On This Day Pre-Y2K

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

March 24, 1999 Permalink

It does no good to get one system compliant if it can be corrupted by interacting with another system. Y2K is systemic. This is why every system must be tested for interoperability before it can be certified as compliant. It must be tested. Does it screen out all noncompliant data? Will it operate smoothly with all those components inside the system (i.e., industry) that are compliant, i.e., do the various “fixes” mesh? Are all noncompliant data locked out of the system?

This same testing is required within every industry. But each of the participants in the system must be compliant in order to to run effective final testing of interoperability. No system is compliant until all of its internal links are compliant and every participant is compliant. Those that are not compliant must be locked out of the system no later than the date of the final testing.

What we need here is a compliant, stand-alone system of systems -- in banking, telecommunications, power distribution, and of course government. We don’t have it. There is no evidence that we can get it by December 31. There is no compliant industry or government anywhere on earth. But those in denial refuse to comment on this.

The Office of Management and Budget has forecast the future. It knows what will be true on March 31. It has looked into the digital tea leaves and has seen that 90% of all U.S. government agencies’ mission-critical systems will be compliant. That is because President Clinton decreed that 100% of the agencies be 100% compliant. Nobody’s perfect. But 90% gets you an A- in most classrooms.

But Congressman Stephen Horn has given the government a C+. To get an A, the agency must be compliant on March 31. So, why weren’t the grades higher?

It’s all a muddle. That is, it’s the U.S. government.

—Gary North, garynorth.com, 03/24/99

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