2020 is a Dangerous Year

6FD477C4-A68B-47B2-B66A-E4E245DB7A4DNever use “20” as a substitute for, or an abbreviation of, “2020.”

I learned this yesterday as I was signing a bunch of legal documents having to do with the purchase of my new home. My wife and I were sitting across the table from a notary public who had to witness each of us sign what must have been at least 30 different documents. The notary handed me the first document and said, “Sign and date on the line right above where your name is typed.”

I took the sheet of paper she handed me and used the pen with blue ink she gave me — it had to be blue ink, she said — and affixed my signature in the designated place and then dated it “1/16/20.”

She looked at it and then handed it back to me. “No,” she said, “you need to write ‘2020’ instead of ‘20.’ Writing ‘20’ offers an easy opening for an unscrupulous person to defraud you. It allows them to easily modify the date backwards or forwards. If you abbreviated it to 1/16/20, it’s possible that someone could add two more numbers to the end to change the year to, say,  2019, 2005, or 2022.”

“Really? How could that be used to defraud me?” I asked.

“Well,” she said, “say you wrote a check on February 1, 2020. The U.S. Uniform Commercial Code states that banks don’t have to honor a check six months from the date it was signed. So from February through August, 2020, that check is cashable. But what if you wrote a ‘20’ instead of 2020? Someone could, in theory, change that ‘20’ to ‘2021,’ which would allow that creep to deposit the check again from February through August 2021 without giving the bank tellers anything to look out for.”

“Jeez, I never considered that,” I admitted.

“And it’s even more critical for business purposes,” she added. “If you signed a contract on 2/1/20 binding you to something for a three month period from 2/1/20 through 4/30/20, someone could change those ‘20s’ to any other years this century and drastically change your agreement. Instead of working from February 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020, it could show that you agreed to work from February 1, 2019 through April 30, 2021. Then they could potentially sue you for breach of contact for failing to have to deliver anything you agreed to for the first 12 months of a 27 month contract.”

“Yikes,” I said to her. “I need to warn all of my blogging friends about this.”

Blogging friends, consider yourself warned.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — January 17

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 17th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on January 17, 2008 (12 years ago!) on my old, old blog.

iMac Attack

7F25435A-B857-4ABD-B975-CE2905034797When my wife’s PC, an “older” (4 years old) HP desktop computer began to have serious performance issues (e.g., it would take around 10 minutes just to shut down), we decided it was time to get her a new computer. She uses her computer primarily for e-mail and internet access, so she really just needed something basic…nothing fancy. In other words, inexpensive.

My wife is a very good web researcher and she really focused on gathering intelligence about what to replace her aging HP with. She looked into PCs with Windows and looked at Apple computers, since our daughter and her husband both have Macs and love them. She read a lot of negative things about Windows Vista, Microsoft’s new operating system, and also read universally positive comments about Mac’s OS-X operating system. She read that Macs are less prone to internet and computer viruses and hacker attacks than are Windows-based PCs.

With all of this information in mind, we bought her a brand new iMac computer, the one that doesn’t appear to be a computer as much as just a large, flat monitor on a stand. We bought it at our local Best Buy store and also purchased he extended service contract (more about that later).

Sure, I wanted to spend no more than about $500 for a computer, but my wife insisted that the iMac was the better, albeit considerably more expensive, option. So I shelled out $1500 for the iMac, plus another several hundred dollars for software, since none of our Windows software would run on the iMac.
I even paid $100 for the Best Buy Geek Squad to come to our house, set up the computer, provide a brief Mac orientation, and transfer data files from my wife’s ancient HP to her brand new iMac. And it was good. My wife quickly got used to working with Apple’s operating system and with using the Mac software. The computer was fast, responsive, and, according to her, gorgeous.

Unfortunately, just three months and five days after we bought this allegedly reliable, state-of-the-art iMac computer, it simply stopped working. We took it to our local Best Buy, since we bought the iMac and its three-year, $250 extended service warranty. The folks at Best Buy said they’d have to send it back to the factory and projected that we’d have it back in a month. A MONTH! Fuhgeddaboudit, we said.

So we drove the 25 miles to the closest Apple store, where the guy behind the Genius Bar examined the iMac and took it into the “back room,” saying the computer either had a failed power supply or a failed multi-function board. He said they’d run diagnostics on the computer and would do what they had to do to fix it — in just 7-10 workdays. If they couldn’t fix it, they’d replace it, he said.

“Wait,” I said. “We bought a Mac because everyone said how reliable and dependable they are. Why would it fail after just three months? I have had dozens of PCs over the years and none of them failed that quickly.”

The Genius Bar guy shrugged and said, “Yeah, well it’s just a computer. Computers sometimes crash.” End of story.

We drove home and I hooked up my wife’s 4-year old, sluggish HP computer, which works fine, albeit a lot slower than, and not nearly as pretty as, her iMac. But, unlike her iMac, which failed after just three months, her four-year old HP just keeps plugging away, like the proverbial tortoise versus the hare.

FOWC with Fandango — False

FOWCWelcome to January 17, 2020 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “false.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.