greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Helloo Fellow Gi's:

First off, Let me say that I don't know a damm thing about computers and how they handle dates or even how they work.

I spent the last weekend kinda thinking things thro,So to speak. I talked with some people that are in the computer business. I will admit that not many had years of experience programming or knew a whole lot about computers and dates and what happens when they reach 2000.

Now I have known about the y2k problem since 1996 and I am 99% prepared to weather the storm what ever it may bring. So you could call me a GI, But just exacately What have I got?

Is it possible that some people with a lot of money and smart enough to get us all jumping at the shadows. Are they good enough to have people spread the information like a virus around the world. In order to do such a thing they would need people in places that would be able to carry out such a plan. Let me say, I had never heard of the Gartner Group, Yourdon, North, or any of the others other than maybe seeing their names cross my path somewhere, a book in the bookstore,WSJ or a piece of mail cross my desk.

Since I myself have been an active silver and gold trader amoung and resource stocks for many, many years I can see that something like y2k could be carried off amoung the right people.It seems people who , like myself is always prepared for some type of diaster and carry insurance in the form of anything can happen readiness are the ones prepareing.

NOW, Don't jump and flame me too soon. Lets just look at the picture and try to figure out who is in it.

Maybe y2k is going to be a big thing in our lives, Maybe it will be a bump in the road, Maybe it will be TEOTWAWKI I admit I don't really know, Do you know for sure?

Have you ever stopped to figure out that every month that goes by, and every deadline that passes brings on nothing except more food on the shelves, and and more dates to look forward to. We move our dates right along with everybody elses. It makes me wonder.

I have asked this question on this thread before and I will ask it again. Can anyone point out one company and exacately what went wrong and exacately what chip was bad. Until that is done , since we have an array of programmers on this thread and none even know their business well enough to point out the defects of equipment and what it means for one piece to fail.,............ In the mean time I have thought this y2k thing over at some length and at present I will call it all bull shit and as has been said, a money maker for some.

Any answers better to this thread better be with specifices. ASk me about my business now and what happens if such and such happens, I will tell you.


-- Lon (Lon1937@aol.com), April 19, 1999


Lon -

if you go back through the archives, there are at least four seperate threads of listings of y2k related failures (I think Rob put them together)...


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

Lon: you said:

"Have you ever stopped to figure out that every month that goes by, and every deadline that passes brings on nothing except more food on the shelves, and and more dates to look forward to. We move our dates right along with everybody elses. It makes me wonder. "

Here ya go Lon, an argument from c.s.y2k:

POLLYANNA: Something that a lot of people seem to be overlooking is that Y2k started in earnest the first of this year as a number of significant milestones began to pass. Several of them have already passed. Y2k is no longer "next year". It's now. It's happening around us. Why do we see no major failures?

DOOMER: Pick a country that has expended almost nothing on y2k, say, for example, Russia. Since Russia has not evidenced any significant y2k failures, by your reasoning, it will not evidence any significant y2k failures near, on or after Jan. 1, 2000. By your reasoning, not only will there be no serious problems in the U.S., but there will be no serious problems anywhere in the world. If this is the case, then y2k was a hoax all along. Billions have been wasted, because what is called 'remediation' doesn't really matter at all.

Do you really think the world was silly enough to try and spend a $1,000,000,000,000.00 to fix something unnecessary?

Do you really think the world was silly enough to estimate another $1,000,000,000,000.00 will be spent litigating the problems it is projected to cause?

Do you really think that Russia, Italy, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Tiawan, France, Germany, South Africa, etc etc etc will suffer no disastrous effects due to a failed remediation?

There. I didn't think so.

-- a (a@a.a), April 19, 1999.

And while we're at it, do you really believe that trillion in remediation dollars accomplished nothing? Current indications are that it at least made y2k manageable, if we have enough patience and luck.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 19, 1999.


If Clinton is not talking about it.....it must be serious!

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), April 19, 1999.

...and if Clinton IS talking about it, then it must be serious! And Lon, weclome back to the side of the sane.

-- BigBadTrolls (bfi@bfi.bfi), April 19, 1999.

Flint: as usual, your sloppy reasoning is flawed. Most of the estimated cost of remediation will remain unspent, which is precisely why the effects of y2k will be so severe.

BTW, why are you still planning to empty your bank accounts Flint?

-- a (a@a.a), April 19, 1999.

If the prospect of Y2k problems are just shadows, why have so many major corporations taken it seriously enough to spend many billions of dollars on it?

Now, many of us wish those corporations had taken it seriously _sooner_ so that they'd be closer to being Y2k-compliant now, but still, thousands of corporate executives who don't get paid to chase shadows are taking Y2k very seriously.

I have personally found and fixed Y2k problems that would have, if left uncorrected, affected many, many financial transactions.

-- No Spam Please (No_Spam_Please@anon_ymous.com), April 19, 1999.

Didn't anybody pay attention to the previous thread about trolls. Specifically that some of them can drive you crazy. Does anything he is saying make sense? Really? He even tells you he expects to get flamed. I think this was well thought out troll bait. He's not asking for advice and support, he's telling you he doesn't believe it's real!

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), April 19, 1999.

Lon: so you are 99% prepared for whatever. Fabulous. Why all the doubting talk? Bullshit? Who cares, you are 99% prepared.

-- harold (hippie@pacificcollege.com), April 19, 1999.

... whoops.



One of the companies I worked for is now named Deluxe Electronic Payment Systems, though it had two different names (A.O. Smith Data Systems, Deluxe Data Systems) during the eleven years I was there. The software I primarily worked on there was in real-time online EFT (electronic funds transfer) transaction processing systems.

The subsystems in which I specialized were "terminal handlers". These were the modules that received messages from ATM or POS devices, converted their information from device-specific format to a standard internal format for the rest of our system, performed various device-specific activities, passed the internal-format transaction messages on to other subsystems, received internal-format messages from other subsystems, converted them to the appropriate device-specific formats and commands, and sent device-specific messages and commands to ATM or POS devices. They also kept track of the operating status of the ATM or POS devices and sent messages to human operators when necessary to inform them of device conditions that needed attention. They contained error handling and recovery routines.

I wrote several of those terminal handlers from scratch and maintained or modified several others. This included consulting with customers' technicians (our customers were, generally, networks of banks -- their names are the ones you see on the stickers plastered to ATMs on six continents [none in Antarctica as of when I left the company] plus a number of islands and ships) and writing user manuals.

I found and fixed a Y2k leap-year bug (failure to treat 2000 as a leap year) in the late 1980s. We programmers had a standard practice of using "windowing" in handling two-digit years in the various messages, but there were no company standards as to the bounds for the year windows, and there were several different ranges used in the programs we wrote.

Then in 1991 or -92 the company's official Y2k program reached my level. Some of our customers were MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover. They had deadlines for their own and their member banks' Y2k compliance. We made our products Y2k-compliant, starting with the common cores, then working out to the customer-specific variations on the basic modules.

When I left the company in 1996, the Y2k work was still in progress, having just gotten started on the PCs we used (the programming I did was on mainframes).

So, what Y2k problems will happen in the software I know about, and what will be their effects? ... (to be continued)

-- No Spam Please (No_Spam_Please@anon_ymous.com), April 19, 1999.

Lon --- Yes, I do know what is going to happen. Something strange and something bad. Sorry to sound so definite, but that's the way it goes. The code IS broken and we're too late to fix it. Will there be life on the other side? Duh. Of course.

The computers don't care whether you're a GI or a DGI. Nor does the calendar. Meanwhile, chill out. If you're as prepared as you say, do whatever you feel like between now and the Big Day, including become a DGI.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), April 19, 1999.

What will happen? We can only dream.......


From Power Magazine, April 1999.

Date: January 02, 2000

To: All Employees

From: Automated Payroll System

Re: Vacation Pay

Dear Valued Employee:

Our records indicate that you have not used any vacation time over the past 100 year(s). As I'm sure you're aware, employees are granted 3 weeks of paid leave per year or pay in lieu of time off. One additional week is granted for every 5 years of service.

Please either take 9,400 days off work or notify our office and your next pay check will reflect payment of$8,277,432.22 which will include all pay and interest fot the past 1,200 months.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), April 19, 1999.

Seriously? Sure, look at what happened last year in that Australian steel mill *after* they tried to start after their first atttempt at remediation:

Everything shut down. Failed. Stopped.

What will happen in other cases? Don't know. Nobody, not GM - not Toshiba, not Toyota, nobody worldwide - has tried to "set ahead" their process controllers and company programs without completing remediation, unit testing, system testing, and failure analysis.

If ANYBODY worldwide in a position responsible for the operation of a plant, or production of a profit-making material, believed your conclusion, SOMEBODY would have had the nerve to "shut up and test it." Almost a trillion dollars - wasted on useless investigation and repair, if I believe your conclusions.

So, do they know something you and I don't? . Maybe, maybe not. But I'm watching what the people who are actually responsible for the operation of a business, and they are trying to remediate - so they can stay in business next year. Now, where does that leave people (and businesses) who believe your conclusion?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), April 19, 1999.



It's about portents for disruptions Flint.

Who cares if anyone makes money from the concern/panic/preparation?

By your logic, you should immediately cancel your auto insurance. You don't need it. It's all hype, it's all alarmism. Prudence is nothing more than fear-mongering.

And what's worse...they're making bucks off your fear/concern of an accident. So we should all discount statistics the insurance companies put out. Do you really believe that all the new GPS', collision alarms and airbags installed on vehicles hasn't decreased if not eliminated accidents?

Current indications from the auto industry are that insurance needs are now obsolete, and you can proceed down the road with confidence and luck.

Your argument Flint is just as absurd.

Lon, do you want to take the chance Flint and other Polly's might be wrong? Or would you rather prepare for the possibilties and find yourself wrong next January?

Ask yourself which scenario you will be better off in depending on who's wrong. Then act.

Insurance provides peace of mind, doesn't it?

-- INVAR (gundark@sw.net), April 20, 1999.

Lon....glad you are 99% prepared. For what?

In answer to your question, my company (which I own) purchased a new billing system in September 1998. At my insistence, the installer rolled the clocks. The system promptly locked up and took three days of the programmers time to repair. I was able to meet my billing schedule by dint of some VERY late nights and one hell of an office crew. My point is...What if this had happened at the same time as a bunch of other companies? Do you really think I would have had access to a programmer/installer if a multi-million dollar company was down? Say what you want...be as polly as you wish...but be prepared.

"Something evil this way comes."

-- Lobo (atthelair@yahoo.com), April 20, 1999.

(continued -- apologies for the long interruption)

One Y2k error I found and fixed was in a subroutine that converted dates from year/day-of-year format (YYYYDDD) to year/month/day-of-month (YYYY/MM/DD). Our software used the result in a table lookup to see whether to invoke holiday-type processing. The subroutine had the 100-year exception to the 4-year leap year rule, but not the 400-year counter-exception to the 100-year exception.

Oh -- you may wonder what the holiday-type processing would be. Example of holiday processing: displaying a holiday design or greeting on the ATM screen. But since our holiday table allowed any day of the year to be designated, the customer was not limited to the customary or legal holidays. For instance, if a bank were running a special promotion for its ATM cardholders for 15 days beginning April 16, the holiday table would list every day from /04/16 through /04/30 for displaying the promotional messages.

Left uncorrected, one effect of the Y2k error I found would have been that in year 2000 (and 2400, 2800, ...) holiday processing would be invoked one day too early in March through December. That bank's April 16-30 special promotion would run on April 15-29 instead. Memorial Day processing would be invoked on Sunday, May 28 instead of Monday, May 29 because the software would treat the 149th day of 2000 as 05/29, which would match the Memorial Day entry in its holiday table, instead of the correct 05/28, when doing holiday lookup. New Year's Eve processing would be invoked on Saturday, December 30 instead of Sunday, December 31.

I don't know exactly what would have happened on the 366th day of 2000 -- I don't recall tracing that. Maybe the subroutine would have output "2000/12/32", which simply wouldn't have matched any of the holiday table entries. Maybe it would have output "2000/12/31" for both the 365th and 366th days of 2000. Maybe the subroutine would have returned to the caller without properly setting the output value because it would have exited its twelve-month loop before reaching day 366 of the year. Then the holiday table lookup result would depend on how the output field had been initialized before the twelve-month loop in the subroutine. "2000/00/00" wouldn't match any holiday entry.

-- No Spam Please (No_Spam_Please@anon_ymous.com), April 20, 1999.

The main question was, "What if we are jumping at shadows?" The main answers have been -- well everything except addressing specifically that, most saying, "They aren't shadows!" or "We aren't jumping!" :-)

What if I am jumping at shadows? What if I and every intelligent person I know are babbling paranoid morons (was that redundant?) and absolutely nothing happens on Y2K except some inconveniences?

I will have learned a lot about gardening, companion planting, seed saving, soil preservation, and food storage. I always to learn this stuff but never seemed to have time. 'Course it took a threat to my life to make me finally make the time. It may be a hobby or habit the rest of my life. I always wanted to live outside the city too, and never did as I had to get to work, and I'm finally starting to feel like maybe I can. This could change my life.

I will have learned a lot about weapons and firearms, and I always wanted to learn that too. Now if I can just come up with the money for that shotgun, rifle and handgun and a gun cabinet and a lot of ammo, I'll be fine. It may be a hobby or habit the rest of my life. I'll never be a hunter (unless bureaucrats come into season) but I always thought target and skeet shooting would be cool.

I'll save mega-money on my grocery bill for a good two years. Since there will be economic issues even if Y2K in the USA was perfect, this will be very convenient. I'll also have enough garden that I can actually sell some produce, and I'll be able to help local families in need with fresh produce and some basic grains. That's nice.

What will I have bought, or what will I regret, if nothing bad happens over the next year?

I can't think of anything.

Everything I am buying or making or learning is stuff that I will use anyway, will eat anyway, and that I wanted to learn anyway.

In which case, it doesn't matter whether Y2K is a shadow or a semi-truck. I win either way. No polly avoidance to endanger me; no doomer terror to make me miserable. Just honest interest, intelligent planning, hard work and I reap the rewards.

This isn't about "moderation" in belief or planning. It's about moderation of the blind knee-jerk reacting to the situation that most everybody suffers in one direction or another. It's about finally getting a grip on the fact that the world is confusing, it's a mess, it's a danger, and it's about to implode or explode in any number of ways.

What a show. What a ride. What a way to go.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 20, 1999.

PJ, Diane may be the queen of the search engine, but you are an artist! You have taken all the hype over prepping and made it beautiful. At worst: survival, at best: a future of being at one with the planet.

Hats off to you, too!

[Remember the bit about the doors, though. Wouldn't want you to hurt your head.] -)

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), April 20, 1999.

I don't know if you heard the Senate testimony of Ken Evans, President of the Arizona Farm Bureau about his experience with embedded systems. The following is excerpted from http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/Industry/Agriculture/creg9908.htm

"...Whereas the American farmer produced enough food to feed eight people a hundred or so years ago, the farmer today produces enough to feed 212, on average. Technology through the years has played an increasingly important role in the advancement of crop yields, and today a growing minority of farmers relies on some form of computer technology to maintain those yields. With the growing dependency on computers, the Year 2000 computer date recognition problem enters to challenge the faith of American farmers.

"It was with this understanding that the Senate Special Committee investigating the Year 2000 Computer Problem called for testimony from those on the front lines of agribusiness, the food growers. Mixed with the testimony from the Department of Agriculture that food shortages were "unlikely" were the words of Ken Evans, President of the Arizona Farm Bureau.

"A farmer himself, Evans talked about the challenges associated with getting his farm technology Year 2000 ready. At issue was the use of embedded systems that control everything from hi-tech farm tractors to combines to irrigation systems. In describing problems associated with just testing for Y2K compliance, Evans pointed out that a successful test of a Center-Pivot Irrigation System inadvertently caused damage to one of the computer boards that was not impacted by the date change.

"It took us three months to figure out how to replace the board," Evans said. This was not the only challenge to testing farm equipment. Evans warned against type testing, where you test one piece of machinery and if it checks out, then all the others are deemed Y2K ready.

"We found that only one in three of our Center Pivot systems had problems when we tested them," Evans said. "They all had the same set up and the only difference was one chip would be okay (Y2K compliant) and other wouldn't." ******************************************************************

Imagine if this had happened at the start of irrigation season. The crop would be a non-event. If it happened to a perrenial, such as his alfalfa, the viability or long term productivity of the plants could have been impacted.

BTW, it is a fallacy that ag is not high-tech. Even my small family hay growers have pivot systems and my spud farmers use high tech programmable wind machines. Cold storage can also be high tech.

Personally, I don't think y2k is a hoax or a plot. As for the potential impact of a technological breakdown, go back and read the first sentence of the article - "Whereas the American farmer produced enough food to feed eight people a hundred or so years ago, the farmer today produces enough to feed 212, on average." This means that 212 people could have their food supply impacted by farmer Evans' y2k problems if he hadn't fixed them.

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), April 20, 1999.

Helloo Fellow Gi:

All you great people helped me back on track, Maybe I kinda went y2k insane for just a few hours. Sorry people, I stopped really thinking how many great GI there are out there that can't be mislead.

Or maybe its when I ask someone how they are going to handle y2k and they say we have a couple of bottles of water and several cans of soup. Maybe my anger was more of a hope, then reality.

Any way THANKS PEOPLE I really needed these answers. By the way those of you that asked not to be flamed should never be flamed. You will never see me flaming anyone, and I appreciate the post. Flaming is not my way unless I know that its an outright lie and I know it.

I do tend to loose my temper at times.

Thanks, God Bless.


-- Lon (Lon1937@aol.com), April 20, 1999.


Based on your last comments, and seeing the previous outpouring of concerned comments of the other posters, I believe I jumped to a conclusion after reading your original post. I think we have all had times of uncertainty and doubt, and wondered if we were on the right road in our thinking. I should not have tagged you as a troll. Please accept my apology, and best of luck in your preparations.

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), April 20, 1999.


I've followed your posts since you first appeared on this forum. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? As I recall, you displayed a lot of common sense in your previous posts.

In the meantime, here's the URL to reported failures compiled by Rob Michaels on this forum.


I'm not good at making links, so perhaps a kind soul will oblige.

Also, Drew Parkhill at www.cbn.org is good about posting links to important Y2k stories.


-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 20, 1999.

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000h tg

-- z (z@z.z), April 20, 1999.

Lon wrote: Or maybe its when I ask someone how they are going to handle y2k and they say we have a couple of bottles of water and several cans of soup. Maybe my anger was more of a hope, then reality.

This sparked something in me. When my dad had the chance to get a big house with land and a well, and I was living in a little apartment with no money and a small child and terrified, it was my ray of hope. When he bought a stupid little house in the suburbs I felt wretched. And some of that was for ME. Because I had thought he could help me and that some of the money I made working I could send him to help with preps.

Now, I see people who are not preparing. Even those who know. I work in this fairly small room with four other people doing web design. Obviously, you get to know people when working closely with them. They all know about Y2K. They couldn't avoid it since I was obsessed with it off and on since last July. And yet, not ONE of them (except the gun lord, who wanted an excuse to buy a gorgeous new shotgun and pistol anyway) has done the slightest thing to prepare. I mention food preps, offer to include them in any bulk buying I do, I've even gotten a coworker a Sam's Club card so if she decides to buy a big bag of beans or something she can. And still, nothing. One just bought a new house, one is single, and one is trying to have a baby. No matter what they say about knowing all about it, the fact is, if they believed it would be a real problem they wouldn't behave as they do.

And one day I felt kind of angry about their complete lack of doing something -- they talk about it, respond to it, send me articles about it, yet do nothing to prepare. They are totally inert. And I was sitting there after work one day sulking about why do I seem to be the only person concerned about this, when it hit me.

I wasn't angry at them for them. I was angry for me. Every person I see not preparing is a reminder -- or in the case of family or locals, is a threat -- of people who are going to want to take, by force if necessary, my hard-earned, hard-stored food items.

Here I'm spending all my extra money on stuff to prepare, and I'm still worried about my family having enough to survive, and these bozos are ENSURING that Y2K is going to be a food/water meltdown by their passive sheeplike denial.

Every person who knows about Y2K and yet still won't take the trouble to make sufficient preparation for their family is actively endangering every other family around them.

Like the fable about the grasshopper wanting food and the ant saying, too bad, I only have enough for my family. Except in this case, maybe the hopper cops will come to the door and demand your food so it can be 'shared with the community.' And talk about unfair, that I give up a year of my life's time and money to prepare, and the guy next door is too lazy or unconcerned, yet my child could starve with him depending on circumstance. That really hacks me off just thinking about it.

So now I realize that when I feel aggravated at people who seem clued in about Y2K yet do nothing, it's because of fear on my part. Fear that their lack of concern for planning will become a lack of concern for my life, for my rights, when they need what I've got. And every person who demonstrates this, even those who aren't family or who don't live near me, are subtle reminders.

It's like being on a boat with 100 people. You have built yourself a lifeboat. The other hundred have the materials to build lifeboats. They don't feel like it. They figure if there's a problem they'll all just come jump in your 2-person boat. It's enough to make ya understand why most people buy food, and then buy guns.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 20, 1999.

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