheMartin

    15:58 Im counting only 8bits on this one

  • SergKiev87

    If nobody is so gullible to spend 300 billions on a hoax, then how Theranos, Wework and others came to be.

  • Mynemo

    More game reviews please.

  • GentleBen

    I drank so much non-alcoholic sparkling apple juice that night and past out hugging my playstation one dual shock controller; woke up with a sugar ridden head ache and finished playing Metal Gear Solid

  • Álvaro Sendra González

    Wait! Is that Leonard Nimoy?

  • murphyebass

    I was too busy getting pissed on a bag of cans to give a shite what y2k was doing to my enormous pc. I was flat on my back lookin up at the stars, fireworks going off around me thinking how I couldn’t believe we had just entered 2000. Seemed absolutely mental at the time even for a hammered 18 year old.

  • Mum Blic

    I mainly remember the overtime during the weekends in 1999. Going around on campus, run a test program and yes … putting y2k stickers on every pc that was tested. After 10 or so I knew which model were y2K compliant and which were not, still we had to test every single PC !! Made good money from the overtime. So no complains 😉

  • Sam Fagin

    Hilariously, the cable company I work for used one of the cheap fixes and the January 2020 bills all issued with weird dates. 1920 mostly. At least one person I spoke to had one dated November 1899 and I have no idea how they managed that.

  • SparkleWolf404

    I was a baby when this happened so no memory of this

  • Alphadrop

    … I want that y2k bug plushy.
    My mum worked for a computing company at the time and was more worried about the dot com bubble than the y2k bug, guess she got that right.

  • Gamer Going Grey

    I called my friend on the Eastern Time zone to check how his Apple II was running before midnight hit me in the Midwest.

  • Jonathan Barber

    8 bit guy voice cameo!!!!
    I’m sure there were more from the community of you awesome creators. Thanks so much for your hard work and great content.

  • Classic Customs

    10:29 Microsoft "As of April **1st**, 1999."

  • Jerther

    I took a recording of our local TV channel on the millennium shift:

  • David Harrison-Rand

    There was so much money sloshing around in UK in the late 90's to fix this!

    I remember getting hired by a UK MP to upgrade their constituency office's PCs & software. This only took about a week, but the amount they paid me was about 5 times what I was making in my regular day job. I remember telling a friend who was doing similar work for British Telecom (as an employee), and he thought that I'd undercharged for the work.

  • 1337 4llison

    terry breen? is that neil breen's brother

  • Merlin Athrawes

    So many special guests doing voiceovers lol. Top stuff as usual and a real thing. When I was at a pub celebrating the countdown to Y2K, the whole Orange cellphone network in our area was down and everyone started wondering. Turns out a lorry ran into the antenna. He had a mechanical failure lol.

  • George PMR

    The year we all thought our computers were going to explode! lol

  • mechgt5

    My father worked on y2k mitigation for ems systems in the late 90s for the Southeastern US, and the threat of things going bad was indeed a threat. But was fixed before it got too bad

  • Stefan Turner

    Wow a fantastic amount of work must have gone into that, really enjoyed this. I was working on cobol systems during the 90's. Ps neat touch with the voice overs, coo communityl collaboration

  • Derrick Stegall

    We need to get the date 10000 able on modern computers next so that the future will be better.

  • FennecTECH

    Our power went out for a few hours on the first.

  • alexandremstpierre

    My family was able to immigrate to the US because of the Y2K preparation.

  • RetroGamer

    Dad had some good contracts fixing it.

  • Alex chan

    so many guest voices !

  • Hugo Santos

    I was 9 at the time but i still remeber people talking about it, but i always assumed it was a hoax, i never knew that there was a real problem that got fixed, thanks for the information 🙂

  • Rockstarnerd 1957

    look at us 20 Years later,
    we are still fucking alive, eh?

  • Ade L

    I appreciate the tech tale, as I'm sure they're hugely involved compared to other content produced. Interesting as always Thank you!

  • Samuel Measa

    I'm surprised you didn't use clips from the Dilbert Y2K episode in this rather then the Simpsons.

    I was 22 when the millennium past. I remember my mom worrying that the power would go out or that we'd not have running water or gas. When nothing happened it was all a relief, I was even joking about it this past December to coworkers and friends.

  • Xurts

    Make this a series!

  • hammi

    12:34 "Y20K" huh? okay….

  • Karl Speth

    What happened? This vid answers it perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB7mHxdHlRY

  • Blök Möp

    Now, is YOUR machine Y10k compatible??? Lets face it, the year 10000 is aproaching fast, its only 7980 years from this year on. So prepare yourself for total fallout, go to "www.Y10kshop.com" and buy your year 10000 provisions TODAY!!!

  • Chris Gregory

    11:40 Yeah, because if there's one name I trust to tell me how to best address a complex, decades-old computer programming issue, it's Pat "In a Metal Mood" Boone.

  • Dave Compton

    I did Tech Support for a Taiwanese PC manufacturer back in the 90's and some of our older BIOSs weren't compliant. I knocked up an exe to add to the autoexec.bat file; it looked for years <1980 or >2038 and adjusted accordingly (simple offset). Worked fine as DOS and Windows 95/98 as they were Y2K compliant.

  • CmlDexter

    16:47 I see what you did there Modern Vintage Gamer 😛

  • Maximilien Noal

    I wondered lately when did the last episode aired, and now BOOM ! A new episode. NICE !

  • ビムカナン EX

    I remember being scared as a kiddo about my SEGA Dreamcast not working after Y2K, so I did a test to see what would happen when intentionally changing my system clock forward, to my relief, everything was fine and I could continue to enjoy House of the Dead 2 in peace.

  • sunnohh

    Heck of a job, LGR, where is your next sandwich?

  • Eric Fell

    Chock full of cameos! What is this? A crossover episode?
    [Mister Peanutbutter GIF goes here. Peanutbutter is one word. Don't write– ERICA! HOW ARE YOU?]

  • Ghost

    As a rule of thumb: if there's a Leonard Nimoy tape talking about it, it's probably bullshit.

  • Ardoron Ro

    In the Year 2000, mankind could sustain itself no longer. Before the final blow was struct, I tore open a portal in time and flung him into the……..Oh? Where still here 20 years later. Far out!

  • Mozzie

    fuck yeah long form techtales are back

  • ajre82

    My brother brought me along to his factory workplace, and we updated every single computer by booting with a floppy. Took us all night, and he didn't even pay me.

    Yeah, he is a dick.

  • Kurakaji

    I really hate that I'm seeing a lot of similar things with stuff like global warming

  • Jessica Peters

    11:34 My hometown of Greece NY (part of the greater Rochester NY area) got a (small) mention in an LGR video! 🙂

  • It's Tape!

    Y2k, kind of like climate change

  • MorfEngineering

    Nice foreshadowing for Year 2038 problem. When the 32 bit integer will overflow.

  • Chris Mifsud

    Was that Modern Vintage Gamer ?

  • Robert Price

    Me, not learning the lesson: "Pssh, nobody's going to be using 32-bit timestamps by 2038"

  • Robbie's Incoherent thoughts

    The only tragic event that happened to me was having to listen to the song 1999 by Prince way too many times

  • TechWurst

    I never understood why all concerned home computer owners didn't just set their date to 31.12.1999 23:59 and see for themselves that, well, nothing would happen.

  • spineshivers

    Who is the idiot who wrote the title on 12:36?! y20k, year 20,000. lol -)))))))

  • Destiny's Children

    This outro music fuckin slams

  • Evan Goers

    Next up, 2038!

  • Nubs926

    I remember wincing in anticipation during the 🎶FINAL COUNTDOWN🎶

    The first words anybody said after midnight were: "Welp, the lights are still on!" And so, life continued.

  • RatchetSly

    Excellently researched video! I was a kid when 1999 rolled over into 2000, and that my dad offhand mentioned there probably wasn't going to be any big newsworthy Y2K stories in Canada, cuz the government had put effort into fixing their systems through the departments.

    Also the credits tune made me think of Lemon Demon's Redesign Your Logo.

  • zwabbersap

    Nice one! Tech Tales are my favorite LGRs.

  • bread

    Haha the scales in my high school chem lab have those Y2K COMPLIANT stickers, 20 years later

  • Dan Age

    I remember this being a 10 year old and going to my computer and ahowing my dad the date on the computer and pushing it forward to the year 3000… I was like see Dad? computers can count past
    1999… lol

  • ficklefingeroffate

    Hot damn! A new Tech Tales! My favorite LGR productions!

  • Sn4tchTV

    My dad was involved in the Y2K compliance preparation efforts of a nuclear power company. My dad always assured us that everything was going to be fine, but my aunt was scared out of her mind about the incoming apocalypse. We were all together watching the ball drop on new years ever 1999, and my aunt seemed very relieved when the power did not go out at midnight.

    As coincidence would have it, our microwave decided to die that night, and when my aunt tried to use it the next morning her anxiety came back stronger as she worried herself to death over which of her appliances at home may have been hit by the Y2K bug…

  • Azuris190

    So, six Digits to "save time and work", so somebody destroyed nearly the hole Civilization, because of lazyness.

  • Yeetles Law

    Oh my god. So we knew about Y2K the entire time but waited until the very last minute to do something. We're doom, that's exactly what we're doing with climate change.

  • Thomas Nimmesgern

    12:36 "Y20K" – wouldn't that be the year 20,000? Honestly, I'm not ready for the year Twenty Thousand yet. 🙁

  • Wade Roberts

    BrutalMoose would eat his entire T2K stash, wouldn't he?

  • Theodore Relic

    Oh HELL yes, I remember. I actually have one of those cute Y2K bugs sitting on my desk shelf (atop an Iron Maiden Eddie-in-the-Box promo) right now. But in the lead-up to Y2K I was seeing FUD being puked out of the media from newspeople and officials who barely knew how to use a computer ("The internet is a series of tubes", anyone?). The programs designed to detect Y2K problems, "Y2K compliant" software, etc.

    I was also reading columns from Alex St. John, one of the guys responsible for DirectX in Win 95 and had a regular column in Maximum PC as "The Saint". He seemed to play down the actual threat posed by Y2K as it applies to the average computer user at home, and mentioned the nasty comments he would get from people who clearly didn't know much about the problem. "You'll be SORRY" when it all goes to Hell seemed to be a common retort when he didn't agree with their belief in a Y2Kpocalypse.

    Myself? My mom (who had been living with my sister and myself) had died in early 1999 and my sister was out for New Years festivities so I had the house to myself. So I was in my computer room with my main computer (running Win 98SE) and decided to shut down and go to my bedroom and watch the ball drop on my personal TV. 12AM hits, and there was a very slight blink of the lights…not enough to shut anything down but just a tiny blink. But I watched the ball drop, uninterrupted. World didn't turn dark, nobody exploded, drunken revelers outside shot off their pistols and AK-47s, just like normal.

    A little later I went to my computer room and turned on my computer, everything was working as expected, no problems with e-mail (especially fun since I was still using Juno), no nothing. The only thing was where an older DOS computer I had for no reason, changed the date to 80 🙂

    So I stayed up for a little longer, looking for anything online. No major shocks to the system. God's in His Heaven, All's right with the World.

    So to speak.

    So after a little while longer I just went to bed.

  • RazzUK

    Awesome! More content like this please!

  • Fleet Admiral Harrison

    Just waiting for a WWE Y2K20 bug joke here. Glad I didn't buy that trash game! LMAO

  • Zach Buhrer

    13:51 that SFX sounded WAY too real 🤣


    The time the entire world got suckered…
    (well, ONE of those times anyway)

  • chbrules

    I appreciate all the other tech YT'ers you got to voice the quotes near the end!

  • Just Vienna

    I wonder what would have happened if the Y2K bug was never seen as an issue by world governments

  • Thomas Frank

    Wouldn't that guy who brought back the rental tape be 100 years early instead of 100 years late?

  • apolycarp

    Tech Tales is my favorite series you do! Please keep them coming!

  • James P

    Well Y2K we're only going to know now in the year 10,000.

  • Cameron Allgier

    Apparently, my uncle dropped everything and moved to rural Montana in preparation for Y2k. He spent a lot of money getting prepped for the end of society only for nothing to happen.

  • GammaMAXX

    "It's HIS fault: One person 'invented' Y2K, and he's David Eddy"

    Damn, that's brutal. Printed in The Boston Globe for everyone to see

  • Paul hall

    We were still using a lot of Dell i486 machines which were upgraded with Pentium OverDrive processors, these were not Y2K compliant, you had to manually reset the clock. Rather than do this we had to install an ISA card to automate the process. Only then could we call them Y2K ready. Machines that couldn't be upgraded in this manner were replaced.

  • Owen Egan

    I spent most of 1998 and 1999 rebuilding the computer's in our building because of the Y2K bug, and yes, we tested them and they didn't keep the date when you pushed the bios date past the millenium .

  • Christian Humphrey

    You truncated the wrong end of the year in your animation, which would leave a 19 for the 1900s.

  • No Name

    I initially was not going to watch this, because yeah I was a kid back then and I fell for it. "It" being the media hysteria. I remember sitting with a flashlight lit next to my stock of water and canned food. and nothing happened. But well done video!

  • The 3rd Best Nikka Shop in your area

    Love the recap of all the crap people sold to cash in on the madness, esp the imagery of the old people and the fallout shelters full of water and Coleman sleeping bags (12:19) but then I realized that those people are probably dead now.

  • Master Sashimi

    That 2020 bug was brutally harsh.

  • Emily Hogan

    I was in Kindergarten at the time, I had a different Y2K bug plushie from Hallmark that made crashing noises when you slammed it on a table.

  • James G

    I was 22 and tested the date change on my mum's second hand 486, all was good but my mum freaked out!!!!

  • TheGodOfAllThatWas

    The 2038 hint at the end was probably a bit too subtle for my tastes…… Maybe instead of "there's no telling what…lies over the horizon" something more like "let's see what…. in 2038" Also a subtle note you maybe didn't notice…. Perhaps you could have had the "Click sound" that ends the video at 20:32 happen at "2038" by just letting the count down play out more to 20:38…. Perhaps having that cut out at the roll over

  • lukey666lukey

    When you do something right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

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