My posting yesterday on Peter de Jager : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I was surprised at the reactions to my posting yesterday on Peter de Jager, because I had been unaware of what de Jager had been saying recently. All of the responses (save one) ripped into the very recent PdJ, and rightly so. Such an incredible turnaround makes one wonder if leverage has not been used to make him fall in line. (Unfortunately our present Administration is so morally rotten that the use of private detectives cannot be ruled out.)

My posting was rather a criticism of the earlier PdJ and some of the comments in the thread that I referred to. I wanted to give credit to PdJ for being Paul Revere once, but also wanted to criticize him for in my judgement concentrating on effort alone rather than intelligent strategic effort.

To get back to the present, I thought his recent open letter to President Clinton was very good. That's what makes his turnabout totally astounding to me.

-- Peter Errington (, February 03, 1999


In all fairness to PdJ he's a Canadian. IMHO, Canada is in better shape than the U.S. They have a much, much smaller population, only about 8 or 9 large banks and they've been very open about their preparations. deJager can speak honestly about Canada and make it seem like he's speaking about the U.S.

Now... in all fairness to myself and everyone else that deJager preached to over the last couple years. He's a sellout and a perfect example of what greed has done to us. Obviously, he speaks well out of both sides of his mouth.

PdJ is a business man trying to milk that last little bit out of his clients before they go south. What client would pay his fee if his message was "you're so screwed you might as well give up"?

Mike =============================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, February 03, 1999.

Just follow the money trail.

-- bardou (, February 03, 1999.

Actually, I am amazed that pollyannas have not offered the argument that there never was a Y2K problem, and that Peter de Jager is now trying to cover himself before The Truth Comes Out, by claiming that Its Fixed. But, hey, I am the last person to undertand pollyanna-think.

The reality is that Peter de Jager did a lot of good overall, but at the same time probably fits the "money making scam" profile better than Gary North or anyone else ever could (as pointed out by bardou).

-- Jack (, February 03, 1999.

Folks, this forum has obviously been taken over by the defeatest but must you make yourselves look even sillier by attacking Peter de Jager. If any of you tried to grasp the Y2k problem to the extent that Peter has then your brains would explode. Many of us find your parnoid rantings amusing enough to tune in from time to time but the pathetic attacks on any and all reports of progress only serve to prove that you will only accept news that supports your own gloomy "what if" scenarios. Peter was right about what could happen and he is far more capable than any so-called GI of evaluating the current situation and concluding, as most of us on the front lines have, that we are winning this war. Have a miserable day if that makes you feel complete but don't think for a moment that you have made yourself a centimeter taller by attacking a real giant. Regards from Woe who is not a troll but a computer professional who REALY Gets It!

-- Woe Is Me (wim@doom.gloom), February 03, 1999.

you know, Peter, both PdJ and 'Woe' the troll may very well be exhibiting the same psychological dysfunction - neither one of them is capable of resolving the cognitive dissonance inherent in NOT being able to fix everything on time; ergo they reinforce their own denial.

oh well, *that* sort of cowardice only has another 11 months to go.


-- Arlin H. Adams (, February 03, 1999.

Arlin, it's nice to hear from one of the litte people. Peter started writing and talking about Y2k in 1992. I started working on it in 1990. If you think either of us didn't have to have courage to take a stand way back then you are indeed unschooled in the history of this challenge. Sorry if I rocked your boat little guy but the work is getting done, Peter knows scores of people in various industries who are doing it and I know quite a few myself. It ain't pretty and there will be problems but if you have followed this forum since it began and exercised any intellectual honesty then you must accept that many dire predictions have already failed to materialize. The reason dear, troubled person is because we are getting the work done Just In Time though not a moment too soon. Now pull a credit card out of your wallet, look at that expiration date in the next century and then go use it. Guess what it works almost everywhere. It wasn't supposed to be that way according to the prophets of doom that you worship but you don't want the truth - you can't handle the truth. So go ahead and make yourself miserable but don't be too disappointed when you realize that the majority of your fellow human beings are just never going to accept the doom and gloom prophecies no matter how much the paranoid elements in our society beat that drum. Now, aren't you people supposed to be talking about preparation? What does bashing Peter de Jager with ridiculous, unfounded, paranoid criticism have to do with preparation?

-- Woe Is Me (wim@doom.gloom), February 03, 1999.

Missed you, Woe. Nice to see you back. I may disagree with you, but you do keep me challenging my assumptions and conclusions. Very much unlike the recent spate of trolls. Welcome back.


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 03, 1999.

Woe makes a very good case. Software has this weird property that when it fouled up it real bad, but corrections can be surprisingly quick. And tools and methods have improved over the cartoon 1960's coding scenarios used by Dr. North and others.

Don't flame me about not knowing software, I have two graduate computer science degrees, one from MIT, I've worked for the three most famous software companies in the world, I've written hundreds of thousands of lines of shipping code. I think our problems are much bigger than software, and longer-term. Keep prepping.


-- Runway Cat (, February 03, 1999.

Once again, we're given "proof" from a professional...

- Predictions that don't come true somehow prove that ALL predictions will not come true

- My credit card's expiration date is supposedly an example of the level of expertise that will obviate problems with ALL critical chips and code... after, of course, we identify the problem chips, locate or design/test replacements, deinstall the old, install the new, and test... blaze through as-yet-unfinished assessment, remediation and testing... prove the veracity of network data interchange that will not be tested in advance... catch all the unexpected errors found during testing, fix them, and test again, fixing the next round of errors...

All in 331 days.

But we're told that Woe started working on Y2k
years ago... and says "The work is getting done", which means it is not finished yet at his/her employer. Well, hey, they have 331 days to go. No problem.

Professional, huh?

(Anyone else notice how much Woe's spelling improved, between his first and second post? Words such as "paranoid" ... ?)

-- Grrr (, February 03, 1999.


"litte people"...."little guy" ??? This is the way you "exercise your intellectual honesty"? Using demeaning terms when someone doesn't see something the same way you do? And since when did de Jager become inflable and and above critisism?

You've bragged about your computer expertise and your wider knowledge of understanding in regards to the Y2k problem, so perhaps you can explain to me, de Jager's letter to the President dated Nov. 17, 1998, and how he came to his recent conclusion 30 days later that things were all right now? I seriously want to know. I happen to be someone who has no desire to go back to living a 1930's lifestyle. Scrubbing clothes on a washboard is not my idea of a good time!

I'd like facts and reasoning....this doesn't seem to be such a hard thing for you to do. Since, you have such a vast knowledge and understanding of the subject, it should be a piece of cake. I'm also college educated so don't hold back.

"The reason dear, troubled person" ....."The reason dear, troubled person

And btw, knock off the patronizing BS. It does nothing to enhance your creditials.

-- Cary Mc from Tx (, February 03, 1999.

Chuck, thanks for the kind words. My remarks were addressed to the de Jager attackers. If they were unkind then "ye reap what ye sow." Was it Mark Twain who said: "It is a poor and uncreative mind that can only think of one way to spell a word."? I don't think de Jager has swung all the way over to the "nothing will happen" pole of this issue but I think he sees that the most dire consequences will be avoided. If you look at the current issue of Computerworld there is an article about a Electric Utility and the lady in charge has Y2k as her number two priority. She is certain the power from her company will be available. Is she part of some conspiracy to conceal the truth? Give me a break! We have completed repairing our own systems but the Y2k project does not end there and in fact will not end until sometime in the next century - better writers than I have already explained the ancillary issues which go beyond merely fixing our own systems. I have not criticized those preparing, nor offered any judgement as to what level of preparation we should each have. I simply take exception with insignificant little twits who take cheap shots at the guy who is most responsible for our having pulled our fat out of this fire. If de Jager had not been so courageous we might very well be facing societal meltdown. Prepare to whatever extent you feel you must but don't be offended if most of us who are in charge of this work are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

-- Woe Is Me (wim@doom.gloom), February 03, 1999.

Welcome back, Woe Is Me!!!

With all the recent woe over the pollyannaistic trolls, let me join with other old time posters in assuring everyone that Woe Is Me is not a troll, but is a completely legitimate hardcore pollyanna. Welcome back, Woe!! You are like a breath of fresh air compared to the pathetic dribble that has been passing for pollyannaism!!!

-- Jack (, February 03, 1999.


You've bragged about your computer expertise and your wider knowledge of understanding in regards to the Y2k problem, so perhaps you can explain to me, de Jager's letter to the President dated Nov. 17, 1998, and how he came to his recent conclusion 30 days later that things were all right now?

Answer the nice lady's question son. We're waiting...

-- a (a@a.a), February 03, 1999.

"Ye reap what ye sow" I refer you to the June '98 CSIS event aired on C-SPAN. I am glad I taped it. Peter was more than a little critical of Howard Rubin when Howard stated that companies were reporting substantial progress in their projects. In fact he BLASTED him. He asked Howard to be specific. Peter, be specific! What do you know? How do you know it? Are the lawyers giving you info they are not disclosing to the SEC? How come you don't have any more success stories than you do on your website if things are so good? Are you saying Boeing and the FAA allowed you to audit their Y2K projects? If not, how do you know they are doing so well? Is Joel Willemssen at the GAO a liar? Does he not have a great deal more information on the federal agencies than you do?

For me to believe Peter at this point would require me to dismiss the credible information available now.

So forgive me if I choose not to accept as fact any information just because "Peter DeJager" says it.

-- for real (, February 03, 1999.

Woe, I also manage Y2k projects for Fortune 100 telecommunications companies. To date I have worked on the Y2k projects of 4 of the largest 5 long distance companies in the nation. I have heard alot of "everything is fine", "many smart people have been working on the project so they will finish", but absoulutly no facts to back those statments up. Opinions no longer cut it. Give us some numbers showing more than a single company here and there that indicate everything is under control. Why not tell these folks "no one knows for sure exactly what will happen" because no one does. And if you are *really* in the business you know that. However, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the process continues to proceed as it has been proceeding (and it shows no signs of a quick change) we will not finish enough in time to prevent all these major problems you say will not happen. I challenge you to tell me *why* everything is fine. Not opinion. Fact. All the fact that I see every day tell me it is *not* getting done fast enough. Many people are spinning their wheels but not enough significant progress is being made to "keep the lights on" for instance (Utility industry was 34% complete as an industry with remediation only (not to mention testing) as of Nov 1998). Answer this: How do *you* run even compliant computers wihtout electricity?

-- Steve Watson (, February 03, 1999.

Woe and even many GIs (cat and this isn't a flame?) on this NG sometimes miss the point. Of course, we don't know whether Y2K will be TEOTWAKI or a bump in the road. That's the sphere of divine prophets. And it cuts both ways, fellow doombrooders. For all we "know", Y2K will be less than a bump. That is indeed possible.

And many conflicting facts are true. It is true that software is remarkably brittle. It wears out. It crashes in bizarre, unpredictable ways. It is also surprisingly resilient. Things you thought would break, don't. The tools have improved over the decades. And so it goes.

The "pollyanna" debate here has always gone to the issue of whether we can hold legitimate expectations at a given moment in time that an optimistic Y2K view is evidentially sound. Or why else do we examine the ongoing flow of Y2K news? And, if an optimistic view is not sound, how much preparation is sensible?

Despite Woe and deJager, as of February 3, 1999, there remains scant evidentiary basis for overall optimism about Y2K and vast evidence on the pessimistic side of the ledger. I'm not going to rehearse that evidence in this thread, it would be pointless.

There remains some chance that the evidentiary basis for optimism will increase dramatically through 1999, depending on who reports progress and how credible their reports are. Indeed, unless the Y2K fix effort is an utter joke, we should expect (and we will cheer) credible repairs. Only a moron wants TEOTWAWKI and not one regular GI posted on this NG qualifies for that designation.

Unfortunately, such reporting, if it happens, will come too late to affect preparation decisions, which must be made now. Indeed, it's already too late to make some of those decisions. I appreciate Woe's common sense on the matter of preparation.

With respect to de Jager, we can't enter the guy's mind. Fortunately. But if he is now taking the role of the prophet, which is the game he is playing ("game's over, guys, we've won, just have to mop up"), then he is a false prophet because he doesn't have the evidentiary basis for this (no one does). He may have anecdotal reassurance or even lots of gut feel based on his work, but the evidence isn't there.

If he is playing the next stage of the consulting game (position the Y2K endgame so he's hedged for Y2K bummer or bump), he's a phony.

If he is sincerely worried that those few citizens who are preparing are the real Y2K danger, he is an idiot.

And any way you slice it, there remains no reason (no technical, logical, evidentiary reason) at this time to be a pollyanna, except possibly about one's own organization and again based on evidence. None.

Let me say it one more way, since it always seems to be misunderstood:

A doombrooder respects the evidence so far and prepares accordingly. The broad categories of evidence are slipped schedules, reduced testing plans, the impossibility of serious examination of critical embedded systems and the intellectual dishonesty of the compliance percentages game.

A pollyanna ignores the evidence so far and may or may not prepare. See my "Take the Pollyanna Challenge" thread on this NG for their general position.

I could yank out my IT resume as well, Woe. I respect your vigorous arguments but drop your patronizing tone towards the folks on this newsgroup. IT is a baby profession that is one step above prostitution and drug running at this stage in its history.

One of the few benefits I hope will come from Y2K is that the "little people" and "twits" will wake up to the scam that has been perpetrated on them by profession. But I'm not a pollyanna on that score either ..... just call me a twit.

-- BigDog (, February 03, 1999.

Of his employer, Woe sez:
We have completed repairing our own systems...

Oh. "Completed repairing". Would it be inaccurate to say your own systems are fully tested, or demonstrably remediated, or certified as Y2K-compliant through IV&V?
And that was precisely my point: if you're not in a position to reflexively, unthinkingly use the word "compliant" or even "ready" after nine years of work... what is so magical about the remaining 331 days?

-- Grrr (, February 03, 1999.

Excellent post, BigDog, to which I would just add the following: Does it not seem worrisome to people that, as of February 1999, we should still be even entertaining such discussions as to the progress of Y2K? I mean, is this not worrisome in itself, that we cannot, at this very late date, confidently know what lies ahead, whether the banks will make it, whether there will be electricity, clean water, etc.? The "we are working on it very hard, spending lots of money" line is wearing very thin under 1999 skies.

-- Jack (, February 03, 1999.

Jack, good to hear from you. I really was just passing by but I thought the attacks on de Jager deserved a response. Big Dog, you have offered no proof of anything. There is no evidential proof that the status quo of our society and economy will be seriously altered so there is no compelling demand to prove that it won't! Peace, love and may all of your cans of tuna be free of rat hairs.

-- Woe Is Me (wim@doom.gloom), February 03, 1999.

No, Woe, you're looking for prophecy again ("proof that the status quo will be altered ..."). I have no idea whether it will be altered. Don't much care about that today, to tell you the truth.

All I care about are that declared schedules have slipped, declared budgets have risen, the time for the testing that organizations said they had to do has been diminished, most companies have stated publicly they cannot examine many at-risk embedded systems and compliance percentages, even if taken at face value, suggest strongly (though they don't prove) that most entities will not reach compliance.

Those are facts. For every 10 or so of these facts, there is one fact on the other side.

What are the implications of these facts for 1/1/2000 and beyon? Gee, I don't know, Woe. I'm clueless next to experts like yourself.

-- BigDog (, February 03, 1999.

Big Dog:

Excellent post there, I find myself nodding and saying yes, exactly. I think my only point of contention is that I can't take any particular thing I read and assign it to a 'side'. I can only try to understand what it means and how it fits into a very complex mosaic. We can only prepare as much as possible for what we consider the worst outcome within likely parameters (i.e. nuclear exchanges seem vanishingly unlikely, so I'll save on radiation suits in favor of food).


I think the answer to your question can be found in a recent thread on banks. The banker said (to paraphrase) "We don't expect any big problems, but we damn sure won't guarantee that." When I release a program, I can guarantee that it has no *known* bugs, and I can guarantee to repair any that come up. I sure as hell won't guarantee there *aren't* any bugs!

At some point this growing chorus of "We'll be OK but we don't know about the other guy" starts to sound a bit like: Even if everyone is finished, it won't matter because nobody else will be!

But OK, we won't be finished. We'll be closer than we are now. What that will mean, your guess is as good as mine.

-- Flint (, February 03, 1999.


My comments about deJager have little to do with his current "message" or his expertise and more to do with his motivation.

He is a businessman who has made a tremendous living off of Y2k. Like any good "personality" he must keep his image and his "message" fresh to be marketable. With time running down and fear levels rising he had to change to continue to remain in business.

Little has changed over the last year except deJager's message. Little true progress has been made worldwide yet deJager says we're doing great. Anyone who understands the worldwide implications of Y2k failures can also understand that regardless of what is done here in the U.S. we will suffer serious y2k disruptions because of problems abroad.

Soon businesses and governments will pull all available resources away from current projects and even from their profit points to move them to Y2k remediation in a frantic push to sustain life. Overseas, clueless countries will suffer through problems that will be felt throughout the world.

The earth revolves around the sun not around deJager. He means nothing to me and he's had no impact on my opinions regarding Y2k. He's made quite a substantial living because of y2k and I applaud him for his efforts. However, I simply choose now not to buy his current message. Somehow, it just doesn't seem credible.

Mike =====================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, February 03, 1999.

Flint ---- to my mind, even though they're raw and often unfair as labels (labels never do justice to real people), there is something compelling about the doombrood/pollyanna poles. They're almost self-sustaining epistemological categories (I apologize for the ten-dollar word but it's apt here).

While the ultimate Y2K result is unknown, I honestly believe the doombrood position on the facts is the only position that holds logical water at least as of today. That is, that we have no reason to be optimistic about Y2K. Not that there are not items about which we can be optimistic, but that there is no reason to be optimistic (ie, "pollyanna") about Y2K.

Therefore, this is one of those very few instances in life where we need to insist on the polarization between two essentially opposed views and not muddle it up by mixing uncertainty about consequences (what will happen) with the logic of what we know today (Y2K is, as of now, already a known disaster-of-a-process).

There really is no middle logical ground, though, sure, there are all sorts of preparation decisions we make based on our estimate of the consequences. As you point out. BUT PREPARATION DECISIONS AND PREDICTIONS ARE SEPARATE FROM THE LOGIC OF THE FACTS AS OF 'TODAY'.

The reason this is not mere semantics is that the colossal psychic and political denial around us mocks that position and puts lives at risk. For every "Milne" (used here as a type, not an individual), there are hundreds or thousands of actual pollyannas (that is, in the real world) who are basing decisions or non-decisions this year on their assumptions about so-called facts.

But, again, ad nauseam, the facts, taken as a group, are horrible. You're the one who has anticipated (didn't predict, I know, but anticipated) 1,000 Bhopals as a possibility. That one was beyond me! Horrible.

You are a doombrooder who thinks it is intellectually shallow to so categorize (???) but, Flint, it isn't. It's vital to keep the debate clear and real when every force in the world wants to smudge it into vagueness.

-- BigDog (, February 03, 1999.

Big Dog:

Perhaps I'm dense today (bad cold), but I don't accept the logic of polarization. Maybe I just don't understand what you're driving at, though I assure you I'm trying.

My main battle here (and within myself)is against deliberate bias. If I think someone is using the tactics of distortion, I speak up. This applies to many things: careful selection of preferred material, unwarrented inference not supported by what was actually said, juxtaposition of multiple sources to create misrepresentation, quotes taken out of context, generalizations from single bad examples, firm conclusions based on obviously ambiguous source material, wishful thinking artificially cast as rigorous logic, you name it. These are sometimes subtle, sometimes not. (I'm ignoring outright personal attacks here. I'm trying to talk to adults, after all).

It seems to me that your approach, especially in the hands of those less, uh, open minded, is quite dangerous. You need merely look at these attacks on PdJ to see the results: Nobody knows exactly what's on his mind, but everyone is ready to accuse him of all manner of evil anyway.

More than 50 years after WWII, and a German accent still means instant villain in movies and TV. This is what happens when polarization is encouraged. I don't like it.

Also, 1,000 Bhopals might be an exaggeration (I hope!), but I'm not about to drink tap water for several weeks after rollover, whether power goes out here or not. I'd advise you the same. I wouldn't be downwind of a military installation either. Just paranoid, I guess.

-- Flint (, February 03, 1999.

The originator of this post, as well as Peter de Jager, seem to be attributing the apparently smooth sailing in 1999 so far to the fact that Y2K projects are succeeding. I can't buy that line of thinking, since the world as a whole is woefully noncompliant. If North America's good Y2K work has averted catastrophe in early 1999, why aren't we seeing catastrophes in Asia and Latin America? I suppose you could argue that the lack of major events so far indicates the whole Y2K problem was overblown to begin with (a tenuous argument), but I don't think you can argue that it's the result of good Y2K projects.

On the matter of whether or not to prepare, I recommend Sanger's "Is It Rational to Orepare for Y2K?" It's at

-- Bill Byars (, February 03, 1999.

excellent well thought out posts. Easy to see why we are in trouble. Computer experts disagree. What we ALL agree on is no one knows.

Big Dog, hair on you.

-- Rick Reilly (, February 03, 1999.

Flint --- I'm all for resisting bias and we're all subject to being misled by our own, of course. I'm actually arguing that the polarization in this case is rational and founded on the reality of the situation. That is, there is no true middle ground at this time. However, let's drop it, I don't have an axe to grind, you see :-)

-- BigDog (, February 03, 1999.

I have read the comments on de Jager with interest. Please forgive me as I am computer literate but hardly well versed in the field.

I am however in the energy field and have researched Y2K extensively over the last six months. What prompted my interest was the fact that our company(a very large energy supplier) was, and still is telling customers that we are Y2K "ready". If fact at a meeting six months ago, a VP of Operations made this statement and then turn to some attendees and asked what Y2K was AMAZING. We had made no assessment, no plans, not even one back-up generator.

But I digress, I was concrned about Mr. de Jager because in a recent article he not only seemed to have drastically changed his views, but his stand on the social impart of Y2K was more than a little ill defined.

I believe that for a number of reasons Y2K will have a significant impact on societies worldwide. The inter-related aspects of the problem make the compliance of industry worldwide a problem. The fact that the problem carries over to imbedded chips presents(at least to me)problems equal to any in the software area.

I have watched as extremist have predicted Armagedon and stock brokers have dismissed it totally. I think that by any objective measure something pretty serious may very well happen. It may be partly from events and partly a self fulfilling prophesy. I have no doubt that the economic impact will be every bit as severe as the events themselves.

These events COULD have severe ramifications on our civi liberties and economic welfare. Peter de Jager is by all accounts a respected authority on this subject. When it appears as though he has done a 180 degree turn on the issue it raises concerns from those of us trying to get some objective view of the problems. It would certainly help if he would pick some forum to more clearly deliniate he reasons for the change. Anyway I am still preparin

-- Terry (, February 04, 1999.

But wait!

Peter de Jager now says he was quoted out of context in the article in which he is supposed to have said that Y2K as a technical problem has been solved.

Gary North has put Peter de Jager's clarification on his Web site, and Gary presents it with no spin. Here's the link...


-- Kevin (, February 04, 1999.

Quoth he "A great heartfelt AARRGH"

I agree. The "clarification" simply moves PdJ somewhat further to the (right?) on the spectrum (increasing, left to right, 0-10). I have a small problem with teh statement that the overall human reaction poses more threat than the bugs to society. He is quite probably correct about the lack of need for re-statements, etc. ad nauseum. But the overall human reaction line still sticks halfway down. I can make a case for it if we lump ALL reactions, Polly, DB (tm), and every other one (.gov, .alphabet, etc.) together, but it still bothers me.

Particularly with the unsupported faith in the utilities, as contrasted to the "experts" in the utility game (Cowles < sp>, Lord, etc.).

Nope, still tastes more like vinegar than wine.


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 04, 1999.

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