de Jager text : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Greetings Folks, Needless to say, I've received a few dissenting notes regarding 'Doomsday Avoided.' I'm getting to be an old hand at this. Remember... for years,before many of you? most? all? were even aware of this problem, I received many notes telling me how wrong I was, as well as many, many articles claiming Y2K was a fraud and a hoax. It's an all too familiar situation.

Some of you have suggested that I've said the problem is totally fixed. Really? I said this? I'd love to know where. Here's a fact I made a big deal of in the article: "We were so incompetent as an industry, we started a project so late, we didn't leave ourselves enough time to fix all the applications we were responsible for maintaining. The practice of triage is an embarrassment."

Could someone please tell me how this is 'good news' or how you are able to translate this into 'Peter said we don't have a problem?' Our best business practice is to ignore broken systems. Not a good sign. Some of you have correctly repeated something I said several times in the article, as if I were somehow unaware of it... not everybody is working on this, companies are still in denial. I said it this way, "Most, not all companies are working on this issue." So we are violently in agreement.

Okay, so we agree. Most, not all, companies are working on this. There's a sizable percentage doing nothing. Here's my assertion. We've avoided Global bank failures, Global power outages and Global communications collapse. These 'Doomsday Scenarios' (what was the title of my article?) have been avoided. That's good news and needs to be stated loudly and strongly. Why? Because there are charlatans and religious extremists masquerading as technical experts and conspiracy theorists posing as computer consultants who are saying everything is going to, with 100% certainty, collapse around our heads. They're wrong and they know it. Trouble is, the media and the average Joe in the street doesn't.

So a percentage of companies is not doing enough, but we've avoided the Doomsday scenarios. Here's the dilemma. Do you continue to raise the alarm in a feeble attempt to make everyone work on the problem... and play into the hands of the charlatans by feeding the growing panic? Or do you recognize and accept, albeit reluctantly, that while there is still work to be done, we have avoided the doomsday scenarios? That we have indeed bypassed the worst of the technical problems and now it is time to turn your attention to the hard reality that the charlatans are scaring the population more than necessary?

This is not 'spin' as some have suggested. It is merely a recognition that the worst has passed. That TEOTWAWKI is unadulterated nonsense spread by those either ignorant of the issues and/or those with hidden agendas.

In addition to the fact that the worst is behind us, you also have to wrestle with the following:

A question for all of you; (It's actually more of a challenge since you've taken exception to what I've posted. It's one you'd better have an answer for.) When you are standing before an idiot company headed by incompetent managers who have not yet started their Y2K projects, what is it you are going to say to convince them to act, that has not already been said?

Or are you so deep in denial, you ignore the fact that some people have placed themselves beyond help?

Or so arrogant, you believe you, after a decade of rhetoric, have found the unvoiced magical words which will unlock their closed minds?

If you have, send them to me, I'll use them. Better yet, another question. What will you say to a reporter who is asking you a Y2K question for the 6 o'clock news that will convince a Y2K unconscious business to act but that, at the same time, will not panic the casual listener?

If you take exception to my message you'd better have alternatives. In other words, you better have answers to the above questions. Otherwise, you'll make a bad situation worse. Again, for the record. I've stated loudly and I think clearly, because I believe it to be true, we've avoided the Doomsday Scenarios. We've NOT avoided all the problems associated with Y2K. (If you have any doubt of this, then please keep an eye on the web page over the next few days... specifically look for an article entitled... "Personal Y2K Preparations") Some of your messages started out 'How dare you use your bully pulpit...' Here's how I dare. I created it. I created it for exactly this purpose. I created it by working 100+ hour weeks for the past 5 years. That's how I did my bit to spread the word on Y2K. That's why it exists. That's why I dare.

Other messages started 'I've lost a lot of respect for you...' Folks, that's unfortunate, but I believe it is a temporary condition. In the beginning, when I started my efforts to create awareness, I ran into many obstacles. The ones that affected me most deeply were those that questioned my integrity or motivations. I pressed on and won the respect of many people. Not to mention the small, tiny fact that I was proven to be right.

I believe these messages will be followed, perhaps a year from now, perhaps much sooner, with different notes containing a different message. If not, then I'll at least rest easy knowing that I was true to my beliefs even if I do turn out to be wrong. (Unlike the charlatans, I'm willing to accept and admit publicly that I cannot predict the future with 100% certainty.) What choice do I have but to speak the truth as I see it?

Some messages tried to make the point "That even if we've jumped the hurdle of denial, we must jump all of them to succeed." Fair point. But I'll say again, the denial hurdle was the tallest. Clear this one and the rest is a relative non-issue.

Inevitably, some messages started "You've obviously sold out and are being paid to tone down the discussion." (sigh) I've been accused day and night for the past 8 years of selling out, first to the vendors, and now to the 'establishment.' It's become a rather old and tired argument with little substance. I have no real defense against this attack. I cannot 'prove' my opinions are my own. Those who wish to believe this accusation can choose to do so. Those who know me personally know, without a shadow of a doubt, this is not the case. As I said before, what choice do I have but to speak the truth as I see it?

Folks, in closing, I said we've broken the back of Y2K. I never said the beast was dead.

Which brings me, at last, to the most ludicrous category of messages, those that started with 'Why are you telling people to not make preparations?' At this point, I'll admit to a practically uncontrollable urge to use at least some mild profanity to describe these messages. Even worse, these assertions have been sent to various mail lists. I said practically uncontrollable. I've learned some restraint over the years. Folks, you're going to have to search high and low to find me ever saying personal preparations are unnecessary for Y2K. Your search will fail miserably. I've NEVER said that, and it is very unlikely I will say it between now and 2000, although I might if I receive enough good news to warrant it, regardless of how you, gentle critic, would view me. I have never said preparations are unnecessary. I have said that anyone who is telling you to remove all (the key word here is 'all') your money from the banks is either ignorant of computer systems in general, Y2K in particular, or is simply a charlatan. I have never said preparations are unnecessary. I have said that planning for 1-year disruptions, stock piling 1-year supplies of anything, buying guns, and running for the hills are overreactions. I have never said preparations are unnecessary. I have said that preparations along the lines of those sufficient to cope with Montreal Ice Storms are reasonable and prudent. I've gone even further and stated that parents have a responsibility to their children to always maintain that level of preparation, regardless of Y2K. I have never said preparations are unnecessary. In fact I have assisted and supported those organizations who are putting community projects in place and have taken the time to contact and work with me. (Don't deluge me with requests, there are only so many hours available. I, unfortunately, must say no more often than I can say yes.) I have never said preparations are unnecessary. In fact, my number two message to organizations (The number one message focuses on Y2K Communications both internally and externally to your organization) is one of contingency planning which, surprise surprise, includes... guess what? Preparation. Final comment... honest. It's in the form of a promise to the reader whoever you are. I have always chosen to work on the biggest problem facing us, which I could have a positive impact on. Years ago that was the denial surrounding Y2K. Today it is the hype. I have, and always will, speak honestly about this subject based upon the facts I have at my disposal. When the facts change, so will my message. When the facts in the past were bad, I pulled no punches, I never backed down, I told it like I saw it. I've lost friendships over my position on Y2K Similarly, when there is good news to communicate, I'll communicate it regardless of the consequences. Yours truly Peter de Jager March 17, 1999

-- Norm (, March 18, 1999


Yes, Norm, we know you can cut-and-paste. Now how about some original, constructive thoughts of your own??

-- Brooks (, March 18, 1999.

And thanks so much for wasting bandwith by starting this as a new thread when it would have been *far* more constructive adding to the one immediately below.

-- Brooks (, March 18, 1999.

The part of this that I have trouble with is this:

"Here's my assertion. We've avoided Global bank failures, Global power outages and Global communications collapse. These 'Doomsday Scenarios' (what was the title of my article?) have been avoided. That's good news and needs to be stated loudly and strongly."

How can he state that as a given? How can anyone possibly know this is true until after the rollover? It's only an assertion, not a statement of fact...

-- pshannon (, March 18, 1999.


-- King of Komedy (laf@chuckle.gag), March 18, 1999.


SOFTWARE UPGRADE REQUEST FOR "NORM" SYSTEM: To enable the system to *add* to existing threads, rather than always starting a *new* one.




-- King of Spain (, March 18, 1999.

To His Royal Honor, King of Spain:

Dear King,

I hope things are well in your fair land. I do believe that all Mron posts fall within my jurisdiction. However, in your wise way you have rendered justly and honorably as is your wont with regard to the trollish Mron. I concur and adopt your advice. I trust you will notify me if you have intentions on exercising sovereignty here in the land of Komedy. Long live the King of Spain.

-- King of Comedy (laf@chuckle.gag), March 18, 1999.


De Jager states kind of states that it is his assertion when he says, "Here is my assertion." Can't get much clearer than that.

Amazing though, that you would choose to call only him on that. This forum is 95% based on assertion and conjecture, will people providing very little support or facts.

-- john (i', March 18, 1999.

Good luck King. Turning Norm around (Mron) is quite a challenge. <:)=

-- Sysman (, March 18, 1999.

Yes, you are right, john. My logic loop was fuzzy. It was an assertion, and clearly stated as such. My problem is that many people will base their actions on forcefully asserted statements like that, rather than based on conclusions of their own research.

There are such an overwhelming number of asserted statements like that in the mainstream media, that I think the vast majority of people will do nothing to protect themselves. We live in a society where information and attitudes are spoonfed to the masses, and people have become accustomed to not really thinking about much for themselves. And I see potential danger in that...

-- pshannon (, March 18, 1999.

"Good luck King. Turning Norm around (Mron) is quite a challenge. "

I see what you are really interested in Mr. Sysman is not intellectual discourse, but rather childish name calling. I shall not be so engaged.

-- Norm (, March 18, 1999.

So, de Jager believes that intensive preparation for at least a month's worth is prudent (so long as it doesn't mean cash)? Koskinen told the media last week that no-way would the food inventory handle every family storing an extra can of beans between now and rollover. Of course, the K-man also doesn't believe that supply and demand could compensate for any gradual stockpiling. What's the chance that de Jager will ever take Koskinen on to say that the 2-3 day scenario is foolhardy? The media (and Norm) aren't interested in anything beyond convincing people the world won't end - there's no middle ground to be concerned about.

-- Brooks (, March 18, 1999.

Norm, do I recall correctly that from one of your recent posts that, as a general measure of prudence for unknown problems of any kind (not necessarily y2k), you stay prepared with stored food and water? To what extent have you stored survival goods?

-- Puddintame (, March 18, 1999.

What Mr. DeJager failed to address is that the federal government (Mr. K.) and his willing accomplices in the national media ONLY repeated his title - they did not, follow through on his interior comments, nor on the degree of the difficulties that may actually occur.

True also - we have NOT avoided anything yet - we have only gotten closer to the Jan 01, 2000 critical date. I will grant, MANY things have been fixed - but if the media will ONLY repeat your headline, then he must take responsibility for the fact that that his headline is wrong, misleading, and exaggerates not only the degree of the problem, but the amount of repairs taking place.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 18, 1999.

We may well have avoided simultaneous GLOBAL failures in power, banking (for a while) and telecom, i.e. the end of civilisation at 12:00. but I still expect we'll have at least one of those three in approx. a third to a half of all countries, plus massive global trade disruption, plus many dozens of spectacular emb.chip disasters, plus 100K's of accumulating annoyances, plus stockmarkets plunging ala '29 (nah, worse), plus opportunistic terrorist attacks, plus martial law here and there, plus pandemonium in many big cities, plus a huge leap in global unemployment, plus military actions capitalising on the situation, plus plus plus.... Maybe it isn't "doomsday", but it's certainly teotwawki. And after all the afformentioned SHTF, the global banking system will collapse -(so is it "doomsday" after all?)- but by that stage people might not even notice.(?) Although we've maybe avoided the prospect of global, simultaneous (-ish) irreperable power failure - which would have been a nice clean cut certainty for the fall of civilisation, we might still get such a fall due to the many other very serious systems failures which are still on the cards - the death of a thousand cuts. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it's going to be aweful.

"Allways look on the briiight side of death aJust before you draw your terminal breath"

"Worse things happen at sea, you know. Cheer up you old bugger. See. It's the end of the film...;)" "You Maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you! God damn you all to hell." "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that." "I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley"..."aaaaaaaaaaaah!" "May the force be with you, always." yada da tata. (sorry, lost it there for a second.)

-- humpty (, March 18, 1999.

Lighten up Norm. I've left you the same very serious question on two threads, and you refuse to answer. What are you afraid of, Norm? Here it is for a THIRD time. <:)=

Norm, My opinion only. We're not afraid of anything. Most of us really do hope this will be just a "bump in the road". I know you've been trying to bring us good news, but we have seen all of this many times before. We have a few people (Diane Kevin pshannon) that spend alot of their time trying to find ANY news on this issue. I've visited a dozen Y2K sites and believe me, we get it here first. Again, my opinion, the evidence is not good. Yes, we do have some time left, and I hope to see much more good news. I just don't think it will be enough.

This is a very emotional issue. While we do have a few that are extreme, most here don't mean any disrespect. They just get carried away. I know, I've done it myself.

I'm glad you are prepared. But Mabel brings up a good point - most people are not. So I must ask you a question. What's wrong with our trying to spread the word and get people ready? Even if "nothing" happens, isn't this a good way to live? You seem to think so. <:)=

-- Sysman (, March 16, 1999.

-- Sysman (, March 18, 1999.

post script: Global failures in the iron triangle are sufficient cause for doomsday, but they aren't necessary...y2k doomsday could come about without them, and those other failures, probably, along the line, will cause failures in the iron triangle, on something like a global scale. DeJager is correct to the degree that there now won't be immediate global failures of all 3 iron triangle elements. But, when such failures manifest later on, they won't necessarily be because of computer failures at the power, telco and banking companies.

Longwinded? Moi?

-- humpty (, March 18, 1999.

Here are a few links on the evolution of Peter de Jager's thinking. Interview with the BBC:


THE NET: Is this the first time we've seen a problem of this scale come along, well obviously the Year 2000 only comes along once but have we come across a similar situation or is it going to be much worse than we're ever seen before?

PETER DE JAGER: We've never had anything like this. This is totally brand new. We've never had a system-wide failure. The closest we can come to events like that might be blackouts. In fact one of the things that got me into this and got me fired up about it was a show `Connections' by James Burke. The first instalment was an exposi of the great blackout on the Eastern Seaboard and all of that happened because of one single power switch that did what it was supposed to do but had a very unexpected consequence. Well the Year 2000 is power switching, it's calculations, day calculations, millions upon millions of them in programmes all over the world that are all set to fail on a particular time, that's the only thing that is even close to this type of problem.


Peter de Jager's open letter to President Clinton, dated November 17, 1998:


If this report is not accurate, then action must be taken by you to correct it. It describes a totally unacceptable situation. As it is reported, it raises unnecessary concern, uncertainty and even fear. Three emotions no political party should be fostering as it heads into an election year.

Either way, action, real action, not soothing words and platitudes, is required at the highest levels either to correct an unacceptable situation or to correct the notion that your administrators are incapable of executing their mandated mission statements.


Canadian newspaper paper article dated November 22, 1998 with info on de Jager's preparation plans: 01_FI-DEJAGER22.html


Seated in the shadow of the towering Mormon temple near his Brampton home, de Jager smiles at the irony.

The Mormon church teaches its faithful to stockpile food - a practice that has become vogue among the growing ranks of Y2K survivalists, who are buying cabins in the woods and withdrawing their life savings from banks.

De Jager, a father of two teens, scoffs at such ``overreaction.'' He bought a cottage north of Orangeville recently, but it had nothing to do with Y2K, he insists.

Still, he does plan to stock up on groceries and supplies, keep a generator in his home and cash handy in case bank doors stay closed.


The "Doomsday Avoided" article:


Doomsday Avoided

by Peter de Jager

"We've finally broken the back of the Y2K problem." I've been making that statement now for about 6 months. Naturally, it has generated some interest and a handful of e-mail. The comments range from polite requests for me to state, in my own words, what exactly I mean by 'broken the back of Y2K' to the outraged rants from folks intent on selling the world panic, gold coins and plots of otherwise worthless real estate. Naturally, any good news about Y2K spoils the fun and intentions of those trying to incite panic and runs on the bank.


And here's an editorial from Michael Hyatt's Y2K site on de Jager's changing position:



Paul Revere Does "About Face"

Evidently, Mr. de Jager is distorting the situation to get the maximum amount of repair work done. This is certainly a noble goal, but history has shown that whenever we play games with the truth, unexpected negative consequences often occur.

by Bill Dunn

March 8, 1999

One of the most prominent personalities in the world of Y2K is Peter de Jager (rhymes with "logger"; pronounced "yogger"). Mr. de Jager is a Canadian programming expert who has been warning about the Millennium Bug problem since the early 1990s.

Although many in the computer industry were aware of the Y2K threat going back to the 1960s, de Jager is credited with bringing the issue to many peoples attention with his ComputerWorld article in September, 1993, titled, "Doomsday 2000."


Heres the Catch-22, according to my theory: to encourage programmers to keep working hard and achieve that 90 percent mark, de Jager has to tell them there will not be severe problems. Otherwise, theyll stop working, quit their jobs, move out of the cities, and far less repair work will get done. But de Jager knows full well that a 90- plus percent success rate will still cause serious disruptions in the economy and societyjust a heck of a lot less than 70 percent.

In his mind, I believe, he is distorting the situation to get the maximum amount of repair work done. This is certainly a noble goal, but history has shown that whenever we play games with the truth, unexpected negative consequences often occur. If de Jager is now down- playing the risks of Y2K to motivate programmers, his new public stance may be causing corporate management to relax at the very time strong leadership is needed.

If my theory is correct, de Jagers sudden about-face has been prompted by good intentions. But you would think that after all the years of learning the hard way, people would realize that mom had it right: "Honesty is the best policy."


-- (, March 18, 1999.

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