Y2K isn't about predictions. It's about a well known, expensive, technical problem. Things will break.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999


Mr. Decker, tell us again about the rabbits. Uhhh, I mean the free market forces....

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.com), September 10, 1999.

Gripping and disturbing

"Gripping" is an overused word in reviews, but it is an uncannily perfect word to describe this entire series, set in an alternate- history where the Loyalists established a colony in south Africa after losing the American Revolution.

"Marching Through Georgia", the first in the series, takes place in the early 1940's. The Draka have dominated and enslaved all of Africa, the Middle East, and much of Asia. They have lain in wait as the Nazis exhausted themselves conquering Europe and battling Russia. Now, the Domination of the Draka is poised to take advantage of the situation and extend its iron grip yet again.

The Draka -- men and women both -- are trained from birth to be outstanding fighters, both individually and collectively. They are also trained how to be slaveholders, how to most effectively tame, train, and use human beings, as some people tame, train, and use horses. Draka are dedicated to the survival of the State, and believe that "if you desire the ends, then you desire the means".

Unfortunately for everybody else, the only way the Draka will feel secure is to put the rest of the world "under the yoke".

Stirling could easily have written the Draka as stereotyped evil villians -- powerful and nasty and easy to hate. But the author did something far more impressive ... he(?) made them human. There is much to hate about the Draka and their society, but there is also much to admire. Better yet, Stirling helps you understand *why* the Draka are who they are -- and why their slaves are who *they* are. As "inhuman" as some of their actions are, it is clear the the Draka are, indeed, all too human. *This* is Stirling's accomplishment, this is what makes this series so impressive.

(The other books in the series are "Under the Yoke", "Stone Dogs", and "Drakkon".)

-- On (to@decker.com), September 11, 1999.

Now Sysman,

There you go being logical. Don't you know Y2k is about Nostradamus, Biblical prophecy and Janet Reno? Besides things break all the time. Thats why we have super-glue. All we need to do is make sure everyone in the world is stocked up on Super-Glue. Then we can FOF to our hearts' content.

-- R (riversoma@aol.com), September 11, 1999.

which things are going to break, sysman? the code that has been remediated, or the embedded processors that have no date function?

BTW, how is that paper coming on Bruce Beach? you were 3/4 done in April I think. (your spaztic, tinfoil wrapped cell-mates have been trying to raze Cherri about an issue which was dealt with long ago. I figure turn about is fair play.)

-- Where (are@ll.theproblems?), September 11, 1999.

anyone know where I can get a poster of Mr. Reno?

-- Porky (Porky@in.cellblockD), September 11, 1999.


I see you've been here a while. Why the new handle?

Nobody knows what will break. Do you? Remediated code? You are kidding, aren't you? I don't deal with billions of dollars worth of code. I work for a small shop, so let's talk thousands. I'm the tech support guy for a mainframe and a 50 node lan. I work my ass off keeping PRODUCTION code going. I have a stack of core dumps on my desk. I don't need Y2K to mess with me. Things are broken now. Have you ever changed and tested a program? In fact, what do you know about computers?

So tell me, do you think there will be 0% failure from Y2K? How much, 5%, 10%, 25%??? Look real hard into that crystal ball. We all want to know the answer.

As far as Mr. Beach, I mentioned it here in a few threads, and didn't get much interest. I could put a summary together pretty quickly. But why should I waste my time? What are you going to add to the topic? Please, tell me about your technical knowledge. Maybe then, we'll talk. Otherwise, I'm too busy to waste my time on someone that I haven't seen contribute one valuable word to this forum.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.

I'm too busy to waste my time on someone that I haven't seen contribute one valuable word to this forum.

Right back at you.

-- Where (are@ll.theproblems?), September 11, 1999.


You are being baited. Don't sweat the small minds. There is no point in a battle of wits with an unarmed person. Apparently "Where" knows more about Y2k than the IEEE or the CIA. Who are we to argue with such lofty intelligence? So silly - all those companies spending billions on a non-issue. Funny - none of them have stopped spending money on Y2k yet. Wonder what will happen to the majority of companies that can't afford to remediate? The millions of small to medium sized businesses that are barely scraping by now?

-- R (riversoma@aol.com), September 11, 1999.

Hi R,

Yea, I know, but Flint got me in a fightin' mood, and I think he went to bed. I'm just so tired of this predictions crap. The polly's last stand.

Then we have the hot-air bags, like Where, who when asked to show at a tiny bit of smarts, come back with that great answer. Just went from a 0 to a -1 on my smarts scale. Have a nice life, Where.

Screw it. I'm going to bed. As far as I can see here, some people think that we will have a 0% failure rate from Y2K. No problem.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.


The title is a given. The question is what. If they are still introducing new patches in December, I presume that it will be everything [I didn't believe that I would still be loading patches in Sep. 99].

Best wishes,

-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), September 11, 1999.


Yup, expect more. Kinda puts a hole in the year for testing idea, huh? <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt." Groucho Marx

-- Groucho (Groucho@Marxx.com), September 11, 1999.

Yea, I know Groucho.

"Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience."

"Never argue with a pig. You'll both get dirty and the pig will love it."

"I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem."


Tick... Tock... <:00=

PS - but my favorite Y2K related:

"Of course I don't look busy... I did it right the first time."

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.

You should listen to Groucho, sysman.

good advice. (you too, R)

The companies didn't spend billions on a non-issue; it is BECAUSE they spent billions and GOT THE FREAKING WORK DONE that it is a non-issue.

-- Where (are@ll.theproblems?), September 11, 1999.


"GOT THE FREAKING WORK DONE". This is a serious question. After more than a year of searching, I have finally found someone with the answer. Come back and tell us more. Especially how you got this information. I [with numerous contacts] have not been able to find it. My information leads to more questions and no answers.

Finally Someone on the Forum Who Knows,

-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), September 11, 1999.


I'm really tired of this. I don't know how much you think you know about this problem, but since you are here now, reading the same stuff that I am, you should know what's going on. Since you remember my comments on Mr. Beach, you've been here for a while. You know all about me. You know I've made a good living for 31 years programming computers. You know that I have researched this problem, posting dozens, maybe hundreds, of Y2K articles here, from the media and other internet information sites, and over 2000 messages. You know how I feel about this problem. You know that I don't believe in TEOTWAWKI. You know that I'm a solid 6.5 .

What is your point? Are you telling me that everything is going to work just fine? We will have no problems, just like all the "failed predictions"?

Do you really believe that we can make billions of dollars worth of changes to the computer systems of the world, and see no problems? I really hope that you don't. I do hope that you are making at least minimum preparations. Really. I may not agree with you, but I sure don't want to see anything happen to you. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.


I also don't believe we can make billions of dollars worth of repairs to our systems and see no improvements. The big knowledge void is, we don't really know how serious our problems were to begin with (estimates range from "very" to "tolerable"), nor do we know how big a chunk we'll have bitten out of them before the strike or not. I can guarantee that we can never really know how bad the bugs would have been that didn't strike because they were fixed.

I feel Hoffmeister's contention must be taken seriously, that we are stirring up our code bases furiously right now, slapping remediated code back into production, slapping in replacement software and hardware (often both at once) into production, running y2k tests on live code, all manner of very dangerous practices. And from reading a lot of the posted news stories, we are NOT doing this without a hefty dollop of glitches (and this is over and above any lookahead code).

Yet we are mostly taking these problems in stride. So to make a case that all hell will start to break loose after rollover, you must argue that remaining date bugs (after remediation and testing, in many cases) will prove MUCH worse than this massive remediation/implementation upheaval. I find this hard to believe. Maybe a little worse, maybe some doozies here and there, but not systemically worse everywhere. I think our ability to ride out so easily all the problems being introduced today is a positive sign.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 11, 1999.


We both know what would have happened if nothing was done. But how much is enough? One of your posts last night was about the GIW, got it wrong, and kinda fits here also, so I'll update that answer a little and repost it here:

If you look at Weiss, he rates the banks at 94% (I believe), but good old Uncle Sam says 99%. By the way, there's that "just short of 100%" again, not to mention, who was that, that said "99% isn't good enough", but that's another story. That last 1% really is a bitch. I know, I've been there most of my life!

So we have a difference of only 5%, but with 10,000 banks, what's 500 or so between friends? Would it be enough th shake confidence in the banking system? That would be an average of 10 per state, which means that one would almost certainly be in my area. Will it me mine?

And before you get on me about Weiss, all I can say, from the article, is something like "respected by the GAO, and consumer organizations"

No doubt that better systems will result. But how much functionality is being lost in the short term, while the "move" is going on? We already know at my company that we will be publishing at least one "incomplete" book and CD-ROM next year, maybe more. Hardly critical. Will any of it be?

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.

"The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes." Winston Churchill

-- Winston Churchill (Winston@Churchillll.com), September 11, 1999.


I know Weiss is respected. But he's only one of several bank-rating voices, and he's at the bottom in terms of estimated completion. There are too many imponderables as you well know -- size of bank, importance of code not completed, ability to recover and so on.

But consider: Weiss isn't even implying that 500 (or some similar) number of BANKS will fail, only that that number of banks won't have their remediation and testing fully completed. And we've been over this ground before, haven't we? Few people, and NO informed or intelligent people, take the Milne position that any y2k bugs at rollover means certain death. Sure, those who aren't completely ready in time will likely have problems of some kind. But even bugs fatal to computer systems are rarely fatal to the entire business. That's what maintenance departments are for, and why geeks wear beepers and serve on-call duties.

Now, during the S&L crisis, wasn't it something like 500 banks that actually failed before all was said and done? And the economy didn't even burp at the billions of bailout funds, nor were customers inconvenienced. I was in Texas, and it seemed like my account was with a different bank every month for a year. Same building, same people, same money, just a different name on the sign out front.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 11, 1999.


Weiss may not be the only "voice" but I do believe that I have read he is the only ind. rater?

I'm not implying that 500 banks will FAIL either. I am saying that they will have problems. What kind, who knows. Will it hit me, who knows. Could just minor problems cause major "panic", who knows. Just an example. Just one of many pin pricks about to hit us...

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.


Yes, I agree. But I have argued that Hoffmeister makes a powerful case that we are *already* being pinpricked at a rate not likely to be far exceeded, due to massive code stirring happening today. I notice you are very careful to duck this argument. So while I agree that we will indeed experience a vast number of small problems, I also agree that this is happening today at nearly the rate it'll happen in the future, and that these problems are very unlikely to snowball. I expect they'll remain (for most of us) as news stories, which people here will continue to post throughout next year, so that they can cluck over them and agree about how awful it is.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 11, 1999.


I guess that's where we're different. Yea, my cell phone / beeper has always gone off, usually when I'm most relaxed! It's almost always related to some newly fixed program, since the operations guy gets called before I do. This is partly why I'm not too optimistic. Fixed code may be running now, but the first true test will be at 00, time machine tested or not. And it's a whole big bunch of fixed code, how many billions worth?

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.

Oh, and Flint,

"massive code stirring"

Anytime that you touch code, you are changing the rules. You have a potential for errors, always have, always will. One usually gets unexpected errors. Always have, always will. Testing is most important. Should I go back and bold & italic TEST?

I think the word "massive" pretty much says it all. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.

??? Isn't that what I was saying? That we're stirring the code *right now*, and doing business with the stirred code, with little happening wrong that's newsworthy. And I certainly know that one small change can wreak havoc in code, and we've been making wholesale changes, often made by programmers totally unfamiliar with the code base or even the mission of the enterprise. And slapping them back into production, and no big problems. We've been changing out who hardware systems with few problems. We've been changing from mainframe to client server (kind of like changing the company language from English to Swahili overnight) with few problems. This is all happening NOW.

Yes, after rollover we'll be up close and personal with the actual 2- digit-date errors we missed or screwed up or never got to. Will they prove worse than all this massive stirring? Probably not much.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 12, 1999.

Y2K really annoys the insiders, the establishment, the Tri Lats-- because it's the only thing they can't control, & it threatens to cripple or destroy all their controls. They firmly control the mega- banks, global money system, mega-media, all major political parties (on both sides in every nation), & the multi-nationals. But Y2K snuck up on them, & they're mad & scared. They're desperately spending billions to try to "fix" it but they know it can't be totally fixed, perhaps not ever. It will also be a major setback for Big Brother, in all its aspects, from tax collection to bank rule to centralized bureaucracy & monitoring. As a result, the average person will get a lot of unexpected benefits from Y2K. Some are hoping for a worst-case scenario. "However painful, it's a worthwhile cost to regain individual freedom" they say, in essence. Freedom has never been free.

If U don't really feel Y2K is going to be a BIG DEAL, & if therefore it annoys or upsets U to read data reports from people who say it probably IS going to be a big deal, then don't bother to read this article. Skip on to the next one. Mostly, people aren't changing their minds, are decided re Y2K. If U are a new subscriber, U should read this so U see what we consider the critical/updated facts. Unless U get heavy/daily Y2K updated hard data (as we do) then it would be puzzling how U can decide either way--without all the new daily facts. But most people are deciding emotionally, not objectively, not factually. That's their option, even if subconscious. So, read on or not, as U choose.

For those few who are still reading (:-), here's the latest: Many are comforted to hear that govt & biz have Y2K "contingency plans." Instead, that glib phrase should scare them. Think about it! If all govt depts, banks, biz, military, airports, hospitals who claim they are Y2K- compliant (as most now claim) were really bug-resistant, why would they need vast contingency plans? "Contingency" isn't just a throwaway word; it means something, ie, what we'll do if our individual company/bureau/system breaks down.

They're spending massive money on contingency plans, which means they've little confidence in their claims they're fully Y2K- compliant. Some have thrown in the towel, admit they can't get compliant in time, & will rely mainly on contingency plans. At least they're honest. That can't be said for the blowhard bluffers who are hoping to con people they're foolproof. Fools, yes. Foolproof: unlikely. Only a minority submit to audits of their repair/test/compliance claims.

Many insiders admit they're far behind schedule & will be on a "fix- on-fault" basis in 2000, ie they'll fix/repair embedded chip/computer/system breakdowns if/as they occur. That means after trouble. The catch is: how do they get back up if the whole system is down? Bottom line: the world is one big web of contingency plans & fix-on-fault. Nobody is 100% safe/compliant, because it's impossible to attain. And that is fact, spoken by the world's leading engineering group. US Senate Y2K Report: "Y2K is not going to be just another 'bump in the road.' No, it's going to be one of the most serious & potentially devastating events the US has ever encountered." Govts tend to soft-pedal bad news, so that statement should be a wake-up call to many. Turn up your hearing aid!

The BIS (Bank for Int'l Settlements, Basel, Switzerland) is the central bank for all other central banks. Their Y2K view is not cheerful. In a fat report they say "some problems will be missed; new problems will be inadvertently introduced via the remediation process; even the best test programs may not detect all potential errors; uncertainty will remain up to & after Jan 1. In other words, it is inevitable there will be Y2K disruption, athough it's not possible to predict how serious or widespread this disruption will be."

So there U have it. Central banks will go into 2000 not knowing if these systems are fixed. They know most are not fixed, worldwide. Compare BIS language to your local bank's PR rubbish. The BIS report goes on in great detail. If U read it all U lose any shred of optimism. The general threat is a breakdown of the inter-bank payments system. And once down, how to get it back up? BIS says: Y2K is "unlike any other disruption problem where identical backup sites can be activated. But any uncorrected Y2K problem is likely to affect both sites so the backup would not be a contingency."

It gets worse. BIS, who says what neither private banks nor govt banks dare to say, reveals: "The inability of a major payment & settlement system to function smoothly, or have procedures for isolating problems, will intensify uncertainty/concern. In the extreme case, this could have repercussions throughout the global & domestic systems." Conclusion: the world economy is at acute risk. This is not some "doom/gloom" offbeat writer's view; it's the bluest of the blue chip banks. If your hair hasn't turned grey so far, read the following:

The BIS advises banks to get the home phone numbers of regulators & govt officials so they can be contacted at night or on weekends to discuss the prudence of "closing markets & declaring an emergency financial bank holiday." This is scarier than any Y2K newsletter writer (except Gary North) has dared to say. And it's the real thing! U see, if banks go down, there can be no stock/bond/property mkt, or any other mkt, except black mkts of course, using cash. And all this is separate from equal risks from no power, oil, water, & no phones/fax/e-mail. U don't like this? Does that mean it can't happen? Or can it happen even if U don't like it? Try to separate wish from reality. Author Dr.Edward Yardeni, chief economist/global investmnt strategist at Deutsche Banc-Alex Brown has come back from Y2K retirement & says: "Y2K summary: Most have eyes wide shut....My prediction for a global recession in 2000, at 70% odds remains...Stock mkt down 10-30% (that's 1-3000 DJIA pts). Recession major causes: breakdown in just-in-time manufacturing system, & in global oil industry. Y2K could cause another energy crisis." (I'm virtually sure of it--HS)

EY notes Y2K press coverage is childish, reports the good news press releases, make no comment, ask no questions. "Some frame Y2K as an all-or-nothing story. Either planes fall out of sky or nothing happens. None consider in between. Anyone who talks in between is lumped into the doomsday category & dismissed as far-fetched..Public is led to believe the casual assurances of the few means everyone will be ready. EY says: "Y2K will turn out to be the greatest story never told--- properly." Reporters squeeze answers out of politicians thought to be in hanky-panky, but never ask ONE question about any Y2K report by anyone in banks/govt/biz.

Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers, US Inspector General,testified in Senate: Half of 161 nations assessed are reported at medium-to high- risk re Y2K failures in telecommunications, energy &/or transport. Her strong conclusion: "The global community is likely to experience varying degrees of Y2K-related failures in every sector, in every region, & at every economic level. The risk of disruption will likely extend to int'l trade, where a breakdown in any part of the global supply chain would have a serious impact on the US & world economies." Now, tell me dear readers, WHY doesn't TV & the press tell U this? My answer: the banks won't let them. Maybe U have a different answer?

As I reported before, the US State Dept will issue Y2K travel advice in Sept. 3 cheers to USSD for integrity in this regard. But it will shock a lot of people. The penny will finally drop. US govt Y2K topdog Koskinen says the US is considering evacuating US citizens from nations with widespread Y2K failures. Each ambassador will make that decision. More than a penny is dropping now. More like a silver dollar. I've only scratched the surface of all there is to report. What bothers me most is the nuclear power plant risks, a global risk, at least in the northern hemisphere. But I can't cover it all. And most people don't even want to hear it.

I'm optimistic that Y2K will paralyze most tax collecting computer systems to such an extent that govts will quickly switch from the income tax to a sales tax (the only fair system), which isn't computer complex & will allow govt to function, ie, bring in money, their 1st concern, 1 of the Holy Trinity of govts (the other 2: power & control).

Every credible Y2K writer accuses govts/banks/biz of lying about the problem & their readiness. But it is left to humourist Art Buchwald to wrap it up in a recent column that concluded: "Fibbing is what Y2K is all about." Many a sober truth is spoken in jest. If U don't take my Y2K advice, take advice from cartoon character Dennis the Menace, who recently told his mother: "We should be stocking up on cookies for Y2K." Make mine ginger snaps! :-)

Harry Schultz

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), September 12, 1999.

You are not a Jedi yet Flint.

-- Will (sibola@hotmail.com), September 12, 1999.

Will....Flint is not only not at the Jedi level, I'm not sure that he's even of a level to be allowed to play with C3PO's extension cord. (After all, an extension cord can only be plugged in one way. Flint flipflops back and forth so much.....well, he might be ok since he probably alternates as much as the current cycles).

-- Lobo (atthelair@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.


"with little happening wrong"

I'm going to bed. I only have one thing to say.

It ain't Y2K yet.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.


I'm aware of the date, but I don't agree with you that it's some kind of special magic. Are you *really* saying that if company X switches to SAP and has been having IT nightmares all year getting it working correctly, that it's all in their imagination because 2000 hasn't come yet? That if code is modified and put back into production and breaks, this is also imaginary because 2000 hasn't come yet?

I seriously tried to point out (as did Hoff) that big changes are being made, and implemented, and executed, RIGHT NOW. That means today. It means 1999. If errors are introduced or problems are encountered with massive code stirring TODAY, we will encounter these problems TODAY. In 1999!

Your response that it isn't 2000 yet, repeated like some pull-string talking doll, not only doesn't address this reality, it *refuses* to address it. Have you lost all ability to think, or is someone holding a gun to your head? I simply cannot understand this refusal otherwise. You may not agree that massive code stirring is happening (despite all evidence), and you may not agree that such stirring is comparable in disruption potential to date mishandling, but surely you can make a better case than simply shutting your eyes and ears real tight and chanting your mantra. I hope, anyway.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 12, 1999.

If Y2K isn't about predictions, then why are the doomers making them?

-- (i@don't.get.it), September 12, 1999.


If you are going to quote Mark Twain [SC] at least cite him. Groucho Marx; Gees.

Best wishes,

-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), September 12, 1999.


With the exception on the tiny percentage of programs that deal with look adead processing, the code may be in production, but the "condition" is not here yet. The reason for changing all that code in the first place is not here yet.

Come on flint, you know how programs work. Choice: A or B, C or D. The "00" choice is not here yet.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.vo,), September 12, 1999.

PS - Sorry about the lower case "f" and the typos. More coffee... MORE COFFEE!!! <:)O~

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.

Anytime that you touch code, you are changing the rules. You have a potential for errors, always have, always will. One usually gets unexpected errors. Always have, always will.

You did say this about 10 posts above, right?

Not to mention the massive number of new implementations, that have accounted for virtually every case of "Y2k related" failure.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-deja.com), September 12, 1999.


If you are addressing the question I've been asking, then I'm still missing it. Let me try again. We have two sources of problems with our code, taken all together:

1) Actual mishandling of the century in date routines. Since the century has not yet changed, only lookahead code has encountered this error category. Lookahead code is not a significant source of such errors. Ok so far?

2) ALL other errors that result from stirring the code base, or switching to all new code. This includes errors introduced, implementation problems of all variety (which is a very large number, you know this), source control issues, frozen code issues, various testing issues, issues associated with outside remediators (perhaps in India, even), and many many more. I mean ALL other errors. And this category is happening right now. It's a big category, with a huge number of problems.

Now, Hoffmeister made the argument that category (2) was of the same (or even greater) order of magnitude as category (1). Hoffmeister even appears to believe that category (2) is much larger, and by comparison to the "stirring problem" we're seeing now, actual date bugs will be minor. I don't go that far myself, but Hoff makes a good case.

At this point, I keep asking you to address whether category (2) problems represent anything near what Hoff claims. And in response, *rather than* answer yes and here's why, or no and here's why not, you continue to say that category (1) problems haven't happened yet.

YES. YES. YES. Category (1) problems haven't happened yet. I agree. That's not the question.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 12, 1999.


Yes, I did say that. When's the last time that you added more than just a few lines of code, and got it 100% right the first try?

Maint isn't just change it, test it, check it off. It's change it, test it, fix it, change it, test it, fix it, change it, test it, fix it, then check it off. And quite often, someone comes back the next day, and says "what's this" because even after all the testing, you've screwed something else up because you used a wrong variable name, or jumped to the wrong place, or inserted your change in the wrong place. Start over.

New implementations have their own problems. How much functionality is lost in the new system? Just look at your area, SAP, and all the failures because they couldn't "fit" to the system.


Glad to see that you made 2 parts because the short answer, IMHO, is that #1 is going to cause it's own problems, AND a whole bunch on #2 as well.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.


I have been reading your [and Hoff's] posts for a long time. Your statements usually make a lot of sense. Yet, I have one question [actually many; this could become a site]. We are into Sep 99. They are still sending me multiple patches for multiple systems and applications. Do you think that this will continue? If so how long? They say that these patches are critical. Are they? I have had a great relationship with my utility. They give me all sorts of information about what they have done [product numbers, program identification, etc.; all of which I can confirm]. Other utilities don't do this. Is this important or are they just trying to prevent confusion? What do you think about the way the publicity has been handled? Since it is too late to handle most of the technical problems, the communication of information to the public is probably the most important part of the equation. How do you think this has been handled?

More Questions to come,

Best W

-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), September 12, 1999.

PS Hoff,

And before you start over, fix that production data base that you screwed up! <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.

Sysman, don't you understand you are making exactly the point I tried to make before? And that Flint was making again on this thread?

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-deja.com), September 12, 1999.

Sir Hoff,

Then why are you and Flint "pollys" ??? You don't see any problem in all this ??? <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.

I'm a "polly", Sysman, because in the last year and a half, especially this year, we've been witness to the largest upheaval in computer systems ever.

We've witnessed more replacement systems implemented. More systems modified, and returned to production. Systems in some cases that hadn't been really touched in years.

More software patches and Operating System patches.

Along with all of the above come all of the attendant problems. Especially with new systems, but in general with all of the modifications.

We've witnessed all of the above. What we haven't witnessed is a "system" that has come anywhere even approaching a "collapse". Personally, I have experienced none of the effects (except favorably, being in SAP).

That is why I'm a "polly". From the beginning, my argument has never been that "everything" would be fixed. Just that the errors could and would be handled.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-deja.com), September 12, 1999.


I'm not an oracle, and have no reason to believe my guesses are any better than yours. But I don't mind guessing, so long as you recognize that's all I'm doing.

As for the patches, I'm sure patches will arrive forever. How necessary they are (that is, how bad things would have been without them, or how bad things'll be because of the patches that don't get created in time), I couldn't begin to guess. Do you have some past history where critical patches didn't happen? What was the result?

As for the utilities, I find this an interesting case study. In the past, the only communication between the utilities and the large majority of their customers has taken the form of bills sent, and bills paid. So there was never any mechanism in place to handle any big PR campaign on the part of the utilities. And in the past, the only notification you got of problems was when the power went out.

Right now, it seems that the utilities are in a very different position from the banks. The banks rely on public confidence, and they have competition (including the mason jar buried in the back yard). So the public's flexibility with respect to the banks is frightening all by itself. But the public lacks that flexibility with respect to utilities. There isn't any competition, and most people can't effectively unplug and go off-grid either.

Most of the discussion here (and elsewhere) has been of generators and/or wood heating and/or solar panels. But these technologies are limited in scope and duration -- they're for temporary outages. And that's just private dwellings. It's no secret that our civilization will surely wither and die within a few weeks without power, and there are NO effective substitutes.

So whatever happens to us individually as a result of problems or lack of problems with the utilities is beyond our control. We stay plugged into the grid, and we cross our fingers. Sure, we can read reassuring press releases by those utilities that bothered to create them, but press releases don't keep the power on. And I'm encouraged that the problems reported with utilities tend to be both few and minor. But they could be many and major and I'd behave the same way -- prepare to live without power as much as possible, and cross my fingers. Because again, unlike the banks, the health of the power industry doesn't rely on my faith or confidence. So I can't influence the outcome one way or another.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 12, 1999.


I see, it's just business as usual. Just another work order. My beeper will go off in the middle of the night, just like it has for the past 30 years, and that's about all there is to it. We'll handle it. Now I understand.

That's why my company is throwing out hundreds of programs, many of which have nothing to do with dates and do a fine job. But since the rest of the system is moving to "new technology" they're now useless, and must be rewritten. No problem, many are 30 years, or 20 years, or 10 years old. They've been worked on by dozens of programmers, that all have their own style. We'll figure it out. We won't have any problems. And just because the company has had to turn away business for the past few years, because we have all been busy working on this, well I guess that doesn't matter much. It's sure a good thing that we had some money in the bank. We've been spending a bunch lately.

Just another work order? Business as usual?

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.

What do ya think guys, worth a new thread?

"Is Y2K just another work order?"


-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.

Sysman, I don't think the past year and a half have been "Business as Usual".

I doubt very much the rollover will be, either.

The question is how much actually leaves the IT arena. Then, how much of that actually leaves the business. And finally, how much of that is actually felt my the average person.

Some, undoubtedly. Just like some does today.

As for new technology, all I can say is you have to be willing to adapt. I've worked on at least 5 different platforms, with an untold number of languages and toolsets.

Yes, I believe the net effect will be beneficial for IT and business in general. It's hard to adapt and react to changing business requirements when working with 10, 20 and 30 year old systems, written by different people and with different styles.

We've carried along an immense amount of baggage in IT, all because it was easier to leave it than determine if it was actually needed. Y2k changed that.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-deja.com), September 12, 1999.


I copy what you said: I'm not an oracle, and have no reason to believe my guesses are any better than yours. But I don't mind guessing, so long as you recognize that's all I'm doing. As for the patches, I'm sure patches will arrive forever. How necessary they are (that is, how bad things would have been without them, or how bad things'll be because of the patches that don't get created in time), I couldn't begin to guess. Do you have some past history where critical patches didn't happen? What was the result? As for the utilities, I find this an interesting case study. In the past, the only communication between the utilities and the large majority of their customers has taken the form of bills sent, and bills paid. So there was never any mechanism in place to handle any big PR campaign on the part of the utilities. And in the past, the only notification you got of problems was when the power went out. Right now, it seems that the utilities are in a very different position from the banks. The banks rely on public confidence, and they have competition (including the mason jar buried in the back yard). So the public's flexibility with respect to the banks is frightening all by itself. But the public lacks that flexibility with respect to utilities. There isn't any competition, and most people can't effectively unplug and go off-grid either.

We are not talking about patches coming forever. We are talking about Y2K, critical, patches coming forever. Let's face it. If they are still coming in Dec we are in deep do-do. Or is that Doo-Doo [Seattle Times]. When it comes to a Utility: I have talked on a regular basis with the CEO since last Aug (98). I am no disaster predicter. He just agreed that we should provide the most information to the public. If they ask, they get the information. Why don't other Utilities do this? I think that this is one of the problems. I will begin a series of other questions after I return from the mountains. I hope you are still here. I respect your judge

-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), September 12, 1999.


This topic was covered in numbing detail in the Hoffmeister-Heller debate #1. If you read that debate, you give no indication. Perhaps you should read it for background, since most of this thread has assumed that you were familiar with that debate.

Because you aren't familiar with it, you give the impression that your staked-out position that NO problems can happen before rollover (this is NOT a y1999 problem) has painted you into a corner. Now you seem not only unable to recognize, but unable even to SEE, that massive code stirring and replacements and major upgrades and helter- skelter patching and all the vicissitudes of big implementations have been going on all this year. We have even seen quite a few news reports about bungled upgrades at the UK visa office, and at airports, and at universities, and in state government offices, and many other places.

I even coined a term (with Robert Cook's help) -- second-order bugs. First order bugs being glitches resulting directly from incorrect date processing, and second-order bugs arising from (1) bugs introduced through remediation errors; (2) bugs introduced through hurried patches; (3) bugs introduced by switching to new hardware; (4) bugs caused by switching entirely to SAP or other packages; (5) Business slowdowns as a result of remediation money taken away from 'real' maintenance and development; (6) Overhead suffered creating and filling out compliance status requests to and from customers and vendors; (7) ... Sysman, this is a long list of *significant* issues being dealt with now, and all this year. We are going through this today.

So it's not just y2k being another work order next year. It's whether XYZ corporation that went through holy hell (and millions of dollars) switching to SAP THIS year, will have even more problems NEXT year, having implemented a compliant system.

So what Hoff and I are driving at is, this is in a very real sense a 1999 problem. Code lookaheads have little or nothing to do with that. Bigtime changes to existing systems TODAY are the cause of the 1999 problem. It's big, it's real, it's happening today. Actual date bugs are unlikely to be much worse next year.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 12, 1999.

Sir Hoff,

Oh, much of the company has adapted. We were early DOS developers, xbase stuff, and have been doing Win dev for years.

But we own the mainframe. We pay for power, maint, and IBM software. It costs us almost nothing to run it. It does, and if not for Y2K, would have continued to do the job just fine. We're being forced off.

Instead, we've spent millions on hardware and development, and have lost business. And, the new system still isn't anywhere near what the old system was, and it won't be, 'til well after 1/1. Oh, sure it will be real nice when it's done, if we survive that long!

I guess we're different in our opinion being able to handle the errors. That 8% figure from Gartner just doesn't fit well between my ears. But who am I to argue with the great Gartner. It's just a "Gut" feeling, from one that has been working AND playing with things digital for, well, you know... <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.


I luv ya bud, but I need a break! I can't handle both of you guys at once!

I'll be back... <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.


"your staked-out position that NO problems can happen before rollover"

BS - I have said that 1999 problems would be MINIMAL. The tip of the ice-berg, if you want an exact quote. You do remember some of what I said, things like "a tiny percent" don't you? Don't make me go to the archive...

No, I have not read the entire debate thread, but I sure will now. This is a busy place. I have enough trouble keeping up with the new stuff, with "server too busy" and hate those long threads, of which this is becoming one, not to mention the time that I spend trying to find other T2K related stuff, you know, the stuff that I post here. I did see the "previews."

I'll be back!!! Bet on it!!!

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.

Flint and Hoff are the ones that have painted themselves into a corner once again simply because both keep ignoring the fact that only 25% of the code is in the US. The remaining 75% of the code is OUTSIDE the glorious USA. Embedded chips, Fix On Failure, and denial of its impact just adds on to this same line of thought.

I have described this curiously childish phenomenon as the "peanut butter and jelly sandwich syndrome" in many other threads, including the Heller-Hoff Debate #1 and #2.

So... once again :

(a) Economics 101 dictates that ours is a globalized economy

(b) The rest of the world is far, far behind

(c) It doesn't really matter how well or how bad the US has remediated or not remediated, tested or not tested, encountered or not encountered Bug Types #1, Bug Type #2, Bug Type #3... The US imports 60% of the oil it consumes, does not produce any bauxite, etc., etc.

(d) Supply chain interconnectedness and international banking networks will be smashed broken come Jan. 2000 or before, depending upon people's reactions, worldwide.

(e) Please read Big Dog, Yardeni, Yourdon, the US Dept. of Commerce, the CIA, etc., etc., for further details confirming my three-yearlong assertion.

It's unbelievable how seemingly intelligent and otherwise articulate people can continue ignoring such obvious reality. Unless they happen to have a hidden agenda, of course.

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 12, 1999.

Thanks for your input, George <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.

You are not a Jedi yet Flint...

-- Will (sibola@hotmail.com), September 12, 1999.

Let me put it another way, defining your own words Sysman, if I may.

So then, what we've got is that Y2K :

- is a "well-known problem" which even low-educated pollies accept.

- is an "expensive problem", so expensive that (a) most US municipal, State, and Federal government agencies' budgets can't afford it; (b) many SMB's can't afford it; (c) many/most Fortune 1000 corporations can't afford to approach the embedded systems problem adequately and thus many have opted for the Fix On Failure (Fail To Fix) strategy; (d) many/most countries of this globalized economy of ours are even in worse shape than the US.

- is a "technical" problem so new and so cumbersome to fix and so difficult to grasp in its full IT and non IT consequences that most politicians and CEO's worldwide haven't yet realized at this late hour of the Y2K end-game what we/they are up to come Jan.2000.

- so "things will break", big time, worldwide. "Period".

Agree Sysman?

Take care guys

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 12, 1999.

Once again, thanks for your input, George. <:)))= (big grin)...

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 13, 1999.

And I guess I forgot about the "time factor" which leaves out many 'solutions' we would still have available had time not run out on us.

And I didn't dwell upon how difficult it is even to test Y2K fixes out. The only real, valid, definitive test will be 00:00-2000, which means "live testing" our way of life.

So re-phrasing your own thread Sysman, I would summarize the Y2K issue in the following way:

" y2k isn't about predictions. It's about having run out of time for solving an enormously expensive, unbelievably cumbersome, fully worldwide, technical problem highly difficult to solve even under the best of circumstances. So things will break and not function as we know them today."

How does that sound?

(Flint, Hoffy, don't even try at this late hour of Sunday night. It's better for you to take a shot at it tomorrow, early morning)

Take care

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 13, 1999.

Yea, I'm gonna hit the sack myself. Not to worry, H&F will be here in the AM... (what does that say...???)

You have a very good evening, or morning, or whatever it is in your part of the world, George. You're my kinda guy. See ya!

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 13, 1999.

Just one more point that escaped my mind in previous posts above.

I'm referring to the Hoffmeister/Flint school of thought, or rather curious accumulation of daring assumptions, by which they both reach the unsustainable conclusion that Y2K remediation standards and intensity in Fortune 100 companies is the minimum valid average elsewhere, be it government institutions (municipal, state or federal), SMB's, other countries, etc. They both assume that what they call the current 1999 IT upheaval (with no big-time problems at sight) is the living proof that Y2K won't amount to much.

The fallacy will become clear as soon as Hoff and Flint break up the peanut butter and jelly sandwich wrapping, step outside, and take a look at anything else but US Fortune 100 companies. But they don't want to do that. I wonder why.

Take care, sleep well.

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 13, 1999.

It's interesting how the "real" Y2k problem tends to shift to the area that has the least amount of information.

I label this the "Cockroach Syndrome". Shine the light of information on an area, and the "FUD" mongers scurry off to another dark corner.

Such is the case here. George decries the the US-centric view. But in essence, he is playing on that view. Reading between the lines, basically the "rest of the world" is clueless about Y2k, and doomed to fail.

Now, I have no great insights into the status of Y2k work around the globe. But one thing I have learned in the past 6 years is that the "rest of the world" is not in general technologically clueless. There's a reason the best SAP consultants, for example, are from overseas, and it's not only the Germans. South Africa, Great Britain, and most of Europe saw the advantages of SAP, and were implementing long before the US.

George says "the rest of the world is far, far behind". Again, using the same tactic he has decried before, lumping everyone into "the rest of the world". Some, I'm sure, are far, far behind. As well, some are no doubt in better shape than the US.

In reality, you must look at the technological dependance of a country along with the status of Y2k remediation, to even begin to try and determine the possible consequences of Y2k. In their latest report, Gartner Group charts countries in Figure 9. As could be expected, those with more technological dependance tend to be further along in Y2k status.

We in the US project our dependance on reliable technology to the rest of the world. Ms. Diane recently posted this article from the USIA, which states in part:

Caverly pointed out that because the American system "is so reliable and so efficient, small Y2K interruptions will probably have a far greater impact than in systems that are not as reliable, that are used to routinely having interruptions in their service -- electricity and natural gas. So there is a risk that a small problem in the United States could be a much bigger problem for the U.S. than a large problem in some other country."

If a country is dependent upon a Russian energy export that occasionally is interrupted, and a Y2K interruption occurs that is within the boundaries of these normal problems, "your systems are capable of dealing with it," he said. For example, Eastern European countries "have a lot of gas storage to deal with temporary interruptions of gas deliveries. The question for Y2K is whether this is going to be a greater interruption than what people have the contingency for dealing with, which is why we place the emphasis on contingency planning."

The point being, other countries are far more used to disruptions than we are in the US, and continue to do business.

Taking this a step further, one of the points of the posts I made in the debate, and on this thread, was that we have already experienced a massive disruption in IT systems, due to system replacements and remediation for Y2k, at a level at least on par with what can be expected due to Y2k. And that the effects, here in the US, which is arguably the most technologically dependant country, have been virtually non-existent. What does that say for the potential disruptions in less technologically dependant countries? Those same disruptions due to replacements and remediation are also occurring, to varying degrees, across the globe. And especially for those "far, far behind", the time-frame these are occurring is much more compressed than the two-years I used in the analysis, which escalates the error rates that are occurring. Again, where are the "cascading failures"?

And no, this is not limited to just the Fortune 100. My last two projects have been with companies much smaller. Would have to look them up, but my guess is they aren't even within the Fortune 1000. And implementing SAP. But that can't be right, since George announces that "they" can't afford to address Y2k. Of course, these pronouncements are made with absolutely no backup.

I do know, that companies are addressing "supply-chain interconnectedness", and are increasing inventories of products that are imported from countries at high risk.

"International banking networks will be smashed broken". Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, it was less than a year-ago, when the Euro implementation was going to do this.

As for "Embedded chips", I believe FactFinder started a recent thread. Maybe you should explain this to him?

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-deja.com), September 13, 1999.

So you keep doing what you're supposed to Hoff ! I can't help it !!

I'm just wondering what you'll say to us tomorrow Hoffy, after the US State Dept. issues its status on foreign countries. I'm sure you'll think of something, right?

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 13, 1999.


Let me guess. Either the State Department says other countries are in bad shape, (in which case they're in bad shape), or they say other countries are actually pretty good, (in which case we have proof the government lies and other countries are STILL in bad shape). We been around this block 1,000 times by now, you know.

Also, make sure you know what the State Department is really talking about. I'm quite concerned about, say, the oil port loading equipment in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. I really don't care if the Department of Applied Nepotism is compliant in either country.

So far, the only announcement has been a list of 35 countries that never answered our questionnaire, rather than those who at least returned it. Which tells us nothing, so we'll see who uses this nothing to further which propaganda purposes. Don't miss your big chance, George.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 13, 1999.

Glad to see that you are back at work because it means that you are earning your money Flint.

By the way, wasn't it YOU that suggested this forum was dead Flint?

Could it possibly be that your Y2K ideas are dead ?

Why do you keep posting on this forum Flint? This is not your natural habitat, is it? Do you need to show up here on this dead forum so bad Flint?

How sad.

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 13, 1999.

By the way, know-nothing Flint:

The Department of Applied Nepotism in many countries of the "rest-of- the-world" you don't care about is the same Dept. that lies about Y2K compliance, particularly the three we import most of our oil from.

In the US things are slightly better. It is the US Congress, the White House, and the Wall Street establishment that lie about Y2K compliance and status. The situation is rather more elegant, I agree, but still just as cynical and damaging.

And I'm sure you don't care Flint, 'cause you have already explained to us all how well prepared you are. It's just that you are so short- sighted that you can't see you can't save yourself alone.

You know what Flint? I think it's better if you just keep smoking.

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 13, 1999.

Flint likes to play in the lions den I guess...

Don't be too hard on him. He is one of our "nicer" pollys. <:)=

I'll be back...

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 13, 1999.

I'm afraid we may not agree on this one Sysman...

In the Y2K end-game, with less than 80 (eighty) theoretical working days left, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem

IMHO, Flint is part of the problem because however good he is at wordsmithing, his analysis misleads people into not preparing for Y2K. That is a BIG TIME mistake dear Sysman.

Take care

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 13, 1999.


Yea, but most people here do a pretty good job of keeping him in check I think. People can see what's going on.

I guess you are right though. <:(=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 13, 1999.

Wow, Flint.

Gotta hand it to you.

Got George to a) Call You Names, b) Infer You Are A Government Shill, and c) The Last Resort, Question You for Even Posting!

And all in two consecutive posts!

Is that a forum record?

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-deja.com), September 13, 1999.

Sysman, of course that many people keep Flint "under control" simply because he defies common sense. But I just can't stand it when he doesn't help out unknowledgeable people to prepare at this late hour of the Y2K end game.

O.T.: By the way, today the Discovery Channel broadcasted a full-hour Y2K program throughout Latin America, Florida, California, New York and Spain targeted to the 330 million Spanish-speaking audience. I guess Flint wouldn't care about its content either, because he doesn't speak Spanish, or Chinese, or whatever. It's the 'peanut butter and jelly sandwich syndrome'. I guess Hoff wouldn't care either, would he ? Naahhhh !

Take care

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 14, 1999.


the only real forum record is your 24 x 7 x 365 full-time, all- weather, 4x4 dedication. I guess you surely have some deep interest in keeping so alert, so ever-present, around this nutty, doomer forum, right Hoffy?

How sad.

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), September 14, 1999.

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