We understand. You're sick of Y2K. We're sick of Y2K. But with only four days left to get ready for the clickover to the year 2000, if you haven't done anything to get ready for the big event, it's time to start.
First, if you do nothing else, copy the important files on your computer's hard drive to a floppy disk, a Zip disk or some other removable medium. That way, if your computer fails to process the changeover in the date Friday at midnight, thinks it's Jan. 1, 1900 and decides to go catatonic, you'll have copies of your important records and documents.
To check up on your computer, surf to the Web site of the PC Year 2000 Alliance (www.pcy2000.org) and find links to your computer manufacturer's Y2K information and utilities. Don't assume that your PC is Y2K compatible because it's only two or three years old -- you might still have problems.
You'll also find good sources of last-minute Y2K help on CNet (www.y2k.com), ZDNet (www. zdnet.com), Peter DeJaeger's Y2K site (www.year2000.com) and Microsoft's Web site (www. microsoft.com/y2k/). If you don't have a virus checker, get one; if you do have one, make sure you have the latest update. There are some nasty Y2K-triggered bugs around.
For information on other household gadgets, such as videocassette recorders and microwave ovens, that could be affected by the changeover, the Y2K Compliance Database (www.y2kbase.com) maintains a master list of manufacturers and products.
You'll find additional consumer information from the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion site at www.y2k.gov. Look under Consumer Information and you'll find a good, one-page checklist of things you can do to prepare yourself and your home for Y2K.
Also try the Federal Trade Commission's Y2K consumer information site (www.consumer. gov/y2k), which offers a toll-free number (888-USA-4Y2K) if you're not connected to the Internet. If you wade through enough automated attendant chatter, you can actually talk to a human from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Finally, for a small and doable list of preparations that you can accomplish in a couple of hours, you'll find last week's Plugged In column on Y2K preparedness at www.sunspot.net/news/pluggedin.
Have a safe and happy new year.