NHNE Y2K Report 8
Saturday, December 26, 1998
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE Y2K Report 8
Saturday, December 26, 1998
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NOT SINCE THE DAYS WHEN GUNS REPLACED HUNTING STICKS
"Not since the days when guns replaced sharpened hunting sticks, and grain
mills replaced crude, hand-hewn mortars and pestles, has a year's rollover
meant more to the question of whether or not there will be enough food
for the future. What we do as nations, states, businesses, families and
individuals in the next 12 months, may well determine what, when, and
if we will eat in the Year 2000 and beyond."
--- Geri Guidetti, ARK INSTITUTE (Quoted in more depth below)
Global Y2K "Peace Corps" Proposed
Defusing the Y2K Bug
American Diabetics Not Dependent on European Insulin
Y2K Suppliers Go into Hiding
Mounties: Be Y2K Prepared
One in Three Large British Firms Already Hit by Y2K
Will the Biggest Y2K Threat Come Before 2000?
British Y2K Minister Called on to Resign
Y2K Card Fix for PCs
Y2K Class Action Suit Settled in Customers' Favor
Checks Cleared for Millennium Bug
2,000 Texans Get False Overdraft Notes in Y2K Test
Y2K Problems May Put Damper on New Year's Eve Parties
IT Managers Planning to Party
"Divert Your Course" An Urban Legend
Would Rolling Back the Clock Work Elsewhere?
Precision & Thoughtfulness
Hoarding Not Illegal...Yet
Famine in 2001 is Possible
Working in a Post-Millennial World
Ten Steps to Saving Your Town
Denver Adopts "Wait and See" Approach
Bennett's Bumpy Road to Y2K
American Red Cross Y2K Preparedness
Scared into Silence about Year 2000
The Millennium Butterfly
State Y2K Sites
Sanger's Review of Y2K News Reports Back in Business
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
More Stupid Things Said about the Year 2000 Problem
Terror at 30,000 Feet
GLOBAL Y2K "PEACE CORPS" PROPOSED
(Source: Thomas Hoffman, IDG COMMUNICATIONS, 12/22/98 via THE YEAR 2000
Renowned information technology consultant, Howard Rubin, has made an
intriguing proposal to the U.N. to help wayward nations catch up on their
Year 2000 projects: create a "Peace Corps" of experts to freely share
their knowledge with national Year 2000 coordinators. Y2K experts lauded
the approach, but acknowledged privately that their first priority was
to solving their own companies' millennium crises. Despite this ambivalence,
some industry groups have already made progress. For example, the SECURITIES
INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (SIA) in New York, has reached an agreement with
Russia to send Year 2000 programmers and practitioners to help Russian
investment banks and other financial services firms work on their Y2K
DEFUSING THE Y2K BUG
(Source: Colum Lynch, THE BOSTON GLOBE, 12/12/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K
LINKS AND FORUMS)
Concerned that the Year 2000 computer bug might accidentally set off a
nuclear war, the U.S. and Russia are hammering out an agreement to station
experts in each other's nuclear command centers next year to prevent miscalculations
that could kill millions of people. William Curtis, Director of the Pentagon's
Year 2000 compliance office, said that the U.S. would probably have its
experts in place in Moscow by the middle of 1999. "We need to make sure
there is no chance someone will be blindsided if the radar screens of
any country using nuclear weapons go blank," said Curtis. The U.S. is
also in discussions with China, which has expressed similar concerns.
AMERICAN DIABETICS NOT DEPENDENT ON EUROPEAN INSULIN
(Source: David & Chris Hibbard, 12/19/98, thanks to John Steiner)
A rumor has been circulating that 70 percent of the insulin used in the
U.S. comes from Holland and that, if there are disruptions to the transportation
of perishable goods by air as a result of Y2K, then American diabetics
could be in big trouble. David & Chris Hibbard did some research and
this is what they found: ELI LILLY in Indianapolis is the largest manufacturer
of insulin in the U.S. 100 percent of their insulin is manufactured in
this country, with the only component not made here being the plastic
pre-filled syringes which are made in France. The only other company which
makes insulin for the U.S. market is NOVA NORDISK in South Carolina. Thus,
unless domestic production and distribution are disrupted, insulin should
be available to those diabetics in the U.S. who need it. (JG)
Eli Lilly Website: http://www.lilly.com/index.html
Y2K SUPPLIERS GO INTO HIDING
(Source: Y2KNEWSWIRE, 12/21/98)
In a turn of events that would have been unbelievable before this year,
a solar equipment dealer contacted by Y2KNEWSWIRE for consideration as
a supplier, pleaded with them to keep him off the list! Why? "I've got
way too many orders right now," the owner explained. "I don't want to
get into a situation where I have to start refusing business." Interestingly,
he says the actual supply of solar panels and other renewable energy equipment
is still good -- the bottleneck is the filling of orders. Similarly, shortly
after Y2K analyst Gary North mentioned that Diamond matches -- the old
style, strike-anywhere variety -- are a great Y2K preparedness item, the
DIAMOND MATCH COMPANY contacted him to remove the reference from his website
-- too much business. Y2KNewswire predicts we'll be seeing more of this
throughout the Y2K industry: the raw materials are available, but the
companies that sell them are backlogged. Another example: WALTON FEED
is just now shipping orders placed in May 1998. (JG)
MOUNTIES: BE Y2K PREPARED
(Source: James Stevenson, VANCOUVER SUN, 12/22/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
According to Davie Morreau, Y2K head of the ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE,
the Mounties really don't know what to expect at the turn of the century.
Meanwhile, their philosophy is: it can't hurt to be prepared. "Cautious,
conservative Year 2000-ists say it would be prudent to have a couple weeks
supply of food and a couple weeks of cash on hand because if you don't
have telecommunications, you don't have debit cards or credit cards...and
we become a cash society." Morreau added, "At this stage of the game...it
would [also] be a good idea to keep a month's supply of water,
but we don't know if a month's supply is too much or not enough." (JG)
ONE IN THREE LARGE BRITISH FIRMS ALREADY HIT BY Y2K
(Source: COMPUTER WEEKLY, 12/17/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
According to a recent review by British Y2K watchdog group ACTION 2000,
one in three large British firms has already been hit by the Y2K bug.
The main problems have been with contracts, planning beyond 2000, and
malfunctioning software. The finance, manufacturing and utility sectors
have been hardest hit. Don Cruickshank, Action 2000's Chairman, warns,
"I am specially concerned about the smaller businesses down the supply
chain. They will need more help, particularly from the large companies
they serve." Action 2000 research shows that 51 percent of firms with
between 10 and 250 staff, and 76 percent of business with under 10 staff,
have yet to act. (JG)
WILL THE BIGGEST Y2K THREAT COME BEFORE 2000?
(Source: Lisa Kelly, COMPUTING, 12/17/98 vi SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS
In an attempt to predict at what time the mass of Y2K failures will occur,
Ian Hugo, Assistant Director of British Y2K group TASKFORCE 2000, has
plotted a "failure curve" for 1999. Hugo believes 10 percent of all failures
have already happened; 60 percent of failures will occur in 1999; and
only 30 percent will occur in 2000. A "big danger zone" is April 1999,
the time when many organizations begin budgeting and scheduling for 2000.
What Hugo gathers from his research is that users must have their Year
2000 contingency plans in place and tested by the middle of next year,
and not risk leaving them to the second half of 1999. (JG)
BRITISH Y2K MINISTER CALLED ON TO RESIGN
(Source: SILICON, 12/18/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
The furor continues in Britain over last week's recommendation by Gwynneth
Flower, head of UK government watchdog, ACTION 2000, that people stockpile
food and water to prepare for Y2K. Now CORPORATION 2000 chief executive,
Martyn Emery, is calling for the Leader of the House of Commons, Margaret
Beckett, to resign over her handling of the situation. In a scathing attack
on Beckett's strategy to date, Emery said: "She is...painting a false
and unrealistic picture. It's often much easier to give a positive outlook."
Robin Guenier, chief executive of Taskforce 2000, also agreed with Flower's
advice to stock up. "This is a difficult subject because if you tell people
to stockpile they panic. I'm sure Beckett would agree that preparations
need to be taken but she cannot be seen to cause panic. What Flower said
was very sensible." (JG)
Y2K CARD FIX FOR PCS
(Source: Gideon For-Mukwai, COMPUTERWORLD, 12/18/98 via THE YEAR 2000
South Africa-based DIAMOND TECHNOLOGIES has developed a simple hardware
fix for the Year 2000 clock problem affecting PCs. Called "Millennium
YIIK-RTC," the ISA card automatically resets the motherboard's real-time
clock chip with the correct time and date whenever the PC is booted up.
The device was launched last month in South Africa, with the installation
of 4,000 of the cards in PCs at the South African postal service. The
card sells for $105. (JG)
Y2K CLASS ACTION SUIT SETTLED IN CUSTOMERS' FAVOR
(Source: Mitch Ratcliffe, ZDY2K, 12/18/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
MEDICAL MANAGER CORPORATION has opted to avoid a courtroom battle by agreeing
to provide free updates to owners of its software, making this the second
Y2K class action lawsuit to be settled against a software developer. The
company markets an office management application for physicians' offices.
It has shipped a Y2K-compliant version of its product, Version 9, but
owners of earlier, non-compliant versions sued to receive free upgrades.
INTUIT and ADOBE remain among the major independent software developers
still opting not to deliver Y2K compliance fixes to owners of older versions
of their software. For instance, Adobe has informed its customers, "If
you have a prior version of a continued Adobe product and Year 2000 compliance
is critical to you, we strongly encourage you to upgrade to the current
version." MICROSOFT, recognizing that customers were angry about having
to pay for Y2K fixes to Office components and Windows, has decided to
avoid legal problems by offering free fixes, which it will begin to deliver
in early 1999. (JG)
CHECKS CLEARED FOR MILLENNIUM BUG
(Source: PRESS ASSOCIATION NEWS, 12/19/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
The ASSOCIATION FOR PAYMENT CLEARING SYSTEMS (APACS), the body responsible
for transferring money between banks and for clearing checks, has declared
that all its computer systems are Year 2000 compliant. APACS plays a vital
role in the UK's economic infrastructure, regularly handling 50 million
payments a day worth some $400 billion US. The system is now geared up
to handle both sterling and euro payments in the Year 2000. (JG)
2,000 TEXANS GET FALSE OVERDRAFT NOTES IN Y2K TEST
(Source: REUTERS/THE DETROIT NEWS, 12/17/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
A Texas bank has apologized to customers who were sent notices that their
accounts were overdrawn after a millennium-bug test went wrong. BANK ONE
TEXAS generated over 2,000 phony overdraft notices dated in the Year 2000
and later, to see whether its computer systems could successfully recognize
such dates. The computer test went well, but instead of being put in the
trash afterward, the notices were mailed out. Bank One spokesman Joe Bowles
assured puzzled customers that their accounts had not been altered and
the bank had taken steps to avoid similar incidents. "We've spent millions
of dollars to make sure the Y2K problem doesn't exist at Bank One," said
Bowles. "Human error still exists, and we'll do our best to alleviate
Y2K PROBLEMS MAY PUT DAMPER ON NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTIES
(Source: Scripps Howard, BOSTON HERALD, 12/16/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
Worries about the Y2K bug have some potential long-distance end-of-the-millennium
party-goers concerned, in particular, about credit-card screwups, problems
with flights, and other computer bugs that could make traveling in 2000
memorable for all the wrong reasons. "People are leery," says Joseph Mansueto
of OMEGA WORLD TRAVEL in Washington. "They don't want to be stuck somewhere."
Harry Delugach, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the UNIVERSITY
OF ALABAMA at Huntsville, predicts the biggest problems will be in the
smaller airports in poor countries. He plans on staying home "with plenty
of candles" on New Year's Eve 1999. "Add concerns over crowds, high prices,
and difficulty getting reservations and tickets, to concerns over Y2K
and you'll have some people deciding to opt for family or friends," says
John Locher, editor of EVERYTHING2000.COM. As an alternative to making
long trips to attend year-end parties in 1999, Locher says local New Year's
Eve celebrations may be the big winners. (JG)
IT MANAGERS PLANNING TO PARTY
(Source: George Black, COMPUTER WEEKLY, 12/17/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
A survey of 250 information technology (IT) managers by a network design
company, THE KNOWLEDGE GROUP, has discovered that almost all IT managers
expect to be at a party on New Year's Eve next year -- the exact time
when many networks will be most vulnerable. Only seven percent of IT managers
have made plans to staff their networks that night. "We are seeing a worrying
lack of provision," said Knowledge Group Marketing Director Klem Cowan.
"Health service and local government seem to be doing more about it; commercial
companies are still not making any plans." The one exception is the financial
services sector, where many IT managers have already been asked to work
on that day and will either be paid overtime or remunerated through a
loyalty bonus. (JG)
"DIVERT YOUR COURSE" AN URBAN LEGEND
In Y2K Report 5 (Sunday, December 6, 1998), we ran the following story:
This is the transcript of an actual radio conversation of a US naval
ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in 1995.
Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10/10/95:
AMERICANS: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid
CANADIANS: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the south to
avoid a collision.
AMERICANS: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert
CANADIANS: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
AMERICANS: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS MISSOURI, WE ARE A LARGE
WARSHIP OF THE US NAVY. DIVERT YOUR COURSE NOW!
CANADIANS: This is a lighthouse. Your call.
After publishing the above story, one reader, an ex-Navy man, challenged
the authenticity of the story pointing out: "In battleship days, aircraft
carriers were named for famous battles like Lexington and Saratoga. Today,
carriers are named for famous people, like James Forrestal or Carl Vinson.
There never was an aircraft carrier named Missouri."
We contacted the U.S. Navy and Canadian Coast Guard about the story. While
we've yet to hear from the Canadians, the U.S. Navy had this to say:
"The story of the ship and the lighthouse is an old joke, probably originally
out of Reader's Digest. It's been around for a long time and different
ships and lighthouses have been named.... [The] Missouri was decommissioned
in 1992, and this incident NEVER took place."
Assistant Chief of Information
Navy Office of Information
The Pentagon - Washington, D.C.
U.S. Navy's website: http://www.navy.mil
WOULD ROLLING BACK THE CLOCK WORK ELSEWHERE?
"In Y2K Report 7, you mentioned that Evansville Indiana had come up with
a cheap solution to cure its millennium bug problems by rolling back the
clock in their central traffic computer to 1972 because the days and dates
in both years are the same. Would this work for cities and towns besides
--- Constance Demby
[As the article goes on to mention, the VANDERBURGH COUNTY LEVEE AUTHORITY
plans to do the same thing for its computerized pumping equipment. In
the same report, a companion article, "It's Ugly, but It Sometimes Works,"
says that a similar technique has also been used with success by the OSKARSHAMM
NUCLEAR POWER PLANT in Sweden. The article goes on to describe the process
in more detail. "Date setback," as it is called, can only be performed
in particular situations. For example, setting back a system clock is
only applicable for a stand-alone device that has no inputs or outputs
with other computers. Setting back year data is more complicated because
it requires manipulation of date values at input and output. However,
this process can be applied to computers in communication with other computers.
At best, date setback is a temporary solution that can only be used in
isolated circumstances. JG]
PRECISION & THOUGHTFULNESS
Just writing to say how much I appreciate your Y2K reports. While I subscribe
to some of the same email lists, I am encouraged by the precision and
thoughtfulness of your articles.
--- Liza Christian, Executive Director, ROGUE VALLEY Y2K TASK FORCE, Oregon
HOARDING NOT ILLEGAL...YET
(Source: Y2KNEWSWIRE, 12/18/98)
Last week, in an effort dispel a number of nagging Y2K-related rumors,
Y2KNEWSWIRE asked readers to send them any information about anti-hoarding
laws. Based on the evidence they received, Y2KNEWSWIRE has arrived at
the following conclusion: hoarding food is currently not illegal, but
ALL "food resources" can be confiscated if the President declares a national
emergency. According to Executive Order 10998, "'Food resources' mean
all commodities and products...that are capable of being eaten or drunk
by either human beings or animals...at all stages of processing from the
raw commodity to the products in vendible form." So when people refer
to "anti-hoarding laws," what they're probably really talking about this
Executive Order and the idea that once a national emergency is declared,
almost anything is possible.
There is still no conclusive evidence to confirm or deny that: newer cars
will not function in the Year 2000; it is illegal to own military rations;
the San Francisco power outage was Y2K related. (JG)
Executive Order: http://forums.cosmoaccess.net/forum/survival/prep/10998.htm
FAMINE IN 2001 IS POSSIBLE
(Source: Geri Guidetti, ARK INSTITUTE, 12/12/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS
On average, cities only have 72 hours of food in their pipelines, and
the entire U.S. only has 3 months worth within its borders. Geri Guidetti
of the ARK INSTITUTE has written a sobering essay on the impact on Y2K
on the state of the America's food supplies. Here are some edited excerpts:
"Not since the days when guns replaced sharpened hunting sticks, and grain
mills replaced crude, hand-hewn mortars and pestles, has a year's rollover
meant more to the question of whether or not there will be enough food
for the future. What we do as nations, states, businesses, families and
individuals in the next 12 months, may well determine what, when, and
if we will eat in the Year 2000 and beyond."
"We will redefine food in the Year 2000. It may take a little while, but
'must have supersize fried double whopper with bacon and cheese with cherries
garcia and big gulp chaser' will be metamorphosed into 'grateful to have
bowl of vegetable soup with homemade bread with water chaser.'"
"A message to everyone involved in production, processing, distribution
and sales of food in the U.S.: According to several of the nation's most-respected
senior programmers, it is already too late for awareness, understanding
and checking. It is too late to write a plan of action. It is too late
to expect to find and keep programmers to repair all of your systems.
Food and water will prove to be our most critical national concern in
mid to late 1999. If you are to remain in business after 1999, it is time
for contingency planning. Its not too late for that."
"Farmers: How are you working to ensure us that you can deliver the goods
if your mission-critical computers collapse? If your suppliers and vendors
computers collapse? If your tractors don't work? If you can't get fuel
for your farm equipment? If your combines can't harvest? What seed will
you plant in Y2K if your spring seed shipments don't arrive in February
and March 2000? If the multinational hybrid seed producers can't produce
seed for you? If you can't get fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides?"
"Supermarket Chains: What are your alternatives to just-in-time inventory
management? Can you find/build space for longer-term food product storage?
How are you planning to sell food if the power goes out?"
"Food Processors: Are there manual overrides for your canning operations?
Have you talked to your suppliers about alternative methods? How will
you get the huge amounts of water you need to process food if the municipal
water systems go down?"
"Food Distribution Centers: How will you know which store needs what,
if the scanners and computer calculations go haywire? How will you get
product, if railway shipments are delayed or non-existent? If some/many/most
of your truckers are not able to deliver product for you? What if there
are no telephones?"
"Food Industry Leaders: Are you aware of what a worst-case scenario would
be like? Have you talked among yourselves about rethinking food product
needs in a national emergency?"
"Unless we get some fast, honest, complete answers, 1999 will be a year
of food panic. We have a year to reach more people, to push for serious
contingency planning, to help one another. Be part of the solution. Think
village. Think community. Grow a non-hybrid seed garden this summer. Give
some away. Learn to can and dry food. Teach others to do the same." (JG)
WORKING IN A POST-MILLENNIAL WORLD
(Source: Gary North, REALITY CHECK, 12/16/98)
In a post-millennial world, the closer you are to supplying a primary
consumer service or product, the more likely you will make the transition.
Y2K analyst Gary North time suggests the following occupations will be
Midwife: A man will pay whatever it takes to get his wife through labor
safely. The louder she screams, the more he will pay.
Repairman: Things break down. If you can fix them with simple tools, you'll
Knife Sharpener: People will have to keep their tools sharp. If you have
sharpening equipment and skills, you'll have a small business.
Any skill having to do with food production: A butcher is an obvious choice.
If you have refrigeration, all the better. If you can put together a local
farmers' market, even better.
The person with an operational truck: He'll need a few thousand gallons
of diesel and may want to wait until 2001 before taking his vehicle on
the road. No use drawing attention.
Spice Grower: People will want to flavor their food. A greenhouse full
of non-hybrid hot peppers will be a source of income.
Middleman: In times of distress, the person who can put deals together
and make things happen is highly valued.
Teacher: If you can teach a 4-year-old to read, you can make a living.
North also suggests the following items will be very valuable:
Toilet Paper: MARATHON sells 60 rolls, 500 sheets, two-ply, for $25 at
White sugar: Cheap now, in high demand later.
Residential Real Estate: There will be problems, such a securing title
in a time of breakdown, but at some point, sons and daughters will go
home to their parents' larger homes.
Cash and Gold Coins: But you had better understand how to bargain.
Lids for Canning Jars: Glass canning jars can be cleaned and reused, but
new lids are required each time you can.
School Books: North suggests a set of SAXON math books, kindergarten through
calculus (http://www.saxonpub.com); the ROBINSON curriculum, K-12, on
22 CDs; the 1911 "Encyclopedia Britannica" (http://www.home-school.org).
TEN STEPS TO SAVING YOUR TOWN
(Source: Gardner Trask, WESTERGAARD ONLINE SYSTEMS, 12/16/98 via GARY
NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
While most information system (IS) professionals have focused on Y2K proofing
their jobs, their companies, and their products, many smaller towns do
not have the resources or technical knowledge to even understand the monster
at their door. Y2K analyst Gardner Trask has put together an excellent
chronology of how several computer professionals banded together to help
their local government understand and deal with the inevitable. Here are
their ten steps:
1. Understand your objective, define your scope.
2. Educate yourself.
3. Understand the local political landscape.
4. Assume the worst -- find out the reality.
5. Don't take "It's covered" for an answer.
6. Get a champion, then form a committee.
7. Get support from the top.
8. Make it easy, make it personal.
9. Report and recommend.
As an IS professional, your job is not to fix, but to educate. If not
you, who? If not now, when? (JG)
DENVER ADOPTS "WAIT AND SEE" APPROACH
(Sources: Susan Greene, DENVER POST, 12/13/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS
AND FORUMS; Y2KNEWSWIRE, 12/18/98; Janis Gogan, INFORMATION WEEK, 12/7/98
Denver Colorado officials have announced that there's no way their city
can reprogram every computer chip in every piece of city equipment before
midnight on Dec. 31, 1999. As an alternative, over the next year they
plan to concentrate on repairing things deemed critical to public safety,
and roll the dice on the rest. Once equipment related to public health
and safety is tested and compliant, crews will focus on a second tier
of the city's fix-it list, which includes burglar alarms, elevators, fueling
operations and heating systems. They're also working to ensure that the
city continues to levy property taxes, fines, license fees and dozens
of other revenue sources that pay the bills.
That will leave a third tier of equipment untended and possibly broken
until higher priority equipment is fixed: air conditioners, office equipment
and phones in city buildings; monitoring of sewer lines; coordination
of recycling trucks and street sweepers. "Sometimes you can spend a lot
more money trying to analyze and solve problems than just dealing with
them later as needed," said Dave Bufalo, Denver's Y2K Director. "We'll...[we'll]
just wait until the clock rolls over to see if things work or don't work.
I don't think the world's going to come to an end. But I can't say exactly
what will happen, either."
Governments, agencies and big companies throughout the nation are realizing
that time and budget constraints will keep them from fully inoculating
all their high-tech hardware from the Year 2000 computer problem. Publicly-traded
companies in the private sector are bound to disclose information about
factors that could affect future financial results, including potential
Y2K problems. City officials aren't bound by the same rules, but, as Bufalo
explains, "We...have a responsibility to serve our citizens." "The best
thing we can do as a community is to just get an attitude adjustment,
to lower our expectations," adds Cathy Moyer, a computer consultant who
lectures throughout the state on Y2K preparedness. "People need to anticipate
that things will break."
According to Y2KNEWSWIRE, this announcement is big news because it demonstrates
a crucial pattern: all those claims of, "We'll make it!" are now beginning
to melt away. Janis Gogan of INFORMATION WEEK confirms the linguistic
games: "Two years ago, a typical Y2K project manager would say, 'We'll
finish all the conversion work and all the unit testing by December 1998.'
Six months ago, he or she might have said, 'We will finish the conversion
of critical systems by December 1998' (with no specific mention of unit
testing, and no clarification as to
which systems are considered critical). Today, I hear, 'We will complete
the bulk of the work on our most critical systems by December.'" The whole
pattern is sadly predictable: as time passes, confidence diminishes. Y2KNEWSWIRE
predicts that Denver won't be alone in announcing it can't fix things
Local experts say Denver is "slightly ahead" of other American cities
in dealing with its embedded technology, with Portland and San Francisco
leading the effort, and Chicago and Albuquerque lagging behind the national
BENNETT'S BUMPY ROAD TO Y2K
(Source: David M. Bresnahan, WORLDNETDAILY, 12/21/98 via GARY NORTH'S
Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) is the Chairman of the SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE
ON THE YEAR 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM and the senator considered most knowledgeable
about the millennium bug. While Bennett has been outspoken about the reality
of the problems that could result from the Y2K bug, lately he has begun
to tone down his predictions. Here are some edited quotes on a variety
of topics taken from an interview that Bennett gave recently to WORLDNETDAILY:
Fear and Hysteria: "Fear is too strong a word, but I think all of us should
have some concern. You need to find out as much as you possibly can about
what's really going to happen to you, and then make intelligent contingency
plans. There's no question that some of the hysteria is being whipped
up by people who have products to sell."
The National Power Grid: "I think that [the] 40 percent [risk]
has shrunk down to single digits. The very nature of the problem indicates
that we cannot get through this with complete, absolute, 100 percent assurance,
although there are people in power companies that are now telling me that's
what we can depend on. Don't go out and bury propane tanks in your back
yard or buy your very own generator, because I think we will have power."
Telecommunications: "There will be individual exchanges that will have
problems, but there are enough heartening indications that things are
going to be all right that leads me to believe that the telecommunications
system will work."
Transportation: "If we have a breakdown in the transportation system,
it could eventually shut down the economy by itself. For example, if the
trains don't work, you can't get coal from coal mines to the power-generating
plants, which means eventually you don't get any power and the power grid
goes down and then the dominoes can fall in various directions."
Offshore Oil Supply: "A breakdown could occur in that kind of transportation
chain which depends not only on Y2K compliance in this country, but in
many countries including the countries that license the ships, and the
countries where the oil is produced. I think the chances of a breakdown
somewhere in that chain are probably higher than the single digits, and
that could create some interesting and challenging economic difficulties."
Banking: "You have every right to contact your institution, whether it's
a bank or a credit union, and ask, 'Are you going to be Y2K compliant?'
If you don't have the answer that you deserve, then take your money out."
Contingency Plans: "You may say, 'Where I live there is a 30 percent chance
that the trucks might not be able to get to the supermarket where I buy
food. I probably ought to have a little extra food.' That's not fear,
that's intelligent planning based on sound information. Every one of us
has to take the responsibility for gathering his or her own information
and then making personal decisions." (JG)
AMERICAN RED CROSS Y2K PREPAREDNESS
(Source: THE AMERICAN RED CROSS, thanks to Lee Steinman)
For more than 100 years, the AMERICAN RED CROSS has been at the cutting
edge of disaster relief activities, helping people prevent and cope with
emergencies. As expected, the Red Cross is taking Y2K seriously and has
developed the following checklist:
-- Check with manufacturers of any essential computer-controlled electronic
equipment in your home to see if that equipment may be affected. This
includes fire and security alarm systems, programmable thermostats, appliances,
consumer electronics, garage door openers,
-- Stock disaster supplies to last several days to a week for yourself
and those who live with you. This includes having nonperishable foods,
stored water, and an ample supply of prescription and nonprescription
-- Have some extra cash on hand in case computer-controlled electronic
transactions involving ATM cards and credit cards cannot be processed.
Withdraw money from your bank in small amounts well in advance of 12/31/99.
-- Have a full tank of gas in your car.
-- In case the power fails, plan to use alternative cooking devices. Don't
use open flames or charcoal grills indoors.
-- Have extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves to keep warm.
-- Have plenty of flashlights and extra batteries on hand. A battery-powered
radio is also recommended.
-- Examine your smoke alarms. If they are all hard-wired into your home's
electrical system, some battery-powered alternatives are also advised.
-- In the event of a prolonged power outage, be prepared to relocate to
a shelter for warmth and protection.
-- If you plan to use a portable generator, connect what you want to power
directly to the generator; do not connect the generator to your home's
electrical system. Also, be sure to keep a generator in a well-ventilated
-- Check with the emergency services providers in your community to see
if there is more information available about how your community is preparing
for any potential problems. (JG)
SCARED INTO SILENCE ABOUT YEAR 2000
(Source: St. Petersburg Times, 12/21/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
The cost to American businesses for implementation of Year 2000 technical
fixes is being measured in hundreds of billions of dollars, but such numbers
pale when compared to the possible legal expenses involved. LLOYD'S OF
LONDON is estimating litigation costs of $1 trillion in Year 2000 alone
to U.S. corporations. And businesses won't have insurance to protect them
-- 46 states have already passed legislation allowing insurance companies
to deny claims involving legal actions arising from lack of Y2K readiness.
Legal conferences and workshops are being staged around the country to
teach lawyers how to sue companies that won't be Y2K compliant. The risk
of such litigation has many corporate executives running scared. One of
the worst outcomes is that few companies are telling the public that their
organizations will be Y2K-compliant -- or not -- for fear of increasing
While the tactic of silence may strengthen a corporation's legal case
after the situation is over, such a strategy may be the wrong approach
for dealing with customers before the fact. Companies should be unleashing
barrages of truthful and frank messages, through radio and television
and print advertisements, to alleviate their clients' concerns. Otherwise,
they may find their customers closing accounts and putting off purchases
of products until they have proved that everything will work satisfactorily.
If corporations break their self-imposed silence, they may still be required
to wage a legal war in the future, but they might avert an economic battle
in the meantime. In doing so, they would also be providing a valuable
public service by allaying anxieties. (JG)
THE MILLENNIUM BUTTERFLY
(Sources: Andrea Papuc, AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW, 12/10/98 via SANGER'S
REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS; Adam Turner, THE AGE ONLINE, 12/11/98 via
THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)
Market and banking authorities are anticipating a massive withdrawal of
cash from the banking system in late 1999 by people afraid of the potential
havoc of the Y2K computer bug. If the banks were paralyzed for even a
short period, the resulting shortage of dollars would temporarily drive
interest rates higher. This concern about the impact of the Year 2000
has already sparked a distortion in interest rates on December '99 bank
bill futures -- the implied rates on the December '99 contract are sharply
higher than the September '99 and March '00 contracts, and December contracts
in other years. The phenomenon is most pronounced in the euro-US dollar
and the euro-deutschemark markets and has been dubbed the "Millennium
Butterfly" because of the butterfly-shaped kink in the futures curve.
"People are realizing that money at the end of 1999 might be pretty expensive,"
said one market participant. Similar discrepancies are also showing up
in gold forward prices and soy bean futures.
Up to this point, the millennium bug has had a limited impact on the markets,
apart from driving up the share price of technologies profiting from Y2K.
Taking advantage of the kink in the futures bill curve, investors are
generating short-term profits by selling December 1999 bills and buying
September 1999 and March 2000 bills. Curiously, as investors sell December
1999 bills, their value decreases to the point where they become attractive
to those investors who do not believe the banking system will fall victim
to the millennium bug.
STATE Y2K SITES
(Source: Gary North, GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS, 12/22/98)
For up-to-date information on Y2K preparations on a state-by-state basis,
the U.S. Federal Government has created the YEAR 2000 INFORMATION DIRECTORY.
Exhaustive, exhausting and very thorough. (JG)
SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS BACK IN BUSINESS
(Source: Larry Sanger, SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS, 12/21/98 via
GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
Some Y2K sites simply give you a link to an article, whereas Larry Sanger's
REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS gives you a link and a summary. It's good for
rapid skimming. After suddenly dropping off the radar screen on Dec. 15,
Sanger's lucid and well-balanced website is back in business. His server
CRUXNET went out of business -- without warning -- so he wasn't even able
to redirect traffic to a new location. Nevertheless, he maintained the
site for a full week offline -- "'cause it's such a labor of love" --
until he was able to re-establish his presence through another server.
Larry Sanger's new website: http://www.y2kreview.com/
While Y2KNEWSWIRE dispenses free information about WHAT is going on with
Y2K, the Y2KSUPPLY.COM side of their business publishes and sells "Y2K
Sourcebook," an excellent resource showing you HOW to get prepared. For
example, while WALTON FEED is backlogged more than 10 months on most food
shipments, the Y2K Sourcebook reveals a commercial wheat supplier that
can ship tons of clean, bagged wheat anywhere in the U.S. within a matter
of days. Need a water filter? Katadyn units are completely sold out, but
the Y2K Sourcebook tells of a little-known water purification device that
filters up to 40,000 gallons of water for under $275. And they're available
in three weeks, not three months. Funds from the sale of the Sourcebook,
which goes for $195 and includes regular email updates, are the sole support
of Y2KNEWSWIRE. (JG)
THE LIGHTER SIDE Of Y2K:
MORE STUPID THINGS SAID ABOUT THE YEAR 2000 PROBLEM
(Source: Ken Orr, DUH-2000)
DUH-2000 continues their ongoing contest seeking the stupidest things
said about the Year 2000 problem. Here are a few of their latest submissions
[with the comments of editor Ken Orr in square brackets]:
Paul Kedrosky, columnist for the NATIONAL POST ONLINE: "Let's say that
there's a 10 percent chance of something going wrong in a company come
January 1, 2000....And imagine that probability is the same at other companies
with which the company does business....The probability of two companies
having a problem is the square of 0.1, or 1 percent. And the probability
of enough companies simultaneously having a problem to return us to the
Stone Age is 0.1 to a very large power -- effectively zero. But you wouldn't
know that from the 'experts.' Who knows what math they're doing?" [According
to Kedrosky's logic, if the chance of an individual tree breaking in an
ice storm is only 10 percent, then a very bad storm would have close to
a zero chance of causing any widespread damage.]
Ned Bates, Richmond, CA City Councilman (CONTRA COSTA TIMES): "As long
as we're moving forward then we have to just be patient and hope that
eventually we'll achieve the level of compliance that they expect from
us." [Sometime in 2002, no doubt.]
Margaret Beckett, leader of the UK House of Commons (REUTERS): "All the
systems people might be worried about are designed to be 'fail-safe,'
in other words they would cease to work rather than go off unexpectedly."
[A good thing if it's a nuclear weapon; a bad thing if it's a power
plant or telephone company.]
James K. Glassman, fellow at the AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE (WASHINGTON
POST): "Something you know about in advance is unlikely to hurt you very
much." [Let's see, we know there will be hurricanes next fall.]
Enoch Muhammad, columnist for the DAILY EGYPTIAN SHOCK: "What caused the
designers of computers and computer chip machinery to ignore this mess
and who should be blamed? Why is this problem called a bug or a virus?
Was this problem planned by the designers or by some hackers?" [It's
all a plot -- all those smart COBOL programmers were planning their revenge
even back then. Or, we could blame short-sighted management for waiting
until the last minute before fixing the problem. Nah!]
Rex Murphy, commentator for the CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION: "We
are headed, in a matter of mere months, for the information ice age. The
machines are going to freeze and everything that they run...will freeze
with them. There is nothing in the modern world, from cars to airplanes
to hair dryers to TV sets; from Internet accounts to video games, nuclear
defense systems to voice mail; from your Bay card to little Johnny's academic
standing since Grade Two; from Revenue Canada to the local gas station,
that doesn't owe its proper functioning and record to some computer chip."
[Hair dryers? Pound-for-pound this is the stupidest Y2K report we've
An anonymous parent: "My [adult] son...said that the television
networks wouldn't have spent all that money to renew the football season
contracts for 1999-2000 if there really was a Y2K problem." [Hope
he's right. If not, we can all watch Super Bowl XXXIV by candlelight.]
Walt Nadolny: "I was doing some consulting for a law firm in Milwaukee....Their
main systems were 286 based. I started talking to the head attorney about
Y2K and updating his whole system, giving him Windows, etc. His response:
'We are not doing anything. When the system crashes in January 2000, we
will sue the computer industry.'" [Would all of our readers who are
surprised by this, please raise your hands?]
To nominate someone for the Duh-2000 contest, e-mail the quote and a URL
for the reference to: "firstname.lastname@example.org". The person who submits the
winning quote each month will receive a free six-pack of "HeaterMeals":
precooked, shelf-stable entrees that heat themselves in their own box,
without flame or electricity -- tasty and useful, even if the power stays
on January 1, 2000! (JG)
TERROR AT 30,000 FEET
(Source: Douglass Carmichael, Y2K WEEK, 12/8/98)
In a plane en route to Washington State. Guy next to me, rings in the
ears, long hair, big 14-plus-inch IBM laptop -- the kind you don't buy,
except to make a statement. I say:
"Are you, by any chance, involved with any Y2K stuff?"
"Actually, I am the head of Y2K for XX UNIVERSITY in Chicago."
"How is it going?"
"Making real progress. We will be ready."
"What about the students coming back at the beginning of that first semester
in January 2000?"
"Never thought about it. Maybe I'll mention it to the President."
"What about your interface with the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION for student
"I think it's on the list. I just started last February. We are still
catching up. We are working on contingency plans. Paper and pencil stuff."
"How many pencils? Where will they come from?"
"Don't know. Let's see." Makes plausible mental calculation. "You're right,
better start ordering them now."
"What if everyone does that? "
"The manufacturers will gear up."
"What if you were one?"
"I wouldn't. It might not happen. Besides it would kill the market when
"What about utilities?"
"We've written to all our suppliers. They say they will be ready."
"What about electricity?"
"Do you think they are asking these questions?"
"Well, we both report to the same person and I know he isn't asking those
[questions]." Earphones go on, CD slips into his laptop, Solitaire
comes up on his screen. "Well, it'll work out somehow." (JG)
Copyright 1998 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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