What is so complex about Y2K preparations?

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I do not have much interest in the new Y2K preparations forum. I do have question though... what is so complex about preparing for Y2K? With a bit of research, a "GI" can download a dozen preparation lists from any number of Internet web sites. I think most people can scan a list rather quickly and check off the items they feel they need (and don't have). Anyone who goes camping regularly probably has a fair amount of "gear" already. So, it takes a few minutes to make a shopping list. Then, it seems as easy as going to local stores and loading up. I'll readily admit some folks may need to save up to afford a big shopping trip.

On the other hand, I was shopping at Costco this evening and noticed #10 cans of fruits and vegetables selling for $2-4 a can. (The cans averaged about 6 pounds.) It seems pretty easy to load a few carts of canned goods and walk out the door for the less than $500. Coscto had all the Y2K favorites including Spam by the case. I'm not sure how long $500 of staples might last, but I think, if stretched, it could hold a modest family for 60 to 90 days. (Especially throwing in a couple of 50 lb. bags of rice.) Granted, this is just food, but I saw other items including stoves, sleeping bags, etc. Between Costco, Walmart, a decent sporting goods store... why do you need "Minnesota Smith?" Is he cheaper than Costco?

I read about people on this forum who have spent months and thousands of dollars on preparation. On what? Is Y2K preparation about comfort versus discomfort... or survival versus death? Please, this is a genuine question.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), July 15, 1999


>I read about people on this forum who have spent months and thousands of dollars on preparation. On what? Is Y2K preparation about comfort versus discomfort... or survival versus death? Please, this is a genuine question.

It's about both. While survival is better than death (in most circumstances, anyway), comfort is much better than bare survival. To take just one example, most people on this forum probably buy a new car every 2 or 3 years, at a cost of thousands of dollars a year. I drive a 10 year old car, and can therefore afford to spend that money on Y2K preparations. Which is more important, driving a new car or having electricity and other comforts if Y2K is bad?

-- Steve Heller (stheller@koyote.com), July 15, 1999.

Mr. Decker:

I can only give assumptions here, but it seems to be very much a personal thing. I'm not a cook, so I have no interest in learning how to can (for instance.) I'm not much interested in cooking things from scratch, so if I have a can of tuna, I'll simply buy tuna helper. Other folks LIKE to cook, enjoy canning, gardening, etc.

I suppose that because I'm not a cook, shopping for food-stuffs ranked low on my priority list. I always tended to shop when we needed something. Having a family with different tastes discouraged me from going in for the huge containers of ANYTHING. Other folks have large families and those bulk items make sense.

To make a long story short, I spent a year putting together a cache of items. Could I have done it in a month or a week or a day? I suppose so, but I'm the one who has to lug the stuff in from the car. It was much easier for me to watch for sales and purchase a few extra cans of peas each time peas were on sale, etc. I also wanted to label each item and enter them into a database to observe price- gouging. That took time. The more I purchased each trip, the more time it took to document.

Bottom-line: Everyone works differently. Everyone sees Y2k differently.

I've never looked at Smith's website, and never purchased anything from an internet-based vendor. I'm one of those "support your community" people.

-- Anita (spoonera@msn.com), July 15, 1999.

Power and heat. We now have a Generac 6500. But it's not just for Y2K. Living in the country in NJ, we get hit with just about every snow and thunder storm. Power needed for water pump (and sump pump!), furnace, freezer, etc. Good investment.

Had a second 275 gal fuel tank installed. Oil is cheap in summer. Another good investment. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), July 15, 1999.

That's a fair question. I had a hard time with that at first myself. I started out over on North's boards about 2 years ago. Just lurked for a while. I live in the least populated state in the Union, Wyoming. Not only that, I live 20 miles out of the nearest town. I'm on a well, septic, have a garden, chickens, etc. and have for years. I have hunted and fished for years and generally love the outdoors. When I got over to North's forums, I could not believe the questions people were asking. These folks have never seen a chicken before in their life, unless it was wrapped in plastic and had Tyson stamped on it's butt. They knew nothing about wells or septics. These were city folks who stop off at the store on the way home from work every stinking day to buy dinner. They couldn't survive 3 days on what's at home, much less a couple weeks or longer.

Then you get into the whole power and fuel thing. If you want to go solar, you need dozens of panels and batteries to run a normal house. These folks aren't thinking in terms of survival, they wanna watch their big screen TV's while sipping a Budweiser!! They don't know how to figure how much generator power they need. They don't consider the fact that running a gas-powered generator continuously will smoke the darn thing in a couple of days.

How many city-slickers go camping anyway? Now you are absolutely right, you can stock up a lot of chow for $500 if you ain't buyin chips and dip and all that junk. But how do you cook it? What if there's no water? All this has to be taken into consideration. How much fuel can you store? Is it even legal to store fuel if you live in the city? There really is a lot to it.

In all seriousness, once I had answered a few posts over on North's forums, I was getting anywhere from 30-50 e-mails per day from people asking questions, not to mention the folks asking questions on the forums. There's a LOT of folks out there that just flat don't know how to do anything for themselves, they always pay someone else to do it. Hard to survive under those conditions!!

-- Don (dwegner@cheyenneweb.com), July 15, 1999.


If this is really you Mr. Decker (who has been much maligned of late--rightly or wrongly), here's the deal:

The problem is that many people who are aware of the potential negative impact of Y2k, are still clueless with regard to how it may affect them--locally--and for how long.

Why? Geez, let's tune in to the Senate tomorrow (if we can) to hear about local government preparedness.

Who's testifying? Nobody I know. That's the point.

The secondary point is that many people (in the United States at least) have been pampered since birth. I'm not throwing stones, here. I'm one of them.

Why? Because both of my parents lived through the Great Depression. Growing up, I heard my father tell me about how his family in Alabama was so poor, his daily lunch at school consisted of lard sandwiched between a biscuit. He wanted more than anything to go to college. He did. But the money ran out, and when it did, he walked nearly 100 miles home, sleeping in cemeteries because they were the safest places for someone who had no money. He was finally graduated from college at the age of 54.

Did he try to make MY life better? You betcha!

Many parents did the same thing. As a result, we (in America, at least) have things like indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and cable television.

Do people fear losing these creature comforts? You betcha! Can we survive without them? You betcha! That's a no-brainer.

The flip side of the coin is, if you're living in the northern part of the United States in the middle of Winter, and the power goes out for an extended period of time, you stand to lose much more than creature comforts.

Am I making sense?


-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), July 15, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

I'll give you a genuine answer and although it may sound sarcastic, it is not meant that way.

You state that you don't have much interest in the new prep forum yet you are curious about preparations. You could have easily found the answer to your question by simply going to that forum and checking it out. Even if you didn't want to read the threads, you could get a general answer to your question by reading the titles.

There are many things involved in preparations. It all depends on how prepared you want to be as to what all is involved. Some people have little money to spend and seek the most cost effective way to prep. Many of us have been preparing for a while and are willing to share what we have learned with others so that it will be easier for them. There's much more to it than just going out and buying the first thing you see (food, gear, etc.). Lots of people want to find the best deal for the smallest cost. People share their ideas on how to do this.

Then there's preparations that are somewhat technical, such as solar power, fuel preservation, firearms, canning, water storage (or gathering), long term food storage, etc, etc.

I know at first thought, it doesnt' seem like there is much to preparing, but once you start doing it, it can become overwhelming. I guess maybe it's just something you have to experience to understand.

If you get a chance, go ahead and check out the prep forum. It's full of interesting information that one doesn't usually find elsewhere (or at least it's somewhat difficult to find all in one place). I can honestly say that I was impressed with the amount of hidden knowledge people had after seeing the type of postings that go on on this side of the forum.

-- Ready & Waiting (not@home.com1), July 15, 1999.

So where are you Decker?

Was that really you?


-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), July 15, 1999.

For me, it wasn't that it was so complex, but there were a lot of things to do and some of them took more time than I had anticipated.

First, I had to relocate, since I lived too close to a couple of large cities (Ft. Lauderdale and Miami) for comfort. That took about six months.

The food wasn't a major problem, although it took a couple of months to decide what I wanted to buy. I finally decided on a one year supply of Alpine-Aire freeze dried food after shopping around on the web, trying some samples, etc.

Meanwhile, I was stocking up on various other stuff from Sam's club (T.P., rice, canned food, etc.), and also getting other misc. stuff like candles, batteries, bleach, gas treatment, first aid kits, guns and ammo, propane refrigerator, etc.

Also, it took quite a while to find suppliers of food and water storage containers, dessicants, oxygen absorber packets, etc. Obviously, these were necessary to get prior to purchasing bulk grains and beans (to supplement freeze dried food and also to feed the beggars...I mean neighbors).

It just takes a lot longer than you expect to first locate and then to order the stuff that you want. Also, once you get started, you begin to realize that you need or want things that you hadn't previously thought of. In addition, a lot of it is trial and error, things get back ordered, etc.

I feel bad for people who are just starting now. They better get a move on or they'll be feeling the pinch pretty soon. I ordered an Aladdin lamp from Lehman's in May and I won't be getting it until September. Luckily, the masses are still completely apathetic. Any GI's who act now still have a good chance to get whatever they need.

-- Clyde (clydeblalock@hotmail.com), July 15, 1999.

Mr. D.,

Actually, I'm pretty close to you in how I see things. Maybe it's because I can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on preparations. It's been tough just putting aside extra insulin for my wife. We do the Costco, SuperKmart thing too. I'm not going to be able to feed my family at the levels that we are currently accustomed to but they'll be fed. I think people should consider rationing food and other items immediately if things go terribly wrong and try to make their preps last as long as possible.

One thing I've been thinking about which is kind of tied into your post is that Y2k offers a great reason to buy lots of "toys" that people (guys) wouldn't necessarily be able to justify the cost of otherwise. So, in essence, y2k preparation has directly helped stimulate and grow business and the economy in many ways. That's great, huh?

What do you think?

Mike =========================================================

-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), July 15, 1999.

Ready and Waiting said in the last response, "........ once you start doing it, it can become overwhelming." That has certainly been my experience. When I first learned of the Y2K problem in 1998, I thought I'd grab a few bags of rice and beans, throw them in a galvanized garbage pail to keep varmits out, and we'd have somewhat of a family camp-out and enjoy each other's company. But as time went by, I began to see the lists on the internet of things you need to store and my shopping list grew longer and longer. I considered the friends and other family members that would not have money enough for their own preparations and I started buying larger quantities. Add to that the fact that with every passing day, additional items come to mind that I presently take for granted I can run over to the local grocery store and pick up if I run short. I am a spoiled American citizen. I don't like the thought of my comfortable life style being interrupted. I really enjoy warmth and comfort. I'd like to be a DWGI, but I also realize there is a very real possibility we could go all the way to the 10 Gary North is predicting. I have spent a lot of money and even more time trying to insure that my family will be cared for, and preps now even include diapers and a lifetime supply of baby food for a new grandchild-just in case we might need it. Fortunately, boy #4 will be born in September. I'm glad I didn't have to learn to be a midwife!

With all the stuff I'm accumulating for my forty or so friends and relatives (including some lady I've never met plus her cat), I've now decided my bug-out bag needs to be a Ryder Van. The unknown lady lives near my daughter and after all, who could leave an elderly lady and her cat in Los Angeles by themselves even though I don't know her? So far she she thinks she's OK and is staying there alone. Any bets on whether she changes her mind before year end? Daughter has ORDERS that I'm coming to get her and any "stuff" she thinks she can't live without-another item on my lenghty preparation to-do list. I'm also planning two trips to Tijuana-one scheduled at the end of October and one pending as soon as a Dr. friend of mine returns from vacation-to pick up medication. I will feel safer if I make the Tijuana run with prescriptions in hand to prevent problems at the border. He's already provided prescriptions for my medications, but I need to get one for someone else before I go.

-- Sharon L (sharonl@volcano.net), July 15, 1999.

Lets see now. If you live alone, don't have house and yard maintenance, don't have medical problems, don't have 40-below winters, don't have elderly neighbors you care about, don't have livestock or pets, don't mind bland food, and don't grow your own fruits and vegetables, then preparing for Y2K doesn't have to be complex at all.

-- Squirrel (nut@acorn.com), July 15, 1999.

Mr. Decker

I could write a book

The problem as I see it is if there is a power, natural gas failure in an area that is experiancing an arctic front. Not only is it difficult to deal with but there is very little information on how folks should prepare for such an occurance. This is not to say there isn't a way to prepare for the failure of your heat but it complicates things.

I have as you know lived in severe conditions and have been there, done that. It is a mind set, a lifestyle change. And that is where the problem lies. The fear of the unknown, fear for the safety of family, your job, community you know the spiel.

Now as mentioned above there is no winter urban survival guide.

You find me one.

Or write out one.

The only answer I see is not being in an urban enviorment.

But that is just me. Eh?

You can say "well lets pick up a few extra poptarts" but the real world doesn't work that way and everyone is going to have to make there own judgements based on where they live. You know Ken I have been doing some study lately on earthquakes that can happen on the west coast of North America. It is bad. And that is in my books. Like a Milne 6 out of 5.

The level of preparation for the unknown failures is what will kill folk. And that will be because of ignorance. That is the greatest problem with Y2K will be, a loss of information because that is what all those little digits look like in the end. All governments should be UP FRONT with accurate information on where they are really at with their programs. Its going to do little good after the fact.

Really though it is a problem of vision. For most a Y2K failure will mean being on closer terms with the natural order which the last I heard doesn't play favourites. All the smooth talking retoric will not help a single mother with kids during a power failure and the kids are panicing. And so is she.

So ask a single mother how hard it is to plan for alternate heat in some stupid complex. Or water. Or waste disposal. Or evacuation.

You are asking the right question.

But do you have any answers?

-- Brian (imager@home.com), July 15, 1999.

Mr.Decker, No thousands spent here. We cannot afford it. I have read here on this forum about those who have spent alot relocating to the "boonies" with acreages, small farms and etc. I think that would entail financial costs like the "thousands and thousands" you mentioned, if a person/family had come to the conclusion that their survival was dependent on location primarily. It's been repeated many times, "GET OUT OF THE CITIES..." After thinking it through, we decided that to get ourselves in further debt with relocation expenses, home, mortgage,etc. was not prudent if the more likely(in our opinion and conclusion) economic recession scenario manifested itself post January 2000. By that I mean being further in debt, with a job hopefully but possibly not full or regular hours, with the possibility of higher fuel prices, longer and more expensive commuting costs,etc...well, Y2k might then actually become more like a TEOTWAWKI, with OUR assistance none the less, if you get my meaning. Survival/comfort for us we feel will depend on adaptability and mobility in all aspects of our lives with whatever the future may hold. We don't want to live post January 2000 now, in 1999. We're not against a more self reliant and frugal lifestyle, we live that to a certain extent now. We'll watch and wait and be ready to adapt, or make other plans as the need arises. Sometimes I think this whole thing can summed up as pay your money, take your chances, or NOT.

-- Barb (awaltrip@telepath.com), July 15, 1999.

I started with the "temporary" solutions to a "temporary" problem. (For instance, storing enough water for two weeks.) Then I really looked at the root of my "fears" and decided that I wanted to be able to run my well pump without dependance upon my electrical utility. Then I didn't have to worry if the electrical power was off or on or surged or wained. I installed a hand pump.

I started to store food. But for how long should I plan? My local county y2k task force said a minimum of two weeks - 6 months if you were in one of our remote areas. I started with two weeks, but I wasn't comfortable not knowing if that was enough. I decided to grow what I could and store enough to last until harvest. The orchard needed extra trees that were mature enough to produce within a year or so. Meat was a problem, so I got chickens and canned my own beef. Feed had to be stored for the chickens, so I built a storeroom The growing season is very short at my elevation, so I built a greenhouse. I haven't had the time to garden in several years, so the garden fences had to be rebuilt. The hand pump would not work for irrigation, so I got a generator and a large holding tank that would gravity feed/water the gardens and greenhouse through drip irrigation.

I heat my house with a diesel furnace. Fuel prices here have gone through the roof and reports on the availability of continued reasonably priced fuel seemed grim. I live in a forest where firewood is readily available. The fireplace doesn't heat diddly (already been there in a winter storm with 3 feet of snow,) so I installed an efficient insert. But the insert wouldn't heat the other floor of the house and had very little cooking surface. So I put in another woodstove downstairs. Solar and a super-insulated bush box solved the summer cooking problem.

Lighting is nice psychologically and refrigeration when it is warm. I established a battery bank and got mini frig and inverter. Charging the batteries with the generator was overkill, so I got a couple of solar panels.

Fuel availability for irrigation still bothers me, so am looking into a ram to lift the water from a creek to the gardens, etc. etc..

Point is, even preparation for a small family can bring home the interdependance and interconnectivity of modern life and how difficult it is to unravel those connections and replace with stand alone systems.

-- anon (anon@anon.com), July 15, 1999.

Decker -- "I do not have much interest in the new Y2K preparations forum."

But this is at least the fifth preparation thread you have started --

On personal responsibility for preparation, May 12

On preparation and poverty, May 19

On preparation: When does it become excessive? May 14

On preparation (optimist's version), May 19

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), July 15, 1999.


That says it all.

-- (thereyou@go.com), July 15, 1999.

I sometimes get the sense that Decker enjoys the 'stimulus-response' obtained by posting provocative questions on the forum. Kind of like when the Organians would have Spock and Kirk fight each other, just for the vicarious thrills. Or throwing meat to pirhana.

-- Spidey (in@jam.commie), July 15, 1999.


You are 100% correct Mr. Decker, preparations can be easy and inexpensive, so there is NO reason for people not to be preparing now is there? Just makes good common sense.

Thanks you for making this point.

-- John Beck (eurisko111@aol.com), July 15, 1999.

Mr. Decker

If someone is prepareing for a worst case scenario, lights out, utilities and other services cut off, they must prepare to provide those servies for themselves. This includes heating, perhaps power, food (which now goes from take out the Stouffers microwave dinner to open the bucket of wheat, grind to flour, make dough, etc ,etc. You get the picture) being responsible for your own security (which can take quite a bit of treasure on initial purchases and training), medical needs (same sort of costs as security). I could go on. In fact I will. You need all the tools to do what right now many other people are paid to do for you. You need books to learn how to use those tools. In a nut shell, you are making the transition from a 20th century specialists to a 19th century generalist. It's alot of stuff. It costs money. (Did I mention the cost of the divorce when your spouse leaves you for being a Y2K nut?)

Again, this is preps for the worst case scenario. Let me know if you need more information.

Watch six and keep your...

-- eyes_open (best@wishes.com), July 15, 1999.

If you are confident preparing for disruptions of a week to a month, the costs are minimal. If you want to be prepared for a Milne, it's far more expensive, depending on your location. For me, I wanted an indefinite amount of potable water. In Texas, there is no safe surface water. It must either be filtered, treated, or boiled.

I couldn't acquire an indefinite supply of filters, or purifiers, and the thought of boiling water every day indoors was both a fuel problem as well as a comfort problem, especially in these Texas summers.

So my solution was drilling a well. I could have gone with a hand pump, but I had the luxury of affording a solar pump which will bring the water to the house or will feed a pond. So, partly because I want to cover all bases, and because I wanted a little convenience, my preps have cost several thousand dollars.

-- Dog Gone (layinglow@rollover.now), July 15, 1999.

Spidey, you hit the nail on the head.

John, great response.

Sharon, LOL. After reading one of those prep lists with it's hundreds of pounds of food, camping gear to last climbing Mt. Everest, and enough tools to build a house and farm 20 acres, it said pile your supplies by the door so you can bug out fast! On what? Amtrak?

Lots of good replies here, makes you think of what you may have forgotten. And that, I think is the point of the preparation forum.Thinking of possibilities and what you may need in those eventualities, relearning old skills, learning new ones, and most of all becoming more self reliant.

I too started by just walking into a low cost grocery and buying canned food. Then I started thinking about their high sodium content and that led to learning about dehydrating and canning (new skills) since I might not be able to rely on freezing (old skill). Then I had to think about gardening in a new area and soil improvement,greenhouse,hydroponics,permaculture. And that only covers food! Sort of like a domino effect! Each step, each piece of knowledge is one step further along the road to self-reliance, useful at this stage in my life whether Y2K or not.

-- sue (deco100@aol.com), July 15, 1999.


I have been a hunter since my youth. Along the way, I have met other hunters who argue incessantly over minor issues. Is the pre-'64 Winchester Model 70 the best bolt-action rifle ever made? Is the .270 enough "rifle" for elk or are the .30 calibers a minimum? How many angels can dance on the head of a 168-grain Nosler partition?

I find the same dynamic with Y2K preparation.

Some folks will worry incessantly about preparation issues. To paraphrase Mr. Wegner, some people have no idea how to live without take-out Chinese food. If there are power problems, I fear for the utility workers who have to face a large number of new generator owners who might be foolish enough to plug the generator back into the house wiring.

This said, the average reader can buy a half dozen books and spent a weekend of time far more efficiently than cruising this forum for tidbits. If you want a list of books, I'll be happy to post one.

Let me draw a line in the dirt. One one side we have "Y2K preparation." This is not a permanent change in lifestyle, but actions designed to help one weather "Y2K." On the other side, there is "Y2K homesteading." This is a lasting change that may involve moving off the grid, raising food, etc.

I spent my youth "homesteading. Personally, I now like going to store for a gallon of milk rather than stumbling up in the pre-dawn hours and getting my milk the hard way. In my opinion, some folks are using Y2K as a reason to make changes they may have wanted to make anyway. (Or buy some really nifty gear.)

In my opinion, preparation is for squeezing through any disruptions that come down the pike. With all due respect, I am not sure you need tons of food, guns, fuel, etc. to "squeeze through."

And if I might harken back to SERE training... the best tool is the one sitting between your ears. [On this forum, I am tempted to qualify that statement... (laughter)] Most of survival is mental. It is the ability to function calmly and rationally in a high-stress situation. Of course, it doesn't hurt to be in outstanding physical condition and have some training. For under $100, however, you can buy the best information available on survival. Getting in shape is cheap, too.

For inspiration, read "Follow the River," "Last of the Breed," or other great stories of human survival.

Oh, and lest I forget my housekeeping duties. Thanks, Outings, but you ought to move beyond "scanning" and into actual "reading." I am not interested in the preparation FORUM.

"On personal responsibility for preparation"

SUMMARY: I am not reponsible for your decisions.

On preparation and poverty

SUMMARY: Even poor folks can afford modest preparations.

On preparation: When does it become excessive?

SUMMARY: Is it possible to "over" prepare?

On preparation (optimist's version), May 19

SUMMARY: A response to a direction question on what I think is adequate preparation for Y2K.

Oh, and you forgot my positive review of the Leatherman "Wave." (laughter) By the way, all of these posts are worth reading.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), July 15, 1999.

Please folks, let's not forget that this question comes from someone who openly blows off any need to prepare for more than a few days, and who is already set up with an alternative heat source and other major conveniences. OF COURSE Decker does not see prepping for Y2K as a big deal. Just make a list and head out to your nearest wholesaler!

On the other hand, for those of us starting from ground zero, in the frozen north, with family members with special needs, and who believe that preparing for only a few days would be irresponsible given the unknowns and what is at stake, then it takes time to research and to implement what is the best and most cost-effective solution for our individual situations. And it also takes time and careful planning to prepare for the kind of economic hit that Decker believes may be headed our way.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), July 15, 1999.


-- Ct Vronsky (vronsky@anna.com), July 15, 1999.

Mr. Decker

Thanks for the information. Good post. I myself am probably over prepared, unless I'm wrong. But by then I would have no recourse to fix my mistake.

In the service, were you? Could you post the oath you took when you graduated from boot camp?

I like the Y2K "Homesteader" term. It works.

Watch six and keep your...

-- eyes_open (best@wishes.net), July 15, 1999.

"On the other hand, I was shopping at Costco this evening and noticed #10 cans of fruits and vegetables selling for $2-4 a can. (The cans averaged about 6 pounds.) It seems pretty easy to load a few carts of canned goods and walk out the door for the less than $500."

One reason for frequenting preparadeness boards is to pick up tips. Such as...

If you are buying #10 cans - about 6 pounds - what do you intend to do with the leftovers? Or are you feeding enough mouths at one sitting to finish off the can? Gonna just stick the leftovers in the fridge? Duh!

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), July 15, 1999.


Do you need someone to tell you to store a can opener, too? American's are rather twitchy about storing food. It's possible to use an open can of fruit or vegetables over a few days without any refrigeration. A little common sense and ingenuity go a long way. And (with all due respect to regulars) you'll find more common sense and ingenuity at your local library than on this forum.

And the only oath I remember is the one I took right after signing on the dotted line. After boot camp the common oath is to never go through boot camp again. (laughter)


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), July 15, 1999.

"And (with all due respect to regulars) you'll find more common sense and ingenuity at your local library than on this forum."

Not exactly respectful, pinhead. Are you trying to pick yet another fight?

-- Lisa (lisa@work.now), July 15, 1999.

Ken,as a serious "bugging-out" doomer,firearms made a big dent in my initial preparations,and I'm finding that having a serious survival library to not be cheap as well.The prep forum is also a great resource for emotional assistance.While no doubt you have no difficulty being lofty and superior with poor "meme-infected"doom-zombie children like us.Being a certified doomer is quite exausting.regards.

-- Mr.Zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), July 15, 1999.

Amen, Linda.

Tell me how to store an open #10 can of fruit for more than a day without it becoming several shades of fuzzy. May not be a problem in Maine, but what about Texas?

-- yerfdog (yerfdog@qwestinternet.net), July 15, 1999.

So, Mr. Decker,

You're obviously single (with parents as we know). How much would you add to the $1,000 or so preparations which you detailed elsewhere for a family of 4 or perhaps 8 if extended relatives showed up at the door? Suppose you didn't previously own any guns or know anything about them. Suppose that you lived in a city or a suburb and don't own any camping gear. Suppose that members of your family have allergies to foods that are commonly available in cans. What would you do then? How much would it cost you?

What if your relatives are DWGI, or disabled in some way, but you would rather them not suffer and die if things get very bad?

I would suggest to you that these may be some of the reasons why people spend time on the prep forum. Another reason might be to communicate with other people in similar situations for moral support.

If that is so hard for you to understand, I pity you.

-- nothere nothere (notherethere@hotmail.com), July 15, 1999.

Kenneth, (Since you explained your preference for the honorific (sp?) was due to Gary North's use of "Dr." and my few e-mails to him were addressed to "Gary" ......plus we are similarly aged)

The term Y2k Homesteader rings true to me. I have always had thoughts about living a more self-reliant lifestyle - grew up pretty much that way but drifted away as an adult. Seems even more appropriate now that I have a child. Like you I find it easy to adjust back and our knowledge/experience base is deep enough to serve us well. However I recognize many areas where I can definitely benefit from "chatting" with other likeminded folks - plus it is nice to have someone who can relate to our stories of triumph and/or frustration. I haven't found a "homesteading" forum half this good.

With regard to prepping for Y2k I also stress to "newbies" to keep it simple, prioritize and work their plan. Water, heat, food. I don't try to "recruit" them to my homesteading lifestyle preference. I agree with many of the above about most folks needing instruction as to how to come up with alternatives to fast food, 24 hr. quickie marts, potable water, etc. even for as little as 4-5 days. Too many people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning or fires trying to stay warm in harsh winters when the power is out even for a day or two. Many people who head to shelters don't think to bring even prescription meds, special foods, etc.... they just show up and are indignant that someone else didn't take care of it for them.

As for folks who have spent extra money going solar - what could be wrong with that? Less pollution!

On the surface what you say makes sense but many folks lack the experience and knowledge to prepare without some assistance (how many folks' first thought is "I have to buy a generator" before food or water concerns are considered?). I particularly enjoyed your previous posts where you described simple living, sharing that is how your family raised you. Those ways are so ingrained in you (and your parents) that it seems difficult for you to grasp how clueless many folks are regarding providing for themselves without modern conveniences. I also catch myself shaking my head sometimes when I hear someone say something that (to me) seems obviously foolish (I know it sounds rude but my likely thought is "and these people are reproducing!!!"). The reality is that most of these "foolish" people just weren't as "lucky" as we were when growing up (bucking hay, fencing, gardening, cleaning out animal pens.... lucky?! Didn't think so then, but now....). Sorry for the long post - I had been wanting to write this for some time and today's post kicked me in the butt to do so. Thanks! :)

-- Kristi (securx@succeed.net), July 15, 1999.

As the summer winds down the fall, a lot of folks are going to wish they'd used the money they spent on vacations, boat rides and useless crap a little more wisely. And this winter, al lot of folks are going to wish they'd got started sooner, when they are confronted with empty store shelves. And building a well balanced stockpile of necessities takes a long time. You don't just put a list together and run down to Wal-Mart, especially in the waning months of the millennium. People that do will almost certainly find that they have forgotten a critical item.

Decker, do you really think that the 50 pound bag of rice you speak of will be in Cosco perpetually? Did you know that neighborhood Cosco is the warehouse for Cosco? When the distributor of the 50# bag of rice runs out, do you think he just places an order to China and asks them to grow more? Rice is a seasonal crop Decker. Once this countries supply is depleted THAT'S IT until the next growing season. That's why folks like us have been trying to get people off the butt and into prep mode Decker, much to your chagrin. It could mean the difference between a bad depression and a collapse.

If you can afford it, dried food offers the some advantages, the longer shelf life is certain one, and less bulk another. I bought a 3 month supply as a reserve in case the shortage is prolonged.

Outings: LOL

-- a (a@a.a), July 15, 1999.

Ken, you might find it "OK" to eat unrefrigerated fruits or vegetables after several days, but I'm smarter than that, and I suspect 99.99% of the forum readers are, too. Sure, one *might* get lucky and not suffer any ill effects from this practice. Then again, if you've ever had food poisoning, you would NEVER advocate such a foolish idea. Food poisoning can occur under 'normal' conditions, ie., refrigeration being available. Food poisoning can be extremely debilitating.

If systems are disrupted to the point that food safety issues are compromised - water bad or non-existant, no power to keep things cold - the most irresponsible thing one could do would be to advocate eating warm, leftover foot several days old.

Where is your brain? I thought it was so big it would be difficult to lose.

You certainly don't know much about food safety, do you? What other 'helpful' little tips can you share?

-- Wilferd (WilferdW@aol.com), July 15, 1999.

The question was raised as to the point of my services. I will boil it down to these: 1) it takes TIME to learn how to prepare, and that is a commodity not everyone has. Besides, a person with a good job/other significant income source who is theoretically as capable as I at setting up their household for Y2K may reasonably conclude that it makes more sense to pay me to do (most) of it for them. 3) I can save them a heck of a lot of money on purchases; the buck-a-pound wheat dealers that advertise on the Web are selling 22-pounds-for-a- buck wheat at rather considerable markup, to use my favorite example. 4) Part of what I do is come in as a convinced, relatively objective third party. If someone is a GI, but their spouse is not, I can help them "break the logjam" of resistance in time to get some decent preps done. 5) As far as Y2K preps being simple, please consider what % of people understand each of the following: Sorokin's books' findings, the hybrid seed concern, the Executive orders & their implications, that their cars may not work due to embeds, the GPS rollover effects, what it takes to treat water, the need for unsat fats in diet, what tularemia is, how to even find out what antibiotics would be handy to have on hand (& how to get them), that Y2K won't just end on 1/2/2000 (and that it has already started in some respects), the solar flares, how 2 compliant systems can infect each other & neither work anymore (diff windowing pivot dates, etc.), the desirability to have all carpet replaced with tile, the likelihood of feral dog packs (to go with the feral DGI packs) that are certain next year, the nuke plant core cooling difficulties, on and on and on... This is SIMPLE?!? I study my tail off on this subject, and will readily admit that there is more I don't know about prepping for Y2K than I'll ever learn. I suspect that newcomer sub- 2.5 Y2K preparers may often not know enough to know how little they know. Simple? Not hardly.


-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), July 15, 1999.


We haven't chatted offline in quite some time. How have you been doing?

To me, the most difficult part of dealing with potential Y2K scenarios is that of the potential supply chain problems. Except in a few cases (gasoline in 1973 and rationing during WWII), we in this country have NO experience with needed/wanted items simply not being available at any price. Except, of course, for Cabbage Patch dolls, Furbies, and other such critical items.........

Even during the Great Depression, if you had the money, you could buy pretty much what you wanted. In fact, if you had not suffered a loss of income, you could live BETTER than you had in the '20's because of falling prices.

In this decade, we have shipped so much of our manufacturing offshore that we are faced with what, to some of us, seems a significant chance of real shortages in many, many basic items. Clothing, shoes, simple household goods, all have chances of disruption.

Another area in which disruption seems threatening is that of the chemical industry. Significant numbers of critical process chemicals, feedstocks, etc., have small numbers of suppliers, or, in some cases, only a single supplier due to market specialization. Should there be serious malfunctions at plastics feedstock producing plants, the effects of this could ripple (or slosh) back and forth through our economy for some time to come. Perhaps years.

Now, I totally agree that a free market economy will find substitutes. It will encourage entreupenours to start new businesses, it will create new opportunities. But, how long in an environment of (to make an assumption) deflation and economic depression will it take for these efforts to pull us out of the slump? The Great Depression lasted a decade. This could do the same. We are no longer a rural nation, with the experience and resourse base to feed ourselves as a matter of course as was done in the '30's. Also, we cannot afford another massive government bailout today as was done in the 1930's.

My efforts represent my best guess as to what I need to minimize discomfort, dislocation and possible suffering for my family. I would love nothing better than to have them all prove unneeded.

So, Ken, in a nutshell, the difficulty is in "reading the tea leaves", in deciding what might be affected, what might be needed, and planning for that in the face of limited information.

-- Jon Williamson (jwilliamson003@sprintmail.com), July 15, 1999.

Hi folks,

My original question was pretty simple. What is so complex about Y2K preparation. The answer is also apparent. Y2K preparation is pretty simple. Y2K homesteading is pretty complex (although if you start with Carla Emery's book you are halfway home.)

Onto individual comments: Lisa, have you read Ms. Emery's book? It is a delightful tome and far easier than sifting through this forum. Amazingly enough, there are no personal attacks nor any requests for female mudwrestling. Need I say more?

Zoobie, good point. If you decide you need serious firearms, the price tag for preparations goes up dramatically. It also suggests you think Y2K will be less Great Depression and more Omaha Beach.

For the fruit obsessed... you can store fruit in a cool, dark place for a few days. Even a primitive hand-dug cellar stays fairly cool. You can dry extra fruit and vegetables. You can gorge yourself in the habit of the Native Americans. You can share with others. By the way, it's amazing what you'll eat when you are truly hungry. No one has commented on my "favorite" survival food... Gaines Burgers.

Nothere, I didn't realize I was obviously single. It is difficult for anyone to step outside their personal experiences. If someone wanted to go the Y2K homestead route, I'd suggest a list of my favorite homesteading and self reliance books. As a pretty nice guy, I might even buy the books and make them a gift. Honestly, these books put this forum to shame in terms of quality information on homesteading topics. And, as always, I will respond to any polite question on a preparation issue.

Kristi, it's just Ken. Only my mother and lawyers call me Kenneth.

"a," I have meant to get back to you. I want to spend a little research time on your behalf... an economic comparison of 1974 and 1999. At present, the news on Y2K is good and "trending" positive. What makes you think we are going to have "runs" on food late this year? And what about the grain currently rotting in silos because of low prices? Hmmm...?

"Minnesota," cars that won't work because of embedded chips? (chuckle) Feral dog packs? (laughter) I realize you are a Y2K vendor. As an entrepreneur, I applaud your efforts. With all due respect, I can find everything I need for "Y2K preparation" locally and at very fair prices.

Hi, Jon.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), July 15, 1999.

I've been preparing non-stop since "getting it" in January of this year, and I don't feel very confident of being able to handle even a few months of a situation in which electricity simply stopped, if that included an inability to use our toilets.

The preparation forum is an invaluable source to me for ideas about how I can prepare to stay where I am, despite the fact that our current home is inadequate in many ways. Why not move? That's not as easily done as said.

Keep in mind that not everybody is as bright, as physically well endowed, as handsome, as well trained, as well equipped, as wealthy or as lucky as you. In times of calamity many millions die from starvation, illness, government force or injuries of war. In general, the young, the old, and the infirm fare poorly. This may be good for the species in the long run, but what if you happen to fall into some of the unfortunate categories?

What if you were me? Would you be reading the preparation forums? Here's my situation:

I have Lupus Erythematosus, an auto-immune condition aggravated by stress. While I have fortunate that up until the last few weeks my condition has not physically prevented me from preparing, it does limit what options are available to me.

Inspiring examples like Steven Hawking aside (he suffers from another affliction), I am practically unemployable. I spent most of 1997 as a virtual shut-in. My condition can flare at any time, which makes me an undependable employee. This does not mean that I'm lazy or want to be taken care of. Do I want the government to take care of me in a shelter? Hell no!

As if that weren't enough, I have a DWGI husband who is a Type II diabetic. His diet is very restricted, allowing for only very small quantities of beans, rice, wheat, sugar, or honey. If he cannot get his medication, his health deteriorates rapidly and he gets very cranky.

We don't have a basement or control over the use of our own yard. What preparations I can make are due to my being humored. I am not in a position to talk to the neighbors, as yet. I'm not really in a position to even threaten to leave to set up my own homestead somewhere. I also think it's highly unlikely that any survival group would take us in.

I recognize that there are plenty of people who would look at the preparations I have made and feel completely inadequate. There are lots of people in worse Y2K shape than I'm in: single mothers, apartment dwellers, the poor, ...

I don't think any of these people would be well served by the suggestion that they should simply go to Costco and pick up some huge cans of peaches.

-- Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California (addy.available@my.webpage.neener.autospammers--regrets.greenspun), July 15, 1999.

"Only my mother and lawyers call me Kenneth."

OK, gotta know: what'd ya do?

-- Lisa (lisa@burning.up), July 15, 1999.

Yes, putting leftovers into a refrigerator can certainly be done without electricity if you have a propane refrigerator, for example (lots of other options). I recently got mine from Nortwest Energy Storage (ww.nwes.com). It consume .25 gal of propane a day -- or can use electicity if available.

And there are 1001 other tips and tricks on how to prepare for Y2K over at the Yourdon Preparation Forum. I suggest to everyone that they spend more time there, instead of feeding yet another one of Mr. Decker's idiotic baiting threads.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), July 15, 1999.

>> I read about people on this forum who have spent months and thousands of dollars on preparation. On what? Is Y2K preparation about comfort versus discomfort... or survival versus death? <<

It is quite simple, really, and I suspect you formed your own answer to this question before you asked it. The degree of complication is dependant on the preparer's assumptions about what they must prepare for.

If you truly believed, as some forum members do, that you must prepare for the loss of access to all food and water that originates beyond your immediate vicinity, all oil-related products (a massive list right there), all manufactured goods, and all governmental support services such as police and fire protection, then you would find it complicated to prepare for that scenario, too.

As for the issue of "comfort versus discomfort or survival versus death", I think you'll find that no one with access to the Internet (as we all do) also currently lives a life where they are familiar with the level of deprivation described above and able to cope with it without providing some kind of replacements out of our own resources.

It might be appropriate to cite the book I am currently reading: "People of the Deer", by Farley Mowat. It describes the plight of a tribe of Inuit living inland from Hudson's Bay, whose traditional way of life was built upon hunting of caribou. Over the course of several generations this tribe came into contact with members of our industrial economy. They began to trade fox pelts for guns, ammunition, traps, and such comforts as iron cooking pots. These items became established as necessities to their new way of life.

Later, during the 1930s and 1940s, when the value of fox pelts nosedived and the traders no longer came to trade, these people began to starve in great numbers. They had lost many of the skills required to live without trade goods. By 1950, their numbers were less than 50, where in 1920 they were estimated at 7000. What had not been necessary for survival to one generation had become necessary to later generations.

My point is that most of us Internet types have deeply interwoven our lives with the "luxuries" of this global economy. It is increasingly hard to draw a line between what items provide us with mere comfort and which are necessary to our survival. It is especially hard to know such niceties in advance.

Just because your (and my) assumptions do not extend to a belief that industrial society will collapse and disappear in the year 2000, I understand that it is rational among those who assume such a collapse to proceed to make very complex preparations. If I were convinced this comfortable world would utterly disappear, I'd be making multi-year preps, too.

Nor is comfort unrelated to survival. Warm clothes may keep me alive. If they do their job well, they also keep me comfortable. At what point does the warmth needed for survival become warmth for the mere sake of comfort? The same transport that takes me to work may also take me to the fair. So, does ensuring transport ensure my survival or my comfort?

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), July 15, 1999.

Decker says -- "...buy a half dozen books and spent a weekend of time far more efficiently than cruising this forum for tidbits...you'll find more common sense and ingenuity at your local library than on this forum...It is a delightful tome and far easier than sifting through this forum. ...Honestly, these books put this forum to shame..."

There's a message in there somewhere.

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), July 15, 1999.

Brian M.

Yes that is an interesting book. I have known some of the Cree (quite well) and other first nations folk that lost there lively hood when the fur trade ended.

May I recommend Farley's other book Lost in the Barrens. It was the first book in the series. Also Grey Seas Under is a good book if you like the water. One of the best.

There is alot of "natural awareness" that has been lost due to the change in nothern Natives lifestyle.

Ken You appear to have a single mindedness, stuck in your own little world. 3 days would be a piece of cake (or fruit cake). But many think it will be longer. At least they aren't going to take your advice. It is my opinion that we are in for a cold winter. We will agree to differ I guess.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), July 15, 1999.

I've asked this same question before. Make a list, check it twice and go shopping. It really sounds fairly simple if you're not relocating.

I was at Sports Authority the other night and I'm telling you that place was packed with ALL KINDS of camping/survival gear. They had cases and cases of MRE's. Cans and cans of Coleman gas, all kinds of stoves, battery powered lamps.......you name it.

I'm not so sure I would leave canned fruit out on the counter for more than a day and still feel OK eating it.

OutingsR - Are you ever going to say ANYTHING of substance?? A waste of skin in the truest sense folks........


-- Deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), July 15, 1999.

Oh, by the way. You can expect troubles in 1994-1996 or 1997 model cars if/when they are hooked up to the diagnostic computers.

Nothing serious, they just don't start again...........

Inside source, a personal friend of my fathers. He won't give me a name, I think he knows I pass this stuff on. (G)

Take it for whatever it is worth, scuttlebutt, inside info, or swamp gas. All of my vehicles are outside that year range.

-- Jon Williamson (jwilliamson003@sprintmail.com), July 15, 1999.


It's a crowded world, Brian. Everyone but a handful of pessimists are pretty sanguine about Y2K.

If I might add to my original point, beyond the Y2K Homesteader lurks the Y2K Survivalist. This mindset assumes a high probability deadly force will be necessary. If you look at my first essay cross-posted on this forum, you'll find my opinion on the folly of fixed position defense. In short, you'd better be well hidden and damn lucky if the rule of law gives way to the law of the jungle.

Dancr, I am suggesting you use something more valuable than a can of peaches... common sense.

Jack, see above.

Lisa, consider the possibility lawyers talk to me for reasons other than criminal defense.

Outings, if you ask nicely, I'll give you the book list.

Deano, why do you think Outings actually has skin?

And will someone just admit they like Y2K planning because it's "cool." (laughter)


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), July 15, 1999.

They also serve who only cut and paste.

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), July 15, 1999.

Linda & yerfdog,

Tutti fruitti & brandied fruit are simple to make, & easy to keep going. Carla Emery has some recipes, or you can fire up a thread on the prep forum. Could be a hot barter item!!!

-- flora (***@__._), July 15, 1999.

Decker, are you on some kind of medication these days??? It seems like every third sentence its "(laughter)","(laughter)","(laughter)". This entire stupid thread is nothing but a re-hash of previous stupid threads. You have lost the element of surprise. Previous statements are coming back to haunt you (thanks OutingsR, what would we do without you?).

If I were you, I'd be real careful. I think SuperPolly wants your job. And Paul Davis. And Doc Paulie. And even CPR. Gawd, it must be lonely being Top Troll.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.com), July 15, 1999.

What a surprise... King of Spain and response that has nothing to do with the matter at hand. I wish you were as big a fan as Outings. He never misses a word. So, Spain, planning on joining a discussion?


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), July 15, 1999.

Anon, if you've got a creek with enough drop to run a ram successfully, go for it! I had a ram at the last place I had, and it was a joy!. On a six foot drop, it powered a ram which produced over three gallons per minute twenty feet higher than the ram, with enough pressure to run a rainbird twenty-four hours per day.

So what is a "Solar and a super-insulated bush box"? I gotta know!


-- jumpoffjoe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), July 16, 1999.

Decker said

At present, the news on Y2K is good and "trending" positive. What makes you think we are going to have "runs" on food late this year? And what about the grain currently rotting in silos because of low prices? Hmmm...?

First of all, why the dearth of cities, countries and companies coming forth with 160 days to go is considered good news and "trending" (trending? Is that ME jargon?) is beyond me. Must be an academic thing. We little people can't see it unless we're up in your ivory tower.

What "makes" me think we are going to have runs is that I have carefully noted of the behavior of my fellow human beings every time a hurricane gets three days from the coast. (You know what happens? We have "runs" on food! Maybe I'll teach you about that in my Econ 101 class someday)

As for the grain, thanks to pollyanna minded folks like yourself, its rotten. Could have been distributed, sold and preserved, but now its moldy crap not fit for a mule. And here's another lesson for you, oh Wise One: you won't be getting any more until a new three month crop is grown next year (oh, and its doesn't matter how much money you have, you have to let nature take its course. Its sort of like developing software, in that way)


-- a (a@a.a), July 16, 1999.

joe - solar as in solar oven. See Taz and Old GIT's prior threads on the bush box. (Believe it is now on prep forum)

-- anon (anon@anon.com), July 16, 1999.

Mr Decker

I believe you are correct. How about a complete waste of scales??


-- Deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), July 16, 1999.

Hey Deano, I'd say hi to you but Outings would claim that it was a conspiracy. Oh, what the hell! How you doing? Glad to see you're done with the Y2K testing. We're into integration test now and things are looking great - no problems.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), July 16, 1999.

Maria -- Glad to hear about integration testing. Too bad for all of us that millions of SMEs around the world are going FOF.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), July 16, 1999.

Maria my friend

Doing well, thankyouverymuch! 9 days away from Y2K was just what the doctor ordered. I 'almost' feel refreshed. OutingsR is a cute little pug..........but certainly not much more than that. :-)

Hope things are going as well for you.

Our external vendor testing is not quite completed just yet. We've got a few more scheduled through the end of this month (there may be more added to the schedule before it's over). ALL testing has gone without a Y2K hitch. There were a couple of production issues but none date related. We were able to post 9 sets (I think) of results this week with the other groups not far behind. There are about 65-75 vendors that we've tested with or are planning to test with.

I'll be glad when it's over...........then I'll need another vacation!

Oh yeah, I returned from vacation last week to find out that I've been blessed with managing the Risk Mitigation plans for all our business units. That's in addition to Due Diligence, Inventory and test results.

Geez......are we having fun yet??


-- Deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), July 16, 1999.

Mr Decker,

I will actually try to answer your question without any rabid/sarcastic remarks; Which by the way I find very juvenile...

Y2K preps are about comfort/discomfort AND survival vs. death. I have children... I have a wife... It is my responsibilty to be ready for anything that might, whatever the chances are, cause harm to them, period. I pray to God there is minimal disruption at rollover. But I am preparing for the unknown, and the worst.

Is that what you are looking for? I know my preps, counting peripherals, cost about $2000. I feel I am ready for whatever may come. If it is worse than my preparations will carry, then the world will not be worth living in anyway.

I find myself thankful I do not live in a metropolis, nor in a tiny town on an electric coop. These are the ends of the scale, IMHO. Granted, living in the desert, water wells are 300+', no hand pumps will pull from that depth, but water was my #1 priority in preparing.

From an earlier post: Autos not Y2K compliant... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!....LOL!!! When people bring that wive's tale up, I KNOW they are clueless, or trying to sell me something!!! The only embeddeds in a car that might even have an issue is your radio, or your "On-Star" personal security/GPS system. God forbid those quit working!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!

But I digress....

Mr. Decker I always appreciate your posts... a kind of balance to rabidity...

not foaming at the mouth...

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert Dog@-sand.com), July 16, 1999.

I don't know about cars, but with tractors and other farm equipment, one big question on embedded chips was whether timing sequences on the hardware used a date time clock. http://www.cfbmc.com/y2k/english/html/equipm.html

Ref: http://www.tmn.com/~frautsch/y2k2.html As explained in "Embedded Systems and the Year 2000 Problem (The OTHER Year 2000 Problem)" by Mark A. Frautschi, Ph.D. excerpted from Draft of 24 February 1999: It is a matter of a timing function and not just functions of dates or years.

"...Devices that do not require dates (or absolute time) are conveniently built using chips that keep absolute time. This is because relative time (for example the time since an automobile ignition switch was engaged) may be synthesized from differences in absolute times. This arrangement works because the dates that are subtracted from one another are both 'wrong' by the same amount of time and this amount drops out when the subtraction is performed. There is no concern whether the date is properly set in this arrangement. Thus, both absolute time and relative time applications can be served with the same absolute time capable chip, making production of purely relative time capable chips redundant..."

"Thus, even when only relative time is required by the OEMs, this may often be derived from chips that keep absolute time internally. Those chips that represent absolute time using two digit dates are subject to Year-2000 failures just as with computers and software as has been more widely reported. The logic 'It does not need to keep dates, therefore it does not keep dates.' has no basis in the internal operation of the chip. This has resulted in a number of systems being declared Year-2000-compliant when in fact their firmware has not been tested. The question is not 'Does it need a date?' the question is 'Does it use time in any way?' Examples of systems containing unassessed code include remote control load management switches installed at consumer sites by electric utilities, automobile power train transmission control modules and major household appliances..."

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), July 16, 1999.

Decker says -- "...buy a half dozen books and spent a weekend of time far more efficiently than cruising this forum for tidbits...you'll find more common sense and ingenuity at your local library than on this forum...It is a delightful tome and far easier than sifting through this forum. ...Honestly, these books put this forum to shame..."

Outings is right. Why DO you come to this forum Decker? Are you really THAT lonely?

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), July 16, 1999.

I know of no automobile that has a backup battery for the CPU. So if you are so worried about Y2K compliancy in your auto, remove the negative battery cable from the battery for 10 minutes, and reinstall it. It should effectively reset the latent clock timer of the CPU. If you are REALLY paranoid, remove the main connector to the CPU, (but only after removing the negative cable first!!!!) and reconnect after 10 minutes....

chasin' the cat...

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert Dog@-sand.com), July 16, 1999.


The info on car computer maintenance log chip came, according to my father, from an engineer with Chrysler. The problem apparently occurs when the diagnostic computer attempts to reset the internal maintenance log chip (or whatever it is called) with a date after 12/31/1999. It locks up.

Totally unsubstanciated, second hand, I agree. As I said, take it for how it was reported, a tidbit I recieved from a family member. Dad was in the Auto industry (Tier One supplier) for 30 years. He knows where a few of the bodies are buried.

Or he could have been *BS* me for fun. We'll find out.

-- Jon Williamson (jwilliamson003@sprintmail.com), July 16, 1999.

Well Jon,

Fortunately I don't have one of the computerized marvels... My newest vehicle is a '92 bronco, and it does NOT have a Y2000 problem...

Sounds pretty silly that the diagnostic computer could lock up the CPU on an automobile... Hmmm.... Oh well... NOT MY PROBLEM... don't use diagnostic computers... if it really is true... MAJOR BUMMER...

Hey Y2KProbe, don't you drive one of those??? Let us know will ya??? BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Seriously though Jon, it seems if you remove logic voltage, the CPU and its latent clock timer would still reset, even after the alleged heinous touch of a diagnostic computer...IMHO...


The Dog

-- Dog (Desert Dog@-sand.com), July 16, 1999.

Re autos: http://www.amarillonet.com/stories/041399/bus_bite.shtml Also came across this (excerpted from an article by Dr. M. Ray Perryman, president and chief executive officer of The Perryman Group and Business Economist-in-Residence at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University:

"The automotive industry is facing a daunting task in preparing for the new millennium. During the last decade, microprocessors have become essential components of many automotive functions. The typical automobile has 10 to 15 processors; high-end cars can have as many as 80! Changing one line of code often can create new problems, and an engine controller can have more than 100,000 lines of code."

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), July 17, 1999.


This quote leaves too much to the imagination. So let's fill in the blanks and see where we get, OK?

"The automotive industry is facing a daunting task in preparing for the new millennium."

This is true in a general sense, sure. Everyone faces a task, and many of those tasks daunt those facing them. The auto industry is no different. Of course, we have a lot of indication that the auto industry is dealing with that task successfully, and NO indication from ANYWHERE that vehicles themselves have any date issues, save for a few secondhand unverified rumors.

"During the last decade, microprocessors have become essential components of many automotive functions. The typical automobile has 10 to 15 processors; high-end cars can have as many as 80!"

True, but how relevant? ABS systems know nothing of dates, but use several microcontrollers. So where are these date problems?

"Changing one line of code often can create new problems, and an engine controller can have more than 100,000 lines of code."

True, but who is changing any lines of code?

Well, I guess we need a little creativity here. This paragraph doesn't say there aren't any date problems, so let's assume there are. It doesn't say the code hasn't been changed, so let's assume it has. It doesn't say problems have NOT be introduced, so let's assume they have been. It doesn't say what might go wrong, so let's assume the worst. It doesn't say there are no effective workarounds to these unmentioned problems, so let's assume there aren't any.

Presto! We have problems with automobiles! Perryman said so (didn't he? SURE he did).

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), July 17, 1999.

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