Slouching toward Y2K

Will this be the year you get an office that's not the server room or the year your boss decides to replace Linux with NT? Our geek horoscopes prepare you for the future.

Published December 18, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

December 1999 - January 2000

Will there be life as we know it after the clock strikes Y2K? For all your hyper-rational geek smugness, you've reached a juncture in your career you never thought you'd see: You haven't got a clue, have you? There's just too damned much uncertainty tucked away in the crevices of the fin-de-millennium digital infrastructure.

So, in your quiet desperation, you've clicked on Geek Astrology -- your last-ditch effort to grapple with the specter of a worldwide millennial core-dump. Perhaps this will be the prognostication that will help you eff the ineffable that lurks on the other side of the Y2K event horizon.

And perhaps not. But what do you have to lose? Just tell your manager you're thinking outside the box.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19):

Lucky you. Your astrological sign will be the last to rise in the final manic, anxious days of Y2K. This will provide unusually ripe fodder for your usual fatalist/pessimist Capricorn traits, along with that annoying geek tendency to insist on having the last word. In your case, that final utterance will just happen to be something really dire and gloomy, like "apocalypse" -- so I'm going to humor you and suggest some new career skills for 2000, only some of which are metaphorical. See if you can guess which ones: 1) Keep your server cluster running after the power fails, with nothing but a treadmill and a pack of wild dogs. 2) Lure your remaining employees to staff meetings with beef jerky and hard-tack. 3) Make your own toner and paper. 4) Relinquish your tightly held techno-libertarian beliefs and embrace the protection of the government militia (and/or federal regulators, if you're a Microsoft competitor). You've made your own anxious bed, so lie in it: Take a stiff drink of Jolt Cola, clutch your mouse and watch the Y2K clock strike midnight. And pray your hard disk doesn't burst into flames. Lucky numbers for 2000: 101, 425, 880, 86, Chapter 11, 148 3/8 (NASDAQ).

Your New Year's resolution: Become a more caring, loving person.

What you will actually do: Upgrade your workstation with latest version of SplatterQuest.

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Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)

Your gambit to sneak your eminently promising IPO under the millennial wire will be visited by 11th-hour poltergeists from the SEC. Can the wizards of Goldman Sachs perform an exorcism in time? The answer is unclear, but now is not a good time to indulge your Aquarian skepticism by thumbing your nose at superstition; slip some garlic and crystals into your laptop case, just in case.

Your New Year's resolution: Finish your current project on time and under budget.

What you will actually do: Toy with the rough edges of how much time you can spend on Slashdot while just barely meeting project deadlines.

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Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20)

Love is in the air. You'll ring in the new year snugly networking with your significant other -- namely, your employer's data server. You'll gaze lovingly at its limpid console as you dance gaily together on the command line. And while the people from sales and marketing celebrate with champagne and caviar, you'll be keeping the free world safe for e-commerce.

Your New Year's resolution: Go to the grocery store and find cruciferous vegetables. Eat them.

What you will actually do: Go to the grocery store and spot an attractive person in the produce section, following him or her around until they glare at you. Buy a quart of Starbucks ice cream and devour it alone in parking lot.

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Aries (March 21 - April 19)

Your uncanny fashion sense can give you an advantage during Y2K festivities as fellow looters are distracted by your knack for combining practical guerrilla wear and "found" Cartier accessories. Dressing down doesn't mean having to lose your sense of fun! A casual chat-room encounter with a friendly, underage Leo stimulates your adventurous and foolhardy nature. Careful!

Your New Year's resolution: Throw out your collection of ratty, corporate logo T-shirts from dead start-ups and defunct former employers.

What you will actually do: Sniff the armpits, put them back in the drawer.

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Taurus (April 20 - May 20)

All that time slaving away over a hot compiler is about to bear fruit. But planetary motions indicate cause for caution; just remember that the fondest hopes of your venture partners are not always what they say they are. Your manager's true intentions are obscured under layers of 128-bit public-key encryption.

Your New Year's resolution: Get a haircut.

What you will actually do: Believe the cute, 20-year-old clerk at Whole Foods market who says "the ponytail makes you look younger."

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Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

As the new year approaches, the temptations of venture capitalists prove too potent to ignore. You bite the Apple Macintosh, but immediately you begin to feel woozy. Now you're having second thoughts -- you fear you may have committed a conspicuously unoriginal sin. Will you be cast from the garden? E-mail Eve for further details. Perverse and unpredictable Aquarian sysadmin denies access to critical networks.

Your New Year's resolution: Read a novel.

What you will actually do: Go to a mega-bookstore. Buy coffee. Get waylaid by new O'Reilly technical reference guide with Tasmanian mouse lemur on the cover. Never make it to the fiction section.

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Cancer (June 21 - July 22)

Take a lesson from your engineering staff: a daily routine devoid of spare time, romantic attachments and fresh fruits and vegetables can have a remarkably concentrating effect. Thorny technical problems dissolve. Project milestones fly past. Furtive Scorpio contractor from shady body-shop submits gargantuan invoice.

Your New Year's resolution: Eat less sugar.

What you will actually do: Get stuck in a half-hour line at Fry's. Succumb to the siren call of ambulance-orange Hostess Sno-ball treats. Feel ashamed. Buy another pack for the road.

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Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22)

The stars say it's time to dodge the slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune 500s. Make use of your ample commute time to ponder the many ways in which you've become a 24-7 slave to Microsoft. Write your own declaration of digital independence. Start with something like, "FreeBSD or die."

Your New Year's resolution: Be more patient with non-technical people.

What you will actually do: Continue to be pedantic while speaking much more loudly and slowly than before.

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Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22)

A member of your overzealous sales staff -- a pompous and patronizing Leo, it appears -- will secretly make extravagant promises on your behalf. Time to draw boundaries, or suffer the inevitable professional dismemberment. Remember, you can only stuff so many bits through coaxial cable before it melts. Guard your critical path jealously; there is a procrastinator in your midst.

Your New Year's resolution: Clean your apartment -- kitchen, bathtub, everything.

What you will actually do: Rent a new apartment. You can afford to make it someone else's problem.

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Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22)

Heads up! Hackers will exploit Y2K hoopla as the perfect diversion. While the rest of the world screams "fire," they're quietly gutting the corporate data cores and decrypting sensitive financial records on Linux-based parallel supercomputers. They will attempt to high-five each other, and miss. Don't worry, a Gemini firewall admin takes the heat.

Your New Year's resolution: Contribute to the company's holiday food drive this year.

What you will actually do: Bring a can of Spam to work, then decide it's more fun to keep in your cubicle as a joke.

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Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21)

A mysterious Taurean consultant enters your life, preaching a gospel of thin clients and fat margins. His message is pure Red Herring. You administer the appropriate metaphorical scalping with Occam's Razor, winning praise from both higher-ups and underlings. Unsolicited e-mail leads to felicitous conclusions.

Your New Year's resolution: Stop spending money on expensive electronic gadgets.

What you will actually do: Buy a spare Palm VII for the bathroom.

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Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec .21)

Inspiration from unlikely sources. Your next big idea will be transmitted to you when you are at your most un-wired. Put down the cell phone; the muse is trying to get through. Cosmic caller ID will read, "No strings attached."

Your New Year's resolution: Get regular exercise.

What you will actually do: Buy exercise video. Spend hours on couch trying to determine if featured aerobics instructor's breasts are real.

By Thomas Scoville

Thomas Scoville is either an Information Age savant or an ex-Silicon Valley programmer with a bad attitude. He is the author of the Silicon Valley Tarot.

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