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in this issue...
IT Revamps Divisional Web Site

Making the Web Accessible to All

"Distributed Learning": LEADing the Campus into the Future

LEAD Faculty Survey Results

Campus Wrapping Up Y2K Preparedness

Tiger Team Wants You!

Preparing for Y2K at Home

Degree Navigator: Registrar and IT Create Powerful New Tool for Students

Measuring the Effectiveness of IT's Communications

Windows 2000: A Review

Evaluating the Deployment of New Technology

Tapping Internet 2's Potential

Main Computer Networks Accessible to UC Davis Users

Bits and Bytes: Short News Items

Modem Pool Users Getting Busy Signals

Volume 7, Number 6
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Preparing for Y2K at Home

by Jeff van de Pol

Contrary to the surge of survivalist literature and media hype that forecasts the downfall of civilization, most Californians will wake up on Saturday, January 1, 2000, and likely will notice only minor glitches. Does this mean that you should do nothing to prepare? Well, no. There are a few relatively simple but important tasks you should complete to greatly limit the effect of the Y2K problem on your life.

First, let's take a look at the basic utilities. According to a recent Senate Special Committee Report on the Year 2000 Problem (, nearly everyone in or near American metropolitan areas should have continuous electric, gas, water, and wastewater service. However, it is recommended that you read the Y2K readiness disclosure statements you get in the mail from the companies with which you do business.

The phone companies are largely Y2K-compliant, and the main anticipated problem might be a glut of phone calls (similar to holiday usage) by people checking to see if their phone works. The financial industry is also well prepared for the upcoming potential ballyhoo, and the federal reserve has strengthened cash reserves enough to handle any rush on the banks. While the bank should still be the safest place for your money come January 1, keeping a small cash reserve on hand (enough for 3-5 days) is still recommended.

Y2K cartoon

Home appliances and electronics, especially those manufactured after 1988, are expected to work. To check the age and Y2K status of your appliances, contact the manufacturers or visit This site provides a consumer-focused independent database of Y2K compliance information, including a nifty search and browse feature.

Home computers are a slightly different story. Most computer hardware purchased after 1993 should be fine, but several applications may need to be checked for date-sensitive glitches. See the UC Davis Y2K site ( for information on how to perform diagnostic tests on your computer.

While the United States is largely prepared for Year 2000 computer problems, serious concerns remain, particularly in health care, small business, and local government. The truth is no one knows exactly what will happen, and invariably there will be a few glitches the first several days of January. The Senate Committee recommends that you "be in a position to handle inconvenient interruptions in basic services." If concerned, check out This page links to U.S. Government telephone hotlines for consumer and small business information.

When shopping for supplies, listen to the experts. What nearly everyone involved with the Y2K issue agrees upon is that people should treat this unique event like any other possible emergency (a severe winter storm seems to be the most common example). With this in mind, make sure you have flashlights, batteries, warm blankets, and enough nonperishable food for several days . For those of you who take medication, check with your physician if you are concerned about a Y2K-related disruption in supply.

A last bit of advice: start now. Right now. The New Year is fast approaching, and holiday shopping and planning will suck up most of December. The Web offers useful Y2K information, but it will become increasingly difficult to access as more and more people start their own preparations.

In a nutshell, don't believe the hype, but listen to and heed the warnings. Above all, be informed and be early. Happy New Year!