Programmer Warnings! : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I have recently received e-mails to my Y2K Survive website ( from several different programmers relating their personal experiences in y2k code remediation and what they're saying is not exactly cause for optimism. It may be that the only way we can get any kind of accurate sense of how things are going (and how bad things are apt to be in 2000 and beyond) is to talk to the people who are actually doing the work that needs to be done to corrett all the flawed code. Everyone else is just theorizing.

For myself, I see no way around the fact that there is very, very little known today that indicates that y2k will be sufficiently solved to avoid a major catastrophe. Where are all the corporations and government agencies boasting that they made the December 31, 1998 deadling to be ready for testing? There is almost total silence from them and I expect this to be the case regarding their new March 31, 1999 deadline. Based on what we know right now, today, TEOTWAWKI is a very strong possibility, despite what some of the pollyana ostriches would want to believe.

-- cody varian (, February 06, 1999



Could you share some of those e-mails with us here?

-- Nabi Davidson (, February 06, 1999.

Just go to or programmer2.html or programmer3.html and you can read their messages.

-- cody varian (, February 06, 1999.

I'm a hard-core "geek" in work-force since 1983...

For the organization I work for (~900 users, mostly Oracle & VAX- based), all looks OK. A few fatal bugs will come-up that crash everyting (I suspect more problems with "systems" software than application), but these should be fixed in a week or so, being isolated to central "systems" software. The larger organization (~10,000 users) has a similar prognosis.

I don't expect global "meltdown". I am more worried about "the straw that breaks the camel's back". The global debt-bubble, and the Moslem/Jewish "holy-war" concern me most. Most annoying that the US so frequently sides with the Jews (Israel, to be more precise). I think Y2K could easily trigger problems with the economy (banks) or war.

I'm a hard-core "geek" in work-force since 1983.

-- Anonymous99 (, February 06, 1999.

Anonymous: Your assumption that the glitches you're expecting can be fixed in a week is presumably based on current conditions. What if there's no power during that time? What if the municipal water/sewer system is down? What if there's widespread looting and violence and the programmers are afraid to come to work?

I hear what you're saying often from people who are sure these problems can be fixed in a few days, and they probably could if those few days were next week when everything is up and running. The question is can they be fixed if there are similar problems in many areas simultaneously? You can't look only at your own company; the snags may be everywhere at once, making it impossible to fix in a normal time span.

-- cody varian (, February 06, 1999.


I don't know if you've thought of this, but maybe the reason the US sides with the Jews so often is because there are more Jews in the US than there are in Israel.

-- Nabi Davidson (, February 06, 1999.

Food for thought, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the US.

-- Uncle Deedah (, February 06, 1999.

Yeah, Uncle Deedah, that's a statistic that concerns me...

-- Nabi Davidson (, February 07, 1999.


-- Uncle Deedah (, February 07, 1999.

Uncle Deedah,

"because" seeing how women under fundamental Islam are treated, I would rather not revert to being a possession.

-- lois knorr (, February 07, 1999.

If programmer2's comments about the banks' attitudes regarding transaction transfers are recent and accurate, they suggest specific grounds for programmer2's employer to change banks, and to do so PDQ.

That email reminded me of some comments recently reported from a conference called "Year 2000 Systemic Risk in Financial Institutions and Markets: Contingency Plans and Risk Management" which took place in Manhattan in January. The report is by Victor Porlier at:

"George Juncker of the NY Federal Reserve said that industry-wide tests must be carefully conceived and executed as they have the potential for being either PR success stories or disasters. He urged participants not to focus their efforts on making such EDI tests successful at the expense of other efforts to remediate systems internal to their organizations."

The EDI (electronic data interchange) tests would, I believe, be testing precisely the transaction transfers that that email indicated that those bankers seemed to regard as not too important.

Jerry B

-- Jerry B (, February 07, 1999.

I have a question for you "computer geeks". Please help me, I fail to understand how medium to large size companies could fix any Y2K problems they encounter in a matter of a few days. If they have problems with a few lines of code out of multiple millions, is it that simple to pinpoint and fix the "needle in the haystack"?

-- me (, February 08, 1999.

First, don't get too optimistic about such predictions - they are more often mouthed by those who aren't doing the "fixing", but who want to predict most of the "fixing" can be done simply and easily after the failure(s) may occur in Jan next year.

Won't be the case I'm afraid. As above, there will be interfering problems, and stop/start problems (power, supplies, etc.) Bad data coming in too. Cancelled accounts completely - as has happened in testing now.

On the other hand - a smaller company can more likely recover (manually) its records, and can possibly use manual systems more readily than a much larger. (For example, if you are receiving 80,000.00 of inventory a week in fout shipments, you might manage by hand, and by "assuming" everything was correct and not counting it manually. (Might be okay until the shipper screwed up or frauded (-1 verbed) you.)

But if you are responsible for 300,000.00 of inventory dialy, you ain't gonna manage no how no when without your inventory, receipt, and billing systems working perfectly. If you have 10-50 employees, you might manage by hand one month, maybe two paycheck periods - might even be able to pay fed and state and city taxes and insurance and deductibles and health insurance right (almost right) too.

But with 10,000 (or 200) you could never manage.

A smaller company (typically with fewer layers of management) can more readily accomodate failure or emergency process recovery - the managers (owner) will know what to do - and might even be the subject matter expert. No large firm manager can do the skills jobs any more. No refinery manager can run the lab, the cracking tower, or the pump room. No refinery manager can get power to the site, or recover from a fire or emergency shutdown.

To PNG last night, I spoke about "fix on failure" - and how absolutely hard it will be to really track down the "right problem" - the source of the shutdown rather than the symptom of the shutdown or failure. Look up that, or ask again if the above isn't clear.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 08, 1999.

Doesn't the Orthadox Jewish faith also put heavy restrictions on women?

I don't fear religion. I fear those who use religion, any religion, to further an agenda.............

-- Not My Real Name (Ibelieve@Ijustdon', February 08, 1999.

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