To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, February 13, 1999

Y2K, the swine flu
of the ’90s?

WE have to take it seriously, OK? It is a real threat to the American Way of Life. It's digital Black Death and Doomsday all rolled into one. It even has one of those sinister, alphanumeric names, like X-ray, U-boat, Catch-22 or Preparation-H. Wouldn't Chicken Little have loved Y2K?

I'm not going to define it here or shed light on fixing it. I just have to observe, however, that Y2K is the single best thing that's happened to office equipment salesmen and the budgets of corporate systems managers since floppy disks replaced paper tape.

At the News Building, for example, we've been inventorying, testing, spending, documenting and fretting since 1997. New PCs, Macs, fax machines, copiers and software packages have bloomed in what was a technology desert. Anything non-Y2K compliant is gone or leaving. In its place we now have shiny, new, compliant stuff.

In 1976, doctors convinced President Ford the nation was threatened by a swine flu epidemic. Ford spent $135 million to inoculate more than 40 million Americans, 535 of whom came down with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a paralytic affliction. Hundreds sued the government and 25 died, apparently from the shots, while only six cases of swine flu were recorded.

Even $135 million is small potatoes compared to the Y2K price tag, estimated at $280 billion globally. That's serious money, Chicken Little.

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin