How and When Did You "Get It?" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I'm curious as to how you "got it?" I discovered it one night about 6 months ago when I tuned into a radio program and heard Gary North talking about embedded chips. I remember laying there not believing my ears. I bought a computer the next day and devoured everything I could on the subject. Fortunately my spouse was with me on it. I convinced my mother and one sister. The rest of my family think I'm nuts. I don't talk about Y2K to anyone because it won't do any good, they just won't get it.

-- bardou (, December 02, 1998


I heard about Y2K during TV news in the summer of 1997. It was interesting, but I figured "they'd take care of it".

I was at Barnes & Noble in May of this year and came across two articles on Y2K. One was in the May, 1998 issue of "The Futurist". The other article I saw in another publication was by Rick Cowles with the title: "Odds That Y2K Will Take Down Power Grid Put At 100%".

These two articles in May made me realize there was (and is) denial about Y2K, and that "they" might NOT take care of it.

Then the Galaxy IV satellite caused that problem for pagers, and I saw a story on the ABC Evening News about how disruptive Y2K could be, if you considered that just one satellite was able to cause so many problems. There was also a great article in "US News and World Report" around this same time. I bought a copy of Peter de Jager's "Managing 00" book.

In June, I bought "Time Bomb 2000" and started going to on the computer at the public library. In July, I bought my PC and started daily research on Y2K.

-- Kevin (, December 02, 1998.

Unc started a thread about this in Sept. You can access it at:


(unless I typed incorrectly). It was a really good thread, bet this one will be, too.

PS, I found out through a GN mailing, advertising Remnant Review. I already knew that there was a problem, but thought that it was being dealt with.

-- Tricia the Canuck (, December 02, 1998.

I think it first dawned on me when giving presentations on the assessment phase of a Y2K project back in 1992. I said off the top of my head, just multiply this effect on every organisation in the country, everyone has the same problem at the same moment. I got a few quizzical looks, the penny did not drop with people there (since they didn't really believe me until later).

Then I thought about it later, everyone in the world!

-- Richard Dale (, December 02, 1998.

When did I "get it"? About 2 months ago! Yeah, I'd heard about it but it was something for programmers to fix in time. Too busy with my businesses which always have some new crises going on, like new laws,more taxes, more licenses, etc.Just barely keeping my head above water. Then my son sent me some links to look at and from then on I was obsessed with the research on the web,trying to find any good news and refutations, but it just keeps getting worse. NOW I got it !

-- Sue (, December 02, 1998.

I "got it" after Gary North finally made me understand that it is a systems problem and many systems are linked in series. When one part goes down the system goes down. A beautiful analogy for the non- technical is the xmas tree light bulbs. All of us are familiar with one light going out all go out. Apply that to computers linked together ,like xmas tree light strings, in series all around the industry, or country, or world. When one goes the system goes. What's worse is fix one bulb(computer) and another bulb(computer)in string shuts the string down. The only hope I see is some strings of computers are linked in parallel and some will survive.

When I talk xmas tree lights at least my wife SEES the problem.


-- HAK (, December 02, 1998.

To Tricia (the Canuck) -

Tried your suggestion, couldn't access. Where is the old thread located?

BTW Bardou, I also first heard of Y2K on a radio talk show, where listeners were calling in and talking about it. I believe it was the Joel Vincent show on UBN. This happened back in June of this year.

A few days later, on a night when I was restless and couldn't sleep, I went to my computer and hooked in with a live chat program, and located a computer group talking generalities. I asked questions about Y2K and no one knew what I was referring to, until finally a fellow from Hawaii told me Y2K was for real and that I should visit the North site for more info. The search began and typical with others on this forum the realization set in.

I have been successful in convincing only a handful of people, including only one relative. My church doesn't get it, and though I have spoken extensively with one of the pastors, only minimal attention has been given. Neigbors have rejected the need to prepare. Only now are we (my wife and I and two little children) planning to move from our present location. Have a lot of other preparations done, but we are convinced we need to get out of the city. (Any helpful suggestions where?)

-- Joe (, December 02, 1998.

I "got it" when I was considering renewing a CD for another year this past September. I realized I'd be commiting my money to be in the bank until late 1999, I wondered if my money would be safe in the bank. I had a very limited, sketchy knowledge about Y2K at that time. For the next week I read nonstop on the computer everything I could find. What swayed me though was the government web sites regarding their Y2K work, including the FDIC and Federal Reserve web sites. Pure logic tells you the gravity of the situation.

-- Diane (, December 02, 1998.

I got it through personal experience. I guess I am the kind that has to come in contact with something before I get it. Anyway, the place where I worked had a ton of mainframe code that they needed to make compliant, and so they bought an automated code conversion tool to do it. Needless to say it was a disaster.

-- Amy (, December 02, 1998.

Knew about it but hadn't looked into it. Saw a copy of Ed & Jennifer Yourdon's "Time Bomb 2000" on a friend's coffee table. While waiting, picked it up and read the Introduction. Next day bought a copy, started reading and went online to check it out. Found my way here. Sorry Ed, but I STILL haven't finished your book! Gotta make time for that.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 02, 1998.

Sorry, "got it" two months ago.

-- Diane J. Squire (, December 02, 1998.

I got it when the statistics cited by Ed Yourdon-- ~25% projects late, ~25% cancelled before completion. As soon as those number sunk it I realized it was all over. It's an abstraction at this point-- which is why most people still don't "get it"--but as a software engineer I know that those numbers are just about carved in stone. So the formula that has been driving my own preparations ever since is:

25% late + 25% cancelled = Big Breakdown

-- Franklin Journier (, December 02, 1998.

I was converting all the sales, manufacturing, accounting, etc. data from a DOA system to a Y2KOK system at a 45,000 employee company. This company (which I left recently) has an internal Y2K web site with links to de Jager and others. Went there, read a little bit, somehow wound up at GN's site and it all became clear. This was in February, and I've been miserable ever since. Being 31, I have a hard time looking or sounding authoritative about this, although I did convert one of our local mayors, and I'm taking the Strom Thurman refinery capacity question to the other mayor either today or tomorrow. That topic is the linchpin for me & my conversion efforts.

Most of my immediate family GI, since I never shut up about it. My little sister is starting to really contribute to our stash.. I'm not having to do this by myself anymore. Outside family, I think I've converted about 7 people, but I blather about it to everybody I talk to. I can't wait until this becomes mainstream so I can quit feeling like such an idiot Chicken Little.

-- Lisa (, December 02, 1998.

I first heard about it in the spring of 1997 and thought, "oh my gosh, that is terrible!", and then promptly went back to sleep. Then July 20, 1998, I was on the Internet looking for info on St. John's Wort, and I remember seeing the 700 Club having advertised a segment on it. So I went to their web site to look in the archives. What I found instead was a picture of a burning computer. What caught my attention (and changed my life) was the phrase, "have your preparations done by the end of 1998, and stock up on food and water." I thought, "wait a minute, this is something I better not ignore." My mother and I then began pouring over the Internet articles. My dad thought we were crazy until he saw Ed Yourden's Power Point slide show, and read Ed Yardeni's web site. The majority of the people I talked to think I'm crazy, so I don't talk anymore.

-- madeline (, December 02, 1998.

It appears that many of us have Gary North to thank for first introducing us to the problem. I first "got it" after listening to one of his Firestorm Chats that my father had stumbled across. My wife, my father and I are about as prepared as we can get, but, like the rest of you, I suppose, a small part of my brain still refuses to accept that things can get as bad as some of us think they will. Playing the most prominent role in my intellectual belief that things are bad is the fact that the federal government is trying to repair something. As we all know, the federal government and most of those who work for it are pretty much incapable of identifying a problem, much less solving it.

-- Vic Parker (, December 02, 1998.

I've told this story before about how I got it but is worth repeating.

When Medicare became law (7-1-1966) the system used to track entitlement, claims adjudication, etc., used a five (5), yes thats what I said folks 5 position date field for 'entitlement effective date'. Not only was the century not carried, but neither was the decade. In 1969 changes were made to 'window' the date. In other words if the year was 6,7,8, or must be in the 60's.

If its 0,1,2,3,4,or 5 it must be in the 70's

1976 rolls around...A big release is planned for 07-01-1976.

It blew up in our face and I had to work on on 07-04-1976, our nations 200th birthday.

That's when I got it.


-- MVI (, December 02, 1998.

In May,1996, I was doing a walk-through of an automated production line of one of the 3 largest companies in the world. My Japanese associates were well-versed in every intricate efficiency tuned into "their" personal part of the process. I was asking questions about inter-departmental connectitvity and the silence made me stop in my tracks. Process efficiency was microscopic, not macroscopic. If everyone focused on their tiny section, the complete department would function beautifully, but dependent on a single manager to pull it all together...based on his experience and knowledge only.

I asked about the "millennium bug," since y2k had not really been coined yet and it is referred to as the "ni-sen mondai" in Japanese. As I probed further, I realized that they were clueless. The next day, I started asking( in a gentle, Japanese style) people closer to the top about timetables and understanding. There was a plan in place to begin work the 3Q of 1998. That night, I stayed awake all night to research other company timetables and planning. Not much was really available to research and I forgot about it for a year and a half.

The "Wired" magazine article early this year kept me awake again for 2 nights as I hit the net. I was always reluctant to spend too much time on the net because it costs about $6.00 per hour for local phone calls here in Japan. Anyway, in May of this year I realized that Japan is doomed because of the cultural propensity to hide the bad news and murder the messenger. Japanese toast.

-- PNG (, December 02, 1998.

PNG, I had an uncle who spent quite a bit of time in Japan. You have confirmed his stories to me.

He told me that if you inquired on the progress of a project, you would always get the same answer...tomorrow. But tomorrow never came. It is apparently not in their culture to admit that something is behind schedule or going badly.


-- MVI (, December 02, 1998.

Tricia, I'll try to "hotlink" the thread you were talking about:

-- Gayla Dunbar (, December 02, 1998.

We get "Wired" Magazine in hardcopy delivered at home. When I read the article they had earlier this year on Y2k, I showed it to dear husband.

He read it and we both went searching on the internet. What we found astounded us. We both had heard glimmerings of this subject but hadn't really paid it any attention. This article is credited for bringing it home to us; causing us to research the subject further.

I then started building my web site on Y2k, sort of as a help for people to go and find reference materials on the topic. That web site is now getting almost too large to keep track of! Yes, I need to re- organize it soon. The amount of information on the net is unbelievable...there's tons of it.

Then we started emailing our close family members. Well, they thought we were bonkers. They literally scoffed and laughed at us. We took a drive to my inlaws' house and spoke to them in person and after we showed them some stuff on the internet and talked for a long time, they GI! After they GI it seems like the rest of the brothers and sisters kind of fell in line (except for one who works on a military base on the phone systems...and *refuses* to GI...says "it won't happen, they'll fix it").

Anyway, we talked to a couple of people not family and they *really* thought we were nuts so now we keep it to ourselves. We just keep preparing and we share info with the family as we come across it, but other than that we keep *mum*.

-- Bobbi (, December 02, 1998.

I first heard about Y2K (not by that name) in the late 80s from a computer programmer. I was glad it would have no impact on me persoanlly, since I'm not a programmer. (Ha!) I kept hearing more about it, a little at a time, but didn't seriously Get It until last April when I obtained a copy of Gary North's ad for Remnant Review. Nothing has been the same since.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, December 02, 1998.

My dear Bardou,

Your wisdom astounds me.

In a sense I "got it" long before anyone else on this planet. As I said before on these groups, I endured years of human-induced suffering during the first 2 doz. years of my life. Firebombing, starvation, abandonment, and slavery; illnesses such as diphtheria, whooping cough, rotten ear, etc.

This helped me develop an instinct of our future. In the sixties I also read a book by a French author. I wish that I could remember the title and his name. This book depicted a number of graphs of man's progress of various technological achievements, such as speed of travel, accuracy in machining, etc. They all curved steeply upward in a geometric progression. This convinced me that technology had to blow up before too many years.

My experiences also taught me that "Man" can be very inhumane and will always exploit and misuse technology for a selfish advantage even if this will eventually destroy himself.

Since I red this book, in a sense I've been preparing for Y2K for many ways. This was mostly a subconscious process. I followed my instinct; God gave me guidence.

In January 1998, I read about Y2K on a web site. I immediately saw the big picture, the interconnections of most human activities via computerized systems. Then my brain enjoyed about two minutes of denial. From then on ...

Oh, before I forget, while I was entranced by some of the joie-de- vivre described above, I also was soothed and screwed by more than TWO DOZEN lawyers for more than a dozen years. This lead to my slavery in a foreign county. I'm trying to cheer myself up about Y2K by knowing that this time, they will also be forced to participate the same arena of the human circus. Esquires, dig, shovel, grope and crawl, along with us humans.

-- TTF (trying to forget) (, December 02, 1998.

Overheard two friends talking about Gary North and Millenium Bug in the library one day and asked "who is Gary North?"...when I checked his site I realised that this was a great excuse for the federal government to grab more power and consoldiate the provincial powere that they had been infringing on.

This was going to big the reason for martial law, executive orders, orders-in-council, no matter whether Y2k was a bust or not. The panic would be enough alone.

For 30 years we have watched govs encroach on our rights and freedoms and this is the ultimate country/nation/worldwide excuse...This is when my husband and I got it.

-- Laurane (, December 02, 1998.

I'm 23. Being a programmer, I had known about the Y2K bug for years. I never gave it much thought. My grandfather, a scientist and an incredibly smart man, had been talking about Y2K and the coming collapse for over a year. Each time, believing I knew more than he, I would totally discount it; it seemed like millennium fever, and it was too far removed from anything I had experienced.

In July of this year, I began working for Microsoft in Seattle. Shortly after starting, I saw a front-section story in USA Today on the Y2K bug, and the number of people preparing for it as if it were the end of the world. I followed some of the links in the article, and from there quickly discovered the wealth of online information on the subject. I had never even thought to do a search on "Y2K" previously to that! Within a day or two, I "got it." The tricky part was convincing my family. I knew I would never be able to prepare on my own; I live in an apartment in downtown Seattle. However, my brother also "got it" very quickly, and within a matter of weeks we were able to convince my parents to begin preparations at our more rural family home. It's been about 2 months now since we began preparations in earnest.

I still have days where I will suddenly think, "What the hell are we doing buying hundreds of pounds of wheat? Are we crazy?" But then I see many on this forum often feel the same way, and I'm reassured we're doing the right thing. I have been extremely impressed with my parents. My father loves to have projects to do, and this is the ultimate project in my mind. What's more, our success in breaching the subject with the neighbors has been astounding. We have three neighbors now buying wood stoves and generators. We haven't really talked with them about the issue of storing food, but that will come in time. You can't hit people with that one right away.

-- Microserf (microserf@micro.soft), December 02, 1998.

Back in April, we got some junk mail from Gary's Remnant Review; then I visited his web site, & that was that. Altho some minor points seemed questionable, I never seriously doubted that what he said was essentially true. It still amazes me a bit that people just dismiss the problem altogether. They seem to have far more confidence & faith in technology than I do. Or maybe it's a lack of imagination on their part...?

-- Ben Dair (not, December 02, 1998.

I'm a programmer and in my very first computer class in 1979, the first week the teacher told us to use 2 bytes for all year dates, because the '19' was

"predictable, therefore redundant. Good engineers care about efficiency over all. If I see you making stupid mistakes like wasting space or time in representing or calculating predictable information, your grade will suffer."

One classmate asked (in his inimitably polite style): "Excuse me Professor but when the century changes, what will happen?" Everybody in the class laughed at him! The professor laughed too and said "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it." (I guess we've come to it).

Anyway, I went to sleep again, worked on non-date dependent technology, and didn't wake up until this Spring I happened to see Ed Yourdon's TB 2000 book in the "new releases" section of my local book store on a lunch break. Flipped through it, bought it, read it that evening, immedidately ordered an Armalite 10-A4 and 2000 rounds of .308 to supplement my firepower and haven't looked back since. Though weirdly, in my gut, something tells me it isn't going to come down so bad, nevertheless since reading that book I've become a compulsive prepper.


-- Runway Cat (, December 02, 1998.

Get what? Am I missing something here? What's going on? Is it important?

-- Uncle Deedah (, December 02, 1998.

Nothing, everything will be O.K. Go back to sleep. (Good one, Uncle Deedah)

-- PNG (, December 02, 1998.

Have known about it for quite some time (15 yrs programming) but dismissed its seriousness. Caught the tail end of Yourdon on ABC News around 5 July saying "you can't have a baby in a month by impregnating nine women" and "if even a subset of the potential Y2K problems materialize the big cities will resemble war zones". Couldn't believe that my man Ed Yourdon had flipped his lid. Got on the net and found GN. That let the cat out of the bag. Within 2 days, I "got it". It was one of the worst feelings I have ever felt.

-- a (a@a.a), December 02, 1998.

I have taught cobol and been programmed in the field for 20+ years. I have occasionally mentioned the y2k problem before it had a name.

I worked a trouble shooting desk at night and solved problems that occured during the night production-- for years I worked New Year's Eve and dealt with the same problems year after year -- these problems were never address from the prior year -- one job stream had to run between 10:00 and 12:00 on December 31, or else had to have a patch put in the cobol program to make it run after midnight on Jan 1. No matter who I talked to or how I pleaded -- next year the same thing -- for at least 5 years prior to 1995 -- I would often say, "THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I WILL WORK ON NEW YEAR'S EVE 1999". Everyone just laughed.

Well I retired early from that company -- moved out west late 1995.

Last summer I was watching the July 5 news program mentioned above and saw Ed Yourdon. I always had used his text books -- felt that he was always clear and concise and right on the money.

I checked out his web site -- I was so shocked to see that the problem was so big -- couldn't believe that I had moved here from the BIG city to a safer place (DUMB LUCK)!!!!!!!

I have been preparing every since -- I totally believe it will be VERY BIG !!!!

-- alurker (, December 03, 1998.

Read about it in an article about a month ago. Did some online research.

Still haven't "got it" in that I don't seriously, 100% totally believe that anything will happen. Logic says it will, but my mind won't accept it. When it does..I'll probably panic.


-- Leo (, December 03, 1998.

I'm a Computer Engineer. I used to work for a pulp and paper manufacturing company in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Many people about a year ago were speculating on the effects of Y2K, and how we could move to the US and make $100/hr fixing Y2K problems

I move to Calgary for the "business opportunities" and was working for a provincial telecommunications company doing internet services. I wrote some programs that I thought were Y2K compatible, and after realizing they weren't (even though I thought I had done them correctly) I realized how many freakin' programs there were that were not written properly. It took me almost a day to fix one little stupid program.

I then realized that there are WAY TOO MANY PROGRAMS to fix. I quit my job as a Computer Engineer, moved out of the city to a small town, and started a business distributing and selling water storage tanks (

-- Chris Gelowitz (, December 08, 1998.

A lot of people have mentioned a story in "Wired" earlier this year that made them aware of Y2K. Does anybody know the link for it?

That's a piece of history I'd like to bookmark...

-- Kevin (, December 08, 1998.

Sorry, don't have the link. Maybe it's archived in Wired's web site? I have the hard-copy magazine with article. I could scan it for you if you really want it and can't find the online one. Just let me know if you want me to do that for you. Bobbi +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "It's fun to do the impossible" ---Walt Disney--- +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Y2k? Got water? Got Beans? Take the Y2k Preparation Quiz!

-- Bobbi (, December 08, 1998.

A little discrete repetition:

First GI in 1980 when we turned a Y2 compliant system over to the Juv Court here, and immediately went back to sleep, as I worked in another shop where the standards did not allow 4 digit years. Worked a nomber of jobs, bubbled under as an almost got it through 95-97. Art Bell and G N caused me to do research and reading the Westergaard site (of all places) turned me in the right direction (eg to this forum) about 4 months ago. Have been preparing since in a serious way, but not all out, only all out planning.

the deal with the spouse is to just do as we would normally do only more. I think this is about to be re-negotiated as she has been making interesting comments as of late. I certainly hope so as I really need to do some stuff that does NOT qualify by the agreement.

And before the flames start about standing up, etc. one needs to understand something: I gave my word. Which should explain everything.

Chuck who sometimes Parts On the Square.

-- Chuck a night driver (, December 08, 1998.

ah yes, all the y2k "smart people" on one thread. whata buncha jerks you losers turned out to be. liars every one of you. someday you will answer for your lies. how many of you said "I never listened to Gary North!" just weeks after y2k turned out to be a big fat dud? This thread offers PROOF TO THE WORLD of your true selves.

-- (, November 20, 2001.

Well, I never meant no harm, to anyone. I went through Y2K, with folks helping one another. Even when through the eclipse of the moon and i was cursed by clouds, some internet soul, came through, and described the scene, even went out into their snow, and sent digital pictures. What a lovely gesture. To all folks, to all human kind, I wish you no harm, only kindness and love. Amen.

-- My Story (, November 20, 2001.

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