Sort of Responding to de Jager : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I glanced at de Jager's article and do not agree. If you expect problems (and we all should make up our own mind), I suggest 3 months as an absolute minimum.

As someone in the thread below said, you could burn up 2-3 weeks just avoiding the pre-Y2K panic.

My concern, and if I remember, I'll bore those who read the WRPs with more detail, is that the Enterprise systems work still isn't done. It was supposed to have been finished on December 31, 1998 and it's not done yet.

Here are some touch-stones. Programmer rates have not broken automatic transmission or HVAC mechanic rates. Two years ago, I grabbed 2 sets of NOMAD manuals from a dumpster. These are still in my basement. NOMAD was a very popular mainframe DBMS in the late 1970's and 1980's. My geekvine contacts tell me that Fortune 50 companies are still thinking about, maybe, doing an evaluation, sometime, perhaps.

I'm generally an optimistic person but as a hands on programmer who works on mainframes (OS/390, MVS on my home mainframe, VM/CMS on my XT/370), I don't see how we avoid a situation where most of the large corporations experience major failures in their applications systems.

I don't pretend to know that these failures will absolutely, certainly lead to Tea-Oh-Wacky but it could. I don't know how long it will last, whatever 'it' is.

Know this. There will be large systems failing. This will happen to lots of companies (and government entities too, they're not immune.) It is not possible to fix or bypass these in 3, 6 hours. The problems will persist for weeks or months. In some cases, the organization will fail before the system is repaired.

Whether this leads to societal chaos, hyper inflation, or simply a situation where nubile slim blondes serve donuts to geeks, I don't know. I don't have a clue.

Something odd is about to happen. I hope we can all be kind to each other through it, kind even to the denial butt-heads.

I'm still looking for a sound technical pollyanna article to run in a future WRP.

-- cory (duh) (, April 16, 1999



While your position is understandable, I remain a believer in "trust, but verify."

It's very interesting that an unspecified number of unnamed geeks have allegedly told you that an unstated number of large unnamed corporations are not getting the work done. There may even be some on this forum who will use this as 'evidence' of Bad Things to come.

But how do the rest of us do the verification?

-- Flint (, April 16, 1999.

Flint -- You know we've all been over this ground endlessly. Most of us (not all, most) take at reasonable face value what people on this forum at least claim to know first-hand, providing their bona fides seem to check out over time. That includes Cory and other "pessimists", it includes you, Davis, Hoffmeister, Maria. "First-hand" also includes our estimate of their reports of what others have said. If you don't believe Cory, cool. Let it go. He has already stated numberless times why he can't say "who".

Zog's point on the GM thread is at least as pertinent: if GM can say good and reasonably precise stuff about what they're doing (which we all accept and cheer), why not Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, VW, Mercedes Benz and the rest of the Fortune 1000 in hosts of different industries? Yes,I can imagine reasons (we've gone around that barn endlessly too), but it's at least as pertinent, I repeat.

-- BigDog (, April 16, 1999.

Big Dog:

I trust Cory OK. But as time wears on, these rumors start to lose their flavor. What he's saying seems to be contrary to everything I'm reading. Now, Cory might be right and everyone else is overstating their progress (most likely they are).

But it might be nice to know at least *why* some very large corporations have made the deliberate decision to suffer big problems unnecessarily, don't you think? Otherwise, this seems passing strange.

Oh, incidentally, I heard from a couple of *my* contacts that Toyota is well ahead of GM in their full-up testing. But it isn't the Japanese way to air their problems. They'd prefer to continue to appear unaffected and efficient, like nothing ever happened.

-- Flint (, April 16, 1999.

I was thinking about Hoff's Pollyana response to Cory many posts below while reading Cory's. It occurs to me that many of the tech heads here (Flint, Davis, Hoff and me) often presume (at least in our posts) that the coding environment in a large shop is a homogeneous and cohesive whole. Its not! I once consulted at a large corp that specializes in a certain metal lighter than steel and used in airplanes. (Think real hard now!) While doing my SWAT code thing to fix an engineering app, I also had to talk to the financial code group. Turned out that they knew absolutely zip about a problem with a major database they both shared. I ended up fixing both sides of the street after a few months. Point is - in a large corp there are essentially several separate programming entities. If you ask about Y2K, you may well get different answers depending on where your "source" works. Few people in any given big shop have a good view of the total picture. Worth keeping in mind. Sometimes this means the "outside" people have a better view as consultants because they hop from one project to another within the same company. Its one reason I respect the opinion of Yourdon.

-- RD. ->H (, April 16, 1999.

RD is right. And imagine the horrific force of the points he makes (right/left hand unawareness) when applied to the Federal Gov't...

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), April 16, 1999.

The left hand right hand analogy with the Federal government, unfortunately is true. My agency just started a new PERDIEMATIZING system to prepare travel orders and travel vouchers for official travel. What used to take 20 minutes to write longhand not takes an hour or two. You put in an entry, wait 5 minutes, put in another wait 5 minutes, respond to something it asks for then reenter what you just put in. This thing makes a 286 look advanced. Sometimes it locks up and you cancel and start over. Checks are direct deposit, this thing is slower than molasses and we are going the wrong direction. They should be converting from these screw ups to paper not going to a worse system.

-- Moe (3 stooges@slow.comp), April 16, 1999.

My client last night, BIg 5 Consulting firm, err Big 3 Accounting firm, err you pick.

"There are hundreds of firms we're doimng business with that have each literally thousands of Y2K issues and they are all going along blithely like it doesn't matter"

"Health cars is TOAST!! There are the biomedical issues and then there are the tracking and billing issues. The Large HMO's have home grown almost all of their membership and claims and they ALL have HUGE Y2K issues lists."




-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 17, 1999.

Verification, smerification! Who needs it, at this point? Something wicked this way comes,to a town near you.

The odds are that something will impact on your life or that of a relative or friend during your lifetime. Be it a tornado, flood, hurricane, earthquake,tidal wave, forest fire, storms, Y2k or even war or acts of terrorism.

How smart it is to be prepared. If you don't need it maybe someone you know will!

-- sue (, April 17, 1999.

flint, you know very well that if cory names names in public, the lawyers for those companies will immediately have him in court when he and several other respectable geeks say the same thing, shouldn't that at least make you take pause? you don't have to believe him, just entertain a reasonable doubt. cory does not want to be stupid and be the victim of multiple lawsuits. you may be smart about other stuff, but where is your common sense on this point?

-- jocelyne slough (, April 17, 1999.


I trust Cory. I believe work isn't being done. I understand why he can't name any names. I know Cory is doing his best to pass on impressions he's gleaned from his contacts, and that's all he can do.

But I remain frustrated. Should I sell my stock in anonymous inc? Should journalists start investigating anonymous inc? Should the SEC start asking pointed questions about why anonymous inc's 10Q statements are faulty? As possible stockholders, should you or I demand an explanation for such irresponsible practices? of whom?

Why is this work not being done?

-- Flint (, April 17, 1999.

Flint, do you honestly have to ask that question? How about 'disconnect' at the CEO level? How about the CEO level simply not understanding the depth of the problem for their company? How about the Jayne Garvey/FAA excuse "my staff never told me". Lets face it, even at this late stage of the game, these are still plausible scenarios.

-- (, April 17, 1999.


That seems very strange. Y2K really has been in the news lately. No CEO of any large business should be unaware of what everyone else is scrambling to accomplish, and what his lawyers are telling him, and unaware of what his CIO is telling him, and unaware of the many thousands of compliance questionnaires he's getting. At this point, we're really talking about a very deliberate, considered decision to risk big problems rather than spend money.

I'm not saying that such fundamentally stupid, shortsighted CEO's don't exist. But I'd sure like to know which ones they are. And so would everyone else, so they won't be left high and dry when the nitwits go broke. That way, the Darwin Days don't last so long and aren't so painful for all of us.

This anonymous rumor stuff is a real disservice this late in the game. If Cory really knows the details, he has lots of ways of getting these details out untraceably. He should do so. A call to Drew Parkhill (from a phone booth, maybe) would do for a start.

-- Flint (, April 17, 1999.

If only that would work. The use of anonymous sources is still mostly taboo in all media sectors, primarily due to liabilty issues. You want to have Cory, through Drew, name names. Somebody will have to be accountable along the way when the lawyers come a' callin.

-- Bumble Bee (, April 17, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ