Year 2000 expert focuses on positive side of things : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Check out de Jager's latest news:

-- Anon (, February 11, 1999


Let's just list this wonderful, positive news for all to see... February 10, 1999

Good News for Y2K

Peter de Jager is a mathematician and computer scientist who predicted the Y2K bug back in 1991 -- to the few who listened. Since then he's become a leading guru on the matter, one who staunchly believes good news needs to be told about the world's Y2K efforts.

He's not talking about simple back-patting here. To underscore his commitment to the positive side of Y2K he's changed his millennium plans. No longer will he see in Jan. 1, 2000, in a pub in Dublin listening to Irish music (one of the best ideas anyone's had yet). Instead he plans to spend the night on an aircraft, according to The Financial Times.

"I am surprisingly pleased by the tremendous progress the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines have made," he told FT in early December. "I intend to work closely with them over the next few months, and if they convince me of some things, I will announce that I plan to be flying that night."

De Jager, founder of The Year 2000 Information Center, believes companies should come clean about what's been done and what hasn't on their Y2K efforts -- for the public calm, he says. "Now is the time for companies to say honestly what they have achieved, what they have actually fixed and what remains to be done," he says. "Unless those achievements start becoming widely known, people will assume nothing has been done and there will be justifiable panic."

On his Web site he says, "If your only source of Y2K information were the press, you might well believe all governments and industrial sectors are in danger of total collapse come Jan. 1, 2000. Yet tens of thousands of companies and agencies have spent billions of dollars making sure their systems won't fail at the turn of the century, that production of their goods will continue unabated, and that the public need not fear disruption of their critical services." This is the sort of good news he believes coverage of Y2K efforts need to be balanced with.

Instead of mass blackouts he thinks there will only be isolated, local blackouts. Some aircraft will be grounded, he believes, but not all -- particularly the one he chooses to fly. The "fix" doesn't need to be complete to be good enough: One single computer left unfixed will not bring down Western civilization, he says, but had nothing been done, of course there would have been catastrophe.

When asked, as he frequently is, whether people should be taking their money out of banks or not, he responds by saying banks have done a tremendous deal of work, "which must be communicated to their depositors, otherwise they will be nervous. And if they are nervous, they will take their money out."

The fact that 80 percent of small businesses haven't even begun to address the Y2K issue doesn't bother de Jager. "Twenty-one percent don't even use a computer," he points out to FT, "and the rest use PC-based packaged software, which is easy to upgrade." He sees embedded systems causing more concern, and thinks the number of failures, while small, will be more significant -- such as on ships or in chemical plants.

"A tremendous amount of work has been expended and we are making good progress. We are not going to get everything done, but it will not be the end of the world," he reminds those fretting about what will happen.

-- Nabi Davidson (, February 11, 1999.

I found the tone of the article to be far too breezy. The statement that de Jager will be flying on New Year's Eve (if--IF--certain things are done by the FAA and airline companies) smacks of the apocryphal planes-falling-from-the-skies scenario we're all sick and tired of. The following is the only passing reference to what might be a catastrophic problem:

". . .[de Jager] sees embedded systems causing more concern, and thinks the number of failures, while small, will be more significant -- such as on ships or in chemical plants."

If, for instance, the chips control flow of oil and chemicals, then I'd say we've got a hell of a problem if even one ship or one plant craps out. Can you say Exxon Valdez or Bhopal?

-- Old Git (, February 11, 1999.

Cheers Nabi, I wish I knew how to do that.

-- Anon (, February 11, 1999.

good grief! the guy has totally lost it - he's off in DWGI land with the editors of Time and the NYT!

-- Arlin H. Adams (, February 11, 1999.

Again, compare de Jager's current comments with what he said as recently as November 17, 1998...

...and de Jager's personal preparedness plans which are hinted at in the last few paragraphs of this November 22, 1998 article: 01_FI-DEJAGER22.html

-- Kevin (, February 11, 1999.

Who the H*LL can we believe these days!!!

-- Anonymous99 (, February 11, 1999.

Isn't it just possible, POSSIBLE I say, that this Y2K expert knows a little more about what is going on then you wannabe experts?

-- ... (.@...), February 11, 1999.

We can believe the facts. One of them is that although Peter de Jager is a mathematician and a computer scientist, he has not published (to my knowlege) a statistical probability that we can verify.

Every project has three primary elements: Time, Resources, and Quality. Articles like these stress resources. Unfortunately, there is a second and third element. It is typical of a weathy society to stress the resources angle of a problem. Many times money protects a person from harm. The problem is that it is not a perfect solution.

In order for me to accept an idea such as "we have spent alot of money and worked real hard so we will make it ok" as fact, I need some indication that the time factor (i.e. "and we have the time to succeed") and the quality factor (i.e. "and our quality has been verified") is taken care of.

Peter de Jager is a smart man. Perhaps he is working on such a document...

-- Reporter (, February 11, 1999.

The fact that 80 percent of small businesses haven't even begun to address the Y2K issue doesn't bother de Jager. "Twenty-one percent don't even use a computer," he points out to FT, "and the rest use PC-based packaged software, which is easy to upgrade."

I know small business owners (as mentioned in an earlier thread) Who in fact DO NOT use pre packaged software. They are already experiencing y2k problems, DGI, and are in the process of trying to find someone to write an entirely new program. (okay, I'm not that computer literate, but that is the best way I can explain it.) Also they rely heavily on various types of technology and last I heard have not even thought of finding out compliance status of their equipment, or making any type of contingency plans.

I can barely get over the sweeping generalization that "the rest use pc-based packaged software".


P.S. These people are successful, and affluent. It blows my mind.

-- Deborah (, February 11, 1999.

I would love to be able to believe de Jager and other pollyanas. "Just show me the money (proof)".

In the absence of positive evidence I can only assume the negative. This makes me a pessimist rather than an optimist.

Why am I a pessimist? I am a programmer (PC based, not mainframe or minis) for over 10 years. I also have previous electronics and electro-mechanical engineering experience prior to that for over 20 years.

I have worked at aerospace companies, commerical manufacturing companies, computer companies, banking companies and HMOs. Mostly as a temp contractor.

Some observations:
Almost everything comes in over-budget and/or late.
Little things (as well as big things) will "get" you. Never underestimate the stupidity and/or shortsightedness of management.
You can't solve a problem until you first recognize it.

Like I said, I'd love to believe the pollyanas. I'm ready to retire. I don't want to have to move to the boonies and raise pigs and battle bugs in the garden. But, since I don't see any convincing "Don't worry; be happy" evidence, I'm stocking up and trying to figure where to go.

-- vbProg (, February 11, 1999.

Anyone who doesn't cringe at "just the chemical plants" doesn't have a clue as to what we do. I won't be at work at the turn. "You can't make me, you can't make me, you can't make me." (Gomer Pyle) :>)

-- margie mason (, February 11, 1999.

margie - That's actually Gilligan, not Gomer Pyle. I watched waaaayyy too much TV when young, methinks...

Gomer was more prone to say, "Shazam!", which frankly sounds like teh only think that some business owners think is required to make their companies Y2K-compliant. Some pixie dust, the magic word, and all will be well. Not.

-- Mac (, February 11, 1999.

And that wasn't a typo, no sirree, it wasn't. "teh only think" was, uhhh, one of Colonel Klink's sayings. Yeah, that's it, that's what it was. "Teh only think I vant to hear from you, Schultz, is your heels clinkink!" Yeah, that's the ticket...


-- Mac (, February 11, 1999.

Mac, Chuck a Night Driver has the same affliction... he contracted it about a week ago... strange.

-- Lisa (, February 11, 1999.

vpProg, the reason you "don't see any convincing "Don't worry; be happy" evidence" is because you call it propaganda or spin. When you refuse to see anything positive happening of course you expect the worst. The glass is half empty.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (, February 11, 1999.

Good news?

"No Problem - Or Is It?"

-- Kevin (, February 11, 1999.

Troll Maria:

A glass in your example is neither half empty or half full; it is holding 50% of its capacity. That is the objective fact as compared to the optimist/pessimist spin.

How much experience have YOU had in TECHNICAL areas, not as Manager in charge of ride-sharing and parking lot striping?

We, in the technical fields muddle through. If too many things go wrong all at once (or in a short time from each other) -- like will be the Y2K case -- the project gets cancelled, or the company goes bankrupt or maybe is bought out by someone else.

If not too many things go wrong, we actually get something on the market, whatever, and then we're "geniuses".

How about posting some links of major successes which are not dependent on other's success. It's the RELATIONSHIPS, stupid!

-- vbProg (, February 11, 1999.


Have always had the problem. Not a touch typist per se (more a Hunt and find 8 finger typist), but some of the technique actually settled in 33 years ago, and now I find that sometimes the fingers trigger in the wrong order. AH WELL, proof reading helps but........


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 12, 1999.

vbProg, then when you disagree with someone you call them stupid.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (, February 12, 1999.

Troll Maria:

So you object to my calling you stupid. I didn't, directly, but if the shoe fits... (Remember the slogan of a recent election, "It's the economy, stupid," or is that too far back for your attention span.)

BTW, where's the SUBSTANTIVE reponse to my post.

-- vbProg (, February 12, 1999.

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