What kind of responses have you gotten ?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I am curious and wish to compare notes. What kind of responses from people are YOU getting when you discuss the big Y2K ?
As for me, it runs about 75% "So What", about 20 % "THEY'LL Fix it", another 4.8% "Boy,that sounds serious" and about .2% "We are in trouble, how do I get ready?".
-- Art Welling (email@example.com), March 26, 1998
Good question. My sister the banker says her small independent bank saw the problem way back and has it fixed already, but they are way worried about their links to other banks and financial entities. The in-house computer guru at my place of work shrugs it off as a nonproblem in our Mac-based workplace. Others are taking a 3they9ll fix it before then2 attitude, without defining who 3they2 are. Most noncomputer literate people I have talked to don't really understand it. Despite an increasing number of news stories, Y2K is still low to nonexistent on most people9s radar screens. Only *one person* has agreed with me that it might not be a good idea to be in an airplane or downwind from an operating nuclear power plant at 11:59 p.m. 12/31/99.
-- J.D. Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 26, 1998.
If you are taking the Y2K problem seriously and are actually making preparations you are outnumbered at least 999 to 1 by those who think "it won't be that bad". After I told my parents in Dec. 1997 I did get their attention because they had lived through one depression. On the way back from their annual trip to Southern California, they stopped at my mom's brother who started telling them the same story I was. Then I had instant credibility. They have read Ed's book and passed it on to my sister who's son is using it for material on a report at school. He is 10 years old! My wife thinks I'm crazy and to keep peace I had to pass up a super deal on 12.5KW genset because I already have a 6.5KW. Of course I had to buy the food without telling her. But she won't eat any "grain stuff". Remember that the first lifeboats from the Titanic left only half to a third full, people thought is was safer to stay on board. One thing I learned from all the Titanic hoopla lately is that the iceberg was not a nice frosty white one that we see in the history books. It was partially melted and had turned "turtle" with the smooth glossy wet underside showing above water. Y2K is like that iceberg on a calm, moonless night, very difficult to see in time.
-- Douglas V. Dorsey (Douglas.Dorsey@PSS.boeing.com), March 26, 1998.
I work in the banking industry as a regulator, and I have had the opportunity to speak to several people, both inside and outside banking, about the problem. Because of regulatory pressure, most bankers have been forced to examine the problem, at least to some extent. However, most are still in the "they'll fix it somehow" category. It's just too painful to imagine the consequences if these things really happen. However, a very few are beginning to wake up and take Y2K seriously.
Most people, though, just don't seem interested; it's someone elses problem. That attitude is caused by many things, but a lack of awareness of the true interconnectivity of our modern society plays some part. I think Y2K awareness in the general public is going to be a slow process, at least until the mass media goes into "panic" mode. By then, it will be too late for most to adequately prepare.
-- Bryan Huie (email@example.com), March 27, 1998.
I live in a very small community in Upstate NY and feel relatively safe from the mass hysteria I expect to take place in the large cities when the public will be forced to acknowledge the Y2K problem. The majority of the people I've talked to concerning Y2K react with either "they'll fix it" or "it won't be so bad", including my son and son in law (both computer engineers). They don't seem to grasp the fact that the problem is as much a "business" as a "technical" one. However, I have begun to prepare for a "worst case situation" in the event my "kiddies" will have to "get out of Dodge"! Recommend that all you aware readers out there prepare for the time when your adult children will show up on your doorstep.
-- Marie Komar (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 27, 1998.
The responses below are fairly consistent ... the overwhelming majority (probably at the 99% level) believe that (a) it's not a serious problem, or (b) if it IS a serious problem, then 'they' will fix it somehow. Hollywood has influenced all of in this area: we're used to movies like "Independence Day", where Jeff Goldblum used his Macintosh Powerbook to zap a virus into the alien spaceship, and thus help save mankind at the last possible moment. Alas, it won't work that way with Y2K, but most of society doesn't want to hear that.
Something for all of us to consider: if you got worried about Y2K relatively early, you probably went through a period of several weeks or months of near-paralysis, as you changed from "intellectual" acceptance of Y2K to a visceral "emotional" acceptance of Y2K. I'm particularly guilty of this, as are many computer professionals; in my case, I used Y2K as an example of bad programming in some courses I taught as far back as 1972, and I began actively writing and consulting about the technical/managerial aspects of Y2K in 1995. But I didn't REALLY make the connection to my personal life until early 1997, and it then took another several months for me to begin acting on the problem (e.g., by actually purchasing emergency food, gold, etc.). I suspect that several of you have gone through a similar transition.
But you need to keep in mind that when the great mass of society finally starts paying attention to Y2K, they're likely to "flip" overnight from denial to panic. Thus, we may not have the luxury of watching the stock market and saying, "Hmmm... looks like we've finally reached the top. Looks like the last train may be leaving the station. Looks like this is a good time to start selling our stocks." I think it could happen as quickly as the collapse that took place in Asia a few months ago... that's why I decided to liquidate my holdings in stocks and bonds last year, so that I was completely out of the market by the end of 1997. I've missed the last few hundred points of the DJI bull market, but I sleep better at night (though I still have nightmares about my IRA/Keogh funds being locked up)
-- Ed Yourdon (email@example.com), March 27, 1998.
Like most of you, I get the denial and "they'll fix it" from 95% of the people I talk to, including my brother who is an air traffic controller and other computer people I work with. I also teach part-time and I do a brief introduction to the internet in my Introductory Win 95 class and this site is one I have the students look at and then I explain about Y2k and ask them to investigate and make their own decisions. These people are adults that live in small towns or farm. The best response I have had is from the people that moved to the small town/farm because ...... (fill in the blank.) I also get a good response from high school kids amazingly (I have a very verbal daughter in high school.)
-- Rebecca Kutcher (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 27, 1998.
Ed's comment about a quick flip in public perception -- and panic -- is well taken. For example, the current low price of gold (around $300 at this writing) probably will be a fond memory within eight to ten months. I just read an analysis that, if only one percent of the population tries to buy a year's worth of food, the store shelves will be wiped bare. And past experience indicates that, once the public at large begins to grasp the implications of Y2K, such panic buying is almost inevitable. Remember the nationwide toilet paper shortage caused by a single Johnny Carson joke? Has Leno done any 2000 bug jokes yet?
-- J.D. Clark (email@example.com), March 29, 1998.
As an employee of the city of Phoenix I have been giving my boss a copy of everything relevant to the citys operations inreguards to Y2K. His responce is "I have talked to our programers and they have it under controle". My next question is what about our suppliers? If we can't get the parts what are we supposed to fix the firetrucks, police cars, sanitation, ambulances and all the other pieces of equipment that the city owns with? We spend over $3 million in parts every year yet no one seems to care. I plan on going up into the mountains where I have a cabin and "hole up" until things settle down, if they ever do. I would like to be wrong but I won't take chances with my family.
-- John Ebert (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 29, 1998.
Your comments on IRA/Keough are interesting. In Canada we have "RRSP's" (Registered Retirement Savings Plans), which may be similar. When you put money in each year, you get a tax deduction, which is really just deferred tax you pay when you cash in the RRSP at retirement.
OK, probably nothing new here. But if you want to buy gold in your RRSP as a substitute for stocks or mutual funds or Canadian or U.S. dollars (cash, T-Bills, certificates of deposit, term deposits, whatever), or anything else, all you can hold are (a) gold/precious metals stocks or (b) gold/precious metals mutual funds, which is fine as long as (a) the mines held by the stock issuers in foreign countries (or Canada) aren't nationalized, and (b) the mining companies you invest in have y2k-compliant computer systems.
You can't hold gold bullion, or certificates representing gold, in RRSP's. Since my wife and I are in our late 50's and have most of our savings inside these RRSP's, we don't feel we have many options.
Is this what gives you nightmares?
-- steve francis (email@example.com), March 30, 1998.
Steve, you can hold gold certificates in your RRSP account but they will count as part of your foreign account holdings (you can hold 20% of your RRSP account in non Canadian assets) because the gold is quoted in $US. Most brokers do not know this and you will probably get an argument from them but force them to check, I know because we have already bought the 20% maximum.
-- Patrick Galpin (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 30, 1998.
I told my Dr. about Y2K. He thought I was kidding. He'd never heard of it. Most people think I'm some sort of survivalist gun-nut when I mention it. They always point to little or no publicity by President Clinton or Dan Rather. so it must not be a problem, right? If you want percentages, I'd say 80% ignorance and/or indifference (the government will take care of me) 15% mild interest (as in it's a year away, why worry now?) 4.9% simplistic solutions (well, if it's a problem with old computers, why noy buy new ones? There, now, all better) and .01% Uh-oh. If this is affected then THAT will be affected and then that means...
-- Greg Lawrence (email@example.com), March 31, 1998.
I am doing a "Software Engineering" course at a university here in the UK. 25% of the course material is based on Ed's work - the structured method et al. The "recognition factor" associated with Eds name was the only reason I started to look into Y2K. Someone mentioned on comp.software-eng what Ed was saying/ doing about Y2K and it got me interested enough to come here.
That was last week - and I think I'm still in denial. I waver from trying to focus on the practicalities to suffering complete "analysis paralysis" (I guess this is that transition phase Ed mentioned above). None of the tutors or students on my course were aware of Ed's position! When I mention that Ed has moved from NYC out to the boondocks of New Mexico the usual reaction is stunned silence and then laughter!
Other people I have spoken to about it are quickly getting bored with me "going on about it". A few of them automatically shut-off as soon as I mention Y2K. I think that I may be trying too hard to convince them. I could sure use some advice on how to talk to people about it.
My father believes me - although in his entrepreneurial way he sees it as more of an opportunity. My position is that what is the point of making a squillion dollars on paper by shorting the FTSE100 when the computer system that records that "value" goes ape, or worse, isn't even switched on because the power has failed!
Anyway, thanks for the book and the web site Ed. Otherwise I'd still be as ignorant as almost everyone else.
-- Murray Spork (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 01, 1998.
When the subject came up or when I brought it up with friends, family and cooworkers, I ran into the same spectrum of reactions. A few responded constructively while most, unfortunately, faded the subject. You see, I live in sophisticated, well-off, liberal, Hi-tech Massachusetts and the level of complacency and arrogance is pretty high-at least in eastern Massachusetts around Boston. I am a data communications technician and have a few computer languages under my belt as well. I work in an I.S. department where they feel as long as they successfully implement S.A.P. software, track down all vulnerable embedded code and root out all legacy excecutable files (they have just started looking into the embedded code and executables!) everything will be just fine. When, at a meeting, I asked how we would enforce Year-2000 compliance with suppliers and vendors, the manager had no ready answer. I am not going to continue to nag those I have already apprised of this situation. It is like talking to a brick wall. It is so sad, but that is human nature.
-- John D. McClure (email@example.com), May 01, 1998.
Same story here, people are willing to talk about economic disruptions but mention problems with infrastructure and most of them change the subject immediately.
I think Patrick Henry put it best in his "Liberty or Death" speech...
"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst and to provide for it."
Or maybe we should look back to Jeremiah (Old Testament prophet): "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."
-- Dennis Peterson (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 13, 1998.
Despite the fact that there is extremely ample information to show that a disruption of the data continuum is bareing down on us all, I for one go through periods of depression---but not about the events upcoming. I get depressed about being the ONLY PERSON who is willing to open her eyes to the coming storm. Its extremely opressive to be continually that ONLY ONE, and to have everyone one else ignore it. In my own little environment I am also the only one in the family structure who is making preparations. Everyone else has too full a life to do this, but working a full time job and having all the other volunteer things, AND planning to be self-sufficient in another place gets very wearing. Thanks for listening. GAEF
-- Glenna A.E. Kamoroff (email@example.com), May 14, 1998.
I think it is time for you to resign from your other volunteer activities. If anyone asks why, tell them that you are preparing for the dislocations you foresee. This will both free you to prepare to survive and demonstrate that you are serious in your beliefs, putting your money where your mouth is so to speak. This *may* have the effect of convincing others to follow your course.
-- George Valentine (GeorgeValentine@usa.net), May 14, 1998.
Glenna: I hear you.Though I rarely post,you are not alone in your depressive cause which accomponies being the leader in what you understand,and know is happening.I myself have a problem with this, and do not need anyone to tell me to prepare.Though we here write whether we believe or not "which the not's are starting to take notice".Your doing so,for your family,As I am.
And thats all.
Albert Rosado S.I.N.Y
-- Albert Rosado (ARESURRECT@aol.com), May 14, 1998.
I am currently working for a (very) large US bank in London (UK), doing Y2k analysis/fixes. I find that most of the IT people I know are very casual about Y2k from their personal perpective - however much importance the problem is being given by employers(mostly in the banking sector in the City of London, where it is being taken increasingly seriously). I can't explain why this is - or are they all secretly hoarding etc.?
Having read the stuff here and elsewhere, I find myself more and more concerned about personal wealth post 2000. Is this common ??
-- Dave Eales (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 14, 1998.