T H E E N D - T I M E S T I M E S January 21st, 1999
Welcome to this first issue for 1999! It's a new year again!
Men - suddenly our cars have depreciated, ladies - your clothes
are now last years fashions :)
Many thanks for your interest in my activities and writings.
I appreciate your interest and support, and trust that this
latest issue of the End-Times Times will be a blessing to you.
Speaking of the new year, I have received many queries about
the infamous 'millennium bug' or 'Y2K problem'. I have seen
the most incredible Web pages that virtually expect mass
devastation to result, commencing midnight December 31st!
However - this is not the case. The situation has been greatly
over-hyped. Please do read the two articles this issue about
the Y2K situation - one being a joke, but the other a reasoned
and balanced presentation.
Please feel free to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and visit my Web site at http://www.oocities.com/Athens/Forum/5951
Those who have not visited my Web site for a while - please do
drop by again! I've recently made a number of redesigns, and
added a list of good books that I recommend. Should these be
of interest to you, links are provided so you can purchase them
through Amazon.Com. The Web site will undergo more development
over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
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David M. Williams
THE Y0K BUG
Translated from a Latin scroll dated 2 BC ...
Are you still working on the Y zero K (Y0K) problem? This change from BC
to AD is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven't much time left. I don't
know how people will cope with working the wrong way around. Having been
working happily downwards forever, now we have to start thinking upwards.
You would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left it
to us to sort it all out at this last minute.
I spoke to Caesar the other evening. He was livid that Julius hadn't done
something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. He said he could
see why Brutus turned nasty. We called in Consultus, but he simply said
that continuing downwards using minus BC won't work and as usual charged
a fortune for doing nothing useful. Surely we will not have to throw out
all our hardware and start again? Macrohard will make yet another fortune
out of this I suppose.
The money lenders are paranoid of course! They have been told that all
usery rates will invert and they will have to pay their clients to take
out loans. Its an ill wind ......
As for myself, I just can't see the sand in an hourglass flowing upwards.
We have heard that there are three wise men in the East who have been
working on the problem, but unfortunately they won't arrive until it's
I have heard that there are plans to stable all horses at midnight at the
turn of the year as there are fears that they will stop and try to run
backwards, causing immense damage to chariots and possible loss of life.
Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of transition. Anyway,
we are still continuing to work on this blasted Y zero K problem. I will
send a parchment to you if anything further develops.
If you have any ideas please let me know,
Y 2 K : A N E X E C U T I V E S U M M A R Y
By Pete Holzmann,
AD2000 Interactive Task Force global coordinator
(Pete has close to three decades of high tech experience, ranging from
mainframe computers to PC's and "embedded systems.")
[NOTE: This is a "brief" summary of the issues. A comprehensive
research article, fully annotated with references, will soon be
published at http://www.icta.net/y2k]
You're a worker in Zimbabwe, and urgently need some medical advice
from a colleague in Sweden. But it's January 10, 2000, and the entire
Zimbabwe telephone network has been cut off from the rest of the
world, because it hasn't been upgraded to take care of Y2K. What a
Sure is! Some people must prepare for just such a possibility.
At midnight on Dec. 31, an elderly man with a computer-controlled
pacemaker begins to cross a busy street, with computer-controlled
street lights. Suddenly, the man's pacemaker, the lights, and even all
the cars on the street don't know what year it is! Imagine the
Horror? Nope. Pacemakers, street lights and cars don't care
what year it is!
Y2K... The Millenium Bug... the Year 2000 Problem... could it be the
day the computers die and we'll all finally live at normal speed
again? Or will anyone even notice?
Just about everyone has heard about this worldwide problem. But few
of us know the facts.
I. How Serious Is the Y2K Problem?
Do you ever travel other than on foot? Do you ever communicate other
than face to face? Do you use money? If so, then the Y2K problem can
potentially affect you. You need to learn about Y2K and deal with its
impact on your life.
Yes, it's that serious.
Are you ready to do ministry in the year 2000?
* If you think you are, have you properly tested all your systems to
make sure you won't have problems? Have you talked to your business
suppliers and other business partners to be sure they are ready?
* Y2K is a foreseeable problem. If you ignore it, your organization
could possibly fail. Your officers and directors could be held personally
liable in donor lawsuits.
* Y2K is a business problem. Business decisions are required to allocate
appropriate money, time, and human resources. Decisions about legal
and operational risks to your organization need to be made at the
highest executive levels.
Ignoring the problem is not a solution, but a way to greatly increase
your chances of being hurt.
Even if you have no computers, you still need to discover whether your
bank and other vendors are taking care of the problem. You don't want
to be a customer of a bank that will not be ready!
What's the issue? Some computer software sees "99" as "1999", but does
not see "00" as "2000". If this bug is not fixed, various things will
stop working correctly. For example, financial calculations may be
wrong ("your credit card expired in 1900!"); bank vaults may unlock at
the wrong time ("It's Monday 1/1/1900, not Saturday, 1/1/2000")
==>So, please help me understand this monster...
First, make sure you understand a few important details left out by
almost everyone who talks about Y2K. Attention to these details will
give a balanced view of the situation:
* Critical vs. non-critical errors: some claim a system can't survive
unless it is 100 percent Y2K compatible. In reality, only _critical_
defects need to be repaired for service to continue. For example, I
have yet to discover a true critical Y2K defect in an electric power
delivery system; on the other hand, there are many non-critical Y2K
power problems involving accounting reports, etc.
* Contingency vs. real-world planning: many people panic about complex
systems, believing Murphy's law: "If anything can go wrong, it will
go wrong." Fortunately, Murphy's law is only valid as a design idea,
not as something to apply in day to day living! In the real world,
complex systems, whether aircraft or power grids, function correctly
even when many of their parts are broken. That's how they are
designed, and that's how they operate!
* Legal realities of today's society: We live in a selfish, greedy,
lawsuit-happy society. People who suspect they could earn a lot of
money through a lawsuit are likely to make the attempt. As a result,
corporations are reluctant to say clearly what is or is not ready
for Y2K - not because they don't know, but because their lawyers
warn them to be careful. Thus, when asking your business partners
about Y2K, use a friendly, practical approach that asks whether they
have discovered any critical or non-critical Y2K issues, and when
they expect to have all of the critical issues resolved.
==>How much Y2K will cost...
The most up to date, unbiased assessments predict as much as $200 to
$300 billion dollars will be spent globally to solve the problem over
a five year period. This does not include any litigation costs. So it
really is serious. To place these huge numbers in perspective, $300
billion is less than 0.2 percent of worldwide GDP over the same
period. Most economists see a small overall economic effect of Y2K -
other global economic crises are far more worrisome!
==>What may go wrong...
Can anyone accurately predict what will happen come 1/1/2000?
I believe investigating the facts and applying some wisdom allows us
to develop a clear understanding of the situation.
* If your bank does not upgrade its software, it may be unable to
continue automated banking transactions with the rest of the
financial community. Worse, its own accounting system may revert to
manual entry of interest payments and so forth. Make sure you are
using a Y2K-compliant bank! (If they've recently replaced their
software, updated monthly statements, offered new web banking
features, you're probably ok. But check anyway!)
* Millions of PC's around the world will need to have the correct date
entered, and possibly rebooted.
* Many nations around the world are far behind in their Y2K work.
Mission organizations are well advised to develop contingency plans
for getting funds into the hands of their field people.
* Some medical devices that schedule treatments (such as dialysis or
chemotherapy) will need to be manually set if their software is not
* Many of us will suffer minor inconveniences. For example, many VCR's
will no longer remember the correct date. Airport operations may be
slow for a time due to manual operation of uncorrected baggage or
ticketing systems. Some features on older telephone systems may not
work correctly. Traffic signals may switch from weekend to weekday
* A few of us will encounter a major problem. Yes, in a few localized
places, especially internationally, there will be a significant
breakdown in services. This is mostly because there are still too
many people completely ignoring the problem. Public phone networks
in some developing nations may not be upgraded in time, forcing them
to be isolated from the rest of the world (to avoid billing
problems.) Older accounting software will not work. And so forth...
==>What's being done about it...
Many people are clearly over-reacting to the problem. For example,
many fear widespread blackouts, even though there is little chance
that power delivery, anywhere in the world, will be affected by Y2K.
This summary is too short to provide evidence for any of the following
statements; see my longer article for more information:
* Power: Experts fully expect power delivery to continue on 1/1/2000.
An industry-wide Y2K test will be run on April 9, 1999, just to be
* Banks: In the US, three percent of federally insured banks are
currently behind in their repair work. The situation is worse in
many international arenas.
* Credit Card Transactions: The global credit card network has ready
for Y2K since early 1998. About one in a thousand card machines aren't
up to date, and require a manual phone call for card approval.
* Telecommunications: There's no reason to expect failure of
telephone service in any major nation. However, some nations may be cut
off from international calling, due to billing problems. The primary
current concern is Sub-Saharan Africa, which has insufficient
funding to accomplish the needed upgrades.
* Air Transport: Aircraft will continue to fly. The big problem is
scheduling, ticketing, baggage control and other non-flight systems.
Repairs to the air traffic control system are complete and being
tested. While some slowdowns can be expected, especially in remote
international areas, commercial flights will continue throughout the
night on 31st December 1999.
* Government: The US government has a "D" grade, with 17 of 24
departments expected to have all critical systems repaired on time.
There will be visible slowdowns and government services falling back
to emergency contingency plans.
Western nations such as the USA, Australia, Ireland, Israel, South
Africa, UK, etc.... are expected to get through with few problems.
At the other extreme, some developing nations have done little or
nothing about Y2K, and may suffer severely for their lack of
preparation. The major issues in developing nations are lack of
awareness, lack of funding, distractions from financial crises, and
lack of qualified experts. Some nations have an advantage in dealing
with Y2K: they still do a lot of their administrative work manually
rather than by computer. Pens and paper are, of course, Y2K
II. What Do I Need To Do About Y2K?
Whether you are a concerned individual or represent an organization,
the primary steps in responsibly dealing with the Y2K problem are:
* AWARENESS: Acknowledge there's a problem.
* SURVEY: Check your organization and outside connections to identify
critical systems. Strongly encourage your ministry partners to do
* EVALUATE: Develop and implement a plan for evaluating which systems
and connections actually have a problem.
* FIX: Develop and implement a plan to resolve critical issues and
cope with non-critical issues.
* TEST: the results, well before 31st December 1999!
* PLAN FOR CONTINGENCIES: For any operational areas that give you low
confidence of successful operation in 2000, develop an alternative
plan that will keep you in business. This is especially important in
areas where a few hours of downtime could cause a critical problem.
(I.e., medical services, broadcast systems, etc.)
Here are a few key pointers:
* Check on the Y2K readiness of your health care and medical insurance
providers. Medical administration is a nightmare even without Y2K
date problems confusing the issue.
* All Macintosh computer hardware is Y2K compatible, but the software
needs to be checked.
* PC's need to be checked. Over 90% of PC's will "roll over" to 1/1/2000
without being fixed; a small number of PC's need to have the correct
date manually entered (once!) after 31st December 1999; a very small
number of PC's require a hardware fix - a BIOS chip update.
* While many software packages, whether for Mac or PC, are ready for Y2K,
many are not. You need to test and verify! Some software that is not
ready: Peachtree DOS before ver. 10, Quicken DOS before ver. 5.0,
Lotus 123 DOS v1, cc:Mail before v8.
* The most difficult software issue involves custom programs, and custom
databases and spreadsheets. You need to verify your custom data will
properly handle the century transition. Symantec's "Norton 2000"
will check and repair popular spreadsheet and database file formats.
* Most other equipment will not have critical failures. Don't worry
about cars, elevators, etc. However, custom designed equipment and some
medical devices (especially systems that do date-based scheduling or
reporting) need checking.
* Workers in developing nations should review their emergency
preparedness and ability to obtain cash. Banking and telephone
services may well be reduced or even unavailable for a time
beginning on 1/1/2000. Debit card cash advances may be the best way
to obtain cash worldwide if there's trouble in 2000; this would use
the credit card transaction system rather than bank transfers.
* Others should at least consider their ability to help others who may
have a need - certainly some people in some places will be affected
by Y2K! (My family keeps a pantry full of food in winter, as we are
sometimes snow-bound. If serious problems crop up and the stores are
closed for hours or even a day or two, we'll be fine)
* Consider your information contingency plans. If you aren't confident
your administrative systems are Y2K compliant, you need to prepare
for potential breakdowns. How will you print year-end statements for
1999 (or perhaps print them before the year ends?) How will you
handle payroll in the first 2000 pay period? These questions and
many more need to be answered.
* What about records? Do we all need backup copies of every conceivable
bit of information? Hardly - remember, the Y2K problem does not cause
computers to crash, nor does it cause data to be lost. It's the new
information that's at risk from this problem, not the old info.
III. How Do I Respond To People Who Say...
Doomsayers suggest we need to "head for the hills", buy weeks or
months worth of food, obtain backup power generators, and generally
prepare for the reduction of our social services to the level of
developing nations. Sadly, much of this hysteria comes from within the
Christian community. Motivations of such people must be questioned.
Some of the best-known spokesmen have a hidden theological agenda,
believing the world as we know it must end in the next few years.
Also, many doomsayers make a tidy profit from sales of their books and
==>How do we as Christians respond to this?
First, are you taking care of the Y2K problem in your own
organization? No matter what part of the world you live in, thinking
"It doesn't apply to us" is a sign of foolish ignorance.
Second, as Christians we are called to be prepared in season and out
of season. Y2K will have an effect on people around the world. On
1/1/2000, every breakdown in the whole world will be blamed on Y2K,
right or wrong. As Christians, we are called to be a light to the
world. Are you prepared, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, to
help others who may be among those who are harmed by Y2K? Does your
organization have a contingency plan to deal with potential problems?
Third, deal calmly with the hysteria, panic and doomsday scenarios. A
spirit of fear is not from the Lord. Refer people to balanced,
Finally, remember that people hear what they want to hear. People who
have come to a conclusion on Y2K are rarely willing to adjust their
views. (This is especially true if they have already taken action! We
all want to justify our actions.)
Y2K is a serious problem, especially in the developing world.
You need to seriously deal with it both personally and in your
However, there's no reason to panic.
Most personal computers and software will not be affected. The larger
affected systems are mostly being worked on as you read this.
Yes, computer errors will cause serious problems in some local areas.
Many faxes will have the wrong date; some databases and spreadsheets
will have wrong calculations until they are fixed. Some medical
systems will have to rely on manual rather than automated measurements
for a time.
But the power grids will not shut down, the financial markets will not
crash, airplanes will continue to fly. God is still in command; the
tides will rise and fall, the sun and moon will maintain their course.
And God's gift to mankind of intelligence and creativity will once
again allow us to cooperatively solve issues that surface in the early
hours of January 1, 2000.
The real Y2K danger is not technical, but societal. If public panic
arises, the doomsayers will have won. Just as with fears of a run on
the banks, if society panics about Y2K, it really could become a
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
"God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline."
--I Tim. 1:7
"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the LORD always,
for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock."
T H E E N D - T I M E S T I M E S January 21st, 1999