Is the Y2K problem licked? High-profile gurus disagreegreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Is the Y2K problem licked? High-profile gurus disagree
By DAVID HAYES and FINN BULLERS - Columnist Date: 03/19/99 22:15
Chicken Little is dead, says the computer programmer who first told the world the sky would fall in the Year 2000.
But reports of his death may be greatly exaggerated, according to two other Y2K watchers.
With 286 days to go until Jan. 1, we went to those three Y2K heavyweights this week to see if they think it's time to eulogize Chicken Little, the fairy tale metaphor for Y2K alarmism.
Yes, says Canadian Peter de Jager, the programmer widely recognized as being the first to bring the Y2K problem to the public eye.
"We've overcome the largest Y2K hurdle," he writes in his latest essay, "Doomsday Avoided," which is posted at his Web site at www.year2000.com. The problem was never the actual fixing of code, he says, but inaction and denial.
In the beginning, there was not enough momentum building for de Jager to be certain that if he stopped ringing the alarm bell, the message would be heard.
So he rang the bell loudly: Planes falling from the sky, pacemakers stopping, fire trucks that wouldn't start and ATMs refusing to spit out cash.
Since then, de Jager has stopped worrying about banks, an industry that is all too aware of how it depends on technology. For the record, his money will stay in the banks.
"Anyone who is suggesting we take all our money out of the bank is deliberately attempting to bring about a run on the bank and can only be classified by any reasonable person as an enemy of the state," de Jager said in an interview this week.
Telecommunications? They have problems, but nothing huge. "Dial tone is secure," he said. "But don't expect your bills on time. Any complaints?"
Power? De Jager said reports still are "wishy washy, confusing and misleading." The truth may be hidden behind the lawyers who don't want to release good information for fear it may be read by the public as an absolute guarantee of service, he said.
As for survivalists storing a year's supply of food in a rural bunker, "It gives them something to do," de Jager said. "It's a hobby."
Have we solved Y2K? "No, not entirely," said de Jager, who is planning for a two- to three-week business disruption in January. "But we have avoided the doomsday scenarios."
As assurance, he'll be on a trans-Atlantic flight at the stroke of midnight, cruising comfortably at 32,000 feet on his way from Chicago to London.
Others are not ready to board that plane, including Edward Yardeni, chief economist with Deutsche Bank Securities in New York. He has become the highest-profile economic talking head on the Y2K issue.
A California paper this week reported that Yardeni had become a Y2K optimist, but Yardeni said the paper got the story wrong, misinterpreting information he sent them. The report said Yardeni had revised his predictions for a worldwide Y2K-caused recession downward from 70 percent to 45 percent.
Not so, he said this week.
After the story was broadcast on wire services, Yardeni's comments set off a Y2K firestorm on the Internet. It was big news if Dr. Ed thought things were that much better.
"This thing got all hyped up in the (online) discussion groups," Yardeni said.
For the record, Yardeni said, his projections for 2000 haven't changed. He still believes there's a 70 percent chance of a Y2K-caused global recession that will last about 12 months. The recession will cause a 3 percent drop in the gross domestic product, the value of all economic output.
Yardeni believes big overseas Y2K problems, coupled with problems in the United States, will spark a recession as severe as the recession that brought high unemployment and inflation rates in 1973 and 1974.
"Don't assume that just because Y2K is a widely recognized problem, it's going to be solved," Yardeni said.
What does it all mean? "The good times we are enjoying right now could hit a brick wall starting later this year," Yardeni said. "The vast majority of people will keep their jobs, but consumer confidence will be down, and the stock market could be down."
However, Yardeni said too much attention was being paid to personalities instead of the problem: "Y2K is the story. Not me or de Jager or anyone else."
Ed Yourdon, a computer guru in New Mexico and author of Time Bomb 2000, places little confidence in the computer industry. Big software projects such as Y2K fixes notoriously run behind schedule, go over budget and are full of bugs, he says.
He is predicting a year of disruptions and a decade of depression at his Web site -- www.yourdon.com. He worries that 50 percent of small companies will wait and see what goes wrong on Jan. 1 before making fixes.
"Even if you take the most optimistic assumption that 100 percent of the big companies will fix 100 percent of their Y2K projects on time and without bugs, I don't see how we can escape the impact of non-compliance on the part of little companies, little towns and little countries," Yourdon said.
-- Norm (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 21, 1999
"What The Experts Think":
-- Linkmeister (email@example.com), March 21, 1999.
For the further edification of all Newbies, Norm strongly believes in storing survival supplies for any coming disaster. In fact, Norm is so prepared.
-- Puddintame (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 21, 1999.
"I'm one of those fellows who has always (well, almost) been prepared for emergencies, loss of power, no food, etc. So, please don't lecture me." Norm on survivalism.
-- Puddintame (email@example.com), March 21, 1999.
Read the data. Think about it. Ask yourself simple questions. Who is done? Who is testing? Who just started? What deadlines were set and missed? ........What if I guess wrong?
-- RD. ->H (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 21, 1999.
NO! I will tell all of you, the same thing I have told my parents. WE can not repair, in 3 years, what took 40 years to build.
-- SCOTTY (BLehman202@aol.com), March 21, 1999.
Yes, Norm thinks it wise to prepare. For him; not you.
-- KoFE (Your@town.USA), March 21, 1999.
GO NORM!! Lets hear it for both sides of the story, maybe you have a future in politics!!! NO PROBLEM, even if Europe, Japan, Russia, and the whole third world fall, hey CCCP is no more and there is NO PROBLEM!!!! GET A GRIP.
-- NORM*2 (DGI@Yourden.com), March 21, 1999.
Just because Norm annoys so many in the GI Cult, ya gotta love him. Besides, what can you criticise about this post? It seems to present comments from both sides of the issue? What could be wrong with that? ...unless you don't like both sides represented - unless you're a GI...
-- Y2K Pro (email@example.com), March 21, 1999.
In May 1998 I bought a copy of Peter de Jager's book "Managing 00: Surviving the Year 2000 Computer Crisis". Here's something from chapter five, pages 79-80 that I still find relevant:
[Capers] Jones also validates our estimation that an enterprise starting in 1997 is likely to get through only about 80 percent of its applications; if it waits until 1999, only 30 percent. And even conceding that only 30 percent of the applications may be critical to the business of the enterprise, that 30 percent is probably attached by data to another 40 percent of the other applications that won't make the transition in time. At best, the organization will be crippled; at worst, it will no longer exist.
-- Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 21, 1999.
Let's keep it spinning.
-- topper (email@example.com), March 22, 1999.
dick mills, who writes about power on westergaard site, has recently got MORE pessimistic about power.
-- jocelyne slough (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 22, 1999.