Overresponse to Y2K

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Hello, I'm a senior software engineer. Fourteen years ago when I was an intern, I worked for the Washington State Department of Information Systems (big cobol/mainframe shop). We had 450 General Ledger programs and probably hundreds of other accounting programs.

I have spent 2K+ on preparations.. I looked for the pre-2000 failure dates, (Jan 1, Feb 5, April 1, ... see www.y2kdates.com)

NOTHING HAPPENED.. When July 1, came around my state should have started fiscal year 2000.. If there were major problems with these systems, there would be outcries state wide (no subsidy checks, can't purchase state equipment, cant pay people...) Still NOTHING HAPPENED.

I'm starting to go from being a Y2K believer to a Y2K skeptic. Too many dates have gone by, with nothing happening. There are still the embedded chip issues.. But looking at it emperically, there is no reason to believe that there will be any failures based on the fact that these dates have slid by largely without problem.

I believe in being prepared, but the real issue is the thousands of dollars spent and even the changes of lifestyle that are being adopted by perhaps millions of middle and lower class people.

I'd suggest, that if you spend money to stock up.. etc. MAKE SURE that it is only of items that you will use if NOTHING continues to happen. Prepare yourself psychologically for the 'NOTHING' case as well, as it could be a very big let down for some.


-- Bryce Bhatnagar (bryce@seanet.com), July 08, 1999



For more info on fiscal year rollovers, accounting software and the Jo Anne Effect, see the following thread:


-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), July 08, 1999.

Bryce, we do not make much money, and our work is difficult and hard to come by, so we have been very careful with our purchases. We have invested in only those things which we know we will use and like. There is only one item which we overbought; not expensive; and for barter purposes. We work in Subduction Zone Earthquake country, so preps are essential here anyway.

Y2K has actually been a boon to us financially because it taught us how to shop very economically at bargain outlets and buy in bulk for discounts.

It would be amazing if 'NOTHING' happened but we would be *thrilled*! We would use all the knowledge gained on this Forum when we finally were able to establish our long-desired home out in the beautiful peaceful countryside.

Unfortunately the reality may be that we are woefully underprepared and will die next year because of humanimal savagery brutalizing the computer failure hazards.

Check back in if the Internet is still operational in one year and tell us how you feel then.

xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), July 08, 1999.

You heard it here first, several days ago, now others (like the gold forum, and this thread) are repeating it.

It was fun while it lasted, it is done, get over it.


-- No (Problem@All.com), July 08, 1999.


I'll take the road marked "Better safe than sorry". I have nothing to 'get over'. If nothing happens with rollover (economic or otherwise), color me 'tickled pink'. If it does, color me 'red-y'.

-- Dian (bdp@accessunited.com), July 08, 1999.


I think I smell a little disconnect going on with you. Fun while it lasted. No problem. AOK. You sound totally confident and comfortable with that view, except, except, here you are still looking at the TB2000 threads, huh? Got a little nagging feeling that maybe you overlooked something, or a big nagging feeling? Your statement sounds like something you are saying to yourself every morning while looking in the mirror. So, don't you have such a wonderful life, and future, that you have better things to do with your time than hang out with a bunch of concerned pessimists. See the disconnect? You do see it, don't you?

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), July 08, 1999.


Quite right, depending on your location one should measure all risks. Y2K is just another consideration. If nothing else the Emergency prep will be "fine tuned".

-- Brian (imager@home.com), July 08, 1999.

Also see the thread...


"What if you're wrong?" [about Y2K]

-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), July 08, 1999.

After lurking for weeks, I have to add my 2 cents. I can't believe any reasonable person can assume that we will be Y2K=OK. There have been enough documented failures, and would-be failures admitted by people doing remediation, to know that this is no matter to be taken lightly. Anyone who works with computers at all knows what a normal glitch or crash can do to create havoc. It takes little speculation to see what simultaneous glitches, much less systems crashes, across the US would do to the economy. The rest of the world is farther behind in remediation. There is no way they can escape problems. Many of their own Y2K project managers have admitted that. Crises overseas must invariably impact the U.S. as we depend upon imports and exports to sustain our economy. While I don't personally believe that we may be facing problems that are level 10, it can't be ruled out. I can't understand anyone being confident that nothing of consequence will happen. Especially knowing that there is a distinct threat of terrorist activity timed to coincide with the date roll-over. And for those who still shrug off the dangers and laugh at those of us who are justifiably worried, why read this bulletin board at all? Surely there are other sites on the internet of greater interest to those who think Y2K prep is a waste of time.

-- VeryWary (MakesSense2Me@logical.com), July 08, 1999.

Nobody who is paying attention is moving from doomer to polly. That's a bunch of crap. We are seeing the Jo Ann Effect, and we are also seeing failures of supposedly remediated equipment on nearly a daily basis. Who knows what isn't being reported?

Okay, so the world isn't collapsing today. Progress is being made in many places. The question is, how much progress has to be made before our highly interdependent systems and economies are able to withstand the failures that are expected in December and beyond?

Tell me that it is completely inconceivable that Los Angeles could be without power for three consecutive weeks. Tell me that you could truck in enough water for them. Tell me what the population would be at the end of the three weeks. Tell me that they would sit quietly waiting for it to rain.

Gimme a break.

-- Dog Gone (layinglow@rollover.now), July 08, 1999.

Troll alert. Did you ever WORK on the GL? Know what bucket processing is?


-- br14 (br14@bout.done), July 08, 1999.

I'm not a pollyanna, or whatever your label is.. I'm saying that I have gotten prepared because I believe in preparedness, we just had two earthquakes. Earthquakes get your attention.

My point is that the some of the Y2K problem dates have come and gone. So far, after reading about Y2K daily, all I see are an assortment of run of the mill bugs. If you look at a country of 270 million people with thousands of buggy systems, you can constantly come up with a series of software problems, y2K related or not. As a software engineer, most of my career has been a series of bug fixes ;-) There is a big leap that is made by Yourdon (in my opinion) that a bug leads to a system failure, that a systems failure leads to a company failure, and that company failures lead to massive chaos via a domino effect.

I'm sure that there will be problems, as there always are.. But as I look at the dates slide by, I don't think everything will fail. My opinion on this has lightened over time.

-- Bryce (bryce@seanet.com), July 08, 1999.


Is my feeling of impending doom lightened and lessened because my preps are 99% handled? Or is it because the early warning "trigger" dates have been quiet? Beats me, but I'm a lot less gloomy than I was when I first hit this board.

Still get grumpy though.

That's different.

-- Unc D (unkeed@yahoo.com), July 08, 1999.


First of all, I do not regard your post as that of a troll; I take it quite seriously.

While I am more "optimistic" than I was a year ago, it is not because the 1999 problems have been less than some may have expected. I never regarded the 1999 problems as likely to be serious. I am more optimistic because electric utilities seem to have taken the issue more seriously than they seemed to have been taking it a year ago.

I also worry that some folks have over-stressed their finances in order to prepare for possibilities that I regard as unlikely.

However, my view is that we are nowhere near out of the woods yet. I expect the serious Y2K problems to cluster near 1/1/2000; some perhaps late this year, most early next year.

Aside from bugs that may be introduced by Y2K remediations, most Y2K bugs will not hit hard until Y2K, and we will not know what the meaning of hard is until then. :-)


-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), July 08, 1999.

Bryce: Gartner Group said six months ago that y2k "begins" this month. And keep in mind failures may not be immediately apparent. And so far, they would mainly involve MIS operations, not mission critical stuff (otherwise, the deadlines would be back in 1998, not 1999).

I wouldn't go around shouting off that NOTHING HAPPENED. Nothing major and detectable has happened YET. Complacency now, especially with 99% of the population lulled to sleep by govt and media, is not what we need.

IMHO any way you slice it, we're in for some fireworks.

-- a (a@a.a), July 09, 1999.

Bryce -

I live in the same earthquake area you do. I have been reading this forum on an almost daily basis since last November. I have been where you are and if you want to do no more and think that things will be "OK" don't come to this forum and you will maintain that.

HOWEVER, if you want to keep informed and keep a level sense of what may be coming our way, you must keep reading up on what is developing and coming out between now and rollover time. Every time I think that things are improving by leaps and bounds and we will be OK, something like the Naval War College papers is found or the recent posts from the UK, or NY shutting down Broadway is posted and I am forced to take of the rose colored glasses and get realistic again.

I guess it all boils down to the simple fact that there are no simple facts out there to tell us exactly what is coming. It is OK to feel a little better about what may be coming, but don't let too many roses on your path or those thorns will get you in the end.

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.net), July 09, 1999.

Do you feel lucky today ? Well ? Do you ?

-- Ct Vronsky (vronsky@anna.com), July 09, 1999.

Let's say for a moment that most of the country will have electricity and drinkable water on January 1, 2000, and that the scattered areas that don't will have them restored within three days or three weeks. I am somewhat more optimistic about utilities than I used to be.

On the other hand, Y2K could cause shortages of food or fuel that last longer than any utility problems.

The longest lasting effect of Y2K, though, is likely to be its impact on the economy and jobs.

-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), July 09, 1999.




-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), July 09, 1999.

Like I've said, Y2K Alarmists have been shooting themselves in the foot.

See Don't Chase the Y2K Red Herrings ("Trigger Dates").

-- Lane Core Jr. (elcore@sgi.net), July 09, 1999.


you got it honey. prepare but don't cross over into gonzoid territory. but the "nothing" scenario really bothers a lot of folks who have spent a lot of time, money and energy in their attempts to be prepared for "anything." you see, they have been getting weird looks from aunt fern and their nosy neighbor, mrs. fiddlesticks. they have been having dreams of being safe in their bunkers with their beans, rice and kalishnikovs saving their loved ones from the mongol hoardes.

i'm not saying they want the world to end but dag nabbit they want an opportunity to, for a brief moment, be heros in the eyes of all the doubting thomases. they wish to emerge from the fruit cellar into the blinding light, look over their shoulder at the huddled masses cowering in the corner and proclaim, "it's alright people you can come out now. the danger has passed. i brought you through. we've made it to the other

-- corrine l (corrine@iwaynet.net), July 09, 1999.


-- corrine (corrine@iwaynet.net), July 09, 1999.


Being a software guy, you should know that the number of programs that do look-ahead processing is small, if not tiny, when compared to the total number of programs that have a date problem. It makes sense to me that these programs would be fixed first because they are needed first. Also, very few embedded systems do any look-ahead processing.

They call it the Y2K problem for a good reason, not the various dates in 1999 problem. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), July 09, 1999.

I did the Y2k remediation for the State of Washington Business and Professional Licensing office in 1994. I was impressed by their grasp of the problem, and by the date when they were doing it. We had to do the fix by mid-1994 because the licensing has a 5-year lookahead.

Back then, I presumed other states were as advanced. I didn't realize until later that Washington State was really in the lead on Y2k. Those are some terrific folks there, and they did a good job. They are NOT necessarily representative of all states, and I swear they do not represent the typical business. I worked there as a consultant, nobody paid me to say this.

Absence of errors at Department of Licensing or elsewhere in Washington should not set your mind at ease regarding Y2k in general.

Craig Hagstrom

-- please (dontblow@my.cover), July 09, 1999.

Are fiscal year rollovers in accounting software a reliable indicator of what will happen in January 2000? See this thread:


"Significance of States Fiscal Start"

-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), July 09, 1999.

Last I looked Y2K = Year 2000.

1999 may be the warm-up hours' d'ouevres.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), July 09, 1999.

In 1997 we were thinking big bang at midnight, 12/31/1999. Then we looked a little harder and started seeing the bell curve, trigger dates, all that stuff. Unfortunately, some people got carried away with trigger dates, and thought that 1/1/1999 would be the big one.

Three things to remember about trigger dates. First, each one is a small piece of the pie, so no one date is going to be the big one. 1/1/2000 is going to be big, I suspect, but not EOB [End Of Business]. Second, it's mostly guesswork to figure out what trigger dates are real. A year ago new lists were coming out every day, with new trigger dates that someone had dreamed up. We'd sit around brainstorming about it. "Hey, what about ..." We'll know after the fact whether a date really caused problems.

Folks who see only black and white have a bad history of looking for doom around every corner, either to prove that it's there or to prove that it can't possibly be there. So each trigger date that didn't give TEOTWAWKI was "proof" for some that Y2k is no problem. We still have some bogus trigger dates to get through, like 9/9/99. That will be a non-event (in 25 years I never saw code that would trip over that) based on misunderstandings by journalists. Even so, pollies on 9/10/1999 will be telling us it's time for another flying pig award.

Third (almost forgot) is that any error can be covered for a little while. We haven't yet seen all the July 1 errors. Right now (this is conjecture, ok?) in hundreds of data centers are bunches of programmers working like made to fix errors in June EOM runs, or to fix batch problems in the first July runs. If they can get it fixed in a couple days, they'll never have to admit it. "Sorry, mail must have been delayed." What would you rather do? Blame the post office, or say "Well, when we said we were ready for Y2k, we didn't know what we were talking about"? Oh sure, let's be honest and drive the stock to the ground.

By the middle of August, we should know approximately how many problems popped up at the start of July. By the afternoon of 1/1/2000, we'll know a lot about embedded chip problems, but it will take until the middle of February 2000 before we know how well the batch processes did in early January. Been there, seen it.

Look at the bell curve and the big picture. Lots of things have broken, and if this curve continues, we are in big trouble for the rest of the year. This is early days, folks, and we're seeing plenty of problems.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 09, 1999.

Working like MAD, you blithering idiot, working like MAD.

I can program, but I can't key.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 09, 1999.

I've always thought embedded chips are THE issue that could mean TEOTWAWKI or even >5 on a 1-10 scale. Most (if not all) embeds would fail on or about midnight 19991231. Information systems take time to fail, recover, infect, etc. It's only July 9th!!! Jo Anne effects will either be quickly cleaned up behind the scenes or take weeks to appear after they slowly keep degrading until they impact the public. I also think most of the 1999 dates are fairly non-eventful. You won't see a Jo Anne type problem crash the system on 19990701 or 19991001 or whenever. They are information systems - they will take time to appear and degrade. Neither camp can claim "victory" until the verdict is in. Give it some time to filter out!!

-- Jim (x@x.x), July 09, 1999.


Have to disagree a bit with you there. Embeddeds will be the biggest bang, and we'll know pretty quick if they fail. But info systems are key to lots of processes, and some economic activities simply cannot proceed without the info systems running.

For example, I worked at a good-sized retailer where each day had to process in order, and had to run to completion before the process-day-clock could be rolled to the next day. (For non-geeks, that "clock was actually a file in which the current process day was stored, so each program knows what day's activities it was working on. You can be running a month late, doesn't matter what the wall clock says.) We couldn't run anything out of sequence, couldn't go back (it was all tied together), couldn't rerun a day. All the different systems were tied into that process clock, one way or another, so if one system had a fatal error, it could tie up others. If you couldn't process sales, you might not be able to re-order goods.

In Y2k terms, that might mean that a railroad's daily batch reports couldn't be run, meaning that no detailed schedule info could be generated for the next day. So perhaps no trains could run, as in the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific merger a couple years back. Now you've got major "pipeline" stoppages, no food moving, no coal or other fuel, etc. That's TEOTWAWKI enough for me.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 09, 1999.

"Working like MAD, you blithering idiot, working like MAD."

Jesus bw, do you beat your children to death for spilling their milk?

-- BiGG (supersite@acronet.net), July 09, 1999.

No, my wife took me to the vet and had me fixed. She says it makes me more docile and easy to deal with, but I do tend to lie around on the sofa and gain weight.

I'm not wrapped all that tight.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 12, 1999.

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