If you're a veteran programmer, how are you preparing?

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To quote Jolly, "at the risk of mortal injury," I will post another question which was really at the heart of a previous thread "Who are the veteran computer folks on this board?"

I was amazed at the response that question received. Nearly 60 answers.

I think I'm convinced now that Greybear was right when he said: ".. aren't we about ass deep around here in people who are in the computer business with ..oh...say 20- 25 - 30 years experience? Hell, they're thicker'n fleas on a lazy dog."

I'm guessing that threat will be a great archival piece. 'Trouble was--when I read a lot of your comments I felt like I was in an uninhabited area of Siberia without a road map, i.e., I obviously didn't speak your language.

So here's a simple follow up question for all who have posted there:

Are you preparing your families for potential problems that may result from Y2K? If so, are you preparing beyond the Red Cross guidelines? If so, to what degree?

Thanks so much for your responses. I never had any idea there would be so many.

God bless all of you for your hard work over the years.

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 09, 1999.

Here follows some of the answers received so far, from some who posted answers to the initial question. I look forward to more--along with someone who will provide a link to the original forum(s). (Another thread was started later that related to the first. I think the thread just became too huge!)


FM - To answer your new question, you better believe it! I consider myself very fortunate for several reasons. For one, I'm single at this point in my life. Serious girl friend but no permanent plans at this time. I share the rent with two big time GI bachelor friends (one licensed to carry) on a 150+ acre farm. We only rent the house, the fields are rented to a farming company. We have a genset (not yet connected), and will be replacing an older second fuel oil tank this summer. Three 55 gal drums for kero/gas (in shed FAR from house), more to come. Full size freezer waiting to be plugged in. Almost full pantry now. Will be expanding already good size garden this spring. I think you get the idea. Nice thing is splitting three ways makes almost painless.

I have elderly parents in Nevada, but also have a good friend nearby. Have been sending extra cash to help get them ready. Plan on going there later this year to make sure they're covered.

This is a good question FM. It's getting down the list, so you may want to put back on top. <:)=

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

(From FM: I didn't know exactly how to "put it back on top" so I just started a new thread. Shameful newbie that I am!)


I'm wearing hiking boots, got to work at 12:30 - does that count?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 09, 1999.

To answer the query about preparations.

Yes, we're currently at the 18 month level. Our goal is to be completely ready for 3 years. We're already there with food, and kerosene, and some other items. Main worry is we're low on propane.


-- Jollyprez (Jolly@prez.com), March 09, 1999.

To continue his comment:

"Most" "mainframe" programmers I'm aware of are preparing for far greater timeframes of the potential troubles than most engineers I'm aware of. The vast majority of PC-level programmers I'm aware of are not preparing for anything but New Year's Eve.

That's only one obseration - please, you've got to decide for yourself what your own family's "comfort" level is.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 09, 1999.

Thanks y'all. I emailed Cory Hamasaki in the hope he'll add his two cents worth. We'll see. . . Looking forward to hearing from the rest of you "vets."

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 09, 1999



24 yrs Experience, PL/I, COBOL, IMS etc, mainly mainframe, currently leading Y2K Technical Team for a large organisation.

Preparing for 3 months with 'good' food, 1 year at subsistence level, not there yet by a long way.

Problems slightly different in Australia, Y2k will hit in our summer so problems are more like how to keep cool rather than warm! We're looking at Gas refrigeration for example. Of course, if problems go beyond a few months we face heating problems too, so there will probably be a lot of 'info swapping' between northern and southern hemispheres, if there any medium left to swap it by.

I must say that you folk in the US are better supplied with supply options than us, we have no sources, so far as I've been able to find, for MRE's, canned chickens etc. We are far ahead of you when it comes to vegemite however!

One thing I cannot recommend too highly is solar cooking, we built a COOKIT solar panel cooker out of cardboard and Alfoil and have successfully baked bread in it, if you live in a fairly warm State I suggest you investigate making one (or more). Cost us nothing and WORKS! I simply couldn't believe it until I tried it.

Bye for now, keep preparing! RonD

-- Ron Davis (rdavis@ozemail.com.au), March 09, 1999.


Another great thread I warrant. I shall look forward to the replies along with you.

I am also roaming around in the land of the unknown. However, the opinions of these insightful and intelligent people I have learned to value at this time.

-- Carol (usa-uk@email.msn.com), March 09, 1999.


We too, have prepared for a heavy supply for the first three months (especially with the children in mind), and lots of rice, beans, and seeds for sprouting to take us through the year. We have also added MARMITE to our inventory along with the famous VEGGEMITE. We have pretty much accomplished our goal.

PS. I visited your beautiful country in the early 80's and regretted having to leave. I spent some time in Melbourne and traveled up the coast to Queensland. I can understand why Australians and New Zealanders invariably always return to their respective homelands.

-- Carol (usa-uk@email.msn.com), March 09, 1999.

28 years total experience, multilingual w/Assembler--> on up, mostly IBM mainframes (85%) some network/PeeCee nonsense lately. 2nd career outside of IT last 9 years, ex-military and Reserve commission

Prepping to reasonably comfortable year, two at subsistence, seriously prepping for barter economy. Still hoping for the best but preparing for bad times.

As an aside, make sure your preps include at least 100 lbs of pickling (non iodized) salt. (barter, meat preservation).

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), March 09, 1999.

I'm a newbie compared to some of the big minds/coders here, but heck, here's my deal:

Started out on HP 3000's doing COBOL in 1988, moved to Speedware on this platform in early 1990's. Moved on to Visual Basic, and am now doing Intranets using Information Builders WebFocus, doin' IIS/NT/SQL server, some HTML, Shockwave (Authorware/Director).

I did some Y2k windowing on some legacy systems in the mid-nineties on HP3000, but they eventually phased it out and I helped them migrate to AS400 and have lived to tell the tale ;-)

As for prep specs, I'm working to having enough conventional stuff to last through the first harvest, for vegetables grow overnight. We've always been heavy stockers, especially when it comes to canning. I plan on doing a lot of fishing on the lake if I find myself out of work, even though it's not my favorite food. That body of water may not look like much, (too many weeds, boaters and swimmershate it) but the fishing is good once you discover where the fish feed, spawn and hang out during the different seasons.

Paid off my last credit card bill...feels great! Putting a lot of plans (new car, a trip, etc.) on hold and waiting to see what happens...

-- Tim (pixmo@pixelquest.com), March 09, 1999.

Uh...meant to say "for vegetables DON'T grow overnight"...

-- Tim (pixmo@pixelquest.com), March 09, 1999.

Mrs. Rimmer and I are both software professionals. I have just under 20 years experience and Mrs. Rimmer hasa little more than 10 years. I have written software for a variety of applications including medical diagnostic software and GPS software for military applications. Mrs. Rimmer develops and administrates customer database applications.

We are currently approaching a 1 year level for most basic essentials. We will continue to add to this as time and resources allow but there is so much learning, reading, organizing, sorting, practicing, and rethinking/re-evaluating required. (Think it's just a matter of buying stuff? Hah! That's what I thought at first also. If it were only that easy....)

We would like to be at a 3 year level but we got a very late start - serious preps didn't begin until July-Aug of last year. We doubt that we will be able to reach the that goal. There is simply not enough time left - we are focusing on filling in the gaps that remain after addressing the essentials - food, water, heat, sanitation, shelter, clothing, lighting, security. Those 'gaps' include basic medical training, knowledge of indigenous plants and animals, gardening skills, 12-volt lighting system, communications, and a whole host of "miscellaneous".

We do not 'know' how serious the consequences of Y2K failures will be. We both feel that very little will happen that can't be overcome by prudent preparations. But those collective preparations have not been forthcoming on anywhere near the scale we feel they need to be and, as a result, we are now much less optimistic than we were 6 months ago for a 'bump in the road' scenario.

It's true that only a very small percentage of the total Y2K failures will have serious reprecussions but keep in mind that 'a very small percentage' of Bill Gate's bank account is still a hefty hunk of change.

I hestitate to make predictions. We've certainly based our own preparations on our best guess as to what might be a 'very bad' case scenario (worst-case scenarios being those that are not survivable).

But we will dance with glee should Y2K turn out to be less than we now think it will be. We got to adding up a few numbers the other night and around 70% of the money we've spent will not have been wasted should Y2K cause no disruptions at all.

More than anything, it's the time that Y2K has taken from us that I resent the most. Y2K awareness has forced a re-prioritization of our entire lifestyle. I am no longer willing to waste what time remains pursuing the more pleasurable and mundane activities that filled my 'leisure' time prior to last summer. Indeed, there really is very little 'leisure' time per se -- but we do make time to do some of these things - to get away from it all for a bit.

Too many people are ignoring the problem.

I'm not trying insult those organization that have addressed Y2K seriously. I salute them. But they are much like the Rimmer household - they are serious preppers in a sea of others who are ignoring the potential. Those organization, like our house, are not islands unto themselves. And unfortunately, the negligence of the many could overwhelm the preparations of the few.

-- Arnie Rimmer (arnie_rimmer@usa.net), March 09, 1999.

I'm learning, I'm learning. Keep 'em coming. Thanks!

-- FM (vidprof@aol.cm), March 09, 1999.

Well, I have 22 years experience in many business/government sections using good old VMS and OpenVMS. Gotta love that OS.

Anyway, on to your question. I guess I would say that I am prepping for a year. But to that, I am adding as many supplies in that I think will skyrocket in price. I expect a recession/depression, so I want to purchase items now that I may need to make life more comfortable then. Items like sugar, spices, and such. I already have more sugar than I will need for 1 year, but plan to buy a little extra for any canning that I plan on doing in the future. Why not buy stuff like this now when the price is low?

Having a 5 y/o, I am trying to guess what he will be wanting to eat during the next year. If you have small children, then you know what I am talking about. Trying to get a child to try something "new" sometimes doesn't cut it.

As the year progresses, I will continue to purchase my food and other items, but will stop as soon as I see the panic start. I do not wish to be in long lines.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), March 09, 1999.

I started programming IBM 1401, IBM 7080 and IBM 360/50 in autocoder, machine language and Cobol back in 1964. Went on to Honeywell ???? Then worked for Control Data Corp on their CDC 1700, CDC 3500 and CDC 6400 in Cobol and Fortran using their then innovative Scope Operating System. A few more I can't remember, lucky I could remember this much!!

Any one that has taken the time to become informed on the subject of y2k and has not decided to make major preparations is probably a fatalist. One who has made up their mind to accept the consequences.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), March 09, 1999.

I have 16 years experience with complex UNIX based systems. In terms of preparation, I've pretty much gone all out. Rural property with farmable land, 4 months food for 5 persons, AR-15 and 12 gauge, solar panels, generator, a million non-hybrid seeds, 4 months of hypertension medication for elderly mother, cash, precious metals, liquidated the 401k. But I haven't bugged out yet. I am planning on refinancing the house in the city to extract equity in case the need to abandon it arises.

-- - (-@-.-), March 09, 1999.

So is veggemite real or not???? These people seem to be serious about it but I got flamed for asking about it.....Go ahead and flame away...I'm sure I'll be sorry I asked again.

-- Moore Dinty moore (not@thistime.com), March 09, 1999.

Hi Moore Dinty Moore!

Vegemite is absolutely real, I will research how to post a proper link in this forum but for now cut and paste http://www.ozchannel.com/vegemite/vegemite.html and go there. Alternatively, use AltaVista or your favourite search engine, you'll find dozens of references.

It's an Aussie Icon!

-- Ron Davis (rdavis@ozemail.com.au), March 09, 1999.

Hi Dinty. Try this Link <:)=

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

Thank you very much...my curiosity is quenched!:>

Deep breath....no flames...thanks again

-- Moore Dinty moore (not@thistime.com), March 09, 1999.

Started in RPG, PL-1 in mid-70s, moved on to Fortran, C (Unix), networking, realtime.

Preparations are progressing beyond minimal at this time. Security taken care of last year, to beat Insta-Check. Transportation: Early Bronco 4x4 (jeep frames don't handle high torque engines too well). Generator: Honda 7kw. Rural bug out: friends. Food/water: not yet, gotta get moving. Currency: some Krugerrands. Want to move towards low/no debt. Have DWGI spouse, currently objecting to preparations. Extended family ranges from GI (no prep) to DWGI. Life will probably get more interesting the next 12 months.

-- Ann Y Body (annybody@nowhere.disorg), March 09, 1999.

20 years on IBM mainframes...Cobol/PL/1 mostly, with some esoterics on the side.....moving into PC stuff (some VB, lotsa data warehousing). Currently working on mission critical y2k project (telecommuting) with large company (permanent employee). We're late, but not by much (yet).

Started preps late. Lived in a very large urban area...decided to move out to rural area first, near family. Been here one month...my company in city letting me telecommute. Just reached 30 days food/water/emergency supplies. After much soul searching, decided against generator and bought kerosene heater, big outside tank, lanterns, and candles (and many fire extinquishers). Have well, but it's deep and doubt we can use a hand pump for it.. Researching what to do. Will just keep on buying as much as possible until 1) there's nothing on the shelves, or 2) we feel safe(r). Am slowly feeling out extended family for their views on y2k.....Lot of DWGIs.

-- seagreen (seagreen@seagreen.com), March 10, 1999.

Hi FM,

Been working with all sizes of computers in all kinds of languages since before '60.

Although we've always had enough food for a month or more (full freezer, etc.), the big step was moving to a rural area last fall (finding a good place took a loooong time). Since then I've been downsizing :} the power needs and other stuff that can be done over the winter. Additional food is farther down the list because there are other items that will be in short supply first (like generators now). We gotta get a bigger garden going this year, along with adding to water storage. Seems like we have lots of good (though minimally aware) neighbors.

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (dtmiller@nevia.net), March 10, 1999.

I hate to admit I'm one of those clueless heads that programmed w/two date digits back in the 70's and 80's. I've coded in Fortran, PL-1 and RPG, on Sys 38's and others. It's not much consolation, but the stuff I've coded, I think, is pretty much gone by now.

Several years ago my wife and I decided that the fragility of supply lines called for more self-reliance, and we've been working to that end for some time. We're on forty acres with two spring-fed ponds and two wells, lots of wood to feed the woodstove, a generator, etc. I can (and do) take a deer from field to freezer (or canning jars).

This year we're adding bees and poultry to our operations. Raised rabbits some years ago, and could do it again, but not planning on it right now.

I'm expecting someting in the 6-7 range. I'm basing this on two things: first, I know firsthand what the tiniest error in coding can do to results, and how difficult it can be to find and fix, and second, I'm fully aware of how interwoven our systems are today, with things like just-in-time deliveries from everything from auto parts to groceries.

I know you sys-heads out there know all this, this is for the benefit of those who don't.

-- Cowardly Lion (cl0001@hotmail.com), March 10, 1999.

I was hesitant to post, for I haven't done any mainframe work. Six years experience with C++, VB, TCPIP, Cisco Routers, NT, SCO Unix, Java, IIS, SQL SERVER, VB, Interdev. If you go beyond HTML and the splashy graphics, I would count web stuff. You have can Java apps tapping into legacy systems like AS400 or data warehouses, and that involves some fancy coding.

Also, I could tell you some stories about NT Server Pack 4. It's the most Y2k compliant version, but when you install it, some shelfware web-based solutions just won't work with it. Then, when you call the vendor regarding this, they can't guarantee a release date regarding the upgrad. So, do you yank SP 4 and keep your apps running, or try to be compliant, and have angry users?

Don't answer this...just wanted to show that web programmers ARE grappling with Y2k issues too, which should count as experience.

As for the old timers working on the old iron, I bow in your presence :-)

I gave my parents some articles last spring, and they got it. Their root cellar is PACKED with stuff, and now they're starting on the storm shelter lol. I'll be bugging out to their farm, hopefully telecommuting until things settle down. If TSHTF, I can picture myself getting a chore list from my folks every day. CHECK THE FENCES. TILL THE GARDEN. FEED AND WATER THE ANIMALS...

-- Faze the Nation (dazed@confused.com), March 10, 1999.

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