My take. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Where the problems lie.

First off I am a programmer for a medium size manufacturer in a small town and as such I claim no indepth unstanding of large legacy systems as would exist in the Fortune 1000 companies. Also because of my geographic isolation I have little face to face contact with IT people from other companies. Also I doubt that there is a single EE with embedded experience in my local area. Much of my understanding of IT outside of my own little world comes from this site.

I have seen a number of posts on this site pointing out that large scale IT failures have not occurred to date and that in itself is enough to lend weight to the 'bump in the road' theme. I suspect from personal experience that many more failures than acknowledged are occurring but these are in organizations with in house IT people who are able to contain, fix on failure, problems before they become public knowledge.

In early 2000 we may see many failures in applications which compare dates such as AR. Also as pointed out by Cory many or most shops are not installing patches to update their machines for the year 00. This is very serious stuff. The applications get the current date and time from the machine. If a receiveable due date is 03/15/00 just what current date is it being compared to?

How many smaller organizations without an in house IT department that use canned software with Y2K bugs will cease functioning because of the inability to fix the bugs. Probably most of these organizations don't use applications which look forward more than a month so bugs will not become evident until Dec. 99 or Jan. 00. Most smaller towns and counties use canned software and have no in house IT personal. Each has their own water and sewer systems.

There are so many possible points of failure in IT systems, most of which I am not familar with. The first overall test of our IT infrastructure will not come until 01/01/00.

My best guess as to what will fail in order of descending impact are:

1) Embedded systems, especially in the areas of electric power, water and fuel production, refining and distribution. Without power and fuel problems with software are a mute point. Thanks to just another for explaining embeddeds in laymans terms. I take Mr. CEO at his word. Even if as ng has stated that Mr. CEO may be too close to the problem I would not fly on a plane in which the lead engineer expressed reservations about its safty. Large scale failures of embeddeds will disrupt the supply chain necessary to fix the failures.

2) The flow of oil, other raw materials and component parts from foreign sources due to embeddeds and controlling software. Especially oil and especially embeddeds.

3) Failure of large Fortune 1000 IT systems to function sufficiently to produce and distribute food, medicines and other essential consumer items.

4) Failure of medium and small organizations due to software failures and cash flow problems. Think large scale unemployment.

5) Social unrest which will cause application of resources to fix failed systems that much harder. Programmers and EE's unwilling to leave their families alone.

On the far side of Y2K failures maybe we will see demands that critical infrastructure be redesigned with manual overides to the extent possible. A very bright future for mechanical engineers and machinists. Many people will have the effects of Y2K so firmly imbedded in their minds that for the rest of their lives they will garden regiously and be reluctant to throw away anything but absolute garbadge.

Prediction: As things start to return to normal just another who was doing almost 24/7 repairing embedded systems will as a jesture of kindness toward his fellow man turn his attention to the remediation of Y2K Pro. It will be determined that Y2K Pro's hard drive was controlled by a microcontroller with a reduced instruction set. Just another wil rip it out and replace it with a PLC thus making Y2K a functional person and useful to society. Paul Milne who accquired large land holdings durning the Y2K crisis will be in need of farm labor and will take Y2K Pro in and provide him with useful work slopping hogs and weeding gardens. Paul who now leads the life of Thomas Jefferson will throughout the rest of his life expand his knowledge into many different areas and talants. Among these will learning how to reprogram PLC's.

-- Ed (, December 02, 1999


"garbadge"? "jesture"? I cannot imagine Ed Yourdon not knowing how to spell those two words. I cannot imagine Ed Yourdon not using the spell checker.

-- Roberta Blackard (, December 02, 1999.

Oh yes, and "regiously".

-- Roberta Blackard (, December 02, 1999.

I can't believe Roberta Blackard thinks the above post was Ed Yourdon. Sheeesh!

-- Gambler (, December 02, 1999.

My point exactly

-- Roberta Blackard (, December 02, 1999.


This response is by Ed@lizzardranch who has posted here for quite some time. He is not nor does he claim here to be Ed Yourdon : )

Welcome to the forum.

Stealth Sysop

-- Stealth Sysop (, December 02, 1999.

Good show Roberta! When you can't argue the message, attack the messenger.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), December 02, 1999.

Actually I thought I did pretty good with my spelling. I sometimes spell backwards and havn't done so in this post.

-- Ed (, December 02, 1999.

Ed --

In point of fact, 24x7 remediation of embedded chips would be a *whole* lot more fun than what I am currently working on. :-)

And as for Y2K Pro, I suspect that the problem there is in the 'BIOS', and not fixable other than by junking it out and replacing it with a 'compliant' model. ;-)

-- just another (, December 02, 1999.

Just another

Unfortunately I could say the same about my current situation. I spend eight hours a day doing nothing. The systems myself and another wrote over the last ten years is in the process of being replaced by a ERP system with a floating implementation date. Have not spent one minute with a vendor techie so do not have a good grasp of the files.

The users do not like what they have seen of the new system. Order entry is much slower that mine. There is no module for commissions computation and reporting. The distribution center module is acknowledged as useless, but our current one is great. Basically none of the reports provided are useful and will have to be written by me with IQ Objects or RPG 4. Sure would help to understand the files system; please just 5 minutes with a vendor techie.

All of this because the owner blew up one day when told that the package we programmed with could not provide truely relational database reports.

I am the only one who has taken Y2K seriously and it has made me somewhat of a kook with management. The only part of our soon to replaced IT system I can vouch for are the 800 permanent production applications I have written. Can't even vouch for the machines / OS as I am not involved in making sure they are ready.

The upside is that I am not the IT director.

-- Ed (, December 02, 1999.

.krow doog eht pu peek ,dE

-- dinosaur (, December 02, 1999.

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