NHNE Y2K Report 5
Sunday, December 6, 1998
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE Y2K Report 5
Sunday, December 6, 1998
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DIVERT YOUR COURSE!
[One of the characteristics that is now archetypically associated
with the sinking of the Titanic is an over confidence in one's own creations
and a brash disreguard for signs of danger. The attitude of many people
today who first encounter Y2K warnings are very similar: our ship is
too big, too powerful, too carefully constructed to be sunk by a tiny
computer error. The following story visits this image again, with more
humor and a better ending... DS]
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.
Y2K by the Numbers
Y2K Won't Bug the Internet
Slow Progress In Japan
How Many Desktops?
Irish Airlines Could Lose Licenses
Y2K Hall of Fame
Britain Preparing Anti-bank Run Campaign
Less than Four Weeks to Go!
Personal Computer Clocks & Year 2000 Testing
CIO Magazine Y2K Guide
"There Aren't as Many People Lying as There Used to Be"
"What's that I Smell? Smoke?"
FDIC to Monitor Cash Withdrawals
Wall Street Wizard
Fortune 500 Y2K Overview
Are Mormons Closing Their Doors to Outsiders?
Spike Dates to Watch For
Michael Echlin: "Don't Blame Me! I Just Want to Help"
Four Y2K Experts Soften Views
Cashing In on Y2K Paranoia
Essay: On Community Compliancy
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
Two Digits for a Date
Y2K BY THE NUMBERS
(Source: Meridith Levinson & Howard Baldwin, CIO MAGAZINE, 11/30/98
via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Here are some interesting Y2K stats compiled by CIO MAGAZINE:
- Lines of global COBOL: 180 billion
- Estimated cost to remediate the U.S. Federal Government (3/97): $2.3
- Estimated cost to remediate the U.S. Federal Government (5/98): $5
- Percentage of this amount that includes fixing embedded systems: $0
Y2K WON'T BUG THE INTERNET
(Source: James McWilliams, HUNSTVILLE TIMES, 11/24/98)
Because TCP/IP (transmission-control protocol/Internet protocol) isn't
sensitive to date changes, computer experts are confident the Year 2000
bug won't stop the Internet from functioning. The Internet's electronic
backbone consists primarily of equipment that uses UNIX -- a very robust
and stable operating system for mission-critical situations with no
Year 2000 bug. Nonetheless, a few smaller Internet service providers
with out-of-date equipment may have trouble with 2000. Fortunately,
TCP/IP is designed to help the Internet work around such equipment problems;
in fact, the U.S. military designed the software during the Cold War
to enable the Internet, if necessary, to keep military communications
flowing between post-nuclear holocaust soldiers. Thus, even if some
individual Internet users experience problems due to the Year 2000 bug,
the Internet should continue to chug along happily. (JG)
SLOW PROGRESS IN JAPAN
(Source: REUTERS,11/25/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
In Japan, a panel set up to advise Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi
on Y2K has found the industries of finance, transport, energy, telecommunications,
and medicine all lagging badly in progress. None of Japan's electric
power companies, gas utilities or civil aviation firms had completed
the required tests for the computer systems they are using. In addition,
not one of the oil companies, electric power firms, gas utilities or
civil aviation firms had drawn up contingency plans. Responding to the
grim news, Obuchi has created a task force to speed up work. (JG)
HOW MANY DESKTOPS?
(Source: Tim Wilson, CMPNET, 11/30/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
The Year 2000 problem has forced many companies to conduct detailed
inventories of their software and workstations in an attempt to identify
applications that may be vulnerable to the date bug. These surveys are
turning up some surprises. For example, after reviewing data from about
150 audits of corporate assets over the past three years, MICROPATH
INC., a maker of asset management tools, found that IT managers underestimated
the number of workstations in their environments by an average of 32
percent, and that the average corporate workstation was running about
$405 worth of unlicensed software. In addition to being illegal, unauthorized
applications also are causing problems for IT departments because they
can contain viruses or require upgrades the company does not have. Micropath
estimates that for every 1,000 downloads, three viruses are introduced.
IRISH AIRLINES COULD LOSE LICENSES
(Source: SUNDAY BUSINESS POST, 11/29/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND
Planes and helicopters belonging to Irish aviation companies may be
grounded unless they comply with strict Year 2000 guidelines set down
by the IRISH AVIATION AUTHORITY (IAA). As of January 1, 1999, the IAA
will not renew licenses for air carriers unless they can show IAA inspectors
that they are well on the way to completing their Year 2000 compliance
programs. A notice issued to aircraft owners, operators and maintainers
stated that, "Computer malfunctions may impact the integrity of aircraft
systems in a number of ways, either directly through malfunction of
aircraft airborne equipment or through ground-based support or test
systems." A spokesperson for the IAA said the action was in line with
its overall policy, which demands that each aircraft or company operating
an aircraft be technically and commercially sound before being granted
an air operator certificate. This is the first national airline regulatory
agency that has announced the possibility of groundings in 1999. (JG)
Y2K HALL OF FAME
(Source: CIO MAGAZINE, 11/30/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Leon Kappelman, Chair of the SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION MANAGEMENT's Y2K
Working Group, sees Y2K scare stories as highly counterproductive. "These
people don't even want to talk about fixing it. They've already given
up. They just want to run away. Yet, I know [a lot of] people
who are working their butts off, really accomplishing things. You don't
hear much about that at all." In an effort to bring the positive side
of Y2K to light, Kappelman came up with the idea of a "Y2K Hall of Fame"
to honor those individuals who, instead of running for the hills, have
rolled up their sleeves, tackled the problem and made a difference.
Kappelman says that the success stories behind Y2K will help combat
the misinformation that has been promulgated by the news media. To submit
a nomination for the Y2K Hall of Fame, fill out the nomination form
BRITAIN PREPARING ANTI-BANK RUN CAMPAIGN
(Source: Jane Hughes, INDEPENDENT, 12/1/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS
After spending millions of pounds raising public awareness to the dangers
of Y2K, the British government is now planning to launch a campaign
to quell growing panic. Hundreds of thousands of pounds will be spent
to reassure people that Britain will not fall apart with the arrival
of the Year 2000. A government source blamed the media for alarming
people by running scare stories, adding: "What we don't want is people
drawing out money because they think that bank computers will go down."
Evidently the original Y2K public awareness program reached the wrong
audience: two out of five British businesses have done nothing to address
the problem. (JG)
LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS TO GO!
(Source: Y2KNEWSWIRE, 12/1/98)
Throughout 1997 and 1998, nearly every major private-sector company
and most government agencies promised they would have their Y2K repairs
completed by December 31, 1998. That day is less than four weeks away.
Being this close to the deadline, one would expect that some would have
completed repairs by now -- but there have been few announcements. [For
details, see the article in this issue entitled: "Fortune 500 Y2K Overview."]
To Y2KNEWSWIRE, this indicates only one thing: the December 31 commitments
were a hoax. Companies knew they really couldn't make it by the end
of 1998. Now they can claim the date was just a "goal," and move the
"real" deadline out to March, 1999. Y2KNEWSWIRE also points out that
as the calendar clicks over to January 1, 1999, a new wave of people
will suddenly awaken to the fact that the millennium is less than one
year away. This leap in awareness will likely result in a huge demand
for preparedness items. (JG)
PERSONAL COMPUTER CLOCKS & YEAR 2000 TESTING
"I am buying a new computer from GATEWAY [one of the systems which
failed the tests conducted by FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK], so your article,
"Computer Manufacturers Fail Y2K Compliance Test" in Y2K Report 4, was
naturally of great interest. I took your advice, and asked Gateway about
their systems, specifically if they 'support a four-digit clock in the
CMOS/RTC, rather than a two-digit clock.' I thought you would be interested
in knowing that their reply was an unequivocal 'Yes,' despite what was
reported in the article."
--- Michael Perry, West Country, England
We checked into the matter further and pulled the following information
from the Gateway website:
When considering how to correct the Year 2000 problem, Gateway identified
many options, including software fixes, hardware changes to RTC (real-time
clock), and BIOS (basic input output system) changes. Software fixes
were inexpensive, but they were not guaranteed to completely correct
the problem. Changing the RTC would have increased the cost, and probably
decreased the performance. Modifying the BIOS to correct Year 2000 date
calculations proved to be a secure and practical solution.
Because operating systems generally access date information via the
BIOS, correcting the BIOS would correct the OS system clock, which is
the "point-of-truth" for software applications accessing current date
information. In addition, unlike the RTC hardware, the BIOS can usually
be upgraded easily. As a result, the BIOS became the most common focal
point for addressing the Year 2000 issue, and the approach that "almost
all" PC vendors have used. Ever since November 1993, Gateway BIOS chips
have contained the necessary logic to compensate for the RTC's date-processing
limitations, and to process the Year 2000 correctly. [What Gateway
is admitting here, though, is that they do NOT support a four-digit
clock in the CMOS/RTC.]
There are dozens of Year 2000 tests. Since credibility and accuracy
are critical in evaluating and resolving the Year 2000 problem, Gateway
selected NSTL's YMARK2000. NSTL is an independent testing organization
with 15 years of experience, and since they offer YMARK2000 as a free
download from their web site (www.nstl.com), they have no incentive
to imply a problem in order to sell a solution. Most major PC vendors
use YMARK2000 test software.
Some brands of testing software on the market will report that a PC
is not Year 2000 compliant, even if it passes NSTL's YMARK2000 test.
They ignore the date correction logic found in the BIOS and check the
RTC date directly [as did the testers at FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK].
According to Gateway, this testing method practically guarantees a "failing"
result for any PC based on the IBM AT standards. NSTL evaluated this
issue at length and concluded that testing the RTC time directly does
not accurately simulate how software applications access date information,
or how the PC operates. (For a more detailed discussion of testing RTC
vs. BIOS, see the NSTL website.)
Gateway claims that all their systems based on Intel's Pentium family
of processors have been certified by NSTL as "Year 2000 compliant,"
and their own in-house testing further confirms that their hardware
supplies date information to the software in accordance with industry
standards. Correct date processing is included as part of Gateway's
In reading a draft of the above comments from Gateway, Michael Perry
"Gateway's implication is that it is only the testing software that
causes the problem. Since anything other than correcting the BIOS would
clearly have major cost implications for them, I am just a little bit
suspicious, particularly as their technician gave me essentially false
information. I still find myself wondering how many programs, and what
sort, do access the RTC directly." (JG)
Gateway Website: http://www.gateway.com/frameset2.asp?s=corp&p=support&a=&url=/corp/y2k/y2k/default.html
NSTL Website: http://www.nstl.com/html/y2k_rtc_and_bios.html
CIO MAGAZINE Y2K GUIDE
(Source: CIO MAGAZINE, Fall/Winter 1998 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS
The Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a company is the person most
likely to oversee Y2K repairs. As you can imagine, the readership of
CIO MAGAZINE is extremely well-informed on Y2K compared to the general
population. You would also expect CIO MAGAZINE to do a good job on Y2K
matters, and the latest issue is no exception with its excellent series
of long, meaty, advanced-level articles. Here is a sampling of some
of some of the material:
"Rush Hour": The story of Toyota's Y2K struggle.
"Global Swarming": A survey of IT around the world.
"Test Patterns": An in-depth examination Y2K testing.
"Keeping the Lawsuits at Bay": The legal threats that Y2K poses how
to mitigate them.
"War Games": A blueprint for contingency planning.
"The Ripple Effect": Why CIOs should doublecheck the compliance status
"Perspectives": Four CIO editors exchange views on the severity of Y2K.
"Preparing for a New Year's Hangover": Results of CIO's poll of its
well-informed readers. (JG)
"THERE AREN'T AS MANY PEOPLE LYING AS THERE USED TO BE"
(Sources: M.J. Zuckerman, USA TODAY, 11/27/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF
Y2K NEWS REPORTS); Y2KSUPPLY.COM)
In August 1998, the Pentagon reported that the number of mission-critical
systems that would not be fixed by the March 1999 deadline for Year
2000 compliance had jumped to 69 from the 34 reported just a few months
earlier. In addition, the number of mission-critical systems that had
fallen at least two months behind schedule jumped to 51 from 9. Defense
Department officials explained the increase as partly the result of
a new "candor and openness" in reporting on the progress of Year 2000
Despite this "candor and openness," it now turns out that the DEFENSE
SPECIAL WEAPONS AGENCY (DSWA) has been falsifying preparedness information.
DSWA had claimed that three of its five mission-critical systems were
compliant, but according to a recent Defense Department Inspector General's
report, DSWA made this claim without doing any testing. The agency also
neglected to develop required "contingency plans" that would take effect
if any "mission critical" systems failed. The Oct. 30 report predicted
that without corrective action, "the DSWA...may be unable to execute
its mission without undue disruption." DSWA is responsible for the safety
and security of U.S. nuclear stockpiles and emergency response in a
Marvin Langston, the Defense Department official in charge of Y2K, played
down the incident, explaining that the rush and anxiety to meet Y2K
deadlines might provoke some to misrepresent their readiness, but in
general, "there's very little real mischief going on here."
"Does it come as any surprise to you that the Pentagon on occasion fudges
on the truth?" chided Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) Chair of the SENATE
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON YEAR 2000. Sen. Bennett is fond of noting that
officials of government and industry "all lie to us about Y2K," but,
heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, he said one of the things he
was thankful for was that "there aren't as many people lying to us as
there used to be." (JG)
"WHAT'S THAT I SMELL? SMOKE?"
(Source: Michael J. Martinez, ABCNEWS.COM, 12/2/98 via GARY NORTH'S
Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
Recent reports out of Washington, D.C., indicate that both state and
federal governments have a long way to go to inoculate their computers
against the millennium bug. The military agency charged with ensuring
the safety of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile has been accused
by the Pentagon's Inspector General of falsifying Y2K readiness reports.
A Republican congressman has given the Clinton administration a "D"
grade on its Y2K efforts. And a congressional report claims that state
human-services agencies are falling behind on Y2K-bug fixes, which could
lead to delays in benefit checks for people on welfare or unemployment.
"The truth is beginning to surface," says William Ulrich, President
of the STRATEGIC TACTICAL GROUP, an information systems and Y2K consultancy.
"The government's lack of action will probably surprise a lot of people
who thought things were better than they are."
Y2K analyst Gary North senses that his doomsday predictions will soon
be vindicated. "Day by day, the media are edging closer to the truth,"
he gloats. "No one is shouting 'Fire!' in the world's crowded theater,
but more of them are saying, 'What's that I smell? Smoke?'"
FDIC TO MONITOR CASH WITHDRAWALS
(Sources: David M. Bresnahan, WORLDNETDAILY.COM, 11/23/98 via GARY NORTH'S
Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS; Y2KSUPPLY.COM)
In an apparent effort to discourage Y2K-related cash withdrawals, the
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (FDIC) is considering profiling
bank customers. Beginning in 1999, banks could start monitoring private
banking records, and any deviation from your normal banking behavior
would be reported.
The 29-page FDIC document "Know Your Customer" begins, "The regulation
would require [banks] to develop a program designed to determine
the identity of its customers; determine its customers' source of funds;
determine the normal and expected transactions of its customers; monitor
account activity for transactions that are inconsistent with those normal
and expected transactions; and report any transactions of its customers
that are determined to be suspicious, in accordance with the FDIC's
existing suspicious activity reporting regulation."
Banks would then not only know who you are, they would also know how
you make your money, and how you spend it. Once you established a pattern
of deposits and withdrawals, banks would be obligated to inform federal
agencies when you deviated. Selling a car and placing the proceeds in
your account while you shop for a new one, for example, would likely
set off a red flag in the bank computer.
Such a situation puts law-abiding citizens in a situation where they
must prove they are innocent, says Scott McDonald of the watchdog group
FIGHT THE FINGERPRINT. His organization has led the charge against the
national ID, medical ID, and computerized information about private
aspects of people's lives. McDonald says that an uproar from grass-roots
Americans is the only thing that will stop the current plans for the
"Know Your Customer" program.
If you want to make your opinion known, mark it "Comments/OES" and send
Robert E. Feldman Executive Secretary FDIC 550 17th Street N.W. Washington,
DC 20429 Fax: (202) 898-3838 Email: "comments@FDIC.gov" or "email@example.com"
The FDIC information package has already been sent to Congress to provide
notice of proposed rulemaking, and to banks for comment. The deadline
for comments from the general public is Dec. 27, 1998. (JG)
WALL STREET WIZARD
(Source: Eric Reguly, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, 11/28/98 via THE YEAR 2000
Dr. Ed Yardeni is Chief Economist of the DEUTSCHE BANK in New York City
and is one of the best-known economists in the U.S. He makes regular
appearances on TV shows such as CNN's "Moneyline" and his award-winning
website is heavily travelled.
Yardeni has reached a conclusion that has set him apart from the pack:
that the Year 2000 problem is a monster set to wreck the American, and
world, economies. In his latest study, he spends 124 pages exploring
every angle of the Y2K problem and concludes that a worldwide recession
is a 70 percent probability. The forecast appeals to society's paranoid
element, yet Dr. Yardeni's Y2K theory can't be dismissed as the ravings
of a publicity-mad economist because his research is thorough and his
Most recently, he pored over the 400 Y2K updates buried in the quarterly
filings of the STANDARD & POOR's 500 companies. His conclusion:
"The Y2K problem is not being taken seriously in the stock market."
He highlights some "real beauts," including AT&T's admission that
the computer systems of almost half of its suppliers are not Y2K compliant,
and that GENERAL MOTORS' true Y2K fix-up costs might be closer to $800
million than their official $500 million figure. (JG)
Yardeni Website: http://www.yardeni.com
FORTUNE 500 Y2K OVERVIEW
(Source: Robert Egan, DEJA NEWS, 11/23/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS
Robert Egan has designed a survey to measure the status of the internal
remediation of IT and embedded systems of Fortune 500 companies based
on information filed with the SECURITIES & EQUITIES COMMISSION (SEC).
Internal remediation was assumed to mean when the company will finish
fixing and replacing their systems, but did not include testing, which
is expected to continue right up until December 31, 1999. Egan reminds
us that the information in the SEC filings is self reported and therefore
more than likely optimistically biased. In addition, he points out that
40 years of studies have proven that IT projects are almost always late
-- the larger the project or company, the more likely the delay
Egan's exhaustive research reveals some very interesting and disconcerting
facts. For example, in 58 cases, SEC information could not be found
at all. In an additional 126 cases, companies did not supply any Y2K
information or used meaningless phrases such as "in a timely manner"
or "before December 31, 1999." Thus, a total of 37 percent of the Fortune
500 (58 + 126) have not committed to a meaningful compliance date. The
largest of these is HEWLETT-PACKARD at number 14. Guilty as well are
PROCTOR AND GAMBLE (20), LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES (37), and SBC COMMUNICATIONS
(40). Egan finds this state of affairs extremely disturbing because
many smaller companies are relying on the compliance of these bigger
companies as part of their own compliance strategy. He was also surprised
to see that companies with 1995 and 1996 start dates are still assessing
their embedded systems.
Here is his Executive Summary:
- Already complete: 6 - 12/31/99 Completion Date: 68 - 03/31/99 Completion
Date: 38 - 06/30/99 Completion Date: 146 - 09/30/99 Completion Date:
37 - 12/31/99 Completion Date: 20 - 2000+ Completion Date: 1 (Chevron)
- No date given: 126 - No information available: 58
Of special note are the Fortune 500 companies declaring themselves to
be Y2K compliant. Here are the details (rank in brackets): FLEET FINANCIAL
GROUP (193), BEAR STEARNS (266), WACHOVIA CORP. (297), DTE ENERGY (387),
EMC (477), and FLEETWOOD ENTERPRISES (485). 68 more companies intend
to be completed by the end of 1998. (JG)
ARE MORMONS CLOSING THEIR DOORS TO OUTSIDERS?
(Sources: Y2K ALERT, 12/2/98; Gary North, GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND
For a long time, the emergency food industry has been served by Mormon-owned
businesses. Their religion recommends that all members have a one-year
food supply on hand. Recently, there have been a number of conflicting
reports that Mormon-based preparedness companies are closing their doors
On December 2, Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM said that they had received word from
"three different sources" that the Mormon Church was no longer providing
service to non-Mormons. The demand for food has put such a huge burden
on canneries that Mormons have closed their doors to outsiders. In an
earlier post, Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM noted "with Y2K now creating unprecedented
demand in the food storage industry (WALTON FEED is now about 10 months
behind on some shipments), some Mormon businesses are concerned they
won't be able to serve their own community if they continue to accept
orders from non-Mormons."
Gary North, meanwhile, reminded his readers that he has been sounding
the food shortage alarm for years. "I have been warning about this for
two years. When over one percent of the U.S. population senses that
Y2K really is a threat to a middle-class lifestyle, the race will be
on for gold coins, wood stoves, stored food, and water filters....Sometime
in the next 12 months, you'll read about fights breaking out in supermarkets
over rice and beans." To avoid the rush, he recommends picking up a
few big bags of pinto beans, rice, powdered milk and other staples at
your local COSTCO or SAM'S CLUB.
North also had something to say about the Mormon situation. Also writing
on December 2, North said he received an unofficial message from the
Mormons indicating that they were not presently closing canneries "until
the mandate comes down from the top Mormon council." They were, however,
fielding complaints from government agencies and grocery chains about
not charging sales tax. (JG, DS)
Link: http://www.garynorth.com/y2k/detail_.cfm/3177 Link: http://garynorth.com/y2k/detail_.cfm/3215
SPIKE DATES TO WATCH FOR
(Sources: Roleigh Martin, Y2KTODAY, 11/30/98; Jim Lord, WESTERGAARD
2000 WEBSITE, 10/13/98; DEAR KAREN, Karen Anderson, 11/30/98; WILD2K
Here are some dates to watch out for over the next year. Jim Lord calls
them "spike dates," because if you construct a graph showing "Y2K Pain"
over time, these dates can be depicted as sharp spikes on a generally
rising intensification of Y2K-related computing problems.
- 12/98-5/99: Solar Flare Cycle 23 reaches peak
- 1/1/99: Beginning of annual renewal dates for insurance policies
- 4/1/99: Beginning of 1999-2000 fiscal year for Japan, Canada, New
- 4/6/99: Beginning of 1999-2000 fiscal year for U.K. government
- 7/1/99: Beginning of 1999-2000 fiscal year for Australia and 46 U.S.
- 8/22-23/99: Roll over of GPS satellite system calendar
- 09/9/99: 9-9-99 (A termination or end-of-program code in some systems)
- 10/1/99: Beginning of 1999-2000 fiscal year for U.S. Federal Government
- 11/17/99: Leonids encore
- 1/1/00: Is that "1900" or "2000"? (DS, JG)
MICHAEL ECHLIN: "DON'T BLAME ME! I JUST WANT TO HELP"
(Source: Christopher Guly, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, 11/21/98)
Up until a year ago, Michael Echlin was an obscure programmer in the
small Canadian town of Deep River, Ontario. After he saw a chat group
posting by Jace Crouch, a history professor at OAKLAND UNIVERSITY in
Michigan, he became involved in the computer time-clock problem that
now bears his name. Echlin confirmed the problem and has described it
extensively on the Internet.
Unlike the millennium bug, which finds some computers wrongly interpreting
the last two digits of 2000, the "Crouch-Echlin Effect" lies in the
first two digits. Thus, in the Year 2000, some computers may experience
random jumps in the date and time of their operating system clock when
they are being booted up. This flaw could create a serious setback in
many organizations' plans to remove bugs from their computer systems
by the Year 2000. For example, bookkeeping could become a nightmare
if accounting programs jump by months.
Already frustrated by efforts to become Y2K compliant, people have vented
their anger at Echlin: "We thought we were ready and now you've come
up with this." Echlin comments: "They were mad at me as if it was a
virus [I] dumped out there and made everybody suddenly have
a problem....I call it raising awareness, not fear mongering."
Echlin and Crouch have set up YEOVIL SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
INC. to market their software solution called "TD Tool." Much to their
surprise, TD Tool appears to do more than it was intended to -- it also
overcomes related problems with hard drives. "That scares me because
it shouldn't be doing that," said Echlin. "[Even with TD Tool, computers]
should still have the problems with the hard drives." As an indication
of industry acceptance, COMPAQ COMPUTER INC. has announced that it intends
to bundle the software with its "Year 2000 Office" suite.
Having sold the first 5,000 copies of the software solution for a mere
$1 apiece, Mr. Echlin obviously isn't in the game to make money. "That's
just the way I am. I grew up on a farm and always helped my neighbors,"
he explains. "I've had a problem dumped in my lap. I take it personally
and [just] want to fix it." (JG)
Crouch-Echlin Effect Website: www.intranet.ca/mike.echlin/bestif
FOUR Y2K EXPERTS SOFTEN VIEWS
(Source: David Hayes, KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE/WICHITA EAGLE, 11/16/98
via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
Despite a growing Y2K concern in the U.S., four Y2K experts have recently
softened alarmist statements they made earlier in the year that Year
2000 could topple the American infrastructure. Here is a summary of
John Koskinen, Chairman of the PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION
says, "Our perspective right now is that the basic infrastructure of
the country will hold....The banking system is in very good shape."
Koskinen is concerned about "some communities, some cities, some counties,
even a couple of states that are not paying enough attention" to the
Year 2000 problem. In many cases those government agencies operate or
regulate small airports, power plants and water-treatment plants.
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Chairman of the SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE
ON THE YEAR 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM says he is more positive than he
was six months ago, but still believes that there will be a "fairly
major disruption." While he sees that the U.S. is in better shape, he
now believes that the overseas problem will affect the country more
than once thought.
Peter de Jager, publisher of the Internet's most popular Y2K website,
says that fear of the unknown is driving Year 2000 paranoia. "People
who say: 'Buy a cabin in the woods and take your money out of the banks
and the markets,' are [making] self-fulfilling prophesies. If
everyone takes their money out of the banks, the banks will fail." Along
with being concerned about the irresponsible actions of panicky citizens,
de Jager has also expressed concern about how President Clinton has
been handling the Y2K situation. In a recent open letter to Clinton,
de Jager pleaded, "Real action, not soothing words and platitudes, is
required at the highest levels."
Jim Cassell, Vice President and Director of Research of THE GARTNERGROUP,
advises Americans not to go overboard. "The Year 2000 problem is analogous
to a major storm,...at worst, similar to a hurricane, cyclone or bad
snowstorm." Any serious year 2000-related computer problems that result
in power-plant shutdowns or interrupt critical services after midnight
Dec. 31, 1999, should be repaired within days of the problem. GartnerGroup's
Year 2000 team suggests families have about two weeks of salary in cash
and five days of food, water, fuel and medical supplies on hand Dec.
31, 1999. The greatest risk to Americans will be working for companies
that aren't prepared for the Year 2000, because those companies might
end up going out of business. (JG, DS)
Peter de Jager's Open Letter to Clinton: http://www.year2000.com/y2ky2kclinton.html
CASHING IN ON Y2K PARANOIA
(Sources: Edward Cone, NEWS & RECORD, 11/19/98; Jim Lord, 11/23/98,
WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000 WEBSITE, both via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)
Y2K is the perfect American scare story: a marriage of vague religiosity
and technological hype. Mix inscrutable computers with millennial dread,
give it a catchy sci-fi nickname, and you've got an golden opportunity
for the unscrupulous to make a lot of money.
A significant number of lawyers, for example, are advising anyone with
a checkbook how to avoid getting sued if their computers fail, while
an equally-significant number are preparing class-action suits against
the software vendors who got us into this mess in the first place. One
North Carolina megabank is said to have 17 attorneys working on Y2K
At the retail level, fear of litigation is replaced by fear of the complete
collapse of society as we know it. For example, Burlington radio station
WSML broadcasts programs like "Unraveling the New World Order," which
identifies Satan as the secret force behind just about everything bad;
and "For the People," which assigns the same role to David Rockefeller
and the TRILATERAL COMMISSION. While the announcers sow doom and gloom,
accompanying ads sell gold coins, long-shelf-life food, and instructions
for building solar-powered generators. What a surprise to discover that
"Unraveling..." host Larry Bates runs a financial advisory firm specializing
in gold coins, and "For the People" host Chuck Harder markets a line
of survival kits.
Jim Lord, Y2K analyst and weekly columnist for the WESTERGAARD 2000
WEBSITE freely admits, "I make money selling Y2K-related information.
And that's not all...I like it; I'm even proud of it." He justifies
his occupation, by pointing out that "if you want to be sure there are
plenty of lifeboats, don't complain about the lifeboat maker's bankbook."
He offers this tip: Figure out what people need to get ready for Y2K
and then concentrate on how to make a profit giving it to them. Y2K
will likely be a time of great opportunity. The more people who grab
those opportunities and run with them, the more solutions there will
ESSAY: ON COMMUNITY COMPLIANCY
[The following edited excerpts are taken from a nine-page special
report by Karlos deTreaux, Kauai, Hawaii which was sent to all those
on the NHNE mailing list a few weeks. This two-page abbreviated version
is presented here because we feel the message is important and some
people may not have had time to read the full report.]
Almost a year ago, I was exposed to the human equivalent of the Y2K
virus. I was certain we were doomed. My response was to sell everything
non-essential, buy gold, guns and ammo, dehydrated food, and head for
the hills. Suddenly there were only two types of people in my life:
those who understood Y2K, and what it meant; and those who were ambling
along toward death and destruction. I had an advantage: I had information
others did not and I was prepared to act on it at all costs.
Then something strange happened. I was in a hunting shop looking over
bow and arrow setups -- something that would still protect the family
when the ammo ran out. It was obvious I did not have a clue what I needed.
The shop owner wondered why I was interested. I explained to him what
I "knew" about Y2K. I infected the poor fellow with the "Y2K virus."
As I left the shop, he was jumping up and down in excited panic, "I'm
gonna blow their damn heads off if they try to steal my food."
It was then that things changed for me. I had just infected this guy
with not only fear and panic, but hopelessness; I had left him to fend
for his own sanity. What the hell had I been doing for the past several
months? I would never be able to turn away a hungry neighbor if things
got bad. I would share my food, my provisions, my shelter with all who
needed it. There was really no other option for me.
I realized that aside from the technological aspects of Y2K, there was
the human factor. All the bug fixes in the world could not keep the
money in the banking system if the public lost confidence in banks.
According to my research, if as few as five percent of the saving public
demanded their hard-earned savings from the banking system, the banks
would be brought to their knees.
I devoured everything written by Larry Shook, Bill Dale, Cynthia Beal,
Tom Atlee, Paloma O'Riley, Rick Cowles, Bill Laird, Robert Theobald
and other visionaries. They all seemed to be spelling out the specifics
of a concept I have held in my heart for years, something that I have
come to call "Community Compliancy." It was not the end of the world
-- it was an opportunity to make a massive leap as a planetary civilization.
We all had created it and we all would have to fix it. This would involve
clear and definite technological fixes, but even more important was
the need for "Social Compliancy." It was going to be a difficult problem,
but it was also the greatest opportunity that we the people of the Earth
had ever had. The last veil of fear lifted from me.
My partner and I, along with [like-minded friends], established
the COMMUNITY SELF RELIANCE COOPERATIVE (CSRC). We drafted a mission
statement pledging that fear would not become our motivating impetus
for action, and developed a Web site to disseminate educational information.
A critical mass was reached. The Mayor of Kauai [decided that the
island] needed to address the issues. She called a meeting of Kauai
officials and other business and industry participants. We were asked
to participate as "citizen representatives." The meeting was a huge
success. [By the end of the meeting], the Mayor, along with
her invited guests all understood that the social aspects of Y2K could
have as big an effect on the economy as the technical aspects. Her response
was to instigate a Y2K task Force to address both technical and social
issues, and prepare contingency plans where mitigation and/or remediation
might not be completed.
Then the Mayor went on Public Television with some of us from the newly-created
task force. She pledged to bring the island of Kauai into a state of
"Community Compliancy" that would exist outside of the realm of technology.
This would involve a broad, system-wide approach that would [include]
community gardens, county-sponsored first aid classes, study of our
food reserves and natural resources should we be cut off from the rest
of the world, fuel reserves, water and sewage, and education. Most of
the participants signed up to help the Mayor and CSRC construct a fast-track
plan of Social Compliancy on Kauai. We have instigated an island-wide
Y2K Awareness Day, and [started holding] meetings on every part
of the island.
It will not matter if Y2K comes to be regarded as the biggest hoax in
human history, the simple act of bringing our island into a state of
"Community Compliancy" will build much-needed bridges. There is no wasted
effort. There is no adversary. There is only the simple actions of a
community remembering what it means to have neighbors.
Just as Kauai is an island in the Pacific, all counties, towns, cities,
neighborhoods, states and countries of the world are also islands in
a sea of denial if we do not see that our very existence depends on
a true and honest admission of our absolute interdependency upon each
other. If, because of a simple computer glitch, we realize that we must
embrace that interdependency, then our sea of denial might become a
doorway through which we, as world community, [are able to walk
gracefully] into the next millennium.
Karlos deTreaux The Community Self Reliance Cooperative (CSRC). eMail:
Y2K@aloha.net Web site: www.hawaiiy2k.com
[Since his initial posting, Karlos deTreaux has been caught up in
a dizzy whirl of meetings, speeches, conferences, and TV interviews.
The following edited selections are taken a message dated November 25.]
[I found myself] beginning to put too much faith and dependence
on a "Government Rescue" and was unconsciously moving away from the
"grassroots" method and mentality that will ultimately be our salvation
as communities in the next millennium.
It is crucial that the community members approach the task of Y2K outreach,
education and preparation as their own. The only way to get the message
out on time and to effectively take the actions needed is [with]
millions of individuals distributed across the planet working in concert
-- not [as] heroes who could be suddenly taken out of the equation
-- but [as] thinking, feeling people operating as one powerful
yet gentle force of change on the planet. (JG)
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
TWO DIGITS FOR A DATE
(Anonymous, thanks to Bruce Fraser. To be sung to the theme from "Gilligan's
Just sit right down and hear a tale Of the doom that is our fate. That
started when programmers used Two digits for a date. Two digits for
Main memory was much smaller then; Hard disks were smaller, too. "Four
digits are extravagant, So let's get by with two. We'll just get by
"This works through 1999." The programmers did say. "Unless we rewrite
before that It all will go away. It all will go away."
But Management had not a clue; "It works fine now, you bet! A rewrite
is a straight expense; We won't do it just yet. We won't do it just
Now when 2000 rolls around It all goes straight to hell. For 0's less
than 99, As anyone can tell. As anyone can tell.
The mail won't bring your pension check It won't be sent to you When
you're no longer 68, But minus 32. But minus 32.
The problems we're about to face Are frightening, for sure. And reading
every line of code's The only certain cure. The only certain cure.
[Key change, big finish]
There's not much time, There's too much code. (And COBOL coders, few)
And when the century's finished, We may be finished, too. We may be
8,000 years from now I hope That things weren't left too late And people
aren't then lamenting Four digits for a date. Four digits for a date.
Copyright 1998 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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Editor-in-Chief: James Gregory (JG)
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