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56

What we were afraid of as we feared Y2K

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Ullman, E. (2017). What we were afraid of as we feared Y2K. In Ullman, E. Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology. MCD, pp. 56-80

63

Then Fuller says, "I read an article about how the Federal Reserve would crash everything if our work went bad. It was the first time in my life I understood everything the Federal Reserve did." He laughs uneasily. "I discovered we were kind of important."

Thirty years at the Federal Reserve, I think, and this is the first time he knows what it really does. A nice, competent programmer used to thinking about his work in terms of source code and assembler looks over the top of his cubicle. I hear the fear in hs voice. Y2K is forcing him to learn what his code does in the world.

—p.63 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago

Then Fuller says, "I read an article about how the Federal Reserve would crash everything if our work went bad. It was the first time in my life I understood everything the Federal Reserve did." He laughs uneasily. "I discovered we were kind of important."

Thirty years at the Federal Reserve, I think, and this is the first time he knows what it really does. A nice, competent programmer used to thinking about his work in terms of source code and assembler looks over the top of his cubicle. I hear the fear in hs voice. Y2K is forcing him to learn what his code does in the world.

—p.63 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago
66

[...] All this will occur, he says, because the world's systems "were put together over thirty, forty years without any adult supervision whatsoever."

The crowd applauds. It is just what they want to hear. They are like spurned lovers. All those boys we coddled with big salaries, in their tee shirts and cool eyewear, whom we fetishized for their brilliance - we left them alone to play with their machines and screens and keyboards and they havebetrayed us.

[...] I sit in my seat and fume. Programmers do not decide which new systems should be built and which should be abandoned. Programmers do not allocate company resources to one project or another. Programmers are the resources. Managers make those decisions. Corporate officers make those decisions. Venture capitalists decide which new technologies shall be funded and which shall not. It is precisely the adult supervision Yardeni should be mad at.

on Yardeni talking about Y2K

—p.66 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] All this will occur, he says, because the world's systems "were put together over thirty, forty years without any adult supervision whatsoever."

The crowd applauds. It is just what they want to hear. They are like spurned lovers. All those boys we coddled with big salaries, in their tee shirts and cool eyewear, whom we fetishized for their brilliance - we left them alone to play with their machines and screens and keyboards and they havebetrayed us.

[...] I sit in my seat and fume. Programmers do not decide which new systems should be built and which should be abandoned. Programmers do not allocate company resources to one project or another. Programmers are the resources. Managers make those decisions. Corporate officers make those decisions. Venture capitalists decide which new technologies shall be funded and which shall not. It is precisely the adult supervision Yardeni should be mad at.

on Yardeni talking about Y2K

—p.66 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago