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[[quoteright:340:[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/simpsonsy2k_6236.png]]]]

-> ''They say two thousand zero zero, party over, oops, out of time\\
So tonight we're gonna party like it's nineteen ninety-nine.''
-->--'''Music/{{Prince}}''', "1999"

Supposedly, on the first of January, 2000, the world was going to be destroyed by a computer glitch named the 'Millennium Bug' ([[IHaveManyNames also referred to as '[=Y2K=]' or the 'Year 2000 problem']]) whereby numerous computer systems would think the year was 1900 instead of 2000, resulting in planes falling out of the sky, satellites going wrong and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking all the]] [[Series/RedDwarf calculators going to silicon heaven]]. (Most of the actual problems were just cosmetic, such as programs displaying the year after "1999" as [[http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/20.72.html "19100"]], or desktop internal clocks resetting to 1st January 1981 as a crash-preventing exception).

What had happened was, computer memory and disk space was extremely expensive. By comparison, today, a gigabyte of RAM (roughly 1.4 million kilobytes) for your computer is maybe 15 bucks and a two terabyte (about 20,000 times 100 megabytes) hard drive (about the size of two packs of playing cards) might be $100 or less. But go back to 1970 and one kilobyte of RAM is about a thousand dollars, a 100 megabyte hard drive (about the size of a dishwasher) might cost $12,000 and replacement disk packs (a foot high and the circumference of a dinner plate) are around $800 (For comparison, a brand-new VW Beetle was just under $2000). So they needed to find ways to use less internal RAM and less disk space in storing information on a computer. One way to save money was to store dates in a short form. So, typically all dates were stored internally as 6 digits (and punctuation was added at display time), so November 27, 1960 was coded as 112760. Now, a month later you can get by adding 1 to the first two digits. The new date is later than the original one. Now, however, say you have a date of November 15, 1992 (111592) and you add eight years to it, you get 111500, which, if the program wasn't prepared for it, would consider it not 11/15/2000, but ''11/15/1900''. Either the difference between the two is a negative amount, or instead of eight years difference being computed, 92 years are computed. The issue here might have been, if you bought something and charged it to your credit card on the last week of 1999, and your bill came in a month later, you get billed for 99 years of compound interest at 21%!

This was considered most serious in the case of process software. Say you're cooking chemicals in a plant that runs 24/7, where you have to heat a batch for exactly 37 hours at 1200 degrees, then move to the next process, when the calendar turns over, either the batch gets kicked out too soon, or it sits in too long, and potentially explosions could occur, or perhaps a batch of something that costs hundred of thousands of dollars to make (and would have been sold for several million) is ruined. Or a system checks the date, realizes it's been running for 99 years with no maintenance, and shuts itself down for safety. If it happens to be the equipment that runs the electricity for your grid, you've got no power in the middle of winter (or summer in the Southern Hemisphere: which is just as bad, if not worse, since at least you can heat your house without power; air conditioning pretty much needs electricity, and in many places, no AC means heatstroke). There were also other potential scenarios, all bad.

Of course, planes, satellites and calculators didn't do that, much to the joy of aviators, astronomers and calculus students. But the bug was an opportunity for writers to come up with doomsday stories and a few of them even wrote of actual insects ([[LamePunReaction groan-worthy though that may sound]]).

Some newspapers even had a weekly column in their tech section throughout 1999, detailing how things were going in the battle against the bug.

There is now a retrospective [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement debate]] as to whether [=Y2K=] was blown out of proportion by [[WindmillCrusader people looking for an excuse to panic]] (or an excuse to [[LuddWasRight damn the demon computer]]), or whether disaster was averted by thousands of man-hours of programmers (mostly COBOL, which isn't really used for ''safety-critical'' software) working tirelessly to avoid a technological apocalypse. Although some dangers such as "planes falling out of the sky" were pretty much fabricated, the effects on the economy of a plausible worst-case scenario would still have been immeasurable. In addition, the [=Y2K=] preparations also had the effect of causing a lot of companies to rethink their emergency plans, helping them get back on their feet faster after events like 9/11 and the 2003 Northeast US blackout. The fears over the bug did lead to many companies purchasing new hardware before they otherwise would have leading to a tech boom followed by a bursting tech bubble in the early 2000's.

Funnily enough, just when people started to relax when the 1999-2000 transition came to pass and nothing really major happened to computers across the globe, something actually did come along and wreak havoc on computers worldwide: the ILOVEYOU virus, or the "Love Bug" as it came to be misnomered. For the sequel to the Bug itself, watch for the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem Year 2038 problem]] (when the [-UsefulNotes/{{UNIX}}-] system time integer exhausts its [[UsefulNotes/BinaryBitsAndBytes 32 bits]]), coming soon to a computer near you. Fortunately, by that point, we will certainly be using 64-bit time; however, many embedded systems still use 32-bit time and will continue to do so for years -- maybe until 2038. Considering the previous panic, though, it is unlikely companies will let it come that far by then.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Advertising ]]

* Kia motors took advantage of the hype by turning the acronym into their "Say '''Y'''es '''to''' '''K'''ia" event, in one commercial stressing how much more sense it made to invest in a new car instead of an underground bunker to survive [=Y2K=]. They were right.
* A "This is Series/SportsCenter" [[http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3667840817343120461 promo]] on ESPN features a [=Y2K=] test. Mayhem ensues.
-->'''Charley Steiner:''' "Follow me! Follow me to FREEDOM!"
* Raid, marketed itself as "the offical killer of the Millennium Bug"

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* In YamiNoAegis, Koumoto Youji was originally hired to prevent damage from it.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* The children's comic ''ComicBook/TheDandy'' took the concept of the 'Millennium Bug' and anthropomorphised it as a strange insect. The comic had numerous characters interact with it - one story involved a robotic teacher being destroyed by a student handing in a photocopy of the bug as homework.
* ''{{Promethea}}'' has one of these, with the added bonus that the bug affects a very popular intelligent material called Elastagel, which is used in everything including clothing. It gives a whole new meaning to "fashion victim" when your own pants turn on you.
* Franchise/TheDCU had a massive in-universe effort to make all of their cyborg and robotic superheroes "[=Y2K=] Compliant"...unfortunately, they forgot [[Comicbook/DoomPatrol Robotman]], whose WWII-era robotic body went on a rampage just after New Year's.
* A crossover in the ''Comicbook/{{Superman}}'' books (collected in the "Endgame" trade) had Brainiac seizing on the [=Y2K=] bug to try to take over the world.
* An infamous storyline in ''ComicBook/IronMan'' has one of the eponymous hero's armors gaining sentience partly due to the [=Y2K=] bug, and going on a rampage of sorts.
* In the "Temporal Insanity" issue of ''ComicBook/{{PS238}}'' time traveling superhero Captain Chronos believed that if he went past December 31st 1999 his time machine would be destroyed because he downloaded a 1999 Encyclopedia into his brain and apparently it didn't explain the [=Y2K=] bug very well. He did note that Tyler (from 2005 or so) did not look particularly post-apocalyptic.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/OfficeSpace'' mentions the [=Y2K=] bug as one of the reasons that the company won't be looking close enough at their finances to notice the protagonists' plan taking place.
* There was a [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0215370/ made-for-TV movie]] about it. The first hint of trouble in this movie comes when an airliner crosses the international date line on December 31st, and promptly falls from the sky.
* There was also ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0776740/ [=Y2K=] Year to Kill]]'', an AfterTheEnd movie that goes back and forth between SoBadItsGood and utterly awful.
* An independent horror film called ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSKjyerM100 The Millennium Bug]]'' (Warning! ScreamerTrailer!) is set the night before [=Y2K=] and centers around a family seeking shelter in the mountains from the hypothetical Millennium Bug. Well good news is the computer one doesn't seem to be true. Bad news? Turns out a literal (and gigantic) Millennium Bug awakens from underground to go on a carnage filled rampage.
* ''{{Entrapment}}'' is set on New Years' Eve in 1999. A sizeable part of the heist involves computers, so yes, this is mentioned.
* In the final scene of the Film/JamesBond film ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'', the government looks in on Bond with an infrared scanner that reveals he's having sex. The newly appointed Q (Creator/JohnCleese) tactfully kills the feed and comments "It must be a premature form of the millenium bug."

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Jokes ]]

* God calls Bill Gates, Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton for an urgent message. He informs them the world will end next week and they are to relay a message to their people. Yeltsin goes back to Russia and says there is [[GoodNewsBadNews bad news and terrible news]] - the bad news is there really is a God, and the terrible news is the world will next next week. Clinton holds a press conference in Washington and says there is good news and bad news - the good news is there really is a God, and the bad news is the world will next next week. Bill Gates returns to Microsoft and holds an full employee conference, saying he has good news and great news. The good news is God knows what a wonderful, important person he is, and the great news is they don't have to worry about fixing the millennium bug!

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* The subject of the ''Series/DoctorWho'' Literature/PastDoctorAdventures novel ''Millennium Shock''. Of course, in this case, there are aliens involved.
* ArthurCClarke's ''The Ghost from the Grand Banks'', set TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, features a protagonist who made a fortune writing and selling anti-[=Y2K=] software to everyone. The book was published in ''1990'', years before any popular scrutiny of the phenomenon. (It's termed "century syndrome" as the name "[=Y2K=]" hadn't been coined yet.)
* There was a ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' tie-in novel where [[TheMagicGoesAway all magic in the universe was on the verge of disappearing]] because a giant clock in the Other Realm would stop working at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, 2000. After hearing about how computer programmers were getting around the [=Y2K=] bug by writing new code, Sabrina decided to build a new clock by [[GottaCatchEmAll gathering several artifacts]] from [[InThePastEveryoneWillBeFamous famous people throughout history.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* One flashback episode of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' ("11:59", which aired in 1999) has Janeway's ancestor quip that the bug didn't even turn off a light bulb.
* The ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'' episode "[=Y2K=]" has the characters reminiscing about their experience directly after the millennium, where they lived in the local supermarket believing themselves to be the only survivors of the millennium bug.
* Referenced in ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' during a flashback, as Jack talks about encountering one that had "18 legs stacked with poison!"
* One of the modern day episodes of ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' reveals that the bug was yet another plot by Ares to get Xena back on his side. With the world in ruins, a hero like her would be needed again, so she'd want to be as strong as possible.
* TheFamousJettJackson's ShowWithinAShow Silverstone had an episode revolving around the villains using this to their advantage.
* The ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' episode "Enemies: Domestic" featured a "flashback" to 1999[[note]]Of an event that would have taken place before the show actually debuted[[/note]] of Vance talking about getting the office computers ready for [=Y2K=].
* Referenced in ''[[Series/{{Alias}} Alias]]'' when Sydney and Vaughn go undercover as Russian spies preparing for a mission as [[DeepCoverAgent Deep Cover Agents]] in America. During a party, they make small-talk and reference the Y2K bug. [[YourCostumeNeedsWork They are subsequently scolded for being too stereotypical]].
* In the first episode of Fox's ''Opposite Sex'' there's an announcent at a school assembly that the school is now "Y2K Compliant." This would have been just a passing reference if the show had debuted in the fall of 1999 as planned; but since it was delayed until the summer of 2000 it becomes instantly HilariousInHindsight.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* The Capitol Steps song "Why Must I Be The Millennium Bug?"
* In late 1999, Music/HankWilliamsJr rewrote his SignatureSong "A Country Boy Can Survive" and got Chad Brock and Music/GeorgeJones to help him sing it. It was actually titled "A Country Boy Can Survive ([=Y2K=] Version)", and it naturally plummeted from the singles charts come January 2000.
* "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch" by The Clark Family Experience, which came out in 2000, contains the line "Big computers on the blink / [=Y2K=], what a stink / It'll bring the city to the brink, but not out hereÖ"

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspapers ]]

* Some newspapers milked this for all they could by having a weekly "Countdown to [=Y2K=]" column in the tech section.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* One ''Comicstrip/{{Dilbert}}'' strip from 1996 featured Dogbert offering to make the company's computers [=Y2K=] compliant. It was a scam: he outright told the PointyHairedBoss that the fix was only guaranteed for ''one'' year. [[TooDumbToFool The PHB still turned him down: "Why should I care? The year 00 is before I was born."]] (The cartoon version also dealt with the problem, see below)
** Bob the Dinosaur was introduced as a COBOL programmer brought out of retirement to fix the [=Y2K=] bug.
* ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'', written by a tech-savvy author, had a lot of fun with this. One strip in particular has Jason and Peter discussing it, and Peter remarks "[[TemptingFate What's the worst that could happen]] [[MediumAwareness in a comic strip?]]"; in the last panel, everything's shifted to 1900 (Peter drinking from a milk bottle rather than a can of soda, Jason reading an article about the Wright Brothers).
** ''ComicStrip/RoseIsRose'' had a similar sequence where Rose's mind briefly shifted everything to 1900.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* In Summer 1999, Wrestling/{{WWE}} started airing vignettes featuring a "Countdown to the Millennium." On the August 9th episode of ''[[Wrestling/{{WWERaw}} WWF Raw is War]]'', during [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson the Rock]]'s promo on Wrestling/TheBigShow, the Countdown appeared on the screen. When it ended, pyro went off and '''Wrestling/ChrisJericho''' debuted. In Jericho's [[http://www.cagematch.net/?id=93&nr=18 promo]], he called himself "The new millennium for the WWF," and ended by saying, "The new millennium has arrived in the WWF and now that the [=Y2J=] problem is here, this company, from the front office idiots to all the amateurs in the dressing room, including this one [pointing at The Rock], to everybody watching tonight will never [=E-E-EVER=] be the same again!" "[=Y2J=] problem" was simplified to "[=Y2J=]."


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' supplement ''[=Y2K=]'', which covers millennium disasters in general, not just the [=Y2K=] bug.
* ''PalladiumBooks'' produced yet ANOTHER post-apocalypse game in the late 90s, ''Systems Failure'', which dealt with both the software and literal versions of bugs appearing and wreaking havoc.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Apparently, the vaguely-insectoid ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' character Millenniummon (a time-traveling being with the power to destroy time) is supposed to be a personification of the bug. This is likely, as the game which introduced the character was released in December 1999.
** Diaboromon [[spoiler: who was created by Millleniumon]] also fits this as well.
* Referenced by ''VideoGame/MaxPayne'' in his unique manner:
--> '''Max:''' "After [=Y2K=], the end of the world had become a cliche."
* In ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty Metal Gear Solid 2]]'', the bug was used as an excuse for the Patriots to implant a secret code into major computing systems all over the world.
* The game ''Millenium Bugs''
* The [[ExcusePlot "plot"]] of ''Fighting Force'' actually plays with this: The MadScientist BigBad is pissed when the clock rolls over on New Year's and ''nothing happens,'' so he decides to make something happen by instigating anarchy in the streets via freeing violent convicts from jail.
* Discussed on the radio in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoLibertyCityStories'', set in 1998.
* ''MathBlaster Episode I: In Search of Spot'' actually has the [=Y2K=] bug in it. The printable certificate you receive at the end of your mission gives the date, which will be "1912" if you completed it in 2012. Considering the game was made in 1994, making the decade digit changeable was a total waste of effort.
* The plot of ''FadingHearts'' makes reference to the [=Y2K=] bug having actually wreaked chaos and destruction around the world, to the point that the main character is one of many ''[=Y2K=] orphans''. Despite that, it seems to have had no effect on society or technology, serving more as a HandWave for why the characters don't have any parents.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/KidRadd'', the BigBad is a virus that was set to go off at the start of 2000 (but decided not to do so, in favor of a [[OmnicidalManiac grander scheme]]). While not the same as this bug, the inspiration is clear.
* ''After [=Y2K=]''. Obviously. The world becomes a ''MadMax'' wasteland after the [=Y2K=] bug destroys civilization, ultimately leading to the reinvention of all technology based on vacuum tubes instead of integrated circuits. The final plot arcs of the series involved the Techno-Talking Babes using TimeTravel to transmit an "inoculation" against the bug to the internet of 1999, and author Arthur C Clarke taking the world hostage with his "Real Millennium Bug" -- an attack which shut down all mechanical devices -- in order to force the world to acknowledge that the Millennium didn't really start until 200'''1''' (Which millennium is the "real" one has nothing to do with the [=Y2K=] bug: Clarke was just being pedantic.)
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance''
** Torg and ZoŽ once tried taking a [[TimeTravel time machine]] into the future to see if [=Y2K=] would affect beer distribution. Unfortunately, the time machine itself was not [=Y2K=] compliant, so they ended up somewhere in the Middle Ages instead.
** When the year 2000 began, most of the main characters fell into comas. This turned out to be because [[spoiler:their nervous systems had been infected with otherwise harmless nanites that suffered from the Y2K bug]].
* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/607/ alluded to this]].
* In ''Webcomic/GeneralProtectionFault'', the entire team was forced to spend New Year's Eve at the office in case their servers had a problem due to [=Y2K=] The arc was more about the party the programmers were forced to skip to show up and the fact that they got snowed in for a couple days afterwards than the [=Y2K=] bug itself - everything started up perfectly.
* One of the early central plots of ''Webcomic/KevinAndKell'' was that [=Y2K=] was a cover set up by the birds to disguise their intentions to reprogram the computers to run the world in their place.
* ''Webcomic/RealLifeComics'' had a little fun with this. The gang was geared up for a gaming marathon on New Year's Eve to laugh at those overly worried, only for the last panel to go dark. In the next strip, it turned out the fuse just blew and they geared up to play, only for it to end with going dark again when midnight actually rolled around. NegativeContinuity brought it all back to normal the next day.
* Briefly references in ''Webcomic/{{Avalon}}'' when the usual New Year's Eve party goes out. Like the Real Life Comics example above, it turned out to be just an electrical error rather than the bug.
* In ''Webcomic/TheSuburbanJungle'' Dover arranged for Tiffany to get hired as a Y2K debugger. When she pointed out that she had no idea how to fix it he explained that the Y2K Bug is just a scam to ensure job security for programmers.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode ''Treehouse of Horror X'' has doomsday on New Year's Day, 2000, but the bug was actually caused by Homer's inability to ensure everything went smoothly. It was actually portrayed fairly realistically for a few seconds, with Springfield's clock being reset to 1900. This was followed by [[EverythingIsOnline almost everything with a computer chip]] (including traffic lights and a carton of milk) going wrong.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' has the Griffin family getting ready to celebrate New Year's Eve, but Peter groups them all into a shelter he built, believing the [=Y2K=] stories. It turns out to be true.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'' cartoon had an episode about the company trying to prepare for the bug.
** Of course, despite the doomsday preparations by some characters, the episode does portray [=Y2K=] fairly realistically. The only reason it's even an issue for Dilbert's company at all is because everything is dependent on the one computer that ''isn't'' [=Y2K=] compliant, an exceedingly old, COBOL-running mainframe that, in a move that even the Pointy-Haired Boss himself admits was stupid and short-sighted, didn't get replaced when it should have been. Fixing it was merely a matter of going in and making some minor alterations on certain lines of code.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Fry's father is shown to have a degree of paranoia regarding the "[=Y2K=]" (previously he'd been obsessed with DirtyCommunists).
** When the head of Creator/ConanOBrien starts telling a [=Y2K=] joke in the year 3000, Bender points out that it was fixed 900 years ago. [[DontExplainTheJoke Do the math yourself to figure out why it's funny.]]
* An old Creator/CartoonNetwork short had the cast of ''TheGodzillaPowerHour'' encountering a personification of the bug. Captain Majors tries to use his signal device to summon Gozilla, but it's been rendered inoperable by the bug.
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' dealt with this as well when usually-sensible Hank catches Dale's paranoia and begins working with Dale and a hardcore survivalist to prepare for the event, including buying a Grandfather Clock for Peggy for Christmas instead of an iMac, because the Grandfather Clock would still be able to tell time afterwards. The {{Aesop}} of the episode is Hank learning not to fear the future.
* On Creator/TheWB in 1999, between episodes of ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' [[PunnyName Kakko]], Wakko, and Dot fixed the [=Y2K=] bug for the whole Network, ensuring that you could continue to watch them every [[{{Pun}} Mondak, Tuesdak, Wednesdak, Thursdak, Fridak, and Saturdak]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Despite the rampant fears, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem#Documented_errors there were very few incidents of computer failure]], most of which were found in library and movie rental databases, humorously leaving a few people with overdue fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. Not for lack of much blood, sweat and tears on the part of coders and sysadmins the world over as software patches were rolled out throughout the final quarter of 1999. At least the overtime must have come in handy for the Christmas shopping- [[FridgeLogic Hey, wait a minute...]] [[ConspiracyTheory Son of a bitch!]]
* One of the worst problems that actually happened occurred in one state's vehicle registration system. For technical reasons, registration documents for some new trucks had to be produced several months before the actual trucks were. The [=Y2K=] upgrades were not yet complete, and the system really thought the trucks were made in 1900 and produced documents with an unusual vehicle type designation used only for vehicles made before 1914. The fact that this was one of the worst things to actually happen shows how good the upgrades were.
* Despite the doomsayers, banks were never in any real danger. The only reason a bank wouldn't have fixed the issue in 1975 when programs to generate 25-year documents started producing garbage was because they had already fixed it when programs that generated 30-year documents started doing it in 1970.
* While there were no problems, many systems that listed a date but didn't actually do any ''calculations'' with it just kept right on chugging. For instance some building emergency fire systems kept on going with "1900, 1901, 1902" and so on for years after 2000, because what ''year'' it is doesn't really figure into setting off the fire alarm when there is smoke or fire, or an alarm pull being detected.
* As it would later be with the MayanDoomsday in 2012, survival outfitters did booming business in the months leading up to it. There was a last minute run on essentials at grocery stores (people tend to freak out before snowstorms, too), but this was expected so most stores had planned for it.
* When midnight rolled around on December 31, 1999, the first technologically advanced nation it would hit (thanks to the location of the International Date Line) was NewZealand. There was a brief panic starting shortly after midnight, New Zealand time, as people all over the world tried to ping New Zealand to make sure it was still online - causing an overload that brought down New Zealand's internet briefly. It was back up by about ten past midnight, much to everyone's relief.

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