Looking back to 1999

We look forward not back 

Does your accountant seem obsessed with last year? If you want to legally pay less in taxes, you need a professional who looks forward. Relax Tax helps our clients focus on planning for a better future, and not the past. If we want to look back at anything, we thought it might be fun let our blog look back at what we learned in the last 50 plus years. You can get a FREE COPY of the entire guide at back.relaxtax.com. Now lets take a look at 1999.

 

1999 Big News Story

The Y2K Computer bug

1999 was the end of a millennium, but rather than excitement, it brought panic to a number of companies and computer specialists. The concern was the “Y2K bug,” which threatened to throw the world’s computer systems into chaos. Since most computer programs only used two digits to represent the year, as a method to save space in computer memories, the fear was that when the year 2000 hit, computer systems might think it’s actually 1900. Thankfully, year of feverish preparation was enough to avoid any major problems.

Per National Geographic

The Y2K bug was a computer flaw, or bug, that may have caused problems when dealing with dates beyond December 31, 1999. The flaw, faced by computer programmers and users all over the world on January 1, 2000, is also known as the "millennium bug." (The letter K, which stands for kilo (a unit of 1000), is commonly used to represent the number 1,000. So, Y2K stands for Year 2000.) Many skeptics believe it was barely a problem at all.

When complicated computer programs were being written during the 1960s through the 1980s, computer engineers used a two-digit code for the year. The "19" was left out. Instead of a date reading 1970, it read 70. Engineers shortened the date because data storage in computers was costly and took up a lot of space.

As the year 2000 approached, computer programmers realized that computers might not interpret 00 as 2000, but as 1900. Activities that were programmed on a daily or yearly basis would be damaged or flawed. As December 31, 1999, turned into January 1, 2000, computers might interpret December 31, 1999, turning into January 1, 1900.

Banks, which calculate interest rates on a daily basis, faced real problems. Interest rates are the amount of money a lender, such as a bank, charges a customer, such as an individual or business, for a loan. Instead of the rate of interest for one day, the computer would calculate a rate of interest for minus almost 100 years!

Centers of technology, such as power plants, were also threatened by the Y2K bug. Power plants depend on routine computer maintenance for safety checks, such as water pressure or radiation levels. Not having the correct date would throw off these calculations and possibly put nearby residents at risk.

Transportation also depends on the correct time and date. Airlines in particular were put at risk, as computers with records of all scheduled flights would be threatenedafter all, there were very few airline flights in 1900.

1999 by the Numbers

Economic Data from 1999

Grocery Prices from 1999

Personally, as the y2k bug was being reeled in, my internal software bug was only spreading. After being able to sell my my stock, I heard about some exciting things that Romac International, a much larger staffing firm then Acsys were planning on doing in Tampa. Tampa just happened to be where my roommate from college was from and I always loved it there. Thus, I took up the challenge, moved to Tampa to be part of a 4 person team at the time in a "secret functionality" team of a new .com arm of their company Kforce.com.  

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