YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE CUTTING EDGE : Personal Technology

Y2K Web Sites: Doom, Gloom and a Free Screen Saver


The amount of information on the Internet about the year 2000 computer problem is reaching stratospheric levels, and growing every day. Wading through the wash of information is like facing an AltaVista hit list on the keywords "sex" and "Internet."

You want Armageddon? No problem. Journey to Y2KChaos (, a Web site dedicated to helping people survive if there is a global meltdown because of the year 2000 problem.

Want a more restrained look at the turn of the millennium? Check out the site put together by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, called Rumor Central (, where you can scan some of the strangest rumors on the millennium bug, such as the one about the New York Mafia setting up its own year 2000 consulting firm to infiltrate corporate computer systems.

But for all the confusion about the issue, the sites provide a wealth of information compared with the situation a year or two ago, when there was almost no information available on the problem.

The trick is to sort through the garbage to find the most worthwhile sites that can illuminate some corner of this gangling global problem.

During the last year, a number of news sites have begun culling year 2000 stories each day and putting them into one page, where the headlines can be quickly scanned. This is one of the fastest ways to keep up with the flow of millennium news.

CNet's (,3,87,00.html), ZDNet's ZDY2K (, Sanger's Review of Y2K News Reports ( and the Y2K News Magazine ( provide a steady flow of news stories from a variety of sources.

The most complete listing that I've found is consultant Peter de Jager's Y2K Press Clippings ( It is just an unadorned list of daily headlines linked to the full stories, but it makes it easy to check a week's worth of news in one shot.

For more technical news, one of the best sources is the Year 2000 Journal (, which focuses on business computer systems.

With the Web, you can go directly to sites with information on specific products, companies and government agencies.

The value of these sites varies considerably. Microsoft's site, for example, is jampacked with information, but just try finding it. You would think that an issue as serious as the year 2000 would be on the company's home page. Nope. Try

The federal government's main year 2000 site ( has hundreds of listings, but some of the information on them is so general that you would be hard pressed to figure out why they bothered.

The Federal Aviation Administration (, for example, has one screen dedicated to the question "Will it be safe to travel on and after Jan. 1, 2000?" The agency's response is so bureaucratic that you don't feel entirely reassured. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but a simple yes or no and here's why would have worked for me.

The haziness of information on the year 2000 is one of the reasons such a healthy crop of pundits has sprouted on the issue. Most of them are alarmists to some degree, so you have to exercise some personal judgment, but they all try to make some sense out of the flood of stray information on the bug.

Edward Yardeni (, chief economist of Deutsche Bank Securities in New York, Peter de Jager ( and Ed Yourdon ( are some of the most prominent speakers on the issue.

One of the must-read pieces is De Jager's 1993 article in ComputerWorld, "Doomsday 2000," which was one of the earliest pieces written on the millennium bug.

Lest you think the bug is all doom and gloom, click over to Y2K Stuff (, where you can buy a Y2K coffee mug, a Y2K mouse pad and a Y2K stress ball.

To download free goodies, you can go to Mycroft Systems ( or MicroFocus ( for a year 2000 countdown clock screen saver so you can watch your slow march to the new millennium.


Times staff writer Ashley Dunn can be reached via e-mail at

Los Angeles Times Articles