State Of Y2K - 2nd Half May : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The State Of Y2K -- Second Half of May, 1999

In this issue:

The Happy Face Conspiracy
The Euro: Capers Jones Speaks!
Princeton Economics, The EURO And Artificial Intelligence!
Mitch Ratcliffe Throws Down The Gauntlet!

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, May 18, 1999


Thank you for your report Stephen, I have one question tho-

regarding the ZDNET challenge, you mentioned this:

"Third, I repeat: it's difficult to believe that not ONE programmer with a conscience would be willing to come forward if the problem was as serious as all of these unverified stories make it out to be.

Fourth and finally: if these stories can be believed, the company is going under anyway, so what in the world does the programmer have to lose? "

My question is:

What happened to Bill Hoyt in C.S.Y2K?

For those who wish to know more about ONE programmer who came forward, go to DejaNews and search for author: HOYT in

read all of his posts.

Then Something happened, I don't have an answer to the mystery.

-- PLONK! (, May 18, 1999.

A recent thread about Mitch Ratcliffe's challenge is at this link:

-- Kevin (, May 18, 1999.

Interesting commentary, Mr. Poole. Since I'd not read any of your previous works, I read those also.

I was particularly pleased in finding a definition of DGI. I believe I asked in a post here somewhere, but I don't remember which thread.

I'm new to this forum. I had heard about it a year or so ago from some folks who tried to post and were basically run off because their questions or viewpoints didn't include infrastructure collapse. It was my understanding that the forum had changed recently, however. I was surprised to see you called so many names by some, but had to assume that you had commited a grievous offense in the past and had not been forgiven. Are you suggesting that folks simply don't see the results of YOUR research coinciding with THEIR research as the factor instead?

I truly think it's unfortunate that discussions regarding Y2k include these terms of Pollys and Doomlits. Once labeling gets involved, intelligent discussion withers.


-- Anita Spooner (, May 18, 1999.

Actually Anita,

It's partly because Stephen is such an extremist ... check out his web-site. I'm quite sure he'll provide the link in a moment. ;-D

(The Y2K pendulum swings both ways).

His tactic is "challenge and demand" rather than team-work and co- operative research. People don't ... as a rule ... respond well to perceived bullys.


-- Diane J. Squire (, May 18, 1999.



The link to Stephen's site was the whole point of this thread.

Do you read or do you just flit around the web skimming and doing your copy and paste thing?

-- duh (duh@diane.duh), May 18, 1999.


I did NOT click his link ... he made it "look" like ... "not" his link.

(He's good at that).

Actually given up clicking his links, but "newbies" aren't familiar with his tactics.

Duh, too.


-- Diane J. Squire (, May 18, 1999.


I wouldn't equate an offer of anonymity to posting on usenet, but I'll certainly look into this guy's posts. I remember when Arnold Trembley's management took some exception to his reporting the progress at Master Card. It seems that their concerns were more in his mentioning specific vendors and the software used than the progress of his "benevolent employer." Thanks for reminding me to check out his latest report.

To Diane:

Thanks for the heads-up. I will watch for any "bullying" posts by Stephen. Right now, it seems as though he's trying to balance the pendulum.


-- Anita Spooner (, May 18, 1999.


This phenomenon has mystified me for quite a while. Of course it is very true that the entire y2k issue is incredibly messy. Some organizations seem fine, some seem hopeless, and some are *both* depending on who is doing the assessment. This is one of those important but ambiguous situations where you can come to almost any conclusion with an equal amount of justification. Under such circumstances, I would expect to see mostly interesting discussions, about how each piece might fit into the puzzle, and whether any particular piece gives us a better idea of what the big picture might eventually turn out to look like.

It has been all too rare for anyone to take one small piece (almost any report from anywhere) and ponder what it might mean. Instead, we get polarization. People here have separated themselves into armed camps, each side claiming its predictions are unassailable, and anyone appearing to question them must be dishonest, stupid, or blind. Some have gone so far as to claim that anyone who disagrees with them must be trying to destroy the forum! So the little pieces aren't evaluated for whatever they might be worth. They are held up as gospel or dismissed as lies depending on which pole you are married to, with no further thought applied.

A distressingly high proportion of contributions here consist of no more than personal attacks, and more thought goes into finding sufficiently disdainful and insulting names for the 'enemy' than goes into evaluating the y2k situation. As a result, everybody suffers. And the proposed solution to this problem hasn't been a call for more reason, so much as a call for the 'trolls' (those with different evaluations) to go away!

I believe you are right that dismissing the *person* as a [fill in insult] blinds you to whatever that person might have to say. Two people can ask exactly the same question here, and one will get a thread full of useful responses and the other will get a thread full of vilification. I'm convinced that some here skip the post and read only the poster's name. If it's one of 'us', no response. If 'them', personal attack. Subject matter irrelevant.

But stick around. Your contributions are extremely valueable, and it won't take you long to identify the infants.

-- Flint (, May 18, 1999.


I did as you suggested and researched Bill Hoyt. Here was his final post on c.s.y2k, which should explain quite a bit:

Hoyt: "I hereby retract any and all statements made by me, in my name, or in press accounts using me as a source, concerning the personnel, projects, or remediation status of any specific company, including Zurich Insurance, its subsidiaries Universal Underwriters Group, Zurich Personal, Empire Insurance, Fidelity and Deposit, and Farmers Insurance, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its subsidiaries. I will no longer comment publicly on the projects or status of these companies, nor answer inquiries concerning them. Bill Hoyt"

See what happens when insiders tell the truth?

-- Prometheus (, May 18, 1999.

Now that Flint has let the cat out of the bag, I can only hope Anita doesn't run away screaming! ;-)

Seriously Anita, my take regarding the goings-on here at the Yourdon Forum pretty much mirrors Flint's description. The majority of the people who post here hold the view that it is prudent to put aside some emergency preparations (water, food, etc.). The idea being it's better to have them and not need to use them, than to need them and not have them. The main thrust of the debate, though frequently just the underlying subject, is this - "How much preparation to do for how long of a not-business-as-usual period of time triggered by the effects of the Y2K computer problem?".

IMHO, the crux of the problem here stems from, as Flint so eloquently stated, introduction of 'evidence' both sketchy & seemingly solid, which is then extrapolated to fit an already existing outlook. Polarization is indeed the net effect. Reactions are fiercly partisan.

Please do us a favor & hang around awhile. Do yourself a favor & check the archives, located at the bottom of the "New Questions" page. A great deal of intelligent discourse has taken place here since I first came aboard. If you decide to post on a regular basis know this - you will have to endure attacks of a personal nature. Ask Flint. The man has such an even temperment I could swear he has a little Labrador in him!

Best Wishes,

-- Bingo1 (, May 18, 1999.


I appreciate your (not very optimistic) appraisal of the situation. I also appreciate this new definition of TROLL. I was quite confused by another thread here in which this word was used in a manner quite contrary to my understood definition.

Thanks again.


-- Anita Spooner (, May 18, 1999.

Thank you, Bingo.

You said: If you decide to post on a regular basis know this - you will have to endure attacks of a personal nature.

Sounds like only masochists are up to the challenge?


-- Anita Spooner (, May 18, 1999.


I was surprised to see you called so many names by some, but had to assume that you had commited a grievous offense in the past and had not been forgiven. Are you suggesting that folks simply don't see the results of YOUR research coinciding with THEIR research as the factor instead?

That's part of it. One element of the Y2K Faith is that, if you read everything they recommend, you'll automatically swing toward the "disruption" point of view -- hence the term, "get it" (or GI).

It's very difficult for some people to accept that maybe someone like me COULD have read everything they've recommended -- and still not "get it."

There are any number of reasons why (which I cover in detail at my Website), but the biggest is that they assign far too much importance to computers, and are unwilling to grant that we can work around those computers which fail. Some of these people actually believe that KMart(tm) and Waldenbooks(tm) will simply lock their doors and die if the computers go out. :)


It's partly because Stephen is such an extremist

On the scale of 1-10, you'd probably place me somewhere around a 2 -- which has also been used by others here. That this qualifies me as an "extremist" in your sight is proof of your bias ... as is your admission that you didn't even bother to read what I've written.

If you had read it, you would have seen that I said there would be problems. Where we differ is here: I think we'll work around them, and that the primary impact from Y2K will be economic in nature.

I assume from your signature that you're a fellow Believer. I find it ironic that, in another place and time, we might have been allies. In the Religion and Canopus forums on Compuserve, for example, I have argued tirelessly for the existence of God, the veracity of the Bible, etc., etc -- and you would probably have welcomed my ... erm, bullying ... had I come to your assistance in a debate THERE.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding." Or, as Steve Hewitt says: if we're wrong and Y2K ends up being TEOLAWKI, well, ya'll can come on over to my house ... where we already live each day by faith, not knowing whether we'll get tomorrow or not. The Word says, "I have never seen the Righteous forsaken, or their seed begging for bread." I believe that, and I ain't about to let a computer bug steal that belief from me, either.

Am I being a bully for saying THAT? If so, I covet both your forgiveness and your prayers. :)


See what happens when insiders tell the truth?

... or what happens when insiders are taken in, shown the big picture, and convinced that maybe they were wrong to start with?

Mitch's challenge is quite specific (as is Theroux's). He wants hard evidence. When a "insider" programmer complains that "they're in trouble," that simply doesn't carry much weight with me. He/she can't see the big picture; he/she is under pressure to meet a deadline to start with, and isn't likely to be very optimistic in general.

I can't speak for Mitch, but in my case, I'd like to see, say, some company memos admitting that they can't fix the problem, that there is no contingency plan being developed to deal with the possibility of operating without the computers (that's important!), and an instruction to employees not to say a word about it. Things like that.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, May 18, 1999.


There are links to quite a few Y2K articles and resources at the following thread:

A few of the links have died, including the very first one, but you should find them useful. An "optimist" posted some of his links on the same thread to try to balance out what I was doing.

-- Kevin (, May 18, 1999.

Because putting "that" in writing is equal to suicide in today's environment.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, May 18, 1999.

Look at the footnotes at the bottom of this linked page. Politics has influenced Poole's Y2k views.

Link :

-- Moderate (less@spam.get), May 18, 1999.


Quite so. Maybe we should pay more attention to those who pay no attention to politics, like say Andy, or Crono, or Invar, or a whole host of me-too 'Klinton' bashers?

Then again, maybe you're just applying a handy double standard? Seems to be the norm around here.

-- Flint (, May 18, 1999.

Nobody had asked for my opinion of Invar. Someone did say Poole is an extremist and I agree. Who kicked your dog today?

-- Moderate (less@spam.get), May 18, 1999.

For Kevin:

Thank you. I've taken a cursory look at the link you provided. I fear, however, after this initial glimpse that I've given the wrong impression. I'm NOT a newbie to Y2k information. I've been following Y2k for over 2 years. I've listened to many of the Senate hearings as they unfolded. In fact, I was one of the founders of the MSNBC Year 2000 Issues board way back last year when only remediators posted there to share information on how to fix problems.

As time moved on, more and more folks came to the Year 2000 Issues board to acquire information on preparation. I certainly feel that folks should prepare as much as they choose to feel comfortable about their concerns. I was able to provide information on how to decipher expiration dates, etc. I left that forum when ANYTHING I posted (including a link to Microsoft patches) was seen as simply "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic."

Hopefully, I'll have time tomorrow to look into this link more closely. I just spent much time reading previous threads that related to Drew Parkhill's link...(I THINK) be honest, by the time I finished reading posts from the archives I felt much like Alice down the rabbit hole and didn't quite know WHERE I was.


-- Anita Spooner (, May 18, 1999.

Anita said:

''I left that forum when ANYTHING I posted (including a link to Microsoft patches) was seen as simply "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic."''

Welcome to the club, Anita.

-- Buddy (.@...), May 18, 1999.


Ya beat me to it. :)

Anyone who says he/she doesn't play politics, merely plays politics badly.

I'm GLAD to share how I got suckered into survivalism back in the 70's. The same "insurance for your loved ones!" argument was used back then, too. The perceived threats were nuclear war due to Carter's inept handling of foreign policy, and/or a total collapse of the economy (due in part to a cutoff of foreign oil ... deja vu, deja vu ...[g]).


Re deck chairs on the Titanic: if it becomes obvious here that you're anything more than a cautious optimist, look forward to the same reception. :)

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, May 18, 1999.


It doesn't have to be in writing; I used the "memo" as an example. There are plenty of ways for a reporter to confirm what a source is telling them.

The reason why you don't see much of this "I'm an insider!" stuff in the mainstream media is because it can't be verified. It's just that simple. That's all that Mitch is asking for (and he's a professional for doing so).

The precise means of verification would depend on the story.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, May 18, 1999.


Sorry if I jumped to conclusions. All of our views on y2k are influenced by many things, from politics to religion to our job experiences to (for all know) childhood experiences and sex!

I agree that in the context of this forum, Poole is extremely optimistic. In the context of the public at large, no. But of course the public at large isn't very knowledgeable. And I see a connotative difference between "extremely optimistic" and "an extremist." Do you?

I don't know how useful it is to evaluate the possible validity of anyone's viewpoint based on imputed motivations. Even at the visible margin (North's religious beliefs or Koskinen's charter) it's probably more useful to look at the information itself, and give all due consideration to any analysis of it (discounted, to be sure, by presumed motivation, but not dismissed entirely). There may be something valuable in there.

I was afraid what you wrote would be interpreted as "Poole's information and analysis aren't worth considering because Poole is a politically motivated extremist." Again, if that's not what you meant to say, I apologize. But that's what it sounded like you were saying to me.

-- Flint (, May 18, 1999.


It does rather feel like we've stepped through the looking glass on global Y2K issues here and out in the "real" unreal world.

Welcome to the Mad Hatter's tea party ... on the Titanic ... or in the White House rose garden? Who knows?

(Many of the Yourdon crew, are still trying to identify the storage lockers with all the Y2K life-savers).


If you follow the premise ... balance in all things ... then anything left or right of center is "extreme."

In a two-dimensional world.


"I assume from your signature that you're a fellow Believer. I find it ironic that, in another place and time, we might have been allies."

LOL ... stranger things have happened.

The "Force" moves in mysterious ways!

Diane, remember ... I'm from California ;-D

-- Diane J. Squire (, May 18, 1999.


Personally, I would love to see some real hard info as Mitch as requested.

But I seriously doubt we will.

Imagine if, a year or so ago, Mitch had asked for hard evidence from any employee of Microsoft (or anywhere else,on condition of anonymity) that Microsoft was blatantly trying to force IE on computer users/ manufacturers so as to cut out Netscape.

He would have got nothing, and could then trumpet: "there was NO colusion, no conspiricy, no anti-trust violations!"

of course, when email records were subpoenaed in court, some "evidence" showed up....oops.

What does a programmer have to gain from taking up Mitch's offer?


What does he/she have to lose?


Mitch's offer is a straw man.

BTW- did you bother to read any of Hoyt's old posts? Your terse dismissal of his final post leads me to believe you haven't and don't really care to.

-- PLONK! (, May 19, 1999.

A few comments on Mr. Poole's "second half of May" report . . .

To the best of my knowledge, the Princeton Economic Institute does not solicit or accept individuals as clients; PEI is not an investment or brokerage firm, but is purely in the international forecasting business for huge organizations with assets totaling trillions of dollars. And the analysts at PEI are quite good at it, judging by their track record and by the fact that Japan recently selected them as the world's top forecasting unit. U.S. administrations (e.g., the Reagan administration in 1987) have consulted PEI at times of economic uncertainty. PEI also maintains exhaustive archives and reference material on its site, which, like Yardeni's, is considered one of the best economics sites on the Web.

Re the "AI" computer: I agree that PEI's claim that this $60 million computer is virtually AI is exaggerated, though it was developed in conjunction with the computer sci. dept. at Princeton and those folks are reportedly rather good. PEI bases its claim on the fact that its computer incorporates roughly 10,000 pieces of new economic data from around the world every day, evaluates and "learns" from this new data, and alters its models and projections accordingly. AI or not, it is widely regarded as among the most sophisticated economic modeling and forecasting computers in the business.

Re Capers Jones: I've read only a few of Mr. Jones's books on software metrics, but I do know that he is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, software metrics experts in the world. He's a former top research scientist at IBM, and both he and the company he subsequently founded, Software Productivity Research (SPR), certainly command great respect in the industry. If Mr. Jones says that the introduction of the Euro indeed produced some noteworthy problems, I believe him.

Re the Euro and the British banking system: liquidity is obviously important to any financial system. (Mr. Decker, the forum's resident economist, could explain this fact of economic life much better than I can.) Reference the comments of the IMF's Camdessus and Fischer on the global liquidity problems caused last year by the Asian financial crisis. Also, it is generally believed that one reason that Mr. Greenspan took the extraordinary measure of lowering the Fed Fund rate 25 basis points on Oct. 15, 1998, between FOMC meetings, was in response to a perceived liquidity problem both abroad and at home (in the latter regard, specifically at BankAmerica, if sources such as Wall Street City are to be believed). From what I've read, it sounds as though the British banking system did have a serious Euro-related liquidity problem on its hands for a short while, though obviously there was no danger of outright collapse or of depositor money somehow being "lost."

-- Don Florence (, May 19, 1999.


One of my banking "concerns" is lost things can be found, given that most thigs are operating "normally."

Y2K possibilites indicate that not *all* systems, globally, WILL be operating at full capacity.

That is why Euro or depositer "problems" may NOT be fixed easily or in a "timely" fashion. At least, timely enough to keep some businesses from failing.

Simply expect unknown delays and unusual disruptions.

And we'll just find out, next year, how prepared we should have been.


-- Diane J. Squire (, May 19, 1999.

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