At the end of my rope : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

For all the DGI's still lurking: something to consider. From Webster's New World (ironic) College Dictionary:

Systemic: (adj.) 1. of a system 2. of or affecting the entire organism or bodily system

Interconnect: 1. to connect or be connected with one another (as in "opposite of stand-alone")

Insidious: (adj) Haven't the Senators and other higher-ups used these words to describe "the upcoming events and how they relate to everyone and everything"?? Just asking, since nobody in my physical realm, in-laws and my own family included, "get it" sister in law, after many proof-related emails: "No, naahhh, I don't believe in that" (as though I were trying to sell her Amw*y). Go figure. I'm stewing.

-- IM (, June 24, 1999


In my stew I forgot the definition of insidious:

Insidious: (adj) 1. characterized by treachery or slyness; crafty; wily. 2. Operating in a slow or not easily apparent manner; more dangerous than seems evident.

-- IM (, June 24, 1999.

Relax. Behind you is a legion of Y2K GIs who have gnashed teeth, torn hair, worn out submit button, eMailed, attended zzzzzzzz meetings, pounded their walls in frustration, and burnt out.

There's too much baggage in today's collective psyche to look at Y2K clearly, calmly, realistically. You're up against a pressurized river of cultural programming that is fanatically determined to "stay the course" without examining the upcoming falls.

Prepare, get some droll relief via this Forum, click thru a few other sites, prepare, pray, relax, enjoy the good times while they last.

It's approaching, there's nothing we can do to hold back the tide, and we'll need reservoirs of energy and humor later. Conserve yourself now and PREPARE to the best of your ability.

Time Will Tell ...

xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, June 24, 1999.

Leska, you say things so beautifully.......

-- lisa (, June 24, 1999.

Thanks, Lisa :-) Actually Ashton has a big say in every post -- we really need to get another iMac, or the Late Laptop, but we don't want to buy any more electronic gizmos until we think the investment is worth it. 2005? Anyway, I've got a severe case of burn-out now and we're pushing to finish our preps, almost there. July 1st is our deadline. Fingerbones tired, brain limp, just wanna go hike in the woods, sit by the streamlets, watch the baby birds learn to peck their own food.

xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (, June 24, 1999.


Give up on them. Strengthen your own position, make sure you are prepared. Given that they won't take responsibility for informing themselves, the best you can do is prepare to help others by making sure you and yours are secure. If you are secure, you are then in a position to potentially help others; if not, you drain others and/or compete with them. So be "selfish," for their sake. I like the model of concentric circles: first yourself; then your family; then your neighborhood; then your town; etc....

Don't worry about whether others "get it." Do you REALLY get it? I get it a little more every day, and I've been preparing for a 10 for over a year. Get strong, mentally and physically. Push yourself, and you will find strength you didn't know you had.

Even if you are alone, there are people out there like you. God is watching over us all. Keep a good heart, settle in for the storm, and keep your powder dry.

Best of luck,


-- dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), June 24, 1999.

I don't know the person that originally posted this,don't even know if they are really a programmer.I do know any of you that are "At the end of your rope"will find this comforting; that you are doing the right thing.Some insights:from a programmer "Thirty-three years ago, I was a young woman right out of high school. I had a newborn baby to support, and no husband. I could not go to college because of the child, and much to my utter shock and surprise, I had just learned that secretaries make only slightly more money than babysitters. I had to find a good job, so I could support myself and my child.

I was seventeen years old.

At that time, the profession of "computer programmer" was a very new thing. It was so new, no one had thought to sex-stereotype it yet. Programmers could be anyone, as long as the person had a high math aptitude and an ability to hold the mind focused on the excruciating logic of assembly language programming. I had a high math aptitude, and I found that I was able to do assembly language programming. More importantly, I found I could get paid a decent wage by doing assembly language programming, and so software became my career for the next thirty years. It was one woman's alternative to becoming a welfare mother.

Now "assembler", as it was called, was one step above machine language programming. Computers are just machines, after all, and all they do is read the logic of a pattern of off and on spots in an array of electric circuits. In the mid-1960's, we programmed for the most part in "assembler", which was a language that grouped ones and zeroes, so it would be easier for us, as people, to understand.

The language was primitive. It had just a few commands. GET. TAB. GOTO. MOVE. OPEN. That kind of thing. If you were programming a computer to make a pot of coffee in Assembler, you might say something like:

IF coffee = Maxwell House AND Maxwell House = Yes OPEN coffee file. ELSE GOTO End. GET coffee pot. MOVE lid eighteen spaces right. GOTO lift arm file. Etc. Etc.

It would take a couple hundred lines of code before you got a pot of coffee out of it.

Now obviously, this was too tedious a language and a procedure to do the kind of programming tasks we came to ask of our programmers, and so "Higher Order Languages" like Fortran and Cobol and Basic and APL and PL1 were developed. These Higher Order Languages did the same thing to Assembler that Assembler did to Machine Language. That is, they grouped together lines of code so that people would be better able to get their heads around what was going on.

So in the Higher Order Language, to make a pot of coffee, you might just say:

OPEN Maxwell House / Folgers / Starbucks MAKE coffee.

And two lines of High Level code would replace two hundred lines of Assembler code, which replaced two thousand lines of Machine Language code.

This was a great advance for the programmers, and allowed people with SAT scores under 700 in Math to become programmers. By the late 1970's, programming had become a job that many people could do, not just a few Nerd Blossoms with Slide Rules.

The market economy went Bananas. Now computers and programming could be used in every industry, in every function, in every business. All the tedious, repetitive tasks could be done by machines, who would do them exactly the same way, over and over again.

All the manual tasks -- LIKE RUNNING THE NATIONAL ELECTRIC POWER GRID -- were taken over by automated, embedded computer chips.

These chips operated on the same logic that encompassed the hundreds of lines of assembler code. In just thirty three years, computer took over all the manual functions of every aspect of the industrial society.

But there wasn't one day when any one company said: Oh, now I'm going to automate my whole operation. No, no. It was a more subtle thing. It was a piece by piece implementation. Today I'll put the Accounts Receivable up. Next year I'll automate the Customer Service department. The year after that I'll put the batch manufacturing on the network. Then when that's done I'm going to add in all the Inventory Control functions and the Supplier Network.

Nobody's system got done all at one time. Each system had some old code and some new code, all mixed in together, like a plate of spaghetti. Programmers came and programmers went. And when a programmer went, the knowledge of what he was thinking in that twenty-two year old Noodle of his, went with him.

The languages and the technology progressed and evolved so quickly --- EVOLVED. That's an interesting choice of a word. Yes. I would have to say the computer networks EVOLVED.

They didn't spring from the womb fully formed.

And because of this, they didn't exactly have a Single Creator.

They were Products of the Committee Process.

And in this Committee-driven Evolution, each new group of young, enthusiastic programmers picked up where the last group left off. Programming languages obsoleted. The programmers who knew them were only a few people. The programmers who followed with the new languages were many more people. The new programmers used the new languages -- which were conglomerations of code that had been built in the old languages. Rollups of the hundreds of lines of assembler language. Soon none of the new programmers knew the underlying code of the old languages, and the logic of the old languages became embedded inside the instruction set and the microchips of the new languages.

Where nobody knew what it was.

And nobody knew how it would act, if it was ever taken out of context.

Thirty-three years ago, when all the new programmers were in their twenties, and computers were a new and exciting toy -- none of us ever believed the year Two Thousand was ever going to come. What twenty-two year old ever imagines she'll one day be fifty five? Bit space was at a premium. Nobody thought they were writing code that would live thirty three years. We knew our solution would not survive the year 2000, but we never imagined it would need to. We thought someone would come up with a better answer before then. I remember the day we sat around the coffee machine laughing at what a stupid solution it was. But who could imagine at that time that computers would take away our ability to live in concert with the rules of Nature? Who would imagine that the national power grid would be run by it, and there would be no manual backup? Who would envision that the people would forget how to grow their food from the land and extract their seeds from the vegetables? Who would believe that our food would be hybrid and we would depend on new supplies in a complex, computer-driven distribution system that could break with the SNAP of two digits?

And who can believe that the Universe will allow its Humanity to survive with that attitude?

We thought somebody else would come up with a better solution, and our code would be obsoleted. In time. We never thought it would live thirty three years.

And indeed, the code didn't live thirty three years -- but the follow-on languages and microchips INCORPORATED the logic of the original assembler. It had to. Computers are driven in their guts by an Array Table. Array Tables are driven by clocks. As the Universe is driven by the clock of the wheel of the year, so also computers are driven by their clock.

The computers needed a means to calculate position. They needed a measure of linear progress. We were young. We were brilliant. We knew the DATE would make a fine progress array table. So we built logic that divides by it.

Clock logic runs computers.

Embedded somewhere in the millions of lines of code in all the computers all over the world, running all the critical functions of our civilized infrastructure -- is system architecture logic code, hidden UNDER the language instructions -- that divides by the date. This is not something just I did -- this is how it was done. We had very little to work with, very few tools. But one of our most powerful tools was a CLOCK. We used Date Calculations to drive the array tables. We subtracted dates, we added dates, we divided by dates. The application doesn't need to be date dependent to have this problem. When you look at your applications, and you say, "Oh, we don't use the date in that function," that is very nice. But it's not the CORE issue. The operating system, in underlying system code, is calling the date for logic arrays. Particularly when you think of Control Systems, you should think of CLOCK as the driving array.

The power generators driven from mainframe technology were built this way. By design, the computers cannot go farther than 99.

CLOCKS are THE critical component of Computer Logic. Just as they are the driver of the Universe, and the Wheel of the Year. And computer logic cannot be written any other way.

And because of the evolution of computer languages and logic, no one knows where the offending code in a massive multi-million line system is, or what it is doing. In fact, few people could ever find it. It has become like salt, dispersed throughout the system, impossible to identify. More billions of dollars have been spent by corporate America trying to fix this problem than was spent on the Vietnam War.

But the problem is systemic, a part of the inherent logic of calculation, and on December Thirty-First, Nineteen Ninety Nine plus one second -- millions of computers are going to take the one action forbidden to computers for all time.

They are going to divide by Zero.

Which will make them go unstable. "Does not compute", said DATA, and the Captain could only unplug him and shake his head.

And even after they fail, few will be able to find, identify, and correct the failure. New systems will have to be put together. And you know what? When you put together the new systems with four characters in for the date -- you will cause this same problem to show up in the year 10,000. For to use the date as a system driver is a requirement for basic logic. When? When? When? When? The computer has to know. Time is Position. Space is Time. WHEN must be known.

Believe me, the year 10,000 is no farther away in our minds today than the year 2,000 was in the minds of the young system programmers of 1968. We were ALL under thirty years old. We were ALMOST all under twenty-five. Younger than Monica. We thought the Sun would burn out before the year 2,000 came. And who in Corporate Management would take the time to understand the minute details of our programming solutions?

It is not a problem that lends itself to be corrected before it happens. But we have become so dependent, in all aspects of our society, on the computing technology, that a system failure like this will destroy us. It is not just that parts of the nation will be out of electricity for a while.

It is that the entire national power grid will come down.

Our grocery stores only carry a few days worth of food.

Our water supply operates from computer systems.

Our businesses will close.

Our banks will shut down.

Our people will panic, and loot, and turn ugly.

You know, it only took four hours for a boat to come to save the people who fell into the water when the Titanic sank. But once the people fall into the water,

And in the end, the people will demand a solution from a government that has no ability to solve the problem. "This is a function to be handled by private industry", the government said before the disaster. Then the disaster came, and the government did what a government does.

It presided over the holocaust, and kept the people contained.

A year before the event, simulated tests that turned the computer date to 1/1/00 in a water supply plant caused the system to inject toxic levels of fluoride into the drinking water. These types of things needed to be looked into by the U.S. Senate. But our leaders chose instead to hold a trial about the President's Sex Life. (Don'tsayitsaboutsexitsnotaboutsex) The disaster was one our leaders should have gotten us ready for. But you know they did not, just as you know the story I'm telling here is Truth. Are the people who Fiddled while Rome burned in the Impeachment trial the ones you expect to turn to when no water comes out of your tap and the lights go out?

In fact, all we can do is follow the bridegroom's advice, and get some extra oil for our lamps.

It wasn't good that we let our whole society become dependent on technology this way. The electric company didn't know HOW to go back to manual methods now. All the people who knew how to operate the plants manually have lost the knowledge. The equipment has been dismantled. There is no option to go back. We shouldn't have lost our knowledges to do things without computers. It was not a good thing for Humanity. It's something that needed to be changed. And if we couldn't see it as a problem, perhaps the Universe received its command to fix it for us."

-- Desertj98 (, June 24, 1999.


Try Piegon Park, I've heard that there are unique creatures there. Even a beast that draws water from the river to share with the land bound, it think it is called Fiord Attractor!

-- Michael (, June 24, 1999.

IM - wow. Thanks for posting, it brought Desert98 out of the woodwork...

-- lisa (, June 24, 1999.

Good Lord! A new Creation/Fall fable about to come to life! Flip the pages fast and the animation will move immediate. Desertj98 jturner, that is just awesome. Lost my lunch, but will save the thread. Please KEEP POSTING!

Just when we think the Forum has squeezed every last drop of speculative sweat out of the Y2K stone, some eloquent out-of-boxer comes and knocks us back into addiction with a left hook.

Michael, it is your gadget-whizzard karma that made us go there ;^)
As a result I'm slightly more deaf and want only to wander in Nature and watch the dust settle from afar. Back to dust goes the techno empire; will have to be remolded from clay pronto presto while any potter is left.

Can civilization be fixed fast enough to prevent irredeemable loss? Desertj98 ?

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx

-- Leska (, June 24, 1999.

As my Grammie used to say...That's a hum-dinger!

-- Will continue (, June 24, 1999.

By the way... if you don't know what assembler code looks like, here's an example:

0101 1001 1111 0001 1001 0001 0001 0000 0000 0001

and that JUST 5 characters!

Try finding a date in that!


-- DJ (, June 24, 1999.

That's binary......that's not Assembler code........a print out from an Assembler program will contain the output you programmed for and a whole bunch of Hexadecimal.

Granted, internally, the machine deals only with 0 and 1 or (On and Off) but I think it's a bit misleading to call binary data Assembler Programming.

-- Craig (, June 24, 1999.

got a green card (circa 1968)?

-- curtis schalek (, June 24, 1999.

MAMA-MIA thatsa spicy meata ball,LADY>DESERT 98 , you are if only millions could see that.who said women are the weaker sex?? not in i,m really freaking,[i,m gonna get flamed 100%] on this one, but for past 4 years, ikeep hearing[in-spirit]2003,you will see, my power.[hey if GOD,s in control of everything]then surely, some good will come out of y2k.GOD help me to be ready,i sure need alot of working on.why do i keep thinking of noah & the ARK.

-- al-d. (CATT@ZIANET.COM), June 24, 1999.

I grade this Desert 98 as a 'F'. The bulk of the information is incorrect.


But the problem is systemic, a part of the inherent logic of calculation, and on December Thirty-First, Nineteen Ninety Nine plus one second -- millions of computers are going to take the one action forbidden to computers for all time.

They are going to divide by Zero.


Not true - you don't divide by dates. Come on, before you turn on autoflame, THINK for once. WHEN did you ever divide 1/1/97 by 1/1/95? There is no reason to try to perform such an operation. And no date is going to be stored as 000000 anyway - the claim is totally bogus. There is no zero month or zero day.


CLOCKS are THE critical component of Computer Logic


Not true - unless you are talking about the MPU clock - which would not know a date if it bit it on the a**. In re this claim - the original IBM PC did not even have a RTC Clock - it only counted time when you set it at first start up. Most people did not bother and just ran in Jan, 1980 all the time.

And so on and so forth - this Desert 98 document is riddled with bad information. So go ahead and flame me - experience has taught me that the majority of the posters on this forum would rather believe bad data that claims doom that search for any kind of truth.

-- Paul Davis (, June 25, 1999.

"The electric company didn't know HOW to go back to manual methods now. All the people who knew how to operate the plants manually have lost the knowledge. The equipment has been dismantled. There is no option to go back. We shouldn't have lost our knowledges to do things without computers."

Gee...if you buy this line of clap trap you may be interested in a bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn. Electric utilities CAN be run manually. Been proven time and time again.

-- slack jawed yokels (, June 25, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ