Last Word : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Not that having the last word on a thread isn't gratifying, but it really isn't all that fun. The following was a response which I posted twice, but with the heavy volume of posts today, my guess is it got pushed pretty far down the listing very fast, and got lost.

So here it goes for any comments it may bring:

I've said it before (as have many others), but I suppose it bears repeating.

Many computer problems pre-2000 as well as post-2000 are the result of the introduction of new systems in response to legacy systems not being prepared for rollover. Companies have options - they can remediate, or they can also replace systems.

Is the decision to replace a system based solely on Y2K fears? Well, probably not. A company may have other business reasons for introducing new systems. It DOES affect the timing of said implementation, however. Gotta get those ducks in a row before 1/1/00!

Look at Hershey and the SAP debacle as an example. When SAP failed, was it a Y2K glitch? Of course not. But it was Y2K related, I would maintain. Because of the timing of Y2K, Hershey did not necessarily have the luxury of simply reverting to legacy systems, and reworking SAP. The clock was the continued to work with SAP. repeating.

Many computer problems pre-2000 as well as post-2000 are the result of the introduction of new systems in response to legacy systems not being prepared for rollover. Companies have options - they can remediate, or they can also replace systems.

No, I wasn't in the meeting room when these decisions were being made, but I have been in the meeting rooms of enough clients to know that many factors go into the decision making process of companies.

And let me tell you, for many companies, Y2K was the 2000 pound gorilla of decision making for the past 3+ years.

Should it have been? I think so. Others might think it was all a hoax. Again, reasonable people can disagree.

So ,if an error of some sort occurred in July of 1999, was it a Y2K error? No, of course not (well, maybe if there was a look ahead to a 2000 date). Was it Y2K related? I don't know, perhaps. Did they put in new systems? Did the put remediated versions into production at that time? Perhaps. Same goes for the system glitches occurring presently. Its the one connection USA Today failed to make in the article last year about the increase in glitches.

Just as we shouldn't assume a problem is Y2K related, we shouldn't assume it isn't, either.

Year 2000, for me, has always been about a period of heightened possibility for problems:

software Hardware firmware terrorism people's reactions bank runs JIT stock market bubbles viruses etc.

The actual rollover was just one of the hurdles to overcome. Thankfully, we have successfully passed that hurdle. As for me, however, I will continue to remain watchful.

I am not a doomer. I am, and always have been, a pragmatic idealist.

-- Duke1983 (, January 06, 2000


Nice synopsis. It looks at "Y2K" from an angle that hasn't been developed much. I agree that we're paying too much attention to whether a problem is caused by a "Y2K glitch" or not. Compounding the issue is our use of these buzz-phrases. I think the "doomers" tend to view "Y2K glitch" and "Y2K-related glitch" as synonomous phrases. "Pollys" (but more importantly, the PR people), on the other hand, tend to use these phrases separately. To be sure, it doesn't matter whether these problems are cause by a Y2K glitch, Y2K-related glitch, or some other glitch. What matters is how many of these problems are happening and whether they're increasing to a point of serious inconvenience or disruption.

Thanks for reposting this view.


-- EricE (ready@for.anything), January 06, 2000.

"and whether they're increasing to a point of serious inconvenience or disruption"

Good point! To expand upon it, none of us can really know what the point of "critical mass." is for cascading problems, or a downward spiral to begin.

See also, the thread one below this:

what difference if problems are y2k or not?? (lou,, 2000-01-06)

-- Duke1983 (, January 06, 2000.


What would make you feel that everything is OK? Would you be able to describe a situation or series of events that would make you feel comfortable with the world, and your country, now or in the future?

My guess is no. Tell me I'm wrong, describe a situation where you wouldn't need to be paranoid (or "watchful", to use your word.)

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), January 06, 2000.

Bemused, Really now, I'm not paranoid, it's just that everyone is out to get me!

: )

Sorry, old joke, I couldn't resist!

Seriously, I am comfortable. So in a word, you are wrong.

I have a very optimistic view of the future. An idealistic view, in fact. I believe world peace and harmony are within our grasp in my lifetime. I believe the advances mankind is making, and will make, will enable us to live 120 years and be healthy. I believe our quest for the stars will allow us to go beyond our current boundaries. I believe we will end hunger and suffering.

But as the last sentence of my original post says, I am also pragmatic. I recognize that "shit happens", and we need to be at the ready to confront it. I believe that man, having been instilled with free will, can be incredibly stupid, malicious and short sighted.

I know that prosperity can turn on a dime into depression. Do I worry about it? No. Do I keep my eyes open for it, yes!

Why? Because I believe I can impact my environment. I can prepare for reasonably possible outcomes. I stored enough food and water for a 6 month partial disruption, and a 3 month total disruption. That IMO, was reasonable. Beyond that, the pragmatism recognized if others around me were starving, my supply beyond 3 months would probably be re-apportioned either by myself due to compassion, or the gov't by force. (I own no guns).

At this point in time, I still believe disruptions have the potential to spiral. I watch for the early warning signals that could portend escalation to a "critical mass" of failures that bring the economy to a screeching halt. We seem to be quite far away from that now.

When the "glitches" start coming less frequently is when I imagine that we will be on the downside of this BITR. That's the answer to your core question, I suppose.

Until then, I believe we're still climbing up it. We don't truly know what the history books will say about Y(ear)2K just yet. After all, if they were written 0n Jan 1, they would have said the computer bug was a hoax. I gotta believe that most people are starting to fall back from that position. Have you Bemused?

Do I sound like a doomer to you? Do I sound paranoid? I'll let you decide.

God Bless America! (Just had to throw that in there, too!)

And if anyone has actually read all the way to the end of this post, thank you and God bless you too!

-- Duke1983 (, January 06, 2000.

Duke, you don't sound like a doomer, based on your last post. Probably have a pretty healthy and pragmatic world view, more than I gave you credit for at first. But the gathering-of-glitches parade seems to be all the hard-core doomers have left, and it's no more legit than all of the other pre-rollover claptrap that passed for vigilance. You can pick any period of time, gather news reports on all failures, slowdowns and glitches during that time, post them all in a forum and say "is there one cause behind all of this?"

The paranoid will always say yes.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), January 07, 2000.

Bemused, you (and others) may find the following interesting. Thought about starting a thread on it. If y'all think it appropriate, I will.

Is That the Floor Shaking? Is that the floor shaking? Over the past year, one out of every ten of America's fastest growing companies suffered a disaster, a serious operational breakdown, or a failure that affected its ability to function, according to the latest "Trendsetter Barometer," released Jan. 6 by PricewaterhouseCoopers. More service businesses were beset by these crises than product companies, 13% versus 8%, respectively.

For service businesses, these serious breakdowns most often involved failure of computer systems (61%); loss of utilities, such as electricity or telecommunications (50%); damage to reputation (29%); inability to meet supply chain or third party obligations (25%); physical damage to a building (21%); and other losses, including market share (18%). Similar numbers of product sector businesses faced these same problems, though not as many had computer system failures (32%), and notably fewer experienced damage to their reputation (only 5%).

"Service businesses are more vulnerable to serious operational breakdowns in several ways," said Phillip Bloodworth, global partner, operational and systems risk management. First, they tend to have more workers, and this multiplies their exposure to human error. And service businesses are more heavily reliant on computers and computer systems -- as well as telecommunications -- and when these go, this can force a complete shutdown."

PricewaterhouseCoopers' "Trendsetter Barometer" interviewed CEOs of 452 product and service companies identified in the media as the fastest growing US businesses over the last five years. The surveyed companies range in size from approximately $1 million to $50 million in revenue/sales.

-- Duke1983 (, January 07, 2000.

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