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20 years ago, the world was panicking over Y2K

Today most people are thinking about celebrating. But in 1999, it was a very different vibe.

COLORADO, USA — Many people today are thinking about enjoying time with friends and family, going out to celebrate, parties, maybe a resolution or two — you know, all the "New Year's" things.

But in 1999, it was a very different sort of feeling.

That's because 20 years ago, it was Y2K, short for "the year 2000." Y2K referred to a computer programming shortcut that many expected would wreak havoc on the world.

The theory was that when computers changed from 1999 to 2000, it would bring down systems' infrastructures — everything from government agencies to banking to utilities.

Many panicked, resulting in major grocery store crowds as people stockpiled goods in preparation. Local governments set up resources. Companies spent time and money. 

It was quite the event. Check out this 9NEWS story about the lead-up at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD): 

DIA was ready too: 

And phone companies were expecting an onslaught of calls between folks checking in on each other after the momentous millennium shift: 

Then the day came. The clock struck midnight and ... nothing really happened.

A Popular Mechanics article details the unsung heroes of the Y2K movement, which included Ivy-league professors, computer programmers and software researchers — many of whom performed countless mind-numbing tasks to make sure Y2K didn't become a full-on disaster.

It was, however costly. A Computer World article estimates that, worldwide, organizations spent an estimated $308 billion before the millennium on remediation efforts. 

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