More Thoughts on Ongoing Y2K Issues

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

I posted the following on 4/29/2001 at http://pub65.ezboard.com/ftimebomb200017873frm1 I am cross-posting it here for your possible interest and information. Some thoughts in response to some of the issues raised in the postings here [ http://pub65.ezboard.com/ftimebomb200017873frm1]: The kind of expertise that I have found most helpful in assessing what has happened and what is happening regarding Y2K and particularly, Y2K-related complex integrated systems is engineering expertise that spans a variety of sectors. Persons who have such broad based expertise have shared their assessments with me off the record since January of 2000. The extraordinary thing is the similarity in their assessments. It does not seem at all surprising to me that their assessments differ from the assessment of individuals who have narrower experience or who are extrapolating on the basis of their experience at one company from one sector or a few companies from one sectors. Extrapolations based on remediation efforts that are known to be successful is not going to result in a very through assessment of what has happened and what is happening with Y2K. The simple fact is this: not everyone remediated. Some planned to fix on failure. Some delayed the time when things might fail. And some are not able to connect the cause of the failures they are seeing with anything that is Y2K-related. It is also well to remember that those who were spending full time on remediation and others who had some knowledge of the systems have moved on and may be deployed in other ways or may long ago left the companies that they worked for. Regarding failures of systems, and the degradation of systems: for a variety of reasons, not everything fails at once. In addition, it may take months for the degradation of data to become apparent in IT systems. Remember as well that batch processing does not occur all at once. It is spread out over time. For a variety of reasons, it can take different lengths of time for complex integrated systems to fail or for their failures to become apparent. In the earliest press briefings by the President's Council at the time of the rollover, similar points were noted. Then within a few days, that understanding seemed to vanish. If you read the transcripts of the briefings or if you happened to see them as they were occurring, this change in "apparent understanding" would have been evident. Some of the issues raised in postings on this thread have been addressed in the appendices to the John Koskinen Q&A piece at http://www.gwu.edu/~y2k/keypeople/gordon , and Parts 1 & 2 of my White Paper. In the scenarios section of the White Paper (Part 5), I outline several possibilities that could have unfolded. I said that what happened would depend on the extent to which the public and private sectors were successful in their remediation efforts. I know now that the minimization of impacts also depended on the implementation of contingency plans, including such actions as operating at greatly reduced power, going manual, or partly manual, and/or turning things off and bringing them back up slowly at different times. No one person that I know of has tracked what actually happened across all major sectors, nationally and globally. Different people have knowledge of different aspects of what happened. I have tried to identify these individuals. I welcome hearing from more. The reality, however, is that hardly anyone any longer has either the interest, the incentive, the resources, the task, or the time to pursue these matters further. Other issues raised in the postings here concerning why the information is not getting out have been addressed in a presentation made on April 12, 2000. I will attach it below. I think it is useful to continue to discuss these issues for the following reasons: 1) Minimization of Future Impacts: It is possible to minimize the continuing impacts. In my estimation in late April of 2001, we have arrived at around a 4 on the Y2K Impact Scale. (The Impact scale that I am referring to is the version described in Part 1 of my White Paper at http://www.gwu.edu/~y2k/keypeople/gordon.) Unless the part that Y2K-related problems is playing is understood and addressed, it would not surprise me if we reached a 6 or 7 by April of 2002. Understanding the roles played by Y2K-related IT and complex integrated problems were understood, such understanding might serve as the basis for reallocating resources and reformulating public and private sector policies in a way that minimized the future impacts. By this time next year, I think that it would be possible to minimize impacts by a point or two from a 6 or a 7 to a 5 or a 6. 2) Sound Public Policy: Policy needs to be based on understanding of the factors contributing to the problems Y2K-related IT and embedded systems problems are among those factors that are contributing to the impacts that we are seeing over the full spectrum of sectors. The problems were exactly of the sort described prior to the rollover. 3) Past Investment in Y2K Efforts is in Jeopardy: Failure to follow through on the efforts that were begun will jeopardize the investment of time, money, and human effort that was expended. Failure to follow through on efforts that were begun on Y2K and embedded system problems will result in effect of at least the partial waste of a considerable sunk investment worldwide. Failure to cultivate understanding of the problems and failure to apply what can be known to addressing the problems would result in effect in the wasting of the sunk investment of billions of dollars in remediation and contingency planning efforts that were undertaken through the rollover. 4) Loss of Understanding from Lessons Learned and Lessons Yet to be Learned Unless attention to Y2K is revived and continuing attention is paid to Y2K, the lessons that were learned will be lost. The lessons that could be learned will not be learned. 5) Partial Efforts on Y2K Portend Poorly for Dealing with Other Threats and Challenges: Failure to complete the efforts that were begun portends poorly for the future success in recognizing and addressing future threats or challenges. If those in roles of public responsibility address future threats and challenges (and current threats and challenges) that involve technological or scientific knowledge, as poorly as they have and are regarding Y2K, they will be playing public policy Russian Roulette with those threats and challenges as well. No one in the Federal government or in the United Nations whom I am aware of, is focusing any continuing attention on tracking Y2K-related IT or complex integrated systems problems. They all apparently went along with the President's Council's premature declaration of victory in January of 2000. Those making that declaration of victory did not call upon the expertise that would have been helpful in making an appropriate long term assessment of efforts and in tracking and assessing continuing problems. I know that is hard to believe, but it can be confirmed by scouring archival material through the present. It can also be known as a result of personally tracking what went on behind the scenes regarding national and global efforts. I hope that this is helpful and that the following summary sheds some light on why the full story is not getting out. Summary of a Slide Presentation ~ April 12, 2000 GW Panel Program on Y2K & Embedded Systems http://hv.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=003I5R greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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The following is a summary of a slide presentation that I gave at a panel program on Y2K on April 12, 2000. The topic of the program was "Y2K: What Happened and What Has Been Happening Since January 1?" A video of all of the panel presentations can be seen at http://www.stuarthrodman.com/video.htm Additional information concerning the panel and other presentations and programs can be found at http://www.gwu.edu/~y2k/keypeople/gordon. I hope it may prove helpful to those trying to sort out some of the "unsolved mysteries" of the Y2K story. Summary of Slide Presentation by Paula Gordon Given at an April 12, 2000 Panel Program at GW University Entitled "Y2K: What Happened and What Has Been Happening Since January 1?"

Topic Outline:

I. Some Problems in Obtaining Information Concerning Y2K-Related Problems

II. Some Mainstream Sources (or Potential Sources) of Information

III. A Basis for Making a Case That Y2K Problems Have Occurred and Are Continuing to Occur

IV. Reasons for the Use of Anonymous or Unnamed Sources

V. Why We Are Likely to Know More Soon

VI. The Need to Understand That Embedded Systems Failures and Malfunctions Can Occur or Become Evident at Different Times

VII. Some Sources of Information of Potential Interest

I. Some Problems in Obtaining Information Concerning Y2K-Related Problems

1) There is information that has not yet been made available.

2) Some of the information that is available is lacking in details and/or is impossible or difficult to trace or verify.

3) Some information was made available only briefly owing to proprietary concerns or for other reasons such as lack of funding.

4) Some information is accessible but may be very difficult to find.

5) Some information is in a form that makes it difficult to use. 6) Some information may require special direct requests.

II. Some Mainstream.Sources (or Potential Sources) of Information

~ The Information Coordination Center (ICC)

~ The International Y2K Coordination Center (IY2KCC)

~ Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

~ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

~ Chemical Safety Board

~ State of California

III. A Basis for Making a Case That Y2K Problems Have Occurred and Are Continuing to Occur

What basis might there be for concluding that problems that are occurring are Y2K-related?

If problems in question meet the following criteria, there is a basis for at least tentatively concluding that the problems could be Y2K- or embedded systems-related:

1) High Number of Problems:

An usually high number of problems in a specific sector having no readily identifiable causes and/or having causes that could be Y2K- or embedded systems related

2) Number of Problems in a Specific Sector is Higher Than Prior Years:

The number of problems occurring in 2000 exceeds the number of problems that occurred during comparable periods of time in prior years

3) Patterns or Similarities in Current Problems:

The problems occurring during 2000 have patterns in common and have similarities not found in problems that occurred in prior years. In addition, the problems that have been occurring are typically associated with Y2K- or embedded systems-related problems.

4) The Problems That Are Occurring Were of a Kind that Were Predicted or Expected:

The problems occurring in 2000 were anticipated or predicted or regarded as being possible or likely consequences of Y2K- or embedded systems-related failures or malfunctions.

If all of these criteria are met, then there is a likelihood that the problems are Y2K- or embedded systems-related. Such problems can at least be regarded as falling under the heading of Predicted Coincidences.

In Other Words:

When it can be established that there has been a higher than usual number of problems in a specific sector, including problems that either have no readily identifiable cause or problems that could conceivably have a Y2K- or embedded systems-related cause;

when, in addition, a comparison of current problems with problems that occurred during the same time frame in previous years reveals patterns or similarities that are not apparent in problems that have occurred in prior years;

when such patterns or similarities either indicate or do not exclude the possibility of Y2K- or embedded systems-related causes; and

when the kinds of problems that are occurring now are the same kinds of problems that were expected to result from Y2K- or embedded systems related failures or malfunctions;

then there is a likelihood that the problems are Y2K- or embedded systems-related.

Such problems can at least be characterized as "Predicted Coincidences".

IV. Reasons for the Use of Anonymous or Unnamed Sources

There are many people who are in a position to provide needed information or expertise concerning Y2K and embedded systems who feel little, if any inclination to do so. In their minds, the disincentives to being forthcoming concerning problems or issues relating to Y2K- and embedded systems- related problems may far outweigh any possible incentives. The following is a list of some major reasons that individuals may refrain from speaking out or may request anonymity when they do:

~ Fear of losing a job, jeopardizing a contract, or otherwise adversely affecting ones career or business

~ Liability concerns or fear of litigation

~ Fear of other possible consequences or reprisals

~ Existence of Non-Disclosure Agreements preventing the sharing of proprietary information

~ Organizational or peer pressure

~ Political pressure

~ A desire to avoid controversy

~ The existence of a climate that can prove hostile to people who are candid about sensitive or controversial Y2K- and embedded systems-related concerns

For some of these and other reasons, it has been necessary for me to promise anonymity to a number of sources who have provided me information.

V. Why We Are Likely to Know More Soon

~ Quarterly Reports

~ End of Fiscal Year Reports

~ Market Analyses

~ SEC Filings

~ Insurance Claims

~ Quarterly and Annual Reports of Insurance Companies and Reinsurers

~ Law Suits, including any of the following:

- Directors and Officers, vendors, manufacturers, contractors, insurance companies, or other businesses

- Whistleblowing Cases

- Dismissed Employees Suing Employers

VI. The Need to Understand That Embedded Systems Failures and Malfunctions Can Occur at Different Times

Some examples include :

~ Buffer Overflow-Related Problems

~ Function Overflow-Related Problems

~ Problems Triggered by Annual Maintenance Scheduling

~ Epoch Date-Related Problems

For some background on the first three, see the appendices focusing on embedded systems concerns in "John Koskinen's Responses to Questions from Paula Gordon: March 22, 2000" at http://www.gwu.edu/~keypeople/gordon/Q&A.html.

VII. Some Sources of Information of Potential Interest

~ Final Senate Report

~ March 29, 2000 Final Report of the President's Council

~ January 17 Comments and Impact Ratings by Paula Gordon (http://www.gwu.edu/~keypeople/gordon)

~ John Koskinen's Responses to Questions from Paula Gordon: March 22, 2000 (http://www.gwu.edu/~keypeople/gordon/Q&A.html)

~ Proceedings of the January 24 - 25, 2000 Y2K Assessment Conference Sponsored by the Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

~ Grassroots Information Coordination Center

~ Glitch Central

For URLs not indicated, see

~ the reference list in http://www.gwu.edu/~keypeople/gordon/Q&A.html and

~ the references in the January 17 Comments and Rating piece at http://www.gwu.edu/~y2k/keypeople/gordon.

\

-- Paula Gordon (pgordon@erols.com), April 30, 2001

Answers

A good example of how an agency is able
to keep the lid on Y2K problems, surfaced
with the article on GICC "County can't get
to 10,000 mug shots."

For over a year Allen County Sheriff's
Department was able to keep this story
under wraps. I'm sure that they appealed
to security issues to their troopers. It
would not be good if criminals new that
the police could not identify them by
their mug shot. Starting in January of
2000 all that they would get when they
requested a mug shot would be a blank
screen ::::-

-- spider (spider0@usa.net), April 30, 2001.


Paula,

For someone who has no understanding of computers, how can you ever hope to understand the economic cycle??? Please, save yourself the embarrassment and find another worthy hobby... Y2K was not even a 0.25 on your silly scale.

-- Rob McCarthy (celtic64@mindspring.com), April 30, 2001.


Here is the first part of the initial post with proper formatting. I also made one edit in the section entitled "Minimization of Future Impacts.." :

Subject: More Thoughts on Ongoing Y2K Issues

I posted the following on 4/29/2001 at http://pub65.ezboard.com/ftimebomb200017873frm1 I am cross-posting it here for your possible interest and information.

Some thoughts in response to some of the issues raised in the postings here [ http://pub65.ezboard.com/ftimebomb200017873frm1]:

The kind of expertise that I have found most helpful in assessing what has happened and what is happening regarding Y2K and particularly, Y2K-related complex integrated systems is engineering expertise that spans a variety of sectors. Persons who have such broad based expertise have shared their assessments with me off the record since January of 2000. The extraordinary thing is the similarity in their assessments. It does not seem at all surprising to me that their assessments differ from the assessment of individuals who have narrower experience or who are extrapolating on the basis of their experience at one company from one sector or a few companies from one sectors. Extrapolations based on remediation efforts that are known to be successful is not going to result in a very through assessment of what has happened and what is happening with Y2K.

The simple fact is this: not everyone remediated. Some planned to fix on failure. Some delayed the time when things might fail. And some are not able to connect the cause of the failures they are seeing with anything that is Y2K-related.

It is also well to remember that those who were spending full time on remediation and others who had some knowledge of the systems have moved on and may be deployed in other ways or may long ago left the companies that they worked for.

Regarding failures of systems, and the degradation of systems: for a variety of reasons, not everything fails at once. In addition, it may take months for the degradation of data to become apparent in IT systems. Remember as well that batch processing does not occur all at once. It is spread out over time. For a variety of reasons, it can take different lengths of time for complex integrated systems to fail or for their failures to become apparent. In the earliest press briefings by the President's Council at the time of the rollover, similar points were noted. Then within a few days, that understanding seemed to vanish. If you read the transcripts of the briefings or if you happened to see them as they were occurring, this change in "apparent understanding" would have been evident.

Some of the issues raised in postings on this thread have been addressed in the appendices to the John Koskinen Q&A piece at http://www.gwu.edu/~y2k/keypeople/gordon , and Parts 1 & 2 of my White Paper. In the scenarios section of the White Paper (Part 5), I outline several possibilities that could have unfolded. I said that what happened would depend on the extent to which the public and private sectors were successful in their remediation efforts. I know now that the minimization of impacts also depended on the implementation of contingency plans, including such actions as operating at greatly reduced power, going manual, or partly manual, and/or turning things off and bringing them back up slowly at different times. No one person that I know of has tracked what actually happened across all major sectors, nationally and globally. Different people have knowledge of different aspects of what happened. I have tried to identify these individuals. I welcome hearing from more. The reality, however, is that hardly anyone any longer has either the interest, the incentive, the resources, the task, or the time to pursue these matters further.

Other issues raised in the postings here concerning why the information is not getting out have been addressed in a presentation made on April 12, 2000. I will attach it below. [See the end of the initial post above.] I think it is useful to continue to discuss these issues for the following reasons:

1) Minimization of Future Impacts: It is possible to minimize the continuing impacts.

In my estimation in late April of 2001, we have arrived at around a 4 on the Y2K Impact Scale. (The Impact scale that I am referring to is the version described in Part 1 of my White Paper at http://www.gwu.edu/~y2k/keypeople/gordon.) Unless the part that Y2K- related problems is playing is understood and addressed, it would not surprise me if we reached a 6 or 7 by April of 2002.

If the roles played by Y2K-related IT and complex integrated problems were understood, such understanding might serve as the basis for reallocating resources and reformulating public and private sector policies in a way that minimized the future impacts. By this time next year, I think that it would be possible to minimize impacts by a point or two from a 6 or a 7 to a 5 or a 6.

2) Sound Public Policy: Policy needs to be based on understanding of the factors contributing to the problems Y2K-related IT and embedded systems problems are among those factors that are contributing to the impacts that we are seeing over the full spectrum of sectors.

The problems were exactly of the sort described prior to the rollover.

3) Past Investment in Y2K Efforts is in Jeopardy: Failure to follow through on the efforts that were begun will jeopardize the investment of time, money, and human effort that was expended.

Failure to follow through on efforts that were begun on Y2K and embedded system problems will result in effect of at least the partial waste of a considerable sunk investment worldwide. Failure to cultivate understanding of the problems and failure to apply what can be known to addressing the problems would result in effect in the wasting of the sunk investment of billions of dollars in remediation and contingency planning efforts that were undertaken through the rollover.

4) Loss of Understanding from Lessons Learned and Lessons Yet to be Learned

Unless attention to Y2K is revived and continuing attention is paid to Y2K, the lessons that were learned will be lost. The lessons that could be learned will not be learned.

5) Partial Efforts on Y2K Portend Poorly for Dealing with Other Threats and Challenges: Failure to complete the efforts that were begun portends poorly for the future success in recognizing and addressing future threats or challenges.

If those in roles of public responsibility address future threats and challenges (and current threats and challenges) that involve technological or scientific knowledge, as poorly as they have and are regarding Y2K, they will be playing public policy Russian Roulette with those threats and challenges as well. No one in the Federal government or in the United Nations whom I am aware of, is focusing any continuing attention on tracking Y2K-related IT or complex integrated systems problems. They all apparently went along with the President's Council's premature declaration of victory in January of 2000. Those making that declaration of victory did not call upon the expertise that would have been helpful in making an appropriate long term assessment of efforts and in tracking and assessing continuing problems. I know that is hard to believe, but it can be confirmed by scouring archival material through the present. It can also be known as a result of personally tracking what went on behind the scenes regarding national and global efforts. I hope that this is helpful and that the following summary sheds some light on why the full story is not getting out.

***************************************************************

Summary of a Slide Presentation ~ April 12, 2000 GW Panel Program on Y2K & Embedded Systems http://hv.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch- msg.tcl?msg_id=003I5R greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread [Reprinted above]

-- Paula Gordon (pgordon@erols.com), April 30, 2001.


Cross post re 4/29 posting incl. FAA problems

The following is an interesting excerpted cross-post from [dc-y2k- WRP] Digest Number 1130. It is written in response to the 4/29 material that is also posted here:

Message: 9 Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 07:15:20 -0000 From: frseraph@atdial.net Subject: Re: More thoughts re ongoing Y2K issues

.....I am not an engineer or much of anything else. I run a printing business and a nonprofit foundation that is dedicated to preserving and studying the writings of an Orthodox monk, Fr. Seraphim Rose. For the past 20 years I have run printing presses and studied orthodox theology. My favorite subjects are evolution and Genesis, and the French Revolution. My wife thought I was crazy when we married. Now that our Home schooled daughter is doing a lot of her work on her own my wife spends a few hours a day typing Fr. Seraphims manuscripts, she is now a more avid fan than I have time to be. Fr. Seraphim was an American he lived in No. CA. He is the most well known writer in Russia and other "previously" communist countries. His books were smuggled in and published in the samizadat " underground press" unknown to us. Today we have authorized editions being published in these countries, they sell as fast as they can be printed, but we cant get a penny out of any of it.

Anyway the reason for saying any of this is that studying the French Revolution and evolution has given me an intuition as to when politicians-newspeople and scientist-technicians are making it up as they go along. I have never gotten that bad feeling about Cory he has real expertise and experience but even more important he knows what he doesn't know and is always clear about it. Cory doesn't understand Paula Gordon, embeddeds are out of his experience he is honest about it. I think they are both right. but I'm no expert I only know what I see. Why were the refiners sending barges full of product down rivers where there were pipelines built to keep the barges off the water?

Here's one of my favorites and it affects me now because I want to visit my relatives on the East coast this fall. Cory made a lot of comments about the FAA, those of you who have been around will remember. The air traffic control system was so old that it used antique water cooled IBM mainframes. IBM said that these turkeys were so old that they couldn't be updated for Y2K. The head of the FAA kept trotting out bogus solutions right up to the rollover. They finally installed a new system that solved all the problems and updated everything. The only problem is that it ran at a fraction of the speed of the old system.

The pre-Y2K system landed three planes a minute. The new system can land one plane every three minutes. On The air traffic controllers screen he sees a blip for every plane in the sky. Under each blip is all the important info, altitude, speed, rate of descent, attitude and location. If too many planes are approaching with the new system the blip stays on the screen but the important info disappears. The controller has to call the plane every few seconds and ask his location and other info, write it on a yellow stickie and put it on the screen. They're on manual!

One in every four flights is canceled or delayed. The experts say its because of over booking not enough runways "the expanding economy" Hell they can't handle even close to the number of flights they did before Y2K. Who do I believe Cory, Paula or the news guy?

Here's one I can't figure out. In my print shop last July everything that had a DC motor got fried. A big paper folding machine, a film processor and a conveyor that receives printed envelopes. they all have a 10k pot a small circuit board and a DC motor. On the folding machine all three burned out $450.00 on the conveyor the pot & circuit board burned up $120.00. On the film processor it was the pot and a solder connection on the circuit board $4.50. All in a week and a half. What was it dirty power, coincidence or something else?

My business partner was at the largest printer in the area for a meeting. They had an account with Agilent/HP that kept three docutecs and a special bindery unit busy around the clock, about 20 employees. Since the tech. crash they barely have enough work for two people running one docutec. This was only a small part of their business but it's still 18 people they don't need anymore.

Just saw two pieces on the news, one about all the dot.commers who are loosing their $500,000 homes. The psychiatrist said they were still in denial, they think the market is coming back. The other one was about a lady who got a $18,000 gas bill for heating her pool. Her PG&E bill had no gas charges on it for months then they sent all the bills at once. PG&E apologized for the processing glitch. The pool owner said that if she had gotten the first bill on time she would have turned the pool heater down.

One of the Diablo Canyon nukes went off line today for refueling. It will be down for 38 days if all goes well. They want it back on line when summer arrives.

Stephen

Rolling black out block # 6

Quoted from [dc-y2k-WRP] Digest Number 1130 Monday, April 30, 2001 4:19 AM www.kiyoinc.com/current.html



-- Paula Gordon (pgordon@erols.com), April 30, 2001.


"Rolling black out block # 6 "

And you're asking why DC motors burned out?

-- Buddy (buddydc@go.com), April 30, 2001.



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