No Exploding Appliances in Year 2000
If massive interruptions and chaos in American life occur from
the Year 2000 computer bug, you can rest assured that your
coffeemaker will still be cranking out brew, and the microwave
won't explode at the stroke of midnight, December 31, 1999. The
Federal Trade Commission, looking out for the average consumer,
has been reviewing home appliances that have electronic timers to
see how they'll be affected. What the electronics industry has
been telling the FTC is mostly good news for homeowners,
according to The Washington Post.
"Essentially all consumer electronics products currently being
sold, and a vast majority of consumer electronics products sold
in the past will not experience Y2K problems," said the Consumer
Electronics Manufacturers Association. If you own certain older
model appliances, however, you may need to do something about it.
Older personal computers may require software to reset the
internal clock. Some camcorders and VCRs also may require manual
resetting, while other camcorders won't even accept a date after
1999 but will run fine anyway.
The problem is, it's tough to tell whether or not your equipment
will work just by looking at its age. The only way to know is to
contact the manufacturer with the make and model number. If
you're concerned about a critical system such as a home security
system or medical equipment, the sooner you check the better.
Some automatic sprinkler systems could go haywire--get the cure
or risk getting doused. Programmable thermostats could be
Personal computers only started becoming "fully Y2K compliant"
about a year ago. Avoiding a computer crash is probably your
most serious concern. Whatever you do, make sure you don't
experiment by resetting the computer's clock to December 31, 1999
to see what happens. Kaboom! Instead, try visiting your
manufacturer's web site--many are posting software for fixing
your particular brand. Another resource is the www.righTime.com
web site that shows you how to test your PC for Y2K compliance.
Remember, if you do online banking or stock trading, Year 2000
could throw a wrench in the works of your daily financial
transactions because those functions rely on software that is
date sensitive. Better contact the software manufacturer and
your bank to keep your money machine running smoothly.
Overall, the coming of the new millennium should cause minor
aggravations and mild hiccups in most appliances. Coffeemakers
and microwaves, for example, are not year-specific--they only
register time or day of the week. Certain VCRs, camcorders and
fax machines will suffer from amnesia but continue to work
anyway. You'll just see the wrong date on your faxes.