Y2K and the Velcro Solution

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I was reading the following article and was struck by the ability of people to work around a problem in a pinch. [snip] Inhofe's investigation comes after Federal Computer Week reported last week that Air Force officers piloting the A-10 "Warthog" anti-tank aircraft -- the same airplane that recently flew into action in Kosovo and Yugoslavia in support of the NATO bombing mission -- used Velcro to attach handheld Global Positioning System receivers in their cockpits because older Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) radios were not equipped with integrated GPS receivers. A pilot shot down behind enemy lines could use the GPS receivers to send his exact location to rescue teams, thereby improving his chances of being found. [snip]

Hill to study DOD buying

It occurs to me that major disruptions in our infrastructure may be avoided by the ability to work around problems rather than work through them. Not that this provides the ideal solution, because it isn't. But it can provide a solution in some cases, even if short term. I know my own efforts to solve a problem are of the "just get the job done" variety rather than "find the best or most elegant solution" variety. I don't believe we can hold our current economy together with "bailing wire and chewing gum", but we might prevent infrastructure colapse. Even with these solutions I believe the economy is headed for a recession or depression. Failures will occur and Velcro solutions are certainly less efficient.

-- Kevin Lemke (klemke@corpcomm.net), April 05, 1999


Don't forget the duct tape, too!

-- Bill (y2khippo@yahoo.com), April 05, 1999.

Velcro, duct tape, and workarounds may work part of the time.

Was talking to an art gallery owner, sells my work, last week. His fiscal year is Oct/Nov, he farms out all accounting. On the first look foreward into 2000 the accountant's program froze and trashed the disc.

Very unhappy people, no workaround possible. He is still working with the bookkeepers reconstructing his books. I assume since this was an accounting business doing bookkeeping that the gallery owner was not the only client affected. This was in SanFrancisco, which has some of the better media public awareness.

-- Mitchell Barnes (spanda@inreach.com), April 05, 1999.

But will 20 million federal state and local bureaocrats at 2 million federal, state, and local agencies all respond with work-around's and temporary solutions, or will some work-around problems, and some simply "fail", or will most respond with the simple (and apparently safe reply) "well - the computer says you didn't ...."

These are military pilots responding to a war situation - in "normal" peacetime flying, they couldn't get these receivers at all, and would need a two-year milspec-qualified design and installation re-engineered rebuild of the cockpit to allow the change.

That is the usual type of bureaucratic answer - follow the procedures - even in the military establishment. It will most likely be the usual reply from the rest of the government workers next year - when the "usual procedures" will most likely not work.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 05, 1999.

The accountant who tested without having made backups of everything is open to charges of malpractice, lack of due diligence, etc. etc.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), April 05, 1999.

I suspect this story is really about the A-10 aircrews attaching a handheld GPS reciever to their survival vests. The cockpit of the Warthog has a very satisfactory inertial navigation system that should include its own GPS reciever, if requested modifications were funded by Congress and the White House.

What this article points out is that technology has advanced extremely rapidly since the military ordered the current generation aircrew survival radios. Adding GPS to the current design wasn't even dreamed of, because at the time the radio was concieved of, it would probably been a desktop model and not handheld to make room for a GPS system.

Heck, in Desert Storm the radios now being complained about were the latest and greatest rage. Since at that time, they were huge improvements over the Vietnam-era radios that they replaced.


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), April 05, 1999.

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