The View From Podunk, PA : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I am a lurker. Plain and simple. I do have something to add for a change. It's all heresay, nothing verifiable. So take it FWIW.

I have, as many of you do, a somewhat "once removed" view of the Y2K situation due to my rural location here in north central Pennsylvania. On one hand it's great to live in the country, but on the other it's been frustrating as of late to say the least. I rely on the net, shortwave radio, and the media as my sources of information. All I've seen in the media is what they want me to see. All I've heard on the radio is rants from what I consider to be a bunch of HAM operator's who should have their licences revoked. And the net...oh the net. That's a good one. Should I believe what I read on CNN.COM or even here on TIMEBOMB 2000? What's the latest and greatest? Ohhh... chemtrails - spoooky huh (huh?)?

Meanwhile, back to MY reality. That's the only thing I have and the only thing I can believe in. At this point if I were to hear from the media that China just launched an offensive strike on Russia I wouldn't believe it until the locals started dropping dead from fallout.

On the surface here in Podunk all looks well. I can still pull into the gas station and fill 'er up before heading over to the hardware store for another box of 16 penny nails. But beauty is only skin deep or so they say.

I prepped, and I'm glad I did. Real glad. I've got enough food and water for four that will last well over a year. I've saved seeds, dug out a spring 50' from the house, and we've switched back over to wood heat. I even got into solar and can light half the house and in a real emergency power our travel trailer(i.e. if the house burns down!).

I had intended to pull a couple of thousand dollars from our savings account prior to TEOTWAWKI. We don't have a lot of money, hence nothing but a small amount is tied up in a 401K left over from my days working for the proverbial man. The rest is in a savings account (or rather - was). I'm a retired ex-programmer. PC's, client-server, local nets, that sort of thing. 15 years of it. I made the trip to my bank (1.25 hrs) and filled out a withdrawal slip for $2000. I believe this was on December 14th or so. The teller had to get her supervisor's permission to give anything other than a cashier's check for withdrawals above $1000 (new policy? - I've withdrawn large sums before without a problem). The supervisor gave me the hardest time she could of course, but dutifully told the cashier to give me the money in cash. I never had to raise my voice, but I was necessarily insistent. Out of the blue the cashier volunteered that she had in fact taken all of her and her husbands money out of their accounts with said bank because "they are not Y2K compliant". I don't really think she even knew what that meant but it certainly put the fear of god in her. I normally overreact at first. Needless to say, I asked her what my current balance was in my savings account. I changed my withdrawal amount to that balance. The cashier just looked at me and said "I don't blame you" and laughed. I'm glad I wasn't her when she closed out at the end of the day. Her supervisor probably shot her. She had to "borrow" money from every cashiers drawer as she couldn't cover my withdrawal from her own. I never looked back. Lumpy mattress now...

My son is going to college about 20 miles away. He lives near the school with his fiancee - also a student. They both work for a small computer retailer who is located near the college. My son is the only tech working for this firm and normally services any called in or dropped off problems ranging from A to Z. They have contracts with the college in certain areas on campus. There are a myriad of total failures on campus. Lucky for them the next semester doesn't start until Jan. 14th. Their attitude for the most part was fix on failure. Nothing like "higher education". Well, FOF isn't working too well. The only incident I'll relate is the campus bookstore's financial aid system. When students with financial aid start the semester they obtain whatever books they need and walk up to the register. The system is supposed to apply the credit from financial aid to the purchase and the student of course makes up the difference. Well, in preparation for the new semester last week, the party who enters data made a frantic call to my son's place of employ. He drove up to the bookstore and after ascertaining what the problem was and what the individual did to "remediate" it he almost started rolling with laughter on the floor. It seems the classic Y2K bug bit. Data length for year? 2 bytes = adios amigos! Not only did the system barf but in her attempts to fix it the individual managed to overlay bad data with a "backup" that was so out of date that she lost literally everthing.

Ok - it's only a minor problem - right? Wrong- not on this campus. Over 70 percent of the students have some financial aid to one degree or another and in exactly 4 days they are going to start purchasing their books. To date this system has not been fixed, and can not be fixed without code changes (10 year old C program - no source code available - student project) and complete data re-entry for several thousand students by one individual. I think not.

This is just the tip of the iceburg on campus - believe me.

Local business, farmers (yes they keep track of old Bessie's output on the 'puter), and SME's around the county are in worse shape. Nobody will be buying replacement parts for their snowmobile at the Arctic Cat dealer. The 30,000 part regional inventory system went up in smoke last month when they started entering Y2K dates. At least they have their data - just haven't quite found a way to get at it yet. Well, at least they think the data's ok anyway...

Again, heresay, blah, blah, blah. But hey - this is MY reality. If systems are going down in Podunk, PA I just have to wonder how the rest of the world is doing. You know - the real world...

I like to use the banana test someone once posted here. Just so you guys know - there ain't no banana's in Podunk lately - that's a fact.

Is this a great time to be alive or what! I'm having dreams where huge floating speakers owned by "the state" drift by and keep repeating over and over and over again chanting "this is not Y2K related", "the Dow is Up, Up, Up", "put your money in tech's", "repeat after me - baahhh, baahhh, baahhh"...

Keep it coming people - gotta love that Harbor Guy.

-- Witch Doctor (, January 10, 2000


Witch doctor,

Thanks for the update. One more little piece in the jigsaw puzzle. Not sure where it fits, or whether a recognizable picture will emerge when we find the right place ...

Please give us updates when the students show up and start attempting to buy their books.

Thanks, Ed

-- Ed Yourdon (, January 10, 2000.


Thanks for the post. Hate to be one of those students. I was always the kid for whom the prof had to put a text on reserve in the library. Luckily, there were few fighting for it at prime time, so I got through. Of course, the librarian's computer checking my student id always worked back then.

So no troubles with the milking machines then? That's very good news.

Keep us posted:)

-- Hokie (, January 10, 2000.

No longer a lurker ! :)

-- JC (, January 10, 2000.

Updates shall be forthcoming. It's absolutely amazing how bad it really is here in my little neck of the woods. What's leaves me in despair is the drone-like attitude these folks have. If Uncle Sam says all is well then they truly believe all is well. But I love them all. 99.99% of the people here are the salt of the earth and I can't help feeling sorry for them. There are a few who are prepped but for the most part they aren't. I've tried, I really have. But they just don't get it.

We're quite used to power outages because of the bare copper lines running from pole to pole. Hey - we just got rid of telephone party lines a few years ago in these parts. But let me tell you - if the Skoal shipment doesn't make it in due to Y2K there's going to be a real problem. I'm dead serious!

-- Witch Doctor (, January 10, 2000.

Witch doctor - I'm glad you retired from lurkdom and saw fit to post about your neck o' the woods. That's exactly why I come to TB2000 because we have folks from all over posting. It fills in the humongous empty spots that don't break the "threshold for news".

-- Guy Daley (, January 10, 2000.

Thanks for a very informative post.

-- Danny (, January 10, 2000.


This is the kind of reporting that makes far more sense than the media hype----or even lack of media hype. Words from the 'real world'---keep 'em coming, folks that know.


-- Ohiomom (, January 10, 2000.

See also...

View from Podunk RR #2 ,Pa.....suburb of Podunk... 002I4R

-- Diane J. Squire (, January 11, 2000.

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