Good embedded system article : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I found a fairly balanced article on embedded systems at :

Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Online

Snips and comments are provided below. Reading the entire article is recommended.


"Most of the failures will be nuisance issues," says Bill Thompson, senior analyst with Automation Research Corp., a consulting firm in Dedham, Mass.

Not everyone is so sanguine.

"The embedded systems problem is still a black hole," says Harlan Smith, a Y2K analyst who moderates an online forum on the issue at

"Identifying the devices that are not compliant and assessing the effect of them on the environment in which they operate is complicated."


Even the experts arent positive.


At a pharmaceutical firm with operations in 39 countries, for example, Tava found 4,457 embedded processors in the laboratory equipment and manufacturing facilities of one location.

Based on an inventory it conducted, 18% of the items were not Y2K compliant and 17% could cause a plant shutdown or affect production.

"The chance of these systems failing was 70% for the lab and 80% for manufacturing and facilities," says Bill Heerman of Tava's Denver office.

Tava estimated that it would take 39 weeks to inventory and analyze the firm's 125 plants at a cost of $11.5 million. The fix would take another 31 weeks and cost $54.8 million.


Hope they started several months ago!!!!!!


Fortunately, many (like the one in your portable CD player) couldn't care less about dates.

"There are embedded systems that don't have the faintest idea what year it is," Barnicki says.


Good, we don't have to worry about microwave ovens falling out of the sky :-)


"We encountered a controller on a process line recently that rolled over to Jan. 1, 2000, just fine," says Kurt Schmidt of Tava Technologies' Denver office.

"And it kept working just fine until it went to Jan. 32, then Jan. 33, Jan. 34 and so on all the way up to Jan. 54. Some of these systems won't show the date problems immediately."


Illustrates that the problem will be dispersed over a period of time.


"Consultants hired by Occidental Chemical found 10 times more systems with potential Y2K problems than the company's own engineers found."

The new assessment of Y2K progress by larger American companies from Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Inc., on the other hand, found cause for "cautious optimism" among big companies, given the level of awareness and the amount of effort.


Balance, again. One gloomy picture, the other is much brighter (although cautious optimism can also be a snow job.)

All in all, a good article. Worth reading.

-- De (, February 16, 1999


Link doesn't work.

-- OOPS (, February 16, 1999.

I forget the source but, while cleaning out an old briefcase today I stumbled on a meeting note taken by myself about 10 years ago.

"Optimism is the incorrect strategy when the cost of failure is high". 'nuff said.

MoVe Immediate

-- MVI (, February 16, 1999.

Let's try this link... Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Online

-- Sysman (, February 16, 1999.

PS - Hey MVI, old mainframe guy? With an address of <:)=

-- Sysman (, February 16, 1999.

Yep Sysman. Ever notice how some of the mainframe lingo borders on the lewd. Phrases like "mounting a private volume", "deleting the member of a PDS", or "taking a snapshot dump". Or my favorite, "scratching the VTOC".

MoVe Immediate (doing his Andy Rooney impersonation)

-- MVI (, February 16, 1999.

OK, how about IBM:

International Brotherhood of Magicians

Intercourse Before Marriage

Itty Bitty Monopoly

I've Been Moved

It's a Better Machine

It'll Beat Most


Nice to meet another pro here. Keep your comments flowing. We need all the help we can get here! <:)=

-- Sysman (, February 16, 1999.

Oh, and how could I forget:

It Bounced the Millennium

-- Sysman (, February 17, 1999.


That isn't a good embedded system's a GREAT embedded system article!

-- Kevin (, February 17, 1999.

Sys -

The field support folks always told me it was "I Bring Manuals." 8-}]

-- Mac (, February 17, 1999.

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