How did this happen? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I only want sensible answers please... Doomers, Troll, Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists, and "Gloaters" (smug, _ignorant_ Pollys, not the sensible ones) need not respond.

I'm not an electronics expert, and therefore know nothing about the intricacies of embedded systems, date functions, base 10 and all that. I'm not going to talk about things I know nothing about (something that many people here tend to do).

I want opinions on how the whole y2k problem got out of hand. It _is_ a problem of course, and the only reason why there have been relatively few failures reported is that those in the know have been working extremely hard to make sure most essential things are y2k compliant.

There are going to be problems during the next few months, but nothing like The End Of The World As We Know It (or TEOTWAWKI... I wish people wouldn't use cryptic acronyms that newcomers can't understand).

It's been depressing watching the Doomers and the Pollys having their verbal fistfights whilst the technically informed try to have a reasonable discussion. People have complained about the sysop policy here, but the vast majority of the posts here should have been fried. Oh my God, I'm advocating censorship, but the difference between an effectively unmoderated group (this one) and a heavily moderated one (like is startling. Ask a stupid, abusive question on and you will get deleted.. no questions asked. The problem with this thread is trying to recover the civilised informative threads from all the abusive trash. It is really unreasonable to expect people to be polite?

How did this happen? How did people end up preparing for a life of total self-sufficiency (and corpse spotting) when all that could have happened was a few days without basic utilities (something worth prepping for)? The worst thing that happened to me on Saturday morning was driving into the back of my friend's car on the way to another party - maybe my brake pads aren't y2k compliant.

The problem we have now is people claiming that y2k was a hoax, and that the amount of effort expended in preparing for it was wasted. I hate to think what would have happened if people had done nothing, but unfortunately the necessary "scaremongering" has produced doomers and pollys in equal measure. Watching these two groups bicker during the last 48 hours is a very sorry sight.

The most frightening thing about y2k is that is has exposed the huge ignorance about the technology which we now all depend on. It's the equivalent of a medieval society where no-one knows anything about agriculture, and leaves that stuff to a few highly skilled individuals. Maybe ignorance is how the war on this thread started... oh well.

Happy New Year folks

-- Matthew (, January 01, 2000


Matthew, it would have been an even worse spectacle except for two factors:

1. The sysops have trudged through hundreds of disruptive troll posts, particularly in the last few days, deleting left and right as they went.

2. Bok's chatroom has provided (unwittingly) a venue for the worst of the trolls to stage some of hte most spectacular disruptions.

-- Old Git (, January 01, 2000.

The difference is, never caused anyone to go out and spend their paychecks on things they will never use out of irrational fear. This place was like an antennae for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, and sorry to say that many people who didn't know better got hurt by it. Flour mills, solar ovens, tp, rice, beans, and tons of batteries. Just a wasted investment. If they had put that money into shares of Qualcom, they would have seen returns of 24 times the money they had out in. A 27$ share six months ago now goes for absout $660. But no, everyone was too busy buying Y2K survival gear. Redeemable investment return? Maybe half off at a yard sale.

I'm just glad that the recpetion to this antennae is dwindling fast as the morning light approaches and shows everyone that there were no "boogymen" under the bed to be afraid of, no ghosts in the closets.

Oh wait a second I'm just a smug polly troll, I'm not allowed to respond.

-- (life@will. now go on), January 01, 2000.

The smug polly trolls I was referring to are the one's who believe there never was a problem, and that all the money was wasted.

It's interesting that you mentioned the stock market. How do you feel about people using their newly aquired paper wealth to apply for more credit instead of actually cashing in their shares. Much of the recent economic growth in the US has been credit based, and this always a cause for concern. The reason why the 1929 crash led to the Great Depression was that people were doing exactly the same thing they were doing now. In the Uk, people tend to use gains in the value of their houses for the same purpose, and this is precisely what make the last recession so severe. I'm sure the principle of negative equity applies to shares as well as houses.

If there is a financial crises in the next few years, y2k will have nothing to do with it. It just will be amplified by the fact that people are borrowing too much

-- Matthew (, January 01, 2000.

The feds are going to put a cap on it early next year. They would have done it this year but they were worried people would panic and try to withdraw all their money from the banks. Now that the fear is over and done with, I think they'll get back to manipulating the market as always.

Is it right? Is it the way I want to see things run in this country? No of course not. But change has got to be gradual, otherwise we risk losing everything. But I'm not really a cracker jack money man. The stock market could double in the new year with some wild new inventions... or it could flounder and recede in the next six months. Whatever happens though, I'm sure we will have better warning than in 1929.

-- (life@will. go on), January 01, 2000.

Matthew ... how could this have happened indeed! It looks like the only ones experiencing a Y2K problem today are those of us who prepared and are now asking the big question ... why, how ... were we duped? Technological ignorance is definitely a part of the answer, but I think maybe credibility problems with government (especially after what we all went through with the year long Clinton scandel) is at the heart of it. A lot of us just plain didn't trust what the White House and Congress were saying. Add to that the vast Right Wing Conspiracy crowd (I now believe they do exist) .... and you had a very serious global technological problem, get out of control for those who used the internet for most of their Y2K info. Add to that the very nature of the internet wherein all you have is a fictional name (DD, CEO, whoever) talking very authoritatively ... when in effect it may be the wild imaginations of a 13 year old ... or some sicko out to cause problems. Who knows who is behind what is being written on the internet. I'm Lee Barber ... not my real name .... you don't know who I am ... I may be a 13 year older ... a nut ... an agent of some terriorist ... you just don't know. And that is a big hard lesson we who have used the internet have learned and have to learn. When you get news from a newspaper or from TV ... you know who is writing it and saying it ... there is more credible verification. On the internet you don't have that same kind of verification. What else contributed to our over-reaction? You know folks, no one will ever know just how close we came to the edge of doom. Y2K was a real legitimate problem, but a lot of people did a great deal of work to make sure it didn't become a doomsday event. And they succeeded so far. In a funny sort of way, even we who prepped too much ... we kept the pressure on people to keep trying to get it fixed. Everyone was nervous ... no one knew if al the fixes would work ... what had been fixed and what hadn't been fixed. And though it's not over yet ... we still have Monday .... and we still must see what happens to the oil industry (a neighbor who works for one of the big oil companies and is in charge of an inhouse Y2K effort told me last night that in discussing what ifs with some people ... what if the embedded chips cause problems with well, pipelines, etc ... they told him ... we will just turn the clocks back to 1992 or whatever ... we have the ability to change the time on everything ... hope they are right) ... while we aren't yet out of the woods, you have to give credit where credit is due ... the Clinton Administration and Koskinen did one hell of a job to keep doomsday from our doorsteps. Governments and companies all over the world have to be given credit in keeping the infrastructure up and running at the rollover. They are due our gratitude ... as is the press in not over-reacting which could have paniced people and caused real big problems. Ignorance was indeed bliss! In an odd way what has happened has restored credibility in government and officials ... and has made me realize that the internet isn't like reading a newspaper or listening to the TV news, regardless of how credibile the internet sounds. Let's just all be thankful that so far nothing happened .... there were no terrorists attempts of the lives of celebrating crowds ... the gas, water, electricity, phones,internet still work pretty much all over the world ... no nuclear power plant incidents anywhere so far. We have so much to be thankful for this first day of our new century ... just think about it. So we have spent the last year prepping ... we learned a lot about survival ... met a lot of new interesting people ... and learned to have a little more trust in our government officials. Now let's get on with our lives ... and take the good that has come from all this and build on it to make our new century better than the last one. God bless you all ... may Peace & Hope continue to prevail. Barb

-- Lee Barber (, January 01, 2000.

"If there is a financial crises in the next few years, y2k will have nothing to do with it. It just will be amplified by the fact that people are borrowing too much."

I think you have pronounced complete victory over Y2K, based on zero returns from the financial sectors and from businesses that will open Monday to begin to run in the year 2000 for the first time.

Do you actually believe that absolutely nothing will occur? Or do you just believe that it will be fixed so rapidly that no effect will be noted?

Matthew, you bemoan the verbal warfare that went on here, but you do not seem to have looked beyond it to all the information that was really provided. As a result, you declare Y2K not to have been a problem based on the maintenance of the power grid for 24 hours. It is much more than a power problem.

Wait and see before making victory noises.

-- (4@5.6), January 01, 2000.

How did this happen? I think you partly answered the question yourself.

It's been depressing watching the Doomers and the Pollys having their verbal fistfights whilst the technically informed try to have a reasonable discussion.

The debate -- in nearly every circle -- has been focussed on the extremes, neither of which was very likely. Over the next few weeks we are going to get a better idea of how the more likely possibilites are going to play out.

-- Lane Core Jr. (, January 01, 2000.

I loved your essays, Lane. I'm thinking of the Russ Kelly site and all those ratings of 5 to 10. What did we get last night? A 0 or a 1? It's the magnitude of the rout that astounds me: like an election landslide, similarly conveyed by television. Slowly the returns came in with the time zones and the result became startingly obvious. As the father of an 8-year old daughter, I am delighted she has a future and it really was Y2K OK. At the same time, I empathize with those who feel let down, foolish, duped, etc. Having been very public on Y2k up here in Canada, as a journalist/author, this will probably be a career setback personally. Y2k has had very real consequences. I sometimes reflect on the development of the meme: for me, it started with a Remnant Review mass mailer I ignored in 1997 but heeded in 1998. For others it may have been De Jager; for others still, third-generation authors who developed from the North stream. Fascinating in a macabre sort of way.

-- Jonathan Chevreau (, January 01, 2000.

Matthew: You've nailed the key questions that needed to be asked! Y2K got out of hand because of bad management - not programmers. To save core memory and storage, penny-pinching managers opted for the 2- digit year over the continued protests of programmers. Through the years of warnings and two new technology levels (client/server and multi-tier client/server) managers continued to think short-term, and retain the old software. This is veriable truth. Here's the sorry part. After billions of dollars and tens of thousands of very tired programmers, who will get the credit for an uneventful 1/1/2000 rollover? You got it: management. What have we learned? I can tell you what I've learned: my skills as a programmer/analyst can save some sorry butts, and I can make good money in the process. But I've given up hope that management (particularly American business managers) have learned anything - or is even CAPABLE of common sense. Since worst management is at the helm in Washington, the need for personal preparedness has not ended.

-- Brad Stone (, January 01, 2000.

Just a wasted investment. If they had put that money into shares of Qualcom, they would have seen returns of 24 times the money they had out in. A 27$ share six months ago now goes for absout $660. But no, everyone was too busy buying Y2K survival gear. Redeemable investment return? Maybe half off at a yard sale. 

One of the most misinformed and dimwitted responses yet on the miracle of new technology If you think survival gear is going to go for half off, wait till the reality of earnings catches up with these wunderkinds. Youll wish you had something tangible like sterno and saltines...

-- Frank Lee (buy it@half, January 01, 2000.

LifeWillNowGo --

Oh darn! I had that QCOM on my shopping list, too. Back in March. Then I wrote that phone number for the nonhybrid seeds on the back, and that list got put aside. Shoot!

Oh well, it's good to know that at least SOMEONE got their QCOM back when it was only $27. How much did you get? And you DID get out at the $660, didn't you? Say Hi to Bill and Warren for me.

-- jor-el (jor-el@krypton.uni), January 01, 2000.

To 4@5.6...

I don't see I managed to give the impression that I believe y2k isn't an issue because nothing major has happened during the last 36 hours.

I am well aware that many potential problems have yet to reveal themselves, and the business start up next week is a big worry.

If I sounded "victorious", then I am sorry. I was just asking for people's opinions on how a very complicated technical issue resulted in two extreme and equally positions: nothing would happen, and civilisation as we knew it would cease to be.

I know it will be months before we know precisely how serious y2k was/is/will be. I'm sorry that I gave you the impression that I thought it was all over.

-- Matthew (, January 01, 2000.

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