More Gloomy headlines for the doomers... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

US Unsure If Y2K Will Bring Anticlimax Or Chaos

By Andrew Hay

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With just 36 weeks until the year 2000, the United States is hedging its bets on whether the dreaded Y2K computer bug will end the century in anticlimax or chaos.

Even with a barrage of upbeat Year 2000 reports from U.S. companies and government, Americans are not convinced the bug is benign and some are still hunkering down and buying generators and wood stoves.

Experts remain perplexed by the computer glitch and many are more concerned about potential Y2K panic than the Y2K problem itself.

``The only constant in all of this is no one really knows what is going to happen when we cross that date threshold,'' said Bob Cohen, an analyst with the Information Technology Association of America.

The Year 2000 computer problem, known as Y2K for short, arises from many older computers and software programs which only allow two digits for the year in dates.

Unless the systems are fixed or replaced, the year 2000 may be read as 1900, causing computers to crash or spew out bad data.


There is still no hard evidence that the rollover to Year 2000 dates will trigger major computer problems or the blackouts and urban warfare some have predicted.

Concerns remain, however, about bugs buried in small to medium-sized companies, county or municipal governments, and countries outside the United States. ''Our approach is not for people to have no fears,'' said White House Y2K czar John Koskinen. ``It's for people to have fears about the right thing.''

A rash of recent Y2K tests suggest the U.S. power, securities, telecommunications, and air transport sectors are all in pretty good shape.

At first glimpse, it appears progress reports are squashing Year 2000 panic and the more the United States knows about Y2K, the less it worries.

A March survey by the research firm Gallup and the U.S. government's National Science Foundation found only 21 percent of Americans expected major problems in 2000, down from 34 percent at the end of 1998.

But the same survey found the number of people who would not fly in a plane had risen to more than half and those planning to buy wood stoves or generators had risen to nearly a quarter.

People stockpiling food and water had grown from 26 percent to 39 percent.

``The worst fear I have about Y2K is of public panic,'' said Mitchell Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Computer and Information Science.


In what many describe as a self-fulfilling prophecy, Year 2000 stockpiling could provoke the kind of shortages people fear from Y2K glitches.

The U.S. Federal Reserve plans to provide U.S. banks with an additional $200 billion in cash to cover any surge of year-end withdrawals by jittery customers. Pharmaceutical companies see Year 2000 stockpiling as a bigger problem than the Y2K bug and are trying to quash fears of possible prescription medicine shortages.

The United States needs further public assurances of Y2K compliance, experts said.

One grandstand event comes in early summer when the Federal Aviation Administration is scheduled to certify U.S. airlines and air traffic control systems as Year 2000 compliant.

Another red-letter day is September 9, a date some programmers believe could delete computer files with a row of nines. Others say the nines will do nothing.

Amid conflicting Year 2000 information, analysts agree that without evidence of national computer problems, Y2K chaos will remain in the realm of the hypothetical.

Koskinen is confident Y2K will not hit companies and government at the national level. He gave no such assurance for the tens of thousands of counties and municipalities across the United States.

``At the national level I think we're likely to get through with modest or minor inconveniences not major disasters,'' he said in a telephone interview from Washington. ``At the local level, if the local government isn't paying attention to doing the work, or the local hospital or local telephone company aren't, in those communities they may have more significant problems.''

-- Y2K Pro (, April 30, 1999


>``At the national level I think we're likely to get through with 
>modest or minor inconveniences not major disasters,''
>he said in a telephone interview from Washington. ``At the local 
>level, if the local government isn't paying attention
>to doing the work, or the local hospital or local telephone company
>aren't, in those communities they may have more significant 

So, what it boils down to is this: Do you feel lucky today, punk?

-- Gloomy Gus (gloomy@gus.sss), April 30, 1999.

Y2K Pro,

I think the Doomer's are right. Just as they think we hopelessly DGI, I think they're hopeless. Most don't seem to want to climb out of their doom and gloom rut.

No matter what your view is, do yourself a favor everybody. Get the heck away from this place and enjoy the weekend.

bye for now

-- Doomslayer (1@2.3), April 30, 1999.

I believe I live at the "local level."

-- Doug (, April 30, 1999.

doomslayer's right,looks like a nice weekend!!alas!stuck at work : (

-- zoobie (zoobie@zoob.zab), April 30, 1999.

Y2K Pro,

I don't understand your objective. If you don't think this forum (which clearly leans towards TEOTWAWKI)is valuable why are you here? I would not be in, say, a BJ Clinton fan-club since I'm no fan.

If you are trying to determine the nature of potential problems for your own piece-of-mind, insults won't help much.

If you are trying to convice people here that problems will be minimal, insults won't help much.

-- Anonymous99 (, April 30, 1999.

--anonymous99--good answer for alledged "pro". Kinda funny, ain't it, y2k isn't here yet, no one has experienced it, but someone likes to identify themselves as a "pro" in something that hasn't happened yet? How can that be? Personal time machine? Sorta makes ya wonder, doesn't it? Sorta reminds me of these d00ds who are just whizzbang simulator vidiot game players, they get so wrapped up in it, they swear they could fly that(fill in blank of flying death toy), if they only had a chance?

-- zog (, May 01, 1999.

Y2k Pro your are "wonderful", no I mean it; just think about the word and then refer yourself to the bomb portion of my previous post. Then next time post something from your own brain instead of mass media drivel.

Original question

Subject: Does Anyone Else Wonder About The Motives of Y2K Pro and Other Idiot Polly's?

I wonder very little, mostly I don't care. When they get annoying I view it as a source of entertainment. They do need reminding that this board is titled "TIMEBOMB" emphasis on bomb, so they can't think too well; we know that. The advantage they do provide is that they will be with us at the beginning of y2k at least and its better to learn how to deal with them in cyberspace before meeting them on the ground, don't you agree?

My favourite polly is Poole CET, I was a CET for some time and I know that in some cases it stands for "choose extra tutoring"

-- Will (, May 02, 1999.

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