What are the most compelling reports?

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

I have been on this board since last July, and also doing a substantial amount of research elsewhere.

To expand my perspective further, I would like to ask others here what you consider to be the most effective reports/facts/statements to present a convincing case to a group of very influential business leaders. I need to distill all of the many reports and articles down to the three most compelling reports that demonstrate the need to prepare for all contingencies.

Don't send me back to the archives. Been there, done that. I have my opinions already. It is YOUR evaluation of the multitude of articles that is sought... particularly in light of the many recent conflicting and whitewashing efforts of federal and economic leaders (ie.: Dodd, Bennet and Yardeni on Farce The Nation).

Please, be my think-tank and give me your top picks.

Many thanks, Sara

need to distill all of the many reports and articles down to the three most compelling reports that demonstrate the need to prepare for all contingencies.

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@ptd.net), February 28, 1999


Ms. Neeley, Probably the most influential reports to me would be the Internal Auditor's report on the USPO, The GAO reports (recent) regarding the government's readiness and on which Mr. Horn based his report card, and potentially the Senate report due out tomorrow. I regret to say that most reports are significant for what they DON'T say as opposed to actual content. I certainly would not include any commentary from GN or other like minded sources. I guarantee you will be labeled a "kook" like the rest of us.

Good Luck. Odds are your audience is full of DGI. Lobo

-- Lobo (Hiding@woods.com), February 28, 1999.

Those three reports have not yet been issued, Sara. All you will do is make an ass of yourself, as I have done many times.

-- dave (wootendave@hotmail.com), February 28, 1999.


Take a look at the 50-odd page FEMA document prepared as a checklist for state and local emergency managers. You can find it in PDF format on the FEMA webpage at http://www.fema.gov. It is presented in a low- key fashion but anyone who can read the lines, or between the lines, will come away with a "prepare for the worst, hope for the best" reaction. Keep in mind this is written for the people who are most responsible for "taking care of" us, the general(ly dumb) public, in emergency situations.

I look forward to seeing the Senate committee report but wouldn't be surprised if it never materialized.

-- oliver (oliver@fagin.com), February 28, 1999.


I'd have to think about it for awhile to narrow it down to three. Just for starters, though, I'd of course use the recent Washington Post article:


Senate Study: Y2K Risks Are Widespread

By Stephen Barr

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 24, 1999; Page A1

A report on the Year 2000 computer problem prepared by a special Senate panel warns that a number of foreign countries and U.S. economic sectors, especially the health care industry, appear at significant risk for technological failures and business disruptions.

The report, scheduled for release this week by Sens. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) and Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), includes a letter to Senate colleagues describing the problem of computers' ability to recognize dates starting on Jan. 1, 2000, popularly known as Y2K, as a "worldwide crisis" and as "one of the most serious and potentially devastating events this nation has ever encountered."

The prospect of widespread computer glitches and lobbying by industry groups have galvanized bipartisan groups in the Senate and House to press for legislation protecting companies that fail to deliver goods and services on time because of Y2K problems.

Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) estimated yesterday there might be $1 trillion in lawsuits filed because of the glitch and urged adoption of an industry-backed House bill to allay "a great deal of fear regarding out-of-control litigation."

A draft copy of the Senate report, provided by staff aides to The Washington Post, describes in vivid detail the scope of the potential Y2K problem and the frustrations that Senate investigators encountered as they tried to gather information from industries reluctant to describe what progress they have made in fixing computer and telecommunication systems.

But the report represents the most comprehensive assessment of the Y2K problem to appear as companies and governments scramble to fix their computer systems. In addition to health care, the report portrays the oil, education, farming, food processing and construction sectors as seriously lagging on computer repairs.

Among the report's findings: More than 90 percent of doctors' offices and 50 percent of small- and medium-sized companies have not addressed the Y2K problem; telephone systems are expected to operate; and planes will not fall out of the sky. The Senate panel also worries that communities will not be able to provide "911" and other emergency services.

Even though governments and corporations have mobilized technology staffs and consultants to sift through millions of lines of software code looking for Y2K glitches, the 161-page draft also underscores how little experts know about the potential impact of the so-called millennium bug.

"The interdependent nature of technology systems makes the severity of possible disruptions difficult to predict. Adding to the confusion, there are still very few overall Year 2000 technology compliance assessments of infrastructure or industry sectors. Consequently, the fundamental questions of risk and personal preparedness cannot be answered at this time," the draft said.

Clinton administration officials have portrayed the Y2K problem as similar to a severe winter snowstorm that causes inconveniences but little lasting harm. Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan assured Americans that they can keep their money in the bank over New Year's 2000 without fear.

"There's almost no conceivable way . . . that computers will break down and records of people's savings accounts would disappear," he told the Senate Banking Committee.

Still, almost all government agencies are drawing up emergency plans, including the Fed, which plans to stockpile an extra $200 billion in cash for banks, about a third more than usual.

The Senate report, which grew out of a series of hearings last year by the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, concludes "that the biggest Y2K impact will occur internationally."

Two important trading partners, Japan and Venezuela, seem to have miscalculated the time and money needed to fix the computer glitch, according to the draft report.

Relying on surveys by consultants, the report suggests that Japan "may have underestimated the resources needed to address the problem," noting that major Japanese banks have indicated far lower repair costs than U.S. banks.

Venezuela and Saudi Arabia lag from a year to 18 months behind the United States in Y2K preparations, raising concerns about the availability of oil and other critical imports, the report said.

International ports are widely described as far behind in their Y2K efforts, prompting worries that the maritime industry will face shipping problems that could interrupt commerce, the report added.

International aviation and foreign airports also appear at risk, and "flight rationing to some areas and countries is possible," the report said.

Overall, the report said, "the least-prepared countries are those that depend heavily on foreign investment and multinational companies to supplement their economies. Panic over Y2K concerns may cause investors to withdraw financial support. Lack of confidence in a country's infrastructure could cause multinational companies to close their operations."


In assessing U.S. preparedness, the draft report reserved some of its strongest language for the health care industry, concluding it "is one of the worst-prepared for Y2K and carries a significant potential for harm."

The industry relies on computers for patient treatment, insurance claims and pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution. While large hospitals are pushing to fix their computers, the report described hospital management as "playing a catch-up game."

Many hospitals are relying solely on medical device manufacturers to certify products as Y2K-compliant, which the report said "could be a serious mistake."

The report cited rural and inner-city hospitals as at special risk because they do not have the staff or money to find and fix Y2K glitches.

In an effort to head off a potential avalanche of lawsuits caused by Y2K glitches, a bipartisan group of House members yesterday introduced a bill to address litigation issues. Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.) has introduced a similar bill, and Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R- Utah) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) plan to announce their version today.

Although the House bill has the support of major business organizations, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), the measure's principal author, stressed that the measure was "pro-consumer" because it will "encourage businesses to come in and fix their problems."

The Year 2000 Readiness and Responsibility Act would require plaintiffs to give notice to potential defendants about their difficulties, wait 30 days for a response and give the defendant an additional 60 days to fix a glitch before suing.

Under the bill, plaintiffs may recover actual damages, but punitive damages would be capped.

Staff writer Guy Gugliotta contributed to this report.

) Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 28, 1999.

"Contingency and Consequence Management Planning for Year 2000 Conversion"


The links to the PDF documents are at the bottom of the page.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 28, 1999.

Sara - see my reply to Diane (in the "Cover letter" thread) and then recommend what else I can do, or how I can phrase things better to make a more useful summary.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.R@csaatl.com), February 28, 1999.

The January 1 article in the Chicago Tribune was pretty revealing...

http://chicagotribune.com/version1/article/0,1575,SAV- 9901010066,00.html



By Peter Kendall, Cornelia Grumman and Jon Hilkevitch, Tribune Staff Writers. Tribune staff writers Robert Becker...

January 01, 1999

Despite several years of warnings about the Year 2000 Bug and more than $1 billion already spent to fix it, much of the hard work required to make sure Y2K doesn't create Y2-chaos across the Chicago area has been left for the final 365 days.

Water purification plants and pumping stations in Chicago and the suburbs have not yet been checked to make sure their electronic controls will operate on Jan. 1, 2000.

Local hospitals don't yet know which defibrillators can be relied on to save heart attack victims, which intravenous pumps will let medicine flow, and whether thousands of other medical devices will work.

The Chicago Transit Authority isn't finished looking at what devices need to be replaced to keep trains rattling along.

Although Commonwealth Edison has largely determined which of its systems would not function properly in 2000, the utility has finished just a fraction of the repairs needed to keep the grid juiced up.

As of November, only 20 percent of Illinois cities and villages had taken an inventory of the kind of computerized systems that are needed to keep local infrastructures and governments working but could fail at the dawn of the new millennium.

Because computers and microchips that might fail 12 months from now are embedded in countless devices hard-wired into the infrastructure of modern life, the Y2K Bug is much more than just a computer or software problem.

The inability of some computers and electronics with "embedded chips" to cope with a date that ends in 00 has grown into an electricity problem, a train problem, a bank problem, a factory problem.

Many of the problems already have been solved. But even those, hidden away in odd places, only serve to give a hint of the many more problems that have not yet been found.

"Anyone who says they are ahead of the game on embedded (chips) is lying," said Liz Fieweger, who is heading the City of Chicago's hunt for microchips that will stop working in 2000. "The whole world should have been doing this two years ago.

"In some ways, we are behind. But everybody is."

She and most others fighting the Millennium Bug say they still have time to snuff it out, that firefighters will have the water to fight fires and 911 systems will alert police to emergencies. Armies of workers and consultants are looking for the chips, analyzing them and hoping to have testing done by summer.

But even the most optimistic concede that the next three or four months will be critical in determining whether the job is finished by year-end.

Reasonable estimates of the potential havoc next year run from a minor inconvenience that slows traffic at a busy intersection to economic chaos that sparks a world recession. Most experts imagine something in between and surely closer to inconvenience.

"There's still time, but quite frankly, we've got to get started," said Randall von Liski, manager of the state's Y2K Technology Task Force.

Ultimately, though, because it's impossible to know if every critical, vulnerable device has been found, the unknowns about Y2K will linger right up until clocks around the world start striking midnight on New Year's Eve, 1999.

Based on the current state of readiness, experts say 1999 should be the year of contingency planning. Businesses and governments need to realistically assess which systems they'll be able to fix in time, then make plans for how to cope should any of the rest go awry.

"For people who are getting started now, yes, there is a problem," said Priscilla Walter, an information technology attorney with Gardner, Carton & Douglas. "And they will have potential legal liability to the extent that they don't do it in a systematic way."

For those who think the bug is so much techno-malarkey, consider this: The top 25 companies in Chicago combined expect to spend more than $1.8 billion to keep the problem at bay. For the City of Chicago, the bill will reach $52 million; for the State of Illinois, it's $114.5 million.

Although many of the replacement systems will be more efficient than the old models, shareholders and taxpayers generally will get little more than the status quo for all that spending.

The good news is that consumers won't have to directly spend much, if anything. The vast majority of the electronics in the home and under the hood of the car have no known Y2K problems.

Chip hunt

Elsewhere, though, glitchy chips capable of creating electronic mischief are indeed turning up. By most estimates, about 5 percent of the chips embedded in all sorts of devices will malfunction on Jan. 1, 2000, if they are not replaced.

And they are being found in the most unlikely places.

Nearly half of the 600 Breathalyzers used by police departments across Illinois to identify drunken drivers have a Y2K-incompatible chip in their electrical innards that would render their printouts unusable in court. The glitch, of course, would have surfaced just at the moment that champagne corks were popping beneath cheers of "Happy New Year!"

The University of Chicago Hospitals discovered its pneumatic tube system, which whooshes blood and tissue samples around the sprawling complex, needed to be replaced to keep it working in 2000. "It would have choked," said spokesman John Easton.

Computer screens attached to each of the 300 manufacturing robots at Ford's South Side assembly plant would have reverted to gibberish if technicians there hadn't discovered that a single chip in each one was not Y2K compliant.

They found and fixed the problems, of course, because they looked.

Ultimately, beating the technology epoch's greatest and most exotic snafu boils down to an exercise in taking good inventory. Solving the Y2K problem requires finding every potentially vulnerable device, figuring out who made it, then asking the manufacturer if it was tested to see if it would work past 2000.

But that's harder than it sounds.

"We don't know how many embedded chips there are," said Elizabeth Boatman, the Y2K boss for Chicago. "We know what machines we have, but they don't come with a label that says, `This has a chip in it.' You have to guess."

And the tedious and time-consuming process of finding these embedded chips and determining if they will operate is just beginning in many places, especially in the public sector.

Many businesses are months, even a year or more, ahead of many governments.

Navistar International Corp., for example, has completed the analysis of 247 suspect devices in its engine building plant in Melrose Park. The company is well along in replacing the 29 units that had problems, including a computer that tested the emissions of every engine built there, according to Jim Schlusesmann, director of technical systems at the plant.

The Cook County Bureau of Health Services, on the other hand, has a long way to go at its three hospitals, including County Hospital. The bureau has 20,000 electronic devices that should be checked. Because that job is too big to finish in the time remaining, the county has triaged that number down to the 3,000 most important devices to check now.

A ventilator needed to keep someone alive must be checked before a mammogram machine, according to county records.

So far, the bureau has contacted just half of the manufacturers of its most critical devices and has heard back from only about 10 percent of those, according to county records.

While looking for these embedded chips, technicians also have to deal with the problem of rewriting computer software. Although this part of the Y2K problem has been understood longer, some government agencies also are behind here too.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, lagging behind all other state agencies, has 48 people working full time rewriting its computer programs and needs to hire 10 more.

Those workers just finished fixing its most critical system, one that tracks child abuse and neglect cases, by painstakingly scouring 245,348 lines of computer code and rewriting nearly 37,000 of them. The agency doesn't hope to finish all of its 39 important systems until late summer, though.

Agencies around Chicago are beginning to develop contingency plans in case the bug causes real trouble.

The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, for example, has determined it can go to manual collections at all booths if its I- Pass system shuts down.

Metra has canceled all vacations in December 1999 for personnel in the commuter rail's operations and safety areas.

And like many municipalities, Des Plaines is buying an electric generator for City Hall in case of a Y2K blackout.

Water, power and gas

Ask Chicago's Y2K boss what single issue worries her most, and she'll answer in a snap.


Chicago's water purification plants not only serve millions of people in the city, but pipe drinking water from Lake Michigan to dozens of suburbs as far away as DuPage and Will Counties.

Pumping, filtration and chlorination is governed by systems built years ago and controlled in part by equipment that contains embedded microchips.

"It is the only place where we have process-control equipment, and that is an area of the biggest problems," Elizabeth Boatman said.

It wasn't until mid-December that Chicago hired the consulting company to go in and inventory the devices at the city's filtration plants and 12 pumping stations.

According to the work plan, the consultants are to finish their inventory and analysis in March. Only then will it be clear how big or small the problem really is.

Some parts of the drinking water system are beyond the control of the City of Chicago, however.

Oak Lawn, for example, operates a pumping station that distributes water from Chicago to nine other suburbs. That pumping station has pressure monitors known to have a Y2K problem, and consultants will begin working on it in late January, said Oak Lawn village officials.

Because it takes electricity to purify water, the City of Chicago is shopping for back-up generators.

"We want to order that now," Boatman said. "I think everybody is going to want one, and we don't think the manufacturers can supply everybody."

Indeed, most everyone recognizes that keeping the electricity grid juiced up is the single most important step in preventing widespread problems a year from now.

The North American Electric Reliability Council noted in a September report to the U.S. Department of Energy that because each power company is connected to its neighbor, "the overall system may only be as strong as the weakest link."

"Will the lights go out?" the report asked. "The answer is that no one knows for certain yet what the effects of Y2K will be."

For their part, Commonwealth Edison officials say they will be ready by July.

To get there, though, the company still has plenty to do. ComEd has completed just 13 percent of the repairs needed to systems with embedded chip problems, according to company publications.

In one especially topsy-turvy twist from Y2K, nuclear power plants, some of the most complex machines around, are turning out to be relatively free of Y2K Bugs.

ComEd had previously planned to fix Y2K problems at eight of its reactors by next summer and wait to update the remaining two. But company officials now say Y2K problems are so minor that all will be fixed by mid-year.

Nicor Gas continues searching its system for any millennium glitch that could cut the flow of natural gas but hasn't yet found anything that substantial, company officials say.

Beyond the Chicago suburbs lie seven mammoth, buried sandstone rock formations into which Nicor pumps huge quantities of natural gas each summer for use the following winter. Those storage fields are filled and emptied by giant turbines governed by controllers that have microchips in them--microchips the company still is assessing for susceptibility to the Y2K Bug.

Nicor also is concerned about the telecommunications network needed to dispatch repair crews.

"What if the communication isn't out there?" said Jean Davis, who has headed up the company's Y2K efforts. "What are we going to do? Are we going to depend on radio? Are we going to drive information around? We haven't detailed all that yet."

Fred Kowitz, Ameritech's Year 2000 director, said his firm has participated in 1,500 tests sponsored by a telecommunications industry group and found only seven minor glitches.

"We don't expect anything to happen," Kowitz said.

Jail doors and defibrillators

Will County has learned the hard way that Y2K problems have made their way into law enforcement and public safety.

In the course of installing a new $5.3 million radio system over the last year, officials discovered it would not function in 2000.

It had never occurred to anyone to put Y2K compliance into the bid specifications.

"I don't think anybody knew about what Y2K meant at that time," said Will County Sheriff Brendan Ward, who chaired the committee that picked the system in 1996. "Who paid attention back then? Computer geeks."

Still under warranty, the system is now being updated by the company.

Will County also has Y2K problems at the jail. The aging system for locking nearly 300 cells and security doors would likely fail in 2000, requiring guards to use keys to open cells manually, officials said.

"If we had an incident within a cellblock--say, a fire--it would take a lot longer to get the cell door open with keys," Ward said. "I just hope they get it done by next year."

The request for bids to do the repair work went out in December.

Rockford police found that their 34 on-board, squad car computers would fail and must be replaced. More surprisingly, though, was the discovery that one of the department's two Breathalyzers would spit out inaccurate times and dates come the new millennium.

"We're just going to throw out the old one and get a new one," said Jim Coffey, Rockford's data processing manager.

There are an additional 275 Intoximeter 3000s in the state that some local police departments might not yet realize need replacing, according to Larry Etzkorn, who heads the inspection of the devices for the state's Department of Public Health.

The machines can be found in police departments from Evergreen Park to Harwood Heights, Orland Park to Bensenville. Chicago police have about 30 of them, at least one in each district.

Because the reports would be inaccurate, they would have to be supported in court by expert testimony about why the machine failed.

Etzkorn said the state is awaiting word on a possible federal grant that might pay for the machines before contacting all the local departments.

In Chicago, Police and Fire Department officials don't yet know how much of their equipment could cause problems in 2000.

Police radios, computers and 911 equipment are fine, officials say. The consultant who will answer questions about much of the other equipment the forces use was hired in mid-December.

The Fire Department's 83 ambulances, 130 pumpers and 89 aerial trucks all must be scoured for embedded chips, which can be found in carbon dioxide detectors, defibrillators and even the trucks themselves.

"Fire ladders are a huge thing we will focus on," Fieweger said.

Hospitals, too, are finding their hands full with checking out medical equipment. Even facilities that are ahead of others have much work to do.

The University of Chicago Hospitals have found 8,600 medical devices that must be checked for Y2K problems but still have to investigate approximately two-thirds of those, hospital officials said.

So far, they know that about 50 devices have to be replaced, including an intravenous pump that allows patients to administer their own doses of pain medications, said Patricia Becker, who is heading the hospital's Y2K efforts.

"Even with the massive effort that this is, we might miss one or two things and so we are developing contingency plans," Becker said. "One of our contingencies to think about is what to do if other hospitals turn out to be non-functional. What are we going to do to take those patients?"

Planes, trains, automobiles

At O'Hare International Airport, the hard work has been done on the most critical systems, such as those that track operations of runway lights. Technicians have determined which systems might fail, and work to repair them will begin later this month, according to Aviation Commissioner Mary Rose Loney.

Already they know that ID badges airport employees use to open doors would stop working next Jan. 1. Not only will the system have to be updated, but 50,000 employees at O'Hare (and 10,000 at Midway Airport) will be issued new badges in coming months.

In order to finish work on such critical systems, technicians have had to delay checking less important ones, such as those that operate lighting, heat and elevators in terminals.

Finishing work on those secondary systems could take until late in the year. "But we are still targeting to complete the work by December '99," said Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for Chicago's Department of Aviation.

In the meantime, there is contingency planning, which aims to cover even the smallest details.

"If the computer of our supply-chain vendor crashes on Jan. 1, we won't get 2,000 rolls of toilet paper on Jan. 4," Culloton said. "In that case, a truck driver would go out and manually purchase the paper goods for our facilities."

The Federal Aviation Administration is now working on fixing the 430 critical systems that guide airplanes around the country. The agency plans on fixing these systems at O'Hare and other airports before July, according to an FAA spokesman.

But even this is months later than the General Accounting Office, which is monitoring federal readiness, had hoped.

"The criticism that we got off to a late start is justified," said Paul Takemoto, a spokesman for the FAA. "We didn't have a centralized Y2K office in place until Feb. 4, 1998. (But) we have caught up to where we need to be."

On the ground, there are still questions about what needs fixing to keep the transportation infrastructure running in 2000.

The Chicago Transit Authority expects to spend more than $10 million ferreting out and correcting Y2K deficiencies, said Craig Lang, a senior vice president who heads the agency's technology development division.

But the final cost is still unknown, because technicians haven't determined how deep the problems run on "L" trains, at maintenance facilities, and in control systems on newer buses.

They do know that the bus fueling system has to be reprogrammed. But they don't yet know whether the rail switches on the "L" and ground- level grade-crossing systems that separate Brown Line trains and automobiles will work.

"We're still probing," Lang said. "We haven't completed our survey of embedded code and categorizing the issues."

Although it may be hard to convince commuters, there is an unanticipated up-side to the fact that one-fourth of the CTA's nearly 2,000 buses still are operating beyond a recommended 12-year lifespan: There's no Y2K Bug in those old machines because they have no chips.

Traffic signals for automobiles, one of the most commonly cited Y2K bugaboos, are in fact one of the least troublesome.

Virtually none of the 6,500 traffic lights in the area is controlled by devices with known Y2K problems because they work on 24-hour cycles, not on calendars, according to state and municipal officials. In Chicago, the traffic signals are generally controlled by devices so old they don't have microchips in them.

Instead, Y2K problems might be lurking in less expected places.

At least a dozen of the movable bridges that cross the Chicago River are controlled by microprocessors that could have a Y2K problem, Fieweger said.

Officials expect to know by March whether equipment in the bridge houses needs to be replaced.

Spreading the word

As project manager for the state's Y2K Technology Task Force, Randall von Liski's job is to warn villages and cities that the Y2K problem is real.

His seminars across the state have been only sparsely attended.

"The thing I'm most skeptical of is when somebody says, `It's taken care of,' " he said. "You're not going to know if your community is OK unless you start a project, and time is running out."

In November, the task force finished a survey of all 2,800 municipal, township and county governments in Illinois, with troubling results.

Only 14 percent of the local government units even responded, and of those that did:

- Only about one in four had a comprehensive plan for dealing with the problem.

- Four said they would finish preparing for 2000 sometime after 2000.

- Only about one-third said they had contacted their suppliers to see if they would be able to get goods or services in 2000.

"We're behind in the process," acknowledges Jennifer Swearingen, who only started coming up with a Y2K plan for Oak Lawn in October.

She hopes to have her inventory of potential Y2K problems completed by the end of January. "Then I'll move to triage," she said.

In North Chicago, officials plan to spend about $200,000 to replace an aging mainframe computer and a computerized water control system.

But while attention there has been focused on the city's large systems and PCs, no one has started hunting for embedded chips. No overall inventory has been made. No priority list has been written.

"We're not going to develop any fallout shelters regarding Y2K," said former city administrator Gerald Smith. "I think people are overplaying it."

In Will County's DuPage Township, however, Joe Haines is nervous enough at only just getting started on the Y2K problem that he's created a two-page list with 45 items of every possible electronic device contained in the township's main building, its senior center and its road and bridge building.

The list starts with the computer used to cut about 30 general assistance checks each month and even includes the automatic sliding door into the senior center.

Now, according to Haines, comes the hard part--persuading township authorities to spend money replacing non-compliant items.

"Do they have awareness? I don't really think so," he said of the officials who control the purse strings. "It's a tough argument. We have to convince them they have to spend money just to keep it the same."

In DuPage County, emergency management officials are preparing for the worst, although they don't expect it.

They are recruiting ham radio operators to form a communications chain if telephones fail, finding shelters that have generators and offering training sessions to families to make them self-sufficient for 72 hours after a disaster.


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 28, 1999.

Although somewhat dated, I consider the Vanity Fair article to worthy. Of all the stuff I've handed out to date, this one's been the most convincing so far...at least that's my experience.

http://www.remarq.com/default/ transcript.pl?group=comp.software.year- 2000:50034064:50034064&update=1770

-- Tim (pixmo@pixelquest.com), February 28, 1999.

Here's a good article on business contingency planning:


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 28, 1999.

Sara: Not a report, yet nevertheless compelling - a list of actual Y2K failures that have happened already, for anyone who says "I want proof that Y2K is real". Take a quick look. Maybe you can use it, if not now, then sometime in the future. Good Luck, Rob

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000R SP

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), February 28, 1999.


Here's another great article on contingency planning for businesses:


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 28, 1999.

Hi,Sara. Remember the movie "Terminator"? the heroine reaches a point where she has to "make herself belive it" (about being chased by a cyborg from the future),In your presentation ask yourself will this produce a feeling of "I guess i have to belive it" in your business leaders. What would it take? "Imagine a bell curve containing `everything` world-wide in scope,moving from left to right the `failure to work`(in the most fundamental sense). Goes from very high on the left, to on the extreme right no impact at all. At a point in time the `items` on the extreme left fail completely,At the same point,`items slightly to right fail to a lesser extent etc. etc. Now at this point we have a given amount of failures,These failures will culumatively impact all vulnerabilities. From the extreme left (making complete failures even more complete)to the extreme right making perfectly healthy `items` slightly more vulnerable to the next `point in time` obviously at some point the items on the chart will start to `get healthy`. To emphasize *ALL* `items` that would have just barely avoided complete failure at point A, now fail completely at point B. Continue this process for the entire year 2000.

-- bud (bud@computers edge.com), February 28, 1999.

Sara: Don't miss this one...
Statement By
Joel Willemssen
Director, Civil Agengies Information Systems
Accounting And Information Management Division
U.S. General Accounting Office
Before The Subcommittee On Government Management,
Information, And Tehcnology Of The
Committee On Government Reform And Oversight
U.S. House Of Representatives
January 20, 1999

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), February 28, 1999.

Lloyd's Register has put up a very informative essay:

The Millennium Bug-Technical issues in relation to marine systems From the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Y2K Risk Assessment Task Force

The Y2K Crisis: A Global Ticking Time Bomb? June 2, 1998

"Y2K: An International Perspective" Oct. 6, 1998

Y2K Implications for Global Telecommunications, Oct. 2, 1998

The Progress of the Executive Branch in Meeting the Year 2000 (Y2K) Problem. House committee report, dated Feb. 22, 1999. Hope this helps.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), March 01, 1999.

Do consider the statement by Karla Corcoran, Inspector General, US Postal Service


Postal service will be non-existant in 2000. If there is no mail service, how do businesses bill folks and how do folks pay bills? How will some folks get paid?

Some Y2K contingency plans call for use of mail service if telecommunications fail. Forget having mail service.

-- Just Sunshine (sunshine.nan@rocketmail.com), March 01, 1999.

Thank you, one and all. I found many useful ideas and reports in your suggestions. Thanks for the moral support as well. I will let you know how it goes (this Friday). Hopefully, the Senate Report due out today will be the most persuasive report to date

I think we will be using a version of your approach, Robert, in the opening presentation. And Rob, the Y2K failures list, is a brilliant addition.

Yes, Arnie, I had planned to include the Willamsen GAO Report. It is compelling, as are the two nespaper articles I have settled on: the Washington Post article of 2/24 and the Chicago Tribune article you submitted for consideration, Kevin, thank you.

Tim, these guys already read the Vanity Fair article, so I am hoping that has created an opening for receptivity.

Thanks for reminding me of the CSIS articles and reports, Tom.

Lobo, Dave, oliver, Sunshine... thank you, again.

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@ptd.net), March 01, 1999.


Waiting breathlessly for the latest Washington reports from last weeks Y2K meetings. But not holding my breath.

Will "link" you if one shows up.

(Great links guys!)


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), March 01, 1999.

Diane: Just saw reporter Hampton Pierson (sp?) on CNBC from Washington and he said the Senate report will be made available by Bennett tomorrow on the floor on the Senate.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), March 01, 1999.

Thanks Rob. Also...

Courtesy of another thread. Sobering. -- Diane

U.S. News & World Report
Business & Technology Article
3/8/1999 Edition

We may be nuts, but . . . It's official: The millennial bug is really, truly scary


http:// www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/990308/8y2k.htm

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), March 01, 1999.


You're a life-saver! I printed out the U.S. News article, which included the jist of the Senate report due out Tuesday. The article will do exactly what is needed for the preliminary meeting today. I got your post 5 minutes before we had to leave!

Thanks for the support.

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@ptd.net), March 01, 1999.

We may be nuts, but . . .

It's official: The millennial bug is really, truly scary


Imagine how silly Paul Milne will feel if the year 2000 comes and goes without catastrophe. Milne, like millions of other Americans, is deeply alarmed by all the predictions that the turn of the century will discombobulate the computer networks upon which civilization now depends. Determined to protect his family from the so-called millennial bug, Milne, formerly a New York commodities trader, is now holed up on a 10-acre farm near Lynchburg, Va., where he and his family have learned how to butcher cattle and grind their own flour. To protect his hoard, he has bought a half-dozen or so AK-47 rifles, the first guns he has ever owned. He even built a bunkhouse to billet the gun-toting farmhands he anticipates he may need to patrol his farm's perimeter. "We're not survivalist nut cases," he insists. The threat of hungry scavengers will be so real, he argues, that, "If you live within 5 miles of a 7-Eleven, you're toast."

It's easy to dismiss Milne and folks like him as wackos. But this week brings official validation of at least some of their fears. On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem is expected to release its final report on the economic and social consequences of Y2K, as the millennial bug is also known. The report's conclusions are startling, even going so far as to urge Americans to stockpile at least small amounts of food and water to protect against expected brownouts. People are also advised to save all their financial statements. In a draft copy of the report obtained by U.S. News, committee chairmen Robert Bennett and Christopher Dodd predict that the breakdown of computer networks unable to process 21st-century dates will be "one of the most serious and potentially devastating events this nation has ever encountered." Using a word that is bound to reverberate with some fundamentalist Christians who believe the millennial bug is a harbinger of the anti- Christ, Bennett and Dodd characterize the Y2K glitch as "diabolical."

New Year's dissolution. So how will the devil do his work? Don't expect planes to start falling out of the sky on New Year's Day. But the Y2K problem will most likely cause some people to die, while also causing serious disruption to the economy. Among the report's specific findings:

The health care sector is woefully unprepared to cope with Y2K problems, which could affect not only patient health records and billing systems but also the functioning of biomedical devices such as X-ray machines and infusion pumps used in operating rooms. Yet an estimated 64 percent of hospitals and 90 percent of doctors' offices have no plans to test for vulnerability to the millennial bug.

As of December 1998, only about 50 percent of utilities had completed efforts to safeguard themselves from the millennial bug. As a result, failure of some parts of the electric industry's system is likely, even if a prolonged nationwide blackout is not. Of particular concern is the possibility that power failures will disrupt local sewer treatment plants.

Transportation systems are also vulnerable. The report debunks predictions that the millennial bug will cause rail accidents, with switches sending trains on the wrong track. But it does chastise the Federal Aviation Administration for being behind in its preparations for Y2K and warns that because airports, especially those abroad, are also unprepared, flight rationing and cancellations, particularly on routes with foreign destinations, are "highly possible." Meanwhile, because the maritime industry has not moved aggressively to inoculate its own computer systems, "disruptions to global trade are highly likely."

Cash stash. The Social Security Administration gets high marks for its early efforts to contain the millennial bug, but people who depend on checks from other government agencies may want to keep some extra cash on hand. The report singles out the Health Care Financing Administration, which oversees Medicare disbursements, as particularly unprepared for postmillennial operations. It also expresses "serious concern" about the readiness of state and local governments, including their ability to properly process welfare, unemployment insurance, and Medicaid payments.

The people paying for those benefits may learn to hate the millennial bug as well. The General Accounting Office told Congress last week that the Internal Revenue Service is also behind in its remediation efforts, and that as a result millions of taxpayers could be sent erroneous tax notices or face delays in getting refunds.

Even if the checks do go out on time, with the right amounts and addresses, there is reason to worry about whether the post office can deliver them. The GAO also testified that the problems presented by the millennial bug to the U.S. Postal Service are "among the most complex of the public entities we have examined."

So who, if anyone, stands to gain from the millennial bug? Why, the lawyers, of course. The committee notes that once Americans are all done suing one another for all the lost checks, missing bank records, late deliveries, and botched operations, legal judgments could go as high as $1 trillion. So have a happy new year, and see you in court.

With Elise Ackerman, Jack Egan, and Art Levine

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), March 02, 1999.

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