Appropriately, the backlash began on the Internet where it would never have been possible had the bug sent the world to its sick bed.

By yesterday, Websites around the world were packed with postings from frustrated surfers apparently angry that the warnings of cyber chaos have not materialised.

The whole non-event has turned into a bonanza for conspiracy theorists, with Internet newsgroups inundated with messages of "we've been had."

One site has even announced it is "accepting apologies for Y2K."

Most frequently, the targets for abuse appear to be the consultants who profited from the millennium hype.

It is a sentiment most eloquently summed up by a Canadian university professor, who caused outrage when he declared in a Wall Street Journal column last year: "Y2K advocates [are] like newly hatched mosquitoes ... they only have a short amount of time to suck blood before they die."

So what's the problem? Okay, so the world seems to have got over the bug without so much as a sniffle.

Shouldn't people be glad?

Not when so much money is involved. While the exact figure of the Y2K operation of the past few years is never likely to emerge, best estimates suggest upward of $US500 billion was spent around the world, $1 billion in New Zealand alone.

Alex Heffer, a software company owner who e-mailed the Herald with his complaint headlined "Crime of the Decade," believes the public have a right to know if they have been conned.

While Mr Heffer said he could see the need for testing and repair work on computer applications dependent on date operations, he accused consultants and the media of spreading an "embedded computer chip apocalypse theory."

"This theory applied to electronic devices such as water pump controllers and toasters, where there was no obvious date function and therefore no means of changing the date to 2000 for any form of testing.

"The theory was that at the time of manufacture a clock MIGHT have been started on these devices and that on January 1, 2000, these devices MIGHT fail.

"And yet we, the public, have not seen a shred of hard evidence that such devices existed."

A frequent Internet user in Wellington, Ross Himona, flashed tongue-in-cheek messages around the world at the stroke of midnight on December 31, letting the world know the sky had not fallen in.

The messages, which were picked up by the New York Times and featured in its January 1 edition, were his little way of having fun at the expense of the Y2K doomsayers, he said yesterday.

"Yes [work] was necessary, but the thing was overhyped," said Mr Himona. "I think there were lots of people cashing in."

Strangely silent on the Web, though, have been those who headed for their bunkers on December 31.

People like "Jeremiah" who posted an apocalyptic farewell message on one Website on December 28, declaring: "There is no way out."

If only he would log on, he would know it is safe to come out now.