Kevin Lemke.. I have a question : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

In you thread below, you are asking about problems and whether this is a good sign that we are not seeing any or a bad sign because we should be seeing glitches.

My question is, who are we expecting to tell us if they are having problems or not. Is it possible that there are problems and we simply are not hearing about them? And with media attention turned to Kosovo, will Y2k disruptions receive any coverage at this time?

Your post is very thought provoking.

-- Linda A. (, April 04, 1999


From what I gather, businesses have been told that they will not be held responsible as long as they attempt as best as possible to fix any problems. But for some companies that do not have the resources or cannot afford to hire more help, are they just keeping quiet to save face? After all, if they reveal that they are not compliant and do not attempt to remedy the situation, they will be held liable for losses resulting from their neglect. So, from the management's point of view they may feel it is better to maintain a facimile of an attempt at remediation until the very end, and then just claim that they did the best they could.

-- @ (@@@.@), April 04, 1999.

It is my belief that we should be seeing problems that CANNOT be covered up. I was a programmer some 20 years ago and used COBOL and RPG extensively. I KNOW the problems associated with Y2K still exist and although some of the errors they cause can be covered up, some cannot. I base this on personal experience with problems in our own shop (an electric generating utility - I left the job many years ago). Although sometimes the code we wrote broke, often we came in late at night to make a fix or were able to rerun jobs at a later time.

My most instructive error was one that couldn't be covered up. As a new recruit (who knew it all) I made an error in a program by forgetting to type in a single character in one line of the program. I remember testing the program, but the error was subtle. We were printing statements that were "two across" in format. That is, for each line printed, statements to two different people were generated. This was faster becuase of the nature of the printer used allowed a whole line to be printed at a time. Anyway, the customer balance of the statement on the left was OK, but the balance of the statement on the right was the sum of it's balance as well as the balance of the one on the left.

Needless to say they were all sent out. The complaints rolled in. And we had no idea how to tell whose was right and whose was wrong. We had to resend all the statements (over 25,000) as I recall. I thought it would be my last day on the job. It wasn't, but I did learn humility and the fact that computers can make mistakes very, very fast (when told to do that).

Anyway, I wrote a lot of 2 digit year code and year = 99 code. I know the shortcuts ALL programmers take (don't believe it when someone says they don't - they do). I know that jobs like Y2K get dumped on the "new" guys because we all cut our teeth doing maintenance programming, it's the least interesting. Besides it's a dead end, learning all that old code. I know that almost every project was late, even though we were usually 90% done, for 90% of the time. (When the boss asks how's it going, it was always just one more bug and I'm there).

I guess I have too much personal experience in programming and human behavior to believe that it's all getting done right and on time. My biggest challenge is how to communicate my concern to someone who doesn't have my background.

-- Kevin Lemke (, April 04, 1999.

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