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NHNE Y2K Report 5
Sunday, December 6, 1998


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NHNE Y2K Report 5
Sunday, December 6, 1998

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[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 a collision.

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 YOUR course.

CANADIANS: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.


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


Two Digits for a Date



(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 billion

- Estimated cost to remediate the U.S. Federal Government (5/98): $5 billion

- Percentage of this amount that includes fixing embedded systems: $0

Link: http://www.cio.com/archive/y2k_trendlines.html


(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)

Link: http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/Nov1998/24-e32875.html



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)

Link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/wl/story.html?s=v/nm/19981125/wl/millennium_1.html

(Source: Tim Wilson, CMPNET, 11/30/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

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. (JG)

Link: http://www.techweb.com/se/directlink.cgi?INW19981130S0043



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)

Link: http://www.sbpost.ie/newspaper/current/news/Planes.html



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 at: <www.spgnet.com/CONF/yr2k98hall_of_fame.htm>.

Link: http://www.cio.com/archive/y2k_trendlines.html


(Source: Jane Hughes, INDEPENDENT, 12/1/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)

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)

Link: http://www.independent.co.uk/stories/A3011814.html


(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)

Link: http://www.y2knewswire.com




"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 standard warranty.

In reading a draft of the above comments from Gateway, Michael Perry responded:

"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




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 of suppliers.

"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)

Link: http://www.cio.com/archive/y2k_inprintcio.html



(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 fixes.

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 nuclear incident.

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)

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/ctd907.htm


(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?'"

Link: http://www.abcnews.com/sections/tech/DailyNews/govy2k981202.html



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 it to:

Robert E. Feldman Executive Secretary FDIC 550 17th Street N.W. Washington, DC 20429 Fax: (202) 898-3838 Email: "comments@FDIC.gov" or "commentsoes@fdic.gov"

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)

Link: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_exnews/19981123_xex_big_brother_.sh tml


(Source: Eric Reguly, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, 11/28/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

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 background impressive.

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

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/docs/news/19981128/ROBColumn/RERIC.html


(Source: Robert Egan, DEJA NEWS, 11/23/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)

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)

Link: http://x7.dejanews.com/getdoc.xp?AN=414700966&CONTEXT=911838116.1627979876&hitnum=5


(Sources: Y2K ALERT, 12/2/98; Gary North, GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)

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 to non-Mormons.

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 Link: http://www.y2knewswire.com


(Sources: Roleigh Martin, Y2KTODAY, 11/30/98; Jim Lord, WESTERGAARD 2000 WEBSITE, 10/13/98; DEAR KAREN, Karen Anderson, 11/30/98; WILD2K WEBSITE)

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 York State

- 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. states

- 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)

Link: http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/Tip/Lord/lord9741.htm

Link: http://www.y2kwomen.com/

Link: http://www.y2ktoday.com/modules/home/default.asp?feature=true&id=553

Link: http://www.wild2k.com/probdates/html


(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

Link: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/981121/2038345.html



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 their comments:

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)

Link: http://www.wichitaeagle.com/technology/docs/y2kchill1116.htm

Peter de Jager's Open Letter to Clinton: http://www.year2000.com/y2ky2kclinton.html


(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 alone.

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 be. (JG)

Link: http://www.greensboro.com/nronline/opinions/columns/thopcone2.htm

Link: http://y2ktimebomb.com/Tip/Lord/lord9847.htm



[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)



(Anonymous, thanks to Bruce Fraser. To be sung to the theme from "Gilligan's Island.")

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 a date.

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 with two."

"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 yet."

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 finished, too.


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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