NHNE Y2K Report 10
Sunday, January 17, 1999
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE Y2K Report 10
Sunday, January 17, 1999
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"The Best of the Best of Y2K"
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TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
"If you think you are too small to make a difference;
try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito."
--- African Proverb
Y2K Failure Shuts Down U.S. Senate's Computer
U.S. Customs Mobilizes for System Breakdown
The Biggest Missed Deadline in History?
Summary of the President's Council Report on Y2K Progress
Betting on Low-Tech Gizmos
Advertising Watchdog Okays Compaq Y2K Claims
Thankeroos for the Buckeroos
You Deserve It
North to Alaska
We Are in the Transition
A Harsh & Yet Balanced View
We Don't Want to Lose the Website
January Glitches: Good News or Bad News?
Sobering Thoughts from WFS
Military's GPS Receivers Not Y2K Compliant
CNN Y2K Poll: What Do the Numbers Really Say?
Reflections on the Week
Y2K: So Many Bugs...So Little Time
The Most Common Y2K Mistakes
A Response to the TIME MAGAZINE Y2K Article
Plant A Millennium Victory Garden
Survival Seed Kits
Norton 2000 Tops List of PC-Readiness Packages
Y2K ALERTS Now Have Their Own Page on the Web
Federal Y2K Information Center
ANS Opens Y2K Bureau
Building Community Not Crises
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
At the Pearly Gates
Y2K FAILURE SHUTS DOWN U.S. SENATE'S COMPUTER
(Source: Norah M. O'Donnell, ROLL CALL, 1/12/99 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS
Top officials at the U.S. Senate are grappling with a glitch in its multimillion-dollar
Y2K computer project, which has temporarily plunged individual Senate
offices into fiscal chaos. Office managers throughout the Senate have
grown furious as overdue vendor bills have piled up for state office rents,
credit cards, staffers' travel reimbursements, cellular phones and pagers.
Facing eviction from their state offices last week, some Senate aides
demanded immediate action from the disbursement office. A major Y2K project
is underway within the Office of the Secretary of the Senate to implement
the new Financial Management Information System. "Our goal in the future
is to get these bills paid within two to three weeks," said Tim Wineman,
the financial clerk of the Senate. "If we were not going through this
now we would be going through this a week before the Year 2000 and then
there would be a meltdown." (JG)
U.S. CUSTOMS MOBILIZES FOR SYSTEM BREAKDOWN
(Source: Bill Mongelluzzo, JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, 1/13/99 via Y2K NETWORK)
Since last summer, U.S. Customs' 14-year-old Automated Commercial System
(ACS) has shut down three times. These "brownouts" lasted only a few hours,
but Customs fears that the system could suffer a Y2K-related "blackout"
that could last days. As far as importers and customs brokers are concerned,
any outage beyond 72 hours would be a disaster causing mayhem at U.S.
borders and possibly leading to shutdowns of U.S. assembly plants that
depend on imported components that arrive in a just-in-time environment.
Customs is working on a replacement system, known as the Automated Commercial
Environment, (ACE) at a cost of more than $1 billion, but disputes about
the size of government and private sector contributions have delayed implementation
by years. Given the uncertainties facing ACE and the existing ACS, Customs
is urging the trade community to brush up on how to file customs documentation
THE BIGGEST MISSED DEADLINE IN HISTORY?
(Sources: COMPUTERWEEKLY, 1/14/99 via Y2KNEWSWIRE; Y2KNEWSWIRE, 1/4/99)
The largely-missed 12/31/1998 deadline, now almost forgotten by the world,
is being called, "the biggest missed deadline in history," by Chris Webster,
Head of Year 2000 Services at research firm CAP GEMINI. The national press
largely ignored this missed deadline: no major stories appeared reminding
readers that 12/31/1998 was the last day to finish repairs that would
have allowed for the recommended one-year testing and implementation phase.
Rather, the U.S. press focused on the lack of problems on 1/1/99. One
of the best measures of whether testing activity has really begun is the
demand for third-party testing labs. Ian Lawrence, Business Manager at
test lab SOFTWARE LABORATORY, said he was surprised at the lack of external
Year 2000 testing going on. "I thought we would be swamped, but not so."
President Clinton has now set March, 1999 as the new deadline for all
federal agencies to complete their Y2K repairs, leaving just nine months
for testing and implementation. When March comes, the deadline will no
doubt be moved to June; when June comes, the deadline will be moved to
September. But when 1/1/2000 arrives, says Y2KNEWSWIRE, all the missed
deadlines and positive spin in the world will have no value whatsoever.
SUMMARY OF THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL REPORT ON Y2K PROGRESS
(Source: Victor Porlier, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 1/13/99 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
The "First Quarterly of Assessment Information" by the PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL
ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION has been released, but it's massive and dry reading.
Victor Porlier has put together a 35-page summary of the Summary. The
text has a lot of telling statements that work against its otherwise upbeat
tone; e.g., "Lack of progress on the international front may lead to failures
that could affect the U.S., especially in areas that rely on cross-border
networks such as finance, telecommunications, and transportation." The
telecommunications industry status is described by vague phrases: "seriously
addressing," "most likely," "current data are not yet available," "have
been working on it for some time." The financial services industry section
is more optimistic but its progress is still described vaguely. Porlier
concludes his summary by encouraging the study's authors to write something
more concrete and objectively documented next time. (JG)
BETTING ON LOW-TECH GIZMOS
(Source: Anne Chen, CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 1/14/99 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
As the millennium approaches, manufacturers of alternative energy gadgets
are seeing a growing interest in their products. At the recent Consumer
Electronics Show (CES), for example, "digital television may have captured
the spotlight...but low-tech products powered by solar energy or a hand
crank ran away with the show," according to Gary Armstrong of FASCINATIONS,
a company that markets "The Dynamo," a hand-powered flashlight that retails
at $15. Vaughan Wiles, President of FREEPLAY ENERGY USA said sales of
his company's hand-crank radios and solar-powered lanterns have gone through
the roof since the holidays and show no signs of slowing down. At CES,
his company displayed three different gadgets: the Freeplay Solar AM/FM
Radio, the Freeplay Lantern, and the Freeplay Short Wave Radio, which
retail from $69 to $99. "There's no question that Y2K survival...is driving
a number of sales including our own," said Wiles. Other popular items
featured at CES included the SolarVerter from PATRICK TECHNOLOGIES INC.,
which markets solar-powered rechargers for any battery-operated appliance
and retails from $34 to $54. And CB radios are coming back in vogue too
as an alternate mode of communication during a Y2K problem because CBs
use batteries and don't depend on phone lines. (JG)
ADVERTISING WATCHDOG OKAYS COMPAQ Y2K CLAIMS
(Source: Tony Smith, THE REGISTER, 1/13/99 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K
The British ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY (ASA) has rejected complaints
by Y2K testing company PROVE IT 2000 that COMPAQ advertisements claiming
full Year 2000 compliance are misleading. Compaq's ads state: "Every computer
in our range is guaranteed to pass the NATIONAL SOFTWARE TESTING LABORATORIES'
(NTSC) YMARK2000 hardware test." PROVE IT 2000 had claimed that while
Compaq PCs' BIOS are able to cope with the change from 1999 to 2000, their
real-time clock (RTC) is not certified for Y2K compliance. However, since
expert testimony pointed out that virtually all commercially-available
software takes the date from the BIOS, UK's advertising industry watchdog
accepted that Compaq could make the claim that its hardware is Y2K compliant.
Prove IT 2000 had also claimed that Compaq's advertising gives "the impression
that those who bought a Compaq computer would not suffer disruption after
the Year 2000." Again, the ASA ruled that this was not misleading as Compaq
said the advertisement highlighted the Year 2000 readiness of their hardware
only. The ruling provides an out for hardware vendors: as long as their
hardware can handle the Year 2000, they're safe, even if their system
as a whole isn't Y2K compliant. (JG)
THANKEROOS FOR THE BUCKEROOS
A few weeks ago, NHNE asked for help to pay off some urgent bills. The
response was gratifying: to date we've received $2,416 of the $3,000 needed.
Our fund-raising drives typically fall far short of our goal, so with
81 percent of what we need already raised, we've been wondering what we
did right this time. Here are excerpts from notes that accompanied some
of the latest donations.
YOU DESERVE IT
"The sense that Y2K represents a true threat and you represent a true
contribution to a solution makes me want to show my support and thanks
however you ask. It is a matter of feeling clearly that you deserve it,
given that you've done so much already."
--- Steve Haag, Flagstaff, Arizona
NORTH TO ALASKA
"I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed and learned from your
website since finding it two months ago. Thank you for your efforts in
educating communities around the globe. I can't tell you how many people
I have forwarded your website to. I really wish I could help you and your
group to raise funds to pay your bills; however, we just moved from the
East Coast to Southeast Alaska because of Y2K and it cost us most of our
savings. We are presently trying to get established here and get our community
together in preparation. Many people moved here years ago because they
felt that something like Y2K would eventually hit the lower 48. Fuel is
our major concern, so we are working on the idea to stockpile it at strategic
locations. We have already had one community meeting in early December
and several meetings are scheduled in the next few weeks. People up here
are very receptive to our ideas. Although we cannot help you with money
at this time, perhaps you and your readers can learn something from us:
--- Grace Kirkwood, Craig, Alaska
WE ARE IN THE TRANSITION
"The one thing that you did differently this time was you actually told
everyone how bad the situation was and that you needed money. Maybe in
the future you should be more upfront and let folks know how much the
things cost to get the info out to us. I am in the same situation right
now: Almost totally broke, ever since the NEC plant I was working at here
in the Seattle area closed down, with every door I have knocked on for
writing jobs/editing jobs a dead lead. I figure the universe is telling
me to go elsewhere. We are all being tested and dealt with immediately
by the great new energies on the planet. We are in "The Transition" right
now. This is going to be the best year for many people and the worst year
for those holding on to old ways of doing things. You asked for help and
it was given to you. I think that is the way things are going to happen
for a lot of us, but if we want our prayers answered, we have to ask for
things that live in our heart and souls."
--- Danise Codekas, Seattle, Washington
A HARSH & YET BALANCED VIEW
"What you've done right is present a harsh and yet balanced view of the
Y2K scenario with enough brotherly love and hope mixed in to stand out
from the other Net pages. I think the admission that you don't have the
dough to get your own family prepared, helped too."
--- Jay Zuckerman, Tucson, Arizona
WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE THE WEBSITE
"People have been supporting you because they don't want to lose this
website. I am self-employed so I know how important it is to support the
services that matter. I really appreciate your website and your way of
presenting issues. I would hate for that to stop. I personally feel Y2K
will be a big deal and have made certain people in my area aware of all
the emails coming in, hoping they will take it to heart. The denial is
amazing. People don't want anything to come along that is going to disturb
the status quo. Little do they realize that nothing lasts forever. Time
to wake up and smell the beans and rice cooking on the woodstove! I have
done what I can do for my family. Keep up the good work."
--- Salli, Mt. Rainier, Washington
JANUARY GLITCHES: GOOD NEWS OR BAD NEWS?
By James Gregory, Editor-in-Chief, Y2K REPORT and David Sunfellow, Founder
& Publisher, NHNE
The world apparently sailed through the first days of 1999 with only scattered
mistakes by computers confused by the approaching Year 2000 -- an outcome
that added to growing optimism about the chances of avoiding widespread
disruptions 50 weeks from now. Computer users had feared that the advent
of this year might be rougher than usual because many computer programs
look a full 52 weeks ahead and so would be encountering dates in 2000
for the first time.
"Either people are being very tight-lipped or it's just not happening,"
says Marc Pearl of the INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA.
Programmer Corry Hamasaki, who has repeatedly predicted wide-spread, catastrophic
problems in his DC Y2K WEATHER REPORT, was more pointed in his assessment
of 1999's early computer glitches. According to Hamasaki, the problems
that are beginning to emerge indicate that the situation is going to be
even WORSE than expected:
"It's worse than I thought. We're reading entrails, assembling small clues
into a horrifying picture. The truth is not out there. There are a thousand
reasons why companies and management is reporting half truths. Some of
it is fear, some is wishful thinking. The geekvine says that a January
bank interoperability test has been postponed....The failures now are
little surprises, lost records, missing transactions, incorrect total
roll-ups....Some are early Jo Anne Effects and others seem to be '99'
error situations. Others are difficult to categorize. According to Jo
Anne's analysis, the problems should not be visible until February or
March. We're seeing the camel's nose. It's like expiration date 2000 credit
cards. The problems that shouldn't have happened are happening."
While analysts differ on what 1999's early glitches ultimately mean, all
agree that the glitches themselves (those reported anyway), were more
irritating than catastrophic. In addition to disruptions to taxi meters
in Singapore and Sweden (as reported in Y2K REPORT 9), here is a list
of reported rollover glitches (all of which occurred on Jan. 1, unless
- In Hong Kong, the Marine Department, which runs one of the busiest harbors
in the world, the ship-tracking system crashed. No accidents occurred
as a result of the error, and the system was repaired within a few hours.
- STATOIL, the Norwegian state oil company, suffered an interruption of
credit card processing capabilities at 600 pumps, preventing consumers
from paying for gasoline with plastic for several hours.
- KFQD, a radio station in Anchorage, Alaska had problems with a newswire
application, cutting off news feeds from the ASSOCIATED PRESS. This was
an example of the "Nines Problem."
- A flaw in the hardware of the brand new computer-driven card-access
security system of STERLING AND STERLING INSURANCE, Long Island, N.Y.
locked most of the 85 workers out of their office building on Jan. 4.
- A BLUE CROSS-BLUE SHIELD system that manages prescription drug benefits
for 3.7 million workers locked up and denied drugs to 96,531 members at
47,000 pharmacies for 20 hours. Most of the pharmacies gave their customers
the drugs anyway, and the system was fixed by the next day.
- The HEWLETT-PACKARD external defibrillator and RESEARCH INC.'s Millennia
3500 multiparameter patient monitor, while still performing basic functions
properly, displayed the wrong time and date until properly reset. More
than 39,000 defibrillators and 2,000 patient monitors are in use around
- Stockholm's Arlanda Airport and two other airports in Sweden experienced
problems with a computer system that issued temporary passports to travelers.
When the date 1999 was entered into the system, it reportedly responded
"end of run" or "end of file."
- DAIMLER/CHRYSLER CORP. discovered that a program in its regional data
centers that helps run auto production had a 99 problem that could be
fixed by the same patch the company was planning to install later this
quarter to deal with a Year 2000 defect. Chrysler rushed the patching
job through, and no disruptions were suffered.
- GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO. said it encountered four minor glitches, including
a commodities accounting program that would not allow it to schedule metals
payments in the Year 2000. It turned out that all four defects had been
identified by Goldman's code scanners and would have been eliminated by
program fixes set for this spring.
- As expected, government computers in Washington and several other states
were unable to sign people up for unemployment benefits using standard
forms, which set a date one year ahead as the end of the benefits. But,
as previously planned, those agencies continued to sign people up for
the benefits last week by plugging in Dec. 31, 1999 as the ending date.
- ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS PRODUCTS in Bohemia, N.Y. was surprised to discover
on Dec. 22 that equipment it had been phasing out could not produce a
"00" windshield sticker for drivers whose vehicles had passed inspection;
instead it printed out stickers saying "91." Many inspection stations
put them on car windows anyway and parking agents promptly began ticketing
the apparently out-of-date cars. A crash effort to complete the transition
to newer equipment that issued "00" stickers was not completed until Jan.
- Not only did the computer at LIN ELECTRIC, a company which specializes
in reconditioning electric motors, crash, the accounting system locked
up so tight it couldn't be restarted. Payroll checks for the 20 employees
had to be written by hand. The company was using an accounting program
from COUGAR MOUNTAIN SOFTWARE designed for small business. Y2K-compliant
versions of the program have been available for two years, but Lin Electric
had not upgraded.
Most year 2000 experts were impressed that the financial sector had fared
so well, despite having committed huge computing resources to the introduction
of the euro, the new European currency that began trading on Jan. 4. "It
points to the likelihood of a few hellish days rather than big failures
next year," said Ian Hayes, President of CLARITY CONSULTING. On the other
hand, Hayes cautions "There are a hundred problems for every one reported."
He and others also warn that companies with faulty programs creating bad
data may not realize it yet. Echoing these concerns, John Koskinen, Chairman
of President's COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION, said he was worried that
last week's calm might encourage local governments and small businesses
to settle on "wait until it breaks" policies.
MARDON DIRECT REPORTING PROJECT is actively soliciting more examples of
business function failures caused by the roll-over to 1999. They ask that
you send your examples to "email@example.com" as soon as possible. Mardon
will be tracking these defects through the end of January, 1999.
DC Y2K WEATHER REPORT: http://www.kiyoinc.com/WRP107.HTM
MARDON DIRECT REPORTING PROJECT: http://www.mardon-y2k.com/page17.html
(Sources: Kevin Maney, USA TODAY 1/13/99 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER;
Barnaby J. Feder, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 1/11/99 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K
NEWS REPORTS; MARDON DIRECT REPORTING PROJECT, 1/10/99 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS; Y2K WIRE, 12/30/98 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER;
Mitch Ratcliffe, ZDY2K, 1/8/99 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS;
Chris Hawke, UPI, 1/5/99 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)
SOBERING THOUGHTS FROM WFS CONFERENCE
(Source: Jim Lord, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 1/4/99)
Jim Lord recently attended a conference of the WORLD FUTURE SOCIETY, which
describes itself as "a nonprofit educational and scientific organization
for people interested in how social and technological developments are
shaping the future." With 30,000 members, the Society serves as a nonpartisan
clearinghouse for ideas about the future, including forecasts, recommendations,
scenarios, alternatives and more. In Jim Lord's opinion, Y2K would certainly
seem made to order for this group.
Dr. Harrison Fox, a staff member with the subcommittee on GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT,
INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY gave what many considered the most sobering
session of the conference. Dr. Fox indicated that by December the panic
factor will be in full force and rationing will be in effect. Of great
concern are DoD, FAA, healthcare and state and local governments, especially
their water systems. Within DoD, nuclear weapons management and logistics
systems were cited as most critical. Three of the five oil refineries
in Venezuela (which provide 17 percent of the oil supply in the U.S.)
will not be compliant in time and will have to be shut down. MEDICARE
will "fail massively." Unsatisfactory performance in dealing with Y2K
is indicative of the poor management systems and practices in use in the
federal government. A comprehensive national-level strategy is still needed.
Dr. Fox concluded his talk saying that everyone must prepare for Y2K and
they need to start right away. (JG)
MILITARY'S GPS RECEIVERS NOT Y2K COMPLIANT
(Source: Bryan Bender, JANE'S DEFENSE WEEKLY, 1/13/99 via GARY NORTH'S
Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
Nearly 12,000 of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE's (DoD) Global Positioning
System (GPS) receivers are at high risk because they have not yet been
made compliant for the Year 2000, according to a recent Pentagon audit.
Among the military equipment that use the uncorrected receivers to navigate
with pinpoint accuracy are cruise missiles, surveillance aircraft, transport
aircraft, refueling tankers, and hand-held units for combat troops. Some
of the receivers are also used by civilian government agencies, defence
contractors and allied nations.
Failure to validate the GPS receivers to ensure they can calculate the
date change from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000 could cause them
to malfunction, "increasing the risk of mission disruption," the report
added. "If the time and date generated by receivers are wrong, the position
estimates will be widely inaccurate."
The GPS receivers in question were made by more than 70 companies worldwide
and are not among the 15 types of receivers bought through the USAF-led
GPS program office. Instead, the mostly commercial receivers were acquired
by various military components through waivers or exemptions. These GPS
receivers, numbering "at least 11,991", according to the audit, have not
been included in the GPS program office's Y2K compliance efforts in large
part due to the failure of many organizations to respond to requests for
status reports on Y2K compliance.
The constellation of 24 GPS satellites themselves have been deemed Y2K
compliant, as have the receivers that have been purchased by the GPS program
CNN Y2K POLL: WHAT DO THE NUMBERS REALLY SAY?
By James Gregory, Editor-in-Chief, Y2K REPORT
Opinion polls, by their very nature, are simply snapshots of what people
think. And while polls in general are useful in making certain predictions,
Y2K polls have the shortcoming that people's opinions are mostly based
on conjecture and hearsay.
Take for instance the latest CNN/TIME Y2K poll which determined what people
THINK will be the likelihood of the following occurrences as we enter
the Year 2000:
- Disruptions in the banking system: 53 percent
- Electronic equipment failures: 59 percent
- Riots/social unrest: 38 percent
- The end of the world: 9 percent
Since these opinions are based on conjecture, their value is questionable.
However, what are useful indicators are the following ACTION that people
are planning to take themselves in order to avoid Year 2000 problems:
- Stockpile food: 33 percent
- Avoid air travel: 26 percent
- Arm themselves: 13 percent
- Withdraw extra cash: 47 percent
In an apparent attempt to downplay the results, CNN commented, "Few people
plan to stockpile food, avoid air travel or arm themselves." The fact
that more than one third of the population plans to store food, more than
one quarter will avoid air travel, and one in nine intend to arm themselves
are undeniably significant numbers. So, too, is the fact that almost half
of those polled plan to withdraw extra cash. People withdrawing all or
significant portions of their money from the banking system may, indeed,
be the most serious polling statistic that has emerged -- especially since
a very small percentage of withdrawls could lead to a collapse the banking
(Source: CNN, 1/10/99)
REFLECTIONS ON THE WEEK
(Source: Y2K WEEK, Douglass Carmichael with Mark Frautschi, 1/10/99)
[The following edited excerpts are taken from on a weekly dialog between
Y2K analysts Douglass Carmichael and Mark Frautschi around an evolving
set of Y2K scenarios. JG]
"Many people in positions of leadership and authority are struggling for
a coherent strategy for responding to Y2K. My belief is that we will not
get such coherence. The actual activity right now is scattered and intense.
These people are acting to preserve the momentum of the market and the
continuity of organizations. We are likely to see people moving out from
current patterns into some chaos and creativity, (what Stephen Jay Gould
calls "punctuated equilibrium"). When the dinosaurs failed, there was
a short period of immensely creative species making."
"One clue to the nature of Y2K is the difference between Y2K and a storm.
With a storm, there is a desire to get solid facts -- barometric pressure,
vector maps, ranges of potential effects -- all of which seem to bring
out objective thinking. Not many try to hide the reality of a storm. But
with Y2K, we have nothing like an institutionalized objective urge. The
difference is of course that no one takes the blame for the storm, but
Y2K was caused by the same people who are trying to solve it."
"Consider the 'Plywood Effect': We are a society of layers glued together.
The top has a view, but instead of being organically related to the bottom,
it is organically related sideways, which means top management views are
formed more by conversations with other top managers than by conversations
downwards. I was part of a meeting this week looking at one federal agency
and its progress. Reports were to be obtained from the next layer down.
But there was no sampling of even a few systems all the way to the bottom
to see if the picture held. 'Hold your breath and don't ask,' was the
advice. The reality is that top management is flying on a wing and prayer
and is not interested in coping with discoverable complexities."
"The following by Cynthia Beal is so important I want to quote at length:
'"Manual Systems" are constantly referred to as the fall-back plan, yet
in my own day-to-day work I've discovered that people are increasingly
unable to function in work environments without a lot of guidance unless
they've been trained to work that way. As a grocer, I get to observe this
first hand. In the past three years, the Universal Product Code (UPC)
has firmly entered the marketplace as a standard for all products, since
almost all stores now have cash registers with scanners (not us). Recently,
we've had to begin discontinuing deliveries from certain suppliers and
distributors because their sales and delivery people can no longer handle
a manual delivery system! Sales people cannot deliver product accurately
without a computer-generated invoice. They cannot manually price items
efficiently or correctly. They cannot take inventories that are accurate,
they cannot add or subtract either case quantities or dollar values accurately,
they cannot perform routine math that calculates discounts, and they do
not have a facility for retaining data from one week to the next without
written instructions that also automatically prompt them if they make
a mistake. We find that the vendors we are disconnecting from due to their
high rate of errors are the mid- and large-sized ones that handle familiar
brand-name products with national and international distribution. This
condition exists now, in the best of times. Given this state of affairs,
we anticipate more of the same to occur when Y2K creates administrative
problems in routine paperwork and process management.'" (JG)
Y2K: SO MANY BUGS...SO LITTLE TIME
(Source: Peter de Jager, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, 1/99)
Keeping in mind that Peter de Jager is considered one of the most optimistic
Y2K analysts around, here's an excerpt from an grimly-realistic article
he wrote for the January issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN:
"Today, computer professionals around the world are modifying much of
their existing software: The CIBC BANK in Canada has 1,000 people working
on its project with a budget of about $120 million; AT&T has already
spent over $500 million; CITICORP will shell out about $650 million; and
the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE'S expense will be roughly $1billion.
"These are huge efforts, but if people have learned anything about large
software projects, it is that many of them miss their deadlines, and those
that are on time seldom work perfectly. To deny this is to forget the
lessons of past software debacles, including the computer fiascoes at
the Atlanta Olympics and the Denver International Airport. Indeed, on-time,
error-free installations of complex computer systems are rare. The excruciatingly-painful
aspect of Y2K projects is that the deadline is immovable.
"All that said, and considering other factors, including the amount of
work already completed and the planned contingencies and compromises people
will have to make as the century turnover nears, I believe that severe
disruptions will occur and that they will last perhaps about a month.
Additional problems, ranging from annoyances to more serious issues, will
continue cropping up throughout 2000. This prediction might be optimistic;
it assumes that people will have done what is necessary to minimize the
number of single points of failure that could occur. Accomplishing that
alone in the time remaining will require a Herculean effort unprecedented
in the history of computers." (DS)
THE MOST COMMON Y2K MISTAKES
(Source: Robert Lefkowitz, WESTERGAARD ONLINE SYSTEMS, 12/22/98 via YEAR
2000 INFORMATION CENTER)
When asked about the most common mistakes that he sees being made in Year
2000 efforts across the country, Y2K analyst Robert Lefkowitz says that,
while each development project makes its own unique errors, there are
a few common categories that pop up over and over again:
- Waiting too long to start the work. For all those companies that have
not already started their Year 2000 projects, Lefkowitz advises: "You're
late and falling desperately behind. The time to start is now."
- Not buying the right tools to do the job at the outset. Some companies
decide that they will either work without tools, or worse, allocate time
and money toward developing their own tools. The hefty price of development
tools is worth the investment, especially considering the wasted efforts
and lost time involved in pursuing alternatives.
- Not making good use of available resources. The cost associated with
a single mistake is much greater than the price of consulting other developers
and managers who have already charted the waters.
- Assigning responsibility for the Year 2000 efforts to end-users. End-users
must be involved in all remediation efforts -- to exclude them would be
extremely ill advised; however, the main push for remediation efforts
should come from the systems department and should have the unwavering
support of upper management. (JG)
A RESPONSE TO THE TIME MAGAZINE Y2K ARTICLE
(Source: John Steiner, personal correspondence, 1/13/99)
On the cover of the Jan. 18, 1999 issue of TIME MAGAZINE, a white-robed
long-haired doomsayer brandishes a cross and wears a sandwich board proclaiming:
"THE END OF THE WORLD!?! Y2K insanity! Apocalypse Now! Will computers
melt down? Will society? A guide to MILLENNIUM MADNESS," as computers
fall from the sky and people panic in the streets. Inside are 11 pages
of Y2K coverage, including the cover story by Richard Lacayo entitled,
"The End of the World as We Know It?" The article starts off featuring
a family that has made their home "truly millennium ready," right down
to their water beds. Laments the teenaged daughter, "I hope we don't end
up drinking my bed." The article ends with the comment, "Apocalyptic imaginings
are fun, but they are wishful thinking. It's more likely that the world
will just churn on as it is."
The following are edited excerpts from an open letter to the article's
author from Y2K analysts John Steiner and Margo King:
"A very interesting piece. I believe Time's intention was good; namely,
to defuse a strand of worst-case scenario, panic thinking, which is certainly
out there, although I and many others believe they are in a vocal minority."
"Overall, my wife and I would have to characterize your story as most
unfortunate and actually irresponsible. How easy to be sarcastic, derisive,
dismissive, and cynical. How much easier to put down, to focus on the
hype and sensationalism, to find the 'crazies' than to find those who
are sane and then to do the hard work to educate."
"I believe that the real stories around Y2K are the (global) complex systems
issues and how we have become so dependent and interdependent. The fact
of our interconnectedness, technologically, ecologically, and interpersonally,
has not yet truly given rise to a world view and paradigm that is commensurate
with our new understanding of reality."
"You could have offered a roundtable conversation among reputable people
with different points of view. You could have started with the single
fact that no one really knows what will happen and then taken preparation
and contingency planning seriously. Your articles remind me a little of
the story of the astronauts in the capsule as the rocket is ready to blast
off asking about the state of the "O" rings, and the guys down on the
ground saying, 'Don't worry. We're working on it.'"
"But mostly, Dick, what I hear is the old 'father knows best' attitude:
We have it under control. We'll take care of it. We'll fix it."
"I challenge you to write a whole other cover story in a month or so,
digging underneath the easy surface you reported on and finding those
American citizens and legislators, business executives and housewives,
mayors and scientists, who believe we would be negligent, even to the
point of being criminally negligent, not to take this seriously and be
prepared. Panic will happen only if we don't accurately assess our situation,
think about Y2K calmly, and then prepare and make some contingency plans.
With enough time to store some food and water, take a little money out
of the banks, understand where our vendors are, research whether or not
our supply lines are compromised, we'll be in good shape. "
"I believe that there is a very good chance (even one in ten might be
considered high in this situation) that you will have contributed to real
panic, if things are worse than you anticipate, because we will have been
thrown further into denial, not having to take it seriously."
"Mostly, Dick, I am upset at how readily you have undercut the work of
many thousands, soon to be millions, of responsible citizens in our country
who take Y2K seriously, are not panicking, are not millennialists, who
do not believe the sky is falling, and have been working their rear ends
off along with FEMA, the RED CROSS, U.S. Senators and Congressmen, and
hosts of locally-elected officials to prepare for the worst, while praying
and anticipating the best." (JG)
Time article: http://cgi.pathfinder.com:80/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,18052-1,00.html
PLANT A MILLENNIUM VICTORY GARDEN
(Source: Lana Baker, SEATTLE GARDEN CENTER, thanks to John Steiner):
One of the most important things farmers and gardeners can do is grow
open-pollinated varieties of seeds which help ensure viable supplies of
seeds in the coming years. Inspired by Tom John's proposal for "Millennium
Victory Gardens" in the "Territorial Seed Catalog", Lana Baker, seed specialist
with the SEATTLE GARDEN CENTER, has compiled the following list of her
recommended varieties to consider as a starting point for creating your
own seed garden.
Asian Greens - Ching Chang, Mizuna
Beans - Blue Lake Pole, Fava, Jacob's Cattle
Beets - Detroit Dark Red, Albina Verduna, Golden
Broccoli - Waltham, Nutri-Bud, Purple Sprouting
Brussels Sprouts - Rubine Red, Long Island
Cabbage - Early Jersey Wakefiel, Danish Ballhead
Carrots - Red Core Chantenay, Armstrong
Collards - Champion
Corn - Bantam
Corn Salad - Mache
Cucumber - Sweet Marketmore 76, Lemon Cucumber
Eggplant - Imperial Black Beauty
Kale - Russian Red
Leeks - King Richard, Giant Mussleburg
Lettuce - Black Seeded Simpson, Four Seasons, Winter Density
Onions - Breakthru, Walla Walla
Peas, Shelling - Pioneer, Alderman, Maestro
Peas, Snap - Sugar Daddy, Sugar Snap
Peas, Sugar - Oregon Sugar Pod II, Oregon Giant
Peppers - Early California Wonder, Chile Relleno, Cayenne
Pumpkins - Small Sugar, Rouge vif D'Etampes
Spinach - Winter Bloomsdale
Squash, Summer - Bennings Green Tint, Black Beauty Zucchini
Squash, Winter - Red Kuri, Butternut, Delicata, Blue Hubbard, Sweet Meat
Swiss Chard - Rainbow Mix
Tomatoes - Brandywine, Stupice, Mortgage Lifter, Seattle's Best of All,
Yellow Pear, Sweetie
Watermelon - Sugar Baby (JG)
For more information contact: Lana Baker, SEATTLE GARDEN CENTER, 1600
Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101. Phone: (206) 448-0431)
SURVIVAL SEED KITS
(Source: TLC GREENHOUSE website)
TLC GREENHOUSE, INC.'s "Back To Eden Survival Seed Kit" is a virtual gold
mine when you need to provide your family with food. All kits are vacuum-packed
to protect the seeds from insects, moisture, and other seed spoilers.
Properly vacuum-packed foods and seeds will hold unchanged for decades.
Kits are created for different growing zones so you get only the seeds
suitable for your region. The seed packs sell for $97 each. (JG)
NORTON 2000 TOPS LIST OF PC-READINESS PACKAGES
(Source: Michael Cheek, GCN, 1/11/99 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
In an exhaustive evaluation of Year 2000 testing tools for Intel-based
PCs and compatibles, GCN LAB has selected SYMANTEC CORP.'s "Norton 2000"
as the best of the bunch, based upon ease of use, features, accuracy and
The other six testing tools evaluated were:
- McAfee 2000 ToolBox
- Greenwich Mean Time-UTA
- Check 2000 PC and Check 2000 PC Deluxe,
- Y2K Test & Fix
- ProveIT 2000
- CheckIt 98
Norton 2000 retails for $50. (JG)
GCN Lab website: http://www.gcn.com/gcnlab
Y2K ALERTS NOW HAVE THEIR OWN PAGE ON THE WEB
(Source: Y2KNEWSWIRE, 1/6/99)
As of Jan. 6, each day's Y2K Alert now has a fixed filename on Y2KNEWSWIRE
website. For example, today's alert (1/17/99) would be <http://www.y2knewswire.com/19990117.htm>.
Alerts published before Jan. 6 are not yet available in the new format,
but Y2KNewswire will be making a complete archive available soon. (JG)
FEDERAL Y2K INFORMATION CENTER
(Source: Y2KWATCH NEWS, 1/12/99)
The American Government has established the FEDERAL Y2K INFORMATION CENTER
to answer commonly-asked questions and calm your fears. With a little
persistence, you can even get hold of a real person: information specialists
field questions from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Here are
the options you are presented with when you dial the a toll-free number
Press 1 for info on the government
Press 2 for info on banks
Press 3 for info on personal computers
Press 4 for info on small business
Press 5 for info on airlines/airports
Press 6 for info on telecommunication
Press 7 for info on electrical utilities
Press 8 for info on elevators
Federal Y2K Chairman, John Koskinen calls the toll-free Y2K line "a key
part of our ongoing efforts to make available information that will help
Americans respond appropriately to the Y2K problem as we move through
this year. We are committed to providing consumers the latest information
on how the problem may, or may not, affect government services, banks,
household appliances, and other things they depend upon in their daily
Unfortunately, the government's hotline does not always provide accurate
information. Westergaard 2000 columnist Dick Mills found this out when
he called the new line:
"Last Monday I called and listened to the recorded message on electricity.
It said, 'most problems have already been remediated and tested,' and
they cited NERC as the source. I got a supervisor on the phone and told
him it wasn't true. Much to my amazement, the next day he called back
and said, 'You're correct. We'll change the recorded message this afternoon.'"
("Another Myth, Balkanization of the Power Grid," January 15, 1999, http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/PP/RC/dm9902.htm)
Mistakes aside, it is comforting to know that the U.S. government feels
Y2K is serious enough to provide an 800 number. And if the dial-up service
doesn't meet your needs, you can visit <www.y2k.gov> for more Y2K
information. (JG, DS)
ANS OPENS Y2K BUREAU
(Source: AMERICAN NEWS SERVICE Press Release, 12/31/98, thanks to Steve
The AMERICAN NEWS SERVICE (ANS) has opened a Y2K bureau -- a distinct
branch of the news service dedicated to reporting on responses and solutions
to Y2K issues by individuals, small businesses, and local communities
throughout the country. ANS' research skills, and their proven ability
to identify and report on community initiatives and constructive approaches,
puts the news service in a unique position to support a rational public
response to the potential upheavals the Y2K phenomenon may bring to the
BUILDING COMMUNITY NOT CRISES
(Source: Jan Nickerson, Y2K CONNECTIONS, 12/21/98)
Here's a new tool to facilitate Y2K transition: "Y2K Connections" is a
scenario game that presents potential real-life Y2K disruptions. Players
are challenged through thought-provoking questions to find innovative
solutions together and develop collaborative skills BEFORE the crises
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
AT THE PEARLY GATES
(Source: Ralph Lante, YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER Website)
Here is the First Prize winner of YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER's "Digital
Deflections and Diversions" Contest:
St. Peter was at the Pearly Gates processing some new arrivals after the
Year 2000 meltdown. "So why should I let you in?" St. Peter asked the
"I was the CEO of a large company. My efforts in raising Year 2000 awareness,
fighting for budget approval and becoming personally involved in our compliance
project almost saved the company from certain collapse. My dedication
to the cause is documented in the many reports that..."
"Okay, okay. That's enough, You can go in." St. Peter said. A second man
approached. "And why should you enter the Pearly gates?"
"I was a Year 2000 consultant. I dedicated the last year of my life working
long hours to solve computer problems. My only motivation was a desire
to see us through these difficult times, to stamp out this diabolical
problem and to make sure we all..."
"That will do!" St. Peter called, "Make you way through the gate please.""Now
why should I let you in?" St. Peter said to the next person.
"I am a lawyer. I hovered over the scrapes of society that were left after
Year 2000 and then swooped down like a bloodsucking vulture to pick the
bones of any defenseless survivors that managed to survive the apocalypse.
My only desire was to accumulate as much cash as possible."
"Hmmm." St. Peter thought about this for a while, "Okay. You can go in."
An angel watching all this from above flew over to St. Peter. "Hey, what
did you let him in for?" he asked.
St. Peter looked up. "We need to let a few of the honest ones get through
too, you know." (JG)
(Source: Thanks to MERCURY.TDI.NET, 1/11/99)
The 16th day of the Month of Janus, 1 B.C.
Are you still working on the Y0K problem? This change from B.C. to A.D.
is giving us a lot of headaches and we've got less than one year left.
I don't know how people will cope with working the wrong way around. You
would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left
it to us to sort it all out at this last minute.
I spoke to Caesar Augustus the other evening. He was livid that Julius
hadn't done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. He
said he could see why Brutus turned nasty. We called in the consulting
astrologers, but they simply said that continuing downwards using minus
B.C. won't work. As usual, the consultants charged a fortune for doing
And to make matters worse, we have to jump from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. overnight!
That's really going to mess up the accountants! We have heard that there
are three wise men in the East who have been working on the dilemma, but
unfortunately they won't arrive until it's all over. Anyway, we are still
continuing to work on this blasted problem and I will send you a parchment
if anything further develops.
Copyright 1998 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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