Your "Tidbits" of Information from Reliable Sources *Please Contribute* : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Good Morning, Folks

Many to most of us have had our ears to the ground for some time. We hear bits and pieces of news, both good AND bad.

I truly know that these must be taken with a grain of salt, but please, contribute what you've heard lately.

Finally, PLEASE, only from sources that you trust, not "sister of the friend of my aunt's babysitter" [G]

-- Jon Williamson (, August 31, 1999


Reliable sources? What are they? Oh well, in the spirit of a provocative question...

1. A Y2K coordinator-type who came to our department at a major university located "high above Cayuga's waters" said that they had found show-stopping chips in the heating system. I asked for confirmation that, if undetected, they would have been show-stoppers. Answer -- "yes". Reliable -- who knows?!

2. KOS likes mud wrestling.

3. The saying, "The only thing that we can count on is death and taxes" may not survive the rollover.

-- Dave (, August 31, 1999.

Dave and all.

Truly, the question was not meant to be provocative. I thought it might be useful and/or of interest to have a thread to keep track of the small to not-so-small things we hear.

Everything to be taken with a grain of salt. I'd REALLY like to hear some of the good news that has to be out there, somewhere. I'm not trying to fan the flames of pessimism, that is being done nicely as is.

If this turns out to be of moderate interest to everyone, I may start one of these every week. Kind of a "late breaking" anonymous tip line..... [G]

Maybe we can even save some bandwidth.

-- Jon Williamson (, August 31, 1999.

This is a small thing, but a good piece for the Y2k puzzle. I sell components for wireless communications in the Dallas area. Recently, we've had several orders for the Arkansas Nat'l. Guard because they've decided to upgrade internal comm. for all of their armories. In chatting with one of the buyers, he did admit they're concerned about the reliability of the phone networks in the coming months. It would seem that their concern is very deep otherwise they would not be undertaking the expense and manpower to do this project.

-- saveamerica (, August 31, 1999.

Solar panels have been set up at the Pentagon near what looks to be a small generation facility off to the side of the Pentagon area. The solar array (approximately 150 panels) can be easily seen on the right from the road when returning from D.C. on 395 and heading toward Rosslyn and 66. The off ramp takes one past one side of the Pentagon. A large sign explains that this solar array is a joint project of the DOD and DOE. Dowm the same road past the solar panels, another sign indicates a basement renovation project is underway at the Pentagon. Large areas of dirt have been moved, dug, and cleared on one side of the Pentagon building and construction is, indeed, under way. I only noticed this a few weeks ago and haven't been back that way to check on the progress.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, August 31, 1999.

My wife works for MCI as a long distance telephone operator. Since June of this year the number of computer proplems has increased dramatically. Wells Fargo Bank computers were down for 2 days. At various times whole counties could not be direct dialed. Calls are routed to certain operators. At times the routing system has broken down and the calls would be routed to any operator. This is a problem when the caller does not speak the same language as the operator.

-- bob (, August 31, 1999.

New bank cards came last week. The Business name came out truncated on the card, the letter was wrong too. Most importantly the card didn't work and when my wife went to the bank, gee it was lined up to the doors, first time we've ever seen that. Oh, and the teller, she said they are "having problems with their y2k work", imagine that.

-- Will (, September 01, 1999.

A member of my family, who is a DWGI, is a network administrator for a company that supplies high-technology materials and services to microelectronics industries. The company is the world's largest manufacturer of a particular product for the semiconductor industry.

He works in one of their manufacturing facilities, where he was put in charge of the Y2K remediation of the desktop PCs. Recently I asked him how his efforts were coming along. He said they were finished...except that he had not remediated the global values of the PCs, didn't plan to, and was not going to tell anyone. I'll have to leave the significance of this to the techies, because I don't know what it means, or what the consequences could be.

-- RUOK (, September 01, 1999.

Folks, thanks for the contributions.

This was distibuted to all the departments at a Michigan University yesterday:


Federal contract payments threatened by Y2K

Warning: Get your federal invoices paid by December 24, 1999, says Bill Blumberg, payment analyst, Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). If you wait until the new year, you might be in payment purgatory until DFAS puts out its Y2K fires. All 23 DFAS offices are Y2K compliant, but that does not mean problems won't pop up.

That's just one of the tips Blumberg and a host of federal payment experts will share to help you shave weeks - even months - off the time it takes to get paid by your federal customers.

Government payment experts from DFAS, EPA, Treasury join industry representatives from Visa, Edgemark Systems, Wang Government Services and more to explain these changes and show how you can put the governments own rules and regulations to work for you at:

How to Get Paid on Tune By the U.S. Government And Collections and Cost Recovery Workshop September 15-17, 1999 Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

-- Jon Williamson (, September 01, 1999.

I just got off the phone with an Electrical Engineer. He had recently finished a Y2K certification project for a company's controls systems.

I asked him if he found any problems. Definitely, he said. Any show stoppers?

322 Data Panel A GE product (he rattled it off quite fast, I didn't catch it) Many of the Wonderware applications.

In his words, these were NOT "cosmetic errors", but errors in firmware that had a very good chance of shutting down applications.

He volunteered that "It's going to be a real mess out there".

-- Jon Williamson (, September 08, 1999.

This was posted by Diane Squires on another thread. It seemed to be a good choice for here, also.

So, with her permission, I'm reposting it.

BTW, seems as good a place as any to post. Perhaps Cory can confirm. Diane

Sent around on the Cynthias Y2K Forum list... Subject: an IT expert Speaks Date: Wed, 08 Sep 1999 06:58:52 -0700 I saw this posted on another list and thought it very revealing information. I have intentionally left the person's name and e-mail off of it, it was posted on the DC-Y2K-WRP list. - G --------------------------------------- I was looking for the parameters that you would use to define an IT person/expert like: 20 years experience, or 5+ years in at least two industries, or a PHD in data processing, etc. Assuming you would consider me an IT Expert here is some insider stuff and opinions: My current employer decided (the business partners, not the IT management) in 1982 to not build y2k compliant code. Our rationale: 1. We estimated saving many millions of dollars in disk space, tape volumes, and CPU capacity. 2. We thought that we would replace the systems in 10-15 years and could fix y2k in the new systems Our actions since 1982: 1. We started some y2k remediation as early as 1989. 2. We appointed a Senior Vice President for y2k remediation in 1997. 3. We report status to the CEO, CIO, CFO, etc. monthly and have for over 1 year. 4. We went full blown (100-200 IT people in 2000 person IT shop) in 1996 to fix our y2k problems. 5. We still have over 100 IT people working on y2k remediation. 6. We are replacing several electrical components at our head quarters (15,000+ employees) this month to make them y2k compliant. I expect their will be more like this in the coming months. 7. We started a city/regional y2k working group 2 years ago. 8. We have briefed several federal agencies (and a few foreign governments) on our remediation techniques. 9. We had a bombshell dropped on us by a major brokerage software provider Dec 1998 and have committed 30 IT people full time in 1999 to recreate and remediate the system it had replaced. 10. We ran a business recovery scenario two weeks ago that included utility failures. We did well, but not perfect. 11. We now have a software freeze that prohibits all production changes (except regulatory and fixes) until Feb 2000. 12. All IT personnel are on call beginning 12/26/1999 through 1/15/ 2000 and no vacations are allowed. 13. We have not told any employees to prepare for outages or problems. 14. Most people working the y2k project at our company have been stocking and preparing since 1998. 15. Many people working the y2k project have just recently shifted their opinions from EOTWAWKI to big stock market crash and depression/ deep recession. 16. I have some very capable friends (with extensive IT and business experience) that have never thought y2k would be an issue. 17. I heard from an IT person at a Southwest grocery chain that they are worried about the ability of freight services to deliver goods. 18. I have a friend in Dallas, Tx whose neighbor works in the field for an electric utility company. The neighbor bought a cord of wood to make it through the next winter. 19. I have two brother-n-laws that own businesses. I can't convince either of them to stock up on critical supplies. 20. I haven't been able to convince any family members to move their money out the stock market. 21. I haven't been able to convince any family members to stock essentials. 22. I have a friend that works for global consulting firm (that everybody would recognize if named) who led the y2k remediation efforts at a very large American bank. He says the bank is toast. 23. A friend from a large computer company (again everybody would recognize if named) told me two years ago that one of the largest Japanese enterprises was willing to pay any price to get a critical system repaired by the vendor. Response from the vendor: can't be done in time, replace the system. Response by the Japanese company: Can't replace in time. 24. Any Fortune 500 company that hasn't taken y2k as seriously as we have (devoted 5-10% of its IT shop for 3-4 years) is going to have many problems managing cash flow and inventories. 25. We've experienced and fixed many y2k problems. If they had all occurred within the same week we would've had a big mess on our hands. 26. NOW A PREDICTION: 9/9/99 isn't going to be a big problem. Many companies used a 'nines record' to indicate the end of a file. Some still use it. But, I've never seen a program (in approximately 25 years) that read a record then checked to see the record key was a valid date. I've seen dates used as part of a key, but never as the whole key. So, the programs I've seen do something like this: * read a record * if the record key is '9999' then close the file and end the program * if the record key isn't '9999' then process the record * read the next record * etc

-- Diane J. Squire (, September 08, 1999.

-- Jon Williamson (, September 09, 1999.

Folks, I got this today from an IT person with 30 years in the industry, about 29 of that contracting.


(snip) As for Y2K - well you have to understand that I have not seen it all everywhere, but from what I have seen, the larger financial institutions should be OK (keep your last few statements just in case). At least in the US. Most of the larger financial institutions in Europe - same answer.

Everything else is going to be a mix. I would expect the largest problems with embedded chips (power grids, etc.) and smaller companies who did not spend the money to check out and fix their problems. Most mainframe based systems should be OK, midrange also. PC based systems will be a mix.

I do not expect the world to end, but there will be problems, and most of them will be financially related (but probably not by the big ones). However - there appears to be a feeling right now in middle management at least very similar to just before the Gulf War. Sit tight and don't do anything (head in the sand stuff).

Understand that for many systems which were fixed with windowing and use a pivot year, these same systems are going to have to be revisited and it is going to be enormous and will be spread out over many years (sure nothing running today will be running 25 years from now - sure - there is stuff running today that was written in the 60's and some of this will still be running years from now because people do not want to pay for the talent who knows anything about it to fix it and fix it correctly). Sorry, I tend to get extreme on the subject. In short, no biggy, but I would not want to pay the bills.

Just remember, the system which controls the launch of nuclear missles in this country has a known (for several years) Y2K problem, and it has not yet been fixed. The good news is that those missles are not pointed at us and probably will not fire. The bad news is that the Soviet missle systems have not yet been started on Y2K remediation. The good news is that most of their missles have not been serviced properly (or at all) since the fall of the USSR and will probably fizzle even if they are launched. There will be lots of problems.

There are a LOT of programmers now, but NOT enough with the skills to fix everything or even most things in the time remaining. Fun huh?

Forward this with my blessings and you do not have to remove anything. I did not state anything I don't believe. I assume your phrase about interesting times was related to the chinese curse "May you live in interesting times". I wasn't born until after WWII, but I do remember the cold war and practicing diving under desks at school. This is interesting for a different reason. Maybe there will be no problem, but I doubt it. I also doubt that the world will end.

There will be a lot of problems, and it will take a long time and mostly they won't get resolved correctly. The whole attitude is the problem. There used to be a phrase which was popular (at least I heard it several times from several different sources) in Washington DC in the 70's that stated "good enough for government work". I have seen such slop in programs over the years that it almost amazes me that things still run. One of the banks that I was at traded securities (100s of Billions of dollars every day). This was done with program trading. The programs were written by sharp young people. When I looked at them, there was not a single comment. How is that going to get fixed?

These were some of the better ones. (remember, only 100s of Billions of dollars every day). Those should not have a Y2K problem (they were after all tested), but what about the general coding problem and the world does change so code needs to be changed. Oh well.


-- Jon Williamson (, September 27, 1999.

Our 911 Motorola 800 system has been having problems ever since the Y2K upgrades were installed a few months ago. From regular listening to my scanner, I can assure you that the problems are becoming more numerous. Last night there were frequent 15-second gaps in transmissions (in and out), and whole consoles have gone down at times. All I know is in five years of listening, problems have very much increased since the upgrades installation.

-- Old Git (, September 27, 1999.

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-- shiny (, September 27, 1999.

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