Name just one : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Who can tell me one system that will fail due to a Y2K failure that will effect me? Just one.

-- Dr. Campbell (, September 17, 1999


I know personally of TWO separate petroleum pipelines that completely failed their Y2K implementations. This WILL impact your life Dr. Feelgood. There are hundreds of pipes in the US. These two are major ones that carry unbelievable amounts of petroleum products. You and yours will be screwed without them. Sorry but I'm sick of people doubting that this problem is real. It's so fucking real it could get you killed. Happy New Years, go buy some godamn beans.

-- Gordon (, September 17, 1999.

Without water pressure, your toilet will not flush! What will you do? Just let it pile up and stink up your house, OR DO YOU HAVE "CONTINGENY PLANS"??? Did you know that without water, on the fourth day you will die? Or...maybe that will not affect you?

-- smitty (, September 17, 1999.

You Sir, are an idiot.

Not an imecile, sub-cretinous rube nor mere idiot.

Time and time again, I have heard idiots say, "Oh, if computers fail, it won't affect me."

The depth and breadth of such ignorance is no longer astonishing. Every facet of your life is deeply deeply affected by technology. The technological dependencies are stupefying. For you to ask the identity of 'one' failed system that would affect you is to announce your utter ignorance, no, it is to shout it from the rooftops.

Be gone, worthless troll.

"If you live within 5 miles of a 7-11, you're toast"

-- Paul Milne (, September 17, 1999.

Where and when did they fail? Why?

-- Dr. Campbell (, September 17, 1999.

They WILL, you stupid idiot! What will you tell your wife and children when they are hungry on January 15, 2000????

-- smitty (, September 17, 1999.

Ranting, raving and cursing. That's all I ever get when I ask the simple question. Name one system that will fail. No one has been able to yet. Does anyone have any factual data they can share? I'm only asking for one example. Just one.

-- Dr. Campbell (, September 17, 1999.

I can't give you the specifics, doc. If I did the savvy boys who patrol this beachead will be able to ID me and my company and I don't want that. If you want, I'll meet you on Net Meeting to discuss.

The failures occurred two weeks ago. They ran them on the weekend. There were all kinds of screw-ups with batches, movements and billing. In short, it was a disaster, luckily not a physical one. I will tell you that I think both companies are working extremely hard at fixing this problem and it is my hope that they'll get done soon. However they're not done as of now.

Let me know.

-- Gordon (, September 17, 1999.

who? who? who? where?? where?? Why?? why??

Doc. quite frankly it looks the good community here could care less about appeasing YOUR foolish question!


How about your nervous SYSTEM, or maybe your digestive system. I could see both of them being effected by y2k.

-- D. Butts (, September 17, 1999.

Failures are expected during testing. Thats why they call it testing. Name one system that is not being tested and as a result, will effect me and my family? Can anyone give me just one example. Not hearsay or rumor. Facts and data. Just one.

-- Dr. Campbell (, September 17, 1999.

Cone on folks, be nice to this guy, or gal. I think it's a valid questiion.

Where should we start? The utilities? The government? The Fortune 1000? The small and medium companies? The supply chain? The rest of the world?

The problem is very real. Hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent, in an attempt to fix the problem. Some programs will fail, even some of those that have been fixed. You can't make this many changes to the "world network" without some impact. How serious those failures will be is the real question. Do you have the answer? If you do, you are the first.

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

-- Sysman (, September 17, 1999.

Hey doc, I'm trying here. I haven't revealed half of what I know about what's comming down the road for folks like yourself. I've been to the industry Taskforce meetings for our group which were attended by the freaking CIA for god's sake. And you think it's not a serious problem?

I'm willing to answer your questions as best I can, but you must understand that this is a survival thing for me. I was allowed through my position to hear the real deal from the source at a very high level. If you want to draw on that knowledge then ask away, but believe me, I won't think twice about letting you and yours freeze to death this winter if you're ears aren't open right now.

-- Gordon (, September 17, 1999.

PS Doc,

We have many examples in the archive. Here's one:

Y2K failures list - part 4

Also, keep in mind that it's called the year 2000 problem for a very good reason, not the various dates in 1999 problem. The number of systems that do look-ahead processing, or have other "strange" behavior in 1999, is tiny, not even the tip of the ice-berg. <:)=

-- Sysman (, September 17, 1999.

And the failures I spoke of weren't hearsay. I know they happened. I saw the blank invoices. I talked to the folks at the terminals who were completely lost as to what was comming or going. They yanked that system fast. In case you aren't familiar with pipelines, you can lose a lot of money in a hurry (not to mention a lot of lives) if you don't know what the hell's going on in the lines.

These happened Doc, not hearsay. I saw it with my own eyes.

-- Gordon (, September 17, 1999.

Dr. Campbell:

Forgive the loonies, for they know not what they do. What makes your question difficult is, if we *know* of a system with problems, we fix it. As Gordon says, not every test passes with flying colors. Some tests (especially good, realistic tests) show up LOTS of problems, of all kinds. This is exactly what testing is for. Gordon's two oil pipelines will surely be working with no significant errors by rollover.

The problem is with systems we forget to test, or don't think are worth testing, or won't have time to test, or we run out of money to test. We are worried about the unknown and the unpredictable. A whole lot of things won't be adequately tested, since we apply our best judgment about what's important and what constitutes a proper test, and our best judgment historically falls far short of omnicient. And one thing is certain -- we simply cannot test everything even cursorily.

So your challenge, which looks so simple on the face of it, amounts to asking someone to give details about what they don't know. The unfortunate truth is, we do not know what we do not know.

-- Flint (, September 17, 1999.

Damn Flint, not bad for a polly! <:)))= (BIG grin)

-- Sysman (, September 17, 1999.

Thanks Flint. I agree with your last paragraph.

-- Dr. Campbell (, September 17, 1999.

Gordon's two oil pipelines will surely be working with no significant errors by rollover.

Hey Flint, last I talked to them (late Aug), they were at ground Zero starting over. Lot's of cursing and gnashing of teeth. They had NO IDEA why they had failed. Don't hold your breath, you might need the air.

-- Gordon (, September 17, 1999.

For flint-boy to write "Gordon's two oil pipelines will surely be working with no significant errors by rollover." gives us a crystal clear insight into his pathetic polyann-ism.

NOWHERE in Gordon's comments did he give the slightest inkling that this was so.

But, no matter what, even despite a complete lack of any evidence at all, flint-boy asserts that these two systems will have NO significant problems.

If you did not yet understand why flint is a complete horse's ass, you should now.

-- Paul Milne (, September 17, 1999.


I understand, believe me. I spend much more time trying to figure out how to figure out what's happening, than I do figuring out what's happening once I figure out how to do it! Say that fast 3 times!

-- Flint (, September 17, 1999.

"Doctor," how on earth did you get through your thesis (or theses) and dissertation not knowing the difference between affect and effect--a mistake you have made twice in your posts above.

-- Old Git (, September 17, 1999.

"Y2K Test Causes Huge Sewage Spill":

Also see the July GAO report on the readiness of key city services in large U.S. cities:

I don't think these services would be tracked and listed unless there were a risk of failure in January. The July GAO report was also put into a table format by the Senate Y2K Committee:

A noteworthy snip from the July GAO report is this one:


On average, cities reported completing work for 45 percent of the key service areas in which they had some responsibility. They also stated that work is well underway on the remaining services. Cities were most likely to have reported completing work in their transportation systems and telecommunications equipment. Relatively few, however, reported completing their portions of water and wastewater treatment systems, public building systems, and emergency service systems.


Let me put it to you this way...I attended the "Community Conversations" that were held in my area recently. Based on what I heard and reading carefully between the lines, I think I will have electricity and sewer service come January. But, based on what I heard, I do not have that same confidence about the water company.

-- Linkmeister (, September 17, 1999.


I agree there is no guarantee that those problems will be fixed. But competent professionals generally achieve what they set out to do, so my statement was based on track records, rather than on anything Gordon said or didn't say.

When you assume they will fail, you are projecting based on *your* track record. Fortunately, you are in the minority.

-- Flint (, September 17, 1999.

There are literally thousands of summations in the arvhives with some pretty interesting information as to what is what and how it will affect you and yours. Your original question appears more to be throwing down the gauntlet than a genuine inquiry. Maybe I'm mistaken, but perhaps it's that impression that has caused some unkind responses. Why don't you do your research, then ask a question that makes more sense. Just a suggestion.

-- Mara Wayne (, September 17, 1999.

Dr. Campbell: Maybe if you told us what field of endeavor you were in someone would be able to give a specific analogy related. Several Engineers from IEEE gave their summation of the situation in a report to Senator Bennett's committee on Y2K. They also had a lot of letters after their name. Their conclusions and rationale were frightening to say the least. Did they say it was a 100% certainty? No, but darn close to it. They are the ones who design and understand the inter-relationships. If I have a medical problem I listen very closely to what my physician has to say. If I have questions on possible computer problems I listen to what the engineers have to say.

-- Neil G.Lewis (, September 17, 1999.

Paul: I agree there is no guarantee that those problems will be fixed.

( No you don't. CATEGORICALLY you stated that they SURELY would have NO significant problems. Which one of your statements is the untruth? The one that they SURELY will fix it or the one that there is no guarantee? You don't even understand what a schizoid you are, do you?)

But competent professionals generally achieve what they set out to do,

( This begs the question. You assert that they are competent,before the fact and and BECAUSE they are competent that they will succeed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Even a naive understanding of IT metrics clearly shows that these attempts fail in the overwhelming majority of times. )

so my statement was based on track records,

( What color is the sky in your world, flint-boy. The IT track record is ABYSMAL. Show me the 'track' record that indicates that the infant IT industry has accomplished the appropriate level of business maturity. Again, this is a GLARING insight into your extreme pollyanna-ism. Thinking that becuase they 'set out' to do something, that it will be accomplished. )

rather than on anything Gordon said or didn't say.

( You made a statement totally bereft of any facts or evidence at all. A statement that was, as much as anything, a mirror to your pollyanna soul.)

-- Paul Milne "If you live within 5 miles of a 7-11, you're toast"

-- Paul Milne (, September 17, 1999.

Well Dr. Campbell,

Sometimes, its pretty hard to tell from the self-reported public filings versus whats really the truth. Especially within related industries.

Basically... Tis a puzzlement!

For example, lets search the SECs EDGAR Archives at... cgi-bin/srch-edgar

Or go to Edgar-Online...

Then pick a company.

Humm... lets see what the 10-Q for Boeing says... as a random choice. (Hint: Good News... they started early).

For the quarterly period ended
June 30, 1999
Commission file number 1-442
THE BOEING COMPANY 99-000022.txt


Year 2000 (Y2K) Date Conversion


State of readiness: The Company recognized this challenge early, and each operating group started working on the problem in 1993. The Company's Y2K strategy, to make systems "Y2K-ready," includes a common companywide focus on policies, methods and correction tools, and coordination with customers and suppliers. This focus has been on all systems potentially impacted by the Y2K issue, including information technology (IT) systems and non-IT systems, such as product-embedded, facilities and factory floor systems. Each operating group has responsibility for its own conversion, in line with overall guidance and oversight provided by a corporate-level steering committee.

The Company has capitalized on its history of integrating large complex systems, and has an experienced Y2K team and Program Management Office, headed by the Company's chief information officer. Since 1993 the Company has identified, assessed and remediated, if necessary, over 53,000 IT and non-IT systems for Y2K readiness. These systems are now substantially Y2K ready, with the exception of a very few systems that are anticipated to be ready by September 30, 1999.

A companywide, coordinated process to assess supplier readiness began in the second quarter of 1998. This process encompasses four major activities: survey of suppliers, assessment of supplier preparedness, risk mitigation, and contingency planning. The first two activities were completed in 1998 and the remaining activities are scheduled for completion during the third and fourth quarters, respectively, of 1999. The Company is currently developing contingency plans for all high-risk suppliers to mitigate the impact.


Risks associated with Y2K issues: Due to the Company's early recognition and start on resolving the Y2K issue, the Company believes there is low risk of any internal critical system, product-embedded system, or other critical Company asset not being Y2K-ready by the end of 1999. The Company continues to assess its risk exposure due to external factors and suppliers, including suppliers outside the United States. Additionally, the Company is working with its customers and suppliers, conducting test scenarios to assess Y2K readiness. Although the Company has no reason to conclude that any specific supplier represents a significant risk, the most reasonably likely worst-case Y2K scenario would entail production disruption due to inability of suppliers to deliver critical parts.


The Company continues to work closely with local, state, and federal emergency management organizations to ensure coordinated plans are in place should infrastructure problems occur in the year 2000.


For further reference, see also Boeings Y2K page...



To continue...

Okay... maybe a company like Boeing WILL make it. (We hope). However, what about a related industry organization such as the FAA? Or even Boeings suppliers.

The FAAs been repeatedly announcing theyre 100% (or so) compliant since March this year. But whats the truth?

If you go read Congressman Horns recent report card YEAR 2000 PROGRESS - GRADE CARD CHART September 10, 1999 then specifically check out the PDF file for PAGE FIVE: High Impact Federal Programs Year 2000 Readiness youll read on page three...

# 39

Lead Agency: Transportation (2)

Program: Air Traffic Control System

Additional Program Partners: Airline Carriers, 96 Countries to which U.S. Carriers fly, International Civil Aviation Organization

Is the Program Ready?: NO

If YES, When Was It Ready? If NO, When Will It Be Ready?: December 1999

High Impact Program Grade: F

Report Card Grade: B -


Now... IF the FAA really doesnt make it... HOW WILL THAT IMPACT BOEING? As a single example.

Go ahead, Dr. Campbell... contemplate the repercussions. Then try to define what "fail" means. And interdependent.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 17, 1999.


I'll let you be the judge. Do your programmers and engineers generally accomplish what they set out to do (as I said), or do they fail the overwhelming majority of the time (as Milne claims)?

I confess I find it difficult to understand how these pipelines were *ever* made to work if your engineers almost always fail. Indeed, y2k could not possibly pose a threat even to Milne were it not for the fact that we are heavily computerized -- indicating a stunning record of IT and engineering success. The fact that y2k has even attracted attention, is because success and problem solving are accomplished so routinely that it's news when this routine even *might* be violated.

Of course, this picture of the normal, everyday technical world is understandably a mystery to someone who has never seen it, much less lived in it. We all tend to feel that our personal experience is very important if we have it, because we know how much we've learned from it. But we also feel that experience is unimportant in areas where we don't have any. Hence Anita feels that remediation experience is critical to understanding what remediation is all about, whereas Big Dog (who has no remediation experience) argues that such experience really wouldn't tell him anything important that he doesn't already know!

And here we have Milne, who has no relevant experience whatsoever. The universal expert! Except his predictions are invariably wrong. The relationship between these is of course invisible to him.

-- Flint (, September 17, 1999.

"The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in, we're computer professionals. We cause accidents." Nathaniel Borenstein

"As soon as we started programming, we found out to our surprise that it wasn't that easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent finding mistakes in my own programs." Maurice Wilkes

-- quoter (, September 17, 1999.

What's up Doc ?

Sorry I couldn't help myself.

Yes, I could identify what you ask for and so can others. But, I too would jeopardize myself in doing so. Sorry I wont do that.

The critical systems that I am familiar with are "in work". Incredible pressure has been applied from the very top for remediation. Hope springs eternal.

Take two aspirin and call Dr. Koskinen in the morning. He is seeing Dr. Greenspan's patients this weekend since Dr. Greenspan pooped his pants earlier today when the g.a.o. let a c.a.t. out of the b.a.g. about the i.r.s. or so the rumor goes.

-- no talking please (, September 17, 1999.

Good question, Doc. Hmmm....have you heard about the Q7 transisitor? Just joking...I am working on a list of verificable "failures" of "embeded systems" (a very small list I might add, as opposed to the mutlipage myth list), and will post it soon. I'm not gonna try and show how this will affect you though, unless one of the friendly doomers here (all polite to me by the way, unless they are cussin') slaps ya upside the head with one of them...


-- FactFinder (, September 17, 1999.

You're a Doctor? Take a look at Medicaid and other government sponsored programs. You're a Doctor? Take a look into the billing services that help bring in your income.

Oh, and with your attitude, I suggest you do your own research.



-- Michael Taylor (, September 17, 1999.

The US Postal Service.

Saudi Arabian Oil Supply.

-- Andy (, September 17, 1999.

Russian nuclear plants (12-16) no money to fix. Shut down and Moscow freezes, keep them running and ????. Looks like fix on failure, so far. "The horror,the horror...." Col. Kurtz

Oil, gas, water, sewer,electricity, telephones, transportation,.....

-- Bill (, September 17, 1999.

This guy's a doctor like I'm a Rabbi.

-- Porky (Porky@in.cellblockD), September 17, 1999.

Are you Kosher, Porky?

-- Andy (, September 17, 1999. ory=65920


Finally, large scale embedded systems are most at risk, with more than 35 per cent expected to be non compliant. Typically found in manufacturing, oil and healthcare environments, but can even encompass things like traffic light controllers or aircraft systems. They typically include common PC components although often run proprietary or even site specific applications.


James Duggan, research director at Gartner said he believed the three areas likely to be worst affected by problems in embedded systems are the oil industry, telecommunications and power grids. He said things such as aircraft were well used to protecting against a single point of failure and were in good shape, though that did not apply equally to the systems that maintained aircraft fleets.


-- Linkmeister (, September 17, 1999.

Jeez, watch a movie and miss a bunch!

"When you assume they will fail, you are projecting based on *your* track record. Fortunately, you are in the minority"

Hey Flint,

Why is it that the vast majority of the 875 man-years of programmers here (last check, time for a new one) think we will have more than just a bump in the road? As a tech, you are in the minority here. Why is this, Flint? Things may be fine in the BIOS world, but things aren't that perfect in the rest of Digitalland. A BIOS is, by definition, required to be almost perfect. Most systems that I've seen are far from perfect now. Yea, I know that we agree on this somewhat, but I think that's why you're such an optimist. Your world is almost perfect. The rest is far from it! A BIOS is well understood, well documented, and highly optimized. The rest of the world isn't!

I still think that you don't get it. It starts at the BIOS, then goes to the OS, the application, network services, to the server (which also has these issues), and it's applications, maybe out into the real world via WAN, and on and on. Y2K isn't A problem, it's a whole !@#$load of problems, that all must work and talk together.

But you know that, don't you Flint?

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

-- Sysman (, September 17, 1999.

Here is a verified Y2K problem: The computer system at the video store where I buy my mudwrestling videos. When I use a credit card, they always punch in "9912" for the expiration date, even though its really in 2001; this has been going on for months. Last time I was there (Tuesday), I asked about it, and was told that they were supposed to be getting a new system "sometime in the Fall", though previously it was supposed to have been in the Summer.

As far as the effect: I cannot begin to describe what the detrimental effect this will have on my life if this system is not fixed for Y2K. Without access to videos showing sexy women battling it out in the mud, I will be thrown into a tizzy, deprived of my happiness. From there, I will probably sink into a terrible despair, refusing all nourishment. Then, probably die. And, finally, my bones will be carried away by water rats.

-- King of Spain (, September 17, 1999.


You can see that they've already found a workaround. You can bet they'll find another rather than lose your business. Even paper and pencil, if they can find enough mudwrestling videos to keep them in business. Where there's a will...


You somehow carefully neglect to mention that this forum self-selects for pessimists. The vast majority of programmers, who (like the vast majority of everyone) either realize there's nothing to worry about or don't realize anything at all, aren't here.

When you think about it, you find that even if you trust the programmer-years on this forum (I don't, but you might), relatively few of the contributers here are technical people. And the few technical people tend to be working on hard projects, or are in poorly run organizations, or are (like Yourdon himself) selling books, services or solutions.

I encourage you to do your very best to stir up any interest in y2k in, say, comp.arch.embedded or comp.lang.COBOL and see how far you get. With my realistic outlook, I'm unquestionably a fish out of water in this environment. Most of those who know better, have more sense than to hang out in the Land of the Loonies, taking constant abuse until events prove otherwise, only to be called lucky later (when we scraped by though sheer good fortune, such a close escape, etc.) How many here can you name whom you could even picture saying "I was wrong, you were right" in the event my expecatations are more nearly accurate?

You're smart enough to know that you won't get a balanced picture of y2k opinion on this forum, anymore than you'd get a balanced picture of public attitudes about gun control at an NRA site. Why pretend otherwise?

-- Flint (, September 17, 1999.

IEE Embedded Fault Casebook

You've asked a very good question. How will the bug affect me? In response, let me ask this: do you or any of your immediate family live near a chemical plant or railroad tracks? Because if so, you might be affected by one of these bugs compiled by the British Institute of Electrical Engineers.

If you browse through the list you will find several instances of bugs that, if not discovered, would have caused hazerdous chemical spills, complete system failure, or a train wreck. Words like 'catostrophic', and 'total system failure' are liberally sprinkled throughout these cases. Now, thankfully these errors were found, but ask yourself, do you believe that all errors of this magnitude have been found? Do you trust people not to miss a few errors? And, are you comfortable with the thought that your family might be affected by these errors?

Think about it.

-- John Ainsworth (, September 18, 1999.


Mud wrestling videos...

I think there may be the missing linke here...

-- Andy (, September 18, 1999.

Doc,Glad you asked,The Olympic gas pipeline exploded in Bellingham Washington. three children burned to death. 290,000 gals of high test poured out into Whatcom creek distroying a beautiful salmon/trout habitat. smoke and flames rose 30,000ft----attributed to computer SCADA failure----see Seattle Times website. Gee a doctor even I'm impressed!

-- Doctor Doom (lurker@, September 18, 1999.

Dr. Campbell-

Doctor of what? From where?

-- Sam (, September 18, 1999.


That's very well expressed. I believe most of that kind of serious problem has been found in 1st world countries, and in the next 3 months most of the rest will be found in the US and quite a few will be found (and forestalled one way or another) in other countries. And some will be missed, with locally catastrophically results. A Bhopal- level accident wouldn't surprise me a bit. An incidence level of explosions above the normal range wouldn't surprise me either.

These aren't domino-level events, but that doesn't mean they aren't fatal for those who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The probability that some will occur approaches unity. Whether Murphy just happens to decide that this isn't Dr. Campbell's luck day cannot be predicted by any known means. We cannot predict, for example precisely where a dropped pencil will come to rest. At best, we can construct a probability map. But we can be sure it will come to rest somewhere. Similarly, we cannot predict exactly what will go wrong, but we can know something will just the same. y2k preparation is insurance against such events (sure to happen somewhere, but not likely to happen here). We need it.

-- Flint (, September 18, 1999.

Boeing's computers are "substantially Y2K ready"...What the hell does that mean. Each system has only 5% worth of bad code? 4%? Geez, 1% bad code will result in 100% failure.

-- Uncle Bob (UNCLB0B@Y2KOK.ORG), September 18, 1999.

Uncle Bob:

Not true. I could write a program containing only one single correct line of code, that would never fail. And this could be a million-line program! Life is just not as simple as you are pretending.

The "substantially compliant" phrase, in practice, means "we can't find any more problems." It doesn't mean there aren't any more problems, since programs cannot be proved correct even in theory, much less in practice. To be a bit more long-winded, "substantial compliance" means, "We tested the shit out of our systems, and threw every normal and weird dataset at them we could dream up, and we banged on performance limits and border cases and everything else, and we couldn't break it. We're happy about this."

And you should be too.

-- Flint (, September 18, 1999.


If you remember my man-year threads, you'll remember that the average per person was pretty high, about 25 if I remember. That's a fair number of us old-timers that have seen much in the computer world. Not too many of the new batch of MS this or CNE that, who don't really know shinola about the "big picture" in computing. Remember Flint, there weren't too many computers in the world 25 years ago.

Then we have the issue that I mentioned last week, the "attitude" of today's programmer. How many are just there 9-5 to get the check every week, and don't "waste" their time beyond that? See many of them here, ya think?

Don't even get me started on Mr. Yourdon. He doesn't have $.01 of my money. I found his site doing a Y2K search, and found this place because I respect anyone that has 35 years in the business. Why did you bring this up Flint. You already know how I feel about it. Are you trying to piss me off?

I don't know why I start with you Flint. You are the ultimate optimist, and you'll never change! <:)=

-- Sysman (, September 18, 1999.

"Uncle Bob: Not true. I could write a program containing only one single correct line of code, that would never fail. And this could be a million-line program! Life is just not as simple as you are pretending."

I've never heard so much crapola in my life.

Flint, take your head out of your ass and get real.

Stop these ludicrous debating games.

Get serious. 100 days to go and IT CANNOT BE FIXED!

Done deal.

Systemic. Worldwide.

Face it.

-- Andy (, September 18, 1999.


No, I'm not trying to piss you off at all. I dearly wish we could meet in person, since I think we'd hit it off very well and, after some discussion, end up having very little disagreement.

I said that this forum self-selects for pessimists and I meant it. There must be a milliion programmers in the US, and of them there must be at least a couple of thousand who *really* have 25+ years of experience, and of them, there might be 2 or 3 here in reality.

I work closely with one of the best engineers I've ever met. He knows not just every signal on every pin, he knows systems and histories and has been around enough and has seen enough bugs to have developed an amazing nose for problems. You give him about 10% of the symptoms you've collected, and he'll name your problem. He won't know just why that's the problem, but he'll be right.

And if you're talking about anything beyond signal timings and qualities and internal silicon state machines, and getting into the real world, this guy is as loony as Andy! He lives miles from anybody, and is convinced that the school district is out to get him! He's made predictions that make North and Milne look mild. All of them wrong, of course, but that never seems to bother him at all. He's as sure about politics and sociology as he is about signals.

He'd be entirely at home here if he'd just happened to come down on the doomer side of the fence. Instead, he's convinced that CPR is paranoid and that every single y2k bug is a hoax! But like a flipped coin, he could have gone either way. The point is, he'd be at one far extreme or the other whichever way he came down. And he has 25+ years of engineering experience under his belt.

So OK, this forum tends to attract the pessimistic extreme tip of the bell curve (among others, to be sure). Either extreme tip has a lousy (but non-zero) record for predictions. I don't accept that years of experience, even on average, is nearly as significant as the very purpose of this forum in the first place.

-- Flint (, September 18, 1999.


I know, I'ld like to buy you a beer too, but I'm just asking why bring it up? You know that I consider Yourdon somewhat of a hero (not a cult leader) for speaking out on the matter. And you know that I think it's a good thing that he published his FREE web site, to bring the problem to the average person that doesn't have a computer, still a majority in this country. Why bring it up, except to change the topic, and avoid the point. You're a master, Flint.

2 or 3, Flint?

From FM's thread, before I even started counting:

35 - Mr. Yourdon (from his bio)

31 - Sysman

36 - No_Spam

36 - Dean

35 - Ray

30 - Mike Cumbie

30 - The Rimmers

30 - Jean

29 - John Hebert (-7)

28 - RD

24 - Ron

24 - Ann

23 - Dan T

22 - Can Not

20 - J

17 - Jolly

16 - -

11 - Tim

OK, Dean is another polly on the list. Do I need to post the links? People like Chuck, Hardliner, BigDog, MVI, Rob Michaels, Wildweasel, Mr. Kennedy??? Sure seems like a bunch of us, considering how many have been around that long. How many programmers were there then? How many are here now?

Maybe you think they're all fake. I don't. <:)=

-- Sysman (, September 18, 1999.

In a previous incarnation Dr. Campbell could be seen strolling the aft deck on the Titanic. Upon greeting the Captain he remarked, "I've seen a few iceburgs floating nearby, are we in danger of hitting any?" To which the Captain replied, "Not a chance, we'll miss them all. Now good sir, go and enjoy the cruise." Later that night Dr. Campbell's earlier soul encountered a deck hand scurrying through the ballroom, "In a hurry there mate? What's the rush?" "We've hit an iceburg! I'm off to tell the Captain!" cried the frantic mate. "Rubbish," replied the Doctor's earlier self, "the Captain assured me we would not be hitting any damned iceburgs!" "Then he should go below deck and see for himself. Now, if you'll excuse me, kind gentleman, my ship is sinking and I must warn the Captain!" And with that the mate rushed to the helm. Sorry thread, I'm stuck on this Titanic thing. We need some Ghandi-like soul to go sit in front of the White House and begin a hunger strike with a sign beside him or her that reads, "I will not eat until President Clinton acknowledges to the American People that Y2K presents a clear and present danger to our Republic, and it is time to prepare." Somebody who the press will not allow the security goons to haul away in the night, maybe Donald Trump! Stay focused guys and gals, very little time left...

-- greg (, September 18, 1999.


the final bill for y2k remiadiation is expected to exceed ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. banks, which have a reputation for being notoriously stingy have spent a fortune. citicorp, to date, has spent over 950,000,000 and they are still not finished. you truly can't believe that these institutions didn't have a preliminary peek into the future and what they saw scared them spitless.

the only incident in the last century that exceeded the cost of y2k was WWll. that to me, kind sir, indicates we will have problems and they will affect you.

-- corrine l (, September 18, 1999.

Sysman, in your list of people with many years of experience, I saw the name Mike Cumbie. Is this the same Mike Cumbie that I worked with at the EPA back in 1969 - 1972. If so, I would love to hear from him. Thanks.

-- Jean (, September 18, 1999.


OK, I shot myself in the foot there. So call if 50, or 500 programmers here, whatever you think is a good number. It's *still* a drop in the ocean. This is a very small forum. And some of those you named worked for a while back when, then left the industry.

My point, that this forum is by and for pessimists, remains unchanged. It really does self-select for the end of the curve. How many times have people here asked why optimists even bother to post? This is an excellent question -- the optimist fora are moribund because optimists (99+% of programmers) have better things to do with their time, and why bother to engage in discussions about a non- problem when there are real technical problems of interest out there?

My analogy holds, I think. Some of the people in Gun Owners of America have owned guns a very long time, and some are neophytes. The length of experience isn't what selects the group.

-- Flint (, September 18, 1999.


This forum is intended for people who are concerned about the impact of the Y2000 problem on their personal lives, and who want to discuss various fallback contingency plans with other like-minded people. It's not intended to provide advice/guidance for solving Y2000 problems within an IT organization.

Contingency and Consequence Management Planning for Year 2000 Conversion - A Guide for State and Local Emergency Managers"

-- Contingency and (
Consequence@Management.Planning), September 18, 1999.

Dr. Campbell, I'm going to assume for te record that you're new at learning about Y2K, so I'm going to respectfully answer your question with a few examples. I'm not good at the formatting, so please be patient with me. Last January, the U.S. Postal Service made their report to the General Accounting Office. In their report, they admitted that they had completed less than 1% (one percent) of the Y2K repairs needed for mission-critical systems. A mission-critical system is one which allows only the basic functions of an organization to be carried out. The jobs of the USPS are to deliver mail and to pay employees, thus they admitted that these were at grave risk. At that time, they also admitted that they had basically no contingency plans in place to cover these high risks. The USPS has approximately 100 million lines of code to review and repair, plus embedded systems, etc. Second example: In 1997, the IT director for General Motors began to look at GM's computer systems. In one plant, they turned one computer to the year 2000; as a result, everything even remotely connected to that computer shut down. Lights, conveyors, robots, etc. In his words, the problem was "catastrophic". GM has many more lines of code than the USPS, possibly up to 3 Billion. Third example: Several months ago, a REPAIRED computer system, --i.e. previously verified Y2K compliant-- in Van Nuys, California, was tested in a sewage treatment plant. As a result of the faulty repair, three million gallons of raw sewage were dumped into a city park from a pipeline which mistakenly closed as a result of the faulty repair. The only way to remove the sewage was by the use of many septic-tank suction trucks. Y2K is real, and there have been and will be problems. I'm sorry about the goofball answers you have received from some of the others on this forum. Please go by the info from people like Gary North, Rick Cowles, and others who have completed a great deal of research, and not the soothing messages from the government or the press. I hope that this helps to answer your question.

-- Ann M. (, September 18, 1999.

Diane -

Good post. I wonder "why" Boeing is taking delivery of Heaven only knows how many semi-truck sized generators. Very close friend of mine works at Boeing and saw at least 6 brand spanking new generators at his plant delivered a couple weeks ago. One of the drivers said they had been delivering them to several of the plants - Everett, (747 plant), Renton, and Auburn. Boeing apparently has contigency plans. A couple of friends - Lazy B people said they are most likely will be used for security lighting and to keep certain machines running that would be damaged if they were shut down for any lenth of time due to power outages. Know this is not verifiable, but I have known this guy and his family for 20 years and I believe him. And yes, he is preparing. the particular machine that he works on would probably have to be replaced to the tune of about $1.5 mil if it goes down due to power outages so it makes sense to spend a few thousand on a generator if you expect the power to go out for any lenth of time that the current gen system can't handle. And as a back up, at Boeing Field, they are enlarging the "tank farm" where the fuel is stored at the field and where my friend's plant is located.

-- Valkyrie (, September 18, 1999.

Ann M:

Of your three examples, two require updating a bit.

1) The GM assembly line problems, originally described by Szygenda (sp?)of GM as "catastrophic", have been remediated successfully. Szygenda is now satisfied that there will no longer be any such problems at GM. So testing cuts both ways -- it illustrates real problems, and it illustrates that those problems have been fixed. We have been spending many billions fixing problems.

2) The Van Nuys sewage spill, after analysis, turned out to have nothing to do with any y2k bug, nor would there have been ANY problems with that facility at rollover. Yes, there was an unrelated bug that could have struck under just the right conditions at any time, and the y2k test just happened to create those conditions (which would not have existed at or after rollover unless they'd performed the same test at or after rollover).

As for USPS, certainly it appears they got a late start. This may or may not translate into problems later. In any case, your examples have some problems. They imply that this is the best you can do (and it isn't very scary), and in light of current and correct information your examples give every indication of being deliberately misleading.

I certainly don't object to areas where we just don't know, and real problems could lurk in the dark. But selecting examples that make y2k look very bad, *knowing* that these examples are either incorrect or obsolete, and failing to mention this when trying to educate someone who can't be expected to know this, isn't honest.

-- Flint (, September 18, 1999.

Flint, If you only look at the USPS, then the situation is bad. Think for a moment about what goes through the mail. Make a list of the important papers that you and your family members send through the mail every month. Motgage/rent, payments for cars, natural gas, electricity/water, credit cards, insurance payments, etc. Then look at what your elderly relatives stand to lose: Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, pensions, insurance payments, etc. What about the business effects--it looks like you work for GM. They have their own zipcode nearby for the several plants near our town. You can't just dismiss Y2K away with a loud exhale; wishing for it didn't get Dorothy back to Kansas. The USPS is already in deep trouble; they have acknowledged it, and you should too, if only for the sake of the new people who read this forum.

-- Ann McNitt (, September 18, 1999.

Ann M:

I'm not about to claim that the mail isn't important, or that we wouldn't have very serious problems if the mails weren't working at all. We rely on the mail heavily, for crucial things.

But you are starting with a number -- that only 1% of USPS critical systems had been remediated by a certain date. That's fine. And from there, you are leaping directly to the conclusion that the mail won't work at all. That's not so fine at all. That's magic.

Certain middle steps are lacking in your analysis. Just how much remediation was required by USPS? How many of their systems needed little or none, and what to those systems do? Where remediation was most needed, how large was the task really? What was the pre- remediation state of their systems (very important. If it was all one language and strict standards were followed, the same number of lines of code can be remediated 100 times easier than if they had many standalone systems in many languages with poorly documented interfaces, etc.)

Our best information seems to have come from two sources -- nine fingers and a USPS supervisor type. According to both of them, if y2k killed their systems the worst effect would be felt by hand-addressed mail, and changes of address would meet with slower reactions by USPS. This isn't good, of course, but it's not the disaster you prefer to describe out of ignorance.

Further, both of them tell us that these vulnerable systems are being upgraded or replaced, and shouldn't present any big problems next year. If USPS faces the catastrophic problems you project on them without any data on your part, these problems are a surprise to the people who know what's going on inside USPS.

Yes, it's human nature not to dig deeper when you hear what you prefer to believe. But you actually never heard that USPS would tank, you made that up from obsolete and extremely insufficient data.

-- Flint (, September 18, 1999.

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