Anti-Programmer Culture? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

If Y2K is a 9/10 on the scale, do people forsee angry mobs beating (or worse) programmers for their Y2K sins?

Do you think people who are in the profession should get out now? Disavowing ever having been there?

Yeh, I've been a complete bum and loser all my life, never once touched a computer.

I had a friend, programmer, who once said that when he retired, he never wanted to hear about computers again. He was going open a bar on the beach, and train the bodyguard on the computer buzzwords of the day. Whenever a customer used one of those words, they would be summarily ejected from the bar (possibly violently).

I'm beginning to wonder if the "wonderkind" of the 1990's will be be the scapegoats (and unemployed in the "new" economy) of the 21st century.

And the Nintendo game generation just behind me will probably find it a huge shock in killing their dinner, cutting wood for warmth, grinding grain, and doing all the things that most people have forgotten how to do in the 20th century.

Luckily, I had a few of these in scouts, so maybe if I can disavow my career, I can "squeek by".

:-) Glen Austin

-- Glen Austin (, December 14, 1998


First of all, they'll be too busy chopping down trees to go after anybody. Second of all, people tend to blame themselves. When the stock market went down, did you blame your stockbrocker? You probably should have.

-- Amy (, December 14, 1998.

I'm not sure that blame, per se, will be on the programmers...perhaps you should be more concerned about usable skills - should it be an 8.5+ programming isn't going to be something for which there will be a heavy market demand...

personally, the only ones I figure who might be in real personal danger are lawyers and politicians...or was that redundant?


-- Arlin H. Adams (, December 14, 1998.

Glen, I've had the same concern about being a banker in a small town!

Hey, HIS family isn't starving + bank closed due to run = HE STOLE OUR MONEY. (Oh well, as us scouts used to say, "be prepared".

-- Dave (, December 14, 1998.

Amy -- "chopping down trees" ---?? Lessee. Metro Atlanta pop. now about 2.5 million. Say half of 'em figure out how to cut trees -- before the winter's out there won't be many trees left to cut. 'Course it's pretty warm here, 0 deg. F. is rare. How about Minneapolis/St. Paul -- I grew up in Minnesota and -30 deg. F. is no surprise there. Which means the trees wil go even faster.

But you're right, anyway. After the trees are gone they'll be too durn cold to go charging around looking for scapegoats.

BTW Anson's article in the new Vanity Fair points the finger at critical decisions by management at IBM and> DOD, mandating the retention of 2-digit date representation.

-- Tom Carey (, December 15, 1998.

Who is really to blame? Is it the programmers? No. The managers? Maybe? Joe Public? Definately.

This problem developed due to our need/ and greed. The cost - when computers were first developed were prohibitive. Every bit of space / memory mattered/ and was very expensive. I sometimes wonder to myself, where we would be - in relations to technology, had any / and all forseeable problems - been taken care of initially.

Today we have "A computer on every desktop" - due to the way the computer industry exploded.

Nobody can say today, although it could be researched out. How much - would it have cost, in 1960 to make computers y2k compliant - how much it would have cost, in the early 70's to continue the practice.

Back when a 20 meg hard drive cost thousands, how much it would have cost the average business that owned one to store - thousands (millions) of 4 letter date fields.

The money SAVED then - was used for further computer purchases - which in turn lowered the cost of computers.

We all need to think about who is really responsible, then move past the blame, and on to what we should do NOW.

A society can not possibly live as comfortable as ours has - with millions of non-productive members of society - without soonner or later paying for it.

We've allowed this to happen (Joe Public) and now we will be facing the consequences.

I never called myself a programmer (and I sure wont now programmer draft) ... and I do not feel at all responsible for a situation that resulted out of greed. Everyones greed.

Everyone wanted to bury their heads in the sand, I'd guess 60% or so are still keeping head buried in the sand. They wont care one iota - about this y2k bug until it - hits their own pocket book. Then they'll say .. Gee - why hasnt someone done something about this?

It frustrates me to no end right now - that whenever I mention this to anyone - they look at me like .. SO?

They don't care. Anymore then the managers did in 1980 when we tried to TELL them.

"Passing the buck" Should be the American Moto.

We have less then 300 working days - till y2k. We as a society COULD do something about this .. INSIST that any / and all resources towards fixing this problem, go towards the key areas that need it most.

Public awareness is the key - public action is necissary. We as a society created this problem, and it'll take everyone working together to pull ourselves out of it.

{end rant}


-- Whitney (Y2k, December 22, 1998.

People say y2k is a failure of technology, exposing the hubris and Faustean trade-off, etc. Though I'm not in love with high tech anymore, I have to disagree. It is precisely those parts of (early) computer practice that were intellectually LEAST in line with the pure engineering paradigm that have caused this mess. Engineering in its pure state deals with prediction, control, precision, fault tolerance, interchangability of parts, and standardization. Because software was a new branch of engineering, people didn't rigorously apply engineering metrics. True, we've had our Titanics and Challengers, but for the most part technology, even atomic bombs, has "worked" as designed and intended. It was the anti-engineering cowboy mentality of the non-engineers who worked as early and later programmers that have brought us to this.


-- Runway Cat (, December 22, 1998.

The most basic reason I've ever heard on the why of Y2K, is that you, me and most everyone else writes two-digit years like '76 or '93. This custom is said to go back for centuries. It's something we didn't take into account when we first decided to create machine in our own image.

We use two digits for the year. *It* uses two digits for the year.

-- Kevin (, December 22, 1998.

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