Why panic is unnecessary and important to avoid

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

As a computer technologist, I have given much thought to the Y2K issue and am convinced that panic is unnecessary and potentially destructive. Y2K itself will not be a major disaster. Let's make sure that the overreaction to it won't be one, either.

I'd be pleased if you'd consider my open letter about Y2K at:


-- Bruce W. Cichowlas (brucec@tiac.net), March 04, 1999


This guy must be working for the government (see previous threads)

-- adrian (spy@cia.com), March 04, 1999.

Are we about to see a plethora of dis-information posts? these folks seem to come out of the woodwork every so often.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), March 04, 1999.

Bruce , when it comes to the stockpiling of food and firewood I respectfully disagree. There's a global surplus of everything now. Panic now on food and fuel. It there's disaster, you could save two families; yours and one that waits until December.

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), March 04, 1999.

This is about the third one to come out of the woodwork today. Odd, isn't it, that these people appear the day after a major Y2K event?

-- Vic (Roadrunner@compliant.com), March 04, 1999.

Panic is not an accurate word. No panic anywhere, probably won't be.
The word is S H O P P I N G

Good for the economy, ya know.

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), March 04, 1999.

Why does the guy have to be working for the government. Everytime someone has a more positive opinion than you do, he's put down or accused of being with the feds...what utter b*llshit.....

The level of paranoia seems to be increasing here rapidly. Get a grip please.

-- Craig (craig@ccinet.ab.ca), March 04, 1999.

Strange, isn't it...

I have a gut feeling that the red-letter-Y2K-days in the press Tuesday/Wednesday were the last ones for a long time...unless the JAE in April delivers some spectacular messups.

Look at this wild contradiction: (and watch me screw this up)


Wednesday March 3 7:21 AM ET

DOE Chief Sees No Y2K Problems In U.S. Energy Supply By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Tuesday the nation won't experience electrical brownouts on New Year's Day 2000 due to computer problems at utilities.

A new report from a special Senate committee said there could be power outages because the computers of electricity suppliers, especially smaller ones in rural areas, might confuse the last two ``00'' digits in 2000 as the year 1900.

``I am confident that there will be no power failures with small power companies (or) big power companies,'' Richardson said in a speech at the National Press Club.

``Our electricity grid is in good shape to meet this (computer) challenge,'' he said.

Richardson urged utilities to explain the computer problem to their customers and what is being done to correct it, so their won't be a public panic.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association said the Senate report contained misleading information and that electric cooperatives are on schedule for fixing any computer problems.

``We expect to deliver the same reliable service in the year 2000 that we deliver now,'' the group said.

Richardson also said there was no need for Americans to line up at gasoline stations this Dec. 31 to fill their automobile tanks in case of a disruption in fuel supplies.

``Don't do that. We're going to make it. I think the nation is prepared to deal with this (computer) problem,'' he said.

The Senate report warned there could be a disruption in trade with Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, which are the two biggest crude oil suppliers to the U.S. market, because those countries may not be able to address the computer glitch in time.

The American Petroleum Institute said the latest survey of oil and natural gas companies shows that most firms are in the final stages of updating their computer programs and that 94 percent of the energy companies will complete their work by Sept. 30.

The trade group criticized the Senate report for not containing the latest publicly available data on the readiness of oil and natural gas companies. ``The nation should not be alarmed by information that is not current,'' the API said.

-- Lisa (lisa@raised.eyebrow), March 04, 1999.

The time to argue about the need for prudent preparations is long since past.

Preparation is not panic.

Stockpiling during times of abundance is not hoarding.

You DO NOT need to panic.

You DO need to read the latest Senate report on Y2K. Yes, the whole thing. Cover to cover.

You DO need to read the recently released auditor's report on the USPS.

And, in my opinion, you most definitely DO need to get prepared.

-- Arnie Rimmer (arnie_rimmer@usa.net), March 04, 1999.

Craig commented:

"Why does the guy have to be working for the government. Everytime someone has a more positive opinion than you do, he's put down or accused of being with the feds...what utter b*llshit.....

The level of paranoia seems to be increasing here rapidly. Get a grip please.

-- Craig (craig@ccinet.ab.ca), March 04, 1999.

Craig, when someone starts out their ramblings with "As a computer technologist", I immediately become suspect. Someone with that kind of background does not need to advertise it. It will become evident in their posts. If you don't think we have SHILLS here I have a bridge in Brooklyn to selll you.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), March 04, 1999.

Bruce, I offer the following, from the latest edition of the DCY2K Weather Report, by Cory Hamasaki.

"Please give us proof that Oxford insurance did not have those problems, use your big-brain, that's what it's for, shoot, shoot the coke machine with your brain.

Until you can do that. Sit. Don't Speak."

Until you can offer proof that all of this money that the world's biggest corporations are spending is really going down the drain -- which is what you imply -- the sit. Don't speak.

Coming on this forum and offering that you're a genius will not bring a lot of respect, especially since many of those who post here can make the same claim. It does, however, show the arrogance that allows you to make statements such as,

"c) In the case of older, so-called 'legacy' programs, such as those written in COBOL, RPG and other older technologies, nearly all of these have already been converted and tested as required."

which flys in the face of the logic you lay such great claim to.

Are you sure you're really not named John, living in North Carolina?

-- De (dealton@concentric.net), March 04, 1999.

Guys 'n' gals -

Go read his letter and then comment. Argue his premise, reasoning, and conclusions. Even if he's a shill, that has no bearing on the validity of his arguments (or lack of same.)

Yo, Bruce William Cichowlas -

Drop in ever so often. Help Craig, Paul and Deano with the "it ain't gonna be so bad" side of the discussion. Helps all of us sharpen our own thinking.

However, I do have to note that your reference to a "genius level" Stanford-Binet is a bit gauche and frankly not relevant. I've worked with plenty of high-IQ types. Many of them couldn't plan a dinner party, let alone a serious project. Intellect has a nasty tendency to make one far too optimistic about estimates and about others' abilities. Microsoft's full of "big brains" and they're almost legendary for missing deliverables by a wide mark.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.com), March 04, 1999.

Mac commented:

"Even if he's a shill, that has no bearing on the validity of his arguments (or lack of same.) "

Mac, do you know what a SHILL is? If you did I don't believe you would make this statement.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), March 04, 1999.

Sorry Ray,

I have to go with Mac here (and I do know what a shill is).

Any argument, no matter who makes it, will be either valid or invalid as determined by its content and format.

And, FWIW, I think that the "MIT" that this clown, "majored in five areas at" was the Ministry of Information Triage. . .

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), March 04, 1999.

Well, I've been a "Computer Technologist" for 18 years.

I've worked for several companies you guys have heard of. I've delivered over a dozen shrink wrapped products sitting on store shelves (currently and in the past) at (for example), CompUSA.

I've never referred to myself in the above term (until now), nor have I ever known anyone who's a Software Engineer (as I usually refer to myself) use that term.

When I hear that term, I hear a clueless management dweeb who can't get out of our way. I've met *many* "computer technologists" using that definition.

As a "Systems Analyst", "Software Engineering Manager", and "Software Testing Manager", (all titles I've used in the past and present) I've yet to see a project done on time, to specifications (if any), in my entire career. I've heard all these platitudes before: "We're 99% complete!"; "We're ALPHA!"; "WE'RE BETA!"; "We're all done except for the help system!" - many times out of my own mouth, or my manager's mouth.

That's why I bugged out of Silicon Valley for the hills last September.


PS(I suspect that a "researcher" or academic type may use the above term as well. But somebody that actually creates software for a living doesn't use that term - at least not at any of the 10 or so companies *I've* worked with.)

PPS(My prolific use of parentheticals does not indicate that I'm a LISP programmer! :-) )

-- Jollyprez (Jolly@prez.com), March 04, 1999.

Hardliner, why waste time with someone who may or may not believe in what they are saying. They may very well have been given this verbage as part of a dis-information plan and are only acting as a conduit.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), March 04, 1999.

This is becoming a lot of fun.

Here's a fellow that is a genius, after all, he said so. Ever wonder why all Mensa members aren't rich?

He won't bore us with his resume. How kind.

Sure does list lots of places and companies. ooooh IBM, I'm impressed. Doesn't give a hint what his relationship is to those companies though. Of course if we've turned off our brains after reading that he is a genius it doesn't matter.

He's be at computers since age 8, which happens to be 1960. Let's think about what computers were like in 1960. Okay.....

How about a new word? Llort?

-- And Mine (is@140.iq), March 04, 1999.


That's entirely possible (and here, it would seem, likely), but listening to what someone has to say is essential before making an evaluation. Once you have done so and made a negative (for lack of a better term) evaluation, I agree that further time spent is a waste.

In the instant case, I agree with the "come-on". Panic is not only not necessary, it is counter productive. Panic always is.

OTOH, invalid arguments often present true conclusions; they simply don't prove them.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), March 04, 1999.

I was curious as to how I was considered a shill and then surprised to see how many considered me a shill for the government. The closest I've come to that is when I had my own computer company (Algorithmics Inc.) and we helped the Welfare Department do Food Stamp processing using one of our computers (circa 1980) and when I helped another company (Praxis Inc. of Burlington, MA) assist in planning Meals On Wheels distribution here in Massachusetts.

Other than that, I've been strictly private sector. Some of the companies that I've worked for directly or through Algorithmics Inc. include: SofTech, ARP Instruments, IBM, Wang, Lotus, International Bureau of Software Test, Kurzweil Music Systems, Agritech Corp. (later Idexx Corporation), Visage, Custom Clothing Technology Corporation, Levi Strauss, State Street Bank and Trust, Citizens Energy, Boston Edison, Cakewalk Music Systems, Ealing Scientific and Passkey Systems Inc.

References of mine who would vouch for my reality and sincerity whose names you might recognize include Walter Gilbert (Harvard Nobel Prize Winner), Stevland Morris (aka Stevie Wonder), and Hank Hannegraff (aka "The Bible Answer Man" www.equip.org ). I mention these not to drop names, but to establish a chain of credibility.

I'm uncomfortable discussing IQ tests and the like and have never before mentioned them in a public letter, but I felt that over- reaction to this issue was so potentially hazardous that I wanted to lay down whatever credentials I could.

I am not writing a book, selling speaking engagement, doing Y2K consulting or selling Y2K merchandise precisely because I want to be free from those biases. (When you read panic-related information, I think all of you should carefully consider whether there are links to survival supplies, books, or speaking engagements at those sites.)

It might seem the safest route to take precautions. Though I think that is unnecessary, I would have no objections to taking precautions except that (1) it contributes and lends credibility to a panic atmosphere and (2) it unnecessarily drains the resources of many people who can scant afford it.

I'd encourage all of you to find the most technical computer people that you personally know (not those you've found out about through Y2K sites pro or con). Ask them what, if any, Y2K bugs they have personally found in their programs. Ask them why or why not Y2K problems are likely in their programs. If they have run into any, ask them what the consequences of these bugs would have been had they not been fixed. Then you will know that you are getting a snapshot of real, live Y2K information.

Another suggestion: it may not be your usual world, but if you are really concerned, visit the Developers Sections of Microsoft, Symantec and other companies that make programming languages for tools. I'm not talking about the front publicity page where people posture about how Y2K-ready they are. I'm talking about pages where the developers talk about the nitty-gritty of bits, bytes, window handles, database interfaces and the like. You'll see lots of stories of programming prowess, but you won't see very much on particular Y2K bugs they found and conquered.

Keep in mind that many companies are using Y2K as a reason to scrap outdated systems and build new ones. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as many of these systems were showing their age in many ways. It's a bit like needing a new car for quite awhile and then having a particular new model persuade you to make the change there and then. Probably your old car wouldn't have picked the next month as the time to break down, but it still was a smart idea to replace it in the near future. Seeing the appealing new model was as good an occasion to do it as any.

Though there's plenty to disagree on, let's all try to learn from one another on this one.

-- Bruce W. Cichowlas (brucec@tiac.net), March 04, 1999.

Arnie, you are absolutely correct. Reading the Senate Report cover-to-cover did it for me. People are always crying for information and it is all there. It needs no translation.

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), March 04, 1999.

Bruce, bubbalah -

You're new 'round here, ain't you? I can tell. Anyone who cites Stevie Wonder and Hank Hannegraf as references for their technical expertise must think they're dealing with a bunch of clueless newbies. Might as well cite Ray Charles and Dr. James Dobson...

I've got 17+ years in IS, Bruce. I've programmed in COBOL and Forth (to name two), worked for two startups (including one of the very earliest players in the Mac market) and some major corps, run tech support, managed software development, managed LAN groups, managed multi-million client/server projects, and designed and deployed enterprise messaging systems. And I'm seriously just low-to-middlin' technical compared with many of the participants here.

I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but that last post was completely inadequate. You present no supporting evidence, nor do you refute any evidence presented. Programmer forums discussing Y2K bugs? Please. Y2K is not a technical problem. It is not the topic for byteheads to compare notes. It's now a massive business problem, due to lack of action by those in charge.

That cannot be the extent of your evidence. MIT must have schooled you better than that.

Want programmer citations? The Y2K team at my current employer has been cited for the excellence of their work and the PM has participated in Yardeni's "Countdown" teleconferences. They have a 4M LOC remediation problem and are just barely going to make it. No one on that much-applauded team has much confidence that Y2K is going to be "a bump in the road." Most of them are prepping for some serious disruptions.

Also just learned that a local and very large school system hasn't even finished assessment on their payroll and enrollment systems. It's March, 1999. Bruce, care to explain how they might possibly handle hundreds of staff and millions of students without stable information systems? Care to create a series of scenarios from best- to worst-case for this single Y2K-related crisis?

Glad you're here. Look forward to your contributions.

By the bye, please don't post anything about your Open Letter to c.s.y2k. Hamasaki and some of the others might die laughing and we need them around to fix what systems they can.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.com), March 04, 1999.


You are 100% correct that panic is unnecessary, and it is important to avoid panic to deal constructively with any situation. Your appraisal of the situation is appreciated.

But I disagree. When the staff of a Senate committee, preparing a report about what has been termed by many an event with potentially serious repercussions nationally and globally, COMPLAINS about not having enough reliable information to work with and about having information deliberately withheld or obscured, there is in my opinion adequate reason for concern to justify taking reasonable precautions. My definition of "reasonable precautions" is about as clear as the Senate Select Committee's definitions of terms like "serious disruptions," I know. But I say that to try and point out the fuzziness of this whole issue, which has been a MAJOR source of frustration for me and many others who have sought to analyze it accurately in the past year or more.

Now we're down to only 300+ days, and the picture isn't really any clearer as to what we can REALLY expect. And the spin is all too often apparent _as spin_ to those of us who read more on the issues involved than the spinmeisters. The contradictions and the changed stories from government officials, massive lack of leadership on all fronts and the cognitive dissonance provoked by bureaucrats uttering reassuring words on the one hand and planning massive FEMA/National Guard mobilizations on the other are simply maddening.

So please forgive any of my fellow YourDoneItes who react more briskly to your post than I have. The code is unarguably broken. There isn't time to fix it all now. And broken code still doesn't care how optimistic you are. BTW, I am not a computer technologist, and I have never even played one on teevee.

But I can afford to be wrong about my conclusions regarding the rollover. Can you? As this forum is wont to say, "you pays your money and you takes your chances." Good luck, Bruce.

-- nobody (nobody@home.org), March 04, 1999.


Your surprise at being taken for a shill is an understandable result of your not having participated in this forum previously. Had you done so, you would have been aware that a lot of us here are fanatical on the subject of Y2K and "point" at the mention of such just like a good bird dog. As a United States Marine, I know quite well the value of fanaticism (both its positives and negatives) and realize that there are situations and/or conditions in life that call for such focus. I, and more than a few others here, unless I am greatly mistaken, believe that Y2K is such a case in point.

Lest you think me merely a "dim Jarhead", I will inform you that when you were 14 years old, I was figuring out why the micro-code in a System 360/30 was going to la-la land, and getting paid for it (the answer was 28 psi instead of 30).

Now you began your letter with reference to radio and TV broadcasts which you felt were, ". . .contributing to an unnecessary and harmful panic over Y2K."

Had you been a participant in this forum for very long, you would have been aware that there is little, if any, perception of panic here, and little, if any, notice of such broadcasts. If anything, the general consensus would seem to be that despite evidence which could reasonably be expected to cause such a panic, one has NOT developed. Not a small number of this forum have expressed the view that such a panic WILL NOT develop unless TSHTF.

So, in your first sentence, you've established yourself as someone who hasn't been paying attention. I'd be very surprised if much got published or broadcast on the subject of Y2K without someone on this forum trumpeting it, either as "good news" or "proof of the coming trouble". Basically, you shot yourself in the foot in terms of credibility, before you even started.

Then you say, "I think the Y2K problem is very much overstated and that more harm is being done by frightening people about it than will likely come from the problem itself." That is your opinion, and no one here would deny your right to hold it. However, considering the expertise that you displayed immediately before concerning the media, and considering that your opinion is in opposition to many here, you've not gained any ground here, you've lost some more.

Next you "raise our hackles" (at least mine) with the unsupported accusation that, "The opinions that your listeners are forming on the Y2K issues are causing them to make decisions about their finances they might not make otherwise and could result in panic.", and piss us off with an implied threat that, "Others are arming themselves or hoarding supplies, which could lead to dangerous legal and moral situations." and then patronize us by saying, "I know you wouldn't want to contribute to this unnecessarily." Bruce, you obviously know very little about us, but if you have the time and the inclination, and are sincere, you can easily remedy that.

Again you shoot yourself in the foot (you're losing a lot of toes here) by telling us that you're a genius and that you've done a lot of computer work. The "genius" bit doesn't cut any ice here because, as Mac said, it's gauche (and he was being kind) and furthermore, it's irrelevant. Y2K is such a simple problem that nothing like that level of intellect is necessary to comprehend it. So. Here you are, not even begun with your arguments, and you've created a somewhat hostile audience. With such an audience, you'd best not make any errors in argument, either factual or logical.

You actually did pretty well in the logical error department, but only because you presented no logic whatsoever. Your entire "argument" is more like a sermon and consists only of unsupported assertions. There is absolutely no reasoning presented. It should be apparent to a genius, but reasoning consists of saying, this is true, and here's why. This is also true and here's why. If both of these are true, then this also must be true. I have read your "open letter" repetitively and cannot find a single such instance. Perhaps you can point one out to me.

As for the "factual" part, you may have presented facts, but then again, maybe you didn't. You have offered no supporting information for your assertions. Again, I have read and re-read your letter and can locate none such. Again, perhaps you can point some out for me.

In closing, you say, "I only ask you to consider some of the facts and reasoning above, and use what of it you think valid when formulating your opinions and positions." I have to tell you once more Bruce, that I see nothing that you have presented as fact that you have supported as such and nothing resembling "reasoning" of any kind that I am aware of.

Your offer of further communication via Email or telephone is alarming as well. Considering the image of yourself that you have created here, you'll really have to dig, armed with court orders and lots of man-hours to get your hands on my identity. I would say that I regret offending you if I have, but I don't, if I have. You have set the rules by your initial posting and I've simply been honest with you.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), March 04, 1999.

Wow, you guys, I'm IMPRESSED!

Rational, logical and intelligent responses to someone with opinions opposite to yours. Unsupported opinions, at that. Keep up the good work!

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), March 04, 1999.

Trish -

Bruce was lucky. My 13-year-old son beat me at chess for the first time EVER last night, and frankly I was pretty cranky about it for a while. Then I got over the whole pride thing and realized that I was actually darn proud of him. Plus my son wore a grin that was positively Cheshire, which could not help but make me smile as well.

Bruce was the beneficiary of that latter mood this morning. Had I come across his post last night, I might have been a LOT less polite. 8-}]

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.com), March 04, 1999.

Hey Mac,

Success of the Pupil is the measure of the Teacher.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), March 04, 1999.

Good for him, and you!

After my brother could consistently beat my dad, they quit playing. Hope you don't!

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), March 04, 1999.

"Y2K may spark unrest, economic pain - US Senate"


Y2K may spark unrest, economic pain -US Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The year 2000 computer bug may set off civil unrest in poor countries, undermine economic growth in Asia, Latin America and Africa, and disrupt global trade in oil and other commodities, a Senate panel said Tuesday.

While there was a low probability of an accidental nuclear weapons launch, the committee said missile systems and other high-tech weapons in other countries could malfunction. The Senate was also warned that terrorists might strike against U.S. targets next Jan. 1 to take advantage of weakened security.

``I have a nightmare of CNN cameras in villages or cities where there is no power, no telecommunications, the banking system is broken down, widespread rioting,'' said Utah Republican Sen. Robert Bennett, chairman of the Senate's Special Committee on the computer problem.


For the United States, Y2K disruptions should be manageable, the Senate panel concluded.

``The committee has no data to suggest that the United States will experience nationwide social or economic collapse, but the committee believes that some disruptions will occur, and that in some cases Y2K disruptions may be significant.''

Bennett said the U.S. military might experience some minor computer glitches, ``but its mission-critical, war-fighting capability will not be compromised.'' U.S. intelligence services would also be ready in time.

The U.S. health care industry may be the least prepared, according to the panel, which said the nation's Medicare system was in ``serious trouble''.

The committee complained that U.S. airports started preparations too late, and warned that shipments of goods by sea could be disrupted because the maritime industry was running behind. But it said a prolonged nationwide blackout was unlikely, although local and regional outages were possible.

In case vital services were temporarily cut off, the committee said Americans should stock up on bottled water, canned goods and other essentials, as they might to prepare for a winter storm lasting two to three days. People should also keep copies of their financial records in case banks run into unforeseen problems.

The committee said the most serious computer problems were likely to strike other countries next Jan. 1, because many of them started preparing too late or not at all.

The report singled out Japan, Mexico, China, Germany and Taiwan for falling nine months to two years behind schedule in preparing for the year 2000 bug. The committee also said that major oil producers Venezuela and Saudi Arabia were 12 to 18 months behind schedule.

``Disruption of flights and global trade between some areas and countries may occur,'' the committee said.

In a closed-door briefing for senators, Bennett outlined the Y2K threat to national security.

``There is a low to medium probability of terrorist exploitation of Y2K. However, we must remain vigilant in case some of our security systems malfunction,'' Bennett said afterwords.

But he added: ``There is a medium probability of economic disruptions that will lead to civil unrest in certain sectors of the world, particularly where their economies are already fragile or there is political uncertainty.''

He told senators there was a ``high probability'' that widespread computer glitches would compound economic problems in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

``In some countries it will be more serious than others,'' Bennett said. ``The unknowable question is what will be the impact on the United States.''

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), March 04, 1999.

You know, Bruce, in a very real way you and your website are contributing to the panic to come. You see, if people begin to do their shopping now, and do so a little at a time, not only does it ramp up the JIT systems, it also provides for a larger cushion at crunch time, due to the fact that those already prepared wont be putting further strain on the system. By attempting to talk people out of preparing, you are in fact attempting to make the crunch time panic all that much worse.

oh, and thanks for reminding me yet again why I turned down mensa membership all those years ago.

Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), March 04, 1999.

Dear Mr. Cichowlas: Panic for most of us began well over a year ago. I think you are preaching to the wrong crowd here. My philosophy is you better get it now while the getting is good. Panic will not be created by anyone on this site, there's nothing for any of us to panic over. The panic will begin when there's no power, no water, no sewer, and no money. Who will be responsible for that? Since you don't think Y2K will be a major disaster, then why would you assume there would be any panic? I can't control what other people are going to do, nor will I be responsible for someone else's actions. Panic is brought on by ignorance, and panic can be avoided if everyone took RESPONSIBILITY for themselves. When I see my neighbors knocking on my door, that's when I will know panic has set in. And I will have to look in their panic striken faces and tell to go to the nearest shelter where the people who told you "not to worry, everything is in control, it's a bump in the road", will take care of you. And all it took, was for the government, utilities, etc., to tell people to be prepared for the worst but pray for the best.

-- bardou (Bardou@baloney.com), March 04, 1999.

"Getting Ready for Y2K"

http://www.abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsTonight/wnt990302_y2k_story.h tml

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), March 04, 1999.


I agree Sir Bruce, and admire you for returning and commenting. Most fail to do that. I would request you do a couple of things:

One - answer each of Hardliner's points. One by one.

Two - Show me specific and credible evidence, based on your experience in software testing or independent source, that the almost 1 trillion dollars in software and hardware investment will not yield 7-9% undiscovered errors in programming, logic, controls, and communications.

Three - Specifically show me why should I NOT expect utilities, services, businesses and government functions to fail for an unpredictable period of time in unpredictable ways for an unknown period of time at various places in various ways early next year? Four - Please - tell me exactly what will happen next year and I will help you prepare for that specific occurance. I will also request you be here by my side to share in the discovery of whether you are right or not. In the mean time, I am wise enough to listen to others far more experienced than I and choose to prepare for a degree of uncertainity.

Five - If you are wrong, will you join me next year on the public stage in Kennesaw to apologize to those whom you deliberately misled? In general - and our motives appear clear - we (in general) want, as you do, to ensure that there is no destrctive panic next year. We choose to do this by ensuring people have no reason to panic, and that people have nothing to fear next year - regardless of what the degree of troubles may be, a person who has prepared themselves and their family for rough times will be ready to manage easy times.

You, on the other hand, appear to be the latest (and most polite certainly) of a long litany of people who want no panic next year, and choose to do that by disguising evidence of very severe potential troubles. A person who is mentally ready for nothing will panic at the frst sign of anything - and when the power goes out, no one can predict when it will recover. Will your proudest legacy be a thirsty child, crying for water in a cold, dark apartment next January?

Now, this is okay - on one and only one condition. If nothing happens. But you - in common with others preaching the same gospel of "road-bumpers" - have yet to offer any evidence that "nothing" is the only logical response to an uncertain future.

So, why do you choose to mislead others? What is your gain by telling others NOT to prepare, and by your actions, disuading people from preparing for potential trouble?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 04, 1999.


I asked myself that every night - and ya know what - I'm less concerned than they are. Most expect far worse than my somewhat optimistic and misspelled predictions of mere confusion and intermittent failures.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 04, 1999.

"By the bye, please don't post anything about your Open Letter to c.s.y2k. Hamasaki and some of the others might die laughing and we need them around to fix what systems they can." - Nice one Mac, ROTFLMAO!

Bruce, first welcome to the forum. You're in a tough crowd here, but I welcome any and all reasonable comments, so please hang around for a while.

I've been programming for 31 years, and now work for a small computer service firm. You mentioned replacing older systems, and we are doing just that, moving our largest customer from a mainframe to web based technology. We've had several people involved in the project over the past 4 years, and will have spent more than $2 million in salaries alone, a big hit for our company. The ONLY reason for the move is Y2K, this system makes such heavy use of dates, we felt it would be next to impossible to patch the old COBOL and Assembly programs. When the move is complete, it won't pay to keep the mainframe. As a result, we will be converting systems THAT DON'T HAVE A Y2K PROBLEM. Another result is that since we're all so busy, we have lost other customers with Y2K problems, and have also been forced to turn away new business. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), March 04, 1999.


If you have so much computer experience, how come you don'nt know how to do a hot link when you list your url?


-- Curious (anon@anon.com), March 04, 1999.

1) MAC YOU are the only one who was playing chess last night. The harmonic was truly not playing chess. He was at war with you, using theoldest war game known. Eventually the harmonics get to chalenge and win. (There was a great article in the paper here a bit ago about this exact situation. You are no longer invincible, so you get to be a person with him from now on. It's cool, but it's different.)

2 BRUCE welcome. We tend to be a tough crowd. Don Rickles might not survive exposure to us. (LOL) I think the guys (Mac, and Hardliner) have pretty much covered the main points. We are NOT advocating panic, as a matter of fact I know of at least 3 specific people, posters here, who posted in pretty much a great emulation of *P*A*N*I*C* and we collectively managed to talk them down, to calm them, and to get them to see that they were not behaving in a reasonable manner. They proceeded to share their prep victories with us, and as they got themselves to a comfort zone with their preps, they in turn helped a couple others to calm down, and then they faded back into lurkerdom. If it is your deduction from the way we refer to the possibilities, that we as a collective group are hoping for TEOTWAWKI (ALWAYS remembering that the AWKI means as we know it), you have not lurked here quite long enough. This group, as a group, would very much like to see something on the order of a 1 or 2-2.5 (eg, sharp bump in the road) as the results of the roll- over. Now, that's desire. The only fly is that we (as a group) cannot ignore what we see as compelling evidence for a more "interesting" result. the other thing that you need to know about us is that we have also determined that if our individual expectations (not desires, now) are incorrect, the "damage" will be to our wallets, and, perhaps to our self-esteem as we get to accept the good- natured, (and some not so goodnatured) ribbing ( or ripping) of our acquaintances. If we were to hold the view that you espoused, and were to be incorrect, the damage could have a seriously negative impact on our and our families lives and life expectancies. Plus the fact that we would have violated a series of vows, and responsibilities starting with marriage vows and going on to responsibilities to care for our families, as we are charged to do. Basically, it's cheaper in the long run to do some preparations, all things considered, due to the uncertainties.

3) Don't suppose you remember the principals of a shop called Aquidnick Consulting?? Former Softech guys from Newport?? One of whom has a last name seriously similar to my email??

Chuck, a night driver who has been exposed to his own share of hard and software development projects, and lead a couple.

-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), March 04, 1999.

To Robert Cook:

Road-bumpers. I like it! Let's call them that.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), March 04, 1999.

Bruce, dear. My Sweetie was a President's Scholar, got a full 5-year scholarship. 4.0 on his master's courses. Just aced his first MS certification exam, no classes, read a book. Does calc and diff eq for FUN. Knows an astonishing amount about a bewildering assortment of subjects. And guess who found a Y2k tripwire by accident in something over at a certain state agency? Can't say any more, other than the agency is part of the judicial system and the glitch was a doozie. (The program was checked off as compliant.) That's when he decided we needed to do some preparing. We've both worked for various government agencies and we know how things slip by. Now who do you think I'm going to listen to--you or Sweetie?

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), March 05, 1999.

Occasionally on this forum a sequence of discourse develops that gives me real hope for the future of the race. The present exchange, responding to Bruce W. Cichowlas' initial post, is such a one, with so many lucid, articulate and temperate contributions.

I can't add much to what has been said, other than to express the hope that Mr. Cichowlas will fail in his efforts to dicourage people from prudent preparation in the face of a worldwide situation whose ramifications no one can do more than guess at, whose consequences are impossible to predict.

In his Open Letter, I took note that his presentation makes no mention of embedded systems, nuclear reactors, oil supplies, ransportation, international trade, or unemployment. Failure to consider these aspects may have limited his view.

I think this selection from Kalama Sutra, quoting the Buddha (in translation), is sound advice at any time, but particularly so in the context of Y2K:

"Do not be satisfied with hearsay or with tradition or with legendary lore or with what has come down in scriptures or with conjectures or with logical inference or with weighing evidence or with liking for a view after pondering over it or with someone else's ability or with the thought "The monk is our teacher." When you know in yourselves: "These things are wholesome, blameless, commended by the wise, and being adopted and put into effect they lead to welfare and happiness," then you should practice and abide in them...."

(From Buddhism Without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor.)

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), March 05, 1999.

And Scotty got mad when I gave him a friendly warning about backing up his statements. WHEW! You guys and gals are way out of my league with the philosophy and quotes. I'm just an old Army grunt (Yeh, I have a MBA -- that and 25 cents, etc.) I must admit that I am honored to be able to associate with the group here.

Bruce, take it from a (usually) lurker. This is one of the greatest groups in the world if you have a problem......But they don't impress worth a damn. If you can add something to the mix, WELCOME!

-- Lobo (Hiding@woods.com), March 05, 1999.

Well - this one is bookmarked - I have a feeling it will be needed again. Any reply from the emminent Sir Bruce of the computer technologist?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 05, 1999.

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