Did Mr Yourdon exaggerate?

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A billion grains of powder igniting at one time is a "Bomb"

A billion grains of powder igniting one at a time in a billion places across the surface of the world are skin burns.

I wonder if Mr Y got those two concepts confused.

A (huge) critical mass of computer systems have to crash all at once to hurt society; fewer than that is just full-employment for programmers and analysts. Stop posting silly reports of yet another system crapping out--it's like reporting every ignited powder grain thinking that they will somehow cumulatively make a bomb.

There is no hope for a Y2K meltdown now; the opportunity for simultaneous ignition is gone.

Want my beans?

-- Thinker (thinker@think.net), January 05, 2000


Thinker...."Want my beans?"

No...you bought too many.

-- TM (mercier7@pdnt.com), January 05, 2000.

The more likely answer is that he was out of touch with the businesses around the US and world that have to actually deal with the Y2K problem. I had to, it's part of my job, and thousands of others like me. Nobody I know personally who works in this field (note: that *does not* include sitting in one's New Mexico home and writing about it!) was seriously concerned about the possibility of our systems, or those of major entities like the power and water utilities, failing in any significant, non-fixable way. (Corporate VPs, buying into the media hype, panicked of course.) Were there no glitches to report at my place of work? On the contrary, we had a couple of applications that didn't work as they should have, and no, we didn't all perish! The app and development teams were contacted, and the problems were fixed, without impact to our customer base. BFD. Is the media covering up Y2K, no but neither was it in touch with the realities of the current networked, computerized business world when it hyped the possibility of catastrophe. (Which apparently includes Gambia, although in that case I *still* think the housekeeping staff unplugged the 486 to use the vacuum cleaner.)

And no, I don't want your beans... I have two cans of Lite Spam that I bought as a joke, and must now dispose of.

-- Just (anotherbuckeye@columbus.org), January 05, 2000.

I think the real disaster is that you guys gave me a 1 year extension!


-- John Cooper (Wolverine@umich.edu), January 05, 2000.


Who was it exactly that approved the invoice for the Fed's $50 million dollar bunker?

Did the CIA, FBI, NSA, FEMA, the Red Cross, the Senate Panel, the Congressional Panel, the GSA, the OMB and numerous other state and federal people exaggerate?

Maybe. Then again, this is the YEAR 2000 problem, not the first 5 days of 2000 problem.

Did Rome collapse in a day (not that I'm saying the US will collapse)?

Did Hitler's Germany collapse as bombs fell upon it?


Did the lights go out when the '29 crash occured?


Did the lights go out during the Depression?


If a company like GM has difficult ordering widgets from critical suppliers which hampers their ability to build a complete product then would that hamper the WORLD economy?


Here are my .02"... buy a clue.



-- Mike (not giving it anymore@aol.com), January 05, 2000.

Of course he did! How many books would he have sold if the back cover said:

picture this, you live in New Mexico, you wake on January 3, 2000, you go to have you driver's license renewed ..... but they tell you you'll have to come back in a couple of days.....


you work for a company whose main customer is the country of Gambia....

Please read the review of Timebomb 2000 from Dr. Dobbs. This was done month's ago. "Literary road apple", ..... ROTFLMAO!

Soothsayers of Doom The Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books' review of Time Bomb 2000 : What the Year 2000 Computer Crisis Means to You!.

How about with the back cover.

"Will your bank open? Will your car run? Will your money be there? Will medical devices work? Will social security checks arrive? Will there be electricity? Food? Water? Will your PC work? Above all, what can you do to prepare?"

There's a photo of Ed with daughter and coauthor Jennifer; Ed in a sleeveless sweater and open-necked dress shirt, looking like an East Coast teevangelist touting his latest family self-help book. Next to the photo is a credit for Ed Yourdon's Rise and Resurrection of the American Programmer. He's not exactly dodging responsibility for his more famous opus, The Decline and Fall of the American Programmer (it's mentioned inside the book on his authorship credits page), but he's not bragging about it.

The techniques of argumentation used inside the book are reminiscent of millennialist literature from many centuries and from all over the world. There are fancy geometrical diagrams looking like the Qabbalah scholar's bad dream. The diagrams describe "Interaction between various worlds" and prove that something could happen if somebody doesn't do something, and it could be pretty bad, if it did happen, because everything is connected. The book implies very strongly that Y2K is the pin that just might puncture the balloon of industrial society.

Things become a little more clear on the back flyleaf, where we find an ad for another of the series, Ed Yourdon's Year 2000 Home Preparation Guide, "featuring [sic] preparedness expert James Talmage Stevens, author of Making the Best of Basics: A Family Preparedness Handbook and Don't Get Caught With Your Pantry Down!".

In fact, it's perfectly clear. The medicine show is in town. Let's flip open this literary road apple, this monument to the shamelessness of fad surfing. On page 78, we read:

"It's also possible that certain careers or professions will vanish because of sharp changes in the fashion, taste, or hobbies of society, following a massive Y2000 failure. Maybe we'll abandon baseball as the national hobby - a change that will not only be catastrophic for today's highly paid athletes, but also for those who sell peanuts and beer in the stadium."

This is not computer science, nor economics, nor sociology, nor any other kind of science. It's Swami Salami burbling prophecy through a glass darkly to the credulous unwashed ` la Hal Lindsey and Salem Kirban. Here's a particularly emphatic passage from page 80:

"Even more sobering is the impact that a pervasive Y2000 problem is likely to have on different generations. Just as the Great Depression had a different impact upon the generation of children, young adults, middle-aged people, and the elderly, we're likely to see a similar range of reactions to the Y2000 crisis ... a younger generation ... may find a Y2000 crisis liberating ... An older generation is likely to have more to lose."

"On the day you cross that river, a great empire will fall." They charged Croesus several golden tripods for that one at Delphi back when Moses was still in knee-pants.

There's a fairy tale I read to my daughter when she was four years old called "The Three Simpletons" and it starts something like this:

A maiden was, at her betrothal party, sent to the cellar to fetch more wine for the guests. It happened that she saw an ax hung from the ceiling near the cask. "Suppose," the maiden thought, "my betrothed and I were to marry, and have a son, and he were to grow up fine and strong, and be at age twenty himself betrothed, and come down fetching wine, and the ax should fall on him and disfigure him before his wedding!" And she sat at the foot of the stairs and wept in anguish at the thought.

The maiden is eventually joined by her mother and father, both of whom in their turn are overcome by the same hideous anticipation. The future bridegroom discovers them weeping in the cellar and sets off to wander the wide world until he finds three people sillier than his fiancee and parents-in-law.

I similarly pledge myself to read assiduously the books I come across, ever seeking something sillier to read than pere et fille Yourdon's Time Bomb 2000. I may be at it well into the millennium.

-- Jack Woehr is a reviewer at Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books

-- $$$$ (exagerrate@hesure.did), January 05, 2000.

Point of clarification.

Yes, Hitler's Germany collapsed because bombs fell upon it but it also required an invading force to actually accomplish the task.



-- Mike (not giving it anymore@aol.com), January 05, 2000.

A bit O/T, but to reply: Cooper's not the problem. He recruits great players, who are so good that if they stayed together would give Florida State a run for their money. But, Columbus is boring, and when the money comes calling, there's little reason for the guys to stay. However, I'm sure that any Y2K problems that *do* exist are the result of poorly-trained Michigan grads. ;)

-- Just (anotherbuckeye@columbus.org), January 05, 2000.

Oh...you putz! That's so weak!

-- Gary Moeller (Wolverine@umich.edu), January 05, 2000.

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