greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Our Man FLINT,

You asked why I can name companies that are in poor shape.

Everyone else understands, I believe you do too; after all, I don't know who you are.

I might know that XYZ Inc is steaming full tilt towards an Ice Berg but if I know this because I'm paid as a consultant to help XYZ Inc train new programmers in, say, VB, I really shouldn't be running my keyboard about their sorry state.

Maybe one of my students is an escapee from their Y2K project. It i my professional obligation to him and to XYZ Inc to give them the best training and services that I can. I might suggest to them that they pay more attention to their Y2K efforts but if they say, "none of your Bees-Wax." My role ends there.

It would be unethical to sneak around and discredit XYZ Inc, pass tips to Drew (who I have met) or Declan (Fine fellow.)

What is fair is to abstract from what I know and say that there are corporations (Household names, no kidding) that are not where they should be in terms of Y2K remediation.

If and when XYZ Inc bites the big one, in about 8 months or so. I'll be there to help them relight the fuse on their S/390 applications. Maybe we can do it, maybe not. I'll give it my best shot and invoice them a fair rate.

If things are really bad, I'll be on the farm with the Baron and about 10 or so others trying to plug a rabbit with a .22LR target pistol.

Our Man FLINT, check into the nightly Y2K chatroom and ask the hardliners. Sometimes they let corporate names drop.

-- cory in DeeCee (kiyoinc@ibm.XOUT.net), April 17, 1999


Now Cory,. . .you have garnered our interest with this one. What chatroom? The comp.software.year-2000 forum? Something else? If so, URL? :)

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 17, 1999.

OK, Cory, I have some feel for the greed, shortsightedness, territorial battles, and poor communication that goes on in big companies. I can see how this would lead to stuff not being done.

And I suppose if I were pretty sure that XYZ is going to need my help at a time when fair rates are likely to be astronomical, my ethics would prevent me from killing the golden goose too. In that case, it's only ethical to leave the public in the dark.

Like you, I'll just keep working on my preparations.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 17, 1999.

Cory hosts a chat room at:


It usually starts heating up after about 8 central time.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 17, 1999.


Your left-handed compliment reveals *your* concept of ethics.

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), April 17, 1999.

Cory Chat

-- PAM (pam@mill.girl), April 17, 1999.


I understand completey Cory's point of view. I signed an agreement when I was a Project Management Consultant at a Fortune 500 company (the company is so well known that it's a household name). That company is in horrible shape. Can I give the name of the company, No!

The problem is that there is no good infomation on different companies progress. So we must extrapolate from our individual experiencies.

-- Watcher (anon@anon.com), April 17, 1999.

Sorry, here it is.

Cory Chat

-- PAM (pam@mill.girl), April 17, 1999.

You post anon, but yet you can't name the company? HAH!

-- whatever (you@makeme.laugh), April 17, 1999.

Posting anon does NOT shield you, as some of the folks who did so at AOL have found out. Seems that Raytheon, I think, got rightfully torqued by someone posting company confidential stuff in a couple forums on AOL. They got the IP addresses and the names of the posters from AOL. NOT A BAD THING GIVEN THE INFRACTION!!

Here, the posting of this info would/could cause devastation to the corporation in question ref litigation, stock prices etc. I GUARANTEE you that the figleaf of anonymity would be just that, and would be about as useful as a dental floss G-string.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), April 17, 1999.

More cock-n-bull fiction.

Walk to your local library (If you are exceptionaly paranoid, drive to a diffrent town/city). Log on the internet, post under an anon handle (If you are exceptionaly paranoid, use one of the various anonymiser services). Post the facts about all these companies that are going to tank, and why.

Put up or Shut-up.


-- Mutha Nachu (---@givemea.break), April 17, 1999.


For once, we agree, and I believe that folks should do this if it is in the oublic interest, if for example it would prevant a Bhopal or 3 Mile Island (extreme I know...)

Problem is, is the whistelblower just a disgruntled employee, does he/she have a personal grudge against company XYZ, we will never really know.

Until the vapordate.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 18, 1999.


Agreeing with...(gulp)....ME?!?!?!?

I gotta believe that is the Guiness talking, no?

-- Mutha Nachu (---@jawdropper!.com), April 18, 1999.

Who's agreeing with me?

-- Mutha Fukka (mf@oo.oo.oo), April 18, 1999.


You're not ALL bad... and nope, haven't touched a drop for a few days, working for the yankee dollar :)

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 18, 1999.

Going to go with Mutha here. There are about a million ways to truly hide who you are on the net. I am getting really tired of "Well if I told you what I knew...."

-- whatever (you@makeme.laugh), April 18, 1999.

Cory's concern isn't whether it's *possible* to blow the whistle anonymously, but whether it's *ethical*. His conclusion: Not my job, man. And it isn't his job. Kind of like a structural engineer who knows that the bridge contractor is using substandard steel and pocketing the difference. Is it *ethical* to point it out? Cory concludes that the ethical engineer cashes his paycheck and keeps quiet. There will be big money *after* the bridge collapses, so the ethical thing to do is come back later and cash those (much larger) paychecks too.

And how about the people on the bridge when it fails? Cory's solution -- don't drive over any bridges, because he can't ethically tell you which one is bad. I guess this is more of a religious question than an engineering question.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 18, 1999.


Once again you demonstrate your intellectual and ethical superiority to the rest of us on this forum. "We're not WORTHY!!!!"

-- Nabi Davidson (nabi7@yahoo.com), April 18, 1999.

Keep working on it, Nabi. Chip away, a little bit every day. Maybe someday, you'll become as intellectually and ethically superior as I obviously am (grin). Meanwhile, I'll continue to look down from my Olympian heights at you peons and feel smug. After all, if there were a better opinion than mine, I would hold it!

hee hee hee

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 18, 1999.

Flint, the bridge analogy isn't a good one. We're talking about a corporation's back room processing, payroll, accounts payable, quarterly reports, and vendor receivables.

If XYZ is in poor shape, this is not an immediately life threatening situation. Even if I think they will have serious problems, once I raise that issue and they say, we got it knocked, I don't get to second guess my clients.

It is fair to suggest publicly that some percentage of the Fortune 5,000 will have serious IT problems. That is all I can do without harming my clients.

It's not even a golden goose situation. It's their business. Every corporation has officers and board directors who have the responsibility.

Anyway, we will see in about 8-12 months.

-- cory in DeeCee (kiyoinc@ibm.XOUT.net), April 18, 1999.

The bridge analogy not only "isn't good", it is used unethically in the context of a discussion about ethics.


-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), April 19, 1999.

hate to throw salt water in an open wound, but...

from c.s.y2k 4/17:


You're chasing me around the flagpole on this. I left a longer response to you in Big-Eddie Yourdon's Forum.

On Sat, 17 Apr 1999 19:52:22, "Flint" wrote:

So who is "our man Flint" at mindspring.com? I don't know and I don't care to know. I can tell by the clues in your writing that you do/know stuff about process control/embedded/baby computers. Based on that, if you said that the Kitamura Industrial Robot Lathe doesn't have a Y2K problem, I'd tend to believe you. Even though I don't know anything about 4 Axis, 3 phase powered industrial robots.

> Cory, > > I believe you, I think, but pinning down what you're really saying is like > catching greased eels in a mudhole. > > I talked to some of the remediation staff at my company recently (Fortune > 250). And they didn't agree at all (interesting discussion, wish you'd been > there). One felt that we were engaged in overkill, one felt that not enough > was getting really wrung out, and one felt that the effort was appropriate > to the task. It was like talking to the three bears. The overkill guy felt > that the data sets being tested were increasingly unrealistic, while the > not-enough guy complained that we weren't using a full-blown time machine.

So who's right? I vote with mr. not-enough. Know this, I know S/390 as well as any bear out there but possibly not as well as your three bears. I certainly don't know their applications.

You know your three bears, they know their applications. One of the guys is breaking a cold sweat. You don't need me as a point of reference. You have access to all the info you need.

In addition, consider Ed Yardeni's reprint of the ITAA survey. In it, you have a bunch of MIS guys falling into the too much, enough, and not enough camps with a majority of them breaking a major cold sweat.

My position is simply at the 80 percentile level of the MIS heavy hitters. Call it mid-point in the pessimistic third of IT professionals.

InfoMagic would be at 99 percentile and the upper end of pessimistic third.

Unfortunately, I'm right on this, as is Ed Yourdon, Ed Yardeni, Capers Jones, SHMUEL, GregS90210, Francis, Bill Hoyt, Stormy, and the other Big Iron bigots.

These systems evolved over 30-40 years. The last 10-15 years, their maintenance has been neglected. Some corps are too 'right-sized' to even know how much trouble they're in. Pay me now or pay me later. Well, this *is* the later. > So how extensive and representative do you feel your sources are? What kinds > of things aren't being done? I understand the need for anonymity, but as a > practical concern I can't sell anonymous stock or fill the pantry with > anonymous products. I'm sure there are outfits that need help, and I'm sure > there will be plenty of bugs to go around despite any level of testing. Your > rumors confirm this without giving us any useful indication of what we might > be facing or what we might do personally to counteract it. All they do is > exacerbate nameless fears. This is a disservice.

Let's put it this way... Where do the three bears in your story work? What does their systems do? Who is their employer? Why don't I know their names? At least you know mine, my callsign (ah6gi). > We need at this point more than just "Ooooh, I see Bad Omens in the > Heavens".

Talk to your three bears. The answer is there, anonymize it if you must, email it to me and I'll run FLINT's Three Bear Story in a DC Y2K Weather Report, still free to all (but subscriptions welcome.)

cory hamasaki >8 months, http://www.kiyoinc.com/current.html

-- a (a@a.a), April 19, 1999.

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