Rob Rosenberger's view on Y2K

John M. Klassa (
Mon, 16 Mar 1998 08:04:04 -0500

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Rob Rosenberger is the guy who maintains the Computer Virus Myths home
page at His opinions (as posted on his site)
would lead you to believe that he isn't very worried about Y2K. To get
an opposing view on Yourdon's take, I forwarded Yourdon's message to
Rob & asked for his opinion. With his permission, I have attached his
response. Definitely a more rosy picture than Ed's. :-)



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Replied: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 13:40:24 -0500
Replied: "Rob Rosenberger" <>
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Reply-To: "Rob Rosenberger" <>
From: "Rob Rosenberger" <>
To: "John M. Klassa" <>
Subject: Re: Yourdon / Y2K
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 06:33:16 -0600
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My opinion? I honestly think the computing world needs something to scare
itself at all times. First lightning strikes & power fluctuations; then
computer viruses; then hacking; then Y2K...

Do I believe the world will end because of Y2K? No. Do I think satellites
will tumble out of orbit, planes will fall out of the sky, ocean liners will
crash into reefs, submarines will sink to the ocean floor, bank vaults will
lock down for good, electric plants will stop producing electricity, water
purification systems will stop producing water, elevators will stop working,
hospitals will kill radiation-treatment patients with excessive radiation
treatment, automobiles will demand a complete overhaul, and so on? No.

Do I think whole industries will collapse because of Y2K? Do I believe a
Y2K-created Depression will put millions of citizens out of work? Do I
think America will revert to second- or (God forbid) even third-world status
because of Y2K? Do I think a power-hungry dictator will invade U.S. soil
because our failed technology won't help against the simple elegance of a
bayonet thrust? No.

Here's what I think.

I think late-1998 will see the first wave of advertisements (especially
commercials) touting how the company in question will "weather the coming
thunderstorm of Y2K." They won't say it outright, but the message will seem
clear enough: "our competitors probably will fail you." Let's face it: fear
sells. I fully expect to see more of these advertisements than car salesmen
& political spots combined.

I think a couple of high-profile companies will go under after their
computers fail on 1/1/00 -- but they'll fail primarily because wolfpack
competitors rushed in to pick up the slack. "We're really sorry to hear
about competitor X's problems, Mr. Customer. Do you think they'll get back
on schedule for you anytime this year?"

I think a whole bunch of idiots with no real day job will sue every company
which kept them from reaching Utopia. "Your Honor, my client deserves a
god-awful amount of compensation because Starbucks refused his valid
MasterCard when he tried to pay for an espresso. The court MUST send a
clear message to the coffee industry in order to stop these heinous credit
card crimes!"

I think a whole bunch of ambulance-chasing lawyers will switch to
Y2K-chasing. "We don't get paid until YOU get paid..."

And I actually think the mainstream media will uncover a dozen deaths around
the world linked directly to Y2K. Wow, a dozen deaths worldwide! Granted:
even one death is one death too many -- but if I prove correct, you'll stand
a 500,000,000-to-1 chance of dying because of Y2K. Go buy a lotto ticket if
you want better odds.

In the final analysis, I think the media will find enough Y2K boo-hoo
material to occupy the front page for all of 1999 and all of 2000. Lung
cancer alone wipes out hundreds of thousands of Americans every year, but
you only get to read about them in the Obits section. In alphabetical
order. The media ignores this obvious fact when they splash the front page
with lawsuits & legislation.

The media will miss all of the obvious points when they cry out on page 1
about Y2K. And everyone who screams "apocalypse!" will point to page 1 as
"proof" of their prophesies.

Bah! I hope their cruise ship gets sunk by a tumbling satellite.

Rob Rosenberger, webmaster
Computer Virus Myths home page

-----Original Message-----
From: John M. Klassa <>
To: <>
Date: Saturday, 14 Mar 98 6:41 PM
Subject: Re: Yourdon / Y2K

>> Yourdon wrote an email about Y2K? Hmmm. No offense to Mr. Structured
>> Programming himself, but I'd need to confirm he actually wrote the
>> Then I'd need to think about it.
>The only copy I had handy was the one in the mail I sent to some friends.
>I ripped out some of the irrelevant parts, but I'm at home and mime
>tweaking is a little painful when done manually. :-) At any rate, this
>was attributed to Yourdon -- I imagine it can be verified by checking his
>various web sites (he mentions several).
>I offer it, again, FWIW... I would, however, be interested in your opinion
>since you've been right on the money about `computer scares' in the past.
>Take care,

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John Klassa / Alcatel Telecom / Raleigh, NC, USA <><

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