Cory Hamasaki: Something Bad is about to happen : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

from c.s.y2k today:

What do these mainframes do? They do the heavy lifting of commerce. Utterly reliable, fast enough to drive all the corporate data through a single point, dirt cheap to run and maintain. Mainframes are the secret weapon of the Fortune 5,000. There are 50,000 IBM style mainframes. These are supported by 400,000 AS/400s and millions of other midicomputers.

Banking, insurance, manufacturing, reservations, chemicals, electronics, communications, any business that was big in the 1960's and 1970's and has a large records problem depends on its mainframes. Given that, direct satellite TV and perhaps Starbucks are safe.

I recall at one SHARE, bumping into a fellow at SCIDS, he was a mainframe systems internal expert from Playtex, the bra people. If mainframes die, Anna Nicole Smith may be left without support.

Single point of failure. The ideal target. At the beginning, banks and other firms used to proudly display their mainframes in glass rooms at street level. I don't think there has been a hit on a mainframe but the risk is so great that now you will never see a mainframe, unless you work on them.

Mainframes are hidden away behind locked doors. Usually there is no external indication that there is a mainframe at the location. There might be a sign reading XYZ Corp Annex-2 but more likely it's just a street number.

Most people working at firms with mainframes do not know that the system exists. It's a secret.

So now, with an inventory of 50,000 mainframes and 263 Days, 6,335 Hours, we don't have time to find and fix all the source and data.

I believe that there are Fortune 5,000 firms that have not yet started. Perhaps the CIO plans to retire, perhaps he doesn't know, perhaps a consulting firm as promised that they will implement SAP or run the code through a factory. For whatever reason, they have not done the work and will fail on roll over.

I believe that there are Fortune 500 firms that are done. I expected BankBoston to announce completion a few months ago, perhaps their acquistion by Fleet muddied the water. I know of two other Fortune 500 firms that are done, remediated, tested, independently certified. I know when they started and how much effort they applied. I don't know why they haven't announced the "Great News!" Perhaps they are retesting or perhaps my info isn't as good as I thought.

Whatever. Here are the facts. Some large percentage of the systems running on the 50,000 mainframes and several millions of mini's (or midi's) will fail. The nature of the failures will be such that they cannot be fixed, patched, restarted in 3-6 hours. In some cases, these systems will never be fixed, the owning organization will fail and there will not be the resources to execute the repairs.

Experts in embeddeds, LANs, PeeCees, Telcos, power generation, whatever, if your area is fine, good for you. I'm telling you that the enterprise systems are not OK. I expect a major bank to fall over, same with a major insurance company, brokerage house, chemical manufacturer, etc. I am not optimistic about the prospects of any sector. Something bad is about to happen.

Perhaps there is enough parallelism that even when we see multiple failures, as happened with S&L's, we will be able to jump to the surviving firms.

Perhaps when the economy tanks as a result of the widespread failures that we will be able to restart it, as we weren't able to do in 1929-1939.

Who knows, I don't. I'm glad that there are big-brains out there who are certain that everything will be fine. Please, denialists, keep flooding c.s.y2k with your "Great News!", I need the laughs.

Something bad is about to happen.

cory hamasaki 263 Days, 

-- a (a@a.a), April 12, 1999


"I believe that there are Fortune 5,000 firms that have not yet started."

Facts please. Name ONE Fortune 500 company that has not started. One.

-- Y2K Pro (, April 12, 1999.

Cory has seen the eye's of the beast. Have you?

-- SCOTTY (, April 12, 1999.

You bozo, this is an opinion that is being cited. Take it or leave it on that basis.

-- BigDog (, April 12, 1999.

"Facts please."

I'm sort of a middle-of-the-road Y2Ker, thinking essentially that "WE" will be ok but "THEY" are in big trouble (ignoring WWIII).

I think it reasonable, though, that someone (such as Cory) who has access to "proprietary" information (which requires non-disclosure agreements to get access to), that citing specifics would be difficult. Illegal, actually...

-- Anonymous99 (, April 12, 1999.

Pro -

Statement was:

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 12, 1999.

I don't have the proper entry credentials for a dog fight here, but I did find an interesting link that may provide further info on mainframes and y2k. (The Enterprise Systems Journal)

And, from the March issue:

(snipped--full article available in Y2k section of URL)

"Countdown to Year 2000

by Warren S. Reid

As we move into the first months of the last year before Y2K, a very interesting but distressing phenomenon is occurring. That is, the press and television media are all but claiming victory over the Y2K computer problem.

President Clinton has announced that the Social Security System is fixed  but what about the 50 states that send information regarding recipient disability information for SSA processing that have not all been remediated and tested alone and in conjunction with the SSAs fixed system?

U.S. Y2K Czar John Koskinen has shown un-cautious enthusiasm about the allegedly "miraculous recovery" of the U.S. Federal Governments progress  which by default, must have taken place over Christmas vacation  because the government was sure in trouble before Christmas. Newspapers and magazines are printing exaggerated reports of the same few encouraging success stories that make it appear that weve won the battle everywhere.

While I, too, had always hoped that we would have turned the corner by now, I am forced to conclude that this is all a Pollyannaism that comes with every new century  because it just doesnt square with the facts.

Theres Facts and Then

So what were these facts as of the end of 1998? Here are the "Dirty Dozen:"

(end snip)

Just passin' it on. . .

-- FM (, April 12, 1999.

Cory has the experience and background to have a good opinion of what is going on in his technology.

He wouldn't have a clue about what I work with everyday, as far as high-technology is concerned. But, what I work on will not dump the information database for the IRS, or scramble numbers for some mega- bank if it doesn't know 2000. The general public wouldn't even notice if our network took a dirt nap.

That is why we, people who take Y2K seriously, are concerned about people like Cory's OPINION.


sunnin' on the sand...

The Dog

-- Dog (desert dog, April 12, 1999.

Y2K Bozo - YES!!!!! Nice one Bigdog.

-- Wiseguy (, April 12, 1999.

I off

-- Close (the@tag.please), April 12, 1999.

I always thought Cory was far too excited about this. I read his news letter because he has the technical knowledge and contacts to provide useful information. And listening to politicans about technical issues is like....well, like getting technical advice from upper management. Keep in mind that were not talking about computers failing, but many of the systems that rely on them. There is no "Over All Infrastructure administrator" to give us an educated guess. No one knows the whole picture that well. So while I don't think that the lights will go out and the phone will go dead, to prepare for anything less then the worst plausable case is foolish. And I'll keep on reading all I can about Y2K from both sides of the fence. I do notice that the polly's seem to be light on examples and facts and heavy on vague assurances.

Hope the polly's are right


-- eyes_open (, April 12, 1999.

Apologies re the unclosed tag, above. Hit SUBMIT without thoroughly checking my submission. Very sloppy.

Cory's statement re "some not started" was in reference to the Fortune 5,000, not the 500. Certainly reasonable to assume that some small percentage of "The 5K" have not yet started, especially when one reads of senior execs who opine that "Y2K is nothin' but a hoax!" Such people will not fund remediation efforts until the problem actually occurs, and we're still quite a ways away from that for many organizations.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 12, 1999.

Worked at a Fortune 250 company about 10 years ago fixing a major engineering app. Still have quite a few friends there. They just finished assessment. Multiple mainframes, several dozen midis, thousands of PCs. This is April 1999. 'Nuff said..

-- RD. ->H (, April 12, 1999.


Ack! What does this company manufacture? (You can be general, just an idea. . .gummi bears? Tires?)

-- FM (, April 12, 1999.

If y2k shuts down gummibear production, I will not be happy.


-- Leo (, April 12, 1999.

Hey Y'all,

Go back and read Cory's early news letters. He was pretty upbeat for timely remediation. Watch his progress from optimism to pessimism. He hoped/expected things would be done timely. This did not happen, and he changed his assessment with the unfolding evidence.

In my line of work this is called a CLUE!

He has certainly influenced me because of his background and his evolving assessment. Plus, I share his enjoyment of food!


-- brother rat (, April 12, 1999.

When Cory bought an AR-15, I took notice. I belive his fallback is the Barron's Dragonranch. When people who know first hand how bad this really is run for cover, I can not discount it. This country is run by the Fortune 500, but it is built on companies with 50 or less employees. Forget the individual corporate/government success stories, the BIG picture is very bad. Lock and load.

-- Bill (, April 12, 1999.

Brother Rat has lanmded on a serious point. I DO remember Cory being pretty good as far as expecting the work to get done. I also remember him sliding more toward the Dragon Ranch scenario than others. I'll go back and see if I can pinpoint the change point.

This progression should show people a LOT more than just one of us wacko fringe, right wing, paranoid " DOOMER'S " giving our position.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 12, 1999.

I found the point. It is WDCWRP-56. the progression is interesting. Here are a NUMBER of snips with the source at the END of each entry. (assuming it formats OK. Saved it as HTML and will now try to copy and paste it here. It is LONG) AS he says: FAIR USE FOR ED PURPOSES ONLY ETC. I was asked to review Dr. Gary North's "Yellow Alert" paper by a private investor. Gary is a Y2K nut-case His paper is a fairly accurate and very exciting economist/investor's perspective of Y2K.Gary's paper is bait to get you to subscribe to his investor's news service, $129 annual subscription, call 1-800-872-7733 , andpossibly send $25,000 to an investment fund. WDCWRP-16 I'm betting no. I'm not expecting riots in the streets, civilwar in Europe, at least no more than normal for Ireland, Bosnia,etc. Some people have bigger problems than Y2K.I wouldn't buy a house next to a nuclear power plant or move to atroubled neighborhood in the inner city.-------- What about the Economy, the Stock Market? ----I'm guessing that the stock market will melt down on its own, unrelated to Y2K. Maybe Y2K will trigger a market collapse,maybe not. I'm pretty much out of stock anyway. ------ How long will the Crisis last? ---------------------The Y2K breakdowns start in December of 1999. A few predictivesystems are failing now but based on my experience, the seriousproblems will start on December 1, 1999 and continue throughthe month. January 1, 2000 will mark an increase in failures, 1Q2000 will be fun but the real action doesn't start until themiddle of January 2001. Year end means running all the data that was processed during theentire previous year one more time, applying any changes inrules, rates, renewals, updates to get a basis for the next year.Year end is when the lights dim as the more and more CPU powercomes online.The middle of January 2001 is when the systems that close out CY2000 are run. Year end close out is always a nightmare. Thefile format changes and the slight tweaks to logic made duringthe year meet for the first time. Year end usually takes theentire month of January and in some companies takes all of 1Q.In Y2K, CY 2000 will be thousands of frantic code and datachanges, some made by programmers in Bombey, some made byautomagic tools, factories, baby coders, contractors and staffworking in panic at 3:00 AM with management screaming in terror.In the middle of January 2001, all these changes, patches, ducttape, and wire clothes hangers will meet for the first time.That's when the real fun will begin. It will take until 2002 or2003 to resolve that mess and hopefully, your company will have afew of the same programmers that are working on the systemstoday. WDCWRP-25 But you come up with the really scary thoughts. Suppose 100% of the systems are 99% ready? Then we didn't make it and the bad data will cascade through the interconnected systems. It looks to me like we have time to fix 10-20% of the systems and that will take a full court press. We've wasted most of 1997. That's time we'll never get back, the first 9 months are gone for all time and all the money in the world can't bring it back. It's time to think about contingencies, simplifying processing, trading money for solutions. WDCWRP-35 -------- Cory's Closing Clueless Comments ----Between Frank, Paul and maybe Kreskin, it's pretty clear that there's abunch of people heading for the hills. It's easy to write Paul off as a nutcase because of his persistant theme of the collapse of the computing infrastructure leading to a Mad Max world. I've been making jokes about my pal's farm. Other than the stories set inthe future, it's real. It's over 100 acres, has fields, barns, a spring, animals. We have some serious problems with it as a hide out. It is 100% dependent on external power. If commercial power goes out, everything stopsincluding heat and water. The heat is oil fired, forced air.We're looking into power generation. He wants a combination of wind power supplimented by solar. I think a 5 KW diesel is simpler.He does have back-up heat, a wood stove, not great but it would make the difference.At this point, I'm still betting that the infrastructure failure will notlead to general chaos. ...but I am covering this bet. WDCWRP-48 And STILL not a certifiable DOOMBROOD  member How bad? Real bad. I have my freeware Y2K countdown calendar running onthe bottom of my OS/2 desktop. 18,159 hours now.Almost every day, I hear about another company that's not going to make it.They don't realize that I have a pal who's a Native American. He taught meto hold my ear to the ground and listen for the buffalo, sit in thesweat lodge, and catch a dream.The clues are out there. Listen to what the most clueless of the cluelesssay. When they say they're going to make it, consider the source; listenfor the fear in their words; sense their nonsense."We will make it because we can't afford to fail." Bzzzzzt."We fixed 20% of our code in 8 years and will fix the remaining 80% in oneyear." Bzzzzzt.They're not going to make it. The infrastructure will fail.This doesn't mean that deformed, armed muties will swarm out of theinner city in beat-up chevies with machine guns sticking out of the roof.Muties who wear animal skins, motorcycle boots, and have stitched up cheeksand eye patches; their women are extremely athletic and although also dressed in hides and boots, have professionally styled hair and no physical deformities .It doesn't mean that the living dead will lurch out of the night fog to takeyour Cherrios and powered milk. You'll be huddled in front of your yuppie fireplace, hear "Hoot! Hoot-hoot-hoot." and know that your yuppie neighborshave not only reverted to savagery but have also decided to attack you enmass.It means that something will happen.Here's another clue. In 1972, I drove through Mexico. There were nocomputers, no highspeed computerized infrastructure, just a lot of peoplescratching out a life for themselves.What was life like in 1955, no computers, but somehow, power was generated,food, fuel, water was delivered. Are these lost secrets of the ancients?Did we lose the ability to function without computers like we lost our thirdeye.Something will happen, it's not clear what. WDCWRP-49 --- Wild Rumors ------One of the major (#1-25) banks is about to or has already told theirgeeks that they will receive a full years salary as a bonus on March 2000.With two years and 3 months to run, this is a 44%/year bonus.Good going, banking geeks, you deserve every penny. Look back in the archives for comments on compensation strategies. If you can get a 30% raise by jumping ship today, you may do better than someone who stays lockedin to the bank. Rates may go through the roof... then again, they may not.At a meeting of banking IT people, another one of the larger (top 1-25 insize) banks said that they were spending money like water and were struggling with Y2K. They didn't believe that any bank that wasn't pressinghard like they were, stood a chance... This major (#1-25) bank believes thatthe smaller banks are history, they're all history. The only exception theyrecognized were the banks that were using service bureaus. Those may have achance if the bureaus were Y2K compliant.You geeks out there who are working in a shop that doesn't have itfloorboarded, and you know who you are. Do you want an IT disaster inyour work history. You want to be working for someone who's going tomake it. WDCWRP-52 Cory.... save us!!! If your wit and wisdom can not get through to theignorant masses (true meaning of the word here), what can? It's too bad that it's come to this, if we had just started earlier, been a little more persistant, we wouldn't be in this mess. Goobers! This isanother fine mess you've gotten me into.Am I too hard on the denial heads? I don't mean to be. In some cases, theyare well meaning people who don't know that they don't know. Should we try to help them. Maybe provide an easy to read FAQ for them. I lose it when they 1) attempt to reason from cluelessness, constructelaborate thought sequences but they never had to recover from acatastrophic system failure, so they have no concept of the complexity of aproduction system. 2) think code-crankers are uppity if they want their fair market value.We're talking about getting fair compensation to feed you, keep you warm,and keep the lights on. Or do you want welfare?We need to bring the denial-heads over to the dark side of the force, joinus, serve the emperor.Let's recap the year. We've had 3 votes in c.s.y2k, the uniform resonse is'pretty bad', the final tally will be very interesting. Rates have gone up50+ percent. Newsweek, USAToday, and Business Week have run "It's bad"articles. Most daily papers seem to have run at least a couple Y2K "It'sbad" articles. The top tier banks are running scared, flinging out bignumbers but still talkin' jive.Most of industry is not honest enough to say, we're hosed but we're goingto do everything we can, we've fired all the bean counters and horn-hairsand given the programmers blank checks; you're asking for two hundred granda year? Take two fifty.Somehow, in the middle of all this, there are still denial-heads who know nothing about IT/MIS but believe they can extrapolate from what they know. It's astounding. This is like my telling Don Garletts, say Don, if you'd just add two digits of Nitro to the SwampRat, you'dshave another tenth of a second off your time.How can they be so clueless and still function?This game will play out more extreme than I ever imagined. It can't be stopped now, listen, shhhh, you can hear the fabric of civilization tearing. Can we save what's left? Stay tuned. 1998 is ahead. WDCWRP-56
And HERE in WDCWRP-56 Dated 12/24/1997 is where Cory falls into the DOOMPOOL. It took him a FULL YEAR. He drags himself out for a while but keeps coming back to this theme, Time's UP. Not enough time left.

-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 13, 1999.

If that didn't close the italics I'm gonna need a lotta help!

Does anyone know if the HTML 101 thread has something on cutting and pasting to get the formatting right. I'm REAL sorry about the run on stuff above.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 13, 1999.


The basic problem in the posting above is that several of the side comments are in angle brackets instead of parentheses. Once this forum's software saw the first "<a" (... Gary is a Y2K nut-case <and I use this term with great respect.>) it went into malformatting action! (It figures that if there's at least one HTML command, then all formatting is done via HTML.)

What you'd have to have done was to go through the pasted part and change each "lt;" to "lt" followed immediately by a semicolon, and each "gt;" to "gt" followed immediately by a semicolon. (That's how I'm able to apparently write "lt;a" in this note without triggering the malformatting. I'm really writing "lt", then a semicolon, then "a".)

-- No Spam Please (, April 13, 1999.

(sigh) Dontcha hate it when ...

In my first paragraph above, I wrote "<" and a semicolon when I wanted a left angle bracket (less-than sign), ">" and a semicolon for a right angle bracket (greater-than sign).

In my second paragraph, I left out all the ampersands!

It shoulda looked like:

What you'd have to have done was to go through the pasted part and change each "<" to "<" followed immediately by a semicolon, and each ">" to ">" followed immediately by a semicolon. (That's how I'm able to apparently write "<a" in this note without triggering the malformatting. I'm really writing "<", then a semicolon, then "a".)

-- No Spam Please (, April 13, 1999.



Okay -- the second paragraph was supposed to come out all sophisticatedly formatted like:

What you'd have to have done was to go through the pasted part and change each "<" to "&lt;", and each ">" to "&gt;". (That's how I'm able to apparently write "<a" in this note without triggering the malformatting. I'm really writing "&lt;a".)

- - - -

1000 FORMAT(". I will not post HTML again without proofing it in my browser.")
DO 100 I=1,100

-- No Spam Please (, April 13, 1999.

That's it. I'm retiring.

-- No Spam Please (, April 13, 1999.

Well, at least that Fortran was without any y2k buggers... !

-- x (, April 13, 1999.

I will grant you that I am 3/4 asleep this morning, but you went from talking about Cory to quoting about Gary North. Didn't you?? Huh? Oh hell, whats the difference?

-- Taz (, April 13, 1999.

NO, I was just trying to show Cory's progression, and to identify, for myself as well as everyone else, when he joined the DOOMBROOD (tm). It would appear that he started into the DOOMPOOL in WRP #56 and with only a few backsliding issues over the rest of the 60 or so, has been at least ankle deep since (he's now about navel deep and sinking fast).


-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 13, 1999.

On second thought, after watching you guys (and gals) try to format the text of your replys, maybe Y2K WILL be TEOTWAWKI. Cory was right!!

-- eyes_open (, April 13, 1999.


Some things just don't "copy and paste" nicely here. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 13, 1999.

when eyes_open develops a nice, well thought out piece in,say WORD or whatever and tries to paste it here, (s)he will find out...


-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 14, 1999.


That was enlightening. A new entry for my "best of" file.

-- mabel (, April 14, 1999.

eyes_open -

You are quite correct. This, in miniature and with few impacts, is what happens on every "deathmarch" or high pressure project, but at a much greater level of stress and impact. Folks who under normal circumstances get the work done with few if any errors find themselves making "rookie" mistakes. They're tired and under some time pressure and maybe trying a few "shortcuts" and the code doesn't get done right. Maybe it gets caught in unit test, maybe in integration or QA, maybe it even sneaks into production (which is VERY expensive). It's still bad code and has to be fixed. Again (and again and again...).

This is why deathmarch projects are so bloody stupid and why I'm less than sanguine about the prospects for any company that's in "deathmarch" on Y2K.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 14, 1999.

For the other side of the same coin, perhaps someone would want to document Peter de Jager's progression from pessimism to optimism over the past year. He has had similar access to "inside" contacts and information as Cory and yet has drawn the exact opposite conclusions. It might provide some insight into this forum's recent polarization.

And then there are those who believe that we've got bigger problems on the horizon than Y2K, so keep preparing.

-- David (, April 14, 1999.

Slight difference - de Jager is an ex computer operator gone on the lecture circuit.

Hamasaki is the real deal.

I've read all his weather reports - I also work in the real world with mainframes - everything Cory says fits.

I've lost any respect I've had for de Jager long ago - he's either sold out ot been got at, probably the former.

-- Andy (, April 14, 1999.

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