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Howdy, y'all (and HAPPY NEW YEAR)!

I want to thank the folks at "Advisory Panel," "World Wide Store," and
"Golden Palace" for bringing today's holiday journey of our little bus
of Internet happiness to you.  Please take a moment to visit today's
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On with the show ...


With the year 2000 now only 365 days away (EEEK!), I thought it would
be a good time for our little bus of Internet happiness to take
another look at the Y2K problem.  Long-time TOURBUS readers will
remember that my "partner in crime" Dr. Bob Rankin wrote a wonderful
Y2K article earlier this year.  Since one of my New Years resolutions
is to plagiarize as often as I can, today's post contains Dr. Bob's
article in its entirety.  :)

Before we get to that, though, there are two other Y2K-related
articles you really should read.  The first is John C. Dvorak's
Boardwatch article titled "Year 2000 Redux."  You can find this
article at .

The first two pages of Dvorak's article debunk some recent Y2K
"disaster" predictions.  The third and last page of Dvorak's article
contains a wonderful recipe for the Japanese dish shabu shabu.  :)

The second article you should read is Mitch Ratcliffe's "Y2K In 1999:
Plumbing the Reality of the Problem" at .

Ratcliffe explains that only eight percent of all date-related errors
will happen on January 1, 2000, and he gives a list of other dates
both before and after 1/1/2000 to keep an eye on.

Finally, don't forget about the Y2K+4 problem!  In the year 2004, many
parts of the United States will be besieged by the 17-year return of
the locust.  While the damage to United States agriculture will be
immense, even more frightening is the fact that squirrels LOVE to eat
locusts.  So, in 2004 there will be a whole mess of fat squirrels.
Fat squirrels mean large litters.  And large litters mean MORE

You heard it here first!

Does Your Computer Have The Millennium Bug?

Even if you have a brand new PC, there's a good possibility it may
not work correctly come January 1, 2000.  And even if you don't own
a PC, you could be in for some major trouble the morning after that
turn-of-the-century party.  (Phooey on the purists who insist - right
or wrong - that the new millennium begins on 1/1/2001.)

In a nutshell, the Millennium Bug refers to computers that are unable
to cope with the year 2000.  It's estimated that over 90% of
computers in use today are susceptible to this problem, which arises
from the fact that many computers and software programs use only two
digits to represent the year.

Programmers chose this course of action to save precious memory and
disk space in the early days of computing, but unfortunately this
shortcut is still used in some software today.  People use notation
like 12/31/99 all the time, but what's a computer going to think when
the date suddenly becomes 01/01/00?  Some computers will think it's
the year 1900, others will reset to 1980 or some other random date.


It is reported that 93% of computers built before 1997, and 43% of
those built in or after 1997 will have a Year 2000 problem.  But since
computer and software vendors are scrambling to prepare for the year
2000, the problem will likely be minimal for the average home PC user
who purchases hardware or software in the near future.

But many corporations and government officials are sweating bullets.
In addition to facing huge bills to address the problem (it'll cost
Uncle Sam about $20 billion) they have to worry about the impact on a
societal level.

A report by UK-based Corporation 2000 forecasts the new millennium
will throw New York City into chaos, severely disrupting power
supplies, schools, hospitals, transport and the finance sector.  The
study predicts that on January 1, 2000, electrical supply will be
only 50% available for 10 days.  Wall Street will be closed for eight
days, hospital service will be emergency-only for a full month, and
serious problems will cripple telephone, transportation and postal

Pundits are making statements ranging from "no big deal" to "doom and
gloom", but whatever the case, the problem is not limited to New York
City or even the USA.  It would be wise to check with your bank,
school, and any other institution you deal with to see if they are
Year 2000 compliant.  If you get a blank stare or an evasive answer,
take your business elsewhere.


If you think you'll still be using your current computer in December
1999, you'd better do a little checking to see if it'll survive
the Year 2000 (or Y2K) changeover.  In addition to faulty software,
it's likely that your computer's BIOS or CMOS (hardware that controls
the function of your computer and interfaces with the operating
system) has the Millennium Bug too.  I ran a diagnostic on my trusty
'486 and found to my surprise that it's going to have a major Y2K

The best way to test your computer's hardware for potential Year 2000
problems is to get a free diagnostic tool such as TEST2000.  You can
download this program via the Web at .

Also check out this site for other Y2K testing & patch resources 

or have a look at the online Year 2000 Information Center where
you'll find a wealth of information, articles, and other helpful
tools.  It's at 

If you can't get your hands on a diagnostic tool, here's a test you
can try from the DOS prompt to test your hardware for possible Y2K

     - Set the system clock to 11:59 pm on December 31, 1999.  The
       commands DATE 12-31-99 and TIME 11:59p will do the trick.

     - Turn the computer off, wait two minutes, and turn it back on.

     - Issue the DATE command from a DOS prompt.

If your computer reports the year as 2000, that's good.  But if the
year is 1900, 1980, or something other than 2000, you've got the bug.
Even though some systems can cross the century bridge and maintain
the correct year, they may have trouble dealing with a date of 2000
or greater.  Here's another test to check for that problem.

     - Set your computer's date to 01-01-2000, turn the computer off,
       wait a minute, and turn it back on.

Most PC's will show the wrong date after this test, even if they
passed the first test.  If your computer fails either test, think
about getting a motherboard upgrade.  For less than $300 you can move
up to a Pentium class machine and leave your troubles behind.  But
make sure the vendor certifies your new motherboard is "Year 2000
Safe" or you'll have a hotrod that can fail the Y2K tests even faster
than the old machine.


Macintosh users, you don't have to worry about hardware-related Year
2000 problems, but software may still be an issue for Mac and PC users.

Most commercially available software, as well as the Windows 95/98 and
Mac operating systems, are year 2000 compliant.  But you may have an
older spreadsheet or database program which keeps track of years with
a two-digit field.  If so, you'll have to upgrade or replace the

You can test your software by setting the system clock to some date
in the year 2000, and then try to exercise as many features as
possible.  Pay special attention to any programs that do date
calculations or comparisons, such as spreadsheets.  If your
amortizations come out wrong, your software may have a problem.  If
you have a database with date fields, run a battery of reports and
look for unusual or negative values in the listings.

In addition to giving all your software a Year 2000 checkup, visit
the Web sites of software vendors to find compliancy information.
Most companies will be releasing upgrades in the next year to fix
Year 2000 problems, so be sure to upgrade before doomsday.


Visit these sites for additional info on the Year 2000 issue:

Gary North 

The Cassandra Project 

Understand Y2K in 5 Steps 

The Y2K Watch 

UPDATE: A Personal Request

In my last post, I asked for help in locating a CD copy of Stan
Kenton's 1961 album "A Merry Christmas" (Capitol Records, CDP 7 94451
2).  I heard from dozens of people who suggested different online
music stores (THANK YOU!).  Not only was I able to find the CD I was
looking for, I also found a couple of online music stores I would
otherwise not know about.  Here are three of my favorites:

One of only two online music stores that carries the Kenton CD.

The other one.  :)

No, this isn't a porn site (inside joke). didn't have
the Kenton Christmas album on CD, but I was still impressed with their

Again, thanks to EVERYONE for helping me find the CD I was looking


SPEARMINT (Noun or Verb).  Part of the scientific method.
Usage: "I jus did a spearmint to see if my pickup truck could run on
Jack Daniels instead of gasoline.  Well, it caint."

[Special thanks to Noah Kristoffer for today's wurd]

You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 

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