Probably Not the Apocalypse : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

They say bad news sells more than good news does. This certainly holds true in the Y2K coverage, with great play given to fanciful scenarios of international chaos -- amplified by the Y2K industry itself, drowning out the voices of calm.

Y2K: Probably Not the Apocalypse

In early March, the Savannah, Ga., Morning News broke the story we've all been holding our breath for: The world isn't ending on Jan. 1, 2000. The Y2K bug will cause some hassles and glitches here and there, but the panic is actually a greater danger than the technical problems themselves.

Writing for the Nando Times recently, Marjorie Olster says that "two of Washington's top trouble-shooters for the year 2000 computer bug said Wednesday they are now more concerned about the risk of a public panic than a collapse of infrastructure."

Did you hear that? The panic will probably be worse than the actual problem. Somebody shout the news to those folks stockpiling powdered beans in South Dakota bunkers. Noted Y2K guru Peter de Jaeger says he plans to be on a plane when the date switches over to Jan. 1, 2000. Now there's confidence.

Olster quotes John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, and Federal Reserve Board Governor Edward Kelley saying they're "confident" that America's power, transportation, communications and health care systems "were not in danger." Both did say their greatest fear is a public "overreaction," causing runs on banks, mutual funds and gas stations.

Kelley, in fact, says people may become so worried about doomsday scenarios that "there could be created the very type of problem we are working so hard to prevent." Even fears of global financial mayhem are unfounded, he says, since most of the world's money is handled by American-based banks, which have taken lengthy measures to correct the problem.

Voices of reason have been crying in the wilderness at least since 1997, when an article by PC Week's Michael Surkan asked "What's All the Y2K Panic About?" What people have consistently failed to notice, he wrote two full years ago, "is that in all but an exceedingly small number of cases, these date bugs will cause little, if any, real damage to corporate networks .... Just because a file server has the incorrect date doesn't mean it will cease functioning." Not to say there won't be nuisances, he admits, "but most of them won't shut down your business."

Countless Y2K bugs since then have been quietly swept aside by the simple process of infrastructure upgrades, as Surkan predicted would happen, and of those that remain "many of them can be calmly dealt with in the new millennium, without the need for crisis management teams today."

In fact, Surkan writes, "many administrators never bother to set correct dates in the first place. A quick glance at any company's installed Ethernet switches will quickly demonstrate the priority attached to correct time stamping. It would be silly for anyone to embark on major date-fixing projects just because bugs exist." Surkan's brother-in-law obviously doesn't work for one of those Y2K crisis management teams, which have been fantastically profitable as of late. A quick visit to any Y2K vendor's site will describe catastrophe of almost Biblical proportions -- and how you can avoid it for just $589 per seat.

-- Norm (, April 14, 1999


That was better than television Norm; thanks.

-- KoFE (your@town.USA), April 14, 1999.

So even If Y2K doesn't cause "major problems" according to this article it only seems prudent to prepare for the possiblility of problems from the "panic of the public" .

Side thought: Up until 100 years ago a majority of the people of the world had a year supply of food. Enough to last from one season till the next Just ask Grandma.

-- Scott Hansen (, April 14, 1999.

Norm -

Ya missed out providing a link, bud.

From DCI's I.T. News - Y2K: Probably Not the Apocalypse

PC Week's Sulkan should talk to PC Week's Jim Elliott. Elliott is extremely concerned about Y2K and has said so repeatedly in his column since middle of last year.

Bet the folks at are wondering where the author of this article saw a description of "catastrophe of almost Biblical proportions" on their site...

And speaking of Y2K Vendors, this is from DCI's own site:

Year 2000 Critical Business Issues:

Making Plans for a Soft Landing

Washington, DC, April 20, 1999; Denver, May 18, 1999; Boston, June 15, 1999

About This Seminar

With less than a year to go, is it time to worry or panic about Y2K business issues? Absolutely. Theres little doubt that some systems will fail regardless of how much effort is expended. Now its time for business managers to understand that they have a responsibility to manage their enterprises through this pending crisis. To do so, managers must be aware of the risks that exist within their enterprise, and have strategies for dealing with each. In this seminar youll learn what responsible managers should expect as the millennium approaches, how to identify critical stakeholders, plan contingencies and how to execute well thought out strategies.

Blatant fear-mongering if I ever saw it! Imagine telling managers that it's time to panic! These people ought to be keel-hauled or pilloried in the public square! 8-}]

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

Keel-hauled!!! Great Mac1...I haven't heard that phrase since I was a teen, and my former Navy dad used it...there's already a synapse there. :-)

-- Donna Barthuley (, April 14, 1999.

Keel hauling sucks!

-- Scabby (bones@stickinout.everywhere), April 14, 1999.

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