Cary, NC, Town Y2K Summitt, "You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, You'll Sleeeeeeep." : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Cary, NC, town summit featuring a panel of about 15 business, government and healthcare spokesman.


1. 125 or so citizens in attendance. Most appeared to be GI's and basically listened politely to polite explanations that no one was ready yet, but everyone would be ready by July. No one laughed out loud (except me on one occassion.)

2. Town of Cary well managed from a IS standpoint.

3. FDIC gave a pitiful presentation. Actually went into the "computers can't recognize 00" bit. No one was interested in that pablum. Also said that a poll of Americans showed 55% believed banks would fail in Jan. That was the shocker of the show to me. Has implications. I'm not sure he has his figures right. I hope not.

4. BellSouth said no problems. Was unable to say whether BellSouth supported passage of laws limiting y2k liability.

5. Wake Medical Center (largest hospital in Raleigh) had the unintentional laffer of the show. Spokesman said that the pundits have stated "You don't want to be in a hospital or an airplane on Jan 1." Hospital spokesman then said, "Let me assure you that that's not the case." I must admit to laughing out loud. (I guess we all do want to be in the hospital!?) Wake Med spokesman also said they are relying on manufacturer assessments of embedded device compliance. He later tried to eat those words when BellSouth said "Trust and Obey, That's the Only Way" was a bad method and that BellSouth was doing hard testing of embedded systems. Spokesman said 3% of embedded systems were sensitive and that of those, very few were "patient critical."

6. Carolina Power & Light No anticipated problems, no guarantees. All completion dates have been and will be met on schedule. Coal fired plants have 50-65 day reserve and this may be increased. Natural gas plants have essentially no reserve. Using date expansion on critical systems and windowing on some non-critical systems.

7. Public Service (natural gas) will be ready, like everybody else, this summer. Like everybody else, working on contingency plans and work arounds. Pipeline does depend, at least in part, on compressors at intervals.

8. NC Dept. of Transportation Will be ready. Noteworthy, found 6% failure rate of embedded systems.

9. US Post Office: Will be ready. Two big points, systems are standardized, so when the solutions are finalized, they'll be rolled out nationwide. Also, any failures would hurt data tracking, but would not affect sorting or delivery.

10. Cary Oil (Local wholesaler) Has 115,000 gal. storage on site and has dealers with combined 340,000 gal. storage. Will try to have these systems topped off come January. If power goes down, can use delivery trucks as pumps as they did for 8 days after hurricane. At the mercy of refineries, pipelines and distributors.

Now that's what they said as I hear it.

Conclusions: Nobody is finished yet. Everybody plans to finish remediation in July. Cary's IS manager, Bill Stice, explained that he'd plan for a week or two of self-sufficiency; I thought that was pretty good for a government official. I saw no evidence that any of the audience bought the happy-face show, but everybody realized that these guys were just doing their jobs, so it was a pretty low-key show. I left before the audience questioning period ended.

Hello to all "lurkers!"

-- Puddintame (, March 23, 1999


Well, gosh, we didn't expect anyone to be ready as early as March 23, 1999, did we? Oh, we did? You mean, everyone was going to be compliant by the end of December, 1998, so there could be a full year of testing?

I find it interesting that, even on this forum, there has been surprisingly widespread acceptance of the wholesale redefinition of Y2K remediation, taking it as a whole. The news, compared to what was promised, remains terrible (deja vu). Yet everyone stands on their head and squinches up their eyes: "Aren't the Emperor's clothers beautiful!"

Yet, if you had published these meeting notes twelve months ago as a "prediction", you would have been run out on a rail as being neurotically pessimistic. "Of course, people will be ready by Dec. 31, 1998".

Remember? They were going to be COMPLIANT by 1998 and THEN test.

There is something exquisitely bizarre about the way that we blithely accept terrible news in our culture as good news.

In this case, as so often, the audience was ahead of the presenters and it all sounds like some sort of Kabuki drama, with the dancers spinning gracefully around the audience. Spin truly is all, whether coming from the White House, Cary NC or many posters here.

Weird. Truly weird.

-- BigDog (, March 23, 1999.

BigDog, I saw no evidence that anyone actually in the room was comforted by the panel presentation. The sense I got was that the room was full of GI's who knew the risks. Speaking personally, I'm not going to berate or belittle some corporate spokesman in March of 1999 for a problem that his CEO and CIO should have completed by March of 1992. I went out of curiousity and a show of concern and, hopefully, to attempt to ask a pointed question or two to show that we're not buying the bill of goods on this one.

At this point, I have a sense of what I can do in terms of preparation and what I should do. If some corporate or government flunky tries to interfere with my preparation, then some fur is going to fly. But I think the audience of today's meeting behaved appropriately. At this stage, I think we're saving our energy for something that makes a difference.

-- Puddintame (, March 23, 1999.

At this stage, I think we're saving our energy for something that makes a difference.

Yup, yup, yup...

If some corporate or government flunky tries to interfere with my [Middle Ground], then some fur is going to fly.


-- Critt Jarvis (, March 23, 1999.

Just saw the Channel 11 report of the town meeting. Talking about "capitalist tool!" Forbes needs to concede that moniker to the local press. Qualuude City. All is well. Notetaking does not equal journalism. Pity the people who rely on TV for information; pray for them if you know how.

Critt, Thanks for the Middle Ground connection . . . I think!

-- Puddintame (, March 23, 1999.

From thread below. (Hope you don't mind, Mr. K.)

Cary, NC, Y2K meeting--Raleigh TV station report

WRAL-TV had its tech reporter, Tom Lawrence, live at the meeting site. My scribbled notes:

Cary called meeting because got so many inquiries about Y2K. Assurances given that water, electricity, hospital, etc. available. Jim Watkins, FDIC: "98% compliance" of banks. Bell South spokesperson, "fully expect to be ready. 500-1000 employees working each day on readiness." Wake Med, "only 3% of devices have embedded chips. Very small percentage of 5,000 machines. Still could be some minor problems." Reporter summed up: "Best advice from speakers - prepare as you would for a storm, an ice storm or a hurricane." Should be a full report on the WRAL site later.

Must have been disappointing for reporters--Cary is a high-tech community, just brimming over with various high-tech types who work at Research Triangle Park and the three major universities (Duke, UNC, NCSU)--execs and staff from Northern Telecom, Cree Research, Cisco, SAS, IBM, Burroughs-Wellcome, Underwriters Labs, tons of others.

-- Old Git (, March 23, 1999


I saw the NBC17 Raleigh news. Way happy face stuff. What else can you expect from an area that is comparable to Silicon Valley? Do you really think that these people want to shoot the main area industry straight in the heart and cause massive tech stock tumbles especially after today (the stock tumble of today's tech stocks)? Even the time they picked to have the meeting was almost unmanagable by most folks due to scheduling. 3:00pm to 6:00 pm. What kind of meeting time is that? I heard no one in the report ask questions. All we got on that t.v. report was about 10 seconds of sound bytes....everything is going to be oooookkaaaaaayyy.

Mr. K ****wanted to leave work to go, probably like most of the area population around here who have to work for a living****

-- Mr. Kennedy (sawTheSmilies@the.meeting), March 23, 1999.

-- Old Git (, March 24, 1999.

Here's WRAL's Net site report:


Tuesday, March 23, 1999, 09:55 PM

Local Companies: Y2K is not a Monster

CARY (WRAL) -- More than a dozen agencies and businesses that provide critical services to Cary gathered Tuesday to hear concerns from the public. The meeting was designed to deal with uncertainties about how the Y2K bug will affect computers.

The residents wanted assurances that their water, electricity, hospital and other necessary services will be available after January 1 of next year.

Banks are a question for many. The FDIC says most all are ready now.

"Roughly 98 percent of the industry [is ready], and those numbers are pretty consistent in the southeast as it is for the nation," says Jim Watkins with the FDIC.

Will phones continue to work? Bell South is spending $250 million to make sure they do.

"We do fully expect to be ready," says David Lane of Bell South. "We have at any given time, any given day anywhere from 500 to 1000 employees working on Y2K readiness."

Wake Medical Center says it is in good shape even when it comes to microchips embedded in medical equipment.

"Only about 3 percent of the devices are questionable," says Ben Steiniger with Wake Medical Center. "That's really a low number when you look at 5,000 devices."

Even with the assurances, some worry about extreme reactions - common sense is the answer.

"It's not a monster," Steiniger said. "It's manageable. We will get through it and you can go to the hills, but you have to come back sometime."

All of the representatives at the meeting said their companies or services are ready or very close to being ready, but there still could be some minor problems. The best advise they offered was to prepare as if bad weather was coming.


There are two recent related stories:

March 6 1999

Companies Reach into the Past to Solve Future Y2K Problems

(WRAL) -- Some people are stocking up their pantries, businesses are spending millions of dollars, all to guard against the computer glitch Y2K. While that term sends shivers through the hi-tech industry, it has created a new workforce, only these workers have been there, done that and now companies can't recruit them fast enough.

"They needed support in these areas," says Buck Adams.

Adams is putting his more than 30 years of computer experience to work as a consultant, for the state agency he retired from three years ago.

"[I] came back to help them out, make some enhancements, some changes, from that I moved to the Y2K project."

When the Department of Transportation put its Y2K action plan together, it called Adams and six other DOT retirees. Some of them worked on the original programs.

"These employees are extremely valuable because of that history and knowledge base," said Paul Roberts.

The Y2K challenge is two-fold: time is running out, and there are not enough quality, hi-tech professionals in the job market, forcing anyone with Y2K concerns to reach back to the past to prepare for the future.

Adams and his colleagues represent one of the hottest commodities in today's workforce -- the hi-tech experienced professionals, many of whom are over 50.

"There's a place for them," said DOT's Walter Langley.

A place that's linking one generation of computer analysts and programmers to another.

"It's useful to young people on this same team that we can pass some knowledge onto those people," Langley said.

That shared knowledge also prepares these 50-and-over hi-tech professionals for the job market at the turn of the century.


March 3, 1999

Hospitals Hope Y2K Prevention is the Best Medicine

RALEIGH (WRAL) -- Anything with a computer chip can be affected by Y2K problems, including heart monitors, ventilators, and other equipment people need to survive.

WakeMed is spending millions of dollars, and thousands of hours, making sure the hospital is Y2K-proof.

Embedded chips power thousands of life-saving devices at WakeMed. Hospital employees have identified 2,700 pieces of equipment whose date-sensitive computer chips could crash. Many of them are in the surgical department.

"We're talking about EKG machines," says Lora Sweeney, director of Surgical Services. "We're talking about all kinds of monitors that are used through anesthesia, or to monitor the patient when they're coming through anesthesia."

WakeMed took on Y2K compliance in 1996. They're attacking every system that might fail, from the software that runs billing and scheduling, to the medical equipment that keeps patients alive.

WakeMed is repairing or replacing every piece of equipment that could crash. Dates on many computers have already been changed from two-digit years to four-digit years.

Hospital officials are confident they'll be Y2K proof by July. But they'll be ready for anything, just in case.

"We will be prepared," says Chief Information Officer Vince Seiniger. "We will be staffed, we will be ready to deal with anything that might pop its head up. At this point in time, we're very secure that nothing will."

WakeMed has backup plans in place in case any equipment does fail. They say hospital employees are routinely trained to handle those emergencies.

Cut and pasted by

-- Old Git (, March 24, 1999.

Thanks, Old Git. Good to have the info in a comprehensive format. For North Carolinians, I highly recommend going to the North Carolina Year 2000 reports on the pages. It doesn't back up what the staged press conference and public relations spin session presented yesterday. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader (they make it real convenient to access the information, don't they? - could've just been posted for everyone to read on the web site) harrummph.

Mr. K
***thinks he is in a ruffled mood today***

-- Mr. Kennedy (, March 24, 1999.

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