Top Ten Y2K Myths - Repost : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

My top ten Y2K myths...

10. Traditional software development metrics apply to Y2K remediation. (Based on industry reports and testing, the IT community has kicked backside on remediation during the past two years. Re-write the book, Ed.)

9. Companies are required to report Y2K readiness. (Most American firms are privately held and have no obligation to report any Y2K information including results of Y2K testing).

8. Self-reported data is always false (unless it's bad).

7. Data from third-parties (API, FDIC, NERC) is always false (unless it's bad).

6. All suppliers must be "Y2K ready" for a business to survive. (For every good or service we order, we have at least three competing firms. In most cases, we could have 300.)

5. People who run businesses are idiots (except those who "GI" and have a survival bunker. The converse of this myth--a handful of mostly middle class, mostly white, mostly male posters on TB 2000 are the select few with the insight and intelligence to grasp "the big picture.")

4. If one business fails, there will be a domino effect. (Wrong. Businesses fail every day... and in a recession, many businesses fail. The market provides massive redundancies... and opportunities.)

3. The problem starts on rollover. (As Hoff correctly observed, the huge number system upgrades, replacements, patches, etc. should have created bigger and badder errors. During the past two years, we have demonstrated a strong ability to resolve problems. Oh, and we have shown that computer errors like the CIH virus do not "crash" the entire system.)

2. Everything is interconnected. (A better statement--everything is redundant. If international firms fail, I hope American multinationals grab market share.)

1. There will be no Y2K problems. (Here's one for the "home" team. While the vast majority of news on Y2K has been positive, there are still clear indications of a signficant economic impact.)

Bonus Myth: Everyone concerned about Y2K is a crackpot. (There are toughtful folks genuinely worried about Y2K. Unfortunately, the debate has muddied by the radical fringe... the Fed-haters, gold bugs, conspiracy theorists, isolationists, religious zealots and other folks who think the four riders of the Apocalypse plan on cruising Route 66 next year. Before you scorch me for a gross generalization... this is not a characterization of every pessimist on this forum. The lack of credible authorities on Y2K has made "15 minute" celebrities out of some odd ducks. Personally, I think the Y2K problem deserved better.)

-- Ken Decker (, November 30, 1999"

-- Ken Decker (, March 29, 2000


Mostly true, of course, but why continue beating the obviously dead horse?

-- WhyNot (Move@On?.com), March 29, 2000.

Original Thread

I thought the original thread made for very amusing reading.

-- Ken Decker (, March 29, 2000.

There were other myths about Y2k, too. This article in U.S. News and World Report from June, 1998 had a lot to do with making me understand I needed to follow the news more closely to see if Y2k would be fixed in time.


Business & Technology 6/8/98

Year 2000 time bomb

Prevailing myths deter managers from debugging computers


No one knows for sure how much trouble will occur at the stroke of midnight, Dec. 31, 1999, when computer clocks roll over everywhere. Some fear the worst: More than half of the technology executives polled recently by CIO magazine, for instance, say they will avoid flying commercially on Jan. 1, 2000. Another survey found that 38 percent of information technology industry professionals plan to pull money from banks and investments just before 2000. And near Pierre, S.D., an urban planner named Russ Voorhees is leasing plots for a year 2000 survival colony, guaranteeing electricity and satellite communications to those who fear digital doom when the millennium arrives.

Even if planes don't fall from the sky and banks don't lose people's deposits, experts say we all will experience inconveniences from what is becoming widely recognized as the "year 2000 problem." They predict everything from disrupted travel schedules to more-serious problems, like large-scale power outages or even a global recession. The processing of tax refunds, veterans' benefits, and employee checks could be hampered, government auditors say. Indeed, in some places, the problem is already upon us. One survey found that 44 percent of U.S. companies had already experienced a year 2000 failure--like the grocery in Warren, Mich., whose entire computer system crashed when a cashier tried to swipe a credit card bearing a 2000 expiration date. Even the Pentagon's Global Command Control system--a key communication link during the gulf war--failed a year 2000 readiness test last summer.

As glitches go, the year 2000 computer problem (or, in computerese, the "Y2K" problem) is simple enough. Many of the world's computers cannot recognize a year that begins with "20" instead of the familiar "19" because, to save space, programmers used only the last two digits to refer to a given year. When the millennium arrives, thousands of computers could interpret the year 2000 as the year 1900 and make a mess of daily life.

Fixing the Y2K problem is also simple--in concept. Someone must examine every line of code in every computer, locate the instructions regarding dates, and rewrite them to accept 2000 as a year designation. But despite the rising din of warnings, surveys indicate that too few managers in business and government recognize how little time is left to complete the task. Here's a look at five year 2000 myths that may promote complacency:

MYTH 1: There's plenty of time.

A world conference of Y2K problem managers last year listed this as the foremost "deadly myth" they encounter. Fifteen months later, "this is still being thrown out, especially in local government and health care" agencies, says Dick Lefkon, who has chaired five of the Y2K conferences. The experience of the Social Security Administration shows how naive the "plenty of time" view is. Way back in 1989, an SSA computer crashed as a district office was trying to set up a routine repayment schedule into the next century. That got the agency's attention, and officials started working on a solution. But even with that huge lead, the SSA does not expect to be Y2K compliant until December of this year and has left an entire year for testing.

By comparison, many other agencies have barely finished even an inventory of their systems to determine the size of their problems. The Federal Aviation Administration, which is in charge of nationwide air traffic control, only completed its inventory in March. Despite FAA Y2K czar Ray Long's pledge to fly on a commercial airplane on New Year's Day 2000, government auditors say that "at its current pace, [the FAA] will not make it in time." A congressional subcommittee led by Rep. Stephen Horn found that only nine out of 24 federal departments and agencies were on schedule for fixing their mission- critical systems by Jan. 1, 2000, and five of them--Education, Defense, Transportation, Labor, and State--would not be ready until 2002 or beyond, if their current pace continues.

In the private sector, entire industries are bracing for the worst: A recent International Air Transport Association survey of 44 major airlines shows that only 67 percent expect their systems to be fully Y2K compliant by Oct. 1, 1999. Any slippage would put them right up against the new millennium, with entire systems--from scheduling to maintenance--in jeopardy. "Failure to act decisively could have catastrophic consequences," IATA Director General Pierre Jeanniot has warned.

Among large companies that reported their Y2K progress to the Securities and Exchange Commission, a study shows that only 42 percent have finished inventories of their critical computer systems. And that's just the first step. Companies next must assess the size of their Y2K problem, decide whether to hire outside technicians, and then begin the slow process of repair. It turns out that progress is even slower in small and midsize companies. A National Association of Securities Dealers survey found that 61 percent of small businesses have not yet come up with a Y2K plan.

Late starters are in big trouble because the calendar is immutable and testing can take as long as fixing the software. Moreover, many computers must be tested in tandem with whatever computers they are linked to. It won't matter if Social Security computers are glitchless on Jan. 1, 2000, if the Treasury Department's computers aren't: The Social Security checks still won't get printed.

Many industries, such as the airlines, will actually encounter Y2K problems a year early--on Jan. 1, 1999--because they make reservations or plan business activities a year in advance. And some government and financial institutions will hit the Y2K wall at midyear when their fiscal year 2000 begins. For 44 state governments, that means July 1, 1999, and for the federal government and most other companies, it's Oct. 1, 1999.

Firms only now starting to tackle the Y2K problem should be thinking about triage, says Larry McArthur, president of the Ascent Logic Corp., which does Y2K risk assessments for companies. He notes that the questions should be: Which of our systems are essential to protection of human life and safety? Or to keep a company from going bankrupt? "Enterprises need to look at this from a survival standpoint," McArthur says.

MYTH 2: Someone will find a quick fix soon.

Barry Ingram, senior technology executive at EDS Corp., which is heavily involved in Y2K problem fixing, says that despite obvious signs to the contrary, many managers "are hoping for the miracle to happen." Of course there are, and will be, some fixes for specific software. But there are thousands of programs and reams of software out there. At least 600 different computer languages are in use throughout the world, containing several billion lines of code. Connecticut uses 19 different programming languages in its state-run computers alone. John Rowan, information-technology director for Fulton County, Ga., who has been tackling the Y2K problem for a year, says his mainframes, midrange computer systems, and 3,200 PCs use about 4 million lines of code in six different languages.

It gets worse. Many programs are written in "modular" style, meaning one segment may be written in one language, like COBOL, while the next segment might be in C++. A silver bullet for fixing COBOL would be very helpful in the COBOL segment but useless in the next. And one uncorrected module is like a burned-out bulb in a string of cheap Christmas lights: The whole string goes down.

If that's not enough, a lot of the earlier code that has survived in various forms through the years did not adhere to any standard that could be easily scanned by a fix-it program. The old programmers were as much artists as technicians: They simply created their own style. A programmer might use the name of a girlfriend or daughter as a code word to designate a date field, making it virtually impossible for another technician to tell from the program language which words refer to date fields and which don't. The only answer is for trained technicians to read each line of code and find the critical bugs.

Finally, there are the glitches that may lurk in the estimated 3.3 billion microprocessors in the world that run everything from microwave ovens to hospital equipment to stabilizers on oil tankers. Gartner Group Inc., a Stamford, Conn., consulting firm that has studied the Y2K problem since the late 1980s and supplies data on it to Congress and industry, predicts as many as 50 million microprocessors will experience Y2K-related "anomalies."

MYTH 3: We are throwing enough money and people at the problem to fix it.

The Office of Management and Budget estimates it will take $4.7 billion to debug federal computers--a figure that is up 100 percent from a year ago. GartnerGroup says a realistic estimate for a complete overhaul of federal computers is $30 billion. So while the federal government is indeed "throwing money" at the problem, it may be seriously miscalculating the amount needed. In business, many CEOs resist funding Y2K repair because they view it as nonproductive, says Lefkon, the conference organizer. Lefkon estimates that in one third of nongovernmental organizations, "somebody important still believes that."

But even if enough money were allocated, there aren't enough people-- debuggers and testing specialists who know ancient and varied programming languages--to renovate the billions of lines of code that need repair. Already there are more than 345,000 unfilled openings for technology specialists. That will only get worse as the year 2000 draws nearer and more companies move into the labor-intensive testing phase. To cope, counties like Palm Beach, Fla., have imported workers from overseas, and the U.S. Senate approved a bill last week that would make such importation easier. Y2K "boot camps" are proliferating, where everyone from college kids to single moms gets crash courses in COBOL. The University System of Maryland is offering full-tuition, four-year scholarships to students who receive training and take salaried positions for two years debugging computers for Maryland businesses and agencies. The program's director, Jim Hill, calls this "a GI Bill without the bullets." Meanwhile, companies nationwide are raiding one another's staffs for programmers, who can command up to six-figure salaries.

MYTH 4: With so many new computers out there, surely we can't be vulnerable to a problem created 25 years ago.

Barry Tate, senior manager of industry operations for IATA, says the notion that the Y2K problem applies only to old systems "can give a false sense of security." Indeed, to many people, the Y2K problem sounds like a throwback to the era of punch cards and UNIVAC. And it is true that most systems with a Pentium chip or newer are likely to be Y2K compliant. (Other PCs will require upgrades.) But there remain many huge mainframe computers, some dating back to the 1960s and '70s. Their software was partly written 20 or 30 years ago, and has a way of proliferating. Ingram of EDS Corp. says he got a call from a computer expert about a program Ingram had written in the 1960s. It had turned up in a new program at a completely different company. "So that one program I know has been in existence for 34 to 35 years--and there's a lot of them out there," he said.

Ironically, one reason the Y2K bug has survived is the concept of "backward compatibility," which was introduced in the 1960s to bring order to computer development. IBM and other computer companies, realizing they couldn't expect clients to buy new software every model year, made sure that each new model was largely compatible with earlier programs. That, however, created an environment in which the old Y2K bugs have been able to worm their way--program by program-- into the most modern equipment.

MYTH 5: With luck, it won't affect me.

Not likely. At a recent congressional hearing, Gene Dodaro of the U.S. General Accounting Office warned that "critical services could be severely disrupted." At the Internal Revenue Service, he said, the processing of returns and issuing of refunds could be delayed; the Veterans Administration could fail to make payments for service- related disabilities; and the FAA's glitches could cause "delayed flights, degraded safety, customer inconvenience, and increased airline costs."

Many local governments are in even worse shape than federal agencies. "They haven't really sat down and reflected on the computer's impact on their operations," says Gary Gwyn, president of the International City/County Management Association. "That's naive." Gwyn, city manager of Grand Prairie, Texas, has started fixing a long list of vulnerable systems in his own community that includes traffic lights, emergency communications, water distribution, public records, even data on releasing inmates from jail.

Experts are predicting more trouble in the health sector, as patient billing and insurance records at hospitals or HMOs are vulnerable. Certain kinds of biomedical equipment, including patient-monitoring devices, are also in danger of malfunction. Because many electric utilities have gotten a late start, localized power outages are a threat.

One risk-management executive describes a client he won't name--a Midwestern electric utility--that ran a test for Y2K compliance. When the test clock turned over to the year 2000, a safety system mistakenly detected dangerous operating conditions, and the power generators completely shut down. Programmers worked on the problem for three days, then reran the test. A different sector failed, shutting down the system again. Technicians have yet to fix the problem. The debacle underscored one of the most unsettling aspects of the Y2K bug: Fixing the program that runs one piece of equipment can have disruptive effects on other parts of the system.

A major uncertainty is the impact of Y2K on global financial markets, where $3 trillion changes hands electronically each day. While Asian countries are distracted by economic woes, the Y2K problem has taken a back seat. But if Y2K isn't fixed overseas, cautious trading or delays caused by bad data could cause profit losses across the entire global financial system.

While most large banks, insurance companies, and financial investment companies have spent lavishly to prevent massive Y2K problems, smaller ones may abound. Already some debit machines at checkout counters have rejected credit cards with year 2000 expiration dates; other potential consumer inconveniences include errors in interest calculations, credit charges, and account balances.

In the end, prices of goods and services rise to pay for fixing the bug, for the inevitable failures afterwards, for legal costs and lost productivity. It could add up to a $600 billion problem, says Lou Marcoccio, year 2000 research director at GartnerGroup, and "we're all going to pay that tab."

-- How (, March 29, 2000.


-- I feel sleepy (zzzzzzzzz@zzzzzzzz.zzz), March 29, 2000.


I know that you are talking about the world. But if you limit it to the old TB2000 forum you have missed the number one myth. What was it?

1. Flint is a moron.

At least, I seem to remember it being a common comment.He sure took a lot of abuse during 1999.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, March 29, 2000.

Ken Decker, you are right; that thread is VERY funny!

I love Diane Squires response to you (first on the "attack" [chuckle])

Myth or not?: Ken Decker is a government shill.


Have a "nice" day. 31 left.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 30, 1999.

She and Russ always seemed to go out of their way to smear you. I wonder why that was?

Thanks for a good laugh, Ken!

-- (old@forum.isfunny), March 29, 2000.

She and Russ always seemed to go out of their way to smear you. I wonder why that was?

They did seem to have a "need" to stop those who were tearing down their "doom scenario" (they can paint themselves however they want to, but they were not "middle of the road")

Another interesting thread is this one (would adding Decker as a moderator...?)

Understand that I asked that Q anonymous, as a kind of "test" to see what the reaction would be. I was stunned, literally stunned when within seconds (not minutes, or hours but SECONDS!) Diane piped up with "No. Not even open for discussion."

THAT was very, VERY revealing. I had suspected there was more to Diane (and Russ') "attacks" on Decker than met the eye....maybe they were indeed "shilling" for Yourdon in some way?

-- former regular ( (since 7/98)), March 29, 2000.

Former regular:

Where did you find that one. I spent most of 1999 traveling and didn't have much time to post things. You found a thread where I must have made 10% of the posts [at least for a while]. Those were actually from me [as opposed to others that weren't]. I actually supported making Decker a moderator. Wow, I was ahead of my time. What was I thinking? LOL.

Best wishes,,,,

-- Z1X4Y7 (, March 29, 2000.

I have long contended that Ed Yourdon and Gary North (and basically the whole Internet) had their Y2K effect on household behavior and not on organizations.

The U.S. News article of June 98 is a classic example of a flood of articles in the print media which got organizations worried. And these articles wouldn't have changed a bit if Yourdon and North had never existed.

-- Peter Errington (, March 29, 2000.

Diane always struck me as an odd combination of new age flower child and neo-survivalist. She probably packed ginseng tea and St. John's Wort in her "bug out" bag. When Diane rose (or sunk) to the level of forum sysop, she handled the power rather badly. Ironically, MBA Diane just did not understand the "Tao" of forum management. Had Diane attempted less, she (and the forum) would have been far more successful. This said, I find it difficult to think Diane was deeply involved in an anti-Polly cabal. Even now, I'm sure she thinks I'm only a few healing crystals away from enlightenment. Gaia bless you, earth-child Diane....

I have a much darker view of Russ Lipton (Big Dog). Lipton made a strenuous effort to tar every reasonable Y2K optimist... myself included. I think Lipton is a smart fellow, and that he knew exactly what he was doing. Far worse, I think he felt completely justified.

Along the line, Lipton became a True Believer in Ed Yourdon. With a St. John's education, Lipton was articulate and smooth... but still very much a zealot. Time and again, Lipton defended Yourdon tooth and nail. He clearly saw Hoff, Flint and others as threats to his Hero.

I don't particularly like or trust zealots. They are intolerant, single-minded and often vicious... a near perfect description of Russ Lipton last year. In earlier times, it was a Russ Lipton running the Inquisition or burning witches at the stake. It was never that he had a personal grudge against the heretics, mind you, they simply had to die....

-- Ken Decker (, March 29, 2000.

Looks like someone knew the future.

The way I understand it is that Ed Yourdon, the author of Timebomb 2000, originated this forum. Therefore, it is predicated upon the ideas, opinions and scenarios expressed and described in his book. If anyone does not like the "personality" of this forum, they are free, are they not, to start a forum mirroring their own take on Y2K. Ken, you seem an intelligent type -- why not start your own board?

-- For (Auld@Lang.Syne), November 01, 1999.

Or so it seems.

Best wishes,,,,

-- Z1X4Y7 (, March 29, 2000.

Decker's first post,

Y2K and Risk

in which he implied that Ed Yourdon recommended having ten years worth of survival supplies. Did you really believe that was Ed's position, Ken?

For the "Y2K nonbeliever," the odds of critical disruptions of basic infrastructure due to Y2K are remote. Ergo, they consider the Red Cross preparations (the safety belt) more appropriate than Ed Yourdon's ten-year strategy (wear full body armor while driving a main battle tank).

-- (archives@of.y2k), March 30, 2000.

Here was Ed's position...

Imagine we're all in a plane. One pasty fellow stands up and says, "I have been a pilot for 30 years and I really think this plane might crash." Of course, some of the passengers panic. Some listen, but are quite skeptical. The majority ignore him.

The captain comes on the intercom. "Despite what you might be hearing from some of the passengers, the plane is fine. We plan to have an uneventful landing."

The passengers polarize. One group gathers around "Yourdon" and accuses the captain of lying. The other group can find no evidence that the plane will crash and decide to trust the flight crew.

"Yourdon" starts selling life preservers and survival gear to his group. This causes a fair amount of eye rolling among the optimists. A long heated debate rages until the plane actually lands. The optimists cheer. "Yourdon" stands on the tarmac and wonders why he doesn't get any respect.

-- Ken Decker (, March 30, 2000.


Could it be that the green eyed monster has ahold of you? Could it be that you are just jealous that you didn't think of it first?

Just wondering,

-- (Pea@Green.Envy), March 30, 2000.


It is in the archives (for now) at the old Stinkbomb. I kept a special list on the most virilent doomers (cause I knew they were WAY wrong) and a few even got "special" bookmarks! (pathetic on my part, I know)

I think I will post a compendium of top hits(misses) in the spirit of the doomers "pollys on parade" style!

I need help with a title, I will make the post first rate with all the bells and whistles. First up will be Russ Lipton.

Ken Decker:

I've heard similar sentiments expressed about Ms. Squire. It seems most folks felt sorry for her downhill degradation. Too bad, it was her choice as far as I'm concerned. (your right on with the "tao" remark, I think)

A thought strikes me about Mr. Lipton- he said one time that he used to "plant churches" didn't he?

I wonder if his zeal came from the fact that he was not used to being opposed when building a new "body of true believers"? It must have been frightening for him. I'm sure he was used to having everyone kiss his....ring....whenever he said "boo!" Then to come on a forum and have people shoot down his self centered arrogance....well, that is just too much.


Might I suggest a quick review of the master propogandists we have been discussing on this thread? You do a very poor job of mis-representing Mr. Decker's position. You should have Lipton give you some lessons.

-- HumorGem Miner (diggin'@in.archives), March 30, 2000.


Yourdon sold his diminishing professional reputation for a book, video and MLM deal. He now holds the honor of being one of the most computer-savvy survivalists in rural New Mexico. Do you really think I want his "place in the sun?" (chuckle)

I have this nasty moral streak that would not allow me to whip up fear and then peddle products to the anxious.

-- Ken Decker (, March 30, 2000.


Might I suggest a quick review of the master propogandists we have been discussing on this thread? You do a very poor job of mis- representing Mr. Decker's position.

I was quoting Mr. Decker. In what way did I misrepresent his position?

-- (archives@of.y2k), March 30, 2000.

-- (, March 30, 2000.


I never accused Ed Yourdon of being stupid. He was always careful to craft his message in "what if" scenarios. The FUD was implicit in his message, not explicit. A well-published IT "guru" with 30 years of experience pulls stakes and moves from New York to rural New Mexico. He says that next year (2000), major American cities will look like "Beirut." He says the Y2K problem cannot be fixed because we "started too late." He writes a book called TIME BOMB 2000. (Please note that the book was not called MINOR PROBLEMS 2000 or INCONVENIENCE 2000.) In TB 2000, Yourdon talks about "preparing" for a ten year depression as one of the potential scenarios. While Yourdon does not explicitly endorse the "10 year depression," he makes every indication he believes Y2K will cause SERIOUS disruptions. He even starts the "Humpty Dumpty" discussion board to "help" us sort through the rubble. He starts the MLM and releases the "prep" video. What do you think these actions imply? That Yourdon favors the "three day storm" scenario? (chuckle) Yourdon was a major "doomer" and remains so.

-- Ken Decker (, March 30, 2000.

Where is the basis for debate on Eds role in matters related to Y2K? How can anyone deny the simple truth: Ed Yourdon, and others, used the uncertainty of Y2K to create profit centers for themselves. And guess what Toto? They are still at it folks. To believe otherwise is to be delusional.

-- Sifting (through@the.rubble), March 30, 2000.

He was always careful to craft his message in "what if" scenarios. The FUD was implicit in his message, not explicit.

The things that Ed Yourdon said about Y2k -- first in 1998, and then in 1999 -- were never really farfetched if one carefully considered the implications of contemporaneous statements and reports by elected government officials.

June 1998 -- 'Will we have power on Jan. 1, 2000?'

July 1998 -- 'Paul Revere Not Chicken Little: Who's Sounding the Call for the Year 2000?'

February 1999 -- a "worldwide crisis" and "one of the most serious and potentially devastating events this nation has ever encountered."

September 1999 -- 'However, the Committee's hearings, interviews, and research reveal that many organizations and industries remain unprepared. The Y2K problem still has the potential to be very disruptive, necessitating continued, intensive preparation in the time remaining. Y2K risk management efforts must be increased to avert serious disruptions.'

I've read Ed Yourdon's book Time Bomb 2000. I bought it in June of 1998. Now, you may see it as something designed to inspire fear, but in the context of the time it was written in, the book was surprisingly restrained and comes off to me as a contingency planning document....especially since it described a wide variety of Y2k scenarios of varying lengths.

A depression, in my opinion, is likely in the next few years, even though it's clear now that it won't be caused by Y2k. Foreign countries were said even in 1999 to be way behind the curve in fixing Y2k, and had there been more Y2k problems overseas, it could have taken world markets down the way markets were severely impacted by the Asian economic crisis in the fall of 1998.

-- (archives@of.y2k), March 31, 2000.

He says that next year (2000), major American cities will look like "Beirut."

And by the way, Ken, the speech with the 'Beirut' reference was given in March 1998, not in 1999. You have to have known that.

-- (archives@of.y2k), March 31, 2000.

Speaking of Beirut, does anyone remember what happened in New York City when the power grid went down in, I think, 1975?

-- Peter Errington (, March 31, 2000.

Yeah, "archive", it's certainly restrained to create MLM designed, in its own words, to "CASH IN ON THE Y2K CRAZE".


No, nobody trying to cash in on created fear here. Just move along. Never mind the appearances at Y2k "Expos" set up by the GoldBugs. Careful to always "qualify" his statements, he still said:

I've already shifted from stocks to mostly cash and some gold coins and plan to liquidate my retirement funds in the very near future.

More Disgusting Stuff

Wonder if he actually did "liquidate" his retirement funds? Or was this just another message "tailored" to his audience?

-- Hoff (, March 31, 2000.


Horse fritters. A depression forecast may seem reasonable to you... but not to the vast majority of practicing economists. Nor was a depression forecast reasonable last year. Even Ed Yardeni, the gloomiest of economists on Y2K, estimated a 5% chance of depression. By my math, that is a 95% chance of something less than a depression.

Like Y2Knewswire, Yourdon carefully chose the government and private sector reports that supported his position. And he failed to understand the CYA nature of documents like the State Department assessments and CIA reports. These agencies have been beaten soundly for NOT predicting various geo-political events. The Y2K reports were meant to ensure no one could accuse them of missing a potential problem.

The more I examine Yourdon's record, the more I see a pattern. TB 2000 was designed to sell books... and videos... and his MLM scheme. Yourdon did not engage in wild-eyed fear peddling. His approach was more subtle and more effective. This pasty, pudgy, prototypical IT guru calmy announced bad things just MIGHT happen. The lower-key presentation allowed Yourdon to maintain credibility... at least until rollover.

As a "contingency planning" document, TB 2000 was not particularly useful. Yourdon (and daughter) simply engaged in a beer-and-peanuts speculation of what might go wrong... and the possible impacts. Unfortunately, Yourdon has no demonstrated expertise in any of the impact areas. It would have been far more credible to have subject area experts talk about "contingency planning."

As for the exact date of Yourdon's "Beirut" speech, I did not know. I thought it was '99, but am quite willing to accept '98 as a date.

Now, perhaps you can explain Yourdon's "Sayonara" to Y2K? Or his "Dangerfield" essay? Or his failure to ever answer Hoff's argument? Or his many profit-making schemes related to Y2K? Or his "Humpty Dumpty" project? Or EZB?

Peter... and what is the relevance? There was never credible evidence of a potential grid failure due to Y2K reasons... just a bunch of armchair speculation.

Hoff, I agree.

-- Ken Decker (, March 31, 2000.


Just so you know who you are conversing with, "(archives@of.y2k)" is the artist formerly known as "Linkmeister" Formerly known as Kevin (mixesmusic). Why he has decided to change his handle yet again I don't know, but remember...this guy did everything he could to defend yourdon last year....he attempted to kill any threads that exposed Ed's nonsense by cut and pasting thousands of meaningless government ramblings. People would get so sick of how long and boring the threads were, they "just dropped it" and moved on.

Nice try Kev.

-- (eye@peek.ed), March 31, 2000.

oh and Yourdonfer NEVER retracted the "beruit" statement, so it doesn't matter WHEN he made it.

-- (eye@peek.ed), March 31, 2000.

"On Yourdon"

-- (Also@see.this), March 31, 2000.

June 1998 -- 'Will we have power on Jan. 1, 2000?'

An interesting repost of Sennator Bennet's postion, and apparently this is what Yourdon and others based their assumption that the grid would fail.

Well I have some terribly bad news. If you care to use the very same argument, then there is a 100% chance that the grid will fail tomorrow. There is also a 40% chance that the grid will fail on Jan 1st next year.

But before everyone panics and rushes off to buy standby generators, the arguments do not match the physics, and we can all be pretty certain that the grid will survive. The fact that no Utility is prepared to give an iron clad gaurantee that the power won't fail tomorrow is not a gaurantee that it will fail. And it is this fallacy (lack of proof = proof of lack) that appears to have caused so much concern.

-- Malcolm Taylor (, March 31, 2000.

here here, Malcolm.

Isn't that what DanthePowerMan and others were trying to tell the timbomb forum last year? That the argument didn't hold water?

How many "pollys" had to endure the name calling, the tar and feathering and the smearing of their character....all because the "true believers" didn't want an interuption of the "church" service?

-- (, March 31, 2000.

Just so you know who you are conversing with, "(archives@of.y2k)" is the artist formerly known as "Linkmeister" Formerly known as Kevin (mixesmusic).

I'm flattered to be considered to be in the same league as Linkmeister. Am I Linkmeister? ;-}

A good guess but it's got be a just a guess. We all know the sysop(s) of this fine, uncensored forum would never play favorites or try to discourage somebody from posting just because of a different opinion.....

Let's continue the free flowing discussions!

-- (archives@of.y2k), April 01, 2000.


Horse fritters. A depression forecast may seem reasonable to you... but not to the vast majority of practicing economists. Nor was a depression forecast reasonable last year. Even Ed Yardeni, the gloomiest of economists on Y2K, estimated a 5% chance of depression. By my math, that is a 95% chance of something less than a depression.

I'm sure a vast majority of practicing economists in 1928 were not predicting a depression either, Ken. An overvalued stock market, a faith that technology will keep the economy roaring along (like the faith in automobiles and radio in the 1920s), and above all, record household debt in 1999 are what makes me suspect the next correction could be a very painful one.

Y2k's outcome wouldn't have had to have been severe to prick this 'euphoric speculative bubble' we've been in since 1995. Getting out of debt is a good contingency plan for dealing with hard times; another might be to get a government job. :-}

Your arguments are always well crafted, Mr. Decker, and sometimes you bring bring up good points. But I think one of the reasons you weren't taken more seriously on the Time Bomb 2000 forum is that your arguments were a just a bit too slick. Only you for example could have argued that because many posters on TB2000 had significantly moderated by Oct. 1999, that meant the forum was inconsistent in some way and lacking in credibility. Or as someone on that thread asked you.....

I don't get it. Ken, you complain on one hand that doomers ignore all the good news, and on the other hand that doomers are changing their tune and thinking it won't be all that bad after all. Which is it?

The Changing Y2K Argument

-- (archives@of.y2k), April 01, 2000.

I should have recognized Kevin earlier. If you had only accused me of worshipping capitalism.... (chuckle)

First, Kevin, I think it's pretty weak to play the name-change game. Of course, I can understand why you might want to remain anonymous.

As to your silly comments, we know a little bit more about the world (and economics) today than we did 72 years ago. Like always, you are finding the commonalities you want and ignoring the rest. Unlike 1928, our banking system is sound. Unlike 1928, we are not on the verge of tariffs and trade wars. Unlike 1928, you cannot buy stock on a 10% margin. Unlike 1928, the Federal Reserve knows what its doing. Unlike 1928, we have greatly reduced structural poverty and have a much more skilled workforce... and far less dependence on the agricultural sector.

The reason I wasn't "taken seriously" on TB 2000... there were few serious people on TB 2000 discussing the issue. Most were simply extending their fears about modern society onto a well-documented computer problem... like you.

And I know you have always struggled with a nuanced argument, Kevin, but let's try this one more time. Some of the smarter doomers (like Lipton) saw us blowing by the "critical" dates. He started hedging his bets. Yourdon simply dropped out of sight. (Sort of like the Captain of the Titanic catching a passing freighter). Some of the "doomers" were whacked out until the very end. Others saw that they might be wrong and changed their tune.

Some just changed their names....

-- Ken Decker (, April 01, 2000.

First you say Kevin struggled with a nuanced argument, and then you imply he was a 'doomer'....

Some of the "doomers" were whacked out until the very end. Others saw that they might be wrong and changed their tune.

Some just changed their names....

You are a slick writer. There's no doubt about that.

For most who were concerned about Y2k, though, the question wasn't about doomsday but about pondering what kind of preparations were prudent if 85% of organizations in the U.S. were to able to fix their mission-critical systems by the end of 1999 and if 15% were not able to -- the GartnerGroup estimates of how much would be completed.

A brush used less broadly would have suited your cause better, Ken.

Others saw that they might be wrong and changed their tune.

Wrong? It depends on what you mean by that. The majority of people on the TB2000 forum were not expecting doomsday and never did.

-- (archives@of.y2k), April 01, 2000.


This reflects a basic misunderstanding of the situation, as usual. I'm willing to be that *at least* 90% of organizations had date bugs in their mission critical systems, and most of those probably still do. The quick equation Gary North was so fond of apparently still continues to live -- that a single date bug in a mission critical system spells certain death for its victim.

Kevin, you need to reflect on what happened. Just a little will do. You should realize that organizations can, and do, soldier on despite an enormous number of bugs of all kinds. After all, what kind of preparations are prudent against the 100% of organizations that make stupid mistakes on a daily basis?

Yes, in 1997 there was ample reason to fear that the scope of the task had been WAY underestimated, and we would lose this particular game of Computer Chicken. But as the dust cleared, the spike dates passed uneventfully, the compliance reports flooded in (despite your refusal to "link" or "archive" or whatever you called yourself, to any of them), the worry level never rose within the IT shops or embedded groups, some people figured out that the Gartner Group statistics were being misrepresented.

Those who, even today, look back and trot out their CYA reports, are doing themselves no favors. Face it, you got fooled. You listened to the wrong people. You exaggerated the dangers. You didn't understand what software is all about. You used a mechanical model when an organic model was better. To point to obsolete, incorrect, misunderstood warnings as indication that you were right at the time, rather than trying to figure out how those warnings tricked you so it won't happen again, is poor judgment. Why *insist* on repeating poor judgment, rather than correcting it?

-- Flint (, April 01, 2000.

A repost from another thread

From some comments here, it seems some folks are implicitly claiming that their utter certainty last year (that Y2K problems would range from few to none) was based on technical expertise and thorough familiarity with all hardware and software systems worldwide and their many interdependencies. For some of these people, this claim may even be true. Good for them.

The rest of us, having no such insider knowledge, and having also no reason to believe everything posted here (or anywhere else) was factual, had to make hard decisions without such certainty. Among this group estimates varied widely both as to the level of disruption to expect and the appropriate level of preparation, taking available resources into account.

It seems churlish to dodge responsibility for one's own decisions by saying now that "the devil made me do it." Gary North didn't make me do anything. Ed Yourdon didn't make me do anything. Neither did Mark Frautschi, Rick Cowles, Paula Gordon, Sen. Bennett, or Cong. Horn.

What these people did do was to bring the possible problems to my attention. Every one of them stressed the uncertainties involved, and the need to make one's own decisions. I became aware of Gary North's extreme bias early in the game, and realized that caution was advisable.

In the end there's only one prep item that I have no use for, namely 2- 200 gallon water bags. The Berkefeld filter is in constant use. My Baygen radio came in very handy during a 3-day power outage here following a severe ice storm. We're working through the food stores, nothing there we don't normally consume.

The only person inside your head is yourself. Nobody makes your muscles move but yourself. Those who feel they've jumped through someone else's hoop should ask themselves why they did so.

-- Tom Carey (, March 25, 2000.

-- (, April 01, 2000.

Kevin (or clone),

You make the old forum sound like a civil discussion, and a much more reasonable place than it was. In truth, there was very little pondering, and much more pandering. A Y2K apocalypse was treated like a foregone conclusion. I don't know what forum you were reading, but I can certainly provide plenty of links assuming economic depression as a "best case" scenario.

The real issue here Kevin, is the active resistance to rational analysis of the problem. Once the serious pessimists reached the conclusion of a Y2K catastrophe, they resisted any reasonable discourse. Read the original post on this thread... the pessimists dismissed all positive data and embraced all negative data, regardless of the source. Of course there were a few thoughtful pessimists like Dave Walden and Don Florence. But the majority, including the sysops, were "hard core" survivalists-in-the-making.

And Tom, we have never argued "free will." Frankly, I don't care how the survivalists spent their money. But let's not pretend the decision was based on a flawless analysis of the situation. Had you properly discounted the testimony of those peddling Y2K supplies (Yourdon included), I doubt you would have seen a need for giant water bags.

-- Ken Decker (, April 01, 2000.


I think it's becoming clearer and clearer that TB2000 never WAS about Y2k. I would say the same thing about Gary North's forum and Michael Hyatt's forum....not to mention Dear Karen and some others.

It's unfortunate that some folks went to those fora and got "sucked in". Those who did, however, went on about their lives once Y2k came and went. The OTHERS [of whom you refer in your original thread on this post] will keep the community going. Where's one to go to express the frustration one feels when the world has moved in a direction that one feels contrary to the tenets YOU held dear for so long? Where could one receive the empathy and sympathetic agreement in these thoughts? What would one do on a rainy Saturday? [grin]

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), April 01, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ