Eleven years after Y2k – we are still alive…

In 1998, I wrote an article entitled, The Millennium Bug And The New Industry Of Hysteria. Twelve years later we are still alive. I found this thread of comments (see below) on my article archived on greenspun.com, and was quite amused. Either I pissed them off by pointing out obvious flaws which would possibly hurt their grifting ability, or they just didn’t get it.

I suspect both.Y2K Hysteria

These people believed the “gloom and doomer” Gary North then – he prophesied the world would end as we know it – from this Y2k programming laziness – and he’s still around, now purporting to be an economist (http://www.garynorth.com/). Good luck with that too.

I know….they’ll say the reason the world didn’t end as we know it was because the tragedy was narrowly averted by upgrades and fixes. So much for their third-world hypothesis – that those countries wouldn’t fix anything, and the world would still end.

Above all, the prize for the best response goes to this one:


This is the main point that Mr.Theroux cannot grasp and does not understand. What will bring everything down is the propagating from one mainframe to another, worldwide, on a systemic basis, bad/corrupt *DATA*….

from Mr. Theroux The Millennium bug is obviously not a virus. A computer virus is simply a program that is able to replicate by itself (not necessarily sinister). A program that does not replicate is not a virus, regardless of whether it does damage to a computer or not. In order for a computer virus to actually do anything, it first has to be run on the computer ” it doesn,t do anything all by itself until it is run by the user.

Now this guy, Brian, understands what I’m talking about and this is his assessment of my theory in the first paragrap above about *DATA*

Hmm. I work with “communicating computers” and must say that Andrew is precisely right. Date-dependant calculations have nothing to do with data-interchange validations routines. What Andrew is pointing out is that non- complient programs will produce data that is wrongly calculated; these errors will spread magnitudianlly throughout the global financial system. Validation routines between data interchanges simply verify that the parameters are correct: not the calculations forming the data. This is the meaning of corrupt data: bad information, not bad parameters. Andrew (and Gary North) are precisely correct. You are espousing the “misguided, unsupported idea of “corrupt” data ” equalling bad parameter transfers. That is incorrect and a straw dummy. Corrupt data = data correctly parametered yet wrongly calculated. Wrong calculations beget wrong calculations ad nauseum. Within 24 hours of the turnover, the Global Finacial System will either A)be completely corrupt B)be completely shut down so as to avoid A. The result is the same in either case; even if we don’t go Milne, you are going to see a mess bigger than you can imagine. Alan Greenspan was entirely correct when he stated that 99% is not good enough. We will be nowhere close–not even in the ballpark. The engines have shutdown; the plane is falling–we simply haven’t hit the ground yet. Scoff if you must; as a professional working with professionals, I know the score. It’s going down. This is why at least 61% of IT professionals are pulling their money out before it hits–of course, in 10 or 11 months, that number will rise to 100%; but then, it will be to late. We know for a fact that that 50% of all businesses in this, the best prepared of countries, will not perform real-time testing. As a Programmer/Test Engineer, I can therefore assure you that at least 50% of all businesses in this, the best prepared of countries, are going to experience mission-critical failures, Gartners new optimistic spin not withstanding. Remediation sans testing is not remediation. The code will still be broken, just in new and unknown ways.

Got wheat?

Bryan (:)

If you remember nothing else about the complexities of y2k, just remember the concept outline above, this will bring us all down, this is the Achilles Heel.

Got wheat?

— Andy (andy_rowland@msn.com), November 20, 1998.


Well, the next great apocalypse is coming soon…maybe I’ll be wrong on that one.

See: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000G4l for some fun reading.



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