Happy Micronnium. To heck with all this millennium hype. And technically, it isn't the end of the century or the millennium, either.
Thousand-year cycles are for archaeologists, anyway.
A year is too long for high-techies who create PCs with a half-life measured in a few months. Moore's Law has postured a doubling of the number of chip transistors in 18 months-a compound rate that points to a billion transistors on a chip in another decade and a half.
At the chip's time-warp speed, we should be singing Auld Lang Syne every other month. The celebratory ball in New York's Times Square would be bouncing like a ping-pong ball.
But before we get carried away over our speed-of-light technology developments, ringing in 2000 should humble our electronic egos.
Despite all the vaunted accolades of the Silicon Age, the Internet Revolution, and the Technology Century, the overwhelming global concern this Jan. 1 was on just two little digits in jillions of lines of software code.
At this writing, I-like the rest of the world-wait breathlessly on the stroke of midnight to see if our technological wonders will turn into pumpkins.
Actually, we didn't have to wait for Y2K.
Our air-traffic-control system is plagued year-round. LANs crash constantly. A software glitch shuts down a major chunk of a national communications network. A metric mistake wipes out a Mars mission.
We shrug off such mammoth failures like corns on our toes. Bring on Y2K, and just try your worst.
And what was so magical about tearing off the last 1999 calendar page?
The dates tech watchers should really commemorate are the birth of the transistor; the day the Department of Defense threw the switch for Arpanet, the Internet's predecessor; and numerous defining moments in the computer's creation and evolution.
Quick. What are the dates so vital to our modern fortunes?
We should also put technophoria in perspective.
Yes, most U.S. homes have PCs. But a surprising number also are on the losing end of technowealth. The fact that adequate food, shelter, and health care are not available to all is a societal blight to which we are blinded by the technical spotlight.
This is not to dampen millennium celebrations. There are clearly epic achievements to memorialize. But looking forward to the new 21st Century visions, most harried industry workers think they will be doing well just to handle the year ahead.