Y2K Survival Guide, The: Getting To, Getting Through, and Getting Past the Year 2000 Problem

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9780130214966: Y2K Survival Guide, The: Getting To, Getting Through, and Getting Past the Year 2000 Problem

Bruce F. Webster--co-chair of the Washington, D.C. Year 2000 Group, and one of the U.S.'s leading Y2K experts--helps readers evaluate the risks in every part of their lives. He identifies specific steps readers can take right now to survive the millennium, no matter what--and tells what to expect after January 1, 2000.

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From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE

Introduction: The Winter of Our Disconnect There is a common logical fallacy, called the fallacy of false dilemmas. In its most common form, someone presents a false choice between two alternatives without acknowledging or allowing that there might be any number of other alternatives outside of the two given. For example, someone might claim that you face two choices, get a college education or flip burgers for the rest of your life ignoring a wide variety of other paths through life. A second, even more common one is the strawman fallacy, so-called because it consists of presenting a weak or implausible ("strawman") version of an argument and then demolishing it.

Unfortunately, these two have been combined in much of what has passed for reporting and pronouncements on the Year 2000 (or Y2K) technology issue. Typically, an article or report presents two alternatives: the end of the world as we know it, with planes (and missiles!) falling out of the sky, cars and elevators coming to a halt, and your VCR and refrigerator going on the blink, or not a big deal at all, a non-event with most things fixed. The first alternative (the strawman) is debunked or, at least, ridiculed usually with an armed survivalist or two thrown in for "color" and so the implicit and sometimes explicit conclusion is that the other alternative, no big deal is what will happen, and so there is nothing to worry about.
Wrong.

The plausible consequences of the Y2K problem encompass far more than these two alternatives. Indeed, as you'll see later in this book, I would argue that the likely consequences include neither; it will not be the collapse of civilization, but neither will it be a stroll in the park. Service and supply disruptions, if they happen, will tend to be short-lived, but the economic consequences will last longer.

Beyond that, though, is this simple fact: the exact consequences are difficult to predict. We lack sufficient accurate and reliable information about how various organizations/corporations, government agencies, utility companies, and others, are doing in tracking down and fixing their Y2 problems. We have even less information about how Y2K is being dealt with outside of the United States. All this is happening within the context of a global economic meltdown and any number of regional political crises. And the very nature of complex systems means that we can't predict or anticipate how they will respond to all these factors.

But guess what? Life is like that. It is full of uncertainties and unexpected developments. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters come upon us no matter how much we would prefer otherwise. Likewise, we can face job setbacks and unemployment regardless of the overall strength of the economy. Problems in our personal lives, health, relationships, finances, can hit us at any time. However much we may want things to continue as they are, they can change in an instant, irrevocably.

The Year 2000 problem is more predicable than most life events, if not in consequences, then in timing. As such, we have the chance to track its development, to make appropriate preparation, and to deal with whatever may come. In so doing, we can prepare for other surprises that life may hold and in general reduce worries or a sense of helplessness.

This book is about getting to, getting through, and getting past the Year 2000.

It has three major goals:
Give you a reliable and balanced looked at the origin, history, and status of the Y2K problem;
Lay out a method for helping you and your family to plan and prepare for not only Y2K but just about any type of setback in a manner adjusted to your goals, needs, and circumstances;
Outline a broad range of possible Y2K scenarios to give you a better understanding of what is and isn't likely to happen.
We tend to fear what we don't understand and aren't prepared to handle. The overall goal of this book is to replace that fear with confidence. That will not only help you in your own life, but it will help reduce the potential for Y2K consequences driven by fear and panic. The more prepared and calm we are about Y2K, the less impact it will have.
Above all, we need to maintain some perspective. In February of 1998, I was a guest speaker at the Middle East Year 2000 Conference in Beirut, Lebanon. One of my presentations outlined the nature and extent of the Y2K problem and detailed some of the potential consequences. Afterward, a high official of the Bank of Lebanon came up to me and said in so many words, 'What's the big deal? We've been living with far worse than that for the last 25 years.' So much of what has been detailed as "awful" Y2K consequences is a way of life for the rest of the world, and life for them goes on each day.
Regardless of what happens, life will go on for us as well. And even if it gets a bit tougher than we expected or hoped for, so what? Many of our parents and grandparents went through the Great Depression and World War II; it is highly unlikely that what we face rivals either, much less both. But whatever we face, I believe we can do it with the same dignity, courage, honor, and perseverance that set the standard by which we shall be judged. We have a work to do; let's get it done and move on to the next millennium.

Bruce F. Webster Irving, Texas October, 1998

From the Back Cover:

Y2K: the potential catastrophe that's just months away.

Now is the time for you to understand the latest developments in the Year 2000 computer crisis-and what you must do to protect yourself and your family. Bruce F. Webster-co-chair of the Washington DC Year 2000 Group, and one of the United States leading key Y2K experts-helps you evaluate the risks in every part of your life. More important, he identifies specific steps you can take right now to survive the millennium-no matter what.


* Why the Y2K problem is proving tougher to solve than anyone expected.
* How to "Y2K-proof" your home-and what to do when you can't.
* How to assess your employer's Y2K readiness-and what to do about it.
* A systematic plan for documenting and protecting your assets.
* What will happen after January 1, 2000.
* Learn which industries are in the deepest trouble, and which Y2K problems you shouldn't waste your time worrying about. Discover how to avoid many potential Y2K problems-and make realistic contingency plans for the rest. When it comes to the Year 2000, you have two choices. You can take your chances. Or you can get The Y2K Survival Guide and take control.

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