Y2 Party Pooper?

Where are you going to be when the Millennium changes?

If you’re like my wife, or hundreds of thousands of other programmers involved in electronic commerce, you’re going to be sitting at your desk, at work, with your fingers crossed.

Whether or not Y2K is the end of the world, it’s certainly a party pooper. It’s going to poop parties in December, and it’s already pooping some parties in September.

If we weren’t about to spin years like an old car’s odometer, this would be a great time to be a network equipment guy. But the exhibitors I talked to at this week’s Network + Interop show in Atlanta all seemed disappointed by their booth traffic. One analyst suggested that people he talks to don’t care about the new stuff, because they’re too busy trying to deal with the old stuff.

To their credit, most of the vendors seem to have picked up on this clue years ago. So perhaps it was no coincidence that most booths focused on security solutions. (If you can’t thrill ’em, scare ’em.)

Still, there seemed little interest in the proceedings, except at the Brainbuzz.com booth, where a large-breasted and attractively dressed woman was leading a daily giveaway of $500. Nearby dolls and hats and little balls went begging, and even the free cappuccino at a half-dozen stands couldn’t get the joint jump-started.

At Intel’s press conference-cocktail reception that evening Mark Christensen, a vice president and general manager at the company’s Network Communications Group, accidentally revealed the reason why the security stuff wasn’t getting a big rise out of folks. A slide showed that while a healthy minority of managers say their networks have been compromised by outsiders, or fear they might be, nearly all say they’ve had trouble from insiders.

While representatives from EnTrust, Compaq and Microsoft followed Christensen to describe how treating insiders like outsiders when they’re outside their departments might help, I suggested that doesn’t stop insiders from abusing what they’re inside because they’re inside, right? (I wanted to ask IBM representatives about this, but Christensen said they were all stuck in Raleigh with Hurricane Floyd.)

So it went throughout the day. The N+I party list was large and prestigious (acts included KC and the Sunshine Band and Penn & Teller). But out in the marketplace, it seemed everyone was putting up virtual plywood, canceling vacations, and battening down the hatches.

The question is, was what I saw real, was I just having a bad day, or was Floyd to blame?

Here’s where the interactivity of this medium comes into play. Drop us a line and let us know the answer to this question:

What are you going to be doing on the big night?

  • I have a date with my desk New Year’s Eve.
  • I’m going to party like it’s 1999.
  • It’s just going to be another Friday to me.

Oh, and to get the ball rolling, what am I going to be doing when Y2K hits? Someone has to mind the kids.

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