What's the Doom and Gloom spin on this?

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Read, if you dare, in the July 9 press clippings about the Merril Lynch 450 page, methodically researched report which lays waste to many of the major assumptions which buttress the case for societal meltdown in the year 2000. Pay special attention to the explanation of just how WE DO NOT HAVE THE TIGHT INTEGRATION OF SYSTEMS which would produce the domino effect that has become part of the D&G mantra. Then refute this report with data of equal quality, not the opinions of self-proclaimed systems' experts or your Aunt Millie.

-- Oscar Swischne (foaddgc@usa.net), July 10, 1998


Lets see, some company with very self serving interests authors a report. So, they get all their self-proclaimed systems experts plus a few consultants(Aunt Millie) in a room and say, "We need some good news."

Tight integration of systems will not matter much if you have just 5-20% of systems go down in all sectors of soceity.

I personally think that we will have a short period(3-6 months) of roughness if the power stays up. If the power grid has major problems then all bets are off. THE POWER-GRID DOES HAVE TIGHT INTEGRATION OF SYSTEMS.

have a nice day,


-- j (yada@yada.com), July 10, 1998.

j, Thanks for the shallow, subjective response. You have in just a few words defined the quality of the arguments from the D&G crowd. Self-interest is one of most important human qualities that is driving the solutions.

-- Oscar Swischne (foaddgc@usa.net), July 10, 1998.

Well, I don't think I can readily dismiss the entire 450 page report here but I do have a couple of observations. From what I have read of it, it really doesn't say anything new. It is based on surveys submitted to the businesses and financial institutions worldwide. Most of them replied they expect to be compliant. I don't know what else they are supposed to say. Even in this fairly upbeat report, they confess they worry about their vendors and suppliers which really is the nut of the problem for the industries, anyway. As far as the interconnectedness of the systems not truly creating a domino effect, I have read enough statements by programmers to believe that there doesn't have to be that much shared data to cause tremendous problems. SEC statments have noted that while y2k remediation has been budgeted by Fortune 1000 companies has been healthy, actual dollars spent has been lagging. Capers Jone has simply stated that there are not enough programmers and enough mainframe systems available to rent to do adequate testing for the large systems associated with Fortune 1000 companies. I see some real generalizing about the banks in Japan. It only takes 2 or 3 major banks in Tokyo to create a real banking crisis. Japan estimated a cost of remediating their banks that was about one half of just one bank, Citicorp, is spending alone. Was it just the Japanese banks that recently upgraded? Finally, the summary makes no mention of the embedded chip problem, which, alone, could create pockets of catastrophe like little land-mines in off-shore drilling platforms, desalinasation plants, water utilities, manufacturing floors and on and on and on. Capers Jones says the biggest lagerts on remediation are the urban centers, cities, throughout the world. This is true of both embedded chips and mainframe systems. 90% are lagging terribly. We will have numerous studies such as this capturing and analyzing different sets of data and assumptions.

Peter de Jaeger sums it up best, "y2k is a worldwide problem. IT projects almost invariably run late (the larger the later). The deadline is immovable. There will be astonishing stories of heroism and success in gaining compliance. The question is, will there be enough?

-- Leonardo (Leoanrcc@ix.netcom.com), July 10, 1998.

The problem is the same as the Titanic's it was watertight IF only 4 compartments were flooded. But in fact the compartments were not truly watertight they were "connected" at the "E" deck level so each one overflowed into the next until the whole ship was flooded. So it will be with Y2K, first the small and medium sized businesses which have done nothing will see their 180, 120, 90, 60 and then 30 day forecasts go haywire begining in 1999 and then they will take down the next tier of suppliers and the next and the next ad nauseum. Japan, Canada and the state of New York rollover to Fiscal year 2000 on APRIL 1st 1999 mark the date on your calendar. Three "compartments flooded". 46 more states on JULY 1st 1999, Federal Govt on OCTOBER 1st 1999. Sometime in late 1999 it will become obvious to even the skeptical thay 5 compartments will flood. Thats when the exciting or terifying part begins depending on where you are on the "ship". Best to count lifeboats now not hope for the "watertight" compartments to hold later.

-- Douglas V. Dorsey (Douglas.Dorsey@PSS.boeing.com), July 10, 1998.

Boy Oscar, I am soooooo glad you pointed this out to me. Now I can sleep so much better. There is no risk at all, huh Oscar? No reason to buy a couple of bags of beans and rice at Sam's just in case the grocery store might be low. Gee, it is such a relief to hear from someone so omniscient. We'll see buddy boy. In a year and a half we will both know who is right. The difference is, if you are right I am still OK, but if I am right you will be room temperature. Any kids depending on your laser intellect?

-- Will Huett (willhuett@usa.net), July 10, 1998.

Oscar, I am sorry, your right.

No worries. y2k is the biggest hoax. Computers do not need accurate dates to function correctly. Continue on as nothing is wronge. Embedded systems have no issues. I just got caught up in the hysteria.

have a nice day,


-- j (yada@yada.com), July 10, 1998.

Whew! I'm glad the Y2k crisis is OVER! Anyone want to buy some dehydrated potatoEs?? ;) (Now I have to get busy finding a new name...Y2Okay?) -K.P-

-- Kay P (Y2Kay@usa.net), July 10, 1998.

Leo, If your source is the 1996 report by Capers Jones or even his more recent work then tell us where this leader in measuring the extent of the problem has predicted any of the outrageous claims put forth by the D&G crowd. Tell us why we should not believe the engineers in the electric utilities when they go to great lengths to explain the progress many have made and the contingency plans for dealing with surprise outages. Follow the Powerful Prognostication on the Westergaard site and tell us why we should not believe the highly reputable engineers who are going to great lengths to explain how this very serious problem is being mitigated. Did you read the thread here about how electric utilities are selling generating capacity to avoid fixing Y2k. Was that not a hoot? The reason they are selling generating capacity is because deregulation has changed their business model such that distribution is more profitable than generation and the cost of excess generating capacity can no longer be passed along to consumers via arbitrary rate increases. Follow the money not the fanatics. Before you totally buy the argument about the severe shortage of programmers why not check with employment agencies and contract programming firms and see if you can hire some. Guess what? You will find that you can, virtually anywhere in the country. Is the market tight? Yes? Will you pay more than two years ago? Yes, but you will pay about 35% more not the huge sums that were predicted by the pundits last year. Leo, you gotta follow the money if you want to find the truth. Also, you gotta look back in the archives of the doom and gloom chronicles at the predictions for things that would occur by July of 1998. If the D&G predictions repeatedly fail to materialize then why do the D&G prophets still have credibility as they debunk the assessments of legitimate experts? Thanks for you very thoughtful reply, Oscar

-- Oscar Swischne (foaddgc@usa.net), July 10, 1998.


Was Merrill Lynch year 2000 compliant when they issued the report?

How did you determine that the report was methodically researched from reading press clippings? Do you assume that because it comprises a tome of some 450 pages that it must have been methodically researched"? Are you equating quantity and quality?

Take a look at the U.S. General Accounting Office website at http://www.gao.gov/y2kr.htm. The GAO is the watchdog agency for Congress. It is responsible for auditing other government agencies, reporting on subjects requested by Congress, and generally providing the necessary reality checks that big government requires. Their findings do not jibe with those of Merrill Lynch.

Read a report  any report. These are written by a government agency with no axe to grind, no conflict of interest leading it to misrepresent data they are working with What reports do you think are more likely to be impartial? Those of government agency, whose employees are compensated whether or not they ruffle some political feathers? Or, those of a multi-billion dollar for-profit corporation whose income relies upon the public investing their money in other for-profit corporations that they (Merrill Lynch) recommend?

I also would have you peruse some of the testimony that has been given to various Congressional sub-committees since the beginning of the year (I dont have a URL right in front of me now, maybe someone out there could provide the appropriate link). These are leaders and highly regarded experts in their respective industries. They are asked to testify before the House and the Senate. Their testimony also differs with the opinions of Merrill Lynch. These are not people publishing a report to serve their own interests  a person can say anything they want when its their ink and paper.

None of what I would consider impartial or "unweighted" information on the subject of Y2K reflects the position Merrill Lynch is taking in this report.

Regards, PMB

-- PMB (paul_bednarek@quantumdata.com), July 10, 1998.

Oscar, you raise a good point. There is a very legitimate debate going on regarding the efficacy of the power grid. I keep reading compelling arguements from both sides (and in the middle). At the Chicago Y2K Conference Rick Cowles even backed away from his early doom & gloom assessment of March. He is very concerned though particularly regarding the co-ops and the potential ripple effect. As far as your reference to Capers Jones, I had the privilege of hearing him at the Chicago conference. He is a very distinguished gentleman not given to a wild use of adjectives. He just kind of dryly reports what he knows and lets you spin the colors and images. The bottom line though, was, according to his latest evaluations, that the U. S., the whole of everything (I don't know how he does these exhaustive calculations), will be about 85% compliant. That is a bearable success rate. If if falls below 85%, then it will be very difficult. He doesn't know if we'll make it. That's about as far as he will go in painting a picture.

As far as the availability of programmers, well, it kind of supports my earlier point that y2k, while well budgeted by the Fortune 1000, is not actually having a lot of money spent on remediation. If everyone was doing what they were supposed to, so the theory goes, there wouldn't be any on the market. A recent Gaetner study showed that estimated costs of repair per line of code were acutally low, that it is averaging just over $6.00 per line! So, the surplus of programmers could actually be a bad sign, not a good one. Finally, as far as ConEd and others selling off their electrical production, I don't speculate on that or, for example, whenever a CIO suddenly leaves a company (oooooh! What does he know?!) These guys change jobs all the time, y2k or no. Electrical deregulation, I agree, is a big part of what these companies are dealing with.

P. S. I am really surprised at the level of blistering sarcasm on these forums. Oscar's points merit discussion. That is what this is all about. Would you others talk to him or some of the other people that get flamed like this in person? People refer to the break-down of a civil society as a reason y2k will be bad if the government checks stop coming. Well, this discussion forum is Example #1.

-- Leonardo (Leonarcc@ix.netcom.com), July 10, 1998.

Oscar keeps saying, "follow the money."

Good idea. And, while you are at it, consider who's money Merrill has (investors) and what they want the money to do (stay with Merrill.)

Gee--do ya think that Merrill would really REALLY have the nerve to tell the investor pool that things are looking bleak?

Needless to say...the SEC itself has said that the Y2K reports filed thus far by corps are largely meaningless...

-- Greg Benesch (gbenesch@earthlink.net), July 10, 1998.

I've read the articles.

First, let's answer a question for me. Why is it that you assume that anyone who doesn't believe that we'll transition into the year 2000 without a blip must be a Doom and Gloomer? That you equate preparation for possible problems with not looking for or wanting solutions?

This isn't a binary world where one must be a pollyanna or an endo of the world-er. [Was this really Professor K, using another pseudoname, belittling any who thinks a problem might occur, and claiming mighty intellect. Sounds the same.]

Let's look at what the article actuallly say, not what you claim it to be. >>>>> "In the 450-page volume, which draws from a survey of 3,000 corporations, Merrill Lynch says most companies are two years into their year 2000 efforts and still have a year and a half to finish them. "Microsoft, Latin America, and communism all changed radically in a lot less time," the report says"


This is methodically researched? You ask for data of equal quality? There is no quality of data here, since there is no data. There is only the baseless assumption that since communism changed in less than a year and half we can rest easy because 'they' can fix it in less time? That's not data.

Nor has data actually been gathered. Rather, as noted, the report relies on surveys. It's already been documented that some companies are less than honest in their response to surveys (including the DOD) and that Y2K responses are driven by fear of litgation rather than being forthright.

No, that's a view of the world geared to keep investors from withdrawing their money from Merrill.

The Berlin wall came down in a few days, so we can reprogram the world's computers in less time.

Data? Your standard of quality is very low.

Let's look at the article from the Philadelphia Inquirer the same day, which is quoted below:

>>>>> By Peter Durantine ASSOCIATED PRESS

HARRISBURG -- It looks as if Pennsylvania's lights could still go out in 2000. Utility executives told the Public Utility Commission last year that they would have no problem operating via computer, despite a glitch, known as "Year 2000" or "Y2K," that threatens to cause computing havoc. But a recent survey by the PUC raises doubt.

Yesterday, PUC Chairman John M. Quain called for an investigation by the Office of Administrative Law Judge.

"It is apparent that too many utilities are ill-prepared to face 2000," Quain wrote in a ruling unanimously approved by the commission. "It is imperative that these utilities expedite their efforts in achieving compliance with the Year 2000 problem." >>>>>>>>>>

-- Rocky Knolls (rknolls@hotmail.com), July 10, 1998.

Oscar, I searched for the actual report from Merrill Lynch but couldn't find it, so I have to go for the moment with the press release. The press release contained a lot of words like "many companies will be compliant". The authors' take on interconnectedness seemed to be entirely focused on computers talking to each other. Our economy is interconnected through the division of labor.

A recent survey by Wells Fargo Bank reported that about 50% of small businesses plan to do nothing about Y2k preparedness. These are the businesses at the bottom of the food chain. When they get into trouble processing and delivering orders and services to consumers and the larger businesses, there will probably be a substantial ripple effect. Almost the entire GM company is currently shut down because of a strike at only 2 plants. Last year it got significantly shut down when a brake cylinder plant went on strike for a few weeks. I believe that similar effects will come out of Y2k problems, except that it won't be just one auto manufacturer shut down, it will be all of them, plus many other manufacturing businesses.

Merrill Lynch's study appears to me to be just another set of data points that are largely opinion, and that aren't all that compelling.

With regard to your reference to Capers Jones, I've read various things by him recently, and I haven't found it comforting. I recall the latest thing I read from him listing a whole series of software capacity problems (need for 10 digit Social Security numbers, 4 digit telephone area codes, etc) that would keep cropping up. Some of his most important research is regarding the high percent of large software projects that are delivered late or abandoned entirely (Ed Yourdon references this data in his Powerpoint presentation), and that software development always introduces substantial numbers of errors, only 85% of which are found in the development and testing process.

In summary, the systemic problem of Y2k is so huge that anyone commenting on it is almost always able only to deal with a small part of the whole, and that seems always to color their views, either towards optimism or pessimism. However, in general my opinion is that 3 or 4 months ago many people (the optimists) were saying that Y2k wouldn't be a problem, it would all get fixed. Now it seems like the optimists are saying - of course, there will be some glitches, but the problems will last only a few days or a few weeks. I expect the optimists soon to be saying - of course there will be a recession, but we've always had recessions for some reason or other, and so what if the airplanes don't fly for a few months, no big deal - think of the silver lining for the railroads.

P.S. I agree with a previous responder who bemoaned the amount of sarcasm and uncivil discourse on this forum. None of us is omniscient, we're all just tossing our opinions in the pot for the general good. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>

-- Dan Hunt (dhunt@hostscorp.com), July 10, 1998.

Thanks for the substantive responses as well as the standard hoopla. I think I understand the rules according to some folks on this forum. If you think(as I do) that we will have serious problems but survive without riots in the streets and famine then you are a Pollyanna. If you are in a position to obsserve and report occurences that contradict the worst case scenarios you are impeding the efforts of those who are "preparing." It is ok to exagerate the situation in the electrical utilities (the end justifies the means.) It is ok to trash corporate executives, engineers, programmers and anyone who attempts to counter the D&G mantra with facts. Rocky,in your post you assume from the article that the utility company executives are liars and that the politicians know more about the status at the electric company than the people running the place. Now that is an objective evaluation of the facts at hand. Thanks to Leo and Dan for the well thought out replies. Capers Jones 85% repair ratio would get him severely chastised on this forum as being a Pollyanna. One more hot tip that goes against the grain of the D&G reasoning, you can buy mainframe equipment, DASD, tape drives, etc. today on the new and used market. Oh heck, here's one more though I didn't want to make it this easy. Having spoken to numerous professionals who place permanent and contract programmers it appears that the shortage hasn't grown in a year (still 350k) because so many companies did get a late start that they were forced to shift resources from new development to Y2k. By shifting internal resources they avoided having to hire as many contactors and new hires. Further when they shut down some of those development projects they killed the additional hiring opportunities those projects would have produced. Incompetence is not a prerequisite to being in management!

-- Oscar Swischne (foaddgc@usa.net), July 10, 1998.

What's wrong, Rocky, too much positive news for you and your gloomy friends? Hey, I have to laugh at someone who starts a flame war, has a report thrown in his face and then scoffs at it and says, 'Well, that doesn't mean nothing. I'm taking my ball and going home. And....and...I'm gonna call my Dad!"

Grow up, friend.

-- Professor K (PROFESSORK@prodigy.com), July 10, 1998.

No, prof, there was nothing in anything Oscar said that was substantial, just as there was nothing in anything you've said that was substantial.

Oscar has read Dick Mills postings and equates them with brilliance --- the power company engineer who is laboring to explain the problem to us. As an engineer, I have serious questions about many of the statements Mills has made. When confronted with a new article that indicates concern over electric power, Oscar simply dismisses it.....who would I rather believe, he asks, Mills or the Pennsylvania PUC? Since Mills is a New York consultant, I'll believe the Pennsylvania PUC until they're proven wrong. Oscar asks why would I believe the regulators over and above the power company execs?

Let's not forget the legal rules under which the game is played: To admit a deficiency now is to admit liability later if the problem isn't fixed.

It's been very convenient for the two of you to forget those rules, and take every statement from those who could end up in court in the year 2000 as the truth, while any contradictory statement comes from someone who must have an ulterior motive.

As far as starting a flame war, the two of you were the ones who waltzed on with arrogant attitudes...... you, of course use only intellect, while anyone who disagrees with you is *emotional.* Do I detect a hint of emotion in your last post?

Both display a touch of irritation when we don't accept our whipping and retreat with our tail between our legs.

Frankly, your forum debating bores me. Unfortunately, you've never answered the question of why you seemingly feel the need to disuade people from preparing. Nor have you learned to equate the end of the world from simply serious problems.

Flame? Go spend a couple of evenings on the c.s.y2k newsgroup and learn what flaming is.

-- Rocky Knolls (rknolls@hotmail.com), July 10, 1998.

Would someone answer this: Why would any private business admit to not being y2k compliant, when they know the lawyers are circling? Who was it, on the CSIS Format on C-SPAN last month, who stated some DC lawyer already has a class action suit filed and ready-to-go? The key for all of us: Hope and pray for the best; prepare for the worst!

-- Holly Allen (Holly3325@juno.com), July 10, 1998.

There you go again Rocky name calling, circular arguments and no substance. What about the '99 problem Rocky? In April '98? Forty Four states with a '99 problems in July '98. Predictions falling left and right unfulfilled but the beat goes on. You would trust anyone over any expert in any field who offers evidence of progress. You haven't refuted anything factually just repeated the mantra. What's wrong with people preparing? Nothing!!!! Here's the problem with hyperbole and intolerance emanating from fatalist. Read my lips Rocky: The B.S. is being exposed bit by bit and the danger is that the exposure of the hyperbole will destroy not just your credibility but the credibility of people with valid concerns who are reporting honestly and factually. At that point it will be harder to convince people to do any preparation for the likely disruptions of 2000. Go ahead Rocky, take your ball and go home - you can't throw straight anyway.

-- Oscar Swischne (foaddgc@usa.net), July 10, 1998.

Oscar, nice to hear from you again.

One thing about the mainframe environment, data is usually posted on a nightly or realtime basis. This data is usually processed on the end of the month. I have never felt the 99 issue would be very noticeable. The reason being that the "99 exit" arguement really does not hold any water. In Cobol:

If condition true then 99exit

99exit is a label and not a date calculation.

However if the date was ever compared to 99 for error checking then the problem will arise. I work on a Legacy system and the 99 comparison was rampant. It was however very easy to fix because it was the standard through out the application. I simply expanded the date field to 8 characters(date with century included) and changed 99 to 9999. Gives me another 10000+ years. Hey, I did not write it I just have to fix it.

have a nice day,


ps. I do have an aunt Millie and she is a Y2K consultant. She's making more money than I am, because I choose to stay put and fix the problem with the company I work for.

-- j (yada@yada.com), July 11, 1998.

OK guys...here's Ed Yardeni's response. This should bring the discussion back to center:

Date: Sat, 11 Jul 1998 09:43:26 +0100 From: Ed Yardeni Subject: Merrill Lynch Y2K Survey Is Naively Optimistic To: y2kreporter-recipient@yardeni.com X-Original-Envelope-From: yardeni@ix.netcom.com Content-Length: 6786

In the comic-classic movie "What About Bob," phobic Bob (played by Bill Murray) tells his shrink that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't. In my opinion, there are two kinds of people regarding Y2K: those who Get It (GIs) and those who Don't Get It (DGIs). The GIs, like myself, are pessimistic about the eventual and inevitable outcome. We are alarmists. We believe that so much is at risk that there is no way there won't be significant disruptions, malfunctions, and crashes in vital computer systems. In our opinion, you have to be naively optimistic to conclude that everything will be fixed in time just because the consequences of failure are obviously so grim. I think we are realistic pessimists. (Unlike Bob, I had a happy childhood and am an optimist at heart.)

The folks at Merrill Lynch are naive optimists in my opinion. They just don't get it. They just issued a very impressive 440 page survey of thousands of companies around the world to assess their Y2K preparedness. The general conclusion is that "companies appear reasonably confident of their own Y2K issues, but uncertain about those same issues at their suppliers and customers." Before I launch my GI counterattack, I want to praise ML for this great effort. ML has enormous research resources and it is laudable that they've mobilized them to assess the Year 2000 Problem. I hope that they are now committed to providing quarterly Y2K progress reports of all the companies they follow around the world.

While I disagree with the overall optimistic conclusion of the ML assessment, I found lots of very useful information there that actually increased my concerns about Y2K. In other words, the ML survey has a wealth of information that can easily lead to exactly the opposite conclusions about Y2K! I would love to turn more optimistic about Y2K.

But the ML data doesn't do it for me. Here is why:

1) Why is ML willing to trust the informal assurances of their responding companies, when those very same companies don't trust the assurances they've received from their suppliers and customers? Of course some of the doubts about third parties may be attributable to the fact that the responding companies haven't even asked them yet about their Y2K compliance.

2) ML's survey methodology is totally inadequate. Apparently ML analysts simply asked their companies if they will be ready. Some may have asked more pointed questions than others. In any case, there was no standard questionnaire and no indication of who provided the answers to the informal and ambiguous survey. At a minimum, companies should disclose how many mission-critical systems they have and how many are in production--not just "fixed" and ready for testing. They should also disclose how many mission-critical systems are from third parties and have not been delivered yet.

3) ML analysts were asked to assess whether their companies: i) will be compliant, ii) likely, iii) less likely, iv) unlikely, or v) don't know. Nearly all of the surveyed companies fell into the first two categories. I couldn't find one that is "unlikely" to be compliant, and only a handful that are "less likely."

Now let's look at the evidence in the ML report that completely contradicts the optimistic spin provided in the introduction to the survey:

1) ELECTRIC UTILITIES: In the US, the ML analyst observes that the level of preparation of the electric utility industry is a "mixed bag." Some companies are still assessing the problem. There is a "risk that Y2K issues could result in power flow interruptions for the transmission grid." The analyst gives a "thumbs down" on Y2K disclosure, yet he ranks most of the companies as "will be compliant" or "likely compliant." In Japan, the analyst observes that "electric power companies are pretty much on their own in tackling the Y2K issue. They report that MITI, which oversees electric utilities, has not come up with any special guidelines or test standards to meet as of this writing." Among other Asian nations, Pakistani, Malaysian, and Chinese electric utilities appear to be least prepared, according to ML.

2) TELECOM: According to the ML survey, the one and only noncompliant standout on the in telecom services on the planet earth is Brazil's Telebras. However, the ML analysts in Japan provided only three short paragraphs on there companies, noting that NTT was "lucky" to change headquarters three years ago, so it is ahead of its competitors. A recent US State Dept survey showed that roughly half the nations in the world are not moving fast enough to fix their phone systems.

3) BANKING: The ML survey is surprisingly upbeat about banking in Asia. However, "25 percent of respondents fear the interbank clearing and settlement systems may not be compliant in time." The analysts covering banks in Continental Europe hedge their optimistic assessment by noting that all banks have to claim they will be compliant because "any public declaration of this not being the case would lead to regulatory action such as forced mergers, and possibly even withdrawals by depositors." A good point that applies universally to all companies in one way or another. The analyst of Japanese banks declares, without proof or explanation, that Japanese banks don't have to spend as much money or time on Y2K as US banks because they use more mainframes. He doesn't mention the impact of the Asian Crisis on Y2K remediation efforts, nor the regional risks of even more nonperforming loans caused by Y2K troubles. In the US, banks are expected to finish the "nuts and bolts" in 1998--leaving 1999 for testing. Interestingly, the US banking analysts didn't provide a table of expected compliance. Instead, they show the percent of estimated Y2K costs spent through March 31, 1998. The median was only 30 percent!

That's enough for now. After all, I'm supposed to be on vacation. However, I received so many e-mails about the ML survey, I decided to respond now. Fortunately, a friend messengered the report to me just before I left New York and I had plenty of quality time to study it next to a pool. Again, I applaude ML for their great effort. It does provide quite a bit of good news about Y2K. I expect that there will be more and more good news as judgment day for our computers arrives. But let's stop being naively optimistic; some systems are bound to fail and we must prepare to cope with the resulting disruptions. Interestingly, about a week ago, Canada's Task Force Year 2000, issued an update showing a marked improvement in the number of Canadian firms that are taking action, but still found enough bad news to recommend that "all economic sectors should accelerate the development of contingency plans...."

Ed Yardeni

-- Pastor Chris (chrisbr@ptinet.net), July 11, 1998.

If you do not belive Y2K will be a problem, good for you. If you do belive Y2K will be a problem, good for you. The ultimate answer is, no one knows what will happen, will something happen, YES. The degree of impact is unknown.

Will computers worldwide be impacted, yes. To what degree, unknown. I would never force my ideas upon anyone. I leave it up to everyone to make their own decisions.

As a programmer with 11+ years of experience, I see the potential for problems. To what degree, unknown.

I have personally been dealing with this issue as a programmer for 2+ years. If you do not believe this issue will cause problems with software, you are not informed. Will it cause problems with all software, no. I wrote a application 8 years ago for a customer, the application demanded century included on all date fields. It was a historical tracking app. Then again I modified a info. tracking system 2 years ago, and I could not convince the management team to spend the extra $ to fix the date issue. Since I get paid to do what I am told, I did exactly that. They called me 2 months ago and asked me to fix their Y2K issue and I was forced to decline due to current commitments. I did not say anything near what I wanted to say. I have developed a very cynical attitude to this issue. I have people who own PC's and have no programming training tell me that this is not an issue. Fine, I quit. I will fix it where I am currently employed and will attempt to help no others. Any programmer worth a pound of salt could tell you if you have a problem for 1 days of consulting fee's. Small price to pay.

I have provided my services to small companies for little or no charge. On Saturdays, at night, and whenever it fits their schedule. I still have yet to find 1 company that this issue will not impact is some way.

I provide advice to families at no charge for advice on simple preparations. These preparations are taken from years of hunting, camping, backpacking experience, and from the FEMA manual. Simple earthquake or natural disaster preperation will put you way ahead of the curve. Everyone remembers the bell shaped curve.

I make no claims to have all the answers. Time and time again someone points out, "If I am right you are in trouble, If I am wrong, so what!"

Have a nice day,


-- j (yada@yada.com), July 11, 1998.

Pastor Chris, Interesting post from Yardenni but it does not answer the original question on this thread. Assuming that Yardenni actually wrote this message (we'll know when he makes similar remarks publicy) why not parse his remarks and see what his response represents. In his criticism of the work of his peers at a competing company basically he takes exception with some of their methods - that is good, I like that and if I were at Merril Lynch, a competitor of Yardenni's employer, I would be prepared to counter with similar criticism of his methods and that argument would probably be fun to watch. Moving on through the document you see that after nitpicking a competing researchers methods the conclusion is : " It does provide quite a bit of good news about Y2K. I expect that there will be more and more good news as judgment day for our computers arrives. But let's stop being naively optimistic; some systems are bound to fail and we must prepare to cope with the resulting disruptions." Where is the evidence in that conclusion that supports the more extreme positions posted on this forum. There are nearly 18 months left and Rick Cowles has reported become less pessimistic regarding electric utilities in just the last three months. So why is it that some people have an absolute hissy fit if anyone attempts to report progress. This alleged report from Yardenni is a much more reasonable response than the shrill remarks of the sultan of doom and gloom.

-- Oscar Swischne (foaddgc@usa.net), July 11, 1998.

I read the Merrill report, but its facts are suspect. Oscar, when you have enough information you must decide what to do which can include nothing. I am not sure that you are at that point yet. We are so used to the services that are provided to us and which we pay for through taxes, utility bills,etc, but does it not behoove you to do some planning in the event that you are leaning to the possibility of some disruptions. Maybe you are getting close to retirement, it might not be a bad idea to y2k proof (?) a recreational property.

If you come across any more good news, let us know because God knows, most of the stuff we read on the Net does not auger well for the future. Best regards.

-- Rick Reilly (rreilly@shaw.wave.ca), July 13, 1998.

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