Y2K diary - not mine - worth reading

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I found this on another site and thought it worth sharing.

Article: 1 of 2 From: Subject: My Y2K Diary (improved formatting) Date: Fri, 25 Dec 1998 09:59:01 GMT

>WHYTWOKAY on 12/24/1998 writes:

I still think that many problems are going to occur. A unique aspect to the computer revolution is that knowledge is stored on the computer from a person who may no longer be around. So when it comes time to fix old code, the original source of the knowledge is gone. This is unique because all other industries need to keep on staff the people with the knowledge that is required to produce or provide whatever it is that they produce.


A lot of people are afraid to get involved with the survival groups and organizations. Mainly because they value their supposed civility. They don't want to become associated with the right wing militia Etc... This makes sense, I too have this hesitation. However, philosophically, I know that I will not suddenly become a neo-nazi, racists or Christian fundamentalist.


5/21/98: A satellite went bonkers recently. Pagers and credit card transactions were screwed, and I think some services are still being restored. It really hit home how dependent on technology we are. This is not a criticism of capitalism, as a lot of socialists would like. No, in a healthy society, a free society I think that this Y2K would have been solved before the deadline. Our mixed economy and pragmatist philosophy encourages short range thinking and attention to the short-term profit. Well Y2K is going to force a lot of companies to perform 30 years worth of software maintenance into just 1 1/2 years. (from C. Hamisaki)


I just had a errie thought. Programmers working on Y2K are going to get very edgy as 2000 approaches. They will be seeing the dreary predictions in the news, and people will be talking about it more and more in public. What kind of programmer would want to be around on Jan. 3, 2000 to continue his job?

I think a lot of programmers will be bailing out after the Y2K. They will probably work right up until the year 2000, to make money for survival. But after that they will want to be safe. It is kind of like musical chairs. When the music stops and your still standing everyone will be looking at you. And programmers who continue to work after 2000 will be targets for all kinds of abuse from the collapse that is going to happen.


Nobody seems to know what the impact of Y2K will be. Some will forcefully argue one way or the other. What would be the impact to society if 1% of the copper wires around the globe were to break? That is basically the same question as what will happen when computer systems encounter errors due to improper handling of dates that occur in the year 2000.

The answer depends on which copper wires are broken, and what percent actually break. The larger the number of systems that fail, the larger is the negative impact of Y2K. And the more critical the system that breaks, the greater is the devastation that Y2K will cause.


"The panic is starting because I am starting."

Interesting thought. I am getting in queue for gold, food, and other stuff. I am now really anxious to take possession of my gold. Every month another individual discovers the hopelessness of his or her company. Sometimes this will be a manager, sometimes a programmer. Then they start preparing, then they start to warn friends. And so on, and so on.


Gold: There seems to be a lot of skepticism of the value of gold and uncertainty over the need for holding gold as a store of value. I am myself at a loss to give convincing arguments for why gold is good to have. Historically there is plenty of examples of the fact that gold has been used to store wealth. Gold was a store of value before it ever had widespread uses in technology. It was mainly used in jewelry. I think gold will still be valuable. When paper currencies become useless, gold will be seen as an objective store of value. A money needs to have the following attributes: * Must be a commodity.

* Must be somewhat rare.

* Must be indestructible.

* Must be divisible.

* Must be accepted as payment by others.


Riots: I have given this section the title 'riots' because this is what I see as the response that will follow any destructive event to our infrastructure. This is because of the lack of morality in today's population. It is also going to be bad because of the large debt load of many average people. They will be first to realize how ill prepared they are. Then there are those on the welfare rolls. Large numbers of people receiving handouts. These people will revolt. The reason is the psychology of victimhood that underlies the parasites in today's world. Who is going to respect REAL property rights when they are convinced that they have the "right" to the goods of others simply because they lack what other have produced. The accumulated hatred for the rich and businessmen will also give people an excuse to loot from businesses. Racism in this country will also provide justification for attacking certain groups that are perceived as having harmed the victims. A whole host of pent up anger and resentment will manifest itself. Much like the racial divide that was seen during the O.J. trial. Or the new forms of violence that we see more and more of in this country: Road rage, drive by shootings, gang violence, school shootings. The violent reaction in this country will make postal worker violence seem tame.

These factors partly explain the nature of recent riots in the US. When power goes out, when ATM's stop working, when food supplies dwindle. The panic and fear will manifest itself in mass action on the part of people. The people who are apathetic and meek will suddenly rise in action to seize whatever wealth they can get their hands on.

The intelligence of even the average educated person is scary. We have been progressing for decades in the absence of any concept of moral principles. The debased culture has been kept at bay over these years because of relative peace and prosperity in this country. Y2K will change this. These people will join the pack to get what they can out of whatever goods are available. Plus the vast majority of people are anti-authority. Be this government or business. They feel persecuted and "little", and that they are justified in attacking the evil businesses.


Panic: I sense that panic on this issue is growing. It seems to be happening by people who are fully convinced of the Y2K peril. In other words, the people who are taking actions to prepare for Y2K are getting the supplies they need. But their warnings are starting to reach the next level of people. It is not being driven by fear mongers in the media. In fact, most officials are being fairly quiet on this issue. Although, it is starting to be announced by major leaders that Y2K is going to be a problem. (I.e. 700 club, senators, governors, economists, etc...)

Time is running out, and I am very glad that I started to prepare. I am thinking that the next few months will contain a lot of public talk about Y2K. For example the president's speech on the subject. News stories. TV shows. Average Joe's on the street will be asking me, since I am a programmer, what I think of Y2K. The discussion will spread into the culture. The websites will see a huge number of additional hits. The newsgroups will increase.


Russia just received 22.6 billion dollars to keep it afloat. This is disgusting. What the hell is happening. I have never heard of giving these sums of money to different countries. If Russia needs 22.6 billion to stay afloat then that country is screwed.


Yes, life is going to get very interesting for the next 18 months if panic occurs now. Early panic does not make any sense. Most people will wait until they see actual danger before acting. I can't see people panicking until they notice something is wrong. But if somehow the current of people now preparing, esp. the religious folks, then shortages will be seen. This will motivate others to start stocking up on goods. And the panic may occur way before Y2K by people who just want to be ready. It is hard to say how this will play itself out.


End of the World: So what is the post-Y2K work going to look like? Everyone will look tired. Nobody will trust anyone. Gun toting will be the norm.


I feel like my preparations are just barely ahead of the coming wave of crisis. Everything seems to get worse just as I make another significant survival action. Food purchase, gold purchase, I am still waiting for those items and the problems seem to be accelerating as I write.


The wall street Y2K experiment has been successful so far. And B. Clinton gave the lamest amount of attention to Y2K. I don't think a panic will be happening too soon. We will have to wait until (or if) some reported failures occur that is the result of improper handling of the Year 2000 bug. I am not going to wait until those real life computer crisises occur before preparing. However, I am starting to accumulate quite a bit of stuff. I should hold off a bit until the beginning of 1999, and decide if things are going to go screwy. If it looks as though they will, then I will want to resume my stockpiling of goods.


This lady in the next cubicle has just discovered a whole new area of Y2K programs that she was not aware of. Right now she is on the phone talking in disbelief. I think that a lot of things are being missed. I think sally's group is handling those apps. Sally thinks I am doing those apps. If the apps. don't get converted, we are screwed.


I was re-reading some Gary North links and saw an interesting comment from Cory Hamasaki. He was explaining how in 1995 he expected people to start fixing software for Y2K. In 1996 he expected it, it never came. In 1997 some people started. Now in 1998 the great mass of people are beginning to fix their software. 24 months from C-day (Century day). Now it is 17 months until C-day. The project plans are in place. Now the mad rush to acquire programmers to solve the Y2K problem. I foresee a huge, huge demand for Y2K personnel.


The low state of the average man today is shocking. Compared to the Joe six pack of the depression era. The post modernist man is a monster. Lacking in all the intellectual principles of an honest morality. Not religion, but the morals of a person who intends to pay his own way through life and leave others alone. The parasites are all around us. They procure the sustenance of life through the U.S. postal service. Whereby they are given other peoples money every month to survive. And then there are the parasites of the spirit. They work for a living to earn their material needs. But they have been taught the ideology of racism, and altruism. When things go bad and they are out of work, they will be the first to join the rioters and enact mob "justice". Justice here means the destruction and looting of the producers who they believe owe them a living. And they are prepared to go to battle for their just dues.

The people of the late 1990's are nothing like the people of the late 1920's. So much has changed in the intervening years that it is almost hard to imagine the kind of world that existed only 70 years ago.

In 1920, progressive education had not yet taken hold of our culture. The welfare state was not yet in full swing. The red decade of the US was still 15 years away. The hippies and Hanoi Janes of the world were still 45 years away. Even though the philosophic ideas that would allow all these things to take hold in our culture were in place in the universities in the 1920's; they had yet to be realized in the day-to-day institutions of the average man. Today all the same ideas have been applied to all our major institutions. And several generations of children have been raised on them. And now they comprise our culture at all age levels.

When Y2K precipitates a major crisis how will they respond? How will our political leaders act? This event will be, to the U.S., what the depression was to weimar Germany. It will bring out into the open all the philosophical premises our people hold. People won't blame the ensuing violence on their philosophy, instead they will clamor for action based on their ideas. That's when our government will turn the U.S.A. into a dictatorship.

You think these ramblings are insane musing of a lunatic? I know it is hard to utter such things but the facts speak for themselves. The ideas are out there. So many of our citizens are armed with deadly, evil ideas.


My preparations are so small a sacrifice for their potential for aiding in my survival. It is no joke that if for some reason supplies are not coming into the city, that they will become a total hell hole. Human waste will contaminate the city plumbing. The violence of the people who realize they have no food, or power, or water will be high and immediate, and nobody will be safe.

If it comes to this I will be in a position to survive a bit longer than most. But I will be a target for looting. The question is how impoverished the cities will become. Will things breakdown so much that the basic services and supplies will be unavailable?

Atlas Shrugged depicts the way the modern society slowly grinds to a halt. I think we have been consuming our stock seed. Machinery has been neglected, and much needed upgrades to our water/electric utilities have been ignored. Computers have been replacing human labor for about 30 years now and this has enabled many profit starved enterprises to keep their heads above water.


My First Y2K Essay:

How to Grasp Y2K

Today I was thinking about my programmer buddies who don't see Y2K as a serious problem. It is shocking to me that people in the software industry can't see the danger that Y2K represents.

Then I remembered that six months ago I was just like my agnostic/pollyanna pals. This essay outlines everything I can think of that helped to change my tune with regard to the millennium bug.

Origins of my Y2K indoctrination:

During a smoke break at , one of the mainframe hackers was explaining how they were fixing the billing system to handle Y2K. He described a windowing method. I didn't quite follow his explanation so to satisfy my curiosity I went back to my cubicle and searched the web for 'windowing Y2K'. I investigated many sites, and then I came upon Gary North's now famous Y2K doom site. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading the vast number of links he had.

Gary North's site is a combination of Y2K related links and Gary's confident predictions of doom and TEOTWAWKI. I was skeptical, but a few days later the volume of material and his commentary began to sway my thinking. I started to integrate the knowledge from his website with my own programming experience.

The following facts started to make me see that Y2K would be a big, big problem:

* The number of lines of code to fix.

* The lateness of orgs. in starting to analyze code.

* My understanding of the jerry-rigged nature of computer systems at: , , and .

* The shortage of programmers.

* The government's old computers, and massive amount of date sensitive systems.

* The governments past experience of failure to upgrade/replace systems (mainly the two failed attempts by the IRS and some similar problems by the FAA)

* The low salary that government programmers make.

* The cracks in infrastructure I have been seeing lately: Railroad problems, Electric shortages, Water shortages.

* The abysmal record of the software industry to complete projects on time, and in working order.

* Several dramatic examples of infrastructure failures: Denver Airport, Space probes, Long distance routers, etc... due to software errors.

* Recent examples of how software can cause real chaos in our lives. (Denver airport and the HK Airport).

* The fragility of large computer systems, and the ease in which bugs can be introduced as a result of the simplest of changes.

* The extent to which computers are used to keep society running.

* Examples of networks of computers from many orgs to depend on each other.

* Big companies have so many systems that there is no one single person who understands the interconnections and dependencies between apps.

I think to understand Y2K, one needs to have a close affiliation with all of these items. Computer professionals are in the best position to appreciate the above tid-bits of information. But no group has a monopoly on human understanding.

Although I am a relative newbie in software development (10 yr.), I always seek to understand how systems and organizations work. At every company I have worked I always ask questions, eventually I learn what does what, and who does who (hee, hee, hee). I have learned that production software is not as idyllic as four years of university had taught me to expect.

To comprehend Y2K is to comprehend the current state of computers in society and the immaturity of the software profession today. Only when you have a firm understanding of these things, will you have grasped Y2K.

Then, your next step is www.buygold.com and www.foodstorage.com

--- END OF ESSAY ---

I don't know if I can manage 17 months of worrying. Should I get my supplies and then forget about Y2K? No. I think this deserves a sustained attention and monitoring. If a panic looks imminent, then I need to act to secure cash/water and other high priority items.


I really oscillate between thinking all these preparations are foolish and all these preparations are wise. If they turn out to be foolish, it won't be an expensive insurance policy. If it turns out to be wise, it will be the wisest thing I ever did in my life. Time will tell (527 days) what my preparations amount to. Damn, think of all the wasted batteries, water jugs, food, ammo I will have accumulated.


I think the Asia crisis combined with Y2K is going to lead to a major crisis around the globe. All of the bad economic trends of the last century are going to catch up to us during Y2K. And the fallout is going to be severe. George Riesman has a good quote in his book:

He describes the conditions as not seen since the dark ages. He calls it "another dark ages". Now that is a severe thought! If such comes to pass, then my preparations will have been well worth it. Ahhhh! I am sick of thinking about Y2K. I just want to have my preparations over with so I can get on with my life. Probably in the next month I will be all done.

The annoying part about Y2K is the waiting. I know that something will happen but I am getting burned out trying to predict what it will be. I just want it to be Jan. 1, 00, so that I can know what the hell is going on.


Zero Management ala Dilbert:

There is no way that things will be fixed on time. Corporations have something wrong with them. It prevents them from changing quickly or managing a corporate wide endeavor. People in big companies are in a daze, not fully knowing what or why they are doing something. It is scary to think that all these companies will be hiring contractors to fix their systems. We are going to see some major screw-ups when all these systems start failing. And it won't be minor inconveniences. It will be major.

I can almost picture the mental state of the employees that are asked to put up the Y2K web pages for a large corporation. They are just doing their job.... They'll make a few calls to the various departments. Then they'll play around in Excel for a while and finally they will craft a hot looking Y2K page that matches all the information they have gathered. In the meantime, the CEO, CTO, CIO, XXX etc.. will be going about their normal activities, and referring any press to their hot looking Y2K web site.


I warned my family by giving a gift to each family member. The gift is a book about Y2K. This is going to be my introduction to the issue. I am glad I did this, as I think it is important for them to be aware of the situation.

This move also eliminates any guilt I might have in not warning them. This is an issue that I don't want to preach too hard. I don't want to sound like a paranoid nut. I sometimes think that is what I am becoming. I hope that in 2000, I am vindicated. And I hope that if Y2K hits hard, that my family was well served by my warnings.

I am hoping today is they day I get my GOLD. Unfortunately I have a meeting from 3:00 - 5:00 in . The DOW looks to be DROPPING again today. Down 14pts. today.


My fear of a early panic has subsided. I think that the occurrence of a panic is far away. But people are preparing. People who have become Y2K aware that is. This is a silent panic. People are preparing, but not as a mass of general people. I am in silicon valley, and the surplus store I shop at has not had any noticeable shortages. And buying ammo seems to be fine. This could all change if a "critical mass" of people begin buying survival supplies and shortages begin to appear. Shortages will increase the buying because people will perceive a shortage and decide that they better buy up whatever they are going to need. Such shortages would feed a real widespread panic.

Into 1999 more people will be hit with the immediacy of the fact that 2000 is just around the corner. Linguistically the string "1999" is more foreboding than "1998". And a few well documented computer problems will increase general awareness that a problem does in fact exist. The Internet is huge, and so people won't learn about Y2K until they are motivated to do some searches, etc... Awareness like this will definitely cause more people to prepare than is happening now.

Things to watch for, to indicate a general panic is about to happen:

* Waltonfeed announcing major backlogs (6 months for small orders)

* Shortages of batteries at stores.

* A serious Y2K related failure in the news.


I know computers. I know how difficult the seemingly easiest thing can be. This is what Y2K is really about. It is about how hard it is to change complex software. The simplest of changes become hard. Almost impossible. Installing new software is not automatic, it is an amazingly difficult job. All these things are why Y2K will not be simple. I believe that society is going to see the funniest and scariest problems everywhere. When systems begin to fail, nobody will be laughing too much. I don't know how systems will begin to fail. It is hard to explain how it will impact people.

I predict that everyone will experience, as a customer, weird billing problems from some large company. It will differ from area to area. Banking will come to a halt. Your money will not be accessible.


Sometimes when I read the news I think that Y2K will really put those !@#$% in their places. I mean, certain people in the world deserve a little hell in their life. I want to see Bill Clinton scared shittless as his life is in the hands of riotous looters.


Panic: Panic is a derivative issue with regard to Y2K. If a certain critical mass of people start a rush for survival goods, this will cause shortages which will pull in more people who would not normally get worried at this 515 days before Y2K. The perceived shortages will create a positive feedback process that will increase the shortages and thus increase the number of people who will want to get their hands on some goods before there aren't any goods to get. The climax of the panic is when the hard-core Pollyanna's start buying long term food for themselves.

But the panic itself has no relation to the actual severity of Y2K. 1 million Frenchmen can be wrong. And so can a panic stricken mob. The fortunate aspect of such a panic is to allow production to be ramped up before Y2K effects have occurred. It will also raise awareness and get more code fixed. And of course it will allow more people to be prepared in case Y2K makes such preparations necessary. It will lessen the number of hungry hordes who will be rioting after Y2K (Again, if problems lead to supply disruptions).

There is some connection between early panic and perceived threats caused by the Y2K computer bug. The panic is ultimately driven by the number of people who are worried enough to take action and stock up on goods.

The number of posts of c.s.y2k has grown over the past several months. Also, there exists no strong Pollyanna faction present on the newsgroup. Some people speak out but they don't get very far. And they don't persist. This indicates that nobody thinks there is a convincing argument that the Y2K will be just a speed bump.


Lots of Y2K news today. A lot of prominent announcements that report how various govt. agencies will succeed. No matter how much I read, I know that not enough time exists to repair all the systems. I can sense all the institutions are pulling every trick to avoid coming out with the truth. First they went to "mission critical" systems to reduce the number of apps to fix and to improve their time estimates. Then they all set a time estimate of Dec 31, 1998 for completion of coding. When they are supposed to be testing, they will actually be coding, I predict. Some companies are reporting that they will be done with coding in March 1999. They are doing everything to push the deadline forward. At some point they will have to come to terms with the fact that they are not going to make it.


I have been reading a lot of commentary about gold & Y2K by various people. A common argument is that Y2K won't be a problem but the panic that will precede it might bring down the economy. Many of these post also discourage the flight to gold as a strategy. This seems odd. They blame panic for crumbling the economy and then reject gold as an option. If we were on the gold standard all along, then no irrational panic would collapse the economy. Bankers would be practicing sound banking, and money would consist of a gold. In this setup no mass withdraw would cause the economy to collapse. What would happen is that as money is withdrawn, interest rates would wise both reducing the demand for credit and increasing deposits. A balance point would be reached and everyone would be happy.

The fractional reserve scheme is a very unstable arrangement. It leads to the boom-bust cycle. Or it can allow a bubble to form, or run away inflation. Depressions etc.. Under a gold standard none of these things would be possible.


Defeatism and Y2K: Am I defeatist? Do I secretly want society to collapse? Am I dragging my feet because I think this problem is hopeless? Where am I coming from with regard to Y2K? I am not a fan of the world as it is today, duh. A collapse would reek havoc on the lives of a lot of innocent people. But the legions of parasites and barbarians would get a wake up call. But this line of thinking is about as monstrous as the uni-bomber. I do value this world, and the technology and the fun stuff and comfortable life I have. I think my preparations are in response to what I see has a grave situation. I will fix Y2K problems if so hired. I don't think I am giving up on man!

Part of my interest in Y2K is wanting to see something happen. It is akin to the perverse curiosity when driving by a car wreck. This could be attributed to my own boredom with my own life. I view Y2K as a huge event that I am going to be witnessing in 18 months, and I am gobbling up everything I can find on the Internet. This is very similar to my initial obsession with the O.J. case.

I feel anger and disgust with the world and would like to see harm come to it from time to time. I have a low view of the people I am around, and sometimes wish that Y2K exacts its justice on them. The people that disgust me are the youngsters without a clue of respect for adults, or any sense of integrity in their behavior. They are insecure, stupid, and basically savages. So I hope for Y2K to punish them. My hatred is directed at parasites, and stupid people, and govt. bureaucrats. I am a lot like the angry man 'Henry Cameron' who let people rule him, even when he was hating them for being second handers.

I will continue to prepare. I will try to solve the problem and make sure the people I care about are also preparing. I will keep informed and try to predict what the severity is going to be. I need to reaffirm my love of man and reason and the good virtues of today's world. I must remember that the battle is for the right ideas. And Y2K will not solve the worlds problems (or precipitate a solution to them).

But man! People are so confused about man. He is debased everywhere you look. People sneering at themselves. Hating the fact that a creature such as themselves exists. It really hurts me. I cannot find anybody outside of objectivist groups that have a clue of the goodness and greatness of what man is. It is so depressing. We as a culture are truly demoralized in this day and age. At least I can read Rand, but most people will never discover, or admire human greatness.

And the more I learn about Greek society the more shocked I am at how I have been cheated out of discovering a life affirming man loving culture.

Is my sense of life a negative one? Do I want to be happy, do I think others should be happy? I definitely think so.


511 days to go. Some people on the Internet are really thrilled that this Y2K will destroy civilization. Some religionists, some socialists and some environmentalists. They smell blood

-- Ed (ed@terraworld.net), December 25, 1998


-- Tagcloser (close@that.tag), December 26, 1998.

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