Who's Ready. Who's Toastgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
My wife bought this for me today. A very good and sobering article on the global status of y2k. I always wish for more but this one is more than fair and well worth reading. I guess it is new enough that I cannot copy from their page. By the way, it is their cover story.(business 2.0)
-- Mike Lang (webflier@ero;s.com), December 27, 1998
Mike, where do you click on that site to read the article? Where is it? Does one have to buy the mag? Is it carried in bookstores? Thanx.
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx
-- Leska (email@example.com), December 27, 1998.
I don't think the article can be accessed from the site. The
mag was purchased at our local grocery store. (Giant Food)
-- Mike Lang (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 27, 1998.
I'm ready (i think)!!!!
Jimmy B. D'nuts is toast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-- Dieter (email@example.com), December 27, 1998.
The global situation is grim. The GartnerGroup a month or two ago released a report on Y2K compliance internationally. While "only" 15% of businesses and governments agencies in the U.S. are expected to have a mission-critical system failure, the number for Germany and Japan is 50%.
For China and Russia, it's 66%.
-- Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 27, 1998.
"mission-critical system failure, the number for Germany and Japan is 50%. For China and Russia, it's 66%. "
What annoys me (none of this is directed at you personally Kevin, this is something I run into a lot) is the throwing around of the term "mission-critical failure". I do NOT debate the fact that there will be mission critical failures, what I debate is, how long will it make the business suffer?
This is a VERY simplified version of what would be a mission-critical failure to me: I e-mail all my articles to my editors, what do I do if my e-mail goes down? This is a very serious failure
Can I fax it in? (not if the phone lines are down) Can I send it on a disk to the editor(what if it was my computer that went down?) Since I print everything out as soon as it is done, could I send them a hard copy? (what if mail is not running)
While any of my backups could also fail me, notice how many contigencies I have for such a simple thing as getting an article to my editor. In my TRUE anal-retentivness, I have *two* ISP dial-up accounts with seperate hosts. One is local and one is long distance. Any month I don't use it it only costs me $6.95. If I use more than two hours a month it costs me $.10 a minute. So if my local ISP goes down and I have to get an article in, I can call my ISP which is far enough removed so as not to be affected by local problems to get that article e-mailed in.
Yes there will be mission-critical failures, but from my own life, and from talking to the peopel I know who own businesses, a good majority of them have contigency plans for all sorts of occasions that are in place at all times. One does not run a successful business by putting all their eggs in one basket.
-- Rick Tansun (email@example.com), December 28, 1998.
you have multiple levels of contingencies - not just plan B, but also plans C, D, E, F, and G. While this is admirable, how many folks outside of the military do you figure will bother going past B?
just wonderin' Arlin
-- Arlin H. Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 1998.
# # # 19981228
Arlin beat me to part of my first thoughts reading your post.
In reality--as a consultant, dropped into many TRULY UNIMAGINABLY UGLY FORTUNE 500 environments--I've witnessed abject ineptitude and disregard for system failure contingencies. Unbelievable! I still shudder at those nightmares!
Contingencies, like testing, MUST be developed in parallel with system ( process ) design! Automated and/or manual!
Many projects have been bookshelved--a euphemism for "trashed"--due to the lack of foresight by the creator/s to consider these aspects of, otherwise, "wonderful" systems.
Among the worst, and most prolific, offenders are the ( "legacy" ) M.E.'s and E.E.'s, reluctantly pushed into the "alien" realm of "avocational" software development. Until VERY recent years, these hardware-geeks and their management had a quaint perception of software: "Software's free!" ( Get It?--Hardware was the only [ "visible" ] cost, in their minds and balance sheets! )
Many an embedded ( controller chip level ) system is "out there" in the real world today, madly churning algorithms at lightening fast speeds, universally undocumented, and worse yet, impossible to test or validate. ( 'Tis true! )
Ergo, my skewed (?), hopelessly negative assessment of the ( majority of ) the BILLIONS of "embedded" systems to be redressed in the Y2K scenario.
It's got to be UGLY, indeed!
Regards, Bob Mangus # # #
-- Robert Mangus (email@example.com), December 28, 1998.
Rick, I agree that contingency planning is what businesses, and people, do naturally.
I use the phrase "Recovery Planning" instead of contingency planning. It seems to drive home the point that failure is absolute. You, as a writer, understand that a "completely destroyed" building is the same as a "destroyed" building. Buildings are never partially destroyed. The same is true for companies. The failure of one mission-critical system can mean the failure of the company.
No company has the "right" to be in business. Society and markets decide if a company deserves to be in business. 80% of all new businesses in America fail within the first two years. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce) Why? 1. They have a product or service the market does not need or want. 2. They have failed to define the priorities of their business. 3. They are inept.
Ask some successful business owners their secret and you might be suprised at how many say that timing and a few lucky breaks made the difference in their lives. Cast a suspicious eye to those who say they planned it all in advance.
Some large companies have been floating along, not by sound management, but rather the momentum of deluded stock market investors driving up share prices for companies that may never earn a profit. Share prices of 20 times earnings is one thing, but the product of 20 times a negative number is still a negative number. Some of these inept companies will be weeded from the market in the next 18 months. That's good. They didn't deserve to exist. The inept investors will lose money. They didn't deserve to make a profit.
It will create a path for solid, well-managed companies and new companies to deliver the goods and services you and I need or want. A famous company founder said that profit is the "reward a company receives for successfully completing its mission to contribute to society."
O.K. Let's talk about mission critical... using a manufacturing example.
I don't care if engineering or purchasing or accounting or personnel or marketing or sales or adminstration or R & D or legal or IT all have a difficult time. Here is a pen and some paper. Do everything you can to support manufacturing and collect our money-we earned it.
As we learn more about the "troubling" impact of embedded systems in the manufacturing environment, we must be continually aware and open to reevaluating priorities. Common sense and flexibilty. The closer we get to the immovable deadline, the faster our response must be. In the fog of so many variables, a reasonable person could feel overwhelmed, take a step back and focus with laser-like precision on the top-tier priorities:
MMM (Materials - Manufacturing - Money) Can my vendors deliver my material? Can my factory manufacture my product? Can I collect my money and pay my bills?
My MMM mantra is ever changing as the dynamics of our learning process takes us through twists and turns like a slolam course. Fighting and resisting the changes in momemtum, as you fly down the course toward the finish line, will surely send you for a spill. Lean into the curves aggressively and follow your natural, decision-making ability to anticipate the next turn. This is not the time to over analyze (look who's talking) every tiny decision. Decide and execute. Decide and execute.
Could you imagine a committee (or a sub-committee) trying to compete in a slolam skiing event? All of them strapped to giant set of skis. I can imagine the headline:
"Ski Committee Fails to Negotiate First Turn."
P.S. I still take a glance here once in a while. This group is still the sharpest around. But you guys already get it-Preaching to the choir. Maneuvering throught the trolls is hard work. Maybe a "Troll Booth" (sorry) would help.
-- PNG (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 1998.
The point is well taken, and I have respect for members of the press who play fair with the facts. My 8th grade history teacher taught us that slavery was a major issue of the Civil War, but that other issues were a major factor as well. She made a big impression on me.
I do think, though, that even what a business considers to be non- mission-critical that fails in 2000 will catch a lot of people off- guard. Also, organizations probably underestimate what is mission- critical to keep remediation costs down. And, when failures do occur in January of 2000, the phones of those who can fix the problems will be busy for weeks (assuming phones and PBX's are working!).
That's how I feel about it anyway, but please keep us on our toes. I know you "get it" and that you're not a Pollyanna. The best way to convince people of the seriousness of Y2K is to play fair with the facts.
-- Kevin (email@example.com), December 28, 1998.
ouchouchouch, PNG, how could you? See, folks, I trolled you he was like that. Troll-booth, indeed. Most of them rather need a troll-bath. But then they might get uncontrollable--or even introllerable. Alas, no one can foretroll the future. Of course, that's the trollble with Y2K.
"Ducking for apples --- change one letter and it's the story of my life." --- Dorothy Parker
-- Hallyx (Hallyx@aol.com), December 28, 1998.
Years ago I worked at one of the first financial institutions in my state to go on line with the Federal Home Loan Bank in Iowa. The employees were sent to Des Moines for intensive computer training. Expectations were high. It would revolutionize our office; no end of the month unpaid overtime; fewer errors, customer satisfaction.. But...no one factored in the effects of weather, men with backhoes, and most important of all, human error. We humans haven't been programmed to perform perfectly. How many errors per line of code checked?
-- gilda jessie (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 1998.
I bought the mag over the weekend, it (like the Vanity Fair article is good, given that it is at least in the mainstream press.
Perhaps the most serious omission is the electric power issue -- its not there! "Financial Services", "Telecommunications", "Transportation" and "Health Care" (with grades: B,C-,D,D- respectively) are all given good explanations on how Y2K can affect these areas, but its like electric power just was off the radar screen.
-- Jack (email@example.com), December 28, 1998.
Not to torment Rick ('cause he's probably already thought of this)....
As a writer, he's thought through and adjusted backup systems for the "mission critical" need to get articles to his editor.
Next steps are out of his hands:
--the editor is able to get into work
-- the editor's computer is working
-- the business that does the actual printing of the article in magazine/newspaper form still has a functioning printing system (most are computer controlled these days)
-- the distributor's trucks and assorted features of the distribution system are still working
-- the people who buy the publication still want copies post-y2k
-- the places where the publication are sold are still open for business post-y2k
I'm a writer, too. It is a tenuous lifestyle, even when the economy is good. If links in the system break, it could be a much wilder ride.....
Sorry, Rick. Hope this doesn't apply to either one of us.
PS Thanks PNG for coming back for a visit. Keep the site going -- it's excellent!
-- Anita Evangelista (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 1998.
Watch out...it's a trick question! Checking code or "fixing" code? Seven percent is a reasonable error rate to budget for manual entry. The problems of adding bugs as opposed to fixing code is better quantified by time. The coding part is easy - determining WHY did that happen? WHERE in the world did that come from? And HOW in the world did that happen is the time guzzler during testing- and time is the enemy - not the code. Factory automation and process control are different animals. Most COBOL people don't have to crawl around on the floor or inside access panels, except to recover dropped donuts.
-- PNG (email@example.com), December 28, 1998.
You may want to invest in a manual typewriter and a memograph (sp?) machine. A shortwave or ham radio could be your link to the outside world. Stock up on 8 1/2 x 11, and you are in the "newspaper" business.
-- Bill (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 1998.
Good to see ya posting again, PNG :-)
-- Tim (email@example.com), December 28, 1998.
Arlin -- "While this is admirable, how many folks outside of the military do you figure will bother going past B? "
Maybe none, maybe quite a few. The point is, a lot of people never seem to discuss past the "mission-critical failure". A lot of discussion seems to end right there like the company would not try to do anythhing to work past it.
PNG -- "I use the phrase "Recovery Planning" instead of contingency planning. It seems to drive home the point that failure is absolute. You, as a writer, understand that a "completely destroyed" building is the same as a "destroyed" building. Buildings are never partially destroyed. The same is true for companies. The failure of one mission-critical system can mean the failure of the company."
I like your term of "recovery planning" a LOT more. Makes a lot more sense.
Kevin -- "I do think, though, that even what a business considers to be non- mission-critical that fails in 2000 will catch a lot of people off- guard."
No argument from me on that one. People just seem to speak a little too much in absolute's when it comes to some of these statistics
"The best way to convince people of the seriousness of Y2K is to play fair with the facts. "
You hit it on the head
Anita --"-- the people who buy the publication still want copies post-y2k
-- the places where the publication are sold are still open for business post-y2k "
The funny thing was, those aren't even my Y2K backups:) Those are my EVERYDAY backups:) You have to remember I live somewhere we question power avalibility on a DAILY basis. Phone service can be tricky also. But yes, everything you mentioned about trying to get an article published in a post-Y2K world, I have thought about also. Is another reason I try to write for as many different people as I can.
Bill -- "You may want to invest in a manual typewriter and a memograph (sp?) machine. A shortwave or ham radio could be your link to the outside world. Stock up on 8 1/2 x 11, and you are in the "newspaper" business. "
Well I have my Mother's manual typewriter from College and quite a few ribbons for it. I have also thought about a ham radio and am already stockpiling on paper.
-- Rick Tansun (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 1998.
I suspect we can all agree that 1999 will see a "blizzard" of Y2K fix- it activity and concurrent "recovery planning" and both personal and community preparation alongside the DGI "no problem" crowd.
Strap on your seat belts, the Y2K newsmedia GI and DGI fur is about to fly and when we hit 2000, who knows where it will all fall out?
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), December 28, 1998.
Diane, I can hardly wait. I can just hear the DGI's sceeching, "Why didn't somebody tell us," after having heard it and laughed it off many times.
-- gilda jessie (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 30, 1998.
Here's a thorough article on the global status of Y2K. It's from a mainstream media site (ABCNEWS.com), which makes it all the more grim:
"Y2K vs. the World"
Notice in the article the estimate that 50% of companies in Germany and 50% of companies in Japan are projected to have a mission- critical system failure.
-- Kevin (email@example.com), December 30, 1998.