Welcome to Business Futurist Marlene B. Brown's
Y2K & E-commerce Update Page:

Much has been --and will continue to be -- written about
the Year 2000 (Y2K) Problem, and E-biz (Electronic
Commerce). It is my hope that the information to be
found on this page, along with our continual updates,
will be of use to you as we all prepare for an exciting
and slightly unpredictable new millennium.
- Marlene B. Brown, MS, CSP, CMC

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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Marketing Consultant, Sales Software Author, Marlene Brown

Ode to Y2K Situation

Author: Unknown (Sung to the tune of "Gilligan's Island")

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
Of the doom that is our fate.
That started when programmers used 2 digits for a date.
Two digits for a date.
Main memory was smaller then;
Hard disks were smaller, too.
"Four digits are extravagant,
So let's get by with two.
So let's get by with two."

"This works through 1999,"
The programmers did say.
"Unless we rewrite before that It all will go away.
It all will go away."
But Management had not a clue:
"It works fine now, you bet!
A rewrite is a straight expense;
We won't do it just yet.
We won't do it just yet."

Now when 2000 rolls around
It all goes straight to hell,
For zero is less than ninety-nine,
As anyone can tell.
As anyone can tell.

The mail won't bring your pension check
It won't be sent to you
When you're no longer sixty-eight,
But minus thirty-two.
But minus thirty-two.

The problems we're about to face
Are frightening, it's for sure.
And reading every line of code
is The only certain cure.
The only certain cure.

[key change, big finish]
There's not much time,
There's too much code.
And Cobol-coders, few.
When the century is finished with,
We may be finished, too.
We may be finished, too.
Eight thousand years from now I hope
That things weren't left too late,
And people aren't lamenting then
Four digits for a date.
Four digits for a date.


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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Marketing Consultant, Sales Software Author, Marlene Brown

 

 

Y2K - a Millennium bug to Ignore or to Squash?

The computer problem known as "The Millennium Bug" is upon us. What is it and what can you do about it? Should you be concerned or is it all chicken little jitters? There are some possible areas of concern, but first let's define it.

The "Millennium Bug" is any computer's inability to deal with the last 2 digits of the year being zero. To save time and valuable space (memory used to be very expensive), computer programmers used a two digit reference for the year (99) rather than four (1999). programmers got into the frugal habit of using only two digits to write a date, so that 1998 was represented as 98. While at the time it seemed like a smart and resourceful solution, it is now haunting the computer industry, and the world.

The cause of the problem is simple, but the solution isn't. Some computer systems are not likely to work accurately when the century turns over a year from now. As 99 is a higher number than 00, millions of computers simply cannot place the year 2000. Instead, they may read the first year of the new millennium as the first year of this century, or as a date that does not exist.

Even if they pass that test, they may fail to notice that 2000, unlike most centennial years, is a leap year. All sorts of functions that depend on dates will therefore go wrong, but in ways that are hard to forecast. The fear is that old data systems carrying the millennium bug could trigger disasters around the world in everything from defense, transportation and telecommunications to energy and financial services.

Other areas beyond computers are somewhat out of our personal control because they affect computer systems that affect our lives, but which we have no control over. Traffic lights, calculators, thermostats, cash registers, banking systems, elevator controls, mortgage payments, and medical equipment could malfunction. Computers are connected to each other for data and calculations. If a few of them start acting strange, and the power goes out, as predicted, the whole system, worldwide, could have a problem.

We'll be fine, if we plan properly but we can't stick our heads in the sand. We need to be aware of what is going on and be ready with several contingencies. I'm not an alarmist, in fact, I'm an optimist. But I am a realist, and I'm taking what precautions I can, in case the Y2K bug results in the same kind of chaos natural disasters cause. The Y2K problem will be with us for the rest of this decade and probably for a few months into the next decade, century and millennium.

Since the start of modern times, the end of a century has been a time of economic unease, spooky enough to many without the fear of computer failure. While glitches will undoubtedly cause some loss of productivity, the millennium bug is unlikely to cause a global recession, but it will aggravate a downturn. Its direct effects will be unpleasant in many ways. Around the world, it will disrupt power supplies, telephone services, transport and hospitals, drive some companies into bankruptcy, and kill some people.

For more information on other Y2K impacts, problems, solutions,
and 7 Specific Steps you can and should take,
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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Technology speaker, Internet speaker, Sales speaker, Marketing, Marmel Consulting, Software program, Author, Marlene Brown

 

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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Marketing Consultant, Sales Software Author, Marlene Brown

 

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Year 2000 Problems

Here are some realities of the Year 2000 Problem that every small business and every professional needs to be aware of:

1. Y2K computer problems are real and serious. We can't ignore it. January 1, 2000 will not be "pushed back" as a deadline, as Windows software was. It is coming and we can't stop it. It will impact every life.

2. Y2K will effect our way of life. Computers control all water purification plants in the US, all power plants, and a great deal of our transportation and communication systems. If these systems don't work, we all suffer.

3. Y2K will effect our business. We can't run and hide in a world that is so interconnected. Litigation is already gearing up. Class action lawsuits are being formed to address the problem by some of the most litigious legal minds in the US.

4. Y2K is not the end of the world. Although there will be temporary glitches and some serious complications, there's no need to panic.

5. Y2K will not be fixed in time. Even with 1000's of experts working on it, and billions of dollars being spent to fix it, there are too many lines of code, too many older programs, and too many hidden systems.

6. Y2K problems will spread through networked or connected computers. As computers and databases have become linked, a problem in one computer may spread to other computers worldwide, causing some integrated systems to work inaccurately or shut down.

7. Y2K will disrupt your finances, whether that's your checking account, your credit cards, stock broker, etc. Some date-sensitive transactions will get messy.

8. Y2K will disrupt government services, as the huge mainframe systems used to collect taxes, distribute welfare and pension moneys, and health-care benefits, are not fully prepared.

9. Y2K will disrupt transportation and communication systems, as planes, trains and buses all travel according to time and date sensitive schedules and reservations.

10. Y2K will cause you some inconvenience. The best thing to do is to be prepared, get educated, and take some necessary precautions.

For more information on other Y2K impacts, problems, solutions,
and 7 Specific Steps you can and should take,
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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Technology speaker, Internet speaker, Sales speaker, Marketing, Marmel Consulting, Software program, Author, Marlene Brown

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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Marketing Consultant, Sales Software Author, Marlene Brown

 

E-Commerce: The 21st Century Digital Money Wave!

Electronic Commerce; Net Marketing; CyberMoney; E-business. No matter what the term, this new wave of doing business is already creating enormous wealth and holds the opportunity of a bountiful future for those who use and embrace it correctly.

The Internet and the World Wide Web are transforming the way we do business and live our lives. I've been online since 1990 and had a web site up since 1994. That means I've done a lot of learning from mistakes along the way, learning what works and what doesn't!

As a business futurist, technology speaker, writer and consultant on marketing trends, I've been able to learn from a variety of arenas: my research of people who've been successful, from my clients and the projects we've done together, and from my own original research.

One thing we know for sure, the Internet and the Web are not going away. All of the major forecasting firms who look at Net commerce have found themselves needing to increase their estimates as the true growth in Net commerce outstripped the best guesses. Jupiter communications predicted in 1996 that electronic commerce would generate $7.3 billion worth of revenue in the year 2000. Their estimate now is for $15.6 billion.

Jupiter is not alone. According to a recent survey by IDC Research, E-Commerce will boom from $2.6 billion in 1996 to $220 billion by 2001. Forrester Research projects sales of computer products on the Net of $3.7 billion by 2001. We're talking about responsible estimates by qualified analysts and responsible firms.

Throughout history, exporers and settlers were constantly discovering something that was bigger, or more meaningful than what they already had. The same thing is happening here. On the net, the first people showed up on ARPANET, exchanging email over what would become the Internet. They were mostly researchers, engineers and academics. Then other explorers showed up. They can remember green screens, command lines, and 300 baud modems that crawled. But they learned and enjoyed.

CompuServe forums were an early form of online community, as was the WELL (The Whole Earth Lectronic Link). Settlements and routes were happening online. CompuServe, Prodigy and others opened Internet connections. Companies like Netscape brought people ways to make the experience easier. AOL exploded. The landscape is continuing to change.

There are still basically only three main strategies for increasing revenue: get new customers; increase sales to current customers; increase the value of your average sale. To prosper from E-Commerce and what it holds for you and your company you’ll want to consider the following:

E-Commerce is here to stay. International Data Corporation surveyed 50 companies who either have, or are in the process of developing a Web-based sales strategy. Seventy percent said that they were developing their electronic commerce initiatives as an way to extend their current business.

Get ready for the money wave of the 21st Century.

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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Technology speaker, Internet speaker, Sales speaker, Marketing, Marmel Consulting, Software program, Author, Marlene Brown

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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Marketing Consultant, Sales Software Author, Marlene Brown

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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Marketing Consultant, Sales Software Author, Marlene Brown

7 Tongue-in-Cheek Ways to Prepare for the Millennium Bug

7. Sell your Microsoft stock, invest everything in guns and bottled water.

6. Move your computer's clock ahead now to test for co^^^NO CARRIER

5. Open checking accounts in dozens of different banks with no more than $20 in each, and wait for a windfall.

4. Convert to Judaism, so you can worry correctly about the Y10K bug.

3. Party like its 1899 and counting

2. Discard toasters made before 1995 because nobody likes bread toasted for 2 minutes and 100 years.

1. Send Schwarzenegger back in time to take care of those lazy COBOL engineers.


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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Technology speaker, Internet speaker, Sales speaker, Marketing, Marmel Consulting, Software program, Author, Marlene Brown


The Top 7 Euro Surprises

7. Can only be used to buy his and her matching millennium suits.

6. Economic change dramatically affecting all of Europe noticed by American press, despite it lacking "-gate" suffix.

5. When you tilt the 20E bill, you see the Alps wink.

4. Greek sandwich company sues over the more than coincidental naming of the new currency.

3. Bill Gates proclaims it's "much softer than the dollar for bathroom use"

2. Pressure from Germany and France results in pictures of David Hasselhoff on the 50E bill and Jerry Lewis on the 100E.

1. England's happy - there's a different Spice Girl in each corner!

 

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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Technology speaker, Internet speaker, Sales speaker, Marketing, Marmel Consulting, Software program, Author, Marlene Brown

 
Low Cost Solution to Y2K Problem:

Remove all computers from desktops by December 31,1999.

Provide everyone with an Etch-A-Sketch. This will eliminate those pesky technical glitches and save us precious time spent reading and writing emails.

 Here are some Frequently Asked Questions from the Etch-A-Sketch Help Desk:

 Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has all of these funny little lines all over the screen.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

 Q: How do I turn my Etch-A-Sketch off?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

 Q: What's the shortcut for Undo?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

 Q: How do I create a New Document window?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

 Q: How do I set the background and foreground to the same color?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

 Q: What is the proper procedure for rebooting my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

 Q: How do I delete a document on my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

 Q: How do I save my Etch-A-Sketch document?
A: Don't shake it.

 
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Canterbury, England. A.D. 999.

 

An atmosphere close to panic prevails today throughout Europe as the millennial year 1000 approaches, bringing with it the so-called "Y1K Bug," a menace which, until recently, had hardly been heard of by anyone.

Prophets of doom are warning that the entire fabric of Western Civilization, based as it now is upon monastic computations, could collapse, and that there is simply not enough time left to fix the problem.

Just how did this disaster-in-the-making ever arise? Why did no one anticipate that a change from a three-digit to a four-digit year would throw into total disarray all liturgical chants and all metrical verse in which any date is mentioned? Every formulaic hymn, prayer, ceremony and incantation dealing with dated events will have to be re-written to accommodate three extra syllables. All tabular chronologies with three-space year columns, maintained for generations by scribes using carefully hand-ruled lines on vellum sheets, will now have to be converted to four-space columns, at enormous cost. In the meantime, the validity of every official event, from baptisms to burials, from confirmations to coronations, may be called into question.

"We should have seen it coming ," says Brother Cedric of St. Michael's Abbey, here in Canterbury. "What worries me most is that 'THOUSAND' contains the word 'THOU' which occurs in nearly all our prayers, and of course always refers to God. Using it now in the name of the year will seem almost blasphemous, and is bound to cause terrible confusion. Of course, we would always use Latin, but that might be even worse -- the Latin word for 'Thousand' is 'Mille' - which is the same as the Latin for 'mile.' We won't know whether we're talking about time or distance!"

Stonemasons are already reported threatening to demand a proportional pay increase for having to carve an extra numeral in all dates on tombstones, cornerstones and monuments. Together with its inevitable ripple effects, this alone could plunge the hitherto-stable medieval economy into chaos.

A conference of clerics has been called at Winchester to discuss the entire issue, but doomsayers are convinced that the matter is now one of personal survival. Many families, in expectation of the worst, are stocking up onholy water.

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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Technology speaker, Internet speaker, Sales speaker, Marketing, Marmel Consulting, Software program, Author, Marlene Brown

 

E-commerce Update Statistics - January, 1999:

Six and a half million U.S. households made their first purchase on the Internet last year, according to Forrester Research. For the millions who decided to shop online this past holiday season, it was a choice to either get into the car and fight 5,000 people for the mall's 4,000 parking spaces or point their browser at a web store and send their credit card number over the Internet. While we're waiting for SET, shopping over the Internet with SSL is safe now.

According to a new series of research reports from International Data Corp, traditional real-world merchants who do not provide an e-commerce channel to their customers risk losing market share to their competitors. The reports conclude that companies must serve their customers online or their competitors will do it for them.

Merchants can no longer ignore the impact of the growing online population. As the percentage of PC households accessing the Internet increases, e- commerce also grows exponentially. Got your business ready yet? If not, check out these success stories and contact us.


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  Translated from Latin scroll dated 2BC

Dear Cassius:

Are you still working on the Y zero K problem?

This change from BC to AD is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven't much time left.

I don't know how people will cope with working the wrong way around.

Having been working happily downwards forever, now we have to start thinking upwards.

You would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left it to us to sort it all out at this last minute.

I spoke to Caesar the other evening.

He was livid that Julius hadn't done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar.

He said he could see why Brutus turned nasty.

We called in Consultus, but he simply said that continuing downwards using minus BC won't work and as usual charged a fortune for doing nothing useful.

Surely we will not have to throw out all our hardware and start again?

Macrohard will make yet another fortune out of this I suppose.

The money lenders are paranoid of course!

They have been told that all usury rates will invert and they will have to pay their clients to take out loans. Its an ill wind ......

As for myself, I just can't see the sand in an hourglass flowing upwards.

We have heard that there are three wise men in the East who have been working on the problem, but unfortunately they won't arrive until it's all over.

I have heard that there are plans to stable all horses at midnight at the turn of the year as there are fears that they will stop and try to run backwards, causing immense damage to chariots and possible loss of life.

Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of transition.

Anyway, we are still continuing to work on this blasted Y zero K problem.

I will send a parchment to you if anything further develops.

If you have any ideas please let me know,

Plutonius



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Business Futurist, Professional Speaker, Technology speaker, Internet speaker, Sales speaker, Marketing, Marmel Consulting, Software program, Author, Marlene Brown


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