Do You Really Want Things to Go Well?? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I am a PC tech, working on a small (as in only about 3,000 PC's) Y2K remediation contract. Boring stuff (but important), consisting of an all-you-can-eat buffet of BIOS ROM flashes, operating system patches, software upgrades, and various other system tweaks, 8-plus hours a day every week. I have read this site regularly for the last several months, although with less frequeny in recent weeks. I have not been one to post anything, but I just can't hold out any longer. I am not a "survivalist," like some of you, or a "newbie," or a "don't get it," either. I am just your average 31-year-old married middle income guy who also lives and breathes Y2K every day at work. All that I talk about, work toward, or think about at work is "compliance." My wife and I will hopefully buy a home and start a family in 1999, and yes, I will make some minor, prudent preparation for our well-being before the "big day" arrives). I just have a couple of overall comments to make:

1. I have read everyone's predictions in this forum, from the "pollyannas" to the "chicken littles" and everytone in between (aren't these Y2K-speak terms a little odd???). I guess my feeling is this: None of us, regardless of our background or expertise, can be certain of the effects Y2K will have on all of us. One thing that I do sense in this forum is a need to validate one's "FUD" (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) by constant helpings of "bad news" that you all find in your daily Web travels. Why is it that most of you folks want to only dwell on the negative, and never the positive? Do all of you (and I am definitely generalizing things here) honestly believe that there is never anything good to report on Y2K, and that we should resign ourselves to our collective fate? It seems that every day I see new links posted here, and I don't ever seem to see any links to positive indications of any kind. Am I way off base in my interpretations here? I have to believe that most of you are just everyday, reasonable, average people, but I can't seem to dodge the "we gotta keep finding bad news and keep our brothers and sisters informed" mentality.

2. The other comment I have is this: How do you folks find the time to dwell on this all of the time?? As I said, I work on Y2K issues every day, and I'm here to tell you, the last thing I want to do when I get home each night is read more about Y2K failures, impending economic collapse, and "TEOTWAWKI" on the Web. I am planning my own modest preparations, but I am also looking foward to the joys of family life (I will also be an uncle again soon!), the challenge of my career, and the computer networking classes I will soon take. I guess my point is this: I know that Y2K will affect me and my family in ways that I CANNOT predict, and I am not naive enough to think that we'll all sail through next January without a problem, but I don't think that everything will stop (there I go making a prediction with no basis, but that's all any of us do!!).

Sorry about the length of this post; I've been saving my words up for a while. Oh, and one other thing: Let's all be careful about our level of panic (i.e. "let's everybody take every cent we have out of the bank!!") about Y2K, because something that I do believe wholeheartedly is self-fullfilling prophecy, that we as citizens have the ability to make this issue FAR worse that it can be with our level of panic and overreaction. Thanks for listening, and good day to all of you.

-- NA (, January 30, 1999


The DISINFORMATION posse is out in full force this am. It is amazing how these posts stand out from legitimate and sincere comments on both sides of the issue.Wonder how much these shills are being paid??


-- Ray (, January 30, 1999.

I agree, Ray. I have lurked here for quite some time, and I don't think I've ever seen such a seemingly orchestrated,inordinate amount of posts by "concerned, in-the-trenches-type" pollyannas before.

I actually feel as if they have begun a "ministry" of some sort to reach out to us! Somehow, I feel honored. Perhaps they can really make me feel better about the situation if they could offer the good news that they assert is "out there." Please post this good news as soon as possible. I look forward to hearing you articulately refute Paul Milne, infomagic, Cory and others with FACTS and not pep talks.

-- sww (, January 30, 1999.

Could it be, that there aren't any good posts because we haven't been able to find them yet?

Could it be that we are a minority that likes to hang out together because the majority think we're nuts?

Could it be that we just want to justify our own preparations and talk to like minded people?

Or maybe you're right, NA, with businesses to run, jobs to hold, families to take care of, preparations to make, we just have nothing else to do!

-- Sue (, January 30, 1999.

OF COURSE we want things to go well. the best Christmas present I could get is that all the stuff I have in teh cellar (and elsewhere) is going to be superfluous or useless. I just need the same level of information that convinced me we were in trouble to convince me we aren't in trouble.

Not a lot to ask, I thought. But it would seem that I was wrong. I can't get accurate information on remediation in any of the key industries, because the lawyers won't let the companies talk. the companies are fearful that if they say something even a bit negative then their stocks tank and the board is sued by shareholders. If there were so many positive things to be reported (in a verified manner, not just "WE DID IT!!" but "XYZ Corp has evaluated our remediation effort, which is complete, and has found that we are done."

Right now, looking at the published information, one has to read between the lines of 120-Q's etc. to gain any insight at all.

If all these companies were so close, they would be trumpeting it from the rooftops, and all we hear are smiling "Oh, we'll be there when we need to be." not "We are 95% done with coding, unit testing is 75% done and we will start end to end integrated testing in about 3 months." Which lots of us would accept as being the first honest report available, as long as in 3 months they still say that they are going into end to end testing on schedule.

I submit that, in the absence of clear, verified good news, the companies are doing just what I used to do as a systems anslyst/project leader:::: "we're on schedule, Mr. VP" "Guys, it HAS to be done real soon, and YOU have to start putting the same hours I'm putting in, so I'll see ALL of you on Saturday and Sunday because we're 2 weeks behind!"

I would dearly love to see someone prove me wrong, but I don't think they can!


-- Chuck, night driver (, January 30, 1999.

Hi NA,

Despite what Ray and others may believe that you may a be a paid shill of the "Disinformation Posse," I'll take your question at face value and take a quick stab at an answer:

I'm one of those people who posts "bad news." Almost everyday I make the rounds of the web and snip a few bits of "bad news" and post them here. I would say that if I post five articles of "bad news", i've also found twenty of "good news" and another twenty rehashing the same old propaganda pieces (Planes will not fall from the sky, elevators will not drop 32 floors).

Why don't I post the "good news"? Because the vast majority of it is either Lawyerspeak PR, propaganda FNORDS, not backed up with evidence or completely irrelevant. Still, probably two or three of those twenty may really BE "good news".

I focus on the "bad news" (the stuff that I find that APPEARS to be backed up with evidence/credibility) in an effort to raise people's awareness to the POSSIBILITY that the entire system could crash. Each little bit of evidence is simply another micron in the growing body of evidence. I don't WANT the system to crash, but I see it as an inevitability.

I see it as being inevitable (or at least probable) for reasons that have NOTHING to do with the technical issues being discussed. Y2K is a symptom; it will not be the cause of the system crashing, merely one of many catalysts.

For instance - on the front page of the Business section of today's NYTimes, there's a picture of scores of people standing in line to get their money out of a bank in Brazil. The caption reads " Government workers seemed to be the most nervous bank customers in Brazil yesterday. The lines were long at this bank in Basilia, the national capital."

The body of the story begins -

"Panic emerges in Brazil as currency continues to plunge. RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Signs of alarm deepened across Brazil on Friday, as former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker warned that Brazilian leaders appeared to be underestimating their nation's financial crisis, and legislative employees lined up to empty their bank accounts on rumors the government would freeze personal savings..." econ.html

On page A5, there's story titled "Gore Seeks to Protect Trade From World's Fiscal Crisis"

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Vice President Al Gore warned Friday that the world had to "prevent the financial crisis of 1998 from becoming the trade crisis of 1999," and said the United States would seek to negotiate the "outright elimination" of the huge and politically sensitive subsidies that European nations provide farmers.

Gore's statement was his first detailed speech on the fragility of the world economy. It came at his debut appearance at the annual gathering here of the world's richest industrialists and the top government officials who are trying to right the world economy after 18 months of market plunges and currency upheavals on three continents.

While his audience was from all over the world, his message was intended for farmers and others at home who have been demanding that Washington relieve the effects of extraordinarily low commodity prices that have depressed exports.

In a half-hour speech that leapt from the economic tumult to a new strategy for easing the debt of impoverished countries, Gore sought to weave a middle ground that would anger neither the labor unions suspicious of the Clinton administration's trade policies nor the executives suspicious of Gore's relationships with environmentalists and unions.

But Gore stopped well short of tackling the most divisive questions being discussed at the conference, especially how governments might stem the huge outflows of short-term investment capital that destabilized Asia, Russia and now Brazil.

Instead, he declared that "the global capital market itself needs to be better and more cooperatively managed, not through new global bureaucracies, and not through the laissez-faire approach that has caused so many of today's problems, but through more information, more openness, more cross-border reviews and cooperation."

One executive whom Gore's staff consulted on the speech said later, "They couldn't decide where to come out on what to do, so they came out in favor of doing more but not too much." us.html

Now, the lead story on the front page reads - "U.S. Economy Grew at Fast 5.6% Rate at the End of '98"

NEW YORK -- A year of pleasant surprises ended with the biggest one of all: a last-minute burst of growth that surpassed even the most bullish predictions.

America's gross domestic product -- the total of goods and services produced -- surged at a 5.6 percent annual rate in the final quarter of 1998. This marked the fastest pace in two years and made 1998 the third consecutive year that the economy expanded at a pace of nearly 4 percent. For all of 1998, the GDP increased 3.9 percent.

Despite the go-go growth, inflation was somnolent. After running about 1 percent earlier in the year, it slipped to eight-tenths of a percent -- the lowest in 40 years.

"We keep getting stronger growth and less inflation pressure," said John Williams, chief economist at Bankers Trust Corp. "At the moment there seems to be nothing to get in the way." report.html

"There seems to be nothing to get in the way?" Wait a second! What about those other two stories? The U.S. economy "grew" largely because of that "huge outflow" of capitol from other countries in crisis. Those countires are being destabalized, and maybe in the short-run, it's "good for our economy," but in the long run it will affect us profoundly.

Of course there's also lots of news about the speculative bubble, particularly with Internet Stocks. There's nothing to get in the way? This is pure propaganda.

Most people read these stories, each in a vaccum. There is nothing in them to tie them together, and that's the way they were designed. However, if you look for the bonds between them, it becomes clear that things taken as a whole are falling apart and the spinmeisters are doing their damndest to try to keep it together.

As far as your question - "How do you folks find the time to dwell on this all of the time?" Well, I have a vested interest in being aware of what's going on in the world, I live here afterall, and I have a vested interst in helping to make other people aware of what's going on in the world. Don't we all?

I remember during the Gulf War in '91, I was the team leader for a small group of people doing a software upgrade project for PacBell. One of the guys I was working with, who was a good friend, always wore a Walkman and was listening to the news about the war. I asked him why he did this. He said "You can ignore history, you can stand by passively while it happens or you can be a part of it in your own way. With this particular thing, the only way I can be a part of it is to understand it. If you ask me what I know, maybe I'll help you to understand it."

That made a profound impact on me, and with the issues we are discussing here, I intend to be a part of history by understanding what is going on. Maybe this post, or others will help you...

-- pshannon (, January 30, 1999.

I take NA at face value. I think he raises a valid point. My guess is that no one can claim compliance because of legal issues. I remember first reading Ed's book. MOST EVERYONE WILL MAKE IT. The problem is where are the wild cards and how do we protect ourselves? That's what I'm preparing for. I can't believe thousands of people working thousands of hours for millions of dollars are getting nothing done. That makes no sense. I read what's here and extrapolate a little bit and put in my brain where it makes sense.

-- margie mason (, January 30, 1999.


I expect and welcome good news on Y2K. There just hasn't been much so far. I expect a majority of companies working on Y2K to be "ready". The question isn't do we berate good news, but rather what percentage of companies need to be "ready" ("compliant" would sure be nicer) to avoid TEOTWAWKI? 75%? 80%? 90%? 95%? 99%?

No one knows. But it is clear that the good news (which we will hear, of course) isn't so good as to convince me (or most others here) that the percentage will be high enough.

This is a vast oversimplification of the issues, of course. As for me, I am not in a state of "panic" and I am not "overreacting". I would argue that most others here aren't, either. They are responding to current news about Y2K, most of which (unless it's from an "official") is bleak, indeed.

Good luck on your Y2K project. Keep us posted.

-- Steve Hartsman (, January 30, 1999.

Thanks Chuck and Sue for your sincere input. NA, sww, margie, pshannon and steve better luck next time.


-- Ray (, January 30, 1999.

And heres a prime example of another one.

From my post to y2k my ass.

I think I'll save this one and just slap it on the forum whenever we get any more of these trolling dumb questions.

Ya know,

This asshole is typical of many of the frightened folks that will drop into this forum and assume that we are all freakin' looking forward to a gigantic collapse...

Are they out of their simple, brain-dead, blinkered little minds?

" but I know that I don't have some global death wish like you freaking losers do."

I bet there is less than a percentile of 1% that want a collapse. A larger percentage is unhappy, to put it mildly, with the way the world is going, but even they would want to bring about change in a better way.

These pea-brains just cannot grasp the bigger picture - it's that simple - they just don't have the intellectual capacity. This is going to be Darwinism at its finest if things go to hell.

Which is fair enough for me sad to say.

Adios y2k my ass.


Two digits. One mechanism. The smallest mistake.

"The conveniences and comforts of humanity in general will be linked up by one mechanism, which will produce comforts and conveniences beyond human imagination. But the smallest mistake will bring the whole mechanism to a certain collapse. In this way the end of the world will be brought about."

Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, 1922 (Sufi Prophet)

-- Andy (, January 30, 1999.

pshannon: concur. Thanks for your posts. They are helping me to understand history a little better also.

-- a (a@a.a), January 30, 1999.

Hello Ray, Lighten up dude!! I have absolutely no interest in "misinforming" you of anything!!! What the hell kind of suggestion is that?? I merely added my humble opinion to this forum, and you twist it all out of proportion. I would not portray myself as being able to "dispute with facts" any of your info sources (Milne, Cory, etc), but why would you yourself take their facts as the truth anyway?? For that matter what I say should not be worthy of "misinforming" you. I am one opinion in a sea of many. As Steve and Margie did, take the question at face value, would you?? I do not write with hostility toward you, or with a lack of respect for your words, yet your post reeks of both. If you want to send a full-on rebuttal, hit me my e- mail address. I promise you I'll read it. But lighten up, Ray!!

-- NA (, January 30, 1999.

NA commented:

"The other comment I have is this: How do you folks find the time to dwell on this all of the time??"

Idon't have the time !!

I calls them as I sees them.


-- Ray (, January 30, 1999.


I believe a majority of U.S. companies will be Y2K compliant by 2000. That isn't saying much, though. Would you be willing to drive your car if a majority of its parts were working, but you knew that a minority of them would fail?

What if you knew that a minority of your car's parts were going to fail, but you didn't know which ones? How about if you knew that only 5% of the parts would fail, but that 5% turned out to be your tires?

Modest preparations may get you through 2000, but are you willing to bet your family's life on that? I wouldn't, so I need to follow Y2K news to find out, if possible, "whether the brakes are going fail."

How would you feel if you could not get reliable information about your car from the manufacturer (business community), or a regulatory agency (our government)? Wouldn't you be willing to spend a considerable amount of time on the internet to find out more?

And the last part of this analogy...would you be willing to drive on the expressway if you knew your car was fine, but that a minority of other cars would have flats while you were on the road?

Yes, it's estimated that "only" 15% of U.S. companies will experience a mission-critical system failure. The percentage for Japan is 50% though, and it's 50% for Germany as well.

I suggest you take this issue at least as seriously as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard do.

But since you "have read this site regularly for the last several months", you know about all this already. That's why I believe you are a shill. =all

-- Kevin (, January 30, 1999.

NA, In many ways I thought your post was very interesting. The most striking thing was the obvious appeal that your message would have to a typical American (IQ,well . . . let's say less than genius) who had bought a computer within the last 24 months and who now preferred surfing the web to watching Jerry Springer. Let's see you're male, age 31. (Good, very good.That fits right in the demographic.)You're married and going to start a family this year. (Hey! I'd like to have this guy as a neighbor. Demographics getting better all the time.) You're not a survivalist.(Nor is the former Springer watcher.) And to top it all off, you're a computer professional. (Hey, this guy's an "EXPERT"!) Of course once you established yourself as a regular guy (like the former Springer watcher) who's also an expert, you separate yourself from the majority of the forum by pronouncing that y2k "terms" are "a little odd" (Much like the breakfast cereal ad line, "If your kid doesn't like this he must be weird.") It's also interesting that you read this forum with decreasing frequency. As rollover dates draw closer, many more people appear to be reading this forum with increasing frequency. But we understand your message, you're cool and not worried.

Well, NA, your message is surrounded by so much noise screaming "SHILL!" that no one on this forum is going to listen to it, regardless of whether you are sincere. Next time you post, stick to some hard facts about y2k, or, if you are a shill, tell your puppetmaster to work on his act a little.

If you are sincere, we'd all appreciate knowing that company you work for with the 3,000 PCs. There are very few working days left and apparently you don't work on Saturdays. When I bought a house I had to take extra time off to meet realtors, mortgage brokers, bankers, and lawyers. When we started a family I had to take time off for my wife's doctor's appointments, amnios, you name it. That doesn't even count the hospital time at the end. All of your planned activities will lead to increased distraction and daydreaming. I figure you've got about 100 hours of productive working time between now and the century. Got No-Doze? Can the shares of your client be shorted on the exchange?

-- Puddintame (, January 30, 1999.


perhaps I'm wrong, but your underlying assumption appears to be that you're basicly going to do nothing, because you're helpless and can't understand what's going on. This would seem to directly contradict your claim to current employment.

ah, but perhaps I'm not understanding you - would you mind discussing your 'modest preparations' a bit? Are you at least up to the Red Cross/ FEMA minimums? What sort of water storage are you planning? alternate heat sources? thought about getting the neighbors into the act, and maybe organizing to make sure everybody's okay during rolling brownouts/blackouts? I realize you're new to the forum, but people tend to be suspicious of folks whose first post comes across, shall we say just a bit patronizing. In order to ameliorate said concerns we'd be interested in hearing what you're doing for preparations...specifics are always of interest.

oh and the real opposite of pollyanna is 'doombrooder'...just thought you'd wanna know.

Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (, January 30, 1999.

NA's approach actually is a bit more sophisticated than we're used to here. I appreciate that, a challenge requiring some thought to meet is always welcome. Perhaps it is part of an organized campaign -- but I rather doubt it. I think instead it's an indicator of the growing awareness of Everyman that something truly novel "this way comes." In the last couple of months more and more concerned people are posting here -- certainly many many more are lurking w/o posting.

NA's post also represents that class. He (she?) is experiencing growing concern, is afraid of what may be implied, and wants very badly not to be forced to face the fear. Has anyone here not been there? done that? Yet most have gotten beyond that stage.

Why is the "good news" given less weight than the "bad news"?

Not hard to tell, as the Irish bards would say. For corporations, issues of liability are very important. Stock valuations are even more immediately important. For a corporation, presenting anything other than "good news" is not an attractive option.

It's a little different for individuals. I expect there are a few persons trying to exploit this situation for their own benefit (whether ideological or commercial). But no one else has reason, commercial or otherwise, to tell others that serious problems may be in our near future. Milne and Infomagic aren't selling anything. Their views are extreme, but they are genuine.

On this count only, bad news is more likely to be accepted than good news. There is also an indisputable universe of fact (legacy systems, fossil languages, volume of code, embedded systems, iatrogenic errors) which underlie the bad news. And the logistics: Too much to do in the time remaining. Much will be repaired, some unguessable amount will not be. Will any failures be critical? Where may they occur? Will Charlotte's web be broken? If it is, can it be rewoven quickly anough to avoid serious consequences? These are unanswerable questions. But the answers, as they eventually manifest themselves, will affect people on every continent.

Civil government, now, has a definite vested interest in maintaining order, in the economic arena and among the population. Decisions as to serving that interest must already have been made. Reading governmental statements literally, it seems we are being encouraged to believe the problem is being well managed and will be little or no threat. Reading reports of recent governmental actions gives quite another impression. National Guard and FEMA come to mind.

Thus "good news" coming from the government is tainted also.

Most of the postings I've read on this Forum indicate that the writers are very concerned, relatively well informed, quite aware of the uncertainties involved, and are acting on their own personal assessment of risk. This seems to me the only rational response. Find out as much as you can, assign weights to what you find, make your own decisions -- what else can anyone do?

This is not bad news, or good news. It's simply how things work.

-- Tom Carey (, January 31, 1999.


Forgive me for pointing this out, but there were a few inconsistencies in your post. For instance, you wrote: ". . .[A]ren't these Y2K-speak terms a little odd???" almost immediately after describing your work as "an all-you-can-eat buffet of BIOS ROM flashes, operating system patches, software upgrades, and various other system tweaks." As a non-computer pro I find your terms "a little odd"! Then there are those terms like "cookie," "spam," "glitch,"--need I go on?

You ask: "How do you folks find the time to dwell on this all of the time??" Well, most of us don't dwell on it all of the time. I read faster than average and I type 100-plus words a minute so I spend less time than you might think at the forum. I suspect the same is true of many forum participants. I don't "dwell on" Y2K all of the time. If you've lurked around for a while you'll have noticed many of the regular posters slipping in bits of news about themselves that have nothing to do with Y2K. Anyway, in your first para you say, "I have read this site regularly for the last several months, although with less frequeny in recent weeks." We find time just as you find time.

As for your question, "Why is it that most of you folks want to only dwell on the negative, and never the positive?", you'll find, if you click on 'About" at the top of the New Questions page: "This forum is intended for people who are concerned about the impact of the Y2000 problem on their personal lives, and who want to discuss various fallback contingency plans with other like-minded people. It's not intended to provide advice/guidance for solving Y2000 problems within an IT organization." You see, we've decided (from sifting available information through our respective and varied lifetime experiences) that Y2K may very well bring serious problems. And even if it doesn't, there are more than enough fragile economic and supply systems and unpredictable natural disasters to warrant storing a goodly amount of supplies anyway. The purpose of this forum is to provide a place for swapping helpful information between people already convinced of Y2K's serious effects. Those who think there will be inconsequential or no problems when Y2K rolls around will probably find a warmer welcome at some other forum not specifically dedicated to the "negative" side of Y2K.

Because you have to spend your days struggling with Y2K remediation, I can understand why you might not want to spend much of your spare time discussing possible Y2K problems. I'm retired and waiting for our house to sell, so I have plenty of time on my hands. In the meantime, I'm fixing things, doing spring clean-up on our fairly large yard and planting lots of colorful new spring flowers to entice would-be buyers. Working out there today in the wonderful clear sunshine, newly-returned birds dashing and twittering, squirrels digging for their caches, plump forsythia buds ready to burst out, and daffodils showing promising spikes of green--much longer than yesterday, I swear--it's difficult to believe that anything might spoil my sheer enjoyment of these small pleasures this time next year. No, we're not all doom'n gloom by any means. Appreciating pleasures and comforts as we do, we simply want to minimize any possible problems and eagerly devour all the "negative" news as an antidote to the plethora of sugar-coated rubbish put out by some individuals and entities. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth--as you say, "None of us, regardless of our background or expertise, can be certain of the effects Y2K will have on all of us." So, "do ya feel lucky, punk? Well--do ya?"

-- Old Git (, January 31, 1999.

Good responses, Tom and Git.

The arrival of a new Polly gets us into the worry: troll, or shill? But NA sounded sincere to me, just new at the topic. Yet he got a mild flaming at some hands.

It's a group dynamic: insiders vs. outsiders. He didn't bring us much news, but he didn't get violently obscene either at not being welcomed warmly. Still sounds like a normal sincere guy to me. Are we closed to new people if they don't bring us something we cotton to on first hearing? I'm fairly new to the lingo here, but IMO he hardly qualifies as even a serious troll.

We sure fill space taking shots at people rather than sticking to answering the post, or just maybe IGNORING THEM. There was a wonderful unanimous non-response to 2 a-holes on Matt's announcement of fatherhood-a-coming.

NA, the problem with "good news" is that it's an attempt to prove the negative. Prove there won't be a significant level of y2k disruption. Out of say, 50 million y2k bugs, maybe 40 million will be dispatched. Do we have to hear about every friggin' one of those 40m? No. Do we have to answer the newbie who comes in waving his handful of fixes? No. Even the breakdowns we hear about give us no quantification of what's ahead, just interesting for learning about the types of errors and consequences.

This is still just Freshman Orientation, and maybe we're still choosing roommates.

Reduced to this level, maybe there's not so much original to say about y2k for a few months or more? I loved hearing about a Spring garden starting somewhere warmer and drier than here in Cascadia, Git, and about someone with leisure time on his hands. Hope to join you in that soon!

-- jor-el (, January 31, 1999.

Off topic but couldn't (er, wouldn't) resist--there's a 50% chance of sleet tonight, 70% in the morning. . . We're in central North Carolina and we can have 70-plus degrees reduced to freezing or below within a few hours. That's a shame, it looks as if the early cherry blossoms will be burned off. On the good side, the temperature rarely gets below 20 and only for a few days. And, of course, there's plenty of food in the bird and critter feeders to help them get through the quick changes. (Note: plant ornamental grass, hollies, pyracantha, fennel, teasel, etc., to provide food for birds and small creatures. Don't think FEMA provides sacks of bird food. . .)

Hope you've been looking at Canada's Richter's Herbs on the Web (, the best selection and descriptions I've seen. I like Gardenimport's beautiful plants too (Ontario), at They have Sutton's seeds from England, many non-hybrids among them.

-- Old Git (, January 31, 1999.

Hello again folks. Thank you for the answers. Today is Sunday, and sunny but cold here in the upstate NY area. I have to comment on some of your posts, as I find some of them palatable and some of them laughable. First of all, I work through an agency here in Albany called Snelling Personnel (on Wolf Road, for any Albany-ites out there). I'm not going to tell you the name of the client company I work with, because I frankly don't see the need to. I am what they call a "contract" IT worker, and by the way, I've only done PC work since August of 1998, so I would hardly call myself an expert (but I am learning fast, and hope to make a career out of it).

In terms of preparations, you'll appreciate the fact that my wife and I are including either a fireplace or woodstove in our house-search criteria, because we DO see the need for an alternate heat source next winter. That has been difficult, because you don't seem to find a 3-bdr, 1.5-bath ranch with a fireplace much around the capitol district here in NY. We WILL have extra water on hand, we WILL begin to accumulate extra food over the remaining time, and we WILL try and put some cash aside (a little bit each month maybe, NOT by yanking it all out in December). What we will not do is panic, and make this our life concern between now and then. I have read FEMA and Red Cross's recommendations, and we will abide by them at a minimum. But as some of the posts have said, it makes sense to have these things around anyhow...anyone read about the ice storm last year here in the Northeast, and the massive outages in caused?? Winters are kinda tough up here. And as much as I hate to admit it, we have actually questioned our plans to be "expecting" during that winter. I am 31, and my wife will be 29 soon, so the clock is ticking, as they say. But I shudder at the thought of no heat of food for a pregnant woman. This is why we will make what I think are modest preparations.

Now for the good part...whether some of you believe it or not, I am not a "shill," or trying to disinform anyone here. Some of those comments left me thinking, holy smokes, I am dealing with some whackos here!! Yes, I took my obligatory ass-kicking by kevin, ray, etc. who thought I was a shill, or a troll (could someone please explain "troll" to me, as I am unfamiliar with that term), or that I am on a mission to fool everyone. I am a regular Joe (oh yeah, what's with the "demographics" post??? What the hell do my demographics have to do with anything??) who will make regular Joe preparations if he can manage to buy a regular Joe house here in the Albany area.

I still think that good news does not make it out at all because of liability concerns, and I still think that some on this forum tend to dwell on the negative. As I said to one of my ass-kickers, Ray, I don't write with any malice or disrespect, and if I sounded patronizing, that I am sorry. I will respect your opinions, and I would expect the same in return. I have heard enough bad news about Y2K problems to know that some disruptions are coming, the degree of which NO ONE can predict, regardless of their qualifications or how loud or inflammatory they are! I know it's coming, and I will prepare for it, but I don't need anymore daily bad news to reaffirm that. Does that make sense??

Thanks to those who at least respected my post enough to respond intelligently. As for Ray, and others who "flamed" me, please, send me a regular e-mail and flame me there if you wish. I hope that this message clears a couple of things up. Good day, and Happy Superbowl watching to all of you.

-- NA (, January 31, 1999.


As someone else said on here recently, it's going to get harder and harder to tell the difference between a troll and newcomer. This forum HAS been the object of disinformation recently. There's a good example at this link:

"Hurray! This is the best news since I learned about Y2K"

-- Kevin (, January 31, 1999.

NA, you sure are eager to get people to send flaming e-mail to you. Are you ljgoldberg or are you just trying to get lj flamed by ambush? I'm not big on flaming, but if I were, I sure wouldn't flame a shill by e-mail so he could have my e-mail address. Your post was addressed to the forum for the public to read and it's important that the responses (not necessarily this one)can also be read by the public. That's kinda what makes this whole thing work.

-- Busrider (maniac@depressive.state), January 31, 1999.

NA - Thank you for your comments, your preparations indicate your desire to aknowledge your responsibility to yourself adn your family. Congrats on your choice to look ahead, I hope the preparations will not be needed.

But if they are, or if they are required for a longer time than FEMA/Red Cross is publicly going to admit, all could be in even deeper trouble.

We (collectively) have been hit with a very disconcerting but widespread and anonymous effort to mislead and misdirect anyone who is preparing - why, w by who, and they have to gain we don't know. Their business I suppose, but we cannot understand it. And that pressure rattles people - worse still when we see the government deliberately engaging in false propaganda and paying for public relations campaigns intended to minimize the potential for Y2K awareness.

The panic politicians fear most will be caused by their very secrecy - and by the sense that others will panic. Thus, our emphasis on early preparations -so we are not affected when most others decide to panic.

Now, what will really happen? None here are foolish enough to claim to know - that is one reason we trust each other with information and requests for information. So each can decide for himself or herself based on other people's opinions and experiences.

But what have we seen from official spokesmen? Nothing but half-truths, absolutes, and vague "trust us" reassurances. No facts. No caution. No references to the linked infrastruture that rests on very tight assumptions about simultaneous successful operating power, telecom, satellite, switchboards, computers, databases, and transportation networks. Will they work? How successfully will they work?

We don't know - and know we don't know. So we look for evidence of hidden cracks (now slowly coming visible) that reveal the flawed strucutre underneath. But the government is telling us there are NO cracks - yet the bridge is shuddering and quaking.

Do you blame us for looking for cracks - rather than looking at the whitewash job the government is providing to paint them over? Because if the bridge fails when we stand on it - we fail with it. The government can't stop the earthquake, isn't fixing the cracks, and refuses to tellpeople to stay off the bridge.

And the government whitewash won't hold up a bridge when an earthquake hits.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, January 31, 1999.

While I agree that there isn't a lot of good news to be had about Y2K, I submit that this is due to the nature of trouble as yet unrealized: any good news will be found by experience, on or after January 1, 2000, not in advance.

With respect to shills, conspiracies to hide the truth, etc. -- perhaps this stuff is really out there. Perhaps not. Certainly there is enough exposure of the problem that it seems unlikely that the software companys of today are going to be the tobacco companies of yesteryear, telling us that there IS no problem. It is too late for that. Too much press and too much money has been put to this issue.

I'm not saying that enough is being done. I'm not sure what "enough" is going to be. Whatever the facts, there is no need to be uncivil.

-- Keith (, February 02, 1999.

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