The Embedded Processor Secondary Clock Problem : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I recently read a report by Bruce Beach dated 4-9-99 entitled "The Embedded Processor Secondary Clock Problem". The address for the report is: . He is a former professor of computer science and holds two microprocessor patents. If what this guy is saying is true all of us are in for a bigger shock then anyone can imagine. Will someone,or some people,please read this report and get back to me and let me know what you think? I would love to hear your thoughts no matter what they are. But, please be nice because this is the very first time I have tried to communicate using a computer! Don't ruin me for life!!! Have a rainbow of a day!

-- Mark Howard (, April 21, 1999


Mark - Mr. Beach's report evoked quite a contoversial discussion for the past week. The latest thread on post is Bruce Beach has more to say to his critics (1999-04-19) (Sysman,, 1999-04-20)

-- marsh (, April 21, 1999.

Mark: these recent threads address the Beach issues:

-- a (a@a.a), April 21, 1999.

Good morning Mark. Boy, did you land in a mine field with this one! We have a raging debate going on here about this. Several threads, one I posted today (scroll down and you'll see it). Look under the "Embedded Systems" category at the bottom of the new questions page for the other threads. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 21, 1999.

Boy, 3 answers inside a minute! <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 21, 1999.

Welcome Mark,

anybody prepared to ask questions and listen to and evaluate answers is welcome here. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

-- Bob Barbour (, April 21, 1999.

Yes, sorry Mark, I was a little quick on the trigger, and forgot to WELCOME you! This is a great site for Y2K info. Some think that a bunch of "doomers" (people that are worried about this issue, and are preparing for possible problems) hang out here. But we also have our share of "pollys" (people that think it isn't a big deal, and the rest of us are a bunch of nuts) to keep this place very interesting. The important thing to do is to make up your own mind as to bad this problem will or won't be, and remember that your family comes first. Don't be offended if someone starts calling you names, or otherwise picks on you. This is a pretty wide open public forum, and it takes all kinds! And don't be afraid to ask. Welcome to the club. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 21, 1999.


I've done my best to follow this debate, read the paper, and tried to follow all the tech stuff,,,Was there a meetting of the minds or is it still " no one knows "? How about an update?

-- CT (ct@no.yr), April 21, 1999.


I wish I had an update for you, but my feeling is that it's still in the no one knows category. I think everyone had their say, and tired of the debate. I still haven't read Beach's latest though. I've been swamped at work, and I'm trying to recover some data from a crashed hard drive tonight for a friend. I've been bouncing between 'puters all night! I'll try to get to it in a day or so, and maybe post my opinion. That should stir it up again! See ya, bed time... <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 21, 1999.

It is VERY hard to remediate embedded systems unless YOU are the original manufacturer:

the old stuff with EPROMS was mostly machine language code. the new stuff with on-chip eeprom may be inaccessible.

Ever tried to do a core dump by removing a QUIP surface mount chip with 200 pins? (Pins! they're freakin' tin foil!)

And then there's ASIC's and those pesky chips that aren't really micros but are just programmable array logic.

Anybody who wanted to get down to the code level on an embedded black box has delusions of wizardom. It's easier to buy the new version from a new venduh.

When people say they've "fixed" their embedded systems I just don't belive it. Their people couldnt program a 4004 let alone a 6811 or those funny DSP chips that Texas Instruments put out in the early eighties. Their people set the user date forward, decided they could live with the minor glitches (or lost their jobs when the plant blew up) and went back to changing lightbulbs or emptying wastebaskets.

Remember, Janitors and "Facilities Engineers" run the world. Just like Dilbert's world.

-- quasimodo. (, April 21, 1999.


Thanx, I await your post. Haveing only worked with Dbase2, ADL and Basic, you can imagine how confused I am. Please put in terms us computer illitterate can understand.

-- CT (ct@no.yr), April 21, 1999.

Welcome Mark! Don't be shy. There are some great people on this forum, and some big assholes too. I have been called both and survived. As for your question, stay tuned. Welcome aboard!!!!!!!

-- SCOTTY (, April 21, 1999.


Bruce's conclusions match those of the IEEE (Institute or International) Electrical and Electronic Engineers Association. I am in no way an electronics person of any sort, but his conclusions also have been confirmed to me over the last year or so by a couple of firmware engineers (a specialty that designs the chips and sometimes the programming themselves).

To me, all Bruce has done is taken us back full circle to the original concerns about embedded processors. Some will fail, some will malfuntion in non-critical ways, and some will malfunction and corrupt other devices.

Now, if the 20% to 25% failure rates that he reported at the Texaco Research facility are anywhere near correct for process control and manufacturing control, we are going to melt down. Period. Like pouring sand into an engine running at high RPM.


I stayed up late and read essentially all of Bruce's latest. My take was that the people (Firmware engineers, PhD Electrical Engineers, etc.) who know what is put into the "black boxes" are saying, "well, of course you are correct, Bruce. Doesn't everyone know that?"

The engineers who use the black boxes are saying that they haven't seen it happen yet. They haven't been able to make it happen, and why should it happen?

Again, the whole idea was that custom designing APIC's was/is EXPENSIVE. Follow the money. Much easier and cheaper to build in functions for lots of things, then provide programming to the end user that fit only their needs, leaving the rest of the "black box" functional but not accessed.

Why are we having to worry about Y2K at all? It was easier to ignore than to fix. Like a squeaky floor. Now, the floor boards may be rotting away, but the only way to be sure is to pull them up and replace them........

-- Jon Williamson (, April 21, 1999.

quasimodo -- I've long admitted I'm ignorant on embeddeds. But your post expresses my own intuitive convictions based on experience in Dilbert's other world, software. Interestingly, while I usually disagree with Hoffmeister, his own software ideas on Y2K seem to be to "replace" everything with SAP. Not do-able, but significant.

We'll know soon ...

-- Bigdog (, April 21, 1999.

OK, if these clocks that can't be set are going to fail at or near Y2K, then someone has to tell me how they get the right date. Come on, give me a reasonable process that can set the clock if you can't set the clock.

Sounds like an oxymoron - I can't set the clock but it knows the date. No clock gets set by itself - and unlike mechanical clocks, digital clocks must start up at zero or some other preset - they can't start at a random point. They don't get set to the right time by magic or the tooth fairy.

What happens when you pull the plug on a VCR? It looses the time and either starts at midnight (flashing twelve) or it has a battery and keeps the time. If you never set the time, it isn't the right time or date, it is the factory startup default plus however much time has passed. Same thing applies here - if the clock isn't set it doesn't have the right time.

Beech is projecting his (limited) knowledge of software onto hardware, and arriving at the wrong conclusions.

Personally I think he should go back into his Ark Two underground school busses and stay there.

-- Paul Davis (, April 21, 1999.

Another brilliant contribution to this forum by the DGI idiot Paul Davis.

-- Disgusted (, April 21, 1999.

No, Disgusted, you are the DGI when it comes to embedded systems.

-- Doomslayer (1@2.3), April 21, 1999.

As usual, this question very quickly slips into "Did!" "Didn't!" "Will!" "Won't!" "Is!" Isn't!" and whatever information might be available is drowned in invective.

One side may be right, or partly right, and the other may be wrong, or partly wrong, but which is which can't be decided. In any case, I'm certain that no one here -- whatever their position on this question -- is in a position to alter the eventual outcome in any way.

So what's the point of this? It's an argument without discernible content.

-- Tom Carey (, April 21, 1999.

An open letter to Bruce Beach and hopefully and end to this insanity:

Dear Bruce:

Please stop! You had the opportunity to retain at least a shred of your dignity by simply admitting the errors in your original paper or even just refusing to futher comment on the subject. By your latest response shows how little grasp of the subject matter you have. I am not sure why you are so desperately clinging to an indefensible position but it is pathetic. Please stop!

Let's take just a few things in the order that you present them:

You wrote: GAS.htm
A description at length of just how the Beach Bug developed and an interview at a large Oil Company Refinery Research Facility which verified the first of the following hypotheses.  1. That there is a large amount of objective and quantified evidence to support what was Dr. Frautschi's theoretical speculation that there exist many embedded processors that will be affected by the Y2K rollover.

Where exactly is this "objective and quantified" evidence? The only 'evidence' in the referenced article are the alleged quotes from unknown engineers at an unknown research facility. Everything else is your own speculation. If the information from this interview is so compelling, why has it not been televised? You tell us that we should get ABC to show the interview but you won't provide us with any factual information that we could use to try to convince the network execs. So, I'll challenge you again Bruce: provide one piece of factual information about this alleged interview that can be independently verified (affiliate name, research facility name, engineer name, producer name, etc.) so that all of us can benefit from it.

You then wrote:  b. and a second class which I designate as a SECONDARY Clock that may occur in some microprocessor systems, control for which is most usually embedded in ROMs or ASICs when it is present., and for which there is NO TEST capable of finding a problem before the problem actually occurs. This 2b. class of problem, which I now designate as the Beach Bug, logically exists, but as with many astronomical and other scientific predictions, we will just have to wait and see if the future bears it out.

So, there is in fact NO quantifiable or objective evidence that such secondary clocks exist. You state that this is only 1% of the problem and your critics have wrongly focused on this and missed the other 99%. The reason that no one criticized you for the other 99% (as you say) is that the concept of embedded systems with clocks that need to be tested is nothing new. Everyone is aware of it and tests are being conducted and remediation effort, where needed, is happening. Just because no one wrote back to you directly about the known problems does not mean they are unaware of them.

You wrote:  Whatever caveats one may have about  there still remains the indisputable fact that many knowledgeable experts in the field agree that it is possible.

For exampleWho? What knowledgeable expert in the field of microprocessor design believes that this is even a remote possibility? Even more important, so what? Just because there is an infinitesimal "possibility" of something, that does not mean it has any reasonable chance of occurring. There is a possibility of a blizzard in Phoenix in July but for some reason, people there just won't buy snow blowers. There is a possibility that all of the lug nuts on your car will simultaneously loosen themselves, causing a tremendous accident but I'll bet you didn't pull your hubcaps off this morning and check them all.

At least you have come clean (to some extent) that all of this is simply postulation and you have no hard evidence that such secondary clocks exist. If you believe you do have proof, give one example of a device or system that has an internal, absolute clock that is unable to be tested. Your "Positive and Supporting Responses" are interesting in that NONE support your 2b hypothesis which is the primary focus of your article. You even cleverly edited the response of one Mr. Higgz who clearly contradicts you when you read the full text.

Your additional supporting evidence is also interesting as none of it remotely "supports" the premise of a secondary clock as you describe. You make a big deal of the fact that some people say that there is no such thing as a secondary clock while other critics say they have known about it for a long time and it is nothing new. You seem to believe that this inconsistency is 'proof' that you are right. What this is 'proof' of is that you have suffciently muddied the waters that some still believe that your so called secondary clock is nothing more than the RTC which they are well aware of. Those who have read your papers more carefully know that your secondary clock exists only in your imagination.

You wrote:  It is my conclusion, however, that there appears to be as near a consensus as one can get on these things (among knowledgeable, charitable, and even handed responders) that there is nothing from the critics which even begins to invalidate either of the two original hypotheses. In other words, I feel that all the criticisms have been adequately responded to, even though some of my critics may not.

If you found nothing in any of the attached critical responses that caused you to rethink your hypotheses, then you obviously did not welcome criticism as you stated in your original report. All you were interested in was responses that told you, "Gee Bruce, you're a genius!" I won't bother with all of the criticisms but, since you published mine, I will comment on your response to me. First of all, I don't know who Bob Allen is so if you are assuming that is who I am, try again.

(I clearly stated that at TMI it was that valves opened that should have closed, and others closed that should have opened, and that it was not Y2K related, but no use arguing - Bruce)

No, what you clearly stated was: On those occassions[sic] that I have heard of people going to the EXTREME EFFORT of changing the SECONDARY internal clock, or the PROM logic that uses it, they have found disasterous[sic] results. (Perhaps I have just not heard from people who have had good results).But, in the bad cases they have had valves or switches open and not close, or close and not open. (The Three Mile Island Effect, which was a similar timing effect although it was not Y2K connected.)

The TMI accident was not a timing issue in any way, shape or form. The valve malfunctions had nothing to do with the control system and many of the 'failures' were valves that had been manually locked in either an open or closed position by maintenance personnel. Timing had absolutely nothing to do with it.

(he then proceeds with his attempt at character assasination[sic], to which I respond elsewhere -Bruce).

If providing indisputable facts about your credentials is 'character assassination', that only proves that your original characterization of your qualifications was exaggeration at best.

Finally, we get to your responses to your critics. Since you feel as though I assassinated your character by questioning your credentials, I will address that one first: Your basketball story, while humorous, is not relevant. In your example, the midget can actually "prove his qualifications" by making baskets while you have yet to prove anything. If the midget had simply told the coach that he was the next Michael Jordan and the coach rejected him, that would have been an appropriate analogy.

 But that aside, I was particularly chagrined by the attack on my microprocessor patents. First, there was the disparaging remark that I only had one patent. If I had only had a Canadian patent the remark would have been that I only had a Canadian patent and not a U.S. patent.

The remark is only disparaging if you attempted to mislead the reader on how many patents you actually held. You stated that you "hold both U.S. and Canadian microprocessor patents." That statement means that you hold US microprocessor patents (plural) and Canadian microprocessor patents (plural). The correct statement is that you hold both a US and a Canadian patent. If this was purely a grammatical error, I'll concede the point that you were not intentionally misleading on the quantity of patents you hold.

The following paragraphs where you describe your patent process are pure fantasy. The patent was NOT for a general purpose teaching device as there are no such claims to be found in it. It was a simplistic chess game designed to teach someone the standard moves of standard chess games. It was a programming technique where a set of pre-defined chess moves were programmed in (the optimum set of moves) and the user learned these by trying moves and being told yes or no by the device. No amount of spin can ever make this a 'microprocessor patent'. There are no gray areas in patent applications so this was clearly a game, maybe a tool for teaching chess, but in no way a microprocessor patent or anything else. It describes an algorithm, a set of coded moves and a display and user interface that are all specific to and applicable only to chess. To suggest that this is in any way a "general purpose teaching tool" is completely false. Even if you insist on calling it a microprocessor patent, there is nothing about the patent related to the topic of your paper nor anything that would convince even a casual reader that your were eminently qualified (i.e. more knowledgeable than 99% of the population as you assert) to discuss a new theory of embedded system clocks, of which you have no proof. The other discussion about manufacturing problems, etc. while possibly true (although impossible to verify) has nothing to do with the patent itself.

As to which books I have written, what their library of Congress numbers are, where my previous teaching positions were, and even the nature of my sex life, I am sure can be discovered by Mr. Starr's apprentices or admirers, but I have no inclination to further help them.

Translation: "These things have even less to do with the topic than my alleged microprocessor patent and would only make my credentials look worse."

As far as your terminology response goes, did it ever occur to you that maybe the reason that everybody uses the term 'RTC' without needing to define it is because it is well understood and the reason no one understands the term 'secondary clock' (and the reason you could find nothing written about it) is because it doesn't exist?

In your Mechanism and Seeding Responses, you fail to address the real issue. Yes there are RTC's in PROM's and ASICs, etc. but that is not the issue. Your description of a secondary clock is one which is embedded, one which has an absolute date (else it would not be Y2K sensitive), and one which has no way of being set externally. You still cannot provide a concrete example of such a clock nor even a remotely plausible scenario about why or how such a clock might have evolved.

If the manufacturer has set a default date (i.e. 1/1/80) into the device, then he has also created a mechanism with which to set it. If there were a clock in a chip that no way of being set externally, it could only be a relative measure of time, not absolute, because there would be no way for even the manufacturer to set it. If it measure relative time only, it cannot be Y2K sensitive.

The concept of batteries and power only serve to further muddle the discussion. It doesn't matter if a chip or other device remembers time when power is disconnected because you can set the time to whatever you want. There are no such devices that have a built in absolute clock that is Y2K sensitive AND is incapable of being set and/or tested for compliance. That is the fundamental premise of your argument and it does not hold water.

No intelligent person would ever design something like that. It would be the height of stupidity to do so and the odds of someone that stupid being able to get the rest of his design to function are astronomical. And how do you respond to this statement: well, maybe so but you cannot prove that no one ever did that so there is that possibility! And you accuse others of setting up strawmen? Since you are a former college professor, I assume you took some basic Logic courses and are aware that a negative cannot be proven. No one would ever design a car that blew up when it reached 75 mph but I cannot prove that statement either. I can come up with a million implausible hypotheses that no one can prove wrong because you cannot prove a negative. That is Logic 101, and as a former professor you should understand the concept well. It is you who is setting up the strawman by making a ludicrous assertion and claiming victory because no one can prove that you are wrong.

In summary, I will quote the one thing you got absolutely correct:

Creative minds can come up with all sorts of possibilities

That in a nut shell, sums up your entire premise.

-- RMS (, April 21, 1999.

RMS - you might have added that his quote from me was taken totally out of context as well. I have vehemently pointed out that even if a RTC was used solely as a sort of digital stopwatch, if it was not set to a date, it would start at zero date - ie 99 years to rollover. Which fact invalidates Beach's argument totally re hardware. His quote from me was so out of context as to be outrageous.

-- Paul Davis (, April 21, 1999.

>>Bruce's conclusions match those of the IEEE (Institute or International) Electrical and Electronic Engineers Association.<<

Whoa! That is patently FALSE! Those two organizations have neither endorsed nor even acknowledged Beach's specific argument!

Beach tries to present the assumption that these organizations would agree with him; in fact, he has merely taken some concerns of theirs, twisted and smished them into something completely new and then presented it as "fact."

(Complete with the usual "unidentified" and "confidential" sources.)

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, April 21, 1999.


Yes, he misquoted a lot but I ran out of gas trying to get everything in. His 'response' was 61 pages printed out and I could have easily matched that in return.


-- RMS (, April 21, 1999.

Hey RMS:

1. How many microprocessor patents do you hold? As many as Paul Davis? Thought so...ZERO.

2. Have you had a chance to locate the clock chip in your VCR? No? Didn't have the patience huh? Though it was unnecessary eh? That's not surprising. It's the same attitude we see in the real world, and the main reason why so many lives will be lost due to catastrophic systems failures.

-- a (a@a.a), April 21, 1999.

What a bunch of crap a.a.a.

At least RMS doesn't claim he holds a patent for something that is really something else. You're as full of shit on this as Beachnut is.

And who the hell cares about their VCR anyway?

-- Doomslayer (1@2.3), April 21, 1999.

Hey Shit-for-brains!

1. How many microprocessor patents do you hold? None. How many did I claim to have? None!

2. Have you had a chance to locate the clock chip in your VCR? No, it was a stupid an pointless exercise as I pointed out to you several times. I notice you failed to respond to my last post in that thread -- can't take it, huh?

You are an amazing piece of work! Out of that entire post, you are unable to refute a single thing I said. Yet, you feel like you have to make a post anyhow and display your 8th grade education! Wow, I am impressed that someone with such an obvious shortage of common sense and intelligence has managed to stay alive and can actually find the on button on his PC.

I await more of your riveting commentary on Y2K.


-- RMS (, April 21, 1999.


My apologies. I was imprecise in my wording. What I was trying to say was that the IEEE also stated that there was no testing protocol for embedded microprocessors. That was due to the "hardwired" programming at the basic level.

Of course, the IEEE has not agreed with nor endorsed Bruce's position. What I meant to say was that the conclusion that Bruce reached was similar to the original concerns about embedded processors. Only a small percentage may fail, unless the 25% figure is true. Then we are, indeed, toast. I'm hoping it's a mistake.

-- Jon Williamson (, April 21, 1999.


The _original_ concerns; those concerns have been assuaged greatly by actual field testing. Regardless of the apocryphal stories that are often posted here ("I know someone who knows someone inside a nameless company that swears that 40% of their embedded systems failed during one test!"), the fact is, only a fraction of a percent of all embedded systems are at risk in January.

One of my complaints about Y2K is that a lot of the info being circulated about it is OLD. (How many times is that thing about the security system locking people out of a plant going to be repeated?) The latest news is almost all GOOD.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, April 21, 1999.


I hold precisely the same number of MICROPROCESSOR patents as Bruce Beach: zero. The patent (singular, not plural) is listed with the US and Canadian patent offices under the heading "Gaming Device."

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, April 21, 1999.

Stephen M. Poole, CET,

I'll bet you'd be surprised to see the official title of the U.S. patent on the wheelbarrow.

-- No Spam Please (, April 21, 1999.

Oh great, now we'll compare Beach's patent to the wheelbarrow. Shit by any other name still stinks.

It doesn't matter what Beach's patent is called, it still is not a microprocessor.

-- Doomslayer (1@2.3), April 21, 1999.

No Spam:

If it were only the title, that would be one thing. But the full text is available on the Canadian Patent Organization website if you are interested. I challenge any of Beach's supporters to actually read that and explain to me why that should convince me that this man knows what he is talking about in regards to embedded systems.


-- RMS (, April 21, 1999.

I challenge any of RMS's supporters to actually read his posts and explain to me why that should convince me that this man knows what he is talking about in regards to embedded systems.

Can't even locate the clock chip on his VCR...shheesh...

-- a (a@a.a), April 21, 1999.

Oh good, the shithead finally responds! And, I accept your lack of response to my challenge to be an admission of failure. Better luck next time!

-- RMS (, April 21, 1999.

R, I haven't even read it. I skimmed it, saw the same ole same ole, and became entertained by your obsession with Mr. Beach's grammar. That's when I though it funny that someone who has NO patents on microprocessor controlled devices was taking someone who DID to task for his GRAMMAR when he described them! BTW, His grammar is correct. Learn the English language you moron.

The bottom line is the same: the bugs are there, some will fail. The only question is magnitude and consequence.

-- a (a@a.a), April 21, 1999.

hmmmmm, this little exchnage calls for a de-lurk. "a", you're behaving like a simple-minded empty headed fool. If youre not too busy scanning csy2k for your hero's (milne) butt nuggets of wisdom, maybe you can rub two brain cells together and refute RMS and other's contention that this Beechnut dude is about as goofy as..... well,you, for example.

-- BigBadTrolls (bfi@bfi.bfi), April 21, 1999.

"You're as full of shit"

"Hey Shit-for-brains!"

"butt nuggets"

Yea, you guys present a real good argument. I knew it wouldn't take long for you the show your age, or is that your IQ? And you wonder why we should question your logic? Go on home to GNIABFI now kids. We know what you're all about. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 21, 1999.

PS - Oh yea, this is a real nice way to welcome a new person to the forum. Morons.

-- Sysman (, April 21, 1999.


Argument-by-juvenile-insult seems pretty randomly distributed here. Indeed, since pessimists dominate on this forum, such insults are more numerous from the pessimists, though no more creative.

-- Flint (, April 21, 1999.

Sorry Flint, these IDIOTS (GNIABFI) show up in force, talking the I AM THE EXPERT stuff, DEBUNKING, yea, he's full of **** stuff, and we are supposed to believe these EXPERTS?!?! OK, I'll listen to anybody's point of view, if they SEEM TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. Give me a break. What we have here are a bunch of the "class of 1999" know nothing turkeys. Maybe they had a "computer science 1" class. Their maturity is so obvious. Yea, I could talk a bunch of s**t if I had the Intel x86 manual in front of me. It has ALL THE KEYWORDS. These morons don't have a clue. Notice how they vanish when ther're called! No reply here, none on other threads. They take a day or two off, then come back with a fresh KNOW IT ALL ATTITUDE! From now on, my only comment to these !@#$%^& *()_+|} will be... PS - And I suggest that the rest of the forum take notice.

-- Sysman (, April 22, 1999.

Signed, <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 22, 1999.

Ok Sysman:

Give me your best shot since you seem to be such a know it all. I challeneged aaaaaa or any one else who supports Beach to refute anything -- not everything, ANYTHING -- I said and he comes back with his typical non-sensical bullshit! He even still believes that Beach actually HAS a microprocessor patent!

You want to attack me, fine. If you think I am being to hard on Beach, that's your opinion. I do not hold any microprocessor patents for the record but then I never claimed to nor did I pose as a microprocessor expert nor did I say I knew more than 99% of the population about embedded systems. When you make claims like that and have NOTHING to back them up, you are asking to be debunked.

And I have not gone anywhere so don't try that tired old argument. I actually have a life that does not revolve around sitting in front of a computer monitor, contrary to you and aaaaaa based on the volume of your posts. So, if I fail to respond immediately, I may be watching my son's soccer game or cutting the grass or any one of a number of things. By the way , Sysman, I never saw your response in the "Enlighten me..." thread. Did you really want to be enlightened or were you playing the part of a troll because you thought you knew something?

So, to aaaaaa AND Sysman I repeat: refute what I said.

-- RMS (, April 22, 1999.

Mark Howard:

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Yourdonites.


Why does it matter that RMS does not have a microprocessor patent? By your logic, only those who have patents would be entitled to discuss technical matters. What counts in this debate on embeddeds (as in any technical area of Y2K) is academic background - i.e. have you studied the stuff - and practical experience.


Re - insults. Yeah it adds to the NOISE, but sometimes I understand why some of the technical guys flip out when their "opponents" won't argue on the facts.


I'm disappointed with your post (the one just after Flint's). Are you in a grumpy mood? Davis and Poole have been pretty open about their qualifications. From the perspective of this non-techie they appear to know embeddeds pretty well. In the end, Beach will have to walk the talk: you just can't keep pushing out the kind of stuff he is without giving your peers the chance to test it - i.e. you have to cite your sources.

-Keep your stick on the ice-

-- Johnny Canuck (, April 22, 1999.


I don't have a problem with Paul Davis. I didn't have a problem with Stephen Pool, until I read this thread...

Question..Gartner Group says Y2k will start...

This post is directed at Doomslayer, BigBadTrolls and RMS. When making your point gets to the shithead level, well, I wonder if these guys are of legal drinking age.


I really do have better things to do than refute your tunnel vision. Why should I waste my time on a person who responds with shithead? You are a first class dunce in my book. Maybe when you grow up. I won't hold my breath. For now, I'll just save your remarks, and be sure to post them in any thread that you answer. Moron. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 22, 1999.

Oh, and yes Mark, Welcome to the wonderful world of the Yourdonites. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 22, 1999.

Hey RMS, it's been an hour, haven't you grown up yet? Oh well, I guess I'll give you a break on your 1st grade language. You want a refute? I'll tell ya what, I've been very busy, as noted above, and haven't read Beach's latest yet. Give me until the weekend to catch up. I'll start a new thread when I do. I've already got some ideas, but it's 2:20 AM, and I've got another busy day ahead. I'll give you a hint...

Hoffmeister, my take on this discussion is long term "counters" that are initialized to zero when powered on, and may overflow some time later. For 3Com to make this statement about every digital component manufacturer in the world is more than outlandish. It would be comical if this wern't such a serious issue. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 12, 1999.


Sysman, yes, that is the discussion. And maybe I missed it, but nowhere did Beach address the point made by Paul Davis; that, if initially set to 0, we're talking about a 99 year time frame (of continuous power) until failure.

-- Hoffmeister (, April 12, 1999.

Later, dude. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 22, 1999.


3Com didn't say there were no manufacturers in the world who did this. They said they weren't aware of any, and I can believe that. In any case, as Paul Davis says, this is really a code problem and not a hardware problem. But please understand that this is an engineering viewpoint. From where I sit, if I burn bad code into a 1-shot microcontroller, it's a bad code problem. But from any normal perspective, it's a hardware problem, since the solution usually involves replacing hardware anyway.

For details, see my post under the 'tertiary clocks' thread on the debunking forum (called A True Story). There I give real details about a secondary clock I created.

-- Flint (, April 22, 1999.

Dear Sysman (a/k/a "The Pot")

After seeing the above remarks, well, what can I say, your IQ is starting to show. While not as colorful as my response to aaaaa, it means the same thing.


RMS ("The Kettle")

P.S. - 9:00am, still waiting.

-- RMS (, April 22, 1999.

To my good friend aaaahhhhhhh!!

I see you still have failed to respond. That is becoming typical with you when you no longer can debate with facts. Throw a few meaningless statements out there, call the poster a pollyanna troll, and vanish into thin air. I hope you and Buried-Bus Beach have a good time!


P.S. - By the way, my grammar IS correct. Ask a 6th grader to explain correlative conjunctions to you! Or, ask your teacher yourself next year!

-- RMS (, April 22, 1999.

Here RMS, I'll let Scary Gary handle my lightwork:

The #1 Issue in Beach's Essay Is the 25% Failure Rate

Comment: In my original posting on Bruce Beach's essay, I labeled it, 25% Systems Failure Rate: The End of the Case for Y2K Optimism. I thought this indicated why I thought it was important.

In a letter to his list, Mr. Beach recently wrote:

"5. In my article I also described a theoretical possibility of a Y2K related type of bug that I now call the Beach Bug and which can at occur anytime after Y2K.

"I estimate that it may be present in perhaps less than 1% of embedded processor situations.

"TOTALLY UNREALISTICALLY this 1% theoretical possibility has generated over 99% of the subsequent discussion and the 25% objectively verified reality has generated practically none."

The programmers have ignored this. All they want to talk about is Beach's two-clock thesis. This is another piece of evidence that programmers are lost in the y2k woods because all they care to acknowledge is the existence of lots of trees. They are tree-focused people. Their unwillingness to remove their blinders, beginning in the 1950's, will cost us dearly.

-- a (a@a.a), April 22, 1999.

And after you've spun that one, here's another:

Subject: 4/10ths of 1% Have Done Date Testing


Comment: This comment from Roleigh Martin on the NERC report bears consideration.

This was posted on Rick Cowles EUY2K Forum.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * f, p.21

"Of particular interest are the results of integrated tests involving the entire power station. More than 40 units at more than a dozen utilities have been tested while operating on-line and producing power. These tests consist of simultaneously moving as many systems and components as possible forward or backward to various critical dates. These tests require an extraordinary level of preparation and coordination to ensure the safety of all systems and that the impact to the electric system would be minimal should a unit trip during the test."

What does the above numbers mean--take the total number of units in the US per the US DOE data, which is 10,421. -- Electric Utilities as of 1/1998 (Number of Units): 10,421

It means that:

Only 4/10ths of 1% of Power Units have been fully tested; with 11 months left!

I know there are some very optimistic utility insider experts on this forum. I don't see how optimism can be so high with such little integrated testing. I realize that NERC says that tbe above tests encountered no significant problems, but to assert that the rest of the class does not need to do integrated testing because the "A" students did it without problems, is to me absurd. I work in a very large Fortune 500 company and the most expensive part of our Y2K project is the integrated Y2K test lab. I know the utilities do not want to spend the time nor the money to do integrated testing, yet I've seen several project teams go into the lab to find out they were not in fact done and they had to go back to development and then go back to the lab again. At our company one can not go into integrated y2k test labs without certifying that at the component level everything is found to be Y2K okay. . . .

-- a (a@a.a), April 22, 1999.


And you have the nerve to say that Beach posts totally out of context! It looks like I'm going to have an easy job with this one. You guys are destroying your own credibility.


"(Yeah. Right. All three (3) computers in Afghanistan and Zaire might fail. Yep, that could kill us. Great point.)"


"It has gained fame and notoriety SOLEY [sic] because it coincides with the Spooky and Mystical Dawn of the New Millennium"

Man, did I have you wrong. When you first showed up here, while I didn't agree with you, I did respect your opinion. I thought you were an intelligent guy. After seeing the above remarks, well, what can I say, your IQ is starting to show. You have just lost all of your credibility with me. I was starting to think about some of your points on the Beach issue. So much for that.


This from a self proclaimed embedded systems expert. I'll stick with my original remark, thank you. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 22, 1999.

There's a point where a food fight becomes boring.

I repeat, for the dyslexic in our midst: one here -- whatever their position on this question -- is in a position to alter the eventual outcome in any way. So what's the point of this? It's an argument without discernible content.

-- Tom Carey (, April 22, 1999.


Your persistence is commendable, your refusal to address specific points is curious, and your lack of original thought sad. Anyone can re-post what somebody else wrote and add nothing to it.

Leaving your 'light work' up to Gary North is simply more evidence that you have nothing significant to say on this point. If you, Gary North and Bruce Beach believe that an unverifiable TV interview by an unnamed ABC network affiliate by an unnamed producer in which an unnamed engineer at an unnamed research center of an unnamed oil company states that they have had 25% failures constitutes "objectively verified reality" you are all so far gone that any response is pointless. North even misquoted beach as what he has in quotation marks does not show up as such in Beach's latest diatribe.

As to your second post, it has nothing to do with the subject. Isn't this one of the 25 steps of disinformation, change the subject when you are losing. But, I'll give you the courtesy of responding anyhow (something you have yet to do to most of my direct questions but I guess that just goes to show which of us is capable of an intelligent response and which is not). If you read the whole statement, it clearly says that these tests require great care when done online. Utilities are proceeding cautiously and that is commendable. The low number is of some concern but the fact that they have found no significant problems is certianly good news. I think some of the conclusions that Roleigh Martin drew are incorrect:

1. First, the title (4/10ths of 1% Have Done Date Testing) is misleading and implies the remainder have done NO testing whatsoever which is patently untrue.

2. I see no where were it is stated or implied that "the rest... [do] not need to do integrated testing because the[se]... did it without problems." Testing continues as before, and these results will certainly be used to improve testing procedures on other units.

3. How does he conclude that these were the "A students", in other words, the units in the best shape in regards to Y2K issues? What if these were the F students? Doesn't that change the conclusions somewhat? What if these were average? Nobody is saying that these 40 units mean there are no problems anywhere.

But again I ask the question which you have refused to answer or even acknowledge numerous times: Why can this good news not be extrapolated to the same extent as bad news is? If they HAD encountered significant problems, then you would have posted that these problems surely existed in ALL units since they are all so similar.

4. Finally, despite his unverifiable anecdotal evidence, the NERC report IS verifiable, objective evidence that in at least some cases, integrated testing will not uncover any additional Y2K issues which were not already addressed through component verification. In some cases, integrated testing will not be required to ensure a system or process will be functional.

Is that enough 'spin' for you? I'm not even dizzy! I await more of your brilliantly conceived posts with baited breath!


-- RMS (, April 22, 1999.


What is your point? Your statement regarding Mr. Poole's IQ had the same meaning as my 'shithead' statement to Mr. aaaahhhh! Note that your statement was not directed at me nor was mine at you. Now, are you going to start acting like aaaaahhhhh and respond to something so insignificant while ignoring the substance? I guess since you've now had nearly 12 hours to come up with any kind of a reasonable response and this is all you have posted, I know all I need to know.

-- RMS (, April 22, 1999.

PS to Sysman:

Please show where I have ever proclaimed myself an embedded systems expert or retract your unfounded accusation!

-- RMS (, April 22, 1999.


Did you leave your reading glasses at home this morning?

"I've been very busy, as noted above, and haven't read Beach's latest yet. Give me until the weekend to catch up. I'll start a new thread when I do."

Sorry, I've got to get back to work now. I'm in the middle of an NT server install. <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 22, 1999.

PS to RMS,

Do you even know HOW to read? The statement was directed at Mr. Poole, not you. <:)=

-- SYsman (, April 22, 1999.


Which statement are you talking about? The one about IQ that I already acknowledged was directed at Mr. Poole? Or the one about the self proclaimed embedded system expert which is the closing remark in a post addressed to 'RMS'? Now, who can't read?

-- RMS (, April 22, 1999.

This thread certainly had a growth spurt whilst I was busy!

Disgusted - put up or shut up. If you have some new way to set a clock that does not have the GO pin connected, tell me. The only way I know of to do that was posted on this board under MY FINAL ANSWER TO BRUCE BEACH - and is in the techno-geek questions.

Software clocks are a different matter - but still require setting. If you check out Flint's stuff that he referenced, you will find out that the solution to the problem was to introduce an error in the master (radio broadcast) timing signal that cancels the error in the software. This general sort of thing is common practice - you can even stretch windowing to fit the definition. Software is much easier to deal with than hardware for the most part.

-- Paul Davis (, April 22, 1999.

Sysman, their's plenty of name-calling flying around from all angles, so don't get so riled up over a few shits. And to anyone here, if you think that insults and cussing are only done by kids you haven't been around much. Almost anybody will do it when they get excited. Go back and read some of Paul Milne's stuff if you want to see some insults.

And for the record, I have a B.S. in Computer Science and 22 years of experience in the IT industry.

-- Doomslayer (1@2.3), April 22, 1999.

soooo, where is this 'a@a.a' ASSHOLE who could only CALL NAMES instead of refute logic and reason....

You little twit, you owe an apology to those you flamed! TIME has proven them correct, now hasn't it?

(or will you us the time honored cop-out of "just wait and see"...remember, we are talking about embedded proccessor clocks...they have either reached the year 2000 or they haven't...)

tick tock.

-- The Instigator (, January 04, 2000.

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