Italy has a major problem : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I pulled this from the csy2k board.

THE TIMES May 14 1999 EUROPE Tardy nation invites chaos at millennium celebrations BY RICHARD OWEN OFFICIALS given the task of ridding Italy of the millennium bug issued a warning yesterday that, with just over seven months to the deadline, a promised #2 million budget had yet to be approved by parliament - and they still had no powers to force companies and government departments to comply. "Italy is going to crash, and we are going to be crucified," Romano Oneda, the education expert on Italy's Year 2000 Committee, said. "We are supposed to make things go so smoothly that nobody would realise there was ever a problem. Instead we will be the scapegoats. We have only consultative powers, and no one is listening to us." Roberto Di Martino, a computer software expert on the committee, said "even now no executive wants to tell his company they have to spend both time and money on this". Augusto Leggio, whose task is to persuade the transport and telecommunications sectors to face up to Y2K, said the problem was "so vast there is no point in getting hysterical". He said the Interior Ministry, which controls police and immigration services, hoped to guarantee most essential services by the end of this year, but would not be fully compliant until July 2000. "I don't think they have quite grasped what this is all about," one official said. Planners in Italy and Vatican City are only now beginning to realise that they face a nightmare. The tourist industry is losing millions of pounds because of the Balkans war, and it is feared that many planning to see in the Holy Year in the Eternal City will go elsewhere because of Y2K. "Imagine the dawn of the new millennium", said Il Messaggero, the Rome daily. "Twenty six million people have come to the Eternal City. But traffic lights and automatic banking machines are out of order, the airport is in chaos, food and water are running out. There could be panic and disorder." The Government has, belatedly, begun broadcasting radio advertisements explaining that the bug affects any system storing the year as two digits rather than four. According to one survey, only 2 per cent of Italians have heard of the problem. The Y2K campaign has been put in the hands of Professor Ernesto Bettinelli, an energetic former junior Minister for Public Administration. But he continues to teach constitutional law at Padua University while running the committee, which started work in February. It has been allotted Ministry of Tourism rooms, with a staff of six, three telephones and one secretary, and draws on the unpaid services of 22 experts in such fields as banking, traffic control and food distribution. Professor Bettinelli said: "It is rather like Italy's experience with qualifying for the euro. Italy often starts late and then makes up for lost time with bursts of acceleration." Others are less sanguine. "If you have to choose a day to be ill, fly on an airplane or get in a lift, avoid Italy on December 31," said La Repubblica. General Natalino Lecca, the professor's right-hand man, admits the country was a "relatively late starter" in computerising offices and services. "But this could be an advantage; it means we have fewer older-generation computers infected by the bug." He also sees an advantage in Italy's family-owned food stores, which mostly "still do everything by hand". But Valeria Severini, an economist, said the dangers were being underestimated. "Fiat's computer system went down for six days recently, even though they had spent #50 million on a debugging programme." She predicted a big fall in industrial production next year. The bureaucracy is grinding to a halt, social security and pension payments being made by hand. Many hospitals have taken little or no action. But some point out that Italian life is already "organised chaos", so if urban support systems collapse, no one will notice. Said Beppe Severgnini of Corriere della Sera: "We have a gift for transforming any crisis into one big party."

-- Mike Lang (, May 14, 1999


According to one survey, only 2 per cent of Italians have heard of the problem.

If that statistic is true, then we have a very telling clue about the state of remediation in Italy. What is it in the U.S. now...80%?

-- Kevin (, May 14, 1999.

The results of a March 1999 Gallup Poll on Y2K are at this link:

-- Kevin (, May 14, 1999.

A recent quote about Italy from, believe it or not, Peter de Jager:


The prep work has not been done in France. Germany's even worse. And forget Italy. I have no idea what's going to happen to Italy. They are so far behind -- way further behind France and Germany. The minister of finance said several years ago, 'Y2K's not a problem. It's a long weekend. We'll fix it then.' He's on record as saying that. They have been totally oblivious to this. I just don't know what's going to happen in those places. ... My work has been available to everybody. It's all on the Internet. And these folks have just ignored it."


-- Kevin (, May 14, 1999.

Good links Kevin, and thanks for the Jagermeister quote.

How many reverse gears on Italy's tank will be needed to save their hide?

This is the sort of stuff that sails completely over poole's head - 'cos it's not in his backyard it doesn't matter and won't effect HIM.

Talk about short-sighted, Mr. Magoo has 20-20 compared to poole and his ilk.

-- Andy (, May 14, 1999.

Sorry about that last link. Here's the correct one for de Jager's quote about Italy:

-- Kevin (, May 14, 1999.

No worries. We'll be hearing from people who weren't planning to go to Rome for the Holy Year bash anyway. Or that they can get along without spaghetti. Or that programmers are just trying to drum up trade.

Apparently Janet Abrams' teleconference with movers and shakers in Italy last December 17 failed to get their attention. (Transcript)

-- Tom Carey (, May 14, 1999.

From the article:

[the problem is] "so vast there is no point in getting hysterical".

They are finished as a country, and as a world economy. What pollyanna would like to argue this point?

-- a (a@a.a), May 14, 1999.

Professor Bettinelli said: "It is rather like Italy's experience with qualifying for the euro. Italy often starts late and then makes up for lost time with bursts of acceleration." No, no, no, bbzzzzzt! deduct five points from the reporter's score for extreme laziness: that quote is already several months old. If ya want that'll really make you laugh (or cry), try this one:

Prof.. Ernesto Bettinelli, president of the Italian govt Year 2000 committee: "we are completing web pages one by one, and we hope to have a complete [year 2000] web site up by Dec. 31".... web pages!!!! just serves to underscore the utter useleness of the efforts of the central Italian government .... what are we on now, the 45th or 46th government since WW2?

The private "informatica' sector is doing just fine - which is to say, chaotically Italian style, SOP.... try doing a search on Virgilio (an Italian search engine, with a most befitting name) for y2k, and just look at all the consultants and solution providers that pop up.

Government? Fuggedabouddit!!

I'd rather listen to Beppe Severigni, a combination Dave Barry/Bill Bryson.

As for Andy - I believe that little remark about the reverse gear on the tanks was an ethnic slur.... in which case, a hearty VAFFANCULO!!! to you, old son. (if you need any help with the translation, let me know)

And 'a'.... 'They are finished as a country, and as a world economy." Got any special qualifications to be able to make that rather terminal prediction, other than reading a few newspaper articles?f

-- Morgan (, May 15, 1999.

Yep, sorry, didn't like the way they sided with the Germans in WWII.

Shame on me :)

And up yours too me old mucker!

But I do ride a Ducati so they're not all bad...

-- Andy (, May 15, 1999.

oh dearie me, we're resorting to meaningless historical grievances as a cover now.... hmmmm, you must be mightly torqued off at the Romans too for coming up to your neck of the woods and kicking seven different kinds of shite out of you....

I bet you can't stand dem Krauts - but they make good beer (and Beemers), so they can't be all bad.

And dem slanty-eyed yellow-bellied Jap bastards, why the Bomb was too good for 'em - but they make good VCR's, so they can't be all bad...

Do try to be a little more honest in your prejudices, old cock..

-- Morgan (, May 15, 1999.

Morgan I can see you have no sense of humour - what exactly is your problem here? The reverse gear tank analogy was supposed to be a JOKE.

My my we ARE sensitive. And BTW my descendants way way back were French and German. Get over it will ya.

-- Andy (, May 15, 1999.

What's my problem? I'll tell ya... I've seen in the past a couple of similar threads, with tremendously witty little comments such as yours, and I let them slide... My sense of humor is developed enough to smell out lazy, generic ethnic humor. You know the kind:

Where do [insert least favorite group here: italians, greeks, mexicans, brits, french, arabs, etc.] hide their money? Under the soap.

Your "joke" fell into that category: lazy, and in the end, mean- spirited. Hence, your well-earned 'vaffanculo'.

But of course, a bloody Limey with Froggie ancestors..... (slight pause whilst I roll my eyes!)


p.s. that was a joke as well.

-- Morgan (, May 15, 1999.

Actually Morgan, Irish and proud of it. Close. Ancestors shipwrecked from France in Mayo in 1798 (The year Of The French) - before that, German, before that - maybe Romans kicking Brit ass :) I could be an eytie, OH, My God...:)

-- Andy (, May 15, 1999.

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