On This Day Pre-Y2K

Confused by any of the jargon you see below? Check the Y2K Glossary!

March 22, 1999 Permalink

Hello all...

I’m a reporter for The Associated Press, and I’m looking into the issue of mission critical systems being redefined down, causing the federal government to appear farther along than it may actually be.

If anyone knows of specific systems once considered mission-critical and now aren’t, please contact me. All tips will be kept confidential. I’m looking for specific systems that would seem to be mission-critical (such as a weapons system or a payroll, for example) that have been reclassified. I alread have tons of data on total numbers and even have Agriculture broken down by agency, but no specific computer systems. If anyone knows of any THAT CAN BE VERIFIED, please contact me via phone or email using the info in my .sig below.

Many thanks in advance...
Chris Allbritton, National Cyberspace Writer
The Associated Press

—Chris Allbritton, comp.software.year-2000, 03/22/99

The question is and has been what kind disaster do we need to plan for? The fact is that we could know. The Y2K problem is about physical systems operating functionality. Yet, we do not know. For me this has been my great frustration, for while we have been approaching the event with trepidation, and fear of causing panic among the public for the last two years, we did not do those things which would enable us to know that there was no reason to panic.

Now FEMA, which has been placed in the position of managing the potential disasters, (kicking and dragging it’s feet all the while), gets up and is announcing:

“To those who are afraid, let us assure them: There is no need to hoard. There is no need to take money out of banks. There is no need to head for the hills.

“In fact, those kind of extreme reactions could actually cause a disaster that, otherwise, would not happen. And “It is difficult to determine the exact nature and extent of the threat posed by the Y2K problem. “

“To those who would wait and see or those who are downplaying Y2K, let us say: The Y2K problem does not fix itself. “

This is the same message that we have been hearing for the last two years from official government spokes people.......

Don’t panic, but we really don’t know what is going to happen.

Now, I have been trying to get people to develop a system to acquire information so that we can determine what kind of disaster we need to respond to, and set up a system to respond to some companies, who by now have a desperate need for remediation information to the deaf. And for two years the official message has been don’t panic, but we really don’t know what’s going to happen, and by the way you really need to remediate your potential Y2K problem now.

I have gotten to the point where I am have become an advocate of panic. I have gotten into arguments with people who do not understand what I mean by advocating panic. To the small business person, to the local community, to my State Government which has not yet passed a Y2K budget yet or started working on the problem..... PANIC. Your baby is at the top of the stairs with a blind fold over it’s eyes. Feel, for a moment, blind paralyzing fear. Then act now like your child’s life depends on it. Panic now, then get over it, and act.

the government has got to understand you can not say don’t worry about the problem, and you have to fix it. This dual message has been the way the problem has been presented to the public and it is the primary reason that sectors of our economy have not remediated.

—Christopher Effgen, comp.software.year-2000, 03/22/99

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