Y2K Glossary

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A chain of convenience stores; references to it in the Y2K world stemmed from Paul Milne’s memorable phrase, “If you live within five miles of a 7-11, you’re toast.”


The initial phase of remediation in which an organization takes an inventory of its computerized systems and determines which of them are susceptible to Y2K problems.

Big Iron

Mainframe computers.


BITR Bump In The Road, a scenario in which Y2K causes few or negligible problems. Often followed by a parenthetical (yeah right) or the equivalent when referred to by doomers, who considered the odds of this happening to be vanishingly low.

bugout bag

A small set of items needed for short-term survival, designed to be quickly grabbed and carried in the event that one needs to evacuate, or “bug out.”

carrying capacity

The number of human lives the earth’s and civilization’s resources can sustain. In extreme scenarios like the one proposed by Infomagic, Y2K-induced breakdowns would drastically reduce this number, leading to millions or billions of deaths.


A computer programming language that used to be in ubiquitous use for mainframe financial software and other applications. Much of the old legacy code riddled with Y2K bugs was written in COBOL, a language with relatively few remaining practitioners.


Term describing a computerized system that will continue to work properly into the 21st century: one that either does not use dates, was written to use four-digit years, or has had its Y2K bugs found, fixed, and tested. The inability or unwillingness of companies to provide specific, concrete assurances of their “compliance” was a major factor in stoking the anxiety of the Doombrood.


The Usenet newsgroup comp.software.year-2000. The source of a lot of the material you’ll find on On This Day Pre-Y2K.

de Jager, Peter

Canadian consultant who was one of the first to alert people to the possibility of date-related computer problems, with his 1993 article “Doomsday 2000” in Computerworld magazine. With his year2000.com site and mailing list, and a busy speaking schedule, he was one of the highest-profile experts on Y2K.


A software development project with an unrealistic deadline that programmers are nonetheless forced to work overtime to meet. Popularized by Ed Yourdon in his 1997 book Death March: The Complete Software Developer’s Guide to Surviving “Mission Impossible” Projects.


Someone who Doesn’t Get It, “It” being Y2K. As distinct from a DWGI, a DGI either hasn’t yet been shown enough information about the problem or is considered somewhat stupid.


Collective term for doomers.


Someone who predicted Y2K would cause severe, TEOTWAWKI-level problems; also “doomsayer” or “doomsdayer.”


Someone who Doesn’t Want to Get It, “It” being Y2K. As distinct from a DGI, a DWGI has been exposed to ample Y2K information and is capable of understanding it, but prefers to remain in denial due to the unbearable implications of the facts.

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