Date:         Sat, 7 Aug 1999 22:16:24 -0500
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
Comments:     Resent-From:
Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen 
From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 5 AUGUST 1999 -- WINDOWS Y2K HOAX
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Howdy, y'all, and greetings from a slightly less blurry Alabama [my
eye doctor replaced my extremely blurry contacts with ones that are
only slightly blurry.  Considering this to be a great improvement, I
anxiously await what lies in store for me when I revisit my eye doctor
on Tuesday.]
I also apologize for the tardiness of today's post.  The University of
Alabama's College of Continuing Education tapped your intrepid bus
driver to teach a two-day Web page design class to a group of visiting
professors from Grambling State, Flagler College, and Alcorn State
(and to 3 or 4 professors from Bama).  I had a wonderful time teaching
the class, but it threw my schedule off a bit.  That's why today's
post is so late ... and, for that, I apologize.  :)
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  I want
to thank the folks at Automation Consulting and Supply, Candlemart,
and NFO Interactive for making today's post possible.  As always,
please visit our wonderful sponsors and thank them for keeping the bus
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On with the show ...
My favorite urban legends are the ones that try to convince us that
naturally occurring events -- for example, your doorbell going "DING-
dong" or that grammatically-challenged AOL guy announcing "you've got
mail" -- are actually signs of impending doom.  So, you can imagine my
excitement when I received an email letter earlier this week warning
me that, despite Microsoft's repeated assertions to the contrary, both
Windows 95 and 98 will stop working on January 1.  The warning even
offered the following proof of Windows' impending doom:
      1. Go to Start --> Settings --> Control Panel
      2. Double-click on "Regional Settings" (look for the bizarro
         globe icon).
      3. Click on the "Date" tab (it is the top right hand tab).
      4. Look at the "Short Date" sample and see if it shows a two
         digit year.
The warning goes on to say that "[t]his date RIGHT HERE is the date
that feeds application software and WILL NOT rollover in the year
2000.  It will roll over to 00."  The warning then tells you how to
"fix" this potentially devastating problem.
Unfortunately, this whole warning message is simply a hoax that
exploits the public's misconceptions about the Y2K problem.  According
to our friends at,
      The year 2000 (also known as "Y2K") raises problems for anyone
      who depends on a program in which the year is represented by a
      two-digit number, such as "97" for 1997.  Many programs written
      10 or 15 years ago when storage limitations encouraged such
      information economies are still running in many companies.  The
      problem is that when the two-digit space allocated for "99" rolls
      over to 2000, the next number will be "00."  Frequently, program
      logic assumes that the year number gets larger, not smaller - so
      "00" may wreak havoc in a program that hasn't been modified to
      account for the millenium [sp].
      [quote from]
The "Windows is not Y2K compliant" warning message tries to convince
us that the two digit year displayed in Window's "Short Date" sample
is proof that Windows is susceptible to the "Millennium bug."  That's
just plain silly.  Here's why:
      1. Regardless of what the email warning says, Windows 95 and 98
         use four digits to store and calculate years (1999 = "1999";
         2000 = "2000").  The Y2K problem only affects programs and
         systems that use two digits to store and calculate years.
      2. The Regional Settings control panel lets you change how dates
         are DISPLAYED on your computer, not how Windows stores or
         processes dates.  In other words, the changes you make in the
         Regional Settings control panel are simply cosmetic; they
         don't have ANYTHING to do with how Windows stores and
         processes dates.  In fact, let me repeat that for effect:
      3. Dates are stored and processed by Windows in a 4 digit format
         regardless of the date display style selected in Regional
Even sillier, the "Windows is not Y2K compliant" warning message fails
to point out that the Regional Settings control panel clearly shows
that Windows 95 and 98 are indeed Y2K compliant.  Go back to the
Regional Settings control panel, click on the date tab, and look at
the "Calendar" and "Long Date" sections.  The Calendar section shows
that Windows will have no problem recognizing the year 2000 (or even
recognizing that "00" = "2000"), and the Long Date section shows that
Windows recognizes four digit years ("yyyy").
In other words, the person who wrote the "Windows is not Y2K
compliant" warning message took a naturally occurring event -- in this
case the fact that Microsoft's "Short Date" display used ... get ready
for this ... a SHORT DATE -- to scare you into believing that Windows
will crash on January 1.  The story is silly, and you can ignore it.
If you want to find out more about Microsoft and its Y2K readiness,
visit .
Also, if you haven't done so already, you need to download Microsoft's
free Y2K Product Analyzer.  The program
      scans a user's hard drive to create an inventory of Microsoft
      products, compares this inventory to the Microsoft year 2000
      compliance product guides, identifies products (if any) for which
      the user should download a free software update, and provides
      URLs to enable the user to obtain the updates easily.
      [quote taken from a Microsoft press release at]
You can read more about Microsoft's Y2K Product Analyzer, including
where you need to go to download it, in my 9 April 1999 TOURBUS post
at .
That's it for this week!  For the past month or so I have been
promising myself that I would write a TOURBUS post about some really
neat Internet newsletters (like Neat Net Tricks, The Langalist, The
Tweney Report, and so on).  Weather and squirrels permitting, I hope
to write that post this Thursday.  :)
EMPLAWEE (noun).  One in the employment of another.
Usage: "Mary Elizabeth mus be proud ... I just heard she's the
emplawee of the week down at the Huddle House!"
[Special thanks to Pam Howell for today's wurd]
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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  (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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