In Australia in the late 90s during the height of the Y2K scare, I recall watching one of those "after the morning news" talk show programs (which was softer news, interspersed with segments that were basically in-studio infomercials) and seeing an infomercial for a device that plugged into the back of your computer and helped solve (or did something related to) the Y2K bug.

I tried looking for info on the device online, but can't seem to find anything. I believe it plugged into a parallel or serial port and was a pass-through device so you didn't have to sacrifice a port to use it.

I remember sitting there, being 11 or 12 at the time, and thinking it was a load of crap designed to make a fool and his money part ways, as the lady presenting the product gave a strong impression that she had heard of Y2K, but didn't know what it was or why she should care.

Does anyone know of the product I speak of, of anyone who owned it, what it did, and if it worked?

  • Can I ask why this question was marked as off-topic? The Help Center states that if a question is about "computer hardware" and is not about "electronic devices, [...], except insofar as they interface with your computer,", then it's on-topic. The Q is not asking for recommendations (rather, assistance looking for the name of a product), not specific to corporate networks (as it was sold on daytime TV, directed at home users), nor does it fit the other "bad" question types, so I'm confused. – Grayda Apr 30 '16 at 3:32
  • Its essentially a guessing game - unless someone's watched the same TV show and the same ads they might not know. Even if it wasn't its a wierd hardware request. – Journeyman Geek May 14 '16 at 6:23
  • @JourneymanGeek That sort of makes sense. I did consider that the question might be too ambiguous / too specific, but as it was sold on daytime TV to a potential audience of a million or more, that'd at least make it wider known than say, a piece of hardware I saw at a flea market. That's why I tried to be as specific as I could about what it did, despite not remember much more than it plugging into a parallel port in the back and offering to make a computer Y2K compliant. – Grayda May 14 '16 at 7:53

I was young myself, but I know what you're talking about.

Basically, what the device did was flash the bios and alter the startdate, so instead of using 01-01-1900 as start date, it used linux epoch, 01-01-1970 as start date, which meant that the problem would reoccur in 2070, but because the bug was now discovered, and plans were made to change the date system to dd-mm-yyyy instead of dd-mm-yy the issue would be fixed long before it would become a problem again.

The product was not that popular though, because the same patch could be done software wise, and most major programs received an update so any hardware fix was not necessary.

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  • Interesting stuff. Knowing what it actually did, I had a second search and found a product called Y2K++, made by an Australian company who registered the trademark in 1999 and let it lapse in 2001 (which speaks volumes!). The device would override the RTC to mitigate any OS-level issues (but would still be susceptible to software that didn't use 4-digit years. – Grayda Apr 30 '16 at 3:20

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