"Reality will prevail" email to Gary North

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

GN has an interesting email from a programmer posted on his site.


It seems the Marketing/PR depts. routinely ignore what the programmers/product development folks have to say. And in the end, upper mgt. cashes in while the code-heads get screwed. Gee, I wonder if anything like this is happening right now re: Y2K projects?

Pay attention to the last line: "Reality will prevail." The B.S. and denial can't continue forever.

-- rick blaine (y2kazoo@hotmail.com), June 15, 1999


Or, as software engineering guru Tom DeMarco used to say, "Reality holds the trump card."

-- oldpro (still@work.com), June 15, 1999.

Which is exactly why Gary is going to wind up with egg all over his face. Does anyone besides Gary and Andy still believe in a 10?

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), June 15, 1999.

Can anybody guess what that product was? C'mon guys! Plenty of clues.



-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), June 15, 1999.

Which is exactly why Gary is going to wind up with egg all over his face. Does anyone besides Gary and Andy still believe in a 10?

Nice try at side-stepping the issues and focusing on persons.

Don't take the bait, folks. Don't take the bait.

-- Lane Core Jr. (elcore@sgi.net), June 15, 1999.

"The bad news never went up the chain, and the people at the top never came down to see for themselves that the good news was accurate. "

Actually, that sounds like most people's perception of y2k generally. They simply don't want to hear bad news.

It reminds me of someone who finds a lump, but puts off going to the doctor for fear that it might be bad news, thereby allowing the tumor time to grow beyond the treatable stage. A benign growth becomes malignant. Reality does eventually prevail.

-- it's (all@so.depressing), June 15, 1999.

K Joe Boivin. Ranking of problem: June 1998- 9.5. August 1998- 9.6. October 1998- 9.7. December 1998- 9.8. January 1999- 9.9. February 1999- 9.9. March 1999- 10.0. April 1999- 10.0. May 1999- 10.0. June 1999- 10.0. Canadian, Year 2000 banking and management expert. Former Director of Year 2000 program for Canada's second largest bank (CIBC). President of the Global Millennium Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan, organization committed to developing national and global level solutions to the Year 2000 technological crisis. http://www.globalmf.org [Click here for statement from Joe]

-- Nadine Zint (nadine@hillsboro.net), June 15, 1999.

"If need be, we can run the trains on peanut oil" - Paul Davis

"The chances of TEOTWAWKI are about the same as every electron on the universe suddenly converging into one point" - Paul Davis

-- a (a@a.a), June 15, 1999.

it's, yep, ppl put off checking out the lumps, AND often Drs say "No big deal, it's nothing, ignore it." Yeah, right. Lumps and bumps are not normal and it's best to eradicate them immediately.

Had a painful lump on shin, Dr 3x brushed it off, finally I said, "Look, refer me to a specialist TODAY." Ya gotta push the "experts" to do what's right! Dermatologist said, "Whoa, gonna take that off right now." Tumor all right. Duh. And I'm a cancer specialist! Working the Cancer Care unit at a university hospital! The Dr who pooh-poohed it didn't even blink in apology or "gee ..."

Self-reliance, self-reliance is the key and lesson here.

A bump in the road ... with systemic malignant cancer silently devouring the underlying innards ... kills fast, shuts down the vital organs, agressive bump in the road with intractable roots: the bump is just the tip of the iceberg: that's Y2K.

xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), June 15, 1999.

Paul, at least Gary will have eggs to eat.

-- The Reaper (truth@allcosts.now), June 15, 1999.

"The chances of TEOTWAWKI are about the same as every electron on the universe suddenly converging into one point".

That is the single most ridiculous statement I have ever heard. I honestly have a hard time believing ANYONE would ever concieve that thought and THEN let it out! Is this guy sane?

-- MidwestMike_ (midwestmike_@hotmail.com), June 15, 1999.

Yes, Paul, I am more convinced than ever that 10 or higher is possible. Not necessarily probable, but certainly not the miniscule probability that you might believe.

The tone of your post implies that those of us who "still" believe that Y2K is going to be a huge disaster are somehow ignorant of some Big Change that should have swayed us into believing otherwise. The reality is that nothing has changed, except one thing: time. It is now mid-1999, and all we have in the way of "good news" is the same public relations type assurances that things will somehow work out just fine. (At least here in the good ol' U.S. of A.; somehow with a straight face some people can believe that Y2K problems can cause the rest of the world to plummet with nary a problem here.)

We are days away from the much ballyhooed June 30 deadline ("leaving a full year ... oops, make that half a year ... for testing!"). It will be missed, a new one will be assigned, and life will seemingly go on.

But reality does indeed hold the trump card. The clock continues to march forward. This game will end.


-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), June 15, 1999.

"I don't know what you been TOLD? Polly spin is gettin' OLD! SOUND OFF

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), June 15, 1999.

Well, I know for a fact, that the s/w development scenario described has played out in Silicon Valley, over and over again, in several companies I've worked for or friends have worked for.

Upper management usually marches to a different drummer... it is well known.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), June 15, 1999.

Oh shoot Paul...I was reasonably optimistic about the outcome of y2k......now however, you have got me worried about all the electrons converging in one place.....how the heck am I supposed to prepare for that......

I wonder if buying a couple of extra cans of Spam will do the trick...

-- Craig (craig@ccinet.ab.ca), June 15, 1999.

Ever wonder why the comic strip "Dilbert" is so popular? Because Scott Adams gets all kinds of ides from "cubies" in adddition to those resulting from his own finely honed powers of observation and analysis. It is REAL. Reality is real; existence exists, A is A.

-- A (A@AisA.com), June 15, 1999.

Right A, and this is why no one trusts the machines the way some on this thread think they do. (WoW - what alliteration :) ) This is why backups exist, and people pay through the nose for backup software and disaster recovery software and archive software. It is all so you can go back and recover the data after the machines quit. They don't spend all that money just to let techs have neat little tape changer robots to play with. (and they are fun!)

About the '10' thing - we really do have real numbers about the embedded problem now. TEOTWAWKI ain't gonna happen. The embedded problem is much smaller than the late 97/early 98 estimates. Even if you take Cory and Ed at their word regarding mainframe remediation, without immense embedded problems, you can't possibly have TEOLAWKI.

And even Ed, in that famous and much repeated and deleted piece that got planted on every thread over here for a while, stated that the small number of problems on 4/1 showed a probable impact of Y2K much less than formerly thought.

So I think some folks need to adjust their numbers to reflect the current situation.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), June 15, 1999.

You are too late, Pauly-anna. Gary North's latest post at www.garynorth.com (as of this posting) just declared the most imbecelic piece ever. Sorry, if North had seen this thread, he might have at least offered you a sharing of the award.

Look, genius, the only thing that we know about embedded chips is that we don't know how they are going to react come Jan 1 BECAUSE THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO LOCATE/CHECK/REPLACE. It is a big, open ended question. to say that "not many problems found so far" is meaningless, since only a few % were actually EVER in danger of failing. But WHICH few %? Nobody knows.

As far as the systems that we DO have a good handle on, the IT systems, again its a matter of faith. Its June 15, are the banks ready today? The power companies? If you believe self-reported assessments, then NO -- but, of course, they are very close (9_%), and will make it on time. Bull hockey.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.com), June 15, 1999.

Belief in the context of Y2K is folly.

We're all guessing -- some guessing a 1, some guessing a 10, most guessing somewhere in between.

And then there are those who are hoping -- some that "they" will fix it in time, some that nothing serious will happen, some that "it won't be too bad, we can get through it", and apparently some are even hoping for TEOTWAWKI.

Circumstances vary. Personal idiosyncrasies abound. Not much, if anything, is known for sure.

So it appears to me.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), June 15, 1999.

You know what is really absurd about all the polly/doomer brohaha? The false belief that "one size fits all".

On another thread some polly used the phrase that "utilities would not go down for an extended time", with of course no definition of what the phrase extended time means. Loss of power in Louisiana for 2 days, might not mean much, and that would not be an extended time. The same two days in Fargo, N.D. with a wind chill of -20 F. equals frozen and broken water pipes all over the place, that would be an extended period of time. People that are in good health can stand a little inconvience of lack of heat, somebody in their 80's that is frail, the same stress might kill them.

I know it is politically incorrect to think of people as individuals with differing needs, this goes against the concept of the soviet or socialist man. However reality will prevail. Different people have different needs. A few points off the GNP will be only rough sledding for most people. For others it might mean the failure of their business which would be the ruination of their life's assets, decades of work, and pension plans. That would be the end of their world as they know it.

So let's not be so glib about minor BITR or acceptable casualties. These are people's lives we are taking about.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), June 15, 1999.

The majority of the >20 companies (all sizes of companies, too) I have worked for had this about them: after 2-6 weeks there, it appeared a miracle that they were able to stay in business at all. At practically all of them, hierarchical position and knowledge of what was really going on were almost perfectly inversely proportional. Put me down for a 9.5+.

my Y2K website: www.y2ksafeminnesota.com

-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), June 15, 1999.


Good point. Of course reality will prevail, and reality is grim for many people all the time. "Acceptable casualties" does beg for a definition. We 'accept' 40,000+ traffic deaths a year in the US, in the sense that we know this is happening, yet we all continue to drive. The degree of difficulties y2k presents to different organizations is sure to be all over the map, from minor to fatal. Separating out y2k problems from the general noise may not be easy -- companies go out of business at a good clip, foulups have always been pretty common, power failures happen (remember the ice storm), parts keep failing, big explosions occur all too often. Reality is an awful long way from perfect.

If you wanted, you could select many thousands of cases of all of these things from any given month, any time during your lifetime so far. And of course, if y2k had happened that particular month, you would have indisputable 'proof' that y2k was a disaster. And if y2k in fact doesn't cause any more than the usual run of misfortune, I predict that many here will do exactly that. And no amount of date on normal statistical variation could change their minds.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), June 15, 1999.

No I don't think it's going to be a 10. But maybe 7. Doesn't matter to me what it's going to be, or not be. I only follow Murphy's Law, that anything that can go wrong will. This week has proved it for me. I ran into a tree and did $1500. worth of damage to my wagon. I got a terrible case of poison ivy, our income tax estimate was due, I've gained five unwanted pounds and my health insurance premium went up again.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), June 15, 1999.

And what do people in the North country do when the power goes out now? I have spent some time with a relative who lives in Eagle River, Wisconsin - and he has backup heat, and always has had backup heat. IOW - what do people do when the power is out now? It does go out, even in the winter, even for a day or two RIGHT NOW! The 'everyone north of Chicago will freeze if the power is out for two days' totally ignores the absolute fact that the power DOES go out during winter storms. THINK, don't just parrot stuff you get from other posts!

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), June 16, 1999.

Flint, Davis, you two guys should be posting at the

"Oil/gas the real problems in y2k" thread.

There are more than 60 answers there. A truly rich thread. How come you haven't said a word? After all, we are only talking about power/energy/fuel, I mean the bloodstream of any economy. You two guys not interested? How come? Doesn't that mean anything??? Don't you two ever think in the harm you are doing by influencing upon those that are trying to make up their minds on whether to prepare or not and how much????

Davis, your thought process is absolutely impaired, so I'll just try to appeal to Flint's confused analytical mind.

Flint, the problem you face is the same that the best computer in the world will face in the event that it's not y2k compliant come year 2000.

Flint, Davis, please post in "Oil/gas the real problems in y2k"

Thank you. Oh, sure, you can also try to convince Anita, Decker and Craig, but for some unknown reason they do not want to post at that thread either. Is it a coincidence based upon your lack of arguments or should we assume that all of you have colluded in a conspiracy?

Thanks again.

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), June 16, 1999.

Eagle River, Wisconsin eh? So how many 10 story apartment houses are in the sprawling metropolis of Eagle River, WI? Do they have wood burning stoves in those 10 story apartments?

Point: of course some people are prepared, always have and always will be. The number of people that live in a rural or suburban location that can heat with wood or have propane tanks in the back yard is a very small percentage.

Taking an isolated case that is statistically small and generalizing it for an entire population is intellectually dishonest.

I'm sure that the 1,374 residents of Eagle River in northern Wisconsin will do a lot better than the people in high rise apartment buildings in downtown Minneapolis if the power fails.

Since you are so full of good news, precisely what should the apartment dwellers of Mpls, Chicago, Detroit, ans other chilly climes do?

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), June 16, 1999.

backups, what a great idea,paul!just like the one's that failed in san francisco,right?

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), June 17, 1999.

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