"Silver Bullet" = Seniors

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This article says their contingency plans = going manual and using seniors. The county does not have funds to computer-remediate, so they're going "BC:Before Computers."

If they don't have the money to fix the computers, where are they going to get the money to pay all these seniors, especially after everything's gone down?

It gets *cold* in the county in wintertime. Does this rate alongside Denver's Fix On Failure announcement?

http://chicagotribune.com/version1/article/0,1575,SAV-981217 0275,00.html


By William Presecky, Tribune Staff Writer, Dec 17, 1998

As Will County considers how to cope with the Millennium Bug and possible technological glitches, officials on Wednesday said their secret weapon may rest in older county personnel who have been around since B.C.: Before Computers.

"The solution is the `over-the-hill gang' " and low-tech contingency plans, said Bruce Friefeld, legal adviser to County Executive Charles Adelman.

Friefeld, Adelman and about 20 other county officials met in Joliet with New York-based consultant to discuss ways to keep the county running in the event that some computers shut down after midnight Dec. 31, 1999.
Friefeld said the knowledge and experience of veteran county employees about operations in the pre-computer era will be invaluable as officials begin to address the Y2K problem.

"We will do what we need to do to make the system work," Friefeld said.

It is certain that some operations of Will County government will be affected by Y2K problems, said Douglas M. McPherson, a consultant with the technology department of The Segal Co.

Which operations will be hit and to what extent are not known.
Fifty areas of government where computer glitches could occur have been listed, McPherson said. In addition to record-keeping areas, such as offices that handle property-tax bills, assessments and tax distribution, there could be problems with police telecommunications, jail security and court case files--all controlled by computers.

To help figure out what will be affected, Adelman will ask the County Board on Thursday to hire Segal to oversee its insurance programs. If the company is retained, part of its job will be to help Will County find potential computer problems and ways to fix them.

"You don't have time to fix everything. But you have time to look at everything," McPherson said. "We want to start immediately and have a plan in place by the end of January. In our opinion the identification process is massive."

There is no money in the county's new budget for a Y2K fix-it program, Adelman said. But some departments and offices have budgeted for computer enhancements, he said.

Some areas of government, such as the Sheriff's Department, have no funds for computer-related problems.

Jon Dopkeen, the county's former risk manager who now works for the consulting group, said development and implementation of a Y2K plan will demand changes in the way the county and its autonomous officials operate.

"Having worked with the county, you are going to have to tear up some of your regular processes," Dopkeen told officials. "You don't have that kind of time to burn."

"You need one consolidated effort to solve this problem. You cannot get this done with typical project solutions," McPherson said. "It just isn't going to get it done."

Friefeld asked each county official to recommend a project team member to Adelman by Friday.

He said the purpose of Tuesday's meeting was "to get our . . . officers to buy into the process."

xxxxxxx x

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), December 20, 1998


Leska, you missed the part about the older county personnel having been around since - I repeat since - before computers. That means they're still there, and their paychecks are already T.K.O. Funding the computer/mainframe soft and hardware fix is probably where additional funds are not available.

-- Karen Cook (browsercat@hotmail.com), December 20, 1998.

Karen, I see your point, thank you. But when I read the whole thing carefully, it sounds to me like they first will rely on the memories of the senior staff on how things used to run manually, and then they will base their contingency plans on manual operation, hiring more seniors who know how to do the manual tasks. Maybe it's a question of interpretation, but they do say they don't have the money to fix it and know it won't work.

Question: what is the ratio of computer-worth to human-labor?
Does one computer do the work of 10 secretaries? 20?

What about payroll? 10 accounting clerks? 100?

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), December 20, 1998.

You've got to realize that the question of how many computers equals how many seniors is immaterial. Probably 80% or more of all computerized tasks are UNNECESSARY. They are done by computer only because they CAN be done or because some government bureaucracy requires them. When TSHTF, hopefully most of that crap will be "triaged" out.

I was a teenager/young adult in the 1950s and 1960s. I do not see ANY improvement in the quality of life since then, just more complication, regulations, and control due to these "wonderful" computers.

-- semi-senior (z@z.z), December 20, 1998.

The greatest lie of the 20th century: "Computers will make your life easier!"

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), December 20, 1998.


I couldn't have said it better. There is NOTHING I do on a computer that I can't do by hand. Heck, a lot of times I prefer to do things by hand. I would say I really only use about 10% of a given programs features. Take my word processor for instance:I type, spell check, play with the font and that is about it. There are so many things my word processor program can do that I have zero interest in.

I agree, I really do think computers have OVER-complicated our lives in some way. Like pagers. I was so happy the day I got mine. Wow, I was going to be able to do more things and stay in contact and so on. I was even happier the day I took it back to the paging company and said "Get this damned thing out of my life!". I do have a car phone, for emergancy use only. I would say about 95% of the time I don't even turn it on. It is there is something comes up or I need road service or whatever. Otherwise I ignore it.

I kind of like simplier life.


-- Rick Tansun (ricktansun@hotmail.com), December 20, 1998.

To address the question -- a couple of examples:

How many payroll clerks does it take to add up the hours, multiply by the hourly rate, and then write a check for the gross pay to the employee? Vs. how may payroll clerks AND computer programmers to keep track of fed and state income tax withheld, FICA, disability, pension and insurance deductions, combined with changing dependents, coverage types, deduction tables, "cafeteria" options, etc.

How many employees and computer resources to suport the "Vice President in Charge of Ride-Sharing and Parking Lot Striping" to comply with EPA regulations?

Granted that it may take 20 or 100 employees to do manually what computers do now. The question is, how many employees would it take to ONLY WHAT IS NECESSARY for the functioning of the business?

-- semi-senior (z@z.z), December 20, 1998.

# # # 19981220


If memory ( Ed Y.: Help? ) serves me correctly, when I was taking a college COBOL course in ( Yikes!! =8-) ... ) 1971 ( Ouch!*! ... Eeks!! ), I recall--because it was astonishing at _that time, for me!--the instructor--a brilliant, former IBM'er--told the class that if all the computers that existed { _at that point in time!_ } were "unplugged," the replacement "manpower" required would be equivalent to the POPULATION OF THE WORLD; full-time! The basis for this assessment, was that all of the calculations and their "correctness" accomplished at the speeds--even in _that day! ( I'm dating myself here, folks. It sure hUrTs*! )

I wouldn't even fathom a guesstimate in TODAY'S computerized environment. ( I.E., How do you factor: All of the embedded systems-- that didn't even exist in those "good old days"?; The ~250,000,000 PC's, handhelds, etc.? )

I'm not quite sure how to express this next concept--a little help? ... The impact of data interchange between internal/external business heirarchies ( i.e., JIT, POS, et al ) and the MIS capabilities afforded to management on down has got to be geometrically astronomical today, alone.

The reason computers do not "appear" to save time to the end user, is that data warehousing and massaging is not self-evident. It happens "behind the scenes," or hidden "in the background." Computers actually _generate more grist for analysis work_ than anything else. Information retrieval ( time ) is an advantage, too.

The impact of information accumulation and processing on our culture/society is absolutely mind-boggling. ( Just think of all the telephone calls, alone, dutifully routed daily by automated switching devices/software! When was the last time that you didn't get the party that you _actually_ dialed? ... Hmmm?! )

What all of the corporate contingency plans that I've observed to date ignore--without fail--is WHERE ARE ALL THEIR "TEMPORARY BODIES" GOING TO COME FROM IF EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, AND ALL AT THE SAME TIME ARE "PLANNING" TO TAKE THE SAME STRATEGY? Unbelievable, it is! Management has got their head where the sun don't shine on this materially!

I think the mathematics for calculating the "human-replacement" for computers values are probably into the realm of calculus--UNREAL NUMBERS!! =8-)

I hope I've shed some_ light on the magnitude and perspective of this unfathomable domain?

Perhaps Ed will enlighten us with some real statistics? ... Ed?

Regards, Bob Mangus # # #

-- Robert Mangus (rmangus@mail.netquest.com), December 20, 1998.

Mr. Robert Mangus, thank you very much for addressing my question.

I have read the last couple of years that there are predictions for severe labor shortages in the first years of 2000, which get worse as baby boomers retire. The articles claiming this never mentioned Y2K. It's always been interesting reading forecasting trends re the job market.

I'm glad there's someone else feeling like everyone relying on manual retro will create a huge ppl cog demand, yet how will these ppl get paid? Forced labor conscription for subsistence if there's any way govt/society can stay organized. Personally, I think mayhem is more likely. So much repressed rage and resentment will boil up when it sees the chance. Most ppl will not understand it's the beginning of a LONG-term disaster, and will just act out for the moment thinking it's their one opportunity to 'express' themselves. It will be dangerous and tragic.

I cannot comprehend how many ppl it would take to do the jobs computers are doing now. More & more becomes automated every week. Humans require training, raising, feeding, allowances and attention given to their personalities and varying hosts of needs. When groups of ppl are together working, many social dynamics need to be addressed. Computers are easier to keep running than people, from management's standpoint. The robotization of society has already gone too far, and people are treated bruskly and dispensably by each other. But the change will be brutal, because computers have definitely increased the "carrying capacity."

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), December 20, 1998.


I grew up when you did, and I don't see any improvements in the quality of life, either. A comparitive decline is more like it.


ten ring.

-- seasoned (soldog@hotmail.com), December 20, 1998.


You state that computers have not improved your quality of life...even caused it to decline. I disagree 100% if you look at the overall picture of computerization. Granted, a single PC sitting in your home or the PC on your desk hasn't, but take the blinders off and look at EVERYTHING. My wife is going in today for a CT scan on a hip problem. She had an MRI done last week on it. A simple X-Ray showed very little, but the MRI showed considerable bone degeneration. Some odd years ago they probably would have done a hip replacement, but now they will probably be able to resort to something less drastic...because of the improved equipment created BECAUSE of computers.

Simple example, but I think it shows how much better off we are. The "good ole days" is a crock in my opinion. Perhaps computers haven't made life "EASIER", but it sure has made it better. Telecommunications, travel, home-life...all are much more comfortable because of computer advances. To look at a single PC and make such a simplistic statement like "it ain't done me no good" is really sad...

-- Better_off (Open@your_eyes.com), December 21, 1998.

Whether computers have or have not improved the quality of life is immaterial. The only question to be asked here is whether or not we are dependent on computer technology, regardless of quality of life issues.

I surely don't know whether the seniors can simply do it "like we did in the old days" and take over computer functions which range from issuing checks to controlling jail security, but I do think that this would make a wonderful plot for a weekly situation comedy show on TV. Each week the plot could revolve around an event in 2000 where the seniors once again Beat The Bug and the show ends with everyone laughing. Maybe call it "Grumpy Old Bugbusters"....

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 21, 1998.

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