Incompetent reports? Corruption? Something about rollover estimates makes my nose itch. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Most of us who spent the last two years "connecting the dots" relied on certain information to base our predictions. Many of these reports came out of the US government. Now, with 20/20 hindsight, many of these reports seem either suspect of having alternative motives or they were made by people who were just highly incompetent to begin with.

I distinctly remember Mr. Gershwin from the CIA presenting a report about how Latin America, Russia, and most of the third world was in serious trouble and would probably not survive the rollover.

I remember the Director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, talking about suitcase nuclear bombs of the ten megaton variety, that were missing from Russia and were probably somewhere in the United States.

I also remember Sec. of Defense Cohen, in an article in the Washington Post entitled "Grave New World" discussing the emergency situation with terrorism and the threat of biological warfare using smallpox.

I remember Mr. Koskenin making a plea before the Senate for a fifty million dollar centralized communications center, which as it turns out, was hardly used.

Both of the Senate reports, compiled by some of the best minds in government, predicted that we would see far worse problems than we are seeing.

I am beginning to think some of these reports were invented or exaggerated to get congress to allocate more money to various projects. Fear is a great motivator.

There may be other reasons including greed and corruption. The amount of money spent on remediation is staggering. When that much money is involved many things can happen and people will do extraordinary things. This was, after all, a chance of a lifetime. In an era of $600 hammers is it not hard to imagine remediation schemes to trump up problems only to siphon of large amounts or remediation funds. How much independent verification did we actually have, anyway?

When it got down to the wire and budgets were raised who was watching... who was counting... who was verifying?

As one who feels the 'death by a thousand cuts" is just beginning, and that Y2K will begin to play out shortly, this doesn't change the fact that something is very suspicious about the rollover estimates.

I am getting very suspicious about the information we were "fed" and would be interested to see if other members of this forum, who also spent a great deal of time analyzing the hundreds "expert" reports are beginning to get a little suspicious also.

A famous phrase used by many a lawyer and detective when searching for clues is "follow the money". Something about this makes my nose itch.

Unfortunately, since we don't have any investigative reporters in the media anymore, we might have to rely on the research capability we all developed over the last few years.

It might make an interesting thread if we listed the official reports or situations we put our faith in that now look rather anemic.

For all you newbies just tuning in, don't be too hasty making judgements. The rollover was just the drive off the first tee. We still have 18 holes to finish.

Take Care


-- Keith Nealy (, January 05, 2000


Well I think this whole thing is just a bunch of crap, I spent thousand's of dollars and hours for what? I think the only people that were "fed" was us feeding grand delusions back and for to each other, I don't know about anybody else, but I strongly believe it is over folks. Yeah I know, but what about this nuke plant or the stock market, folks I am feeling just as pissed off as you all are. And as our clueless leader once said "I need to go back to work for the American people"..............let's just sit back and enjoy our provisions, pop smoke and practice shooting, read a good book and if something does happen, we are ready and maybe a little anxious.

-- Tatonka (, January 05, 2000.

Oh please. It's the standard response of ANY department in ANY government (or company) to ANY event. "You need to give us more money because... (fill in the blanks with some omininous but vague predictions which can be "avoided" by the application of enough cash)".

Of course they were going to use hyperbole and speculation. It's not even evil or sinister, it's normal business practice, and just because they made a lot of it up doesn't mean there not real problems, including both ones they spotted, and ones they didn't.

What did you expect?

-- Servant (, January 05, 2000.


Imagine if you had a serious heart problem and you went to the doctor. The doctor tells you you need surgery to clear a blockage. You get the surgery. Six months later you go to the doctor. The doctor asks you how you feel. Would you say: "I feel fine, I guess I didn't need the surgery. You just did this for the money."

Frankly, Keith, I am too busy being relieved to feel suspicious.

-- billy d (, January 05, 2000.

Tatonka... I can understand that you are angry... but there is a bigger picture here. And if you did as much research as you did preps you'd know that there is more here than meets the eye.

Servant: All I can say is... if that "Standard" for Operating Procedure is OK with you then you get the world that you deserve. And I am not so naive to think this doesn't happen every day... I just will never condone this as acceptable behavior. There is a fine line between exaggeration and breaking the law, especially when it's the publics money.

And Billy d- I too, am somewhat relieved, but that doesn't mean I just go back to sleep like everyone else in this country.

If you people think this is OVER and you are "pissed off", "angry", "too busy", or just accept whatever crap they throw at you then you never really understood this situation at all.

Don't waste our time with your personal problems. Go get a life. The one your using doesn't work very well.


-- Keith Nealy (, January 05, 2000.

Keith, don't forget the $7 million spent upgrading the Senate's in-house system late 1998, and then it didn't function for several months. And the vast, unaccounted for amounts paid by the federal government (us, really) to bail out D.C. at the last minute. I'll nominate both of those for prize boondoggle.

I think a great deal of what we are seeing is a combination of incompetence and mismanagement. They approached it wrong and waited far too long. For everyone's peace of mind and pocketbook, there should have been a blue ribbon task force set up years ago to figure out what really needed to be done and the most efficient way to do it. Especially with regard to embedded systems. And we should have been at our current stage of remediation AT LEAST a year ago.

It was last summer that it appeared (to me) that we just might be ok with the utilities with minimal work. However, I had made my decisions about how I would handle the possibility of a power failure several months before that. Maybe we squeaked by on a lot of things, but it is UNCONSCIONABLE to me that it was allowed to go down to the wire. What followed was geared towards a panic, throw-whatever-money-it-takes-at-it approach by both the government and private industry. We'll eventually get to pay those costs.

Somewhere there was an indication that Russia ran its utilities on manual at rollover. I question how many plants were really functioning anyway in France given the catastrophic storms they have had. We're a long way from hearing about what really happened at rollover and what is still left to happen. But I agree, it has been very puzzling.

-- Brooks (, January 05, 2000.

I think what I posted in the following thread is what happened. Exerpts follow.

Why nothing was ever going to happen with the embeds

----- EXERPTS -----

After the rollover I put my brain in gear, rather than relying on the "experts" as I have done to now about what goes in the embeds. I'm not a hardware guy, but I went back and thought about my only hardware project from 20 years ago in university (back when memory was expensive).

Any thing that is in hardware that deals in time is going to use counters to determine when time has elapsed. They are not going to use dates because you have to use more memory to store it and then convert it to a number to do the calculations and then more memory to convert the number back to a date. So they'll count seconds or days. The point of storing a date calculation is know when a certain amount of time has passed. If you use counters (even thousands of seconds for many days) it is the simplest, cheapest, and bug free way to do that - regardless of date. Now some of the more fancy hardware that is newer may have some date functions for things like maintenance (since memory is not a problem now) that has been arbitrarily decided to be done at month ends rather than on a fixed interval, but my guess are those are very few and between.

Yourdon, I'm surprised you fell for this in such a grand way, you're supposed to be one the "experts" who investigated all this. Why Mr. CEO said all his teams were being sent home was because his clients along with all the other companies with embeds found out the above and realized that the "consultants" were swindling them by just investigating and investigating and investigating but actually doing very little else. I'm willing to bet that 99.999% of all embeds are like what I describe above. That's why the world could tollerate a 0.001% hiccup in the number of embeds out there and not blink at all.

I'm willing to bet if you turn on 99.999% of the systems with embeds there is no place to enter a date or even set one - after all I don't see every one of these systems with a keypad or keyboard to enter a date if the current date is incorrect. These systems are black boxes like your modem. Yes they track time (with a counter) not by knowing what day of the year it is. They don't care about dates they care about durations of time and days passing.


Interested Spectator, regarding the last thing you wrote, about the systems that track time, but could care less about the date, well my husband had said the SAME thing to me no more than a couple of weeks ago. And He was working on hardware years before getting into software. And I figured he was right, but I Still worried about those nuclear embeddeds. Because the stakes Were so high. And that was my main concern. That and the electricity going out. So right now I feel pretty good, but won't use all the preps just yet. I've learned a lesson that Boyscouts follow as a matter of rule. Preparedness is a good lesson, pure and simple. What I Really wish is that solar power would become economically feasible. That's where we need to be going anyway.

-- DB (, January 01, 2000.


I happen to be one of those utility company Y2K project team members. We examined and tested over 6500 systems with embedded chips. About 95% of those turned out to be exactly as you have speculated - no date/time function or only elapsed time or day counting. However, until we did the testing, we had no way to know this. Most systems were put into service years ago with no documentation about how dates were caculated. We spent 80% of our money testing and documenting systems and only about 10% on remediation. As it turned out, there was only one critical system that would have failed and that would have knocked 15 megawatts off-line. Since we produce about 3000 megawatts on average, we barely would have noticed it. If we would have known this two years ago, we could have saved a lot of time and money but we didn't, and there was no way anyone could have known.

We told everyone we could find that there would be no problems with power on Jan 1. We told everyone we were Y2K ready. We set up a monitoring center because, although the probablityo f problems was very low, it was not zero. As it turned out, we were right and I'm happy. What disturbs me is that some people either never listened to us or assumed we were lying. We worked hard and that's one of the reasons we're all able to get on the net tonight and post messages.

Happy New Year to All.

-- (, January 03, 2000.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 05, 2000.

WRT to software systems these are a different animal.

I gave my views in this thread on Jan 1. It seems that the overnights have gone also much better than I would expect (and I'm a software guy so I didn't need any experts to explain this to me). However lets wait until each of the time periods I describe below (and Feb 29) have gone by before we see just how bad it will be. Although overnights are ok, as I say most of the errors will happen when dates are used the most. That will be on the first payroll, and the end of the first month.

Also don't forget that the banks have y2k on the radar for over 25 years. When they tried to put 25 and 30 year mortgages on the books they saw the problem back in 1970 and 1975. So don't believe all the crap they feed you about the *core* banking systems (I know because I was a CIO at a bank).

Yes embeds are "non-issue" BUT IT will have its real rollover test TONIGHT here's why


But with respect to IT/database systems etc. The real test for them will be TONIGHT when the first day of overnight processing happens. You see if you done any programming you know that must of the bugs occur at what are known as boundaries. Now 1/1/2000 is a boundary. It is a boundary when you rollover and it remains a boundary until you use it. WE HAVE NOT FINISHED THE FIRST DAY SO THE BOUNDARY IS STILL LIVE AS IT HAS NOT BEEN CROSSED YET. IT will use it very heavily tonight when they process today's transactions. You yesterday night the processed transactions that were checking dates for work between 30.12.99 and 31.12.99. Today they will be processing dates for work done between 31.12.99 and 01.01.00 and will use new date seriously for the first time.

Boundaries cause errors just prior to the boundary, at the boundary and just after the boundary. That is the rule of programming.

So you can expect the potential for the most errors at the following times (amongst other times) for IT systems:

Begining of first month before boundary. Begining of first payroll (etc.) before boundary. Begining of first week before boundary. Beginign of first day before boundary. After boundary has crossed. Begining of first day,month,week,payroll etc. after boundary. End of First day after boundary. End of First week after boundary. End of First payroll after boundary. End of First month after boundary. End of First quarter after boundary. End of First year after boundary.

The vast majority of potential errors come where the vast majority of the date calculations can occur. These occur in the After periods when we reach the End of xxx time.

So hang on folks the ride in IT BEGINS TONIGHT.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 05, 2000.

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