Outatime:Hamasaki 31AUG98

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http://x5.dejanews.com/getdoc.xp?AN=386392260&CONTEXT=904659605.212992038&hitnum=282 Email: kiyoinc@ibm.XOUT.net Date: 1998/08/31 Forums: comp.software.year-2000

On Mon, 31 Aug 1998 01:40:06, karinoliver@my-dejanews.com wrote: > I've read and heard experts in a variety of fields. The most convincing > thing for me was the three hour panel discussion on C-Span, with featured > speakers: deJager, computer consultant; Senator Bennett, chair of the > Congressional committee on Y2K; Yardeni, Chief Economist, Deutsche Morgan > Grenfell; Simpson, President, Communications Links; Bruce F. Webster, Chief > Technical Officer, Object Systems Group; Howard Rubin, Founder and CEO, Rubin > Systems Inc.; Keith Alan Rhodes, Office of Chief Scientist, US Government > Accounting Office; Arnaud de Borchgrave, Senior Advisor, IT/IW/IA, and > Director, Global Organized Crime Project, CSIS; Bradley Belt, Vice-President > for International Finance and Economic Policy, CSIS. Every single one of > them had different focal points, yet at one point (or several) in their > speeches, each of them said basically the same thing. This is really bad, > but we need to stick it out and fix this, whatever you do, don't run for the > hills. When the "experts" are making speeches with a year and a half to go > (This discussion took place on June 2) and they all say Don't Head For The > Hills, that says to me that they're really, really scared.

Karin, those are not experts in enterprise systems internals.

You are correct, they do know about Y2K from their different perspectives and yes, when people start screaming hystericly, "NOBODY PANIC, NOTHING TO FEAR." That's the clue to run for the exit and knock everyone in your path over.

About two years ago, I surveyed a group of enterprise systems experts, these included people with advanced degrees in computer science, most had decades working on large complex systems, a couple have written and deployed products. Most of them have more substantive experience than I do, some I have worked with, one taught a course I took in graduate school.

The consensus two years ago was that this was an unsolvable problem... one fellow's comment was, he'd been thinking about putting a team together of real-tough-boys and making a whole lot of money but he changed his mind when he realized that at the end, he'd have to change his name, get plastic surgery, and move to Tahiti.... because he couldn't fix the systems in time, the systems would break, and they'd send a goon squad to hunt him down.

Private note to Shmuel: Vg jnf Pu*aavat, gur nhgube bs Cevingr Vaqrk Svyrf, n jubyr cvyr bs F/370 nffrzoyl ynathntr.

This was two years ago, with three and a half years to go and before we knew about credit card expiration dates or the Jo Anne Effect. With three and a half years to crank code, the *real* experts, told me - game over, man; can't be done.

Some of them laughed at me for suggesting that we attempt to work on the code, futile, useless, waste of time, shoveling water up hill, they'd have to pay $1,000/hour (this was when $50/hour was good money.)

I'm an optimist... or a fool; all of last year, I thought there was a chance of getting enough of the systems fixed, maybe I thought, if I raised awareness among the code-heads, maybe if I told funny stories, got them to focus on the bucks, maybe they'll get the buzz going.

It didn't work. Sure, some geeks bailed for bucks, made a little more money... like twice as much as before but most corporations are still in hard core denial.

At this moment in time, the work has actually slowed down (this is based on insider information at a few firms and might not extrapolate to the industry in general... but I'd bet money on it.) The reasons are complex. The implications are disheartening.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of sides to this business and while some small parts will be OK but the sum of it all is a bigger mess than most people can realize. If you want to read a good article, the current issue of Money magazine has the most incredible, confused, yammering on Y2K I've ever seen. This will put every thing into perspective for you, it's an excellent example of why some people shouldn't try to think. I would love to see some evidence that we'll be OK. What I have seen is that the claims of the clueless are getting better. Each time the Inspector General nabs some organization falsifying their progress reports... and this has happened twice, the DoD and the FAA were both caught with their pan... uh, hand in the cookie jar. Each time, the rest of the industry says, uh-oh, I'd better come up with a better story. Over the next few months we'll have some truly wonderful stories, you'll see the Ministry of Truth at work.

> No, they're not saying HOW bad they think it will be. Would you? Yes, there > is a chance that mission critical systems can be fixed. But I am not in a > position to do anything to fix anything computer wise. Therefore, I'm looking > after my own butt.

No, there is no chance that the mission critical systems will be fixed. The game is over. We're out of time. ...

Which isn't to say that there aren't things that we can do. There's lots that can be done but it'll take magicians to pull it off. The B-team can't do it. There are still options, options for enterprises, governments, cities, towns, and individuals. If you know in advance what's about to happen, if you have perfect prescience, you can make a big difference with a small amount of effort. The trick is to know ... to know your resources, risks, options, and adversary.

I failed to motivate the geeks to bail for the bucks. I over estimated the intelligence of the idiots in the corner offices, the press, and the leadership in general. I expected them to take up Y2K as a cause more than a year ago.

I underestimated the amount of denial and the ability of people to deceive themselves. There are 487 days left, we've seen public displays of '00' failures such as credit card and ATM expiration dates (which shouldn't have happened.). The Jo Anne Effect is well understood; you've seen sample code segments, we've had multiple reports of... oh yeah, I saw a problem just like that, cost my employer millions of dollars. Tell me you're not scared? Your employer craters out... hey, not a problem... I'll just, well, -harumph-, I'll do something...

..and about the code segments, raise your hands, how many of you read the COBOL source that DD published and missed the coding error? How many of you read Perk's question and DD's clarification and thought... if DD, pendant of pendants, made a coding error ... and tens of thousands of people read it and only Perk questioned it... maybe, just maybe, this is ... what we call in the police business, a CLUE?

cory hamasaki 487 days...

-- Mitchell Barnes (spanda@inreach.com), September 01, 1998

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