English on the Internet - English Magazine


January 4, 2000

Living in a country where almost everything is run by computers is sometimes a little frightening especially when a virus is sent through the Internet but even more frightening is when you are worried about the banks and Government computers and if they are going to quit when the New Year begins. If your checks come from the Government that could mean no money until the computers are repaired or upgraded.

Many people prepared for this event by purchasing as much food as they could store. They purchased bottled water, soft drinks, but what some really stocked up on was toilet paper for their bathrooms. If you sat in the malls or the parking lots of local stores you got used to seeing 2 or 3 grocery carts loaded down with groceries and toilet paper or paper towels. If there were babies in the family you would see a cart filled with disposable diapers, formula, canned milk, and baby wipes. (Guess they never heard about cloth diapers and washing them out to reuse.)

Generators were sold to the point where you had to order one because their stock was all sold out. Kerosene lights, flashlights, batteris, kerosene stoves, propane stoves, propane lights, propane tanks filled with propane, blankets, and sleeping bags were big sellers because of the fear of loss of heat if their gas or electric was turned off by computers.

People anxiously watched their televisions when Australia and Japan ushered in the New Year with no problems but they still were skeptical because they felt the US was more computer controlled that these countries. For the first time in centuries people stayed home on New Year's Eve instead of going out because they were afraid that if they lost power their homes would be robbed by vandals taking advantage of the power loss.

What happened when the New Year came to the US? Not a thing, well maybe some people regretting spending all their money preparing for Y2K because it left them short of funds but they could use most of the items they bought so it really wasn't a total loss. Of course if you spent a lot of money to purchase a generator you aren't going to use you would probably be a little upset. Also the people who purchased 50 gallon drums to store gasoline and kerosene in might be a little worried about keeping it for long periods of time but other than that the New Year has been the same as any other.

Why do people panic when computers are mentioned. It could be because they own one and have had it crash on occassion so they know it can disburb your schedule especially if you depend on them to do your banking, write you correspondence, keep track of your accounts or other important information. A computer is only as good as the person who programs the data into it. A computer can have power failure or lose information any time especially if an important element in it wears out and wipes out all you information it is best to always keep your information on disks so you can put it back into the computer if it does fail.

Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR and don't worry about computers they are a lot like people they wear out and sometimes lose their memory.

by Jane Custer - USA, has a BS in Communications and loves writing

© January 2000 English on the Internet www.aj.cz