While everyone covers only the last decade, I decided to look further back in time. This is a flashback to the year 2000.
Everything would be different in 2000. I remember I read tons of pseudo-scientific books. In the year 2000, cities would consist of immense buildings. Cars could or would fly. Holidays to the moon? For sure? That all didn’t happen in 2000 and it looks like it will take quite some time before it does.
I read those books that were written in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. I listened to music that ‘told’ me things would change. In 2020, twenty years later, I own a car with four wheels. It doesn’t fly. Asphalt and sometimes bricks. That’s what the roads consist of. There isn’t really a difference.
We would definitely be going to celebrate as it was our last day on this planet. Back in 1999. December 31st to be precise. Even Prince wrote a song about this in 1982. He promised he would perform 1999 for the last time during the Rave UN2 the Year 2000.
There was always this chance that it would all end at 23.59 on December 31st. Or January 1st. A big bang. Some light. I wasn’t referring to the Millennium Bug. No, these prophets of doom. It would all end. They warned everyone just as people did around the turn of any other century in history. The Apocalypse was near!
There wasn’t a big bang. There was no bright light. Nothing.
We phoned each other to send each other the best wishes for 2000. We used old fashioned landlines mostly. Those who could use a mobile phone had trouble reaching others. This hasn’t changed in twenty years. Even this New Years night I had troubles reaching my relatives using a mobile phone.
When you did use a mobile phone, there was a possibility you used one made by Nokia. The 3210 was an option. The 3310 was still something this Finish company had to present. This phone reached the market in mid-2000. You could use these mobile phones to actually call someone or send a text message (SMS).
But would this all be possible after twelve o’clock?
I live in a country that is described as the land of economical people. Cheap, but not in the way you could also use this word. But we weren’t the ones who decided to use computers systems that had serious limitations. Back in the days, these computer systems were introduced memory usage was very expensive. Therefore it was decided that the dates should be shortened. Instead of 1977, the year was shortened to ’77 or just 77. The turn of the century was still far away. What could go wrong?
It was in 1995 that IT-specialists started noticing things that didn’t go well. Debit cards issued in this year turned out to be worthless. That’s because the Payment machines couldn’t handle the expiry date (2000). These systems interpreted these date as 1900 (00).
That wasn’t the only problem. People of 100 years and older would receive letters explaining that it was time to register at a kindergarten. If someone was 104 in The Netherlands, this was interpreted as just 4. Meaning: it was time to go to school.
According to some, this was just the tip of the (virtual) iceberg. Powerplants could shut down, even the nuclear powerplants. Rocket launchers would not function correctly or they would function as if there was a threat.
The key to all of this: use computer systems that were able to cope with the new year. If all goes well, we should encounter the same problems in the year 10.000. By then things would have changed anyway. Flying cars, holidays to the moon… etcetera, etcetera…
People were frightened by all of this. That’s why many young people were invited to apply for an IT job. The good news: You didn’t even have to complete a study. Or a real study. The sky was the limit. As long as you did your best to warn clients and potential clients about the bleak future.
It was January 1st when I spoke with a baker. It turned out he still used a computer that was not able to cope with the date of January 1st 2000. Instead of panicking, he told me that he would wait for the next day and just buy a new computer.
The Millennium Bug turned out to be a Millennium Bubble. So many were fired. There was good news. With just some study, you could become a programmer. Every company needed a website. These websites could be found with search engines. Google was just a small player. Names such as Altavista, Yahoo! and AOL that were the dominant companies. Who would have believed that Google would turn into one of the tech giants?
Who remembers Netscape? Who remembers Windows ME?
Speaking of giants. Facebook didn’t even exist at that time. Not even The Facebook (a Harvard based social network). We used ICQ or MSN to communicate. MSN was a product of Microsoft. The same company that once declared that there was no real future for internet (at that time, we still called this the internet).
We used a modem (with a landline), ISDN or ADSL. The speeds were nothing compared to nowadays.
But there was more than just IT, right?
Right! So right! George W. Bush was elected. It showed that intellect wasn’t really an issue when it came to being elected. Years later, insanity would also not be a problem…
In 2000 you had to use a camera with a film roll to take photos. There were digital cameras, but they were just as expensive as incompetent. When you wanted to share something important, there was no option than to stop by your relatives and friends. Imagine this: stopping by every relative or friend just to show what you ate today!
Well, before this all turns into a blog about news facts of 2000… Check out this page (Wikipedia), it will tell you more about the year 2000. This website wasn’t available in 2000. It was launched in 2001. It would turn out to become one of the most important resources for… for what exactly…
This does take me back to IT…
When you wanted to write something down. In a blog, you didn’t use your own domain. You used Blogger. I must point out, that this website was founded in 1999. It still exists, but it’s not as popular as it used to be.
What happened in twenty years?
Well, a lot! When it comes to our online activities, so much happened. Not all good, not all bad. Some major companies who thought they ruled the world had to realize that their business model wasn’t just that. They were passed by others. Just like any form of technology.
There is so much to write about, the period we now know as two decades ago. Therefore I promise I will write more about all of this. Starting with a blog about photography. Since this is my passion. I can’t tell you when this blog will be finished. Somewhere in 2020. That gives me quite some time, right?