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

Gang -

My husband and I took it upon ourselves to go around the neighborhood and talk to everyone. We live in the country sort of cul de sac (T shape) with about 25 homes on 2 1/2 to 5 acres each). We have found that all but 3 homes are preparing or will now prepare. 1 home is south for the winter, 1 says it's all hype and the 3rd "doesn't own a computer so won't be affected".

My question is: Time frames. What do you expect to happen when? For instance, in April, we have state roll overs into new fiscal years for most states. Will we see anything then and if so what? Then we have the 9/9/99 date. What would be the best guessimate of what will happen then? Will we have problems show up that will affect power and therefore everything?

Then there is this summer. When do you all think that the general panic will start as far the the stock market goes? Food supply? Will we have brown outs this summer? Any thoughts on food availability at harvest time this summer?

November and December - when the panic really hits. Do you think the gov will step in before the actual roll over or after? How soon - Friday the 31st or Dec. 1 or ??? What about the time zone thing?

We are on the West Coast. I have heard of the "17 hours window" - time between the International Dateline and the East Coast. Will that have any affect on how things go here. I heard and can't seem to verify, that CNN was going to follow the New Year around the world starting at Guam. Can anyone verify? We get our TV from Primestar. No cable is available from where we live. What is the possibility of their satellite still being up by the time the roll over gets here on the West Coast? Anyone know what kind of broadcast back-ups large city TV stations have for broadcast after the roll over if TSHTF?

These are questions that we have been asked at our neighborhood meetings and talks. Thanks for any help.

-- Valkyrie (anonn@please.net), March 22, 1999


The 17 hour "advanced notice" is about as laughable as Al Gore inventing the Internet. Pollyanna straw grasping is all that it is.

Any of the dates that you mentioned could trigger Y2K problems that could get high visibility and subsequently move John Q. Public to, finally, Get It. And when that happens, it will be the beginning of the end, because it will truly be Too Late for anyone who is not sufficiently far along in their own personal preparations.

It is now Spring 1999. There is not much time left.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), March 22, 1999.

A few months ago, Senator Robert Bennett wanted an official early warning system for America, based upon what happened in other countries.

I believe he may have introduced legsilation to that effect. Call one of your two U.S. Senators and ask about that.

F.Y.I. if you're on the West Coast, keep in mind that if there are any problems with the national power grid they will begin happening at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, NOT midnight. 'Can't remember how I learned about this, but others in this forum know.

Interesting that you live in an aware neighborhood. If you're from California that may say something about where the rest of the country may be eventually headed "awareness-wise," because California is considered a "bell-weather" state. If you are further north, the fact that you live in an aware neighborhood is almost self-explanatory. For some reason, Oregon and Washington seem to have a large number of people who take this thing seriously. Good luck.

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 22, 1999.

The start of fiscal years 4/1/99 for NY state & Canada, 4/6/99 for the United Kingdom up to 10/1/99 for the federal government are significant dates for failure, but as has been noted, it would be easy to hide these failures. If your computer system starts canceling contracts or fails to run projections, these are things that are quite apparent to the computer operator, but can be suppressed from the public.

What everyone wants is some sort of very public event that will make it clear that the year 2000 problem is unmistakably real.

It is possible that the GPS rollover 8/21/99 midnight might cause lots of failure (possibly even power problems). Or it caould be something completely random, such as a refinary blowing up in a way that was obviously part of a y2k drill.

You should do your own research that is not based on needing to see very public evidence. The truth is that once there is public evidence, the mass panic starts.

Start preparing now.

-- David Holladay (davidh@brailleplanet.org), March 22, 1999.

FM -

I live in western Washington. There does seem to be a lot of awareness and planning up here. We have even talked to people in Costco who were studying each others cart contents! Last Saturday we were in Radio Shack to purchase a radio for Y2K. The clerk asked me why we wanted it - so I said, "Well - Y2K is coming you know." Seems he gives Sunday afternoon seminars at a rather large regional church. He said last Sunday they had prepared for 100 people and more than 200 showed up. By the way, he is advising at least 3 ms. "comfort level" prep as far as food and fuel etc. and at least one month's cash. Maybe there is hope yet - although I do think there is no way around disaster for inner city folks if y2k is more than a 2 or 3.

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.net), March 22, 1999.

Also, Don't forget the 9th of April, which is julian date 99. This could cause an end of file problem for cobol programs.

-- ALURKER (nobody@nowhere.com), March 22, 1999.

Ah yes, the new seers of the future - Radio Shack Clerks (RSC). hee,hee...

-- Y2K Pro (2@641.com), March 22, 1999.

Y2kpro, you are absolutely (nearly) right! Radio Shack has begun stocking a windup (no batteries required) radio! They foresaw that people would be buying them. And they ARE! They are seers, I tell ya, seers! :)

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 22, 1999.

Some Trigger events other than critical computer dates might be:

China devalues their currency causing world crisis.

NRC mandates nuclear power shutdown sometime after July 1, 1999 but before September 1, 1999 assuming "It takes four months of reliable power to cool a noncompliant reactor" is true.

Goldman Sachs has to cover all their gold shorts - BTW, currrent Treasury Secratary Robert Rubin is ex-Goldman Sachs director. Supposedly there is over three times annual gold production being sold short which must be covered someday (well someday assuming the markets work as designed). Gold could go to >$1000 per oz making daily limit up moves for weeks.

Some offline testing somewhere causes serious online problems.

Some senior govt official gets religion and comes clean telling the country to prepare for real outages.

SEC shuts off small noncompliant traders on October 1, 1999.

Russian military (or any other on the edge country's military) takes premptive action to forcibly gather up stocks for Y2K.

Big debtor nations repudiate debt leaving IMF with no way out but to raise interest rates and starve credit formation for long, long time.

-- Bill P (why2000@where.net), March 22, 1999.

Here's an issue that could easily impact the stock market as soon as July or August:



Failure to achieve Y2K compliance could send many business partners out the door in the next few months-even in the next few weeks-as an increasing number of companies end relationships with longtime suppliers and online trading partners.

"We are planning on dropping suppliers that are not going to be Y2K- ready, [particularly] suppliers that provide the critical equipment that we need in our product," says David Babler, staff engineer at AG Communication Systems, a $400 million telecommunications equipment manufacturer owned jointly by Lucent Technologies and GTE.

"If we do not get a positive response [on compliance] by June 30, we will begin looking for other suppliers to certify and purchase from," Babler says.


Incidence of such sudden divorces could escalate rapidly, according to a study by Cap Gemini America, a Y2K services firm. In a survey of 110 IT managers at Fortune 2000 companies, Cap Gemini says the number of businesses "likely" or "potentially likely" to cut ties with noncompliant suppliers has risen to 69 percent (see chart right).

Others agree these splits will happen quickly over the next five months. "The question is how long it takes for a company to change suppliers," says Kate Kaiser, senior adviser at Giga Information Group's Year 2000 IT Practices unit. "If it takes six months to terminate one supplier and add a new one, you need to make a decision by June. We have one client in the garment goods industry that has a lead time of one and a half years. They were looking at this issue six months ago."


The Cap Gemini survey bears out these concerns. "We found that about 92 percent of companies have already missed deadlines in their Year 2000 plans," says Jim Woodward, senior vice president and head of the TransMillennium Services unit at Cap Gemini. "As time winds down, there is greater recognition that some companies just aren't going to make it. So the companies that trade with them are getting more serious about deadline slippage."

The largest companies are cracking the whip the hardest, according to Howard Rubin, president of Rubin Systems Inc., a Y2K consultancy. "I think there will be a good many relationships changed in the small to medium-sized business segment," he says.

Large retail firms such as Wal-Mart and Sears, Roebuck & Co. are forcing suppliers to "comply or die," much as they forced smaller companies to deploy EDI software years ago, notes David Darnell, president of SysTrends Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in EDI and e-commerce implementation. Wal-Mart and Sears did not respond for comment.

"The smaller companies will have problems," Darnell says. "For the big companies that are doing just-in-time inventory, there just aren't any allowances for suppliers that can't make the grade. I expect that the big retailers will weed out some of the smaller suppliers by midyear."


-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), March 22, 1999.

Based on what I've seen in the press so far, Y2K will be treated as a joke by the majority of the public right up to the end. The minority who are preparing are already causing some shortages (ex: generators.) They will become increasingly frantic. This will just sharpen the GI and DGI devide (frantic people are less persuasive.)

Panics may well not happen until after Y2K, when it's clear that so many businesses are stalled that there must be major economic impacts (this assumes that power/water are available.)

As for crucial dates, I think fiscal year rollovers are a possible problem (but why didn't we see more problems at 1/1/99?) However, I think that 9/9/99 is vastly overrated. For one thing, it strikes me as a decrepit hack that only the most ancient mainframe programs would contain. I really doubt it will be significant compared to 1/1/00, which affects even some of the newest software or embedded systems.

Flight to quality by large companies, etc. may cause movements in the stockmarket, but will not affect the general public (or the flow of 401K funds into the market.) After all, if a high-profile magazine like Time can describe Greenspan as part of "the committee to save the world", wouldn't you think that people would suddenly say "is the world in danger?" And if reports to the Senate say 10% of the population will be without water don't cause panic, what would? At this point, I think even if the Washington Post and ABC News ran specials saying "We're all going to die", the most it would provoke is another series of jokes on The Tonight Show.

-- Michael Goodfellow (mgoodfel@best.com), March 22, 1999.

Val -

I fear that Michael is correct. There is every reason to believe that the fedgov and at least some of the media will value order over preparation to the point of leading many into virtually suicidal levels of complacency...certainly that's a lot of what we've seen so far.

even in a worst case situation on the roll-over, the media will never issue a report along the lines of "well Gordon, that makes four nuclear melt downs in Russia, large portions of the middle east have summarily broken diplomatic ties with the United States and we've still got 12 hours to go before the new year begins here in New York..."


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), March 22, 1999.

Let's see::

09/09/99 NOT a problem, as it is NOT equal to 999999 (090999 = 999999 gives a NOT TRUE return)

Fiscal rollovers - well supressed. Witness the UI problems in 11 or was it 16 states that were truly kluged.

Panic times - more likely to see economic disconnects and economic unrest. Witness Indonesia, where the whole Asian Economic flu started, is in the same type of trouble (riots etc.) as a year ago now. This will need watching.

Watch teh emerging Nations and teh general international economic story very closely. As someone says about the possibility of the result going from a 3 to a 10 in an eyeblink, I think the international economic problems will much more likely go from a "but that's over there, not here" to "OOPS Why can't I get into my www.abnkonline.com now??" in an eyeblink.

Nuke Shutdown - We have demonstrated repeatedly that it does NOT take nearly 4 months to cool down a generating plant. More like a couple days with some core water circulation for a couple weeks longer.

End of Year - your guess is as good as anyone else's on this.


-- Chuck, a night driver (reinzoo@en.com), March 23, 1999.

Linkmeister = Kevin mixes music

-- Seer (see.through.it@eee.com), March 23, 1999.

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