Local Community meeting-what a waste of time!

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Last night I attended a meeting sponsored by the local library. Two guest speakers, one a self-proclaimed geek who heads a local computer hospital and the other, a representative of the Oklahoma City Red Cross chapter, spoke for about 1 3/4 hours. I was unsure of the topic of the meeting before I came so I wasn't sure what to expect. We arrived a few minutes early, took our seats along with about 15 other people (average age was 65?-without me and my husband, average would have been around 75) and waited for the show to begin.

Computer geek was late and librarian started the meeting by trying to explain what the y2k problem was. Just as she was really getting flustered trying to explain, the geek got there. Gave us the usual intro to the problem which I will skip as we have all heard it before.

He covered all the usual areas: telecom, medical, power, water, food supplies. His take was that there will be "nuisance problems"; if the power goes off, there's always a "manual override"; money will drive the fixes; we can always return to pencil and paper; "any problems will probably be fixed before we wake up"; "traffic lights don't care what day it is"; "the bigger the problem, the quicker it will be solved" and other remarks of the same ilk.

Other notable quotes from this geek are: "most of the real nuts are in caves in Arkansas with 45 tons of food" (this in response to his own question, 'will there be mass hysteria?'); "there will probably be dozens of hospitals in OK that will have serious problems"; "after Desert Storm nothing was left for the news to report so we picked up on y2k"; in response to a question about the eternal presence of disclaimers from 'compliant' companies-"disclaimers are to protect businesses from people who are ignorant"-gave a hypothetical example of a "local yokel from Albuequerque who sues over the light bulb going dark"; "I'm going to keep all my $ in the bank, so if there's a problem, I'll earn 100 years interest"; he won't trust any info coming from the President's Council because Koskinen is not a "geek".

He is not going to do any preparation and says that "even if there is no electricity, I will still be at work."

The Red Cross guy gave basically the same intro-all happy, smiley. He then spoke for about 30 minutes on preparation. Nothing new here, in fact, if you search the archives of this forum, you will find much more material. He is going to prepare for the standard three day period but only because he works for the RC.

However, new to me was this information:

Fleming-a local food distributor-appears to have done extensive testing of both their mainframe and their back-up computers. They seem to be compliant (don't know about their vendors, of course)

Admitted that the suggested three day prep was because local shelters can be set up within three days. (I asked what the plan was if there was widespread trouble rather than localized-he stuck with the shelter idea supported by local emergency agencies and churches--I noticed he didn't make eye contact during _this_ time although he had during other questions that I asked.)

He also said that his chapter had been notified recently that they would be expected to be at work on New Year's Eve. (Not an earth-shattering admission but it was local news that I didn't know.)

So, as far as gaining any usable info, the meeting was a bust. The whole meeting infuriated me, 'tho, because there were a number of elderly people who, IMHO, might not prepare because of what these two guys said. I was also angered by the whole way the geek guy presented his 'facts'-not as facts but rhetoric wrapped in an emotional package. There was condescension for those who might be preparing, pity for those who can't figure out that the government and big business won't let anything happen to us...lots of emotional appeal that could make someone undecided decide that it's not worth appearing ignorant and backward.

When there was a Q & A time I asked if the info he was giving us could be supported by any facts or were those his own opinions. He admitted that they were his opinions but his opinions were formulated by info from the Net and other media. He then proceeded to say that info gained from tv, newspapers, etc was oversensationalized and that they pick people to interview who just want fame (his example: "that woman interviewed by 60 minutes, she didn't know anything, she just wanted in the limelight") Later he asked me if I was a reporter, saying that I had asked 'good questions.' All I had done was asked him to confine himself to fact, not hearsay.

I realize I've gone on and on, please forgive. I had hoped for better last night but all I got was a laugh at the community's expense. How sad.


PS The geek confided in me after the meeting that he had a generator-after the tornado he had bought one because he had been out of electricity for four days and couldn't stand it. Can you say hypocrite?

-- newbiebutnodummy (Linda@home.com), May 25, 1999



In a way, I am very sorry that I missed it. Wonder how the geek would of reacted when another geek questioned him?

-- (cannot-say@this.time), May 25, 1999.


I had a geek right beside (DH!) but he's still middle of the fence so he didn't speak up. I could have used your moral support! Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (Linda@home.com), May 25, 1999.

Multiply this a thousand fold. Spread over the entire country. Some places are better. Many, many places are worse. At least you had a meeting. There are none going on here. Recognize the level your community is at and also what you will be dealing with later because of their disinterest. Not many days hence we will see these same people aggrevated, shocked, fearful, panic stricken, angery and volatile. Stay out of their way at all costs until they settle down.

-- David (C.D@I.N), May 25, 1999.

I have been wondering since the tornados about this states ability to do any preparations for Y2K. Seems like money is being pulled from anything and everything to help aid the people. I know this state is strapped for cash, due to the oil/gas prices and lack of pumping/new drilling. Seems like they are just staying afloat. Makes me wonder what is actually being done at the state for Y2K. My guess, is not really that much. Just wanted to vent.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), May 25, 1999.

Isn't this a re-run of a thread posted below? Are these being revived for the "influx" of newbies from the 60 minutes show on Sunday?

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), May 25, 1999.

how can there be a manual over-ride at an electric substation after the transformer gets overloaded and explodes?

-- sarah (qubr@aol.com), May 25, 1999.

Cherri -

It probably only seems like it's a re-run. I could have posted a thread about a recent San Diego area "community conversation"/dog-and-pony-show, and it would have seemed like deja vu. Given what folks are reporting from various parts of the country, it seems that the "conversations" are all very similar: "Nuthin' to see here, folks, move along..." or "Ignore the man behind the curtain!" or "We're 90% done, and if you ask us for details, you're being argumentative!", and so forth. No doubt a lot of companies/organizations/entitities are on track. If they are, then they can and should answer some simple questions.

I'm just a cynical old IS curmudgeon, Cherri. When folks tell me "everything's hunky-dory" on a project, but get extremely defensive when I calmly ask normal project status questions, that's a red flag. When someone will not reconcile inconsistencies in their reports, but says they "feel good" about the work on a project, I get suspicious. When people crack jokes rather than providing information, it sets off alarms. I seen it before --- heck, I've done it before --- and it fits a pattern that is not comforting.


-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), May 25, 1999.


It may have been a waste of time in the informational sense, but in reporting your experience here, it helps all of us with another little puzzle piece and a "local" Y2K temperature reading.

Clearly this will not change unless the Federal government types "publicly" convince themselves to be more up-front with us and the news media. Has to become a national priority.

Thank you.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), May 25, 1999.


I hope everybody there remember the 'geeks' name, come 2000 they can look him up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would...

-- consumer (private@aol.com), May 25, 1999.

traffic lights don't care what day it is?? i'm pretty sure they do too. the 4:00 to 7:00 cycles during the week are a lot longer than they are on the weekends.

-- b (b@b.b), May 25, 1999.

My sense is that such systems use the "day", as in "day-of-the-week", rather than the "date". Rather like those inexpensive lawn sprinkler timers that use simple analog dials to handle day-of-the-week and time-of-day. They know Days 1-7 (usually Monday-Sunday) and the time in 15 minute increments and that's about it.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), May 25, 1999.

Newbie, I was at the library last night,too. Decided to split after the RC dude had the floor for about 15min, knew it was a waste of time. Wanted to leave after about 30 min of the first "expert's?" talk but decided to see just how clueless it could be. Told my hubby that we would not EVER be doing business with these folks.

-- Barb (awaltrip@telepath.com), May 25, 1999.

Barb-Sorry we didn't make connections! The next y2k meeting (of worth, anyway) that I know of is June 15 at Trinity Baptist Church, 7 pm. I got elected to talk about food preparation. The meeting is open to the public.

Sure wish I'd had the nerve to leave but I really was hoping the RC guy would be more informative. I think there is more information in their mailings than he covered.

Hope to see you the 15th. Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (Linda@home.com), May 26, 1999.

Linda, thanks for the info about June 15th. One of us will try to make it!

-- Barb (awaltrip@telepath.com), May 26, 1999.

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