Tips on posting HTML : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

HTML posting techniques

Discussion questions and the follow-up responses are formatted in HTML code. Submitted text is scanned and formatting is applied in a conditional way. If no HTML tags are included, the formatter will try to make the encoded response look like the submitted text. This is the standard and best method of posting for most people, most of the time; let the formatter do the work.

However the use of HTML to mark up internet references is a good idea to improve the usefulness of the given information, and to take advantage of the hyperlink technology. If any HTML tags are included in the submitted text, the formatter assumes the entire submission is in HTML. The entire response is enclosed by blockindent tags by the reply formatter. To get familiar with how discussion text is formatted, view the source from the browser. This notepad-editor view of the source HTML code can be saved to a document directory for later review and use. For future editing or code review, save the discussion page with the .txt suffix so it will open with Notepad.

If you do use any HTML at all, make sure to start each paragraph with a paragraph starting tag '<'+'p'+'>' and end it with the closing (same but with a forward slash before the p). For a line break with no vertical space, use the break tag ('<'+'br'+'>'). Boldface text is enclosed by '<'+'b'+'>' and its closing tag, the slash b. Use i for italics, and u for underline. Don't forget a closing tag must appear for each opening tag, and if you don't close all your tags the format will extend through all added replies until someone includes the missing closing tag in their post. Over-use of markup tags decreases their effectiveness. For a bulleted list, use '<'+'ul'+'>' before and its closing (with a slash) after the section, and use '<'+'li'+'>' with its closing around each item. For numbered list use ol (ordered list) instead of ul (un-ordered list).

If you want to reference an URL you enclose the link text with anchor hypertext reference tags. The closing tag is forward-slash, 'a' inside angle brackets. The opening tag is also inside angle brackets, with the text as 'a href=' followed by the URL in double quotes.

To avoid formatting surprises when you're posting in HTML (and to make sure your message is coming across the way you intend), preview your HTML message text from a browser window before posting. Make use of keyboard shortcuts such as Alt+Tab and Alt+Shift+Tab to flip between application windows, and Alt+LeftArrow and Alt+RightArrow to move backwards and forwards along your browsing window history. If you want to review other responses while posting, open the discussion topic in another window.

Reference other discussions by including hyperlinks, which is the logical basis for the web, in your response text. A simple way to prepare links in posted text is as follows. Create a Word document with a name such as Y2kDiscussions.doc and have it open beside the IE4 web browser. From the browser window, type Alt+f, n, w to start a new window, and open the Yourdon BBS Top Level (right-click for new window).

  1. From the New Questions window drag the discussion headings that you want to track from the browser window to the Word Doc. This creates an absolute hyperlink in the document with the caption the same as the URL.
  2. Above each one (Enter, UpArrow), add the Discussion Topic.
  3. The easy way is to Alt+Tab back to the browser, carefully highlight the Text line that gives the Topic, Poster, and Date.
  4. Ctrl+c, Alt+Tab, Ctrl+v, creating a hyperlink in the Word document with descriptive text, normally a relative URL, which can be fixed in a later step. When you pull discussion topics from Category listings, the URL will be relative also need editing.
  5. To add the plain text version use Enter, UpArrow, Alt+e, s, DownArrow (Unformatted text), Enter.
  6. To make the second hyperlink in the Word document absolute select the '' part of the text and copy it to the clipboard, Ctrl+c, Alt+Tab to the Word document, then RightClick the second hyperlink, select Hyperlink, Edit Hyperlink. The relative URL type of link needs what's on the clipboard, so use Home, Ctrl+v , Enter.
  7. Then Ctrl+End to go to the bottom of the doc, and add a blank line for the next Topic.
  8. Alt +Tab back to the browser window (New Questions), and repeat with Step 1 until done.
This Word doc becomes a custom view launching pad for stepping through the discussion you are tracking. You can organize it to suit your needs. When you save this document, save the Word doc, then Save As HTML, then Close it, rename the .html file as a .txt file, open it with Notepad and copy the source code of any discussion shortcut that you want to use, to the clipboard with Alt+e,a, Ctrl+c. When you are writing a discussion response, you can copy discussion references in HTML from this text file in Notepad view, then Alt+Tab back to the input text box where you are posting.

Note: This is also discussed in A Search Engine for this forum.

If you prefer to compose your messages offline, use a word document to write your message. This way you don't have to code any HTML. It is a good way to add in links and tables, etc. Discussion references can be dragged into the new response Word doc window, but use the right-click drag to make a copy instead of a move. When the response is ready for posting save the Word doc, then Save As HTML, then Close it, rename the .html file as a .txt file, open it with Notepad and copy the source code of your response to the clipboard with Alt+e,a, Ctrl+c. Then Alt+Tab back to the input text box to paste your post.

A more advanced technique is to write HTML code in a Word doc and always save it three ways, as a Word Doc, as a text file (.txt), and as a text file having a name with an .htm extension. This gives the most control over appearances. When typing literal HTML text, the autocorrect feature, if switched on, will try to reformat a completed URL into an implicit hyperlink. To undo this when it happens, type Alt+e, u (or switch off Autocorrect). After saving it as a text file with a .htm name, preview it in the browser. It is often convenient to start with the first method to generate starting code, then copy it via the clipboard from the Notepad view of the generated code into a Word document window, and touch up the Html as needed. To use this method more efficiently, put the following macro into your and link it in to a button on the toolbar. Choose an icon or use the caption 'SaveDocTxtHtm'. When clicked, it will save your HTML as Word doc, then as a .txt file, then as a .htm file. This is the most reliable way of creating HTML pages with Word.

Sub SaveDocTxtHtm()
DocPath = ActiveDocument.Path
DocName = ActiveDocument.Name
If DocName = "" Then Exit Sub
FileName = Left(DocName, Len(DocName) - 4)
FilePath = DocPath + "\" + FileName
    'Save first as a Word File
    ActiveDocument.SaveAs FileName:=FilePath + ".doc", FileFormat:= _
        wdFormatDocument, LockComments:=False, Password:="", AddToRecentFiles:= _
        True, WritePassword:="", ReadOnlyRecommended:=False, EmbedTrueTypeFonts:= _
        False, SaveNativePictureFormat:=False, SaveFormsData:=False, _
    'Save next as a Text File
    ActiveDocument.SaveAs FileName:=FilePath + ".txt", FileFormat:=wdFormatText, _
        LockComments:=False, Password:="", AddToRecentFiles:=False, WritePassword _
        :="", ReadOnlyRecommended:=False, EmbedTrueTypeFonts:=False, _
        SaveNativePictureFormat:=False, SaveFormsData:=False, SaveAsAOCELetter:= _
    'Save next as an HTM Text File
    ActiveDocument.SaveAs FileName:=FilePath + ".htm", FileFormat:=wdFormatText, _
        LockComments:=False, Password:="", AddToRecentFiles:=False, WritePassword _
        :="", ReadOnlyRecommended:=False, EmbedTrueTypeFonts:=False, _
        SaveNativePictureFormat:=False, SaveFormsData:=False, SaveAsAOCELetter:= _
End Sub
Back to top of post

-- Jon (, November 08, 1998


Referencing Specific Responses

Specific responses in other discussion topics can be selectively referenced by the use of name tags. When posting a message that you want to reference later, start it with the an HTML name tag. Give the tag a meaningful name, such as your name, the topic, and follow it by the digits '01' if it's your first response in this discussion (for the second, use '02', etc. remember the "Response100 Problem" and if you expect less than 10 responses needed, skip the leading zero). Insert this line for example:

'<' + 'a' + ' ' + 'name="' + 'jon-howto01'+'"'+'>'+'<'+'/'+'a'+'>'

This precedes the heading text. For extra convenience, use a Heading, and make the Heading an absolute URL hyperlink so others can drag it onto a Word document or other Automation Client. To do this use the following HTML to set up a self referential absolute hyperlink:

This is a Response Heading, which is also a self-referential hyperlink. You can drag a copy of this type of 'bookmark' to a word doc and then clicking on it will bring up this text at the top of the browser window.

For Discussion Starting Messages, the message number is unknown, but no nametag/bookmark label is needed, since the URL will default to the top without the '#mynametag', however it's often convenient to include a top label (as an a-name equal to '#top') before the starting message in case you want to set up a 'Return to Top' link later on in the discussion page.

Note: this idea is in Craig's bio, where he included the self- referencing hyperlink, msg.tcl?msg_id=000B6V#here

-- Jon (, November 08, 1998.

...and there will always be surprises!

-- Jon (, November 08, 1998.

Wow, Jon, that is really valuable. Formatting is important for clear meaning and ease of reading. However, I'm a total newbie and cannot follow your dissertation above. Do you know of anyplace on the 'Net that has extremely simple handholding HTML For Dummies? I'd love to learn this, one little trick per day. Thanks, Leska (who is glad we just bought an EASY iMac)

-- Leska (, November 08, 1998.

The designer of this BBS has a a good book online that covers many levels of HTML:
Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing ebook/index.html

for other web page tools check out:

The CGI Resource Index: Programs and Scripts: Perl: Form Processing

Free webpage counter and statistic service

Relative links within a document do not require the message number If you enclose link text with a reference tag (such as in this case: 'a href="#jon-howto01"' inside of angle brackets for the starting tag and slash-a in angle brackets for the closing tag), then the link will go to the previously inserted 'nametag' (bookmark). When you start your response with 'a href="#nametag"' inside of angle brackets, followed by a closing tag '/a' inside angle brackets, you can refer to it later in the discussion without bothering to use the absolute (complete) URL.

An example above has the discussion number set to zero instead of '000EhD'. This is the fix: Referencing Specific Responses, or as a relative URL, Referencing Specific Responses. To see how this works just look at the page in Source View mode with your browser.The first one is an absolute URL that will work from any Word document (assuming you have an internet connection open). The second one is relative and refers up to the bookmark. To refer to the top of this discussion, an absolute URL, such as msg.tcl?msg_id=000EhD#top can be used, or a relative URL such as a href="top" can be used. Notice that the first example does not need the '#top' part, and that the second link works as well when you are offline or even if there is no explicit 'top' nametag.

Another tip: to make a link for the current browser page, drag the HTML address by clicking the icon just in front of URL address in the browser, and dragging over to the Word Doc.

For Mac you may want to use Office98 to do this easily.

-- Jon (, November 08, 1998.

LINE BREAK TEST.'<'+'br'+'>'line1'<'+'br'+'>'line2'<'+'br'+'>'line3

-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.

< /a>

-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.

The link worked Jack.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.

"y2k and ????"

-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 08, 1998.

Jon, how do you change font size? I've also seen people use colors- how do you do that?

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.

More HTML tips.

-- Jon (, November 09, 1998.

Thanks, Jon! When you play with colors, do you "turn them off," or just go back to black?

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.

I'd like to practice, but I'd probably mess up the forum! :-)

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.

I guess I will try anyway. Jon, if I mess it up too bad, please fix it for me!?! Thanks!

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.

OOPS!! That was fun!

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.


I better put this back the way I found it before Ed sees what I did!

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.

Uh, Jon?

I think I'm in trouble!

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.

Before this text is included the line of code (brackets quoted as literal):
which is the closing tag. Anytime you see a formatting mode left switched on by a post, a slash tag in angle brackets is needed in the next post to close. I'll post the tips in a single doc at HTML Posting Techniques.

-- Jon (, November 09, 1998.

You sent the discussion really deep. No fear, fun stuff!

-- Jon (, November 09, 1998.

y2k and ????

-- Jack (, November 09, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 09, 1998.


-- Jack (, November 09, 1998.

Jon, thanks for taking the time to give us all a good education on how to become better posters! I'm sure that the posts on this forum are going to be 500% better looking and more comprehensible!!!

-- Jack (, November 09, 1998.

You are welcome! Have bandwidth, will tag...isn't technology great...let's keep it going.

-- Jon (, November 09, 1998.

Whew! Thanks, Jon. Now, hopefully, the only people that are going to be mad at me are the ones who got all of those messages in their Email boxes! :-)

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 09, 1998.

This is a test. Y2K info at

-- Kevin (, November 10, 1998.

Instead of typing "This is a test. Y2K info at '<''>'", type something like:
"This is a test. '<'a href=""'>'The North Pole'<'/a'>'."
without the single quiotes, coming thru as:
"This is a test. The North Pole."

-- Jon (, November 10, 1998.

To be, or not to be a test.

"Wisdom at ???"

-- Kevin (, November 10, 1998.

Y2K Checklist<'/a'>'

-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 10, 1998.


-- Gayla Dunbar (, November 10, 1998.

The submitted text gets processed twice, once by the reply formatter, then again by the browser. Consequently, to illustrate HTML code you have to disguise it by enclosing each '<' and '>' in single quotes. This is the only change necessary to force the HTML to come through looking like unrendered code. The previous example was correct except for a few stray single quotes (around the '>'), which you do not want to use in submitting rendered HTML.

The fixed code is:   Y2K Checklist

-- Jon (, November 11, 1998.


Because of the scope of Chevron's operations, the company
believes it is impractical to seek to eliminate all potential Year
2000 problems before they arise. As a result, Chevron expects that
its Year 2000 assessment and corrections will include
ongoing remedial efforts into the year 2000.

-- Jack (, November 11, 1998.


Because of the scope of Chevron's operations, the company believes it is impractical to seek to eliminate all potential Year 2000 problems before they arise. As a result, Chevron expects that its Year 2000 assessment and corrections will include ongoing remedial efforts into the year 2000.

Because of the scope of Chevron's operations, the company 
believes it is impractical to seek to eliminate all potential Year
2000 problems before they arise. As a result, Chevron expects that its 
Year 2000 assessment and corrections will include
ongoing remedial efforts into the year 2000.

-- Jack (, November 11, 1998.

Oh dear, I'm still a bit baffled, but more study will begin to clear it up. Jon, I clicked to ebook/index.html, but the page I think I needed wouldn't open.
Could you in *very* simple language tell and show exactly how to indent? The 'tab' key doesn't do it. Does one indent the standard 5 spaces in posts or less?
Also, how does one keep the whole note intact without the ends being cut off during posting?
Thanks much. Leska

-- Leska (, November 11, 1998.

Submitted reply text gets processed twice, first by the reply formatter, then by your browser. There are many things that can change in your post depending on what the reply formatter makes of your text, leading to surprises and incorrect links. For best results, just use plain text and type a blank line between each paragraph. You don't need to use indenting and it's best to avoid too much formatting. However if you want to use HTML formatting in submitted text, then it's best to write up what you have in mind and then preview it in a browser window first to see how it looks. Just type it in to a plain text editor and save the file with a name ending in '.htm', then open it with a browser.

If you do use any HTML then the reply formatter will not do any automatic paragraph-formatting, and you will want to use the '<'p'>' tag in front and the '<'/p'>' at the end of each paragraph if you want to have a vertical space between them. For links, sometimes the reply formatter will break lines and give unpredictable results. This happens to everybody at one time or another.

In the case you mentioned, the reply formatter has added a space into the URL so the link is no longer valid. When this happens, just edit the Address in the URL box of your browser by taking out the extra space, then hit enter and the page should come up. The link is: ebook/index.html, and in this example the reply formatter is likely to break the caption text aka linking text right at the maximum 70 character width of the reply input box. This would change the 'thebook' part to 'th ebook' because of simple linefeed assumptions. However even with the caption text altered, the link will still work if the URL (normally not visible) is 64 or less characters (64 + 6 for 'href="' is 70), which in this case, it is.

The 'typewriter' font above is shown when a section is enclosed in '<'pre'>' and '<'/pre'>' tags (the single quotes are not part of the syntax, so leave them out when using example code). The 'pre' is for 'preformatted' text, and is a simple way to make columns and tables, since the characters will all line up, and spaces are preserved, unlike conventional text where any number of consecutive spaces are combined into 1 space character.

This is a table in fixed pitch font

This    is      the     first   line
This    is      the     second  line
Each    column  is      eight   characters

If you want to use indentation for a paragraph, you can force a few consecutive spaces by using the 'nonblank space' code, which is '&'nbsp';' (omit the quotes).

If you want to post an indented paragraph (as in a quoted excerpt), use '<'blockquote'>' instead of '<'p'>' to start it and '<'/blockquote'>' to end it.

-- Jon (, November 11, 1998.

see what I mean about surprises?

-- Jon (, November 11, 1998.

Posting a hyperlink

When posting a hyperlink, start a new line in the Reply input box. Hit Enter before and after the first tag (the non-visible part that has the URL) and the link text (the visible part). This way you can have up to 62 characters in the URL and it won't split up. 62 = 70 (character width of the input box on the reply submission form) - 8 (=6+2, 'href="'+'"'>').

An example (with quoted delimiters; omit all single-quotes for literal text):

'<'a href="http://domain/file-part-of-URL-link-to"'>'
link text (visible part)

-- Jon (, November 12, 1998.

How to use Word for writing messages

Here is a simple method for writing formatted replies that does not require direct-typing HTML. Use Word to make a new document (Alt+f, n), but choose the Blank Web Page template. Write your reply in this document window. You can drag in URLs and shortcuts or you can manually insert them with Alt+i, i. Use all the familiar Word text controls. Proofread your reply for how it looks overall. Then save the file, give it a descriptive name, such as 'How to format with Word'. Next view the HTML source with Alt+v, s. When finished with this mode, use Alt+v, s again to exit the source code view. You can now select the part of the text that you want to post (start right after the opening body tag and its parameters, and stop right before the closing body tag), then copy to clipboard (Ctrl+c), then flip to the browser (Alt+Tab), and go to the posting reply input text box and paste (Ctrl+v). Check through the text (especially the opening and closing) to review for missing tags. Put in carriage returns (what a concept) before each anchor hypertext reference tag, both the opening and closing, to improve BBS reply formatter survival. Thesse types of source code changes do not survive the Word formatter, so they need to be done in the input box. Hit submit, and when done right, your reply will look exactly like it does in Word.

-- Jon (, November 13, 1998.

Thanks Jon! HTML is fun!!

hehe...(ducks and runs)

-- Chris (, November 13, 1998.

"This is a test. The North Pole."

-- test (test@test.test), November 23, 1998.

"text delimited"

text 1.

Go to: North Pole

text 2.

-- test (test@test.test), November 23, 1998.


Thank you sir.

Now, If I can just figure all of this stuff out I'll have it made. Remember - On/Off, Shift/Enter. Those are my "biggies".


-- sweetolebob (, November 23, 1998.

+b+ line1. +/b+ Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what +u+ you +/u+ can do for your country.

-- test (test@test.test), November 23, 1998.

<+b+> line1. <+/b+> Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what <+u+> you <+/u+> can do for your country.

-- test (test@test.test), November 23, 1998.


I will refuse to give up.

-- test (test@test.test), November 23, 1998.

Now you're getting it!

-- Never give up! (, November 23, 1998.

This is FUN!

-- Me again (, November 23, 1998.

Thanks Jon.

Robert Michaels

-- test (test@test.test), November 23, 1998.



-- Chris (, November 23, 1998.


This text contains an emphasized word. Don't assume that it will be italic! It was made with the EM element. A cite is often italic and has no formally required structure: Moby Dick is a book title.

-- Chris (, November 23, 1998.




-- test (, December 30, 1998.

Check out this interview with Rick Cowles.

-- tester (, January 07, 1999.



-- RUOK (, January 31, 1999.


There was a thread "somewhere" on HTML 101 which gave a simple boilerplate for creating a link. Instead of taking the time to learn this wonderful stuff (which I promise to do once I'm back in California at my trusty Mac) do you or anyone have the link to that thread?

I just want to post one simple little link -- well maybe more -- and all I want to be "functional" is that little boilerplate!


Diane (Currently on the Oregon trail)

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 01, 1999.

Here ya go, Diane:

HTML 101

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

-- Leska (, February 01, 1999.

-- (test@test.test), February 21, 1999.

test line 3

-- test (test@test.test), February 21, 1999.

Test line 1 Test line 2 Test line 3

-- try again (test@test.test), February 21, 1999.


line 2

-- test (test@test.test), February 21, 1999.

"We need to be reminded that the responsibility to care for ourselves and each other truly and rightly rests with us."

- Paloma O' Riley, Director of Research for the Cassandra Project, Testimony to the United States Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, May 25, 1999.


Read this post if you are concerned that that the Year 2000 Technology Problem may impact your safety and the safety of those you love.  It will take the average reader about 15 minutes to read.  If you are a regular, you've probably already read this post in another form or a previous post. This post offers suggestions on how you might approach your preparations for the potential wide-spread and local problems that may result from the failure of computers and computer chips.  Whatever you imagine the extent of Y2K failures to be (3 days to much longer disruptions in banking, employment, grocery shopping, health care, power, public safety, water, sanitation, etc.), you will want to prepare intelligently for potential Y2K problems.  The time remaing to prepare and your current resources (money, time, and lack of skills) may not allow for bad decisions and poor planning.

First Things

In a past response to my original thread on preparations, Arnie Rimmer identified the basic issues of Y2K preparation. They are as follows:


Focus on these first things as you plan out what you need and how you are going to get it. Otherwise, you might spend hard-earned cash or savings that (1) could have been better spent on other preparations or (2) saved for the potential hard economic times ahead.  Be frugal.  Your resources may be such that mistakes can not be afforded in the problem-solving process. Ask a lot of questions. Also, pay your bills. You want to stay out of trouble as you make preparations.

The new GI (one who "gets it"; one who prepares in the face of Y2K threats) needs general and local expertise in order not to waste time and money. Ask questions. Get an idea of how you are going to address these basic issues. Where will you be as Y2K problems unfold and how does your location determine what you will need and how you will store it? How much water is needed? How much food? How will you keep warm? What if your toilet didn't work? How will you cook?

Think it through

Will you be taking in family, relatives, and neighbors? Knowing how many people you will take care of and how long you plan to depend on your preparations will help you determine how much water and food you need to store. The Red Cross and F.E.M.A. recommends about one gallon of water and 2000 calories per day per person. Does anyone have allergies to any foods that you might be storing? Get this information, write it down, make decisions based on these facts.

You will need to consider the nutritional value of the food you store, how long this nutrition can be stored, and how to store it properly. Are you getting food that you already eat or food that is going to be difficult to eat and digest?  When storing water, what precautions are you taking against algae and bacteria? Map these things out on paper. Make mind maps of basic needs and the questions and issues associated with each answer that fits. Do this before you go shopping.

Stick to the plan

Narrowing one's focus to first things is not just good advice. It is great advice for the new GI who has a tight budget!  Staying focused, however, may be difficult in practice.  For example, you drive by the camping store (that you've driven by a thousand times)and you're curious enough to turn around and check the place out (since you know from your copy of the F.E.M.A. disaster preparedness check list that you should consider getting some camping gear).

You pull in, go inside, and start looking around at the four person- 4 season tents, sleeping bags, and other stuff. You see a fantastic four person tent that is on sale at 50% discount (say, it's now selling for $250) and, heck, why shouldn't you get it now! Don't get it now: you need to focus on first things. I would have if I hadn't considered Big Dog's advice about not worrying about the things I might not get. Stick to the plan-- however, nervous or thrilled you may be.

Those with the coolest preps will not necessarily win

Ok, so you are a new GI and you are focusing on first things, but you may be focusing too hard on getting the "best in breed" (preps that seem to be the best preps). Unless you have the financial position, going for the "best in breed" is not a reasonable way to proceed. Such a strategy will lead you to early defeat: some things may be way out of your price range. If you can't afford a $US 1,600 wood stove from Vermont Castings, you can still be prepared for the worst.

Do you need the armored Ford Explorer from Kroll O'Gara capable of shielding you from light machine gun fire or grenade blasts? Of course not!  Do you need the fancy cooking wood stove, 30 kw generators, the biggest polyethelene water and residential fuel tanks, dehydrated canned food that supposedly will store for 20 years if stored properly? Most likely, the answer is no.  If you have money for it, knock yourself out. I don't have money to burn. You may not either.

Cover all bases, equally

For example, you decide to bring in a back hoe, drop a 3000 gallon plastic cistern/tank into your backyard, fit the tank with a solar pump, and all for $US 2,000. But if you only have $2,000 for Y2K preps, this is a bad decision-- regardless of all the funny looks you'll get from your neighbors. In terms of first things, you need to focus on getting all bases covered equally. You may have water, but you may also have to relocate to a shelter because there's no heat or food after a week.

As Anita (another regular) and others have recommended, keep it simple.  Some suggest preparing for two weeks and then, enlarging these basic preparations to one month, and so forth according to your decision of how long and how bad the Y2K failures might be. Depending on when you get started on your preps, this strategy would allow you to weather unexpected and temporary problems if large Y2K failures begin occuring (on and off) before the New year.

Don't panic

Try to sort out your apprehensions and emotions before you begin planning your preparations. Those on a tight budget or who find themselves beginning preparations for serious and long-lasting failures (with less than six months to go) will find it hard to think things through and sort things out. Take time to live and enjoy life, family, and good friends. Make time to live and enjoy your life as you plan out and make preparations. You'll make better decisions about what you need and need to do.

When you first GI, there are a lot of emotions going on and this is a bad time to be making decisions. Your anxieties, fears, and regrets may get in the way of your thinking clearly and thinking things through. In fact, there is no need to get everything done, today. There is no general panic. Many of the things that you need are still available-- though there may be some delay in their delivery.  Don't obsess over Y2K.  If you are on welfare or not, there is time for you to prepare intelligently.

Do the research

Sometimes, rumors can panic new GIs who just feel like they need to be doing something now and fast! A few months ago, I was at a web site that said that gold coins of the 1/10th and 1/4 ounce American Eagle and Canadian Maple variety were not going to be available for much longer. Another site had a post saying the same. "Move it or lose it!" the author of that post exclaimed. It made me nervous.  I called around, but there wasn't any shortage of supply.

Whether you are concerned with rumors of shortages in the supply of things like 55 gallon plastic barrels for water or rumors about unexpected and/or greater Y2K failures, don't leave your list at home, rush out, and buy things in a panic. Try to find out if the rumors are good or not.  Search the web for expert opinions and the opinions of those people you may trust (online and offline). Ask the obvious question on this forum and elsewhere: "Should I be concerned?"

Use your time well

The fact is that there isn't time for most people to do the kind of research on the Y2K technology problem and Y2K preparations that many regulars did when they GIed.  This year, I took the month of February off from work to study the problem and begin my thinking on what I felt that I could afford and how much prepreparation I thought was necessary. Since February, I've logged several more hundred hours on the Internet and in books during the time I should've been sleeping.

Planning and making time for research remains important if you want to make educated, thoughtful, and smart decisions. Put reseach time into your schedule. But focus on accessing information that you need to know as opposed to lavishing time on debating outcomes or reading every post and article on every forum. Be frugal with how you spend your time online.  Y2K is not a moveable deadline.  Move forward in your preparation planning and actions; the countdown stops for no one.

Home base

On Ed Yourdon's discussion forum, most of us have made a real effort to evaluate information and opinions. This committment results in a open forum where new and old GIs (those who "get it") and DGIs (those that don't believe that Y2K failures require too much concern) communicate their opinions about...

Actual and potential Y2K problems and remediation
News stories, editorials, and features
Corporate and government reports
Senate testimony and hearings,
Actual and rumored availabilities and shortages of goods
Delivery delays of Y2K supplies and national resources
Experiences with Y2K suppliers and other vendors

Make this your home base. Look for information and advice here. If you still can't find it here. Then, scrub the web. Maybe, it took you time to get here. Don't lose more time by spending too much attention on all the other Y2K web sites out there.

If you're in a less than robust financial situation (welfare, low income, and/or pay check to pay check lifestyle), you really can't afford to make mistakes in your preparations. You may not even be able to afford to make mistakes of the trial and error variety. Those who have done prepping (or those prepping) can help newbies avoid expensive mistakes. The regulars will be more than happy to help you make intelligent decisions and work past whatever emotions you are feeling.

Speak up, meet people

Don't be shy. Don't not post-- if you have questions. If you think your question is silly or stupid, just ask your
question and let the regulars decide if it is really silly or not. If you like, email me or another regular.  There are people on both sides (GIs and DGIs) that will try to help you answer your questions about your preparations. Ask Old Git about gardening, for example. There may even be people in your region that can help you make better decisions about your regional needs.

If you can, go to one of the get togethers of Yourdonites. There have been get togethers in Texas, Northern Virginia, and elsewhere. Other get togethers are being planned including a second Northern Virginia get together. By going, you can decide for yourself if these people are crazy or not. Most likely, you'll be surprised by how we are not one color and ethnicity, mindset, and social and professional position. But all of us share a common concern about Y2K.

Read up, Read more

In the course of determining the level of preparation that you should make in the face of Y2K risks, there are several interesting posts in the archives on the various viewpoints and predictions. You will find my thread, "Mr. Decker and I beg to differ," in the archives of this forum. There, I write about some of the differences between GIs and DGIs.  Also you might look for posts by Dave Walden, Rob Michael, and others. There are many interesting posts that explore what may happen. 

In researching what things might go into your Y2K preparations, there are hundreds of good posts on a variety of subjects from wood burning stoves to bug out bags.  Search the general archive for topics of interest to you.  Make good use of Brian's Year 2000 Preparation Archive with which you can select a category and bring up a list of relevant threads on a number of subjects including...

Personal Considerations
Food Storage and Preserving
Growing Food
Cooking Food
Alternate Power
Community Preparation
Rural Living
Urban Living
Bugging Out
Security and Guns
Ham Radio

Civility and Disagreements

There will be some messages that make you wonder if this is the right place for you. In the course of our public conversation on progress of the fixing of Y2K bugs and the potential danger of unfixed computer systems and chips, a fire fight may ensue. Some even try to disrupt the conversation for reasons that we may never fully understand. Most, however, contribute thoughtful, interesting, and useful information on how to prepare, what is really happening, and what may come.

Ed's Discussion Forum is the "edge" that you will need to get these preparations done in the time remaining. You may never have imagined that the wisdom of a stranger could help you get through hard times ahead. It may even save your life and the lives of those you love. Despite the occasional breakdown of civility in some messages (this is a trying time for us all!), you'll benefit greatly by sticking around. You may even come to appreciate the drama of our disagreements.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna


-- Stan Faryna (, May 27, 1999.




a fake address

it creates

a lot of technical


-- test (test@test.test), July 19, 1999.

Using text editor to try formatting fonts, coloring text, and inserting hyperlinks

Other hyperlink method

-- just (, July 20, 1999.



-- 0000 (jesttryin', July 20, 1999.

But how do I cut and paste and article onto the Boards??

Somebody...Anybody...? Thanks.

-- 0000 (jesttryin'@hmm.mmm), July 20, 1999.

Just a trial run!

Food and E-Prep Guidelines:
http://www c843d5a94039ba8825672300635889/$FILE/Y2Kn'ltr.pdf

*** Everything Else

-- The MOM (, November 14, 1999.

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