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

disaster.jpg (24797 bytes)

From Contest #15

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

A very popular submission...
Don Heath, president of the Virginia-based Internet Society: "It's just not going to happen ... The whole Y2K thing is an absolute yawn. I am so unconcerned about it that it's hard to build a fire under me at all."
We guess the recent fire in the Toronto switching station and the MCI/Worldcom frame relay problems didn't impress him much either. They did, however, have a rather nasty effect on parts of the net. Quoted on USA Today Experts: Major Y2K Net failures unlikely August 17, 1999.  Submitted first by Linda Fitzpatrick.

Stupid Patents (yes, we said patents)

If you've fixed your Y2k problem, you may now owe someone money...
"Dates stored in symbolic form in a database are reformatted to permit easy manipulation and sorting of date-related information. Each date in M.sub.1 M.sub.2, D.sub.1 D.sub.2, and Y.sub.1 Y.sub.2 format is converted to C.sub.1 C.sub.2, Y.sub.1 Y.sub.2, M.sub.1 M.sub.2, and D.sub.1 D.sub.2 format. To accomplish the conversion, a 10-decade window starting on Y.sub.A Y.sub.B is defined that encompasses all dates in the database. The value of C.sub.1 C.sub.2 is determined by the relative values of Y.sub.1 Y.sub.2 and Y.sub.A Y.sub.B. The reformatted date information is particularly useful when the reformatting is in C.sub.1 C.sub.2 Y.sub.1 Y.sub.2 M.sub.1 M.sub.2 D.sub.1 D.sub.2 format, because sorting by date is accomplished using a pure numerical-value sort."
That's "date expansion" from MMDDYY to YYYYMMDD for those of you unfamiliar with patent-ese. Now which is more stupid: that someone paid good money to patent this, or that some numbskull from the patent office granted it? Quoted on the US Patent and Trademark Office website for Date formatting and sorting for dates spanning the turn of the century.  Submitted by Bruce Webster. 

Not stupid, but still funny...
Check out the *unofficial* Y2k compliance web site for Hart Scientific.  Kudos to a company with a sense of humor.  
Submitted by Lynn McQueen.

Pick one...
A: "FAA Is 100 Percent Y2K Compliant!!!" 
B: "The FAA makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of this web site and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this web site."
In either case, we suppose they can say "we told you so." From the FAA's official web site and the disclaimer page at the bottom.  Submitted by Brent Morrow.

The American Bankers Association is at it again...
"Amid doomsayers' claims that power grids will shut down and automated teller machines malfunction when the calendar turns to Jan. 1, the trade group has written a sermon aimed at easing fears about the Y2K bug. " <snip> "Drawing comparisons with Orson Welles' famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast in 1938, the sermon urges consumers to "get the full story" before going out and buying a year's worth of groceries or burying "your money in the backyard." Though it does not promise that there will be no glitches, the text tries to reassure consumers that government and industry - particularly banking - are ready for the millennial change."
Used to be you would get a toaster when you opened a new account.  Now you get a free sermon instead!  Quoted on The American Banker Online ABA Tries to Enlist Preachers to Calm Y2K Fears August 11, 1999.  Submitted by Christine Greenwald.
"We're not trying to be rabid about this," [ABA] spokeswoman Charlotte Ford Birch says. But "a bank run is not like a run on Beanie Babies or Tickle Me Elmo."
No kidding!  Some of those soccer moms can be just downright *vicious*!  Quoted on the Wall Street Journal (requires registration) As Century Closes, Some Banks Struggle With Insufficient Fun August 17, 1999.  Submitted by Patrick Shannon.

Intel CEO Craig Barrett on the Y2k problem: "It's been hugely popularized by the press because the press likes chaos and crises to write about ... There may well be some impact in obscure places in the world, which have essentially zero impact on the world economy-it's going to be a nonevent for us."
Really?  It was our impression that the press was usually blaming short-sighted programmers for the problem.  Quoted on Information Week IT Confidential July 26, 1999.  Submitted first by Christine Greenwald.

Cathy Minehan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: "No one can give 1,000 percent guarantees of anything ... But we're beginning to start feeling as confident about our systems now as we want to be at the start of the year."
It's good that they aren't giving us a 1000% guarantee.  After all, isn't "being behind someone 1000%" a euphemism for "about to be fired?"  Quoted on The Boston Globe Firms seen ready for Y2K July 25, 1999.  Submitted by Christine Greenwald.

Admiral Richard Mies, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, on the Y2k readiness of other countries with nuclear weapons: "Certainly I have concerns, but to some degree we've tried to reassure ourselves and we've tried to gain assurances from those countries that they are addressing the Y2K problem, and so to a certain degree our confidence is limited by the amount of assurances we have gotten."
Huh?  Never mind reassuring yourself, reassure us please!  Quoted on AP Nuclear Weapons Computers Y2K Ready July 22, 1999.  Submitted first by Bruce Webster.

An unnamed FBI agent, commenting on the FBI's plans to cancel vacations and leave over the Y2k rollover period: "It's a mess ... They're very much behind. If it was a 72 hour 'snowstorm,' you wouldn't bring out 12,000 FBI agents on stand-by and, for the first time maybe in FBI history, cancel everybody's annual leave for a 20-30 day time frame. That's very significant. In my line of work, that's called a clue."
I'd like to buy a clue for $200 Pat.  Quoted on WorldNetDaily FBI cancels leaves for Y2K July 8, 1999.  Submitted by Dan Oas.

Stupid Politicians

Senator Phil Gramm, R-TX, from the question-and-answer session after the second leg of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's semiannual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony before the Senate Banking Committee: "Well it seems to me we ought to be encouraged that in the year 1000 they had to add a new digit, and you had no evidence of economic disruption. And then the millennium before, we had dates going down, and then they started going up, and yet no evidence of disruption or chaos in the economy, so if they could do it then, surely we could deal with it now, it seems to me."
It seems to us that he was probably kidding, but we would have loved to have seen the look on Sen. Bennett's face regardless.  Quoted on Reuters GREENSPAN Q&A: PART X: Tax cuts, Y2K July 28, 1999.  Submitted first by Dave Pennington.

Y2K Readiness Commission Chairman Basil Logan, on the selection of "Ken the Cockroach" as the official mascot for the millennium bug in New Zealand: "Love them or hate them, I think he (Ken the cockroach) will be noticed and memorable."
Love them??  Quoted on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online New Zealand Unveils Y2K Cockroach July 22, 1999.  Submitted by Linda Fitzpatrick.

Johnson County Iowa County Supervisor Charles Duffy: "If this happens, it'll be the biggest goof-up in the history of the United States ... The moral to this story is to just not buy a computer."
An alternate moral: don't elect people who think that computers are the problem.  And a special honorable mention for stupidity for planning a Y2k test on a possible failure date (9/9/99)...come on, folks, no one tests the tornado sirens in the middle of a storm! Quoted on the Cedar Rapids Gazette Online Board bracing for Y2K Sept. 9 July 7, 1999.  Submitted first by Christine Greenwald.

bombright.gif (11839 bytes)

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

Something to put your Y2Koffee or Y2Koke in, we presume:

Found at Schlotzsky's Deli.  Funny name: silly promotion.  Spotted by Heather Westerfield.

Stupid E-Mail

No URL on this, but apparently this e-mail has been making the rounds:

I received this and checked my computer and found it to be set up to fail. I wonder why Microsoft set this default that way. I fixed mine and I recommend you check and fix your computers. If you are running Windows, this is a fix for a small Y2K problem almost everyone should do.

I submit the following for your consideration:

 1. Double click on "My Computer".
 2. Double click on "Control Panel".
 3. Double click on "Regional Settings" icon.
 4. Click on the "Date" tab at the top of the page.
 5. Where it says, "Short Date Sample", look and see if it shows a "two 
digit" year. Of course it does. That's the default setting for Windows 95, Windows 98 and NT. This date RIGHT HERE is the date that feeds application  software and WILL NOT rollover in the year 2000. It will roll over to 00. 

 6. Click the drop-down arrow to the right of "Short Date Style"
 7. Select the option mm/dd/yyyy. (Be sure your selection has four Y's, not two)
 8. Click "OK".

 Easy enough to fix. However, every single installation of Windows  worldwide is defaulted to fail Y2K rollover.

By the way, there are lots of Windows fixes out there for Y2k problems.  This is not one of them.  Submitted by Jennifer Plant (who was the recipient of the stupid e-mail, not the sender).

These words came out of my father's mouth this weekend....I am NOT joking....
"So when is this Year 2000 problem supposed to happen anyway?"
That's one of those questions that could be either very intelligent or very dumb.  Submitted by Jason Ferris.

I have one for your "unofficial" list. We are a company that outsources to Microsoft - taking customer calls on some of their products. In a meeting a few weeks ago we went over our testing and the results of our third party compliance verification with various representatives from Microsoft. The representatives came with a list of questions they felt had not been addressed. At the top of their list was, what were we going to do in the event US West Communications (which supplies phone service to many Western States including the one our call center was in as well as Microsoft's Corporate headquarters. Our Telecommunications Director said, "Well, basically the same thing you are - we will sit here and wait for them to turn the phones back on." Then they proceeded to question #2, what were we going to do if AT&T Communications failed? Our director again replied to that one, "Well, if AT&T is down, there is no God. That basically means there is no national communication system whatsoever since MCI Sprint and everyone else relies heavily on AT&T. My personal plan at that point would be to go home, build a fire and start killing small animals."
Submitted, as one might expect, anonymously.

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").