Did'ja ever notice how nowadays there's so many computer bugs that are "unrelated to the Year 2000 computer issue."

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A December 7 USA Today article proffers the following: From soap makers to stock exchanges, non-Y2K glitches are cutting a wide swath of mischief in corporate offices, schools and government agencies from Washington, D.C., to Washington state. The glitches are creating delays, outages, garbled data and general snafus, proving Murphy's Law that anything that can go wrong probably will.

Almost daily, glitch woes are becoming more pervasive and troublesome.

The article lists many reasons for these glitches  Y2K is not one of them.

An astute forumite, Gordon, in a December 8 thread said the following Check out USA Today cover this morning. Three of the four failures listed were created by new Y2K compliant systems installations and yet USA today portrays them as "ordinary run of the mill computer problems".

There are more computer glitches that have been mentioned in these forums then forgotten. There are simply too many of them. Has anyone researched the problems at Hunter Douglas Industries (financially brought to its knees  in a time of relative prosperity), mentioned in the forum just mentioned? Has anyone here researched problems with the euro implementation that were completely covered up--almost--by European media?

Is it my imagination or are there now a whole lot of places having computers problems and they are saying that they are "not related to Y2K in any way." If these new problems are not related to Y2K then what are we supposed to believe? Is there some other possible computing problem that we need to identify? What if these situations increase? At what point are we allowed to become skeptical of the claims? Has anyone kept a running record of the number of large computer glitches so that we can definitely identify what normal is?

According to a Financial Times Article the clearing system at Deutsche Bank of Germany was shut down for 10 hours. Deutsche tried to clear the largest payments manually, but the huge volume of transactions meant many could not be handled until the next day, when the system was functioning again. The bank has been forced to offer interest payments to banks to which it owed money. Executives say it cleared - or settled - all outstanding trades with counterparties by close of business on December 2.

This is certainly not the only example. It seems that this is a daily occurrence. Our lives are being impacted by loads of computer glitches that are "not related to Y2K." Has anyone kept a running record of the number of large computer glitches so that we can definitely identify what normal is?

The TB 2000 forum had 257 Computer/IT Y2K-Related Glitches threads placed on it between January 29 and December 9 of this year. I wonder if Hank Hannegraff has read through them?

-- Rick (rick7@postmark.net), December 09, 1999


Management wanted additional changes along with y2k while I was at it. I'm a programmer that had to go through this. Too many system changes at once is likely the problem. Not hard for me to understand, but apparently it is for the pollies.

-- Larry (cobol.programmer@usa.net), December 09, 1999.

But... but... it's NOT Y2K yet!



-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 09, 1999.


Here and there across the country newspapers are reporting on computer failures of a scope not experienced before. These stories are ignored by the major media, consequently the general public is un aware of the problem. I live in a small central Texas community of some 3,000 people county-wide. There have been two Y2K failures locally just in the last month. One with a very large local hardware store who employs more folks than anyone else in town. Another with the local Pizza Hut. Our local snooze paper avoids real news or controversy at all costs and the vast majority of opinion locally is that Y2K is a scam. As a former journalist I believe the news media, local and national, have abandoned their responsibility to provide informative and objective coverage. Wait till December 26 when the national broadcast media start sensationalizing the story during their countdown to New Year's Day.

-- Fred Remington (ira@texfiles.com), December 09, 1999.

Diane, NOT Y2K yet?

After the fact, we'll still be receiving the same message!

-- Tommy Rogers (Been there@Just a Thought.com), December 09, 1999.

Maybe we all need to be careful with our phraseology.

None of the glitches mentioned in the USA Today article would I term Y2K failures!

That's right, think about it. They weren't. It was new systems installed with lots of bugs. Why are the new systems being put in now with so many bugs? Because legacy systems will crash in January.

That makes the problems:


Maybe the pollies can at least go this far. These bugs will become more prvalent exactly because of Y2K, and they will be concentrated in time.

When we move into January, we will start to see the true Y2K failures as embeddeds, unremediated code, and poorly remediated code begins to fail!

-- Duke 1983 (Duke1983@AOL.com), December 09, 1999.

There seems to be a taxonomy problem here -- how to categorize the various classes of problems we've seen. Here's what I propose:

First-order y2k problems. These are malfunctions due directly to incorrect date processing. The code encountered a date in 2000 or later and did NOT handle it correctly.

Second-order y2k problems. These are problems arising from the effort to avoid date processing errors. These include software upgrade problems, issues with the implementation of whole new software systems, and non-date bugs introduced during the effort to fix date bugs.

NOTE: Code maintenance, upgrades and new implementations have been a fact of life for decades. It's likely that y2k was the ONLY motivation for such changes in a small minority of cases, althouth it may have been the PRIMARY motivation in more than half. It's simply not correct to assume that EVERY such change must have been a y2k procedure. In many cases, y2k compliance is simply a useful side- effect of a change that was scheduled anyway. Still, claims that problems with software upgrades are completely unrelated to y2k are disingenuous. Y2k is likely to have been at least part of the reason for making the change in most cases.

Third-order y2k problems. These are normal, daily problems that get out of hand because the ordinary resources to handle them have been reassigned to the y2k issue and aren't available to deal with the usual glitches.

Fourth-order y2k problems. This includes everything that goes wrong or looks unusual (to those who never knew what was usual in the first place) at least during the first half of 2000, whether or not computers are even involved. For example, even if the bankruptcy rate during that period falls within the normal range, many True Believers will point to every single normal bankruptcy they can find as "proof" of y2k devastation.

NOTE: The TB2K forum is already filling up with fourth-order 'problems',

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), December 09, 1999.

Good post Rick.

Man, can you imagine how much money got tied up from that Deutsche Bank Computer shut down alone? According to the article, 100,000 transactions per hour times 10 hours was ONE MILLION TRANSACTIONS!!!

I wonder how much it cost them in interest expenses just for the one extra day they held the money?

-- Clyde (clydeblalock@hotmail.com), December 09, 1999.

Duke 1983 is absolutely ON TARGET!! Many of the problems are on new systems that were ramrodded into place so as to be Y2K compliant. Had it not been for the immovable deadline of Y2K, presumably more time could have been spent gracefully migrating from the old (non Y2K compliant) systems, with far fewer problems. THUS, THESE ABSOLUTELY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED "Y2K RELATED".

The fun, of course, will begin in Janurary when systems that were NOT replaced but instead had Y2K "fixes" ramrodded into place without adequate testing (because of the immovable deadline) start going bonkers. That, combined with the current crumbling, will really be a mess.

Now, let's see, where did I put my copy of Infomagic's "Charlotte's Web"....

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), December 09, 1999.


I gotta give you credit for consistency. You remind me of "the man who saw everything twice" in Catch-22. The doctor held up one finger, the man saw two. 4 fingers? He saw two. 10 fingers? He saw two.

Many long threads here have discussed the y2k-related problems *already* encountered (and by now, largly cured) resulting from new implementations. You see crumbling. Hoffmeister engaged in whole formal debates showing the worst may already be behind us. You see crumbling. We've talked endlessly about remediated code being returned to production. You pretend it hasn't happened yet. That code is being exercised, both with future dates (there are many) and with the opportunity to encounter non-date bugs introduced by remediation. You pretend this hasn't happened yet either.

Can you read? Perhaps if your head came out where the sun shines, you could read a little better? Ever considered giving it a try?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), December 09, 1999.

Flint- What happened to the "a full YEAR for testing" ???? oh, and your logic about BD discribes you to a T. You always see the toast butter side up.

Real-meal-deal worldwide testing begins in 22 (21) days.

Are you ready??

No, I mean are you READY as in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill in Seatle was "ready" for being tear gassed.

-- Brent James Bushardt (brentj@webt.com), December 09, 1999.

Hoffy's arguments FAILED TO CONVINCE ME, Flint. OK? Do my "consistent" posts make sense to you now???

(And, for those who who wonder why, it is because, polished though they were, they always lacked a very important ingredient: common sense.)

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), December 09, 1999.


Hoff's arguments didn't entirely convince me either. However, they did make me think. And after thinking (try it sometime), I realized that rather than crumbling, these new implementations have been recovering. Fairly nicely, in fact. Only a very few (out of many thousands) experienced big problems, and those problems are being dealt with. Nobody is waiting until January 1 to "throw the switch" to new implementations, major upgrades, or all remediated code at once. What we'll see after rollover are current date routines screwing up, and embeddeds. How bad, of course nobody knows.

Oh, by the way, Omaha now has their act back together and working fine. Took them 3 days.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), December 09, 1999.

There have been two Y2K failures locally just in the last month. One with a very large local hardware store who employs more folks than anyone else in town. Another with the local Pizza Hut.

Were they Y2K failures or just everyday run of the mill normal computer failures?

You are experiencing what I call the "pregnant syndrome".

When you (or your SO) becomes pregnant, it seems all you ever see is pregnant women, they are coming out of the walls, everyone you know has a bun in the oven. Where as before you impending parenthood afflicted you, you can never remember ever seeing a ripe belly ready to pop...could be your eyes were busy inspecting the two engorged uterine contractors above it.

We tend not to notice something we have no reason to notice.

I'll bring something to your attention and you can test it to see if I am right. At every street with a normal stoplight there is a box that has the hardware that controls the the sequencing of the lights. Now I could be wrong in other areas of the United states, but here in Seattle and Washington state, there is one form of a box or another. You have seen them, perhaps hundreds of times a day and not realized it. Now that I have brought it to your attention......

please let me know if I am right or wrong.

The point being, until you became aware of computer failures due to Y2K, there were hundreds of them mentioned all the time, but now that you are aware of them, you "notice" them all the time.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), December 10, 1999.

Flint wrote: NOTE: Code maintenance, upgrades and new implementations have been a fact of life for decades. It's likely that y2k was the ONLY motivation for such changes in a small minority of cases, althouth it may have been the PRIMARY motivation in more than half. It's simply not correct to assume that EVERY such change must have been a y2k procedure. In many cases, y2k compliance is simply a useful side-effect of a change that was scheduled anyway.

I just don't see it making sense for enterprises to destabilize their operations by deploying upgrades or new implementations this close to rollover, except where necessary to attain Y2K compliance. Therefore, I would interpret the vast majority of recent failures as second-order y2k-problems.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), December 10, 1999.

Sir Flint-of-the-hard-nose;

You've impressed me again - Good division of the failures into the different categories: but recognize, as in the otehr thread, that the national media (USA Today) in this case, specifically and deliberately mis-reported the influence of y2k-solutions-induced incidents.

That is, their reporter (or the government spokesman he used as a source of the "facts") specifically claimed that the computer failures were not y2k-related. Only if you review each of the original cases could you determine that the supposed "accurate, unbiased reporting" was wrong. Deliberately wrong.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 10, 1999.


I have considered the possibility of a "pregnant syndrome."

However, I just don't believe that what we are seeing is normal. I am intersted in knowing if there is anyone out there who has done any research that would actually tabulate the numbers of major computer- related problems in the last few years or decades.

Cory Hamasaki has listed examples of major-company computer glitches resulting in major problems. Is there anyone who can say what exactly we all should have expected this year apart from Y2K problems. I think that Flink has brought up a good taxonomy. I think we are seeing a lot of glitches that we could call Y2k-plus. That is Y2K combined with something else.

I will mention that in the last few weeks I have heard in the news of two places where teachers have protested after receiving no paycheck or wrong-amount paychecks: Washington, D.C and Austin, TX (at the community college). Has anyone out there researched past teacher protests related to ordinary computer glitches?

((Did you notice the question that is asked twice in my post))

-- Rick (rick7@postmark.net), December 10, 1999.

Rick - Add paycheck problems in Philedelphia, Detroit (?), and Oakland. DC too, I believe.

Include the MAISD district up in Michigan....Omaha is having problems....and DMV problems in four states, plus background check problems in at least two others between the local police dept and the FBI's files.

Medicare errors last September, then the 500,000 Social Security file errors in Washington last week.....

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 10, 1999.

Rick, I would frame your question about computer related problems, in terms of months rather than years or decades. If like many of us, you've experienced a fairly constant awareness of these problems over the past few months, then the "pregancy syndrome" isn't at work.

Y2K driven system remediations and replacements could have been expected to produce a rise in these problems over the past year or two. But one would have hoped that by this time, very little of this activity remained, and that the rate of Y2K-related problems would have dropped noticeably over the past few months.

Is the number of incidents reported a fair indicator of the number of incidents occurring? I couldn't say, but what's happened to Deutsche Bank does not bode well for medium and small businesses.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), December 10, 1999.

David and Robert:

It seems most reasonable to me that these late-in-the-game switches to whole new systems were primarily y2k-inspired. At the very least, such switches were accelerated for y2k reasons. Claims that such switches were unrelated to y2k don't ring true to me at all.

I suspect "related to y2k" is being very narrowly interpreted as first-order y2k problems. In any case, I hope most such switchovers have most of their wrinkles ironed out by now, regardless of what motivated them.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), December 10, 1999.

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