Here's Hoff's open letter with all fifty-leven answers. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Let it be known that if I WERE in to censorship this would NOT be posted. OBJECT LESSON #9

Open Letter to Ed Yourdon : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Yourdon, some accountability here is required, I believe. It may just be my opinion, but I feel that you shoulder much of the blame for the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt that has propagated throughout the internet, and into the mainstream, regarding Y2k. There will always be the Gary North's of this world, doomcriers searching for the next big scare. By themselves, they do little damage. This time, however, you lent your professional experience and position of leadership in the IT arena to the cries. You provided the backup, and the support. In tandem, you gave the Fear movement credibility. Now, I have no idea whether or not you yourself are a victim of North's propaganda, as North himself seems to believe (see But it is quite obvious that, once begun, you set out to capitalize on the FUD. Your book sold in the hundreds of thousands. I have no idea what the lecture circuit, videos, and variety of other ventures netted. I do know you claim not to have made money on your MLM, with its headlines of "Cash in On the Y2k Craze". An outcome I can hardly say I'm sorry for. You used your position to increase the FUD, instead of using your experience, and knowledge, to arrive at some form of rational conclusions. This you freely admitted to, and offered no apology for. (see Those who hold you as a "hero" in raising the alarm, apparently didn't read your essays. Your point, made numerous times, was that the effort was doomed from the start. Software projects are always late. These were not exhortations to increase remediation efforts; this was misapplication of available metrics to support your message of Fear and Uncertainty. I have watched as, one by one, your assessments of the Y2k effects failed to materialize. Your predictions regarding trigger dates, etc. And I have watched as, with each passing, you continued to rationalize the mounting evidence. And your continued propagation of the binary world of "compliant" vs "non-compliant". The jury is still out on the IT ramifications of Y2k. Errors are occurring, without question. And indeed, had you limited yourself to this area, this post would not be made. But, had you limited yourself, not many books or videos would have been sold. And I doubt this forum would even exist. We have always had IT errors and failures, and probably always will. At this point in time, we're already through 35-40% of the potential Y2k date errors. And that's without taking into account more severe and far higher rates of errors due to system replacements and remediation. All without systemic collapses, depressions, or even mere recessions. No, the Fear around Y2k wasn't built through visions of IT software failures. Those scenarios weren't enough to make the sale. And it wasn't the scenario pitched on the backcover of your book: "Saturday, January 1, 2000: Suddenly, nothing works. Not your phones, not the cash machine, not even your fancy new VCR." The "sales pitch" for your scenarios was the failing infrastructure. From your Fallback: "The most likely scenario, in our opinion, is the blackout that lasts for a couple days; a less likely scenario, but one we feel should not be ignored, is the one-month blackout. Why? Because it could take that long to fix whatever Y2000 problems are discovered in the hours after midnight on December 31, 1999; and it could take that long to restart the system." Not content to merely misapply metrics from development software projects to maintenance projects, you then applied those software metrics to the remediation efforts of utilities: If you're a computer professional, you may be aware of the statistics for project success, whether's it's utility plants or any other kind of software project: even if you completely eliminate project failures caused by budget problems, the data that we have from the last 30 years of software projects tells us that 15% of all projects are late, and 25% are cancelled before completion. The projects that are late turn out to be late by approx 7.6 months; for large projects (1+ million lines of code), the behind-schedule projects are late by an average of 13.8 months, and for VERY large projects (10+ million lines of code), the behind-schedule projects are late by an average of 25 months. This is not an exaggeration; I can give you citations of books and references if you care to see the details. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that this does not bode well for Y2K projects. You concluded the above with more additions to the FUD, through your now infamous "Beirut" analogy: If Y2K does turn out to be as bad as I think it will be, nobody is going to care abut the opinions of software professionals on 1/1/2000 (other than possibly lynching them for having created the problem in the first place!); instead, everyone is going to be concentrating on how to get food, shelter, clothing, and the basic necessities of life. Y2K threatens all of this, except in the backwards economies that have never depended on automation or socio-economic interactions with other automated societies. Rural China will probably be okay; but in my humble opinion, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and a dozen other cities are going to resemble Beirut in January 2000. That's why I've moved out of NYC to rural New Mexico a couple months ago. Even in the face of expert statements from organizations such as NERC and telecommunication companies, you continued with the FUD regarding the infrastructure. As late as September, in your letter to Greenspan, you ultimately fell back to this position of failing infrastructure: Since you are reputed to choose your words very carefully, I'll point out that your comment about the "electronic infrastructure" being ready for the Y2K rollover does not say anything about the "physical" infrastructure upon which we all depend. I realize that's not your charter, and that it's clearly outside the scope of what you would be expected to talk about in your remarks to the President's Council. But in a world where everything is deeply intertwingled, it's hard for me to imagine that the banks are going to operate smoothly if they are located in cities which experience severe disruptions in electric power, water, gas, and sewage. If public transportation is disrupted, how do we get to the bank? If the phones aren't working, how do we call the bank? Note well to the apologists, these are not the conclusions of more responsible organizations such as FEMA or the Red Cross. These are not recommendations to prepare for limited, isolated outages of short durations. Well, Mr. Yourdon, it was BS. You were outside your area of expertise, and refused to listen to the actual experts. I realize this sold the books and the videos. And I realize it kept the faithful happy. But it was wrong. You used your postion of leadership to increase the Fear surrounding Y2k. And even now, you apparently refuse to admit you were wrong, and still attempt to rationalize your position. Tis long, long past time to end the BS, Mr. Yourdon. P.S.: In the past, you criticized my anonymity. I plan to continue being anonymous on the internet. But if you would like, e-mail me and I'll respond with my name and information. -- Hoffmeister (, January 03, 2000 Answers Tis long, long past time to end the BS, Mr/Mrs/Ms Hoffmeister -- Martin Thompson (, January 03, 2000. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It seems to be that you ask for a lot from behind anonymity, "Hoffmeister". Why didn't/don't you come out from behind the curtain, and put *your* reputation and credibility on the Line like Ed did? I guess it takes guts to do it in the real world. You and I don't have them, but Ed does. -- anon (hiding@like.hoff), January 03, 2000. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-- Chuck, a night driver (, January 06, 2000


Hoff; you make some valid points. Since this is aimed at Mr. Yourdon, I won't defend him. He is capable of that for himself. Rather I would like to make an observation. It is easy to hide behind the cloak of anonymity. I have also observed that the more mature internet users are all starting to out themselves on the network. It seems to me that we mere users of this medium go through a growing up process. Initially we identify ourselves for the world to see. Then we get knocked around a bit and hide our identity. Finally we wind up just giving in and outing ourselves once and for all. The great thing about that is if forces us to behave more circumspectly.

If you wish to insult the gentleman in a public forum, please have the courage to identify yourself in the same forum. Don't let your FUD make you remain anonymous, seek courage. You will find it.

I say 'out him', Ed.

-- Michael Erskine (, January 03, 2000.

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After we know what we're facing, we'll know whether FEMA or the Red Cross guessed correctly in assessing what the damage would actually be. There is no question that they were irresponsible in their "3 day storm" recommendations, and if you talked to people who work for them you'd find that the "3 day storm" is considered the strongest medicine the public can tolerate. It has nothing to do with realistic preparations by emergency-response workers. The first Y2k hit that I saw occurred on January 2, 1999. Y2k problems are commonly predicted to occur at least through the end of 2000, and some would say we will see new problems for another year or two. If stretches credulity to read this garbage, this request for an apology before the close of business of the first working day of the year.

The ship is scraping the iceberg as we speak; it will be days before we can possibly hear the first reports of the larger problems, if they arise. Y2k is not a hiccup, it is a massive collision. Watch and wait.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), January 03, 2000.

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anon, Ed may have credability in the area of S/W project management and metrics -- but where on his C.V. does the experience in Telecomm, Power and Embedded Systems appear. At least he could have deferred to a individual with a BSEE or MSEE when it comes to the aforementioned areas. His response to D. Mill's critique was very weak and I nearly laughed mself silly reading his section on Telecomm. Ed needs to admit that he errored in attempting to analyze the aforementioned areas without the necessary education or experience. Regards,

Frank Aaron, MSc Physics, MSEE

-- Frank Aaron (, January 03, 2000.

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Hoffmeister, Here, here ! Well thought out rebuttal and well-written ! I'm a computer consultant who refused to buy into the BS and who advised all of his clients not to buy into it either. We're all very happy today ! We were right !

-- Delphi Developer (, January 03, 2000.

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Mr. Hoffmeister, Don't you have anything better to do? Did people here hurt your feelings that badly?

-- Mara (, January 03, 2000.

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"Hoffmeister," you know that Ed Yourdon says he has not made a large amount of money on the Y2K part--a very SMALL part--of his career. Why, then, do you suppose he continued to raise warnings about the possible scenarios that might be caused by insufficient attention to the problem? He's not making money and he's not recruiting followers for anything. Is it possible that he raised warnings out of genuine concern for the disasters that might happen if systems were not properly remediated? Now let's examine YOUR motives. You're out to save us from ourselves. You're out to extract a pound of flesh for some perceived miscalculation. You're exhibiting vindictiveness. You really hate Ed Yourdon and us doomers, don't you? Yes, you do, it's apparent in your words.

Ed Yourdon is still a respected name in the computer profession. Of course, we don't know if you're a respected person in ANY profession because we don't know who you are.

Now which of you would I trust to sell me a used car? Hmmmmmm.

I'm a nobody but I don't pretend to be a somebody--like this caped crusader called "Hoffmeister."

-- Nobody (, January 03, 2000.

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What an egotist Ed already answered your OPEN LETTER on September 21 1999. isn't once enough. This is all old hat.

-- Martin Thompson (, January 03, 2000.

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Hoff, while seeking to discredit those you don't like or support, you reveal your true motives. You must have a little brain with a pea size ego that needs to justify yourself in front of others. Why is it necessary to "blame" anyone? Your whole premises is that "someone is at fault". This is ridiculous reasoning. There is no "fault" here at all. Nobody has to believe anybody, including Yourdan, North, Houdini or the Dali Lama.

What you don't seem to understand is that we are all entitled to our viewpoints, opinions and thoughts. Those that follow anybody are responsible for their own actions. I've had the unfortunate experience to live nearby some very notable "leaders" who had cult- like followings (Jim Jones being one). I didn't follow this man but I know people who did and died in Guyana. Was Jone's responsible for those that followed him? Not at all. It's called personal responsibility and accountability.

You on the other hand, know nothing about this. I've read many of your posts and instead of taking upon yourself any accountability to others, you decried everything and everyone. This proves your pea sized ego that you wish to inflate to the size of the Goodyear Blimp.

You seem to equate the need for people to prepare as utter foolishness. What IS utter foolishness is the debunking that has come from your own lips. Self sufficiency and preparations have ALWAYS made good sense, it has never been essential to tie this to Y2K.

There was and remains a HUGE amount of evidence that Y2K was and remains a serious problem. You are utterly clueless to the fact that except for some very notable men making some very notable hues and cries of this problem may have averted some very notable disasters. This problem did not just "disappear" as you perhaps think. A huge amount of time, effort and money was spent (and made, but so what?). We're not out of the woods yet and it remains to be seen if there will be more failures.

Predictions about rollover date did not materialize as expected. So what? Is it wrong to be wrong? Are you Mr. Hoff always right and never wrong? Do you feel the need to always be right about everything? It must be amazing to live in a world where you are always right, I can hardly imagine this. You must walk on saintly soil, never condescending to the teeming masses of blind humanity that doesn't have your heavenly wisdom.

Why do you insist on attacking the messengers? Is it because your pea size ego inflates by attacking others? Do you feel the need to vindicate yourself, thereby inflating your ego? I think the answer is quite obvious to all who read your tripe.

You always were a whiny little man. Go away.

-- Your Ego Reveals Who You Really, Really Are (, January 03, 2000.

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Hoff, Unfortunately I do not have the time to pick apart your letter, I just wanted to point out one element that I think a lot of you on the debunker end of this issue are missing. While it may possibly be fitting to apply the labels of extremist/alarmist to both Yourdon and North, as well as a great many others, I think the value of their contribution to the awareness of what MAY have been a serious issue had remediation not occured cannot be understated. Had the messages sent by Y2K-aware people been more of the nature of " me...there MIGHT be a little problem here...can we talk? Hey, where are you going?", the potential importance of this issue may not have ever come to light. You probably disagree, but I feel that they raised legitimate concerns. And these concerns were dealt with in what now seems to be a fairly effective manner, at least where the short term is concerned. Yes, there were more than a few statements that crossed the line of the strictly rational, but that is, unfortunately, how one gets attention in a culture as noisy and preoccupied as ours. Sadly, taking an extreme stance and screaming it out at the tops of your lungs is about the only way to get attention these days. Just my two cents, flame away if you desire.

John Ludi

-- Ludi (, January 03, 2000.

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I'm more interested does Hoff not feel remorse for the companies and employees who are suffering because of the failures of the SAP systems he tauts. Will he apoligize for the lost revenues, lost sales, lost earnings, lost wages and jobs which resulted from problem- plagued SAP implementations? Will he do this for Whirlpool, Hershey, Bang and Oluffson? and other unnamed firms which trusted his and SAP's messages of "this is the solution"? If you believe Hoff's current blather of any Y2K warnings being false, then all that he has said and done with SAP products being installed for Y2K readiness WAS NOTHING BUT A WASTE OF FUNDS FOR THE CUSTOMERS FOR THE BENEFIT OF HOFF AND HIS EMPLOYERS. Because if any warning was false then all warnings were false, including those of he and his employers.

Well Hoff, which is it? Is the pot calling the kettle black over issuing Y2K warnings? Or do you and SAP use a different currency that is okay for you to make over Y2K?

-- Dissatified SAP Customer (FeelingScrewedByHoff@SAPcrap.Com), January 03, 2000.

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-- Chuck, a night driver (, January 06, 2000.

...lucky Ed saw to it that TPTB kept this guy's world runnin' so he could come in here and embarrass himself, heh.

-- Hokie (, January 03, 2000.

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If Ed is dumb enough to respond to you AGAIN, maybe he really does need to be reappraised. You won't be satisfied with any answer because you are obsessively determined to take an honorable man down to suit your own arrogance.

-- BigDog (, January 03, 2000.

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Hoffy, Please, while you're at it, could you take on Bennett, Dodd, Rep. Horn, Koskinen, Yardeni, FEMA, John Hamre, the Red Cross, and the United Nations? When you're done with them, will you please take on all those SAP consultants and programmers who profited through their deceitful scaremongering? After all, the whole country of Italy has had no Y2K problems, even though they did no remediation. Obviously no remediation was ever needed on any systems!

Please provide a copy of your income statement/balance sheet so that we can judge for ourselves how clean your skirts are. How much blood money have you made from this outrageous scam? PROVE that you didn't know it wasn't necessary to implement SAP as a Y2k solution! But, please, quit your yapping about it unless you have the 'nads to go public.

-- (I Will Never Tell@coward.yes), January 03, 2000.

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Mara: Why do you attack Hoffmeister for Yourdon's shortcomings?

Look, here's a case in point. Before rollover Yourdon wrote that a 3- day blackout was "the most likely scenario". AFTER the rollover, Yourdon wrote that "nobody really expected" the power to go out!

Now, what do you think is going on here? Either Yourdon didn't expect a blackout but said it was most likely anyway to sell more books (Hoffmeister's interpretation), or else Yourdon really did expect power to fail, and when it didn't he decided to rewrite history to cover his ass (my interpretation). But in neither case is Yourdon a trustworthy person.

Hey, if you got fooled, why not admit it? I admit I expected worse than what happened. I'm not proud that I posted predictions of Bhopals and perhaps frightened people. But I'm not goint to claim I didn't say that, or that I didn't mean it. I was simply wrong. Yourdon continues to dodge and weasel. That ought to tell you something.

-- Flint (, January 03, 2000.

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I have for one reason or the other been for the underdog. It irks me no end when I see one stomping another when he is down and out. No doubt Mr. Yourdon is at the lowest point in his life. I have met many in that situation. Right or wrong there is absolutely no excuse to castigate the poor fellow. Did he in any way form or fashion hurt you? You are like the one that sues the tobacco company for your lung cancer. No body put a gun to your head forcing you to prep, which I doubt very seriously you did. The man is down and out, leave him alone. It is people like you that drive one to suicide. Be gone.

-- Notforlong (, January 03, 2000.

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And why are none of you who are chastizing Yourdon not holding Peter De Jager's feet to the fire. Wasn't he one of the first to sound the alarm and didn't he make thousands in speaking fees? If you insist on casting blame there is enough to go around.

-- Nadine Zint (, January 03, 2000.

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Flint; Didja ever stop to think that since the EE's seem to have been right about embeddeds (which is reasonable given it is their area of expertise), the Computer Scientists and Systems Engineers MIGHT be right about software systems... ooopppsss. Let us discuss only those areas were we can produce the requisite experience? Hardly, the man wrote a book. He got some of it wrong. Let us hope with all our might he got the rest of it wrong.

-- Michael Erskine (, January 03, 2000.

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One other thing, when you were in school, didja ever draw those funny little boxes while you were designing a system? Remember who helped you by giving you that notation?

-- Michael Erskine (, January 03, 2000.

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Michael: I guess I didn't make myself clear. For all I know, Yourdon made his best estimate, and got the part wrong that was outside his specialty. Fine. But then why start weaseling? He posted on this very forum that "nobody expected" what he himself predicted. He suggested that the grand fireworks displays we watched around the world were really using generators because the power had failed and they didn't want people to know it!

I'm not coming down on Yourdon for being a bad fortune teller, but for exhibiting a dishonest character. He was one of my heroes, and I'm very disappointed in him. NOT for being wrong about embeddeds, but for trying to sneak out of what he wrote.

Sysman collected programming years represented on this forum. Maybe Sysman should now collect dollars spent on unnecessary preparations. Remember Sysman? He was #7 on the list of total posts, but vanished mysteriously when things didn't go bad.

-- Flint (, January 03, 2000.

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I can't believe that people are using Hoffmeister's preference to remain annonymous as some kind of tool to undermine what he is saying. How often have we said, repeatedly, it's the MESSAGE that counts, not the MESSENGER. What difference does it make what Hoffmeister's real name is? None whatsoever.

That being said, it is obvious that Hoffy STILL does not really "get it". The fundamental axioms of Y2K were:

1) The problems per se are real, they can't be fixed by January 1, 2000. The problems potentially affect anything computer technology driven, including embedded systems.

2) Nobody knows what is going to happen; in particular, the experts disagree.

3) The odds that Y2K will bring about TEOTWAKI are low, but the stakes are high.

However, if one is willing to forget these axions, then one could just as easily make the same sort of case against Hoffmeister as he is trying to make against Yourdon: needlessly selling SAP systems using their "Y2K compliance" as a major selling point, even though in truth it was of no value whatsoever; it merely put forth Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, often pushing major corporations such as Hershey into such large scale system replacements that were never needed in the first place. After all, if totally unprepared countries such as Italy are breezing through Y2K, it clearly was a scam from the beginning, and therefore Hoffmeister is as "guilty" as North and Yourdon.

Sorry, Hoffy. As usual, your arguments sound good, but completely flop when common sense is applied.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), January 03, 2000.

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KOS: SAP wasn't written simply to be compliant, and that wasn't even a selling point for a long time. It is a productivity tool for large enterprises, and does that job well. You don't even know whether SAP implementations accelerated as rollover approached, you're just spitting sour grapes. Unworthy of you.

-- Flint (, January 03, 2000.

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Flint; Thank you for your measured response. Mine was a bit too pointed. KOS; partial agreement here, do to a profoundly fair minded argument on the part of the Lady. Which I hope everyone noticed. Flint; we put Ed on a pedestal. Sometimes our heros fail us. Never the less, we have not ridden out all that he has written. Let the jury remain out until the END of the trial. I am still ready to thank him for ideas that I would have never had on my own.

KOS; Hoffy, has chosen to question the gentleman's INTEGRITY in public, not his correctness. He questions the gentleman's integrity, the height of insult. Nobody has the right to their identity while striking at the very heart of a persons veracity. He is calling the gentleman a LIAR at the top of his voice in a crowded room while wearing a mask. I will never condone such behavior. I stand on what I have said, It is very easy to behave quite poorly if nobody knows whom is misbehaving.

Ever see a bb hole in a 2000.00 plate glass window? Ever see anyone actually shoot the gun? Ever shoot the gun yourself? Every man over fifty in the room just raised his hand. Anyone want to tell the world they did it?

-- Michael Erskine (, January 03, 2000.

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-- Chuck, a night driver (, January 06, 2000.

Huff-meister buddy, Just a few words to ya. In the first place, who the heck appointed you moral moderator ? Who died and left you with the responsibility of making sure "everyone is even" ? WHAT makes you think you are GOOD ENOUGH to stand in judgement of another ? Did you prep and now you're pissed ? Well, I for one think you were born with SOME grey matter that you could have employed here to make an independent decision on your own, right ? And if Mr. Yourdan DID manage to completely dictate your life to you and then all of a sudden you were awakened, AFTER THE FACT, then I believe Mr. Yourdan deserves a round of applause.

And if you think you are the Bastion of Justice for me, you are dead wrong. Um, I think your pants are just about too big for ya, buddy. Here you are, bowing up like you are going to get everything straightened out and make everyone "fess up to the error of their ways". You hog-headed moron. Your mother didn't drop you hard enough, IMHO. She should have gone for a double-dribble and slam-dunk with your stupid self.

This world is so full of people who think they are so smart. People walking around flagging their hind-sight as fore-sight. You had no clue just like the rest of us. Only IMHO, you probably had less. You are jealous because you hadn't the knowledge to even hold a savvy conversation with the man. An opportunity comes your way to poke some fun, and you do so coming off as some immaculate conception. Look in the mirror and see the reality, HUFF. You, are a human. Maybe a sorry one, but never the less. And, you are also a simpleton. Check the word. This should keep you tied up for a while.

My apologies to the others for letting go but I am so sick of these "I can save the world because I am better than thou" types. Funny how they shut up when I see these people face to face. I have ZERO TOLERANCE for this crap.

You Huff-meister, have just made that list. OVER......and out.

-- Rob (, January 03, 2000.

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Hoff... Just a couple points... I've listened to you and others give their "opinions" about Y2K over the last two years. I've read with much interest, debate after long debate with you and the many other experts in the field, some more knowledgeable than others. I've been amused by wit on some days.. when the flames got hot... neither side can claim restraint here. Just for a moment if you will, allow me to include you in my panel of experts, because I have done this to make informed decisions. I've weighed what Ed has said against what Gary N. has said against what Lane Core and Raleigh Martin and many others, including yourself. The point is Hoff, for those of us in the middle ground, those seeking what the final outcomes were, we used all of you as a resource,.... we had a choice about what we each thought was a reasonable outcome and, friend that's what this good U.S.A. is all about. We all had the right to learn and choose for ourselves.

You have shown yourself to posses a reasonable set of outcomes or expectations with respect to the Y2K issue, one you've gained through experience and understanding of the problem and I can respect that. However what I find rather odd is the fact that you want to censor and judge for me, what I or others think. or read, or judge those who have taken a stand and said so publicly. (ie Ed, Lane,Raleigh, Gary etc.)

Should we blame you also and others if we indeed are wrong, I mean If you really have such a command of this whole issue, should I not hold you accountable for not convincing me Y2K was not a problem. Nonsense!!!!!!!! You had the same means Ed, or Gary or whoever to convince me otherwise, but you chose to hide behind a mask.... to attack and run. As I said before, I've read some of your debates and I have the utmost respect for command of your field of expertise and discipline. But attacking such as this you should consider beneath your character. Before the roll-over it was flaming... and sort of went with the territory, now its just boastful arrogance and only belittles you in the eyes of all.

Whatever the final outcome of Y2K is, I suggest we let it play out... Let those of us who want to discover for ourselves.... do it. I've been wrong many, many times in my life. I'm allowed to fail. No one was used here, if people made bad decisions they only have themselves to blame for not doing more homework or broadening the scope of principles. Shockwave

-- shockwave (, January 03, 2000.

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As usual, the posts here are outstanding, that said, I'm surprised these questions are being asked of Ed or anyone at this early stage. Personally, much has to unfold before "The Y2K Bug" will show how hard or where it has bitten.

Frankly, semantics aside, I'm with Ed until I see something to convince me otherwise. I'm still hoping and praying most of his conclusions were in error. But it is way, way too early for this stuff.

Check back in a few months and see if the same questions can be asked.

-- Michael (, January 03, 2000.

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Dammit, Hoff, now CD - da artful dodger dude - is my appointed crow server. It's too early to be getting ugly, but there you are...........

-- lisa (, January 03, 2000.

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Flint, Don't worry bud, I'm still here, and have been. I posted a few dozen times last night.

Oh, I was a little busy this weekend. I had this little problem, called Y2K, to deal with at work.

Now, what were you saying, Flint?

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (, January 03, 2000.

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Sysman: OK, sorry. I missed you. How are your problems going?

-- Flint (, January 03, 2000.

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I wish I could have looked down the road into the future and wrote books and sold survival preps. I would have given interviews and seminars for a hefty fee to set myself up for the future. It's all water under the bridge now. Jesus is coming, sell all your worldy goods and give them to the church, what difference does it make who sheers the sheep?

-- sheer the sheep (sheerthesheep@sheerthesheepp.xcom), January 03, 2000.

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Shear, that ain't nothin: de Jager gets to sell his domain for ten freaking million dollars. Mission accomplished.

-- lisa (, January 03, 2000.

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Hi Flint, Things went pretty well. We did have our mainframe tape controller crap out on Friday (just a normal hardware problem, nothing to do with Y2K), during year-end backups. But the CE came in, and had us back up at 15:00. We were all done, powered-off, and out of there at 22:30.

Went back in on Sunday, to power everything back up, and check it out. And today was business as usual.

Flint, we may not see eye-to-eye all the time, but I do have a genuine respect for you. I don't think we're as far apart as some people here would think. You're not a bad guy, for a polly (grin).

I wish you a sincere Happy New Year Flint.

And you too, Hoffmeister.


-- Sysman (, January 03, 2000.

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Don't forget! For more expert advice from Ed, you can still subscribe to the Cutter IT Journal: Cutter IT Journal (US$485, US$585 outside N. America) AND you may still be able to get copies of: The Complete Year 2000 Resource Guide ($385, US $435 outside N. America) See for more details


-- Mark Doernhoefer (, January 03, 2000.

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Martin Glad to see you agree.

anon, Michael

Yes, I'm anonymous. So be it. I made the decision long ago, for a variety of reasons. Deal with the content, or not. Up to you.


Sorry, bud, you miss the point.

These scenarios requiring long-term preps were based entirely on infrastructure failure. We scraped the iceberg, if you will, long ago. Sure, Y2k errors will be encountered throughout the year. Just as they were encountered throught 1999.

But no, the books, videos, survival gear, and whatever else weren't sold with these visions of IT software failures. They were sold, with vivid descriptions, of infrastructure failures. Blackouts. No telecommunications. In other words, BS.


If I worried about my feelings, I certainly wouldn't be here.


No, I don't know that Ed made very little money.

I know his book sold a couple hundred thousand copies. A standard publishing deal would be at least a couple of bucks a pop for him; probably much more, as an established author.

I haven't a clue about the rest.

But failing to make money hardly excuses the creation of an MLM to "Cash in On the Y2k Craze". At least to my mind, it doesn't.

No, I don't "hate" doomers. I do hate the idea that a supposedly respected member of my profession used that respect and experience to increase the Fear in people. On that, I am guilty.

Your Ego

I've said absolutely nothing about what people choose to believe. I'm amazed, but it is your choice.

I don't need vindication. Looking around, typing here, is all the vindication I need.

But, I think that those that exploited this situation should at least address their accountability. And not just attempt to rationalize it away. Especially those that used their professional expertise, and position of leadership. Those positions aren't rights; they should be earned. And when they are misused, they should be exposed.


Again, see my post.

North's intention never was to raise awareness. He wanted the system to fail, and stated so openly.

Yourdon's statements were not exhortations to increase the effort. His message was consistently that remediation was doomed to begin with, because software projects are always late. And it was repeated, ad nauseum.


I may be wrong, but I certainly don't remember SAP putting up websites or writing books predicting loss of power, or cities resembling Beirut, if you didn't buy their software.

In fact, using your logic, I should be a doomer. After all, the more people I could scare with the consequences, the more contracts available, right.

In any case, an SAP salesman is a known quantity. The customer knows he's a salesman. He isn't holding himself up as a software expert with "35 years" of experience, while on the back side selling survival books and videos.


See above.


Seriously? Gotta tell you, you paint a much bleaker picture of Ed Yourdon than I ever did. At the "lowest point in his life" because no disasters happened? Geez guy, I don't think he's that bad!

Your Highness

Actually, KOS, surprising as it may seem, of all the doomers, I think you may be the one with the ability to see at least some of the BS.

You still hang on to the misconceptions, though. Saying "Nobody knows" is not the same as "anything can happen". Being unable to predict precise outcomes doesn't mean a generally accurate picture, with bounds, can't be assumed.

As for the SAP stuff, see above.


This ain't hindsight, bud. Been here quite awhile, predicting basically the same thing. If you want the links, just ask.


I tried to explain before the rollover. Maybe I should have done more. Sorry.

But again, I feel that people who misuse their leadership shouldn't be in the position to do it again.


And again, his conclusions have been proven wrong time and again. Instead of admitting it, he weasels and rationalizes. And people seem to buy it. Sorry, but enough is enough.


Gee, I'm sorry. But the "ugliness" started with the MLM to "Cash in On the Y2k Craze".

-- Hoffmeister (, January 03, 2000.

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Hoffy- It ain't over yet, baby. Not by a long shot. But then, I never really expected you to be able to understand that anyway. You just don't get it. Period.

-- Brent James Bushardt (, January 03, 2000.

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Your fundamental denseness is always remarkable. Was it "Ed" who was responsible for governments and businesses ALL OVER THE WORLD creating serious contingency plans against the possibility of infrastructure breakdowns on 01/01/2000?

Was it the almighty "Ed" (or even "Ed and Gary") who snookered the Feds into building a 50M bunker for their version of same?

Was it the divine "Ed" who warned that cyberterrorism had and has the capability of bringing down our entire infrastructure with-or-without Y2K?

Oh, I forgot. When governments and bizness do it, it's "sensible". When just-folks do it, it's "panic".

Maybe you could better explain to us who got to ED (besides Scary Gary). Was it Koskinen? Bennett? The Gartner Group? You know, the ones who actually called for and carried out the bunker-building operations around the world?

Or are you going to tell us that world leaders read Gary's web site religiously and Ed's manipulative FUD-producing best-seller and thought to themselves, "My gosh, ack, no one who knows anything is saying this, but we had better do as they say because they are the e- e-e-e-experts."

You have a relatively big brain, "Hoffmeister", but a nearly complete absence of wisdom and understanding about Y2K except, maybe in the narrowest technical sense (and the jury is still out on that one too, bub) or, I suspect, much of anything else.

-- BigDog (, January 03, 2000.

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-- Chuck, a night driver (, January 06, 2000.

Hoffmeister, Much respect to you for responding; keep in mind, the answers to these questions have a long way to go before they are answered.

In short, I'm glad you responded. Still, your willingness to hide behind a moniker, no matter how concerned you are about privacy, invariably clouds how you are received.

You indicated you have thought about it and decided to remain unknown. Expect all of us to remain somewhat surprised why?

If you felt that strongly about your opinion, why not trumpet it, and take the credit you so strongly feel you deserve, somehow you are not going to convince me are afraid, or is it because you are just being humble?????

-- Michael (, January 03, 2000.

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Hoff, Ten years from now, someone will be arguing Y2K isn't over.

I have a great deal of respect for you, but we disagree somewhat on Yourdon. I think Ed Yourdon was a savvy businessman. Ed was well over a decade away from his significant contributions to IT. The American programmer had fallen and risen again in the span of two books. While Ed could have made a comfy living writing and selling his consulting services, he was no longer a true "heavy hitter" in the IT world.

Whatever his motives, Ed saw an opportunity with Y2K. He capitalized on it, but he also hedged his bets along the way. Ed described a ten- year depression, but then mentioned it was only "one" possibility. If Ed managed his affairs well, he made a reasonable sum from Y2K. He also found himself in the spotlight once again.

I think Ed is a pretty smart fellow. His "Sayonara" came with six months left. It was if the captain of the Titanic decided to take catch a passing freighter. Perhaps Ed knew Y2K was not shaping like the "metrics" predicted. Or maybe he had pressing business elsewhere... but while the world hung in the balance, Ed semi-retired from Y2K.

You see, Hoff, I don't really mind Ed making a buck. The whole business happened between consenting adults. Ed traded on his IT reputation, but it happens every day. Celebrities hawk products they don't use. Athletes give us financial advise. Supermodels tell us about the environment. It's not the pretty side of the free market, but c'est la vie. You may find the process of selling products based on FUD distasteful, but it is one of the prices of freedom. Did Ed defraud anyone? I doubt it. Anyway, caveat emptor.

What does give me pause his Ed's departure from Y2K with only months to the finish line. If he sincerely believed we were headed for disaster, why not fight for our civilization until the very last minute? I don't know... and neither does Russ Lipton or any other Ed worshipper on the forum.

I wrote an email to Ed Yourdon not long after I ventured onto the forum. The email only contained two words. I think they still apply.

Ravi Batra.

-- Ken Decker (, January 03, 2000.

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BigDog Like I've said many times, be they individuals or governments, I don't have any problem with individual decisions.

FWIW, governments can and are as completely clueless as anyone else. Personally, I know the state here purchased generators without ever consulting with Va Power.

And yes, I think organizations like GartnerGroup, Cap Gemini, and others, are to blame for much of the hype as well. More so, they are still fueling the fire to a certain extent, to cover their a**es.

But even so, they are upfront. Reading any of Gartner's reports, or Cap's, you know what they are, and what they're selling. It's been my point all along.


Like I said, there are many reasons.

First is cowardice, in a way. I've seen some of the e-mail sent to folks such as Paul Davis. I had and have no desire to expose my family to that sort of ugliness.

Second, like many, I am a consultant. And the organizations I've worked for did not want Y2k statements made, good or bad. Period.

And finally, I decided that I wasn't going to try and promote myself personally through Y2k. Although I have some small measure of recognition within my field, it would translate to virtually nil here and elsewhere. Basically, I wanted the message to be important, not the messenger. In essence, the opposite of Ed Yourdon, trading his name and expertise for credibility.


Never really questioned Yourdon's business savvy.

Yes, it was extremely distasteful. To put it in context, imagine Alan Greenspan, following retirement, writing books about how the Federal Reserve was going to collapse, while hawking infomercials for gold coins.

Nothing says he can't do it. But I doubt the financial community would just ignore it, without questioning his professionalism.

-- Hoffmeister (, January 04, 2000.

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I'm late on this thread for my $0.02. If Mara is right (sorry Mara I didn't read it myself) and Ed wrote that "nobody really expected" the power to go out! then my respect for the man will have no bottom.

I have a high tolerence for people profiting from the goods and services I purchase. But, in this situation where we were confronting issues concerning the health and safety of one's family, a flip-flop such as (if true) this is unforgiveable.

As far as anonymity is concerned I'm not sure why having a true email address of increases one's credibility. We're all using English here. The power of your argument and your mastery of the language will determine who carries the day.

-- gary (, January 04, 2000.

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One last obervation I left out of my prior post. Not to many days before the rollover C4i was holding court. Ed, or someone using his handle posted that we should (sic) "keep and open mind." C4i as I recall is anonymous.

-- gary (, January 04, 2000.

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I fully stand behind the opinion of Hoffmeister. BTW: mr. Yourdon, can you please respond to this open letter?

-- Robert (, January 04, 2000.

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had to add my $.02, also. thought it was slightly humorous hoff would blame ed for all of the hysteria, then tell anon and michael in his first re-post "deal with the content, or not. up to you." this is what we've been saying all along. except for a few immature polly/trolls we've seen here, most of us are big boys and girls, responsible for our own actions.

secondly, i take exception to ken decker's analogy of the captain of the titanic jumping ship. the purser, maybe, or the activities director, but not the captain. when an infrastructure fault puts two freight trains on a collision course, are the engineers supposed to stay on board until they run into each other?

just my thoughts.

-- Cowardly Lion (, January 04, 2000.

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Gary From Ed Yourdon on Dec 31, 1999, following the rollover of Australia, New Zealand, and some others:

I don't think that anyone seriously expected planes to fall from the sky, or entire cities to be blacked out at the stroke of midnight. msg_id=002A5C

-- Hoffmeister (, January 04, 2000.

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Con and Scam artists know that for the most part their victims will not come forth, out of embarrassment. This syndrome is much more intense in cases of sexual rape. But here we have a brand new phenomenon:  The scammed and screwed are now attempting to raise the perpetrators to a higher level of respectability. In their minds, this will hopefully diminish their stupidity for being sucked into the Y2K scheme.

It is this quirk of human nature that allows the Norths, Hyatts, and Yourdons of the world to operate their schemes over and over. Very sad.

-- Look (at@the.facts), January 04, 2000.

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Mark D., you said: "Don't forget! For more expert advice from Ed, you can still subscribe to the Cutter IT Journal: Cutter IT Journal (US$485, US$585 outside N. America) AND you may still be able to get copies of: The Complete Year 2000 Resource Guide ($385, US $435 outside N. America)"

I'm going to assume that you havn't actually read any of these publications. Otherwise, you would kno immediately that he rather steep prices are the result of there being no advertising of any sort other than for other Cutter publications. Cutter has to pay the bills somehow, and when subscription fees are your only source of revenue, they have to be steep.

Why not accept advertising? It let's the editors and authors say what they want, when they want and how they want to say it without risking the revenue stream.

-- Paul Neuhardt (, January 04, 2000.

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Oh, what the hell. I love a good argument. For the record, the opinions below are jsut that: opinions. I speak for no one else other than myself. Also, for the newcomers in the crowd, I'm a polly of long standing here and pretty much always have been. Furhtermore, I have become increasingly optimistic during the last year. Folks, there are two types of doomers: The ones who thought that it wasn't going to be fixed in time, and those who thought it couldn't be fixed. There are also two types of pollys: The ones who thought enough systems would be fixed in time for life to roll on reasonably calmly and those who thought there never was a problem. For my money, the "it can't be fixed" crowd and the "there is no problem" crowd were both equally lazy in their analysis. It was obvious that Y2K problems could be fixed given enough time and resource. It was equally obvious that, left unchecked, Y2K could have caused havoc and even endangered many lives. The other two groups are the ones in the "middle ground" and comprised the real thought and discussions behind Y2K.

How did one get to be either a doomer or a polly? Well, we are all creatures of our own experience. I believe it is htat experience that made Ed a "it won't be done in time" doomer and me a "it will be done well enough in time" polly.

Why would Ed continue to stick to "IT projects are almost always late" theme? Because they are, plain and simple. Furthermore, any good project manager knows that the only way to accurately predict future performance is to analyze past performance. If you do that and assume that the pattern that has occured in the past will continue to hold, he was reasonable in his concern about the success of remediation efforts. He has spent years being a proponent of more metrics and better project management in systems development, and his position here was completely consistent with his earlier work. If you looked at the numbers, he outcome looked bleak.

Furthermore, as a consultant, Ed rarely, if ever, gets to see the companies that are doing things well. I would hazard a guess that he has never gotten a call saying "Hey Ed, we create software so well and are so proud of our techniques that we would love to pay you to come in for a copuple of weeks just to sit and watch us work. You don't have to do anything but sit and bask in the reflected glow of perfection. In fact, we'll pay double your normal fee just to get you in here." Maybe it happens, but I doubt it.

Given these items, I find it difficult to believe that Ed would not have been a Y2K pessimist, and that he would remain one to the bitter end, no matter when that might be.

So what's the other side got to feel good about? Well, the fact of he matter is that the same folks who remediated those systems are, by and large, the ones who built them in the first place. At least they are people very similar to the orginal creators. Also, my experience tells me that when properly motivated, people get things done in spite of adversity. Combine that and familiarity with the systems invovled, and it is not unreasonable to expect significant progress to be made on the problem. I have been involved with far too many projects that succeeded not on the strength of planning but on the talents of the people involved and on iron will to do whatever it took to succeed. All the metrics in the world can't measure good will, and good will is a vital component of any deadline-critical project.

Furthermore, There is a big difference between what might have happened in theory and what might have happened in practice. For instance, it theory there could have been millions of embedded systems failures all over the planet creating higgeldy-piggeldy in all areans of life. In practice, it turns out that most embedded systems either don't care about the date, were immune to the problem or experience only minor disruptions and not total failures. In theory, the arena where the book "Time Bomb 2000" lived, disaster could have ruled. In practice, it turns out things could have been bad but nowhere near the theoretical meltdown of every embedded system in the world going belly up at the stroke of midnight. Furthermore, in practice, all those motivated folks out there would fix a fair number of the problems before they occured. Personally, I've always been a lot more interested in practice rather than theory. Theory is great and should be studied carefully, but results are what matter in the real world.

Ed's history is based on people not being able to do things right. My history is based on people managing to do things right anyway. Is it surprising that we should have seen things differently on Y2K?

Lastly, and most importantly, are apologies necessary from anyone? I don't beleive so (unless, of course, they are for personal conduct on the forum in which case the apology parade could take years to finish). For starters, if North, Milne and the other Horsemen of the Y2K Apocolypse came out and admitted they were wrong, who in their right minds would believe they were sincere? Second, I personally feel that Ed's positions on this matter have remained consistent with his work in the past, so what the hell does he have to apologize for? Lastly, what to the pollys have to apologize for? Having a different opinion is neither criminal nor immoral, so folks should get off hte backs of Flint, Hoff, Ken and the rest of the gang who simply looked at the same things and formulated a different opinion.

By and large, we all simply reacted in the way our personal experiences led us to, and that never requires an apology.

-- Paul Neuhardt (, January 04, 2000.

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Hoff; You say you have a reputation to protect but are afraid to risk that reputation while you hide behind a vail and pronounce premature judgement and make assumptions about the content of another man's character. That's nobel. You say you will not place your family in a position of receiving poisonous emailings while you stand behind a mask in a crowded forum and subject another man's family to exactly that. There's a mark of character.

You are able to deal insult lightly and assume the worst about the contents of the heart of another man, whom you probably have never met, but have difficulty with the reasonable criticism that follows such behavior.

You dump coals upon another man's head because you make assumptions about his motivations but are unable to find the courage to do that standing in the open field.

What you sought with this post was nothing less than that which is sought by the first dog that bites the prey of a ravaging pack. You wanted the credit that comes with the first bite. Your motivation is clear, "I took him down. It was me... me... me..."

Not bloody likely. It takes more than one cowardly bite to take down an elk.

And that sir is my opinion of your behavior on this thread. Spoken openly and willingly with much sincerety and the courage to accept the flames by simply identifying myself.

I don't even have a clue as to what this SAP crap is and could care less except to say that I'll bet YOUR sales went up because of the activity you so heartily dismiss as profiteering.

You are a coward sir...

-- Michael Erskine (, January 04, 2000.

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Hoff; You say you have a reputation to protect but are afraid to risk that reputation while you hide behind a vail and pronounce premature judgement and make assumptions about the content of another man's character. That's nobel.

I said nothing about protecting my reputation. If I was concerned about my reputation, I would be proclaiming my name everywhere possible.

I make no assumptions. I posted facts, and Yourdon's own statements.

As for being premature, keep on keeping on. I stated clearly the post was about the sales hook of failing infrastructure. If you feel this is premature, then you've obviously found a home here.

You say you will not place your family in a position of receiving poisonous emailings while you stand behind a mask in a crowded forum and subject another man's family to exactly that. There's a mark of character.

No, Michael, Ed Yourdon subjected himself to that.

Nobody drafted him for the Fear movement; he willingly and openly proclaimed himself the expert with 35 years of experience, and started the ventures.

You are able to deal insult lightly and assume the worst about the contents of the heart of another man, whom you probably have never met, but have difficulty with the reasonable criticism that follows such behavior.

I have no problem with the criticism offered. Even yours I'm responding to.

You dump coals upon another man's head because you make assumptions about his motivations but are unable to find the courage to do that standing in the open field.

Whatever. When I see you taking to task all the anonymous doomers that have accused virtually everyone of lying through their teeth, I'll take this more seriously.

As for assumptions of his motivations? Sorry, guy, but when he started the MLM to "Cash in On the Y2k Craze", they were no longer assumptions in my mind.

What you sought with this post was nothing less than that which is sought by the first dog that bites the prey of a ravaging pack. You wanted the credit that comes with the first bite. Your motivation is clear, "I took him down. It was me... me... me..."

See above.

Enough Fear has been spread. Ed Yourdon is still attempting to perpetuate it. Enough is Enough.

My motivation is accountability, pure and simple.

Someone from my profession decided to use his expertise and position of leadership to promote Fear and Doubt around Y2k. It shouldn't happen again.

Not bloody likely. It takes more than one cowardly bite to take down an elk.

And that sir is my opinion of your behavior on this thread. Spoken openly and willingly with much sincerety and the courage to accept the flames by simply identifying myself.


I don't even have a clue as to what this SAP crap is and could care less except to say that I'll bet YOUR sales went up because of the activity you so heartily dismiss as profiteering.

Yes, this convoluted logic again.

If I were concerned about increasing MY sales, I would be using my name, and I certainly would not have been a "polly".

You are a coward sir...

Thanks for your opinion.

-- Hoffmeister (, January 04, 2000.

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-- Chuck, a night driver (, January 06, 2000.

Over 1250 words in a single paragraph. Sir Winston Churchill could do it and make it interesting. You, Mr. Hoffmeister, are NO Sir Winston Churchill!

-- David Craig (, January 06, 2000.

I'm compelled to say that I find this both funny and sad. You see, Ed wasn't the only one who came to the conclusion that Y2K had the potential to upset our normal patterns, many of us did long before we'd even heard of him.

I began picturing the notion of "cascading cross-defaults" back in early 1997, (long before I heard anyone else talking about this), so I started having conversations with people I love and care about to make them aware of what *could* happen if the problem wasn't addressed. Many of them quickly understood and began preparing in ernest.

When 1/1/2000 arrived with virtually no problems, a number of these people became quite angry and directed a great deal of hostility towards me. They felt that I had somehow stolen a great chunk of their lives and/or caused them to waste a great deal of money on unneeded preps or financial strategies

What they don't seem to understand seems to be similar to what Hoff doesn't seem to understand, and that is....that we've all been blessed to witness a miracle, one that defies all logic.

I was lucky enough to meet Ed after one of his talks. He's a very sincere and bright fellow who is clearly concerned with the well being of his fellow man. I think that in the fullness of time he'll be viewed as one whose writings accelerated remediation, helping to avert catastrophic problems.

I'm not sure why Hoff has so little appreciation for this possibility, but I find it terribly unfair of him to single out Ed for his contribution. After all, there are a hell of a lot of us who did what he did, albeit in a smaller way. I hope that Hoff will have the courtesy in the future to lump those of us who cared enough speak our concerns together. There's a wonerful old saying that comes to mind with this..."No good deed goes unpunished". As I said when I started this, it's sad but funny.

-- Choirboy (, January 06, 2000.

Choirboy, "Im not sure, why..." because Huffie doesn't understand what Yourdon has said. Huffie merely THINKS he undestands the issue. Huffie has written a BOOK, Choirboy, a BOOK about SAP! SAP is SO important that I was actually able to find a site about it on the web! As Flint stated, it is a productivity tool. It has had mixed successes and failures and will never rival real research into Computer Science but... Huffie, wrote a book! This makes him the NEW Y2K authority. He is just consolidating his position here, heh... heh...

You got exactly as much as you gave HOFFMAN.

-- Michael Erskine (, January 06, 2000.

DAvid, there really were paragraphs there. The formatting from WORD97 doesn't transfer well.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, January 06, 2000.

Ed Yourdon's new essay...

"Move Over, Rodney Dangerfield -- You've Got Company"

-- Linkmeister (, January 06, 2000.

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