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Category: Too_Late

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(Links to documents appear after the summary.)

A fixed deadline. The y2k problem is about an absolutely fixed deadline. There has never been a more fixed deadline in recorded history. Will the world meet it? I don't think so.

It's not just a question of getting a single computer system compliant. It's a question of getting all computers that presently share data with each other compliant in such a way that they still interact with each other without corrupting each other's data. I say this is impossible. I say it is too late for every bank's computer to be fixed in such a way that its fix will correspond with all the other repaired computers.

When I say "system," I mean up to three things: (1) the system of programs that constitutes one business's computerized operations; (2) the system of computerized communications that enables the organization to communicate by computer to other computers; (3) the world economy. We have yet to see any Fortune 500 company announce: "Our firm is fully Year-2000 compliant at the present time." I am arguing that we will not see any industry announce: "Our members are fully Year 2000-compliant today as individual firms and as participants in this industry." I am surely arguing that the following sentence will not be added to the previous ones: "And so are our members' banks."

If the world economy can be saved, shouldn't there first be at least ONE large firm and ONE major government that is fully compliant? Is that too much to ask? I say, "Assume the worst until there is at least one major success story in business and one in government." For saying this in public, I am dismissed as an apocalyptic fanatic.

Remember, it's possible to be a reality-denying fanatic, too. The lung cancer victim who says he has bronchitis is a reality-denying fanatic. He will be dead soon, no matter what he believes.

By the very nature of the problem, I am saying that it is indeed too late. The Millennium Bug will bite. As to how hard it will bite any of us, I cannot say. But it will bite the system, i.e., the Western economy in the broadest sense. It will bite so hard that the Year 2000 will be discussed in world history textbooks in the Year 3000.

But that's just my opinion. What should you believe? You should believe evidence that shows that individual firms have a big problem in their hands if they are not very close to the first testing stage of their repairs. Social Security began in 1991 to fix a system with 30 million lines of code, employing 400 programmers, and had completed work on 6 million in June, 1996 (CIO MAGAZINE, Sept. 15, 1996). What should we conclude regarding the likelihood that an organization with, say, 20+ million lines of code, will not complete its repairs, preliminary testing, post-test revisions, plus another series of tests, if it began its initial assessment (1% of the task) in 1995? I leave that estimation to you.

What I would like to see is one Fortune 500 firm or one state government anywhere on earth that says, "We are fully Year 2000-compliant today. Our y2k programming staff is now working only on routine maintenance." I keep reading press releases and form letters that say, "We are on schedule," or "we will be ready for testing on December 31, 1998," or "we are making solid progress." What I have yet to read is: "We're all finished."

I also want to see COBOL programmers making as much per hour as corporate lawyers. Most of them make under $50 per hour.

If most repair projects don't get finished, then Western Civlization as we know it is finished. I mention three industries: banks, electricity, and the railroads. If they don't make it, we won't make it.

Put another way, if most mainframe computers in 2000 read 2000 as 1900, then it soon will be 1900, economically speaking. The chaos of millions of people calling a handful of organizations to tell desperate clerks, "You have to rewrite my check," will be sufficient to create a world of continual busy signals, assuming that the phone system stays up. The noise factor is the killer. Systems that depend on computers are not designed to handle huge numbers of exceptions. They will short-circuit.

We're running out of time. I don't mean this or that company, this or that government. I mean the system. (Other categories: "Compliance," "Noncompliant Chips," "Domino Effect.")

Updated - Subject

03-Jan-97   Warning: It Always Takes Longer Than Planned
13-Jan-97   Managers Still Don't Know!
22-Jan-97   Outsource Y2K Repairs? Time Is Growing Short
04-Mar-97   Management Is Asleep at the Wheel: Bankruptcy Ahead
06-Mar-97   If These Organizations Don't Make It, We're in Big Trouble
11-Mar-97   Over 80% of All Software Development Projects Are Late
19-Mar-97   8 Reasons Why Most Non-Compliant Companies Will Not Make It
25-Mar-97   500,000 to 700,000 Additional Experienced Programmers Needed in US
01-Apr-97   The Coming Break-Up of Code Repair Teams -> Bankruptcy
09-Apr-97   1999 Deadline, not 2000: Not Much Time Remaining
09-Apr-97   Fortune 500 Companies Have Not Yet Begun Code Repairs
27-Apr-97   6% Have Begun to Fix Their Code (An Overestimate)
06-May-97   Oklahoma State University: 12 Years, 80% Completion (Pre-Testing)
17-May-97   Most British Firms Have Not Begun Their Repairs
21-May-97   An Extra 1,000,000 Experienced COBOL Programmers Needed
03-Jun-97   One Man + 10,500,000 Lines of Code = Dead Company in 2000
10-Jun-97   Japan: Way, Way Behind
10-Jun-97   Code Ready for Testing in 1998: A Naive Manager's Dream
10-Jun-97   Japan: The Godzilla of Noncompliance
18-Jun-97   Get Started Fixing It Now! (1997 version)
18-Jun-97   Why We Know They Aren't Fixing It Yet: Programmers' Salaries
19-Jun-97   Expert Says It's Too Late to Revise Existing Code
20-Jun-97   13% of U.S Companies Surveyed Have Launched Y2K Fix
21-Jun-97   Y2K Programmer Says That Managers Are Still in Denial
24-Jun-97   Can 21-Day, Home School COBOL Programmers Fill the Gap?
24-Jun-97   One Company Must Hire 10,000 Programmers
28-Jun-97   2/3 of Organizations Polled Have No Y2K Budget (Spring 1997)
01-Jul-97   We Can't Go Back to Manually Controlled Systems
09-Jul-97   Australia: It May Be Too Late, Says Science Minister
16-Jul-97   95% of the Work Remains to Be Done, Testifies Expert
17-Jul-97   Microcomputer Magazine Says Nobody Knows
22-Jul-97   British Businesses Ignore Y2K
28-Jul-97   British Firms Are Way Behind
30-Jul-97   How to Prove That a Y2K Project Will Not Make It
30-Jul-97   A Programmer Can Correct 100,000 lines Per Year
06-Aug-97   Not Enough Foreign Programmers to Fix the Problem
12-Aug-97   78% of the World's Code Is Outside the U.S. (Capers Jones)
12-Aug-97   35/35 Large Companies: No Y2K Budgets Yet
10-Sep-97   80% of Y2K Repair Firms Have Excess Capacity
24-Sep-97   Top 40 Firm May Be Gone in 2000, Says Its Y2K Repairman
25-Sep-97   Australia's Computer Experts Ignore Y2K
25-Sep-97   30% of Companies Have Not Addressed Y2K -- Gartner
26-Sep-97   Success Formula: Start Your Repair in 1992 or Earlier
26-Sep-97   Y2K News Travels Slowly
01-Oct-97   Half the Computer Divisions Won't Get Extra Money in '98 for Y2K
02-Oct-97   55% of Large French Companies Have Not Begun
08-Oct-97   Only 16% of Fortune 500 Companies Have Begun Their Repairs
22-Oct-97   Novell's Client-Server Problem
24-Oct-97   Britain: Half of Firms Have Done Nothing
24-Oct-97   Silicon Valley: No Help Wanted!
24-Oct-97   Why Not Just Switch to a New Computer?
24-Oct-97   80% of All US Corporations Will Be Compliant in 2000: Gartner
25-Oct-97   Fortune 1000 Can Survive, But Small Firms in Trouble, Experts Say
25-Oct-97   Europe's Top 100 Firms: Not One Is Compliant
28-Oct-97   Britain Could Lose 37% of Its Productivity
30-Oct-97   Britain's "Action 2000" Director Will Work One Day a Week
30-Oct-97   The Illusion of Salvation from Indian Programmers
01-Nov-97   Over 95% of Companies Are Not Compliant, Worldwide
01-Nov-97   Over 75% of Retailers Are Noncompliant
05-Nov-97   Great Britain: 75% of Manufacturers Have No Y2K Strategy
06-Nov-97   U.S. Government Will Hold an International Meeting in 1998
08-Nov-97   Irish Companies: Almost 50% Have No Y2K Plan
08-Nov-97   50% of All US Organizations Won't Make the Testing Deadline
08-Nov-97   Gartner Group Warns Congress: Not Enough Programmers
10-Nov-97   Software Company Executive Says He'll Be in Gold in 2000
13-Nov-97   902 British Firms: Confused Awareness, Little Action
15-Nov-97   COBOL Programmers: Tightening Supplies
17-Nov-97   Major Y2K Problem-Solving Seminar Is Cancelled: 3 Attendees
18-Nov-97   Procrastination: Then and Now
18-Nov-97   It's Too Late for 30% of Businesses and Governments (Optimism!)
19-Nov-97   Half of British Firms Plan to Wait Until 1999 to Begin Repairs
20-Nov-97   Programmer Shortage? Hire the Homeless!
20-Nov-97   Purdue: 12 Years, 80% Completion (Pre-Testing)
25-Nov-97   No Doomsayers . . . Just No Provable Good News
01-Dec-97   Not One Software Project on Time in 10 Years: California
02-Dec-97   Panic vs. Ignorance Among New Zealand Executives
02-Dec-97   St. Louis: 60% of Businesses Have Not Begun; 40% Are Unaware
02-Dec-97   Survey Reports Greater Progress (Undefined)
03-Dec-97   A Shortage of U.S. Programmers: 400,000? 500,000?
04-Dec-97   Australia: Over One-Third of Firms Won't Meet the Deadline
09-Dec-97   Half of Canada's Firms Have Not Begun
11-Dec-97   Why Asia Won't Make the Deadline
11-Dec-97   No Program Yet, Say 45% of British Managers
15-Dec-97   Humor: 12 Reasons Not to Worry About Late Date
27-Dec-97   Prediction: One-Third of IT Projects Won't Make It
29-Dec-97   20% of the Largest US Companies have a Y2K Project
29-Dec-97   Less Than 50% of Australian Companies Have a Y2K Project
29-Dec-97   Scary Report in BUSINESS WEEK
29-Dec-97   38% of Irish Senior Managers Have Heard About Y2K
31-Dec-97   Optimism for 1997 in WALL STREET JOURNAL -- 1996
31-Dec-97   1998: Time to Start Panicking, Says BYTE MAGAZINE
06-Jan-98   One Medium-Size Success; Many Barely Started Projects
07-Jan-98   German Businessmen: Far, Far Behind
07-Jan-98   A Disaster in the Making, Says Robin Guenier
08-Jan-98   Same Old Refrain: "You Had Better Start Now!"
09-Jan-98   British May Use Inmates to Fix Y2K
10-Jan-98   Consultant Says That American Firms Are Dragging Their Feet
13-Jan-98   60% of European Firms Surveyed Are Not Planning Much
13-Jan-98   Australia: Almost 50% of Systems May Fail
13-Jan-98   How Peter de Jager defines "Too Late"
17-Jan-98   2/3 of Big U.S. Businesses Are Still Without Detailed Y2K Plans
22-Jan-98   British Firms Think Y2K Repairs Will Be Cheap, Easy
23-Jan-98   700,000 Extra Programmers Needed in U.S.
04-Feb-98   New Jersey Businesses Say Y2K Is No Big Deal
04-Feb-98   70,000 Midrange IBM Systems May Be Noncompliant
04-Feb-98   PC Journalist Says Y2K Won't Be Much of a Problem
05-Feb-98   Canadian Businesses Are Doing Little
07-Feb-98   Bad News from Management Consultant
09-Feb-98   Public Awareness: More Serious Language
10-Feb-98   $9 Million Y2K Repair Job: Oops! Try Again. $10 Million More, Please!
10-Feb-98   De Jager Warns: Businesses Still Don't Get It
10-Feb-98   We'll Make The Deadline, Say 97% of U.S. Big Businesses
11-Feb-98   Major Y2K Advisory Firms Stop Taking New Clients
12-Feb-98   Yourdon's Warning: Large Programming Projects Suffer Worst
12-Feb-98   STANDISH GROUP Report: Most Programming Projects Are Late
16-Feb-98   Why the Crash Will Happen in 1999
16-Feb-98   Great Britain: Insufficient Resources to Solve the Problem
17-Feb-98   Canadian Businesses: 10% Have Taken Action
17-Feb-98   Programmer Shortage: British Inmates Kept Out of Y2K Industry
18-Feb-98   Germany: 8% of Firms Have Begun Repairs; 70% Have Done Nothing
19-Feb-98   10% of Australian and European Companies Won't Make Deadline
21-Feb-98   Third World Countries: No Y2K Plans, No Money
22-Feb-98   130 Man Years Per Average Company = Programmer Shortage
24-Feb-98   Florida Hospitals Have Not Begun Repairs
24-Feb-98   Plenty of Capacity Left in Y2K Repair Industry: July, 1997
26-Feb-98   The Rest of the World Has Barely Begun
03-Mar-98   Corporate Denial in Canada: The Costs Keep Rising
03-Mar-98   Project Completion in Canada: 5% to 30%
09-Mar-98   British Petroleum Promises the Traditional 31 Dec. 1998 Deadline
10-Mar-98   Almost No Programmers to Hire; Therefore, Y2K Can't Be Fixed
11-Mar-98   Vendors' Mainframe Software: 18 Months to Install
20-Mar-98   High Tech Industry is Y2K-Silent. No Leadership
07-Apr-98   Merrill Lynch Identifies Compliant Firms: None
07-Apr-98   Fortune 2000 Firms Decide to Forego Y2K Repairs
07-Apr-98   Gartner Survey: No Hospital Is at the Code Repair Phase
09-Apr-98   25% of Firms and Governments Have Not Begun Y2K Projects
13-Apr-98   60% of Large U.S. Firms Surveyed Have Y2K Projects
13-Apr-98   Germany: 8% of Large Firms Have Y2K Projects
15-Apr-98   Asian Calendars Don't Mention 2000; Hence, Lack of Concern
15-Apr-98   Caspar Weinberger Sounds the Warning: Slow Response
17-Apr-98   Robin Guenier Warns of Disruptions for Britain
17-Apr-98   Systems Are Beginning to Break Down
21-Apr-98   General Motors: Too Little, Too Late
23-Apr-98   A Detailed Contingency Plan: Very Complex, Highly Unlikely
23-Apr-98   60% of Large U.S. Firms Have Completed Assessment Stage
24-Apr-98   No Y2K Progress for 50% of European Businesses; Panic Looms
24-Apr-98   Asia Is Far Behind
29-Apr-98   78% of Australia's Small Businesses Have Not Begun
30-Apr-98   Swiss Firms Are Nowhere Near Compliance
01-May-98   The Little Engine That Could Needed Tracks
01-May-98   Only 10% of U.S. Businesses Have Completed Half the Remediation
06-May-98   Doomsday Scenarios Summarized in Major Technology Publication
07-May-98   Y2K Forums - MirrorModerator Skousen Makes It into Forbes
07-May-98   If They are All Working on It, Where Are the Want Ads?
08-May-98   Britain's Robin Guenier Says It's Too Late: Contingency Plans Needed
12-May-98   Technology Association President Says Society Is At Risk
12-May-98   Denial: Singapore, 1940; The West, 1998
12-May-98   Titanic Is Sinking, But There's Still Time, Says Prudential
14-May-98   U.S. Government to Launch an Awareness Campaign
18-May-98   Buildings May Shut Down on Sept. 9, 1999
18-May-98   Hardly Any U.S. Firms Are Submitting Cost Estimates to the S.E.C.
18-May-98   Budgets Tell All: The U.S. Won't Make the Deadline
19-May-98   Small Businesses Ignore Y2K
19-May-98   70% of Computers in U.S. Still Haven't Been Checked for Y2K
22-May-98   30% of Y2K Money Budgeted Has Been Spent in U.S.
23-May-98   Cost Per Line of Code: $6.46, Says Gartner Group
23-May-98   Too Late to Start, Says Y2K Specialist
25-May-98   Old Good News Is Bad News: The ITAA Index
26-May-98   Cost Per Line of Code: Maybe $4, Says Kappelman
27-May-98   75% of Nations Have Done Nothing, Y2K Czar Estimates
29-May-98   75% of Small Business Have Done Nothing on Y2K -- Gallup
31-May-98   70% of Canada's Busineses Have Done Nothing
02-Jun-98   75% of U.S. Small Businesses Have Not Addressed Y2K
04-Jun-98   The 90% Syndrome: Why Projects Seem to be on Target
08-Jun-98   Russian Government Begins Inventory
08-Jun-98   Asian Nations Are Far Behind
08-Jun-98   Senior Programmers Get $7,500/Day, Plus Flights Home
12-Jun-98   Jim Seymour: Performing Triage Is Painful but Necessary
12-Jun-98   Canada: Behind in Every Y2K Area
13-Jun-98   Fortune 500 Companies Have Done Just About Nothing
15-Jun-98   Corporate America: Almost Nothing Has Been Done


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