On This Day Pre-Y2K
In addition to all the book-related information you’d expect to find on an author’s site, kshay.com has a special section I’d like to highlight.
The End as I Know It is set in 1998, and it’s about a young man plagued by obsessive fear of the Y2K computer bug. Much of his paranoia stems from his immersion in the online Y2K community. To give readers and prospective readers a non-fictionalized look at what that community was like during the timeframe of the novel, I’ve created (and solemnly vow to keep updating) On This Day Pre-Y2K.
The quotations you’ll find there will be drawn from a variety of sources, but primarily from three.
The Usenet newsgroup comp.software.year-2000, chartered in 1997 to discuss technical issues surrounding century-related code remediation, quickly evolved into a hotbed of dire speculation and flamewars between “doomers” and “pollies” (short for Pollyannas).
Meanwhile, Ed Yourdon, co-author of the popular book Time Bomb 2000: What the Year 2000 Computer Crisis Means to You!, created the Time Bomb 2000 forum. Hosted on Philip Greenspun’s web-based LUSENET, it brought the Y2K-as-global-disaster discussion to a broader audience of concerned citizens outside the IT industry. Shortly after the rollover, this forum migrated to a couple of other locations before winding up in its current home, where it apparently still thrivesits members mulling over not the Y2K bug but terrorism, chemtrails, avian flu, and other post-millennial threats to our survival.
And then there was Gary North, whose site garynorth.com served as the preeminent source of doom-drenched news and analysis for the “Y2K-aware” throughout the life of the subculture. At some point in 2000, North’s site turned into a pitch for his series of “Marketing With Autoresponders” sales aids. The Y2K pages, while no longer linked from the homepage, remained online for a few more years, and then disappeared at some point. Fortunately, I downloaded a copy when I started working on The End as I Know It.
Other stray sources still visible online include programmer Cory Hamasaki’s DC Y2K Weather Reports and some logs from the soybean.com chat room. Most of the old Y2K sites, though, are long gone, and I don’t really care to bang my head against the Wayback Machine in the hope of retrieving them. But if you’re aware of any other quotable material from the Y2K community circa 1999 that’s still available, or you happen to have something archived, please let me know or leave a comment below.