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What to do and what not to do


  • Shut down or interrupt experiments if at all possible.
  • Turn off all unnecessary equipment and lights. If you plan to be away all weekend, ensure that appropriate actions will be taken to prevent unmonitored system or equipment failure before resuming operation on Tuesday morning.
  • To avoid heat loss in the case of utility failures, close all windows, drapes and shutters, especially if you do not plan to be in your office or dormitory space over the long weekend.
  • Have flashlights available in case of power failure. (Candles or propane lanterns are not acceptable alternatives.)
  • If you will be working or staying at MIT over the transition weekend, take prudent precautions to assure that you will have adequate clothing, blankets and food resources in case of a systems failure of up to 48 hours.
  • Save a hard copy of this information sheet.


  • Don't assume that any problem you may experience during the transition weekend is Y2K-related. Verify the nature and extent of a problem before calling it in.
  • Don't assume that, because MIT has staff on duty throughout the transition period, MIT will be able to address every Y2K-related problem. For example, if you have an experiment that needs a controlled temperature, don't assume that MIT has laid in a supply of hot packs or dry ice that you can draw on as needed. Planning and stocking for such problems is the responsibility of each individual department, lab or center.
  • Don't assume that you will be able to get non-MIT assistance immediately after experiencing a Y2K-related problem. If specific equipment or software causes Y2K problems, authorized repair and service personnel will be extremely difficult to reach for much of January. Please make contingency plans accordingly.
  • Do not "test" phone, Internet or electrical systems at 12:01am on January 1 just to verify their operation. Peak demand may cause far more distress for these systems than any other Y2K-related factors.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 17, 1999.

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