When will Y2K be over?

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Assumption for this thread: Y2K will be very serious, but not TEOTWAWKI.

It seems reasonable to me that just as Y2K failures have happened before the century rollover, so too will they exist after the 'magic date' has passed. Isn't it believed, for example, that many (perhaps the majority) of embedded systems-related Y2K failures will occur in the general rollover timeframe. Then there is Leap Day. Also, potential failures associated with company's accounting applications having problems all the way through 2000, with quarterly and annual book closes as examples. We have heard the phrase "until the fat lady sings". Suppose there is a whole chorus of them, and that they are planning on a few encores. The questions then become:

First, how long will failures occur past rollover, and second, will it even be possible to know when it is largely over. Perhaps by taking an educated guess at answering the first part, we can draw some conclusions about the second.

Certainly there are a wide range of answers for a wide range of specific areas impacted: Embedded chips, accounting applications, the world economy, governments, financial markets, etc. In addition, there is the difference in severity and subsequently in Y2K longevity depending on where on this planet you are. I have not seen a thread that asked this yet, (although I may have missed it) and thought it would be interesting to get some opinions. We may not be able to answer these questions, but we may learn some things of value along the way by trying.

Two Cents: I think that the overall economic impact will be the longest lasting - global economy and trade, employment, productivity, as well as the financial markets in general. From what little I have read of embedded systems, these will mostly fail around the rollover period, with some failures occurring throughout the year and some possibly past 2000. (Correct me if this is wrong). Also, I tend to think that the Federal, State, and Local governments will be a real mix - with some agencies much better or worse off than others. If Y2K is indeed very serious, yet not TEOTWAWKI, we may still never return to 'normal' in its current context, yet everything that has a beginning also has an end. So when will Y2K be over?

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@com.net), April 19, 1999


Rob...thank goodness somebody posted something that makes sense tonight.

As to when y2k effects will be over? I'm early fifties and if y2k is a 6 to 8, the results and ripple effects will outlive me. If it is a 10..the results will outlive our grandchildren. If it's a one, then I just ruined a very good party night by not planning to go anywhere.

( I sincerely hope I ruined a good party night). I wonder what it will be like in other parts of the world. According to Gartner the rest of the industrialized world besides US, GB and Canada, are 18 months to 5 years behind and can't possibly get ready. What happens when Germany or France or Italy gets knocked back 50 years? or more, if you look at their utility infrastructure. Yeah, even with all the defects, I'm still glad to be living in the US.

PS. I'm dang glad I'm not PNG's neighbor. Not because he wouldn't be a good person in a storm...simply because of where they live is enough.

-- Lobo (atthelair@yahoo.com), April 19, 1999.

Rob -

I think that Ed Y.'s 10 year time frame is reasonable, though the world political (and perhaps physical) landscape may be more than slightly changed. Politically because a number of first and second world countries are going to have fairly serious problems while a number of the currently lesser developed countries will actually have significantly fewer problems. This will lead to some political destabilization in the problematic areas (remember the article posted last week that predicts Taiwan will take a 15% hit in their GDP - now THAT is destabilizing!). At the same time it will provide the surviving governmental structures, especially in Africa and Western Asia time to develop stability without having the western powers mucking about in their affairs all the time.

The reason I mentioned geographic changes as well, as there will obviously be a period of time here where the folks who really have an itch do do something (India vs Pakistan, India vs China, China vs Taiwan, North Korea vs South Korea, etc) will have an opportunity to do act without fear of immediate intervention by the larger military powers. This could lead to some interesting military adventurism, and possibly even the development of new power blocks - I'd look for an islamic asian block to develop with the islamic republics in central asia banding together with the islamic parts of China...

anyway, bet it all shakes out in about 10 years or so, though it should be an interesting ride along the way.


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), April 19, 1999.

I agree with all of the above....especially the comment about someone starting a thread that makes sense!!! I have spent time in Mexico and in Costa Rica (own property in both) and I cannot see where Y2K will effect the average Tico on the street. The economy will be impacted in the city of San Jose and at the tourist spots on the beaches. But since everything is done with pencil and paper and one waits in line for everything, including buying a loaf of bread, I don't think they will be too impacted. Mexico is a different story. About 30 years ago Japan began to move into Mexico and start buying up land and businesses. The first thing they bought up were the cemetaries. Being Japanese, they brought with them high tech and there are many many many cumputer systems in that country. Out in the villages they will continue to eat frijoes and tortiilas as usual.

Got Masa Harina?

-- Taz (Tassie @aol.com), April 19, 1999.

Lobo and Taz: Please do not tell anyone that I may have made a mistake and posted something that makes sense, and perhaps could be regarded as actually on topic :)

Lobo: Now as to your response - I am only a few years younger than you but we are both in the same boat - the Titanic comes to mind. Seriously, I do not really think of any single number as describing Y2K since the impact will vary country to country, and even region to region. Also, we need to consider that each of the various industry groups and governments are at different levels of un-preparedness and so this further makes it less useful to try using a blanket number for describing the impact of Y2K. Robert Cook once posted that all TEOTWAWKI will be local. An astute observation, I think. I would agree however that we humans, as part of human nature perhaps, need to categorize things, even when they defy categorization, and so while the use of a number scale may have its shortcomings, it meets the requirement and desire on our part to try and categorize Y2K impact.

Arlin: I also think the 10 year timeframe of Ed Y's is reasonable, particularly for the economic aspects of Y2K impact. Certainly you bring up valid areas of impact that I had not, such as political stability (or the lack of it) and military opportunism. I think 'an interesting ride' may be an understatement.

All: Here is a link to a recent article that discusses the Gartner Group research related to this thread:


And here are some excerpts:

Begin Paste

Y2K problems will linger for 30 months - Steve Alexander / Star Tribune

The script for Y2K is all wrong. Instead of Y2K failures occurring at midnight on Dec. 31, they will be spread over a 30-month period that will begin in July. So says the Gartner Group, a leading computer industry consulting firm based in Connecticut. This is revisionist stuff, since practically all Y2K scenarios to date have focused on the potential for serious computer failures at midnight on Dec. 31. But Gartner maintains that only 10 percent of Y2K failures will occur within two weeks of Jan. 1.

In an interview, Dale Vecchio, a research director in Gartner Group's Y2K practice in Stamford, Conn., said his firm has been eyeing a multi-month Y2K impact since the middle of last year. But Gartner analysts have been frustrated that the public debate about Y2K has continued to focus on the Jan. 1 millennium date change, he said. "People haven't quite gotten it," Vecchio said. "They have been too focused on the single time boundary and not enough on what they may have to deal with before the time boundary occurs."

Why should Y2K start in 1999 and stretch into 2001? In a recent speech in San Diego, Lou Marcoccio, another research director of Gartner's Y2K practice, said the causes will be forecasting software that looks six months into the future, the beginning of new fiscal years for many corporations and some "date-related anomalies in software code." The number of Y2K failures will increase further in October as forecasting software that looks three months ahead runs up against the Jan. 1, 2000, date and still more companies begin new fiscal years, Marcoccio said. In Gartner's view, 25 percent of Y2K computer failures will occur in 1999, 55 percent will occur in 2000 and 15 percent will occur in 2001. The other 5 percent occurred before 1999.

End Paste

Notice the last sentence. 0% failures after 2001. Interesting? Naturally, we need to make a distinction between an actual failure itself and the affects of that particular failure when discussing the longevity of Y2K impact.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@com.net), April 19, 1999.


-- (sonofdust@com.net), April 19, 1999.


-- (try@gain.now), April 19, 1999.

Sometimes this works.

-- Lisa (lisa@work.now), April 19, 1999.

Sometimes not?

-- Lisa (lisa@ok.now), April 19, 1999.

Thanks Lisa - I don't even have PBC (Posting Before Coffee) to use as an excuse - Duh. Oh well, off to get another cup.

-- Rob (sonofdust@com.net), April 19, 1999.

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