"Wall Street passes Y2K test" -- my butt!!

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A quick scan revealed the following headlines:

"Y2K passes Wall Street test"

"Y2K: Wall St. Looking Good"

"Wall Street passes Y2K test"

"Wall Street shines in Y2K test run"

Donald Kittell, exec. VP with the Securities Industry Association, was quoted as saying the results were "better than expected." These three words were all the headline writers needed.

Apparently, no one noticed that Kittell also said, "The test schedule does not cross over to the year 2000 until April 10."

In other words, the Wall Street Year 2000 test has yet to test for the Year 2000. Every mock transaction so far has been dated 1999.

Do we need any more evidence that people will completely ignore reality and latch onto the most tenuous bit of good news about y2k? Is there any wonder that there are so many pollys, DGIs, and most of all, D*W*GIs?

-- rick blaine (y2kazoo@hotmail.com), March 09, 1999


Ever hear of 'puts' or 'calls'? Not all market transactions are dated for that day. One must presume they are testing one piece at a time.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), March 09, 1999.

Yup, wait 'til April 10, day after NERC "test" - I can see all the 72 point headlines "GRID PASSED Y2K TEST" <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), March 09, 1999.

Also notice the Whitehouse's Janet Abrams words from the WorldNet discussion (referenced by Diane a few threads back):

Beginning in March you will hear about an enormous test being conducted by Wall Street in New York -- numerous firms participating -- to show that the stock market, that aspect of the financial system, is on track to be ready for the year 2000 as well. link

and also comments from Merrill Lynch that every aspect of the tests are carefully choreographed.

Sounds more like a PR campaign, no?

-- Codejockey (codejockey@geek.com), March 09, 1999.

Oops, link to Merrill Lynch comments

-- Codejockey (codejockey@geek.com), March 09, 1999.

Paul D.:

The point is not whether they're puts or calls or how the tests are structured. The point is how the press latches on to such obviously premature news and declares it good news.

-- rick blaine (y2kazoo@hotmail.com), March 09, 1999.

Paul rarely gets the point.

-- Observer (lurkin@home.com), March 09, 1999.

Rick, what do you expect the press to do? They can either ignore it or repeat what they're told. They weren't invited to participate.

But you might also be missing the fact that when you fix lots of bugs, you tend to introduce lots of new ones. Of course you tested the code you fixed, but you all too often introduce a bug into some unrelated part of the program that you didn't think to test. If a program does 1000 things and you fixed one of them, you test that one. You don't retest all the other 999. And those other parts of the code are part of what's being tested now, even if the dates for test transactions are still in 1999.

Yourdon estimates (or is that Capers Jones) that one new bug is introduced for every 10 that are fixed. And maybe one in ten of those is in some completely unexpected place. So you test the entire system. And this is being done, albeit slowly and carefully.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), March 09, 1999.


Please bear with me, while i add a bit to this discussion, If i come across as talking down to anyone I apologize up front, its not my intent.

In a previous thread I posted, Ed Yourdon responded to me that although the financial industry seemed to be in good shape, what about the 1000s of systems they externally interfaced with. The Wall Street Y2k street test is deigned to do just that. Its not something that happens in a day. Simply to get all these systems coordinated to be at some date in December 1999 without failing is a major feat. There are many issues, which include a process called data aging (moving esiting data to the state it will look like in late decemebr), system pre reconciliation (the process of making sure everyone agrees with what the other has), etc. This is often the most time consuming process of a Y2k test and in my experience dwarfs the actually Y2k issues which can crop up. So in a way the press was right in saying that it was a sucess. I do agree with you that it was presented totally out of context for the layman, but as you yourself noted, they are not there yet. Keep in mind that to be participating in this test each member has to have tested thier own internal systems before hand. This test represents the final real world scenario where everybody inter connect. I think we need to wait a bit more and let them run it through before we start raising the red flag. Your right tho in that the press needs to be a bit more more detailed on the facts about these types of things tho

Thanks for listening


-- nyc (nycnyc@hotmail.com), March 09, 1999.

This whole business is essentially fraudulent. All the results of such testing will really tell us is how well these systems work when they simulate a post 01/01/2000 date in 1999. The results, good or bad, do not tell us how well the systems will work when we actually reach 2000. I suspect it's just a ploy to keep the market soaring ever onward and upward.

-- cody varian (cody@y2ksurvive.com), March 10, 1999.

Response to "Wall Street passes Y2K test" -- my butt!!

Flint, laddie, in the old days the press had a THIRD option: to go and research the issue, make some calls to sources, investigate, and try to ascertain the truth of the official pronunciamento. "Ignore or repeat:" sounds like a parrot, not a free press.

-- Spidey (in@jam.com), March 10, 1999.


While I admit I can only read your words and not your mind, you seem to take the position that all testing done this year is fraudulent, on the grounds that it's being done this year! Are you really suggesting that all organizations postpone testing until next year when it really counts? Talk about a blueprint for failure. I agree that most testing envornments cannot be 100% reflective of the future. But we can recognize this limitation and take it into account. This does NOT make all tests fraudulent.

Also, as nyc (Lee) writes, setting up and debugging the test environment itself is a lot harder than conducting the actual test. If the environment is poor, the results aren't meaningful. If you had ever set up a test, you would know that it isn't at all trivial to devise a test that really covers all the bases. And it can be even harder to get 500 organizations onto the same page even if the test itself is as good as you can make it. The challenge is to provide a really complete test for those who are best prepared, while not making the test worthless for those who are least prepared. It's a tough assignment.

Anyone can see that there are those on this forum who will grasp at *any* excuse to maintain their opinion, however stupid, rather than change that opinion. Are you joining their ranks? I doubt that those on this forum who are genuinely fixing and testing will enjoy being told that they are all frauds (unless they're incompetent and fail).


I suppose I should have said a bit more. Yes, the press can (if they feel like it) do real investigation. This will help in two ways -- it will guide them toward which questions to ask, and who to ask them to. Then they ask, and must report what they are told. Hopefully, their research will mean that they get told better information.

All information about these tests is being funneled through some alphabet soup agency (SIA or something like that). I don't know what restrictions this does, or should, place on the press.

I do know that right now, they're going through the test setup phase -- setting up time machines, establishing protocols, creating test data, developing techniques for aging test data (not trivial!), devising methods for meaningfully analyzing results, etc. These steps, while critically important, are mostly meaningless both to the reporters and those who read what the reporters write.

Would you really prefer some detailed report that said something like "A two hour delay resulted from a typographical error in the system that creates test data. This error was found and corrected, and the test data were properly recreated by 3 p.m."? If not, any meaningful summary of the process would sound a lot like what we're reading -- "we're on schedule and doing better than expected, all in all."

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), March 10, 1999.


"I doubt that those on this forum who are genuinely fixing and testing will enjoy being told that they are all frauds (unless they're incompetent and fail). "

Your absolutely right, Its probably the most depressing experience of my life. Quite honestly If I didnt think it was critical to balance the tone of this forum , I wouldnt even be here.

There are thousands of software engineers across the country testing and fixing this problem right now and have been for the last two years. Are they enjoying it, not one damn bit, trust me. But the alternative is unemployment, or worse yet spending the next 5 years patching up critical systems instead of doing the "fun" works of designing software for the 21st century.

Some one, somewhere in here said that for most people the goal of Y2k testing is not to fix the problem , but to get it over with asap. Ive seen a bit of that yes. But thankfully not much. We actually gave little awards to anyone who could find a bug. After a while it became a contest between testers.


-- nyc (nycnyc@hotmail.com), March 12, 1999.

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