Here's my two cents on Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This is my two cents: Following is an article published in a newsletter called ECONOMIC LOGIC that I write as a hobby. It's been mailed to several hundred subscribers. I had previously told my subscribers if I was wrong about Y2K, and it turned out to be no big deal, I'd send them the next year of my newsletter for free. So I've put my own money on the line.

I thank everyone on this forum for providing information. Especially Homer Beanfang for his great posts.

While I can't figure out how the doomers have come to the conclusion that so many people in government and industry are lying about Y2K, I also can't figure out how the pollies could believe Kosky -- (1)a lawyer, (2)working on public relations, (3) for the Clinton Administration -- if that's not three strikes to your credibility, I don't know what is. If he told me the sky was blue, I'd go outside and look up! Please remember to wear your football helmet or hard hat on January 1 when planes begin falling from the skies. Better to be safe than sorry. My Y2K article follows:

Y2K: Part 14  Optimism, but no data !

"I expect we will experience no major national breakdowns as a result of the year 2000 date change." President Clinton (11/99)

Y2K is not a computer bug. It's a systemic software design error. I expect the Y2K software design error to cause several months of random, intermittent and annoying computer software problems. My forecast is based primarily on the history of large software projects. They are usually thought to be "under control" until 90-95% done, then often have problems, miss their completion dates, and finally place software with lots of bugs into production.

There are insufficient data for anyone to forecast Y2K problems will be solved in a few days, as most people believe, or will still be annoying us after mid-2000, as a small percentage of people believe. My forecast 'triangulates' directly between those extremes.

The goal of Y2K prevention software projects was not to get 100% Y2K-compliant. Systems people knew they'd never catch every Y2K problem, or every new bug created while fixing Y2K problems. The goal of Y2K projects was to remediate enough software so software "repair teams" would not be overwhelmed when people returned to work January 3, 2000 and began discovering computer problems.

Every decision to fix-on-failure adds potential workload to those "repair teams". I am far more concerned about organizations who have ignored Y2K, or plan to fix problems after January 1 ("fix-on-failure"), than I am about organizations who have tried to find-and-fix Y2K problems but won't be completely done on January 1.

I have to assume organizations are making a strong effort to preserve themselves. When they say they're "99% Y2K-Ready", I have no data to refute their press releases, so I assume they're telling the truth, at least for mission-critical software. For the reader who asked for a definition of "mission-critical software"  I now believe this means any software that is Y2K-compliant  and I'm not joking.

The history of large software projects suggests that many Y2K software projects will not be completed on time. It seems easy to forecast that when people return to work on January 3, 2000, they should expect to find more computer problems than usual that week  and that month. No more Y2K speculation is necessary  we're almost there. Expect the unexpected with Y2K. Let's hope the software repair teams have managed their Y2K prevention work so well that most software problems in January 2000 are small and invisible to the general public  just like in January 1999, January 1998, January 1997, etc.

A final thought on how computers really work for those people who still believe we can operate things manually when a computer fails:

"The modern computer is capable of answering, in a matter of seconds, mathematical questions that would take millions of years for a human being to answer  How does the computer do this? Simple. It makes everything up. It knows full well you're not going to waste millions of years checking up on it. So you should never use computers for anything really important, such as balancing your personal checkbook. But they're fine for corporate use." Dave Barry

-- Richard Greene (, December 15, 1999

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