Y2K failures negatively feed back into Y2K repair efforts?

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

As a mere lay person in the obscurationist arena of Y2K-dom, I am fishing for some informed, educated opinions are on the following concept:

1. Y2K failures create disruptions of varying severity; goto 2 2. Y2K repair efforts are hindered or comepletlely blocked by Y2K failures; goto 1

Is there a possibility that we may see a negative feedback loop of the above sort in the coming months or year? Is it already under way? Is this kind of a feedback loop constrained by certain limitations on its overall impact? Or does it get as potentially bad as the doombrooders say?

-- Jon Carson (coprolith@rocketship.com), January 05, 1999


I have some difficulty in seeing how the programmers at the bank are going to get anything done because of screamimg customers, intermittent power, intermittent phones, and the necessity of immediate fixes for every small problem, especially with the reduced staff resulting from programmer desertions. And down at the Power Plant, I have some difficulty seeing how anything can be repaired rapidly in the dark, with non-existent Fedex or telephone service, using vendors that may not by open or a thousand other things that impair the repair process. Others seem to think that things will be repaired quickly, but I do no see how.

-- dave (wootendave@hotmail.com), January 05, 1999.


Dave covered it pretty well, It's kind of like trying to assemble a dovetail drawer with the sox still in. One handed.

BTW you gotta change your address!! We got WAY too much of that stuff around here. (Well----yeah--here it ain't fossilized!!!)

Chuck Who has actually SEEN coprolyte

-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 05, 1999.

Jon, my observation is that the more optimistic Y2K views never take this "vicious cycle" into account. Each potential Y2K problem is viewed as quite solvable, because it is perceived to be no different from "computer bug" problems that are solved every day. Being able to understand and appreciate the significance of multiple, simultaneous failures occuring is probably what most separates the doom-and-gloom crowd from the optimistic folks.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), January 06, 1999.

I agree 100% with Dave.

I think we will all have a much better take on the likelyhood of desertions from the ranks by the last quarter of '99 (oops 1999!), after we have passed the GPS rollover, after we have passed all the known "screw-up" checkpoints worldwide, after the markest/Japan crash or not.

Too many variables - I am personally not planning on being on duty at rollover in a big city. No way San Jose.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), January 06, 1999.


I believe your reasoning on this is quite sound. It's probably one of several reasons why the government is trying so hard right now to keep a lid on panic.

If the Dow Jones was at 4000 this coming August (1999), and the unemployment rate was climbing at a rate of 1% per month, I wouldn't expect nearly as much remediation to still be taking place...

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), January 06, 1999.

Its a bit more complicated than you imagine. But the basic premise is sound. Imagine this scene. The mainframe goes down because the cooling system for the building goes down. No one thought of the 486 controller sitting on the AC unit as a problem. In fact, no one in the building even knows its there! (Yes Virginia, computers require cooling even in winter.) The kicker is this mainframe is running the SCADA/EMS and computer communications for the local nuclear utility. As a result of SCADA/EMS being down, a line voltage transient causes phases problems at a couple substations (uhh, problems like ZZZZTFLASHBOOOM). Two seconds later, the reactor SCRAMS because cooling pump voltages drop below critical levels and now there is NO power to the computer. Although the mainframe computer was protested by various anti-surge systems, the 486 is fried by a voltage surge as the backup diesel gensets come up. Now there is NO way to get the mainframe back up quickly. The computer controls for the AC were installed by an outfit that went out of business 2 years ago. The company with the maintenance contract don't have any inhouse expertise with this particular controller, but they will make some phone calls (uhh, when the phones are working again.) Meanwhile, down at the local phone company switching facility, the cooling system for THEIR mainframe just went down. Seems its this 486 no one knew about.....

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), January 06, 1999.

Ouch RD! You got my brain spinning again...the possibilities!

Jack, do you think Koskinen can grasp this? His public behavior certainly demonstrates that he can't.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), January 06, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ