QUESTION? Ed Yourdon, Gary North, Cory H. or other programmers> : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Dear Sirs: I would ask you if you would answer these questions.

I believe human nature is 75% to 80% predictable due to their life styles at certain times in history.

Such as WW2 which was in fact a live free or die under other regimes was beginning to take a toll by burning the public, soilders, goverment out because it lasted so long.

Today is another era with population moves, job moves, less pride in goverments, favorable laws, un favorable laws,more socialism easy living, needs at fingertips or a few blocks away.

With the idea that not everyone can be satisfied with any decision, right or wrong, where status rules, Now Do you really think that the year 2000 computer glitches will be fixed? (Gary I know your position which I agree).

Don't you think that anyone that has been involved with y2k either preparing,programming, hearing it on radio and televison is already burnt out on it and will just be ho hum until it really hits them in the head?

Don't you think its reached a point where its kinda a so what deal?

How can anything as large as y2k be fixed and ready even 50% by dec 31, 1999 in this day and time.? I don't think it will even reach 50% fix myself. Only my stats. per human nature and how the world has worked for the last fort years.You guys are programmers so testify before the bar trufully under oath before the public. (no slander meant to mean you do not tell the truth).


-- Lon (, March 19, 1999


Lon: Gary North is a historian, not a programmer.

-- The Tall Man (, March 19, 1999.

I'm just a journeyman PC type programmer, not some guru. I do essentially custom business apps as a contractor. Yourdon or someone has mentioned the bell curve of programming. Well, in my experience, I've NEVER seen or been involved in a project that come in on time or on budget (the good tail). Most come in late/very late (middle hump and bad tail) or are cancelled. And though I'm not a guru, I'm pretty sharp -- close but no cigar Mensa qualified, so the problems I've had, personally are not because I'm of the mentality of a typical high school grad today.

There are continuous problems with existing system. Some caused by bugs that have to be found and fixed. Others that the reasons never have been found -- reboot and restart. These are more or less random.

Now you add something systemic like Y2K date stuff, maybe all happening at about the same time and you will get a lot more errors, swamping ability to fix overnight or in a week. Things are already hanging by a thread. Add Y2K, and my opinion is -- blooey.

BTW, consider the fragility of a society that only a few geniuses can keep running. Where it might as well be magic as far as the average person can understand or deal with.

-- vbProg (, March 20, 1999.

Hi Lon,

Many companies are essentially finished with their Y2K work. Others have barely started. What percentage??? It's anyone's guess because the companies aren't saying enough for anyone outside (maybe even inside) to judge. Some say it's the lawyers, some say it's bad internal communications.

So we don't know about companies except what they report for themselves.

The federal government seem likely to be far below 50% complete with all their systems. Maybe they'll be 90% finished with their mission critical (however that's defined) systems by 1/1/00, but they make up less than 10% of all federal systems.

Companies are generally not talking about their mission critical systems in official reports (the SEC 10-Q and 10-K). They talk about how much money is budgeted and how much is spent -- and based on these numbers, many companies will be (and are now) over 50% finished. But will 50% of all companies be ready come 1/1/00? Who knows? (The spending in the above reports implies most won't be.)

And if over 50% are finished, how about their suppliers/customers? Will the companies that are ready lose 50% of their suppliers? 50% of their customers? Can they survive if they do?

It's a mess, and to me it looks like TEOTWAWKI for sure -- but I'm still hoping I'm wrong.

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (, March 20, 1999.

I believe 70% - 80% compliance will be reached here in the US. That would cause a failure rate of 20% - 30%. I do not believe we can sustain a hit of more than 10%, without major problems. I also see no evidence at this point, that we will get 70-80% done. This is of course, only opinion.

-- SCOTTY (, March 20, 1999.

Maybe someone here can answer some questions I have about these remediation budgets.

If a company says they have spent X% of their budget, how close does that really come to meaning they have completed X% of the job? In other words, how accurate are these budgets?

How often do the budgets get adjusted? It would seem that a budget could be much more accurate after detailed assessment than before. Do any companies adjust the budget at that time?

Do any of these budgets contain funding for imponderables like external factors (vendors not compliant, infrastructure problems, etc?) Or funding to handle the inevitable FOF for problems that slipped through the testing process?

-- Flint (, March 20, 1999.

Lon , Flint

Heres a bit of my perspective on your qestions.

Many companies, and by that I mean a majority (ie over 50 %) Have been working on Y2k for coming on three years now, in one form or another. They have been forced to by both government and industry monitoring agencies. Dont let anyone tell you thats not the case , sometimes im amazed by how many people believe were only beginning to look a this problem.

Lon, you said you doubt that anything as large as Y2k can be fixed by 50 % by Dec 1999. I do understand that everyones perspective on this is a bit different, but to me 50 means, 50 % of every program in the united stateswhich is crtical to day to day operations of a company being tested and fixed so no problems occurs on Jan 1. I think if you read the posts, of all the companies quoted here youll see we are already there. In fact there are particular industries that already touting 80-90% (the financial industry for example).

Someone in this thread stated that if more than 10 % of our systems went off line we were in trouble. Perhaps thats so. But in my experience nature hates a vacuum. All thos lost systems will just provide opportunity for newly emerging business to penetrate the software market. Once again my opinion only.

To flint.

Hello again! :). I dont think there can be a direct comparison to % budget Vs % completion. Companies with large amounts of legacy systems require a large % of thier budget to remedy Y2k companies with only newer systems might no require any remdiation at all so there % will be very small.

As far as I know systems people are all being asked to stay in the office over the new years weekend to immediately remedy any Y2k Problems which arise. In the financial industry we have two things going for us in the FOF scenario. The first is, its a weekend and a holiday weekend at that. So there will be no business, other than the ATMS, from friday noon through Sunday 7 PM. That gives a bit of breathing room for fixing any bugs that might have slipped through.

In addition I was pleased to see that the Social Security administration as well as several l other city agencies have moved thier normal 1/3 payment date to 12/30. This will alleviate the usually long lines at the banks and atms on these dates.

Most of us work on salary, and 60 - 70 hour weeks for us is not unusual. These extra hours are usually without pay so extra budgeting for the FOF is not excessive.

Hope I answered some of your questions.


-- nyc (, March 21, 1999.


You said that companies have been working on Y2K for awhile now because they have been forced to by both government and industry monitoring agencies. This is true of the financial industry you work in, but not as true for other sectors, especially utilities.

As far as lost systems being an opportunity for software companies, that depends on whether the companies with the lost systems are able to stay in business as they wait for new software and hardware.

And we still haven't heard much about whether companies like Intel will be compliant.

-- Linkmeister (, March 21, 1999.

I'm a programmer (mostly pc based instrument control systems and embedded systems) although I am not as experienced as many who post here. Generally when things get done on time its because very little time was spend on testing, so it turns into a fix-on-failure scenerio. This may work ok in some cases, but not for mission critical systems....

As far as percentages go remember the axiom: the last 10% of the work takes 90% of the time

And fixing someone else's old, poorly documented code is about the hardest, nastiest kind of programming.

-- y2kbiker (, March 22, 1999.

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