Silicon Valley Y2K status 9/26/99; hardball wakeup call : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Between the Federal Reserve, President, SJ Mercury News, and the large numbers of ordinary people who rely on such institutions as the above for clues on how to proceed with their lives, Y2K is not a politically correct subject to bring up in SV casual conversation.

SV now has a polyglot population dominated by engineers and technicians. Most of these people moved here from all over the world 5 or 10 years ago. The results wrt Y2K are threefold: first, there is a overbearing pride in the ability to take any technical problem and solve it very quickly. The hairier the problem and the quicker, the better. The culture is: unsolveable technical obstacles don't exist, and anyone who believes otherwise must be technologically deficient or worse. Second, since so many people come from so many different places in such a short amount of time, and once they get here, work in startups that tend to suck their discretionary time away from them, there is much less sense of community than there would otherwise be. Third, with so many newcomers from out of the country, many of these new people know relatively little about American culture and heritage, in particular they tend to be ignorant of the ins and outs of the fundamentals of American legal process, most particularly, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

This leads in my opinion to a potentially very dangerous situation, because Y2K has some aspects to it which are beyond easy technical resolution in my opinion, requires a strong sense of community to overcome, and if approached in the wrong way will lead to at least a temporary and perhaps permanent loss of individual rights as people realize the bind that they have gotten themselves into and look to government to bail them out by any means necessary.

I am a neighborhood watch captain and a member of the local CERT. As of today (Sept. 26, 1999), neither of these organizations has contacted me about anything related to Y2K. In addition, I have reached out to several emergency organizations independently, such as the local Red Cross, with similarly disappointing results. My hard questions to local government have been met largely with deflection to canned responses which are unresponsive to my questions.

I mentioned Y2K in several newsletters earlier in the year to my neighborhood watch. I did not get much positive feedback (nothing that I would consider useful or building), and enough negative feedback that I felt it prudent to reconsider attempting to raise awareness, for reasons of practicality and self preservation. I've made my dilemna known to the local elected officials, with no significant helpful responses.

I have noticed some local people very quietly buying 4x4s, getting mobile homes, and so on. No one has told me anything and I have not asked. It seems as if the situation has forced everyone to fend for themselves and their own family first. I can understand that very well.

My folks stopped by today. I told them if things seemed to be going downhill with Y2k and they decided they needed something, that they may want to consider asking me if I could get them what they needed. They responded, somewhat tongue in cheek, that they didn't think they would need anything but if they decided that they did at the last moment, they would just come to visit me. I told them, with no humor in my voice, that I would not be there when they came. I hope that at least helps wake them up because heaven knows I have tried everything else.

I have already made myself known to my community and my extended family as someone who is very aware and concerned about Y2k. I feel I have just reached the point of diminishing returns where any additional steps I take on behalf of those outside my immediate family will accomplish little productive, and in effect take away energy that I need to devote towards protecting my own immediate (DGI) family as well as even potentially put them at risk. Those I am leaving behind have plenty of advice from me and (still, as of now) enough time to act on it.

My greatest hope is that in mid Spring of next year we can all look back at our silly Y2k worries and have a good laugh at ourselves. If not, my conscience is clear as I have tried my best.

-- Ann Y Body (annybody@no.where.disorg), September 27, 1999


most techies,[not all] are like doctors & lawyers-they think they WALK-ON-WATER.---PRIDE IS VERY=BLINDING.

-- god knows you tried. (, September 27, 1999.

Ann Y Body, that was an interesting analysis of an interesting place. Much of what you say resonates with me. As a career engineer, I can appreciate both the pride in technology and the demands that career places on time.

I'm not in that rat race now, and have the time to investigate y2k, and to make decisions based on its perceived effect on me. I probably would have brushed it aside had the timing been different and this occured 20 years ago.

I see the same reluctance on the part of my children -- also engineers and computer scientists -- to consider even the need for moderate preparation. Part of this is the time spent on the job, part is the inherent "They'll fix it, so why worry about it?" attitude.

I see life as a series of waves, with some major crests and major valleys. They see only a linear progression.

-- de (, September 27, 1999.


I was very concerned about my son,his wife and 6 kids.They weren't geting prepared for y2k until I told my son they could always move in with his father and stepmom or with his grandparents if things got bad,within a week he had ordered 55 galllons of kerosene and I'm sure alot of other supplies.I have a small house and was going nuts thinking they would just pop up at my front door,that is 8 extra people to feed and make acomadations(sp?)for.I haven't talked with him since.I had always bailed him out before,but not this time.I'm sure there are alot of people out there not preparing,that will just take it for granted that someone else will take care of them instead of taking responsibility for themselves.Feigning ignorance doesn't cut it.

-- maggie (, September 27, 1999.

Ann Y Body, you can move up to Oregon/Washington area :-)

We're CERT & NET leaders. Last summer we called our FEMA/NET supervisor and told her Y2K would be THE ultimate get-ready/funding/raison d'etre imaginable for Emergency Services. She's a tuff bull-dog, eats other dogs as munchies, manic turf war egomaniac. It did the trick!

Portland now has a super Y2K-preparedness program (too little too late considering how bad Y2K may be), with prep materials being mailed to every household, 72-hour bug-out kits being assembled and given to all who need them, workshops for seniors being held, and televised on cable. Watched one last night with our 85-yr-old patients; they loved it! They're even more excited about being prepped. They felt much better after watching the Mayor & NET Nut go through the bulging Bug-Out Kits on TV with the appreciative ooohs & aaahs of the Senior Citizens Group attending. Christmas! Santa!

Portland has been through massive flooding, wind storms, ice storms, snow storms, earthquakes, volcano burps, economic slumps & highs in the last 10 years. The current Mayor is Vera Katz, getting better every day, actually quite good, learns fast, is very prep pro-active. We're on the Mayor's Y2K Council (when we can go), and although they (all .gov .biz .system) look at us with fear as if we're "infectious" aliens, they *have* adopted almost all our suggestions.

It's hard to be slammed as a way-out weirdo, then sorta satisfyingly funny when they grab all your ideas/warnings and run with them, enhancing their careers and kudos accordingly ;^) All that matters is that more & more ppl have a fighting chance to make it thru Rollover RueLay.

Ann Y Body, there's a demand for CERT members to join the Y2K Speakers Bureau and do community outreach. Come on up! No water shortage here, still time to stock up on Polartech longjohns. This local area still Happy Face but starting to Get It slowly and behind the scenes. We'll do better than much of the rest of the country.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 27, 1999.

Ashton & Leska,

You guys are great! Glad to see something's happening in Portland.


Mid-week I'll be attending a Silicon Valley function with a lot of CEO's and Key Executives. I'll be listening for Y2K talk. (Doubt I'll hear any.) They're a pretty disconnected lot.

One area publication to watch is the San Jose Business Journal... sanjose/

Lots of the locals read it. Unfortunately its somewhat Y2K lite and dismissive of the problem. As are most the locals.

Search the San Jose Business Journal...


Recent article...

San Jose ready for bug, leaders tell Rep. Horn
1999-08-23 Erik Espe, The Business Journal of San Jose story2.html

Editor's Notebook: Preparation gives way to paranoia: Aliens could invade
Earth, Y2K could ignite WW III--or not
1999-05-17 Aldo Maragoni, The Business Journal of San Jose editorial1.html



-- Diane J. Squire (, September 27, 1999.

Beaujolais Nouveau and D-cells -- We're going to party like it's 1999.

-- no talking please (, September 28, 1999.

"My greatest hope is that in mid Spring of next year we can all look back at our silly Y2k worries and have a good laugh at ourselves. If not, my conscience is clear as I have tried my best."

Don't let your guard down come "mid-spring" or even just may start to get interesting by then...I'll be holding my breath until January 2001....DCK

-- Don Kulha (, September 28, 1999.

Don't let your guard down come "mid-spring" or even just may start to get interesting by then...I'll be holding my breath until January 2001....DCK

I can justify almost all the stuff I have got so far, including power, security, and telecomm hardware, just by reason of living in the fault zone.

-- Ann Y Body (annybody@no.where.disorg), September 28, 1999.

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