Y2K Clock Is Ticking: Queens Courier to Hold Town Meeting – QNS.com

Y2K Clock Is Ticking: Queens Courier to Hold Town Meeting

Tales of airplanes falling from the sky. Cars that won’t start, elevators stalled in their shafts, ATM machines that won’t dispense cash, Social Security and Medicare benefits lost, bank accounts wiped out. Dialysis and heart monitoring equipment that stops working. And all of this happening at the start of midnight, Jan. 1, 2000, as the new millennium begins.
What sounds like a Hollywood disaster scenario is fast becoming a cause for real fear as more and more people learn about the Y2K computer problem (the "Y" for year, the 2K for 2000). These doomsday predictions all stem from the fact that some of the nation’s 25 billion microchips are likely to fail when the two digit "99" written into their data codes turns to "00." The date may be unrecognizable. Since most computers base their data on functions on the date, when the digits "00" turn up on New Year’s 2000 the computers will think the year is actually "1900" and all kinds of nightmarish visions are being envisioned.
This week the U.S. Senate’s leading experts on the Y2K problem issued a report that, while discounting most of those doomsday scenarios, does recommend that people prepare as they might before a snowstorm or a hurricane. It wouldn’t hurt to put in a supply of food and water, batteries and radios, for instance. Meanwhile, Air Force General John Gordon, deputy director of the CIA, testified before the Senate last week that the problem could cause breakdowns in nuclear reactors and strategic missile systems, mid-winter power outages and disruptions in world trade and oil shipments, particularly in the Soviet Union and other nations.
"With all of these dire predictions it is difficult to separate the fact from the fear," said Queens Courier publisher Victoria Schneps. "Ever since we published a special report on how the Y2K problem would affect Queens residents we have received a great deal of interest from our readers interested in sorting out what is real and what is surreal. So we decided to do something about it," Schneps said.
The Queens Courier will hold a special "Y2K Queens Town Hall Meeting" to educate small businesses and residents on what the real problem may be and what disaster scenarios are bogus. The meeting–the first of its kind to be held in any of the boroughs–will be held on Thursday evening, March 18 at 7 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia Hotel and there will be no admission charge. The meeting will include a detailed presentation by an expert in the Y2K problem, Kerry Gerontianos, president of Incremax Technologies, a New York software services firm. "Small businesses cannot afford to regard the Y2K problem as affecting large maintenance computers. Small business computer systems can be rendered equally unable to perform critical business functions," Gerontianos said. Representatives of the Small Business Administration will also be present ad there will be a question and answer period after the presentation.
Schneps urged small business owners and anyone concerned about the Y2K problem to attend.  The meeting is co-sponsored with the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia, which is located at 104-04 Ditmars Blvd. in East Elmhurst. Watch The Queens Courier for more details on the "Y2K Queens town Meeting" in next week’s edition.

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