The recent onslaught of millennium madness has made Y2K a household term. Once just the concern of computer aficionados and a select few with technological foresight, Y2K is now a universal problem. In fact, Y2K has become such a prevalent reference in popular culture that it has many people cringing at its mere mention. Yet, whether or not you have had your fill of Y2K hype, it is undeniable that the repercussions surrounding this very real issue are nothing to take lightly.
Of particular interest in this issue is the way Y2K can affect the city’s approximately 6,000 condos and co-ops. Not only can the Y2K problem inconvenience residents in a building, but it can also disrupt both normal and vital building functions. In order to avoid having your building fall victim to a Y2K catastrophe, experts in all facets of building operations agree that proactive steps must be taken. And, as the last months of the millennium rapidly wind down, the sooner you take action, the better.
The Y2K Bug
The origin of the Y2K bug dates back over 40 years to the 1950s when computer programmers, concerned with taking up valuable memory space, decided to cut the date in half and use only the last two digits, instead of all four digits of a date. While this system worked for years without a flaw, technological experts now fear that microchips and computer programs will have difficulty recognizing the date after January 1 and, as a result, we can all be left in the dark, quite literally.
"This issue became a public concern beginning around 1996," says David Khazzam, senior director of Aptek Management Company, a subsidiary of Property Resource Corporation in Manhattan. "As Y2K got closer in time, it became more apparent that it would be a problem and eventually people had to start insuring that they are, in fact, Y2K compliant." With the availability of software to make computers Y2K compatible, many personal computer owners have already taken measures to ensure that they are Y2K ready. However, for board members and management companies there are more than just a few crashing laptops and personal computers at stake. Because we live in such a technologically advanced era, almost all of a building’s mechanical systems rely in some way on computers. It is up to board members and management companies to take stock of all these functions that rely on computers and take proper precautions to make them as Y2K compliant as possible.