Duh-2000: The past nominees...
The monthly contest for the stupidest thing said about the Year 2000 problem

disaster.jpg (24797 bytes)


From Contest #9

This Contest's Candidates (the official list, in no particular order):

John Koskinen, US Y2k czar, on the plan by the Federal Reserve to put an additional $50 billion into circulation at the end of 1999:  "We can print more bills faster than they can take them out."
Oh really? We sure hope so. A run on a bank is not a pretty sight. [There seems to be a certain fringe element actively trying to scare people into making runs on banks in an effort to bring down the banking system.  For the record, we here at Duh-2000 don't think you need to take out a lot of extra cash--a week or two's supply should be plenty, and you can always get it in the form of Traveler's Checks if you don't like carrying around that much cash.  But don't plan on getting money from your favorite ATM on your way to the New Year's Eve party.  Take it out at least two weeks beforehand.  And plan on writing checks instead of using cash or credit cards for a few days--so make sure you have plenty of checks on hand going into the last week of December.  If credit verification systems are down or unreliable after 1/1/2000, insist that retailers accept your check for under $50; they did it before and they can do it again for a few days.]  Quoted on The Cincinnati Enquirer Lights out? Y2K appears safe February 14, 1999.  Submitted by Kirsten Oschwald.
And in the same article...
Gene Gorzelnik of the North American Electric Reliability Council: "We'll be able to watch what is happening in other countries [as the clocks roll over 1/1/2000]. ... If there are problems, we'll be able to get enough information to identify and correct them before they get to us."
Apparently that extra 5-10 hours notice will make all the difference in the world.   Submitted by Lynn McQueen.

Sylvia Browne, famous psychic: "How stupid are we that we can't just turn our computers to '2'?"
I must be even more stupid; I can't even find the knob to change the channel. Does this coffee cup holder that pops out of my PC have anything to do with it? Quoted on the Art Bell Show February 12, 1999.  Listen to it on RealAudio here.  Submitted by a listener who wishes to remain unnamed.

The latest from Italy...
"With 10-and-a-half months to go before the date which many fear could cripple obsolete computers and electrical systems around the world, Italy's official body to deal with the problem has just met for the first time. In what some correspondents are calling the 'ostrich approach' to the Y2K problem, the Italian government did create a panel of unpaid experts, but gave it no support staff to carry out its recommendations. ... When the BBC tried to call Italy's millennium compliance enforcers on Monday for further information, the operator said that there were no telephones and the office was still under construction."
To quote a couple of lines from the old movie What's Up Doc: "She: Does that make sense?  He: No, but it's consistent." Quoted on BBC News World: Europe - Y2K latest: Avoid Italy February 16, 1999.  Submitted by Linda Fitzpatrick.

The latest chapter in the Russian Y2k follies...
Alexander Krupnov, chairman of Russia's Central Telecommunications Commission, which is coordinating the country's work on the millennium bug: "These agencies have already done half their jobs, they've counted out how much" money they'll need, he told a news conference. "Now they're seeking their own sources of financing."
And you all thought testing was half the remediation.  Pretty simple methodology when you think about it: figure out how much money you need, test, then do what the Japanese have done below.  Quoted on CNN Interactive from Reuters Russia admits it needs $3 billion to fight millennium bug January 1999.  Submitted by Linda Fitzpatrick.

And we thought the Russians had problems...
"The [Japanese] Ministry of Health and Welfare reported that all of Japan's major companies were compliant, because if they weren't it would be too late to do anything."
Compliance by fiat: what a concept!  Quoted on the Tokyo Weekender Make sure you are ready for Jan. 1, 2000 January 29, 1999. Submitted by Sam Sharpe.

For the "I don't have to worry, I have a Mac" crowd...

Hal.jpg (13808 bytes)

See the Super Bowl commercial on the Apple web site by clicking on Hal above.  And note their editorial comment: "Macintosh was designed to work perfectly with dates all the way up to the year 29,940. But have no fear. We're already hard at work on the Y30K problem."
Yes, the OS is compliant (as far as we know).  But what about all the third-party software and end-user spreadsheets and database applications?  And many thanks to Cam Murray for directing us to The Macnologist Not So Compliant List (if you really *want* to find out what will and won't work on your Mac come 1/1/2000).

Author and technophile Tom Clancy, when asked "How big is the Y2K problem?": "I'm not that kind of nerd. I hope it's not a problem on my computer."
Begging the question: just what kind of nerd is he?  Quoted on USA Weekend Tom Clancy's power projections January 31, 1999.

Mikhail Salnikov, chief editor of Compulog magazine: "The first problem for us was that we believed up until a year ago that the 2000 problem was not a serious threat. ... Unfortunately, many specialists left the state sector and went to the commercial market during perestroika (under former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s) and now there are not many people left in the public sector to assess this problem. ... Russia can solve this problem herself."
Uh huh.  Apparently they have "special" programmers as well as "special" computers.  Quoted on Reuters Russia Sees Transport Problems From Millennium Bug January 28, 1999.  Submitted by Linda Fitzpatrick.

Jon Censky, assistant community development director for Mequon Wisconsin, on his recommendation for zoning variances for two local men who want to put up windmill generators: "I'm going to recommend denying this because of the potential impact on safety. ... If they waive the requirement in this incident, they could be setting a precedent and would have to do so for everyone else who wants to put up a windmill."
And we can't have that.  After all, if everyone puts up a windmill then there won't be any wind left for other people to enjoy. Quoted on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online Tilt: Tough going for Mequon windmill request January 22, 1999.  Submitted by Heather Westerfield.

"If the millennium computer bug leaves supermarket shelves barren, cities powerless and communities in chaos, Roy Leonard's $2,000 Magna-Chair might come in handy. He says it uses magnets to increase blood circulation - useful for those too afraid to venture out into the darkness for exercise. And he says he can't keep them in stock."
P.T. Barnum said it best: there's a sucker born every minute.  Quoted on the Boston Globe Entrepreneurs find profit in fear over Y2K computer glitch January 23, 1999.   Submitted by Ann Michel.

Stupid Journalism

USA Today technology columnist Sam Meddis: "That doesn't mean that computing errors might not result in hardships, perhaps some severe ones, for businesses that haven't taken enough precautions. But hardships, even on a global scale, don't justify techno-bedwetting nightmares."
How about techno-cold-night-sweats? Sam makes some good points in the article.   But what's wrong with giving people an honest answer about the problems and their associated risks, without the hype and hyperbole. Quoted on USA Today Don't hold breath for Y2K disaster February 15, 1999.  Submitted by Christine Greenwald.

Free-lance columnist Linda Stern: "Don't worry about your personal computer. Macintosh systems never had a Y2K problem, and most Dos/Windows machines are current enough to be compliant. For the most part, the programs in your computer don't care what day it is."
Argh! Quoted on Rueters Year 2000 worries -- real and imagined February 5, 1999.  Submitted by Christine Greenwald and Kirsten Oschwald.

Stupid Y2k Compliance Statements

A Y2k compliant...well, check it out here. If you run across any Y2k compliant coffee cups (or anything else silly), please let us know. Perhaps it's time to start a new category.
Submitted by Casey Schmit.

bombright.gif (11839 bytes)

And now the the unofficial list:
all those other entries whose sources couldn't be verified, but we liked anyway

I have a friend who was working on the y2k problem for a large insurance company back in the summer of 1998. The company was doing quite well and expected to satisfy it's plans for y2k compliance before the end of the year. So, this company's marketing department went out and created a set of posters to advertise the companies success. The slogan on the posters read: "Ready for the year 2000 in '99"
And that's why we don't let marketing people write software. Submitted by R. Gary Cutbill.

A real air-head friend of mine was rolling her eyes when I was expressing concern about the Y2K problem. She condescendingly gave me the advice, "Just don't be anywhere near computers at midnight January 1st when the explosion happens."
I had a secretary twenty years ago that was afraid to be around the computer because I once told her it was prone to "blowing up." Submitted by Kristin Faus.

Overheard in line at a market: "Yeah, I heard this *2KY* problem is gonna be real bad, with the computers. They say it happens every millennium."
And you all thought the Y2k problem was bad...   Submitted by F.Schaefer.

Uttered by someone in charge of development of a live product with live interaction to Mainframes' databases, RS 6000's and a variety of outside vendor applications: "We don't need to check for Y2K. We coded everything with four digits."
We're sure it's all right.  Trust us.  Submitted by Ron Berah.

At a consulting company that is working on the Y2K problem for big Fortune 100, I noticed that some equipment was shipped back from a pharmaceutical company. This equipment which I am proud to say I didn't work on, was certified for the big Y2K problem. The owner of the consulting company told me that the Y2K is more or less a few days programming even though he has 5 software engineers working at the Fortune 100 company. The equipment that came back failed to work past 12:00 midnight!! any day of the week!!!! It took 4 engineers one month to fix this bug. Can't wait for the Y2K.
It'll be fun, that's for sure! Submitted anonymously.

From a Y2K forum on CNN.COM: "Another thing people don't realize is that virtually all Y2K problems will sort themselves out, given enough time, with no programmer input. The amount of time needed will vary from program to program."
Well, sure, given enough time.  How long does it take a computer to decompose, anyway?  Submitted by Claudia Sawyer.

On a BBC News 24 (British-based 24-hr news channel) discussion programme on the Millennium Bug, one woman phoned in to ask why we couldn't all just switch computer dates to the year 2001, thus bypassing the 2000 problem.
We're still waiting for some enterprising legislator to propose extending December 1999 to 99 days, and 1999 itself by an additional 77 months of 99 days each.   Submitted by Andrew Wong.

My wife was talking with a friend about the potential problems with our food supply and power supply. She advised my wife that she is buying wheat and she will grind it up in her new electric grinder and bake the bread in her electric bread making machine. My wife asked her what she will do with those appliances if the electric goes out and she said "Oh, I guess they won't work will they!?"
Hmm...hadn't thought of that.  Submitted by Michael D Wright.

As the panic sets in, I get an increasing number of letters telling me that vendors are Y2K compliant the funniest (well so I thought) was from <Company Name Omitted> telling us that "None of the products we supplied will stop working after the year 2000". The products they supply us with are our Security staff, we're actually waiting for proof they they'll start working before then.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Submitted by Danny Banks.


This web site and all material contained herein is Copyright 1998, 1999 The Ken Orr Institute. All Rights Reserved. The opinions expressed here are necessarily the opinions of the staff and management of The Ken Orr Institute.  Any resemblance to any actual persons living or dead is purely intentional.  No animals were harmed in the creation of this website, except for a small and reasonably insignificant squirrel that annoyed us at just the wrong instant.  Elvis has left the building.  Keep in mind that links to current news items change at the drop of a hat, so don't be surprised if the quote turns up 404 (internet-speak for "we're sorry, but that number has been disconnected or is no longer in service").