Ramblings on Jim Lord, Mr. CEO and premature celebrations

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here's what we know (this is logic, not ad hominem), either:

A. Jim Lord grossly misrepresented Mr. CEO's observations and analysis, or

B. Mr. CEO is incredibly wrong, or

C. We will still see big problems stemming from embedded systems.


A. Mr. Lord reports that he spent 2 days with Mr. CEO and has repeated the now famous quote in several venues. Misrepresentation under these circumstances could be nothing less than deliberate. Jim Lord would be a (malicious or psychotic) liar. Conclusion: Impossible. Discard A.

B. Mr. CEO heads up one of the largest embedded remediation companies in the US and has done work across various industries. His information on the failure rate comes from first hand experience brought to him by hundreds of his own team members. Conclusion: while losing 40-60% of power for 2-3 weeks ("best case") is Mr. CEO's opinion/projection vs. hard data, to go from this to "zero problems" (as seems to be the case thus far) is impossible. Also, it means that many other well qualified groups (including the gov't) are *totally* wrong. Discard B.

C. When every other explanation has been ruled out as impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true (or something like that). Conclusion: we're still in big trouble with embeddeds.


Why have no high visibility 'embedded type' failures been noted yet?

A. They have occured but have not been reported. Not unlikely given the 'filtering' of y2k news which was announced prior to rollover.

B. Embeddeds can be expected to fail in a few hours based on GMT rollover. Possible. We'll know in a few hours.

C. Even with a "5% failure rate", these failures would be spread out over time and then the time required for them to become 'observable failures' would cause further time spread. This, while true, would not account for zero observable failures at the moment of failure (or within minutes).

D. The systems in use in the US are vastly more susceptible to embedded failures than those in other nations. This may be true both because of the sheer numbers, the complexity and their interconnectedness with other systems and software. Impossible that only US embeddeds will fail.


Grand conclusion: hang on to your hat (and your kerosene) for at least a few more hours/days. We're still in deep kimchee.

-- Me (me@me.me), December 31, 1999


Hourly light shows are not equivalent to Y2K in depth reporting.

Better would be follow up investigations after rollover rather than staged shows.

-- Bill P (porterwn@one.net), December 31, 1999.

Or, to put it simpler: We need WEEKS, not HOURS, before making a judgment on Y2K.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), December 31, 1999.

No, we need months and quarters before we get the true extent of the damage.

I ain't getting rid of nothin... may chow on some of the more tempting of my stash....

It just appears that maybe numbers 9 and 10 can be discarded.

If so, if they can be discarded, that in itself is a huge reason to celebrate.

-- lisa (lisa@work.now), December 31, 1999.

GMT hasn't rolled over, US hasn't rolled over. Let's wait a bit and then a bit more. (I hope it's GOOD!)

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), December 31, 1999.

Why not wait untill all go to work Monday and flip the switch to turn the monsters on and then see what happens?

-- Notforlong (Fsur439@aol.com), December 31, 1999.

Lisa, I am with you. While I am having moments of feeling like a dope, I remind myself of the gazillion machines and systems that have been shut down for the rollover.

So what are you going to chow on first? About the most exciting thing I have is some honey roast cashews which, no doubt, will be poured into a bowl well before midnight.

-- semper paratus (ready@or.not), December 31, 1999.


Your conclusion C is right out of Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." Messr. Dupin served as the model for Sherlock Holmes, of course!

FWIW, here's my take. I personally don't think Mr. Lord is lying about what Mr. CEO said, and I've done some digging on this. However, if serious Y2K problems don't surface in U.S. electric utilities--and let's certainly hope they don't, and indications seem promising based on what has happened thus far in the rest of the world--then one might wonder whether Mr. CEO, however knowledgeable he might be about embedded systems per se, really knows how power companies work: which systems are truly critical; which aren't; which can be worked around easily; which cannot be worked around; what is the expected time to repair/replace a given embedded system if a failure does occur, etc. Talking about chip failure rates per se doesn't necessarily mean very much--what is important is where such failures occur, and what they mean in terms of overall operation (generation and T & D systems). In short, it would have been nice if some topnotch power company engineers and systems analysts had had the opportunity to put some hard, specific questions to Mr. CEO. I also wish such questions had been put to Cameron Daley of TAVA (an excellent remediation firm), whose "Bloomberg News" comments have been worrying me for six months now.

It's just a pity there has not been more transparency on all these critical issues. Most of us have been left to play ridiculous guessing games.

-- Don Florence (dflorence@zianet.com), December 31, 1999.

The reporting makes things look good. It is my sincerest hope that things are as good as they look. The reporting is shallow because there are a lot of places to be reported upon.

Some things may actually have showed up and not been reported simply because they are not the sort of thing that is going to interest a population that wants to enjoy the day. For example, if the oil producers are having trouble right now with their well heads or pipe lines, it is not going to be reported this early. If a banking system in Indonesia is going belly up right now, it is not going to be reported this early either.

I always was and still am a 'slippery sloper'. I am happy to see that things look better than I expected at this point but I realize that there is not yet enough information to know with certainty. For example you could go out and find a chat room in Australia, it might be populated with dozens of people and still not prove anything. Why? Because the ones that are without power can't tell the ones that are not without power. Now I find myself wishing I still had my HF ham rig.

Ah! Well. Perhaps someone knows what the ham radio operators are saying.

-- Michael Erskine (osiris@urbanna.net), December 31, 1999.

Kimchee? A little bit of kimchee goes a long way with me.

Couldn't agree with you more, as so far, all I've seen and heard on our fully owned and compliant mainstream media is people dancing in grass skirts, lots of fireworks, and hollering in the background.

If, and I repeat if anything has happened, by all the gods, we're going to be the last ones to hear it.

Something is very "fishey" here (and it's not kimchee) and odd that even in countries that were reported to have not lifted a finger are sailing through this just fine. Well, what do I know.

-- Richard (Astral-Acres@webtv.net), December 31, 1999.

There are no "hidden" clocks in embedded chips.

Manufacturers of chips do not set a time/date at the factory. They will set a time/date in them along with the software when they are requested to do so for other companies, but when they do the information is well documented in the requirements they are given and the data/paperwork/manuals that go with the chip.

Forget hidden chip clocks rolling over "some time in the future".

I welcome you all to go to the "embedded" archives of this forum and read what I have been writing all along.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), December 31, 1999.

Cherri, There is only one thing worse than being correct, being correct until a clock runs out. :) If there were any embedded failures in petro/chemical we probably would not be able to see them yet. Anyway, I do smell a crow cooking. It is still not clear to me who is going to eat it. I am pleased that I have had little to say about embeddeds.

-- Michael Erskine (osiris@urbanna.net), December 31, 1999.

Cherri, the only embedded chips I have are being dipped into sour cream! 8^)

-- dinosaur (dinosaur@williams-net.com), December 31, 1999.

Lady...Lady. You sure do like to pull that old pistol and get off a shot or two from the hip! I wonder! Ever tried logic? Or in other words! Don't crow too loud! The Fat Lady ain't sung...Untill all the plants taken off line (to avoid the roll over) are brought back on line. You know this young lady! Yet your youthful inclination to stand so close to the edge, leaves one to wonder...Just how much practical knowledge do you ave about the real world application or use of said microprocessors...


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@frty.feet), December 31, 1999.

shkey quit bieng such a ashole1 grab a beer and a crow leg and read what the lady sherri has writtn about embed d it is good stuff she nose her shit that s fo sur

-- drunk and luvig it (party@party.party), December 31, 1999.

My Dear Mr, Drunk!

Sir you are both a boor and a boar! You have apparently little or no english diction. Or comprehension that such exhists! To correct another's premices. You must first be able to impart by written word, you concepts. This you fail to do.

While I do apreacate your offer of a drink. I fear I must refuse( LOL! ) Since I have but one or two small shots of Vodka a day. And I am indeed saving them both for the 12th hour.

My concern is that Cherri, Lady Logic (and a few thers) who have retained only the ability to go to the potty with out supervivion ( if they found themselves out of a constuction site). Are so busy trying to induce What? Shame, embarrasment? In others, who might not have ever had the hands on technical back ground to know how huge and terrifyingly serious this Y2K "bug" still is. But still, their "common" sence was telling them to take precautions...Just in case!

I will say immeadately! I am sincerely happy that we have so far avoided the failures that could have happened...And would have happened! If all the physical industry had not been shut down so as not to face the roll over while under full operation. But I caution you again gentle persons! Do not lower your guard yet. The party has not even begun.. I have not stated it many times. But I have stated it. The embedded systems problems will be with us another 12 months...


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), December 31, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ